The Genesis of Iris Jewellery

Vietnames Tassel

Silver with rhinestone cross with antique silver knotted chic chain

The classics are back
Three strand necklace made with Swarovski Pearls

Go Native but elegant
Colourful Yo-Yo Ankara and Button choker

For weeks now, I have toiled with the best way to start this blog. What possible way can I begin the story of my journey to Iris By Hazel. This blog will be more pictures than stories after all we are talking about precious pieces of items you had rather see than hear them described to you but first, you will also get to know IRIS JEWELLERY. So, let’s get to it.

“AH! Thank God! Cos you done dey talk too much grammar. We know you go school but abeg talk sharp-sharp, na the photo we come see. ”

I have always loved accessories especially as I needed to find a way to express myself. It started with designing my own dresses which by the way my sister believes belong on the runway and not the streets of Nigeria.

“Ah! Wahala dey o!”

Anyway, designing my dresses didn’t do it for me so my search continued until 2003 in my 3rd year in school when I discovered that I could actually make my own jewellery and that was the beginning of my love for beads.

“Ggan-gban!”

So, one weekend we weren’t doing any rehearsals (I studied Theatre Arts) I went to the market and bought all kinds of beads, tiger-tail (a type of stringing material) and my tools which consisted of scissors and razor blade. Came home and started stringing. I had no basic training, no books or magazine to copy from, I just knew what I wanted to make and I sat down and started making it. The result?

“A couple of idiotic designs wey even you sef no fit wear. Pssseuw! Rubbish! Who you be! Na magic? If na so e bi, all of we go done dey make bead sinnnnnnce before them born you sef, next thing now she go tell us say she was born to make bead, Commot fo road jo!”

Some really simple necklaces and earrings! I had made really long illusion and spike necklaces (at that time I didn’t even know that was what they were called). Yes, the finishing was horrible! It wasn’t as posh as I had imagined. Yes, I didn’t get that warm feeling in my stomach that I had created a wonderful piece of art but I was very happy that I had made it myself. My first handcrafted jewellery. I was pumped, thrilled and overly excited so I wore them with all the pride in the world!

“ROTFWL! LMAO! LWKMD! #Laughingandpointingatyouandyourhillariousjewellery#”

I made a few more pieces and all of them had the same issue, horrible finishing. Say what you may, think what you may but even Tiffinay, Cartier, Harry Winston, Buccellati etc all had bad days when they started out, when they tried to figure out where they belonged. 2003 was mine.

“Hmmmm”

I think I was brave enough to wear them for a couple of months and then I abandoned both making and wearing. I didn’t make another piece of jewellery again till 2011. Between 2003 and 2011, Iris By Hazel was gearing up for an entrance! I have always been a believer in ‘if you don’t like something, don’t moan about it, get off your butt and do something about it. This is my bus-stop for now, will see you all next week, until then…

My name is Patricia Ihidero, jewellery designer, jewellery maker, CEO of Iris Jewellery (Iris By Hazel & Iris Jewellery Institute), lover of beads, fashion/costume jewellery and all things precious (metals and stones). I believe that Nigeria should be THE jewellery hub of Africa and one of the jewellery capitals of the world. Take my hand and we can do it together.

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If You Were Born In JUNE Stand Up And Shine With… PEARL

“The Pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens” – Unknown

Pearl is the *birthstone for people born in JUNE. The pearl is the oldest known gem, and for many centuries it was considered the most valuable. Unlike all gems, the pearl is organic matter derived from a living creature – oysters (saltwater) and mollusks (freshwater).

It was said in some early cultures that the pearl was born when a single drop of rain fell from the heavens and became the heart of the oyster. Pearls have been called the ‘teardrops of the moon’. Some believe that pearls were formed by the passage of angels through the clouds of heaven. Over time, the pearl has become the symbol of purity and innocence and it is often sewn into bridal gowns, or worn as jewellery by the bride. As an emblem of modesty, chastity and purity, the Pearl symbolizes love, success, and happiness. They often symbolize a happy marriage and in many countries are used as a wedding gift.

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The ancient Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying. During the Crusades in the Middle Ages, pearls were the gift of choice for a knight to give to his lady. During the 14th and 15th centuries, royal wedding scenes closely resembled a sea of pearls, with everyone from the bride down to her male guests adorned with impressive arrays of pearl jewellery. In modern times, cultured pearls have graced such 20th century brides as Queen Elizabeth II, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor.

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Occurrence – Natural Pearls have been harvested from the Red Sea, Gulf of Manaar, and the Persian Gulf. The coasts of Australia and Polynesia produce mostly cultured pearls. Fresh water pearls occur in many rivers in countries such as Austria, France, Scotland, Ireland, India and the USA.

Colour – White, Brown, Silver, Cream, Black or Pink

Hardness – 3 (It is less than 7 in the Moh’s scale of hardness because it is an organic matter yet it is very pricey. Saltwater Pearls are very pricey while freshwater pearls can be affordable)

Birthstone – February, April, June, July and November.

Sign of Pearl – Gemini and Cancer

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*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to “have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” – Gemlore

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Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

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*Photos from Google. Excerpts taken from Emily Gems and Find Your Fate.

If You were Born in JANUARY, Stand Up and Shine with… OPAL

“There are worlds in an Opal” – Terri Guillemets

Opal is the *birthstone for people born in JANUARY. It is truly the “Queen of Gems” and the Eve of the Gods. A stone of hopes, positive actions and achievements. It has always been one of the most popular and esteemed gems, known to absorb, carry and pass enormous amounts of energy.

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Opal was formed many millions of years ago, when a combination of silica and water flowed into cracks and spaces in the ground. This then gradually hardened and solidified to become opal. Opals contain water, which makes them very sensitive to heat. They are soft and can be cracked or chipped easily. Opals should be stored in moist absorbent cotton.
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The opal is said to be many things including the most powerful of healing stones, the stone of hope, the stone of great achievement and even the “stone of the Gods”. Ancient Romans associated opal with hope and good luck. A mysterious gem, as each one appears different in its delicate beauty. They prized Opal above all other precious stones and believed the holder to be charmed with good fortune.

Occurrence – USA, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia. Australia produces approximately 95% of the world’s precious opal.

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Colour – White, Black, Soft Yellow, Pink, Blue, Red or Fire Opal and Brown also known as Ethiopian Opal

Hardness – 2 – 2.5 (it is less than 7 in the Moh’s scale of hardness therefore not too pricy)

Sign of Opal – Aquarius, Libra, and Scorpio

Birthstone – November, October, January

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*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” –  Gemlore

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Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

*Photos from Google. Excerpts taken from Emily Gems and Find Your Fate.

If You were Born in November, Stand Up and Shine with… AMBER

“Amber is the colour of your energy, shades of gold displayed naturally” – 311

Amber is the *birthstone for people born in NOVEMBER. It is said to bring a care free, sunny disposition, promote good luck and success and dissolve oppositions for the wearer.

Amber is technically not a gemstone or mineral, but a fossilized sap from prehistoric trees that has aged over the course of millions of years. Amber is usually thought of as yellow golden in hue, but amber also can be found in shades of milky white, red-orange, green, black and even (very rarely) violet.

Early physicians prescribed amber for headaches, heart problems, arthritis and a variety of other ailments. Put amber in water or wine for 1-14 days, and the liquid shall be good against stomach-ache/asthma. In ancient times, amber was carried by travellers for protection.

In the Far East, amber is the symbol of courage; Asian cultures regard amber as the ‘soul of the tiger’; Egyptians placed a piece of amber in the casket of a loved one to ensure the body would forever remain whole.

Because it is relatively inexpensive and of light weight, it is often used as large stones in rings, pendants, bracelets and ear-rings, and is often set in silver.

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Occurrence – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, Shores of the Baltic Sea near Denmark, Norway and England.

Colour – Golden  Honey Yellow, Rich Orange, Red to Brown

Hardness – 2 – 2.5 (it is less than 7 in the Moh’s scale of hardness therefore not too pricy)

Sign of Amber – Leo , Aquarius, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio

Birthstone – November, August, January, March, July

Amber_Necklace_m

*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” –  Gemlore

Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

*Photos from Google. Excerpts taken from Emily Gems and Find Your Fate.

 

 

If You were Born in AUGUST, Stand Up and Shine with… PERIDOT

“Rich and rare were the gems she wore, and a bright gold ring on her hand she bore” – Thomas Moore

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Peridot is the *birthstone for people born in AUGUST. Peridot is a green gemstone that’s sometimes called the evening emerald. It is among the oldest known gemstones and is a gem-quality transparent variety of olivine. It is a stone of lightness and beauty. Used in a necklace, peridot is said to protect against negative emotions.

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The peridot was regarded since ancient times as the symbol of the sun. Some of the finest peridot stones are called “evening emeralds” because they appear greener under artificial light. It was once believed that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele.

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Peridot has been mined on an island in the Red Sea since 1500 BC. They believed that it would send evil spirits away, lessen one’s thirst when placed underneath the tongue, and to drive out nighttime terrors when placed in gold. Historians believe that some of the “emeralds” worn by Cleopatra were really peridot. According to legend, wearing Peridot protected the wearer from evil spirits.

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Occurrence – Mogok district of Burma, Norway, Brazil, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Australia, Mexico, and United States.

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Colour – Light Green, Dark Green, Olive Green, Yellow

Hardness – 7 (it is 7 in the Moh’s scale of hardness therefore pricy)

Sign of Peridot – Leo, Libra, Pisces, Gemini and Virgo

Birthstone – August, June, October, March, September

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*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” –  Gemlore

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Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

*Photos from Google. Excerpts taken from Emily Gems and Find Your Fate.

 

 

If You were Born in MAY, Stand Up and Shine with… EMERALD

“Green is the prime colour of the world and that from which its loveliness arises” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Spanish Writer

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Emerald is the *birthstone for people born in MAY. It is the sacred stone of the goddess Venus. It was thought to preserve love. The emerald has long been the symbol of hope. It is considered by many to be the stone of prophecy and tranquilizer for a troubled mind. The emerald is said to bring the wearer reason and wisdom, success in love, wealth, happiness and peace of mind.

emerald-color-scale

Emeralds have been treasured for thousands of years. The infatuation with Emeralds dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome. It is said that Cleopatra was always adorned in Emeralds and that this was her most treasured jewellery. The best Emeralds come from Colombia and Brazil. Emerald can also be found in India, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. An emerald of the right shade of green can be more valuable than a diamond.

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Colour – Emerald Green

Hardness – 7.5 – 8.0 (it is above 7 in the Moh’s scale of hardness therefore pretty pricy)

Sign of Abalone – Cancer, Taurus, Gemini, Virgo

Birthstone – January, May, June, August, September

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*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” –  Gemlore

Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

The A – Z of Gems – ABALONE

These gems have life in them:  their colours speak, say what words fail of.  ~George Eliot

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Abalone, a member of the sea shell family is also known as the “ear shell”. Abalones are members of a large class of mollusks that have one-piece shells. These shells have a dichroic, tortoise-like appearance. Abalone is the popular name in the United States for a univalve gastropod mollusk of the genus Halitosis.

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Abalone shell has been used in many cultures as a decorative jewellery and for carvings. A disc of abalone shell is worn on the forehead of Apache girls as they greet the sun in the morning of their initiation into womanhood” – Emily Gems.  It is believed that Abalone benefits the heart and helps digestion. It strengthens muscular tissue, especially the heart and is also a strong anti-carcinogenic. It aligns the etheric body and balances the feminine qualities. It is said to bestow tranquillity, and abundance. They are especially useful to counterbalance overly dynamic energies due to their watery nature. If you are superstitious.

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Abalone shells are used from everything from the inexpensive puka necklaces to the mother of pearl inlays on fairly expensive jewellery used today. Abalones are the most primitive group of molluscs, and they have changed little since their ancestors first originated during the Cambrian period.

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Occurrence – Abalones are found in North America, Asia and Australia.

Colours – Green, White, Black, Brown

Hardness – 3 – 4 (it is less than 7 in the scale therefore shouldn’t be pricy)

*Sign of Abalone – Cancer

Birthstone* –  June

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*Birthstones and Sign stones are gem stones which in some culture are believed to have more vibration power at certain times of the year. The month of a stone’s power time determines your birthstone. These gem stones have more vibration power for you because they are associated with the time of your birth.” –  Gemlore

Some stones can be found under several months and Zodiac signs. Feel free to accept the ones you want.

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*Images from Google

Forever Gems…twinkles of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“Jewellery is a very personal thing; it should tell a story about the person who is wearing it” –Unknown

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Different Gemstones

For as long as man can remember, gemstones have always been a part of history. It has been used as jewellery, astrological symbols, good luck charms and birthstone. Many believe that wearing your birthstone can bring you good luck and ward off evil. I can’t say for sure it does but coloured/gem stones are just a beauty to have as well as a good investment just like your shares and bonds. And because they are mined and hard to find, it is an investment that will almost hardly depreciate.

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Zircon Blue

Before, ‘Precious  stones’ was used to describe Diamond, Ruby, Emerald and Sapphires while ‘Semi-Precious stones’ meant all other coloured stones. But these terms are no longer used in the gem trade, and “…the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) officially requires that “Members should avoid the use of the term ‘semi-precious’ in describing gemstones”Gem Select. As it turns out, all coloured stones come in a variety of quality therefore having various degrees of value due to rarity, market demand and aesthetic value. For example, a low quality Emerald can go for N36,000 per carat while a good quality Spinel can fetch as much as N400,000 per carat.

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Black Opal

“Therefore, due to aspects like price, durability, investment value and astrological significance, a customer planning to buy a stone needs to familiarize themselves with coloured stones in other to make an informed decision.”Marc Brauner – Co CEO IGI Worldwide.

Tourquoise

Turquoise

It is important to note what a coloured stone is. It is any gem stone that isn’t a diamond and when cut, sized and polished is considerably beautiful and resilient to use as an accessory. Normally, a coloured stone should be beautiful, durable and rare. When all three is combined, the stone is usually quite pricy. Some stones exhibit some peculiar attributes e.g. under certain light, some stones can change colours, display a star as well as rainbows. Naturally, these kinds of stone will fetch premium prices.

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Malachite

According to Marc Brauner, Co CEO of IGI Worldwide, one of the leading gemmology and certifying laboratories and institutes in the world, “In order to retain their beauty over time, coloured stones need to be durable. Durability includes hardness and toughness. Resistance to scratching is referred to as hardness. Some coloured stones are ‘soft’ and can be easily scratched thereby diminishing there attractiveness. Ideally a coloured stone should be harder than dust particles which may be fine particles of Quartz found in the air. Any coloured stone that can be scratched with one’s nail or a pen knife is less than Quartz. Coloured stones with hardness greater than Quartz include Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz, Tourmaline, Spinel, Garnet. These are the most valuable in descending other of value.”

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Amethyst

The crystalline structure of a coloured stone determines its resistance and this is referred to as toughness. Aggregates are usually the toughest stones such as Jadeites and Nephrites.

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Harlequin Opal

Really, there aren’t enough top quality gem stones out there to meet demand so “coloured stones are sometimes treated using various processes to enhance their beauty and durability. These enhancements have existed for hundreds of years… Enhancement increases supply, ensuring a constant flow of coloured stones which consumers can afford and enjoy. However, these enhanced stones are lower in value than their naturally counterparts therefore the disclosure of their treatment is paramount.”Marc Brauner – Co CEO IGI Worldwide.

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Red Spinel

So when buying a gem stone, one should look to a reputed and knowledgeable jeweller and when in doubt, consult a reputed international gem testing lab. Also, don’t forget that when buying pieces that are above $300 or highly prices coloured stones; ask for a certificate for the piece you are buying. It is more or less the certification that what you have is real and with it, can resell your piece at the current price rate anywhere in the world.