Posted by & filed under Jewelry, Vegan.

As a vegetarian for over 25 years, 15 months ago in January 2018, I took the last and final leap into the world of veganism.   For me, switching to a vegan diet has been a huge turning point.  I am unsure why it took me so long to make that switch and I cannot be the only one to have asked themselves why they did not make that switch sooner.  Suffice to say, I have never felt better about my health, my body and the planet I live on.   And I feel so utterly relieved that I have no physical input in the horror story that is the meat, fish and dairy industry.  If we all switched that story would end.

What I will tell you is something which I never thought would happen.  Last August, my husband watched Forks over Knives on Netflix.  For those of you not in the know, it’s an award-winning film and documentary promoting plant-based, whole-food eating and how veganism can literally transform health, reverse health conditions and – literally – save our planet.  When my husband announced at the end of the documentary that he was becoming a vegan I did not believe him.  These are words that I never thought he would ever say ! But it’s now March 2019 and a vegan he is.  The way I am thinking is that if my husband can suddenly wake up one day and embrace the vegan life style than anybody can !  I am so proud he has taken this route and it’s been such an adventure to try out new recipes and different kinds of food with him. To be fair, it’s been pretty easy to eat in and out. Vegan restaurants, cafes, snacks, candy, pre-packed foods, sandwiches.  You name it, you can get a tasty and nutritious vegan version.  And it appears veganism really is the future as since we turned plant-based, friends and family became vegan too. 

On 31st October, it was World Vegan Day.  As a jeweler I feel connected to all the pieces I create but this was the perfect chance for me to create a piece of vegan jewelry that I had a direct link with.  I took the humble leaf as inspiration and created two designs.  The leaf traditionally symbolizes life, hope, renewal and fertility.   Leaves have deep-rooted symbolic meaning in virtually every culture.  It is said that a single leaf is an ancient heraldic symbol that represents happiness.  In recent times, the double leaf emblem has become a symbol of veganism.  The term vegan is fairly new.  It was coined in 1994 by The Vegan Society founder Donald Watson.  And something you may not know is that the word ‘veganism’ is simply an anagram of the words ‘saving me’.  

So I made two very simple and easy to wear leaf necklaces in honor of World Vegan Day and my fellow vegan friends.  Both in solid bronze on 16 inch bronze chains, one features a single delicate leaf, detailed to both sides.  The other features two leaves with contrasting detail.  They are available on my website and a booklet on veganism is included with each piece as well as a handcrafted decoupage gift box, made with eco-friendly natural cardstock. 

source: chowhound.com

There are clear environmental and health benefits to becoming a vegan, the most compelling ultimately is an ethical one and is the only truly humane choice.  If we all turned to a plant-based diet, the decimation of the rainforests would also cease.  Whilst rainforests seem a world away for most of us, we know that trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in order to produce oxygen. With rapid rainforest depletion, the level of carbon dioxide reduces, which increases global warming.  Rainforest decimation means animals and plants lose their food and shelter leading to extinction. Hills and mountains alone cannot hold back water which causes severe flooding and loss of biodiversity.  Biodiversity sustains life as we know it.

To sum up, veganism is straight-forward.  By following a plant-based diet it is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.  A person who follows a vegan lifestyle will improve their own health and actively help the environment by producing the equivalent of 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a meat-eater and uses 1/11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/18th of the land.  Australian-born Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Prize Winner in physiology and medicine, found that those switching to a vegan diet for three months caused more than 500 genes in the human body to change, turning ON genes that prevent disease and turning OFF genes that cause breast cancer, heart disease, prostate cancer and other illnesses. 

Opting for a plant-based vegan diet will end animal exploitation and save the lives of billions, stop species extinction and rainforest depletion for agriculture, as well as vastly improving human health.  Despite what non-vegans like to convince themselves of, humans are not designed to eat animal or dairy products.  Humans do not have sharp carnivorous teeth to grip, slice and tear flesh from bone, nor the highly acidic hydrochloric stomach acid which rapidly breaks down that flesh.  Only human breast milk is designed for human babies and fewer than 40% of all humans on earth have the ability to digest lactose beyond babyhood. If they do consume lactose they have an abundance of gastro intolerances and allergies stemming from cross-species lactose consumption.

Veganism has skyrocketed in recent years, with more people than ever across the globe choosing to enjoy a plant-based life. If we take a look around the world at polls on veganism, based on 2018 data, 7% of British people are now following a plant-based diet, which is approximately a population of 3.5 million vegans in the UK.  These statistics show a huge increase since the last figures published by The Vegan Society in 2016, which revealed approximately 540,000 vegans, over the age of 15, in Britain.  There are a reported 1.62 million vegans in the USA, which is remarkable seeing that the USA is 40 times bigger than the UK.  In Sweden, a huge 4% of the population follows a vegan diet. In Australia, another vast country, with a population of 24.6 million, 2% state they are vegans whilst over in Israel, which is a tiny country in comparison with a population of only 8.7 million, they have a staggering 5% vegan population, making it currently the highest vegan population in the world.  There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans across the globe have in common is the desire to live as nature intended, in harmony with nature, and to lead a natural plant-based life.  Try it.  You’ll never look back !

ILV

Posted by & filed under Jewelry.

As an artisan, I really enjoy working with natural metals such as bronze and copper, both of which are my favorite metals in jewelry making. They are both very versatile and highly durable.  They also give gemstones a perfect setting. These metals have beautiful patinas (surfaces) which darken or lighten over time. This is because bronze and copper naturally react to the environment such as heat and moisture.

During the Roman era, copper was exceptionally sought after and was mainly mined in Cyprus.  The original name of Copper was Cyprium and was referred as Aes Cyprium which literally translates simply as Metal of Cyprus.  The word Cyprium was then modified to Cyprum and it is from this that we get the word copper.

It wasn’t just the Romans that appreciated this beautiful metal. The Ancient Egyptians carried water using carafes made of copper, dating back to 2750 BC. The Ancient Egyptians also had the ankh symbol to represent copper.  The ankh is a hieroglyphic symbol meaning eternal life.

Contrary to popular belief, copper is very often added to gold, even gold classified as 24 karat.  This is because gold itself is an exceptionally soft metal.  Copper is added to gold to enable it to be molded into shape.

Copper is alloyed with tin to make my other favorite metal – bronze.  Bronze is a metal that has been used since antiquity and was favored by the Ancient Sumarians.   Sumer was the first urban civilization in the historical region of ancient Southern Mesopotamia.  It was actually the Ancient Egyptians that were the first recorded nation as utilizing this metal, around 3,500 BC.

Bronze is mostly copper with some tin.  This combination of metals makes bronze an alloy.  Bronze is a very durable metal and is stronger than copper and tin alone and it should not be confused with brass.  Brass is entirely different and consists of copper and zinc.

Back in history (681–704 BC) King Sennacherib of Assyria cast huge statutes of up to 30 tons made from bronze.  Whereas in Ancient Greece, bronze statues were the highest form of sculpture in art.  It was a very valuable material.  

Bronze and copper make the ideal backdrop for my natural gemstones.   Since ancient times, gemstones have been prized for their beauty.  Often gemstones contain inclusions and in gemology inclusions are the characteristics inside the gemstone.  Some gemstones reflect the light, while others are iridescence or translucent.  They may contain bands of color and have either a rich or smooth lustre.  Gemstones in many ancient civilizations, and now in modern times, are considered miraculous and enriched with healing powers.  

Gemstones are also linked with yoga meditation and with Ayurveda which is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.  I can customize any of my gemstone pieces and all of my jewelry arrives with booklets on the history and meaning of your chosen gemstone.  Here are a few of my favorites with some information on what they symbolize:

source: wikimedia.org

Chalcedony is a variety of Quartz and come in a wide range of beautiful colors including translucent smokey pink. It is a powerful healing stone linked to optimism, joy and receptivity.  It has a gentle nurturing energy which promotes self-love.  In yoga mediation, and Ayurveda, the gemstone is linked to Heart-Chakra which means it is a stone of inner peace, awareness and emotional stability.

source: flickr.com

Opalite is composed of Dolomite, Quartz and Fluorite. Colors range from translucent rainbow to semi-transparent soft white.  All Opalites have a moon-lit glow when held against the sunshine. This glow has been referred to as ‘moonlight on water’. Opalite is a powerful healing strength-giving stone. It improves communication and removes energy blockages.  It is connected to self-esteem and self-worth. In yoga meditation, and Ayurveda, it is linked to Third Eye Chakra, which means it is a stone of insight and intuition.

source: maxpixel.net

Lapis Lazuli is composed of the minerals Lazurite, Calcite and Pyrite.  It is a powerful healing strength-giving stone. Lapis Lazuli stimulates knowledge.  It is linked to friendship and harmony in relationships. It enhances peace and serenity and promotes honour, truth and honesty. In yoga meditation, and Ayurveda, it is linked to the Third Eye and Throat Chakra, which means it is a gemstone of balance and energy.

source: pixabay.com

Aventurine is a variety of Quartz with inclusions of Fuchsite.  Aventurine is most usually green and is often referred to as the Stone of Opportunity as it attracts love.  Aventurine is a powerful healing and strength-giving gemstone.  It is connected to general well-being, optimism, joy and hope.  In yoga mediation, and Ayurveda, Aventurine is linked to Heart-Chakra, which means it is a gemstone of inner peace, awareness and emotional stability.

It is easy to love these ancient metals bronze and copper and they easily compliment all manner of natural gemstone settings from vintage Victorian to bohemian. Take a look at my gemstone category and choose a gemstone that is perfect for you.