May 1, 2011

Moving Along

We've certainly moved along into the dry, warm season here in central Texas. The garden behind Magpie Gemstones would be happier if it would rain, but the store dog, Sandy, is having a great time keeping the opossums out of the yard. I think she's on a real mission! The score is Sandy = 3, oppossums = ?

I caught up with Kateri at the Magpie Gemstones booth at the San Antonio show yesterday. My feet were already hurting from walking around, yet she was full of energy and spunk, working with one customer after the next. It was fun to watch her help one in particular match a pair of earrings to stones for making a necklace. Kateri really knows her stuff! I think this woman smiles all the time!

I'm smiling too this week because I finally finished the patina article that I've worked on for some time. I hope you will grab some time to look it over and add your comments.

Do you watch for emails and Facebook updates from Szarka as new things go into the store? Last week, some new cabs went in and before I could even get my order finished, the ones I wanted had been sold. Take a peek at a couple of the new things that went in recently and see what you need. The photo on the right shows a sample of the new iolite beads. The color on these is quite stunning. The second photo shows the titanian infused drusy cabs. I'm wrapping one of these in silver. There are plenty of other goodies; why not move along and take a look at the other new beads in the store?

For now, I'm moving along to finish wrapping that cab and

. . . Magpie Gemstones is moving along to serve your design needs.


  1. Thank you for the patina article. I did have a question though. What is the difference between patina and verdigris? I collect vintage jewelry and verdigris is a big no no. When you are finished with a patinated piece, what keeps the metal from continuing to change? Or does it keep changing and is that okay?

  2. Hi Beverly (this is Karen) - I cannot give you an authoritative answer, but have an opinion. It seems that verdigris is a patina. It often occurs naturally and I believe it is usually green. I think of patina as the big category, although I could certainly be wrong. Patinated pieces can and do change color naturally depending on their environment and the person wearing the pieces. That's why I seal my sheet metal pieces that have been given a patina. This will, at the least, retard the weathering process. I don't seal my wire pieces, but have not been unhappy with their natural weathering. You can see one of these on my blog entry for today, April 1, 2011, at

  3. Anonymous1.5.11

    Dr. Karen, what do you find works best for sealing your sheet metal pieces?

  4. Ellen, I spray a very light coat of Gloss Polyurethane that I got at Hobby Lobby. The brand is Tree House Studio, Indoor/outdoor (spray). I believe it also comes in flat, not glossy. The label says it can be used on wood and metal. I originally tried a paint-on type that I also got at HL and it was great at first. Then a customer returned a belt buckle several months later due to peeling. I've been using this spray for about 8 months and had no problems thus far.I think part of the trick is to keep the coat very light. I don't use it on bracelets or rings because it will wear off over time. Good Luck

  5. Anonymous1.5.11

    Thanks so much for the info!