Thursday, December 26, 2013

The History of Kumihimo

Lustrous Lavendar & Blue Mix Kumihimo Braid Bracelet
with Silver-Tone Findings
Kumihimo can be translated as ‘gathering of threads’ and the earliest Kumihimo in Japan is generally believed to date back to the Nara Period (645-784 AD). Braids were used for securing clothing.

Lustrous Gold with Black Kumihimo Braid Bracelet
with Gold-Tone Findings
In the Heian period (784-1184) the braids became more complex and elaborate.

Lustrous Lavendar & Blue Mix with white or gold
Kumihimo Braid Bracelet
with Silver-Tone Findings
A major a major change in use came with the rise of the Samurai Warrior class which happened during the Kamakura (1185-1333 AD) and Muromachi (1333-1573 AD) periods. Samurai armour was made up of lacquered iron plates joined together with braids. As much as 250-300m (800-1,000ft) of braid was required for a single suit of armour and in addition kumihimo braids were used for binding on swords, horse armour and horse harnesses. The braids were produced in a wide variety of designs and widths, with interesting details and textures.
Lustrous Silver with Black & White
Kumihimo Braid Bracelets
with Silver-Tone Findings
$36.00 each
It was in the Monoyama period (1573-1614) that kumihimo started to be used in Kimono wearing. With the introduction of the wide obi sash a braid was needed to hold it in place. This braid is called the obijime and it is still in use today.
Glossy Earthen Mix Kumihimo Braid Bracelet
with Silver-Tone Findings
During the Edo period (1616-1867) most of the traditional patterns were developed. The earliest published patterns date back to this period.

A serious decline in the production of kumihimo braids took place towards the end of the Meiji period (1867-1912) when samurai culture saw a decline and it was forbidden to wear armour.

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using the Contact Form to your right.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Birthstone

The Myth and Lore of Lapis Lazuli

December's Birthstone

HMS Victory
Lapis-Lazuli Handstitched Soutache Pendant 

In the ancient world Lapis-Lazuli was as valued as gold. Egyptians sent out legions of soldiers with with traders to collect Lapis. The word Lapis-Lazuli comes from the Latin Lapis meaning stone and Lazuli meaning blue.  The Arabic word L'azulaus is translated as blue, heaven and sky.  It has been mined in Afghanistan for more than six thousand years and is widely referenced in many ancient texts.

In the third millennium, BC, Puabi, a Sumerian queen dressed in a robe of Lapis & Gold.  In the middle ages Lapis was crushed and mixed with oil to create an exquisitely deep blue paint which served as a pigment for illuminated manuscripts.  The blue stone flecked with gold appears to in itself represent royalty.

Though there are references to Lapis as a healing gem, particularly as a cure for depression or a weak heart, generally the richness and color in itself has been associated with royalty and authority.


Other stones are listed such as Turquoise, Blue Topaz and Tanzanite.  Blue Topaz being the most popular was believed by the Greeks that its cooling effect could have the power of calming one's temper and balancing one's mental state.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Is Soutache Jewelry?

Golden Tiger Eye Soutache Pendant

Soutache embroidery is a technique which dates back to 14th century in France. It was initially used for making decorative elements sewn on to clothes and elaborate military uniforms.The name comes from the French word 'soutache' which means a silky braid used to decorate cut fabric.  Textile artists have used soutache embroidery to create luxurious one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Lovely model Kelly wearing  Golden Tiger Eye Soutache Pendant 
The soutache braids are meticulously stitched together with fine threads while combining a variety of cabochons and beads, resulting in an amazing combination of color and style of royal character. Since soutache embroidered jewelry is a very precise, laborious and demanding technique, the end result is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two New Sea Shell Soutache Necklaces

Marco Island, Florida
Scallop Sea Shell
Natural Color

Sun Ray Venus
Sea Shell
This one reminds me of the best Gelato ever on the cruise ship MSC Divina!

Contact me for more information 
using the Contact Form to your right.