Friday, January 22, 2016

A Bird Doesn't Sing...

"A bird doesn't sing
because it has an
answer, it sings because
it has a song."
(Maya Angelou)
Photo: Ida Tomshinsky, 2015

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Garnet, January Birthstone

This gem is available in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian Demantoid and African Tsavorite. Sometimes, it appearing in the oranges and browns of Spessartite and Hessonite from Namibia and Sri Lanka and the subtle pinks and purples of Rhododendron. Legend says Garnets light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Garnets have long been carried by travelers to protect against accidents far from home. Garnet is the birthstone for January, but with its stunning variety of colors and its mystical powers it has been given as a gift for all occasions for centuries.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Poem About a Bracelet

"Here is the bracelet
For good little May
To wear on her arm
By night and by day.
When it shines like the sun,
All's going well;
But when you are bad,
A sharp prick will tell.
Farewell, little girl,
For now we must part.
Make a fairy-box, dear,
Of your own happy heart;
And take out for all
Sweet gifts every day,
Till all the year round
Is like beautiful May."  

Louisa May Alcott                      

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Lucien Falize

Lucien Falize was born in Paris, France in 1839. His father was a renown jeweler Alexis Falize. His designs were very popular at the Second Empire era of Napoleon III.

Renowned French jewelry house famous for its cloisonné enameling and Japanese-inspired designs. The firm’s history begins in 1832 when Alexis Falize (1811-1898) began an apprenticeship with Parisian jeweler Mellerio dit Meller. An eager pupil, Falize quickly learned all aspects of the trade: manufacturing, chasing, engraving, design, sales, and bookkeeping. Looking to improve his marriage prospects, he left Mellerio in 1835 for Janisset. In 1838, he left Janisset to open up his workshop. “Such were the beginnings,” wrote Henri Vever, “of this highly talented jeweler, whose work as a designer and manufacturer was so significant.” Vever credited Falize with revitalizing jewelry and the decorative arts during Napoleon III’s reign (1852-1870). His specialty was “artistic” jewelry: jewelry featuring semi-precious gemstones, intricate metal work, and enameling.

When Falize retired in 1876, his son Lucien expected control of the workshops. Having trained with his father for the previous two decades, Lucien was a competent successor: a highly skilled enamellist, goldsmith, and designer. His obsession with past era, especially the Renaissance and Japanese art matched, if not surpassed, that of his father. In 1878, Falize won a grand prize for his jewelry as well as a coveted Legion of Honor Cross at Paris’s International Exposition.

In 1878, he joined forces with descendants of Bapst, the former French Crown Jewelers, to create jewelry for Paris’s wealthy aristocrats. Until 1892, Bapst et Falize (Bapst & Falize) enjoyed great prosperity. Around that time, Falize helped to theorize the burgeoning Art Nouveau movement, contributing articles to Samuel Bing’s monthly journal Le Japon Artistique. “Jewelers, led by Lucien Falize, seized on the simplicity of form, the intensity and clarity of color of Japanese enamels, and the intriguing effect of mixed metal work…These were the very attributes of Art Nouveau jewels.” (Becker)

 When Lucien suddenly died in 1897, his sons (André, Jean, and Pierre) continued the business as Falize Frères. They produced beautiful Art Nouveau pieces, winning two grand prizes at Paris’ International Exhibition in 1900.

The Mind of Winter

"One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter."

(From "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens)