as the holidays get into full swing

smb incense2

here are a few tips and notes to get you through.

  • Oops, I forgot to get a gift for …
    Did you forget someone on your gift list? I still have some pendants available in the $35 to $50 range, including a few Upcycled Computer pendants and Rose Quartz & Prehnite pendants. Prehnite’s shade is in the range called  Greenery – which is Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year – so you’ll not only be giving someone a wonderfully healing gemstone combination, you’ll also give them a jump on fashion.acj-upcycled-computer-pendants-b     Rose Quartz & Prehnite Pendants
  • I read that somewhere…
    This year, I’ve been sharing my take on gemstone energy in a lot of places where women especially are seeking answers and solutions. Just this week, Amy Cousin Jewelry was featured in Mind Key, an online community of healing professionals, in an article written by my good friend, Dr. Lisa Avilamind-key-logo_v2
  • Color me confident and calm…
    by tapping into the vibration of blue gemstones. Which ones, you ask? I wrote an article for Black Girl In Om with some beautiful suggestions.

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    photo: Bradley A Murray
  • If you’re in the Twin Cities this week…Lauren Ash, the founder of Black Girl In Om, will be in Minneapolis leading a workshop at Yess Yoga on December 26th.Three Sisters Eclectic Arts, which carries Amy Cousin Jewelry, will be open Friday, December 23rd from 10 -8, and Saturday, December 24th from 10 – 3. Located in St. Paul, MN
    threesisterseclecticartslogo
  • Every home should smell this fantastic…
    I am so happy to announce that our Sirius Mind and Body incense sticks are back in stock! It has been a long wait, but well worth it – the fragrances are as phenomenal as our alcohol-free fragrance oils, and each stick burns for over an hour – no bitter smoky after-scent either. Just the way you remember them.smb-twitter-head2

Big Hugs & Warm Smiles,

Amy

ACJ in person

twin cities social justice arts festival 2016

I’ve been busy in my studio creating some new pieces, but I wanted to peek my head out to let you know that Amy Cousin Jewelry is going to be a vendor at the Twin Cities Social Justice Arts Festival on Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 10am to 4pm.

tcsjaf_qtr_2016

I’m super excited to participate in this event for a number of reasons:

  • It’s a fantastic event – family friendly and lots of fun – with a wonderful focus. The artists and vendors address social justice issues through poetry, food, song, art, soap, jewelry, etc. And admission is free.
  • This will be my first in-person event since we closed the shop (over four years ago), so I am really looking forward to connecting with you face to face!
  • I’m launching a new line of jewelry from my Upcycled Collection at the Twin Cities Social Arts Festival. This is a collection I’ve had in my head for a long time, and I can’t think of a better setting to share it with you. Here’s a hint:
    acj-tcsjaf-upcycledcollection-1
  • I will also be selling my other gemstone collections and some Sirius Mind and Body fragrances oils !

If you’re in Minneapolis I really hope you attend. And if you are planning to attend and want me to bring a specific ACJ item (or even a specific SMB oil), please send me an email and let me know. I will tuck it away for you. That’ll save you shipping costs if you pick it up in person.

Okay, it’s back to the studio for me.
Have a great day, and I hope to see you on November 5th!

Big Hugs,

Amy amy-cousin-1

Who’s Afraid of Quartz? Not me… anymore (facepalm)…

acj-crystal-herkimer-chakra-collection-2

A friend asked me about Herkimer Diamonds – are they actually diamonds? What are they supposed to do? Are they expensive? All good questions. And you know how much I love to talk about gemstones! So I pulled out my strand of Herkimer Diamonds as we talked.

 

herkimer-quartz-210874-_roblavinsky_irockdotcom
Herkimer Diamond. Photo: RobLevinsky _ irocks.com

Herkimers are not actually diamonds. They are a variety of Quartz Crystals with a high level of clarity or brightness. They can be referred to as Herkimer Diamonds, Herkimer Quartz Diamonds, or Herkimers. They should never be called Diamond because they are not diamonds. Herkimers are double terminated (pointy on both sides) Quartz crystals which are only found in and around Herkimer County, New York. While double terminated quartz is fairly rare, it can be found in a few other parts of the world – Arizona, Norway, Afghanistan, China and Ukraine – it’s just not a Herkimer Diamond if it wasn’t mined in Herkimer.

 

My friend and I chatted for a while longer and she asked me to design a bracelet for her. With pleasure! After we said our goodbyes I sat quietly, holding my strand of Herkimers and feeling their energy. I had purchased them a few months ago, not because I had a specific design in mind, but because the strand is phenomenal, and I knew I might not find a strand like this again. That’s not the way things roll for me (see my post on Hemimorphite). As I said, Herkimers are rare, which means they are difficult to mine and limited in quantity, which means their price is starting to rise. I almost hadn’t bought the strand because I haven’t used quartz in my designs that frequently. Actually, I’ve avoided using clear quartz in my personal jewelry, and I’ve even been known to caution my customers to limit the amount of quartz that they wear too. Why? Why would I do such a thing??

First, let me say there is absolutely nothing wrong with Quartz. I actually like it a lot. It’s sparkly, it’s beautiful and it goes with everything! The thing is, Quartz (I’m talking Clear Quartz Crystal including Herkimers) is most commonly regarded as a high-energy amplifier. An Amplifier. Of any and everything. When the any or everything is another gemstone in a piece of jewelry, that’s generally a good thing. But too much of a good thing can also be a not so good thing. Quartz does not discriminate in what it amplifies. Again, it amplifies everything, including the wearer’s vibe as well as the energies around the wearer – meaning the vibes of other people. So if you’re wearing certain gemstones to help you deal with negative energies around you – say at work –  and you add Quartz to the mix, yes it will amplify your intended energy. But… it can also amplify the vibe of the work environment, which can potentially cancel out your intended energy if that negative vibe is stronger. Being hyper-aware of this tendency in quartz was one reason I why I avoided creating jewelry with it. Instead, I have always chosen to work with gemstones that are high energy and high quality enough to not need the extra boost of quartz.

Think I’m avoiding the question? Here’s my answer (gulp): the truth is I’ve been afraid. Of Quartz. Yep. Hard to believe, isn’t it? I’m all about working with and wearing super energy gems like Moldavite and Diaspore. But Quartz?… shudder.

Again, with the question – why Amy, WHY? I have been afraid to use Quartz because I didn’t think I could handle any more amplified energies in my life, including my own. I let my good-intended wariness of quartz spin out of control because I was also afraid to let it amplify my own feelings. I’ve avoided feeling and expressing so much – hurts (real and imagined), fears (real, imagined, and taking on other people’s fears as if they were my own), and even joy. I’ve been holding myself so tightly for so long that I’ve been crushing myself. For no good reason – no good reason that I can’t work through. I’ve got just about all the power gems anyone could need! Seriously, have you seen my “studio”?! I know I’m not the only one going through life stuff – hell, everyone goes through life stuff. But my way of handling life stuff had been to mostly clamp down on my feels, get small (obviously not literally) and hope it didn’t bubble up to the surface, out of control.

Back to me at my desk holding the strand of Herkimer Diamonds. I started to feel … really good. Energized. Amplified! I went back to my gem research sources and found that the double termination of Herkimer Diamonds allows the flow of energy to go in through one point and out through the other point. Sending and receiving. Clearing and replacing. And there’s more:

  • “Herkimers are extremely useful in a healing environment, where their clarity, brilliance and high vibration facilitate the removal of energy blocks or debris and introduce a clear, high frequency into the aura…
  • Herkimers can assist in meditation by opening one’s higher chakras and helping one remain focused on the meditative state. They are highly stimulating to the third eye, crown and etheric chakras and tend to increase psychic sensitivity”.  The Book of Stones – Naisha Ahsian
  • Wearing or placing a Herkimer between two chakras will help it align and attune both chakras.
  • Water included Herkimers help the wearer face their fears while maintaining a self-loving heart space. Carbon included Herkimers help purify healing spaces and other gemstones.
  • All Quartz is a stone of light. And while quartz is also an amplifier, it is also programmable. With concentration and intent, the wearer or holder of quartz can program it to help achieve just about any goal in life.

Wow. It’s definitely time for me to bring Quartz back into the mix where it belongs – in the jewelry I create for all of us. I held the Herkimers again, concentrating on connecting with them in the ways I’d just read. And then I had a good cry, which turned into a good laugh as I let go of the life stuff that I’d been holding on to with soul-crushing intensity. I let the Herkimers help me in the way they do best:

Face your fears and your self-imposed blocks. See them for what they really are, not what you’ve let them become. Let them go. Replace them with clear light and clear vision. Use that clarity to get back to living, to truly living. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Herkimer Diamond Quartz to Amy

You know me. I’ll never say that any gemstone can or will do the work for you, but they most certainly will work with you, if you let them. It’s not always easy and it most likely won’t happen in one amazing session. It has already helped me to approach not only my personal life but also my jewelry designs with more than I’ve been allowing for myself. And because you do know me, you know that one way that I’m living it is by creating some new pieces.  

acj-crystal-eggs-focus-close
hand-carved Quartz – Amy Cousin

I pulled out all of the Clear Quartz I’ve had stashed for an embarrassing number of years – a few shaped beads, points and some eggs that were hand carved by as a wise and lovely gem intuit named Andras from Sedona. Andras had also given me a beautiful oblong piece of quartz that he carved. He told me to keep it for myself, to work with it. Instead, I tucked it away – “too powerful, that piece is.” I thought (yes, sometimes I think in Yoda-speak). It’s not too powerful anymore.

I’ve created a very small collection using Herkimer Diamond Quartz and Clear Quartz.

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ACJ Herkimer Diamond & Quartz Chakra pendants

I’ve posted some Chakra pendants on my website. And yes, the flow of energy between the Quartz and the gems is wow! I used silver plated copper wire on them, which is something I don’t do that often, but these pieces called for it, and instead of avoiding, I listened. After I finished the Herkimer-Quartz-Chakra pieces, I started working with the hand-carved Quartz eggs. I have a few of them posted on my website and will be rolling the rest out over the next few days. I’m using sterling silver wire netting and love-knot techniques on them, which is simply lovely against the soft curves of the Quartz. I’d keep one for myself, but there are only five more eggs and a small sphere. It’s a really small collection and it’s meant to be shared with you. Besides, I have Andras’ oblong Quartz to make something for myself. I’ll post it on Instagram after I get these pieces out for you.

I want to thank my friend for allowing me to share her questions about Herkimers for this post. I welcome any gemstone questions you have as well – they too might become post topics. I also thank my daughters for all of the jewelry photos they’ve taken for me over the years. I now get just how much patience they have.

Big Hugs,

Amyamy-cousin-1

Crystal Healing with ACJ and Kimberly Elise: Intuition

Sunstone Moonstone Labradorite - we sparkle, we shine and we know it!

I’m pleased to share my latest gemstone energy and crystal healing post on Kimberly Elise’s website.

Like my previous article, I had a great time talking about three lovely sparklies – Sunstone, Moonstone, and Labradorite. I also created a few new pieces to add to my Sun Moon Stars collection while writing this article and I think they demonstrate how beautiful it is to connect to the amazing energetic flow of these gems.

Intuition, Confidence, Action. And looking darn good! Read my post about these three stones of intuition on Kimberly Elise’s website, then head back to ACJ to get your jewels!

~ Amy

Crystal Healing with ACJ and Kimberly Elise

I’ve started talking about gemstones – energy, lore and crystal healing – over at KimberlyElise.com, where the award-winning actress celebrates natural beauty and healthy living.

As much as I enjoy talking about gemstones here, this time I invite you to hop on over to Kimberly Elise’s website and read my post there. While you’re at it, take a look around – she and Team Kimberly have created a beautiful space!

~ Amy

ACJ, UpcyclePost And A New Marketplace

A few weeks ago, UpcyclePost asked me if I would join the team to beta test their new Marketplace. Let’s see… help a movement that I adore succeed in creating a groundbreaking  platform for artists such as myself to promote and sell their creative works? Uh… yeah!!

UpcyclePost logo

What is upcycling? You’ve heard the phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”, right? Recycling is an example of that – taking someone’s discarded item and reusing it. Upcycling goes a bit further by taking the best of recycling and adding the creativity of Do-It-Yourself-ing. Upcycling is a vehicle to view and use discarded items in ways that often add more value to the item than it had in its original form. Upcyclers are more likely to say “Trash? What trash? How could you possibly think this is trash? Don’t you see the new shirt/ring/shoes/table/lamp etc. that’s just waiting to be made out of this? It’s beautiful. Here, let me show you…” And they proceed to create the most amazing treasures.

I have always recycled scraps of wire to make elements, and I started purchasing reclaimed wire years ago when a local refinery offered it to jewelry artists.  I also recycle/rescue from vintage and broken jewelry. My first experience with upcycling occurred before I even knew it had a name. My husband was fixing his car and had to

My first upcycled pendant
My first upcycled pendant

replace a ball bearing ring. He cleaned up the old one and challenged me to make something out of it. I made a kinetic meditation pendant with an onyx accent. I wore it until a woman stopped me in a grocery store to ask me about it. Before I finished my shopping list, she approached me again and asked me if she could buy it from me. Cool!

Since then, I’ve kept a small stash of “someday I’m gonna make something out of this” items including a crashed motherboard, coins,

check out my page in the UpcyclePost Marketplace!
check out my page in the UpcyclePost Marketplace!

laundry tokens, and orphan flatware. No, I’m not a hoarder (beads don’t count) and now I have a way to make good on my word. My shop in the UpcyclePost Marketplace is already filling up with the “someday” projects that I’ve completed.

When I had to get a tire repaired, I spent most of my waiting room time drooling over the mechanic’s impressive collection of road detritus that brought customers to him –

Roadside detritus is some  upcycler's dream medium. Note the assortment of nails to the left...yikes!
Roadside detritus is some upcycler’s dream medium. Note the assortment of nails to the left…yikes!

nails, bolts, chunks of glass, antlers. I could see bracelets and earrings and necklaces in just about everything on his shelf, and asked him if he would be willing to part with a few items. He gave me that ‘lady, you’re scaring me’ look but declined to part with his precious.

I am proud to be a member of this movement, and I’m always on the lookout for my next creative challenge. And so it goes with most upcyclers: the products we create range from functional to decorative to wearable. Some of my favorite upcyclers are furniture makers and lighting artists. The craftspersonship and creativity of the artists in the UpcyclePost Marketplace is amazing. I hope you check out the site, shop and join the movement.