Lapis Lazuli

Did you know that I keep a list of interesting places based on gemstones? That’s not really surprising, is it? Well, one of these spots is the Water Wave Life Fountain on display in Vienna, Austria. It’s a massive structure carved out of 18.3 tons of Lapis Lazuli from Chile.

The Water Wave Life Fountain. photo by Ted McGrath
Water Wave Life Fountain photo by Ted McGrath

I probably won’t be visiting that spot any time soon (I’d rather check out the original source in Chile anyway), but when I spied a strand of hand-carved Lapis Lazuli oblongs I was immediately reminded of the fountain so I snatched them up. And then I sat on them for about a year. Well, didn’t actually sit on them… I just kept not making jewelry out of them. I did try to make one pendant, but it wasn’t until this month that I felt my skills and designs could do them justice. Because my eight lovely pieces of Lapis were carved to show off the Pyrite and White Calcite in them, each piece is different yet equally beautiful. Energetically, the combination is magical!

Lapis Lazuli necklace with Rainbow Moonstones
ACJ Lapis Lazuli and Rainbow Moonstone necklace

Lapis Lazuli  

Know yourself and stand in your power.

Lapis Lazuli resides in the deeper blues of Serenity blue. It vibrates most frequently at the third eye and throat chakra centers. Lapis Lazuli aids us in our ability to expand our self-awareness. It is a good stone for us to use during meditation where we can achieve a clearer perspective of our abilities as well as our limitations. In this sense, the Serenity comes from tapping into Lapis Lazuli’s assistance with our self-knowledge and self-reflection. Lapis is sometimes accompanied by Pyrite and/or Calcite and both of these gemstone’s energies add highly desirable dimensions to how this gemstone can be called to action.

Lapis Lazuli that contains golden flecks of Pyrite is considered to be the finest grade of the gem. Lapis Lazuli with Pyrite inclusions assists us in putting our expanding self-awareness into action. Pyrite’s vibration is considered masculine energetically. What’s significant about this is that it allows women and those more aligned with feminine energy to tap into a different way of accessing manifestation, willpower, and creativity that we might not normally consider.

ACJ Lapis Lazuli and Labradorite pendant
ACJ Lapis Lazuli and Labradorite pendant

Calcite is an amplifying mineral: it takes the energy of the gemstones or people around it and expands it. Calcite also has the ability to help clear negative energy rather than amplify it, which opens up the way for more positive energy to flow. Lapis Lazuli with white Calcite inclusions is an excellent stone to enlist when dealing with the negative push-back. Calcite can help us to not just refrain from feeding into the negativity but to draw strength and determination from it.

Lapis Lazuli is definitely one gemstone we can all benefit from having in our jewelry collection for its beauty as well as its energetic properties. Think of it this way: If knowledge is power, then self-awareness = knowledge = power.I’ve added these pieces and a few more to my Into The Blue series. I redesigned the pendant with Labradorite to allow more of the Lapis to show. Check them out here.

I almost forgot – It’s ACJ’s Anniversary!

And it’s my birthday too. So you know what that means … Celebration Sale!! acj anniversary bday

How could I have forgotten? I’m one of those people who seriously considered a January do-over. Crossing into the new year did not automatically reset the weirdness that was 2017. To be honest, last year had just as many highs as it had lows, so I finally decided to appreciate the good stuff. I’ll be sharing the good stuff as it rolls out – soon.

So this is how it’s come to be the end of February without me noticing so much. I launched Amy Cousin Jewelry at the same time we were closing down our bricks & mortar shop. While I miss the shop and slathering fragrance oil blends on anyone who would let me, I am so thankful that I have been able to grow ACJ from wrapping tumbled stones for customers to creating a jewelry sideline for the shop to launching as ACJ and fully stepping into my purpose as a gemstone intuitive. I couldn’t have done it without your support and interest, and even telling your friends about ACJ. That’s why the best part of celebrating is sharing with you!

christmas-xmas-gifts-presents.jpgThis year’s ACJ Anniversary Sale
starts now and runs until February 28th.
Oh, and everything in stock is 50% off.

 

You don’t need any special code – the discount will happen at checkout. Just use the PayPal processing option.

 

What’s new at ACJ besides a new look? Rings!

assortment of Amy Cousin Jewelry rings

The new ACJ website has been up and running for a few weeks now, and in between finishing custom orders, I’ve had a chance to create something that I’ve wanted to give you for a while now: Rings!

This collection is made up of an assortment of faceted cubed gems suspended between the coiled ends of the ring’s shank – copper, silver or 14k gold filled.

This setting allows you to see all of the pretty and interesting characteristics of the gems. They can be stacked on your fingers or worn as a pendant, so grab a few!

Need help figuring out your ring size? Here’s a handy measurement tool to help.

It’s June! What else needs to be said?

Fort Hill Farms Lavender Garden

Well, I can add a few more things. For starters, I finally hung up my big ski sweater, which had become standard survival gear in my studio. Working in an open space with lots of natural light has always been high on my dream studio must-have list, so I tried to not complain too much.
Amys ski sweater in studio  Amy in studio sans sweater

More ACJ in more places. I am delighted to announce that Amy Cousin Jewelry can be found in two new locations!

Homespun Decor and Gifts –  Minneapolis, Minnesota

Homespun open sign

I met the husband-and-wife team of Ben Cooney and Jill Hayes last year when ACJ participated in the Twin Cities Social Justice Arts Festival. They recently opened Homespun Decor and Gifts, which features everything from soaps to lamps to jewelry, all handcrafted by 75 Minnesota artists and makers. Needless to say, I’m honored to be in that number. It’s a beautiful shop and I added a few pieces to my wish list while I was delivering my own pendants and earrings. Homespun is located in the Nokomis neighborhood at 5006 34th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

Fort Hill Farms and Gardens – Thompson, Connecticut

Fort Hill Farms logo

Spending a day at Kristin Orr’s Fort Hill Farms and Gardens is an experience not to be missed if you’re in the New England area. Every year, she and her family plus staff create a beautiful maze in their 6-acre corn field.  Kristin also has several lavender gardens, from which she makes ice cream and tarts as well as soaps, lotions, and essential oils. She sells them in her Bee-tique, which now features Amy Cousin Jewelry’s line of bottle pendants – perfect for holding Kristin’s amazing lavender essential oil.

 

Fort Hill Farms Lavender Garden
Fort Hill Farms’ Lavender

Fort Hill Farms lavender garden labrynth  Kristin has also cultivated a place of peace by creating lavender labyrinths in the stone foundations of an old barn on her property. I can’t wait to visit! Fort Hill Farms and Gardens is located at 260 Quaddick Road, Thompson, Connecticut.

 

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.

acj-crystal-herkimer-chakra-collection-2
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