Archive | March 2016

Moss agate

Moss agate is such a beautiful and appealing stone, with its beautiful dark green mossy filaments and sometimes with rusty red or occasionally black inclusions as well. It occurs naturally in Scotland, and so it comes as little surprise that it was, and is, commonly used in Scottish jewellery.

Moss agate is a form of chalcedony, and is sometimes called dendritic agate. Both ‘moss’ and ‘dendritic’ refer to the organic appearance of the filaments within the stone. Despite their appearance, they are mineral rather than vegetable!

I am fascinated by moss agate and always try to have some in my Etsy shop. Below are a selection: some are for sale and some have already sold (marked as such).

Handmade moss agate ring, hallmarked 1970. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch.

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1962. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1962. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1962. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Moss agate Celtic brooch by Thomas Kerr Ebbutt, hallmarked Edinburgh 1965.

Moss agate Celtic brooch by Thomas Kerr Ebbutt, hallmarked Edinburgh 1965. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Vintage Art Deco moss agate ring.

Vintage Art Deco moss agate and sterling silver ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Vintage Art Deco moss agate pendant and chain, 1920s 1930s design. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details.

Vintage Art Deco moss agate pendant and chain, 1920s 1930s design.

Moss agate bangle, 1971.

Vintage moss agate and sterling silver bangle, 1971. Click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage modernist ring by N E From with moss agate.

Vintage Danish modernist ring by N E From with moss agate and sterling silver. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch.

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1971. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage Scottish moss agate ring, 1964.

Vintage Scottish moss agate ring, 1964. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Moss agate ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Moss agate ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Oval moss agate ring, with a Celtic style sterling silver mount.

Vintage oval moss agate ring, with a Celtic style sterling silver mount. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1957. Click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1957. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1965. Click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).

Vintage John Hart Scottish moss agate and sterling silver brooch, 1965. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Salisbury Cathedral

I was with a friend in Salisbury on Saturday, and we spent the day looking round some of the sights (Mompesson House, on its first day of opening for the year), St Thomas Church (also known as St Thomas and St Edmunds Church, and as the Church of St Thomas a Becket) with its amazing Doom Painting dating from 1475, and at the end of the day, Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral: the North Front.

Salisbury Cathedral in the gloaming: the North Front.

We were very lucky to hear the boys’ choir practising in the Quire. The light was starting to fade, and the candlelight made it all the more atmospheric. Their singing was absolutely beautiful.

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View from the Lady Chapel at the east end of the Cathedral, looking all the way down to the west end. Behind the fancy ironwork screen is the Quire. The people were looking in, watching the boys’ choir practising.

Two Cedars of Lebanon in the Cloisters.

Two Cedars of Lebanon in the Cloisters.

The 123 m (404 feet) high spire seen from the Cloisters.

The 123 m (404 feet) high spire seen from the Cloisters.

Hopefully the peregrine falcons will be back in a few weeks to nest on the spire again.

The photographer’s assistant

To photograph the vintage jewellery I sell in my Etsy shop, I use the windowsill in our bedroom as my studio. It faces south-west, so gets the best of the sun on offer to our dark old cottage. I prefer photos that are taken in natural light, and so am limited by our gloomy winter weather in the times I can successfully take photos. But whenever I do, there is always one constant: Ballou, my photographer’s assistant.

Ballou in her natural habitat: on her (our) bed.

Ballou in her natural habitat: on her (our) bed.

As soon as I get the gear for my photographing together (the board from an old flower press, some sheets of A4 white paper, some blu tack and an old kilt pin), she’s alert and ready to go. She’ll jump on to the windowsill next to my set-up, and oversee proceedings. Every single time.

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Had enough of my nonsense.

Had enough now.

Thank goodness for the cropping facility in my photo editing software, because there’s often a paw (or even a sniffing nose) in shot.

She’s even managed to sneak into a couple of the shots I have used in my shop. Here she is reflected on the back of a fabulous N E From amethyst necklace:

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