The Gemstone Detective

Many new pieces for July 2017 July 19, 2017 15:44

Come check us all out.

Chandelier Earrings,  Donut Holes, Gold Saturno and many more.  

Something new is always on the jeweler's bench!

Bastille Day 2017 July 14, 2017 17:42

Hot and sweltering in Seattle but not in the cool studio.   Have a look around the revamped site.   See something you like?   Buy it!  It won't be here for long.   Fall is just around the corner.....

What is Reticulated Silver? April 19, 2017 18:47

Reticulated Silver is a mix of sterling (.925), fine silver (.999) and copper (.075).   The metal is repeatedly heated, quenched and pickled.   During this process, the copper content is concentrated at the core of the metal, surrounded by a skin of fine silver.  Then, during the reticulation process, a very hot flame from a jeweler’s torch is moved in a specific pattern to bring the copper core to a melting point that in turn creates a liquid within the silver skin.  The path and angle of the flame affects the textures created, very often resembling a mountain peak, moiré fabric or a bargello needlepoint.    All of the reticulated silver from Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs is created in studio.  No two pieces are alike, due to the reticulation process.

All pieces are also very unique.   This is why they are more expensive than sterling silver.    Each piece is carefully designed and crafted to highlight the unique patterns and textures of the metal.






Some new galleries! March 01, 2017 00:00

Freehand Gallery in Los Angeles, California now carries Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs.   Please visit them or their website:



Heirloom and Bridal Jewelry December 29, 2016 11:15

A complete line is available for the bride, the new mom and for any special occasion.   The bridal line pieces are designed to be heirloom keepsakes.   

Free shipping on all orders here over $300.00.   Standard Shipping $15.00


Come visit the Instagram page for Ellen Lyons Designs SingedFingers September 22, 2016 12:56

SingedFingers is the place to see new designs and all WIP which =

Works In Progress!   A special offer is coming soon.

Art Purchased from an American Artist Equals a Reverberating Pebble in a Pond. June 30, 2016 02:45

Melissa sulks.  Glass blowing professionals are mad.   Ivan is irritated.  Vanessa visits with Rachel in her booth and then Rachel visits with Tessa in hers.   The other day, Tessa massaged one of her body care emollients into Rachel’s curls.  The artist vendors await buyers at the American Made Show in Dallas.   The wholesale buyers are not here in the droves that we were expecting and those who are here buy from other vendors who have cheaply made stuff from China or elsewhere.

This is not a good show.   One sale for Rachel does not equal a success.   More like a train wreck.   Some vendors have not even bothered to open today, the last day of a four day wholesale trade show.   8:30 am to 6 pm the first three days and 8:30 am to 4 pm the last that will not come fast enough so we can strike our sets and pack up to go.   

Not to return because this is not the right venue.   We’ve made a temporary block party of consternation, camaraderie and community unified by our products and by our collective boredom over the lack of customers.   9 1/2 hours standing, waiting, hoping, channeling energy outward for the buyers to come in and place orders.   But they are not here and we cannot conjure them out of thin air.

So when someone comes to purchase to whom we directed marketing material before the show we are grateful, elated, overjoyed and yet humbled because we know we have competition that wants those buyers in their booth as well.

We stay in our booths and freeze with the air conditioning.  When we finally go outside into the Texas air we are shocked by the change in temperature.  Before the end of our business day, Tessa and Adam start our happy hour with pecan flavored Moonshine.   Today some of us will have tequila liquor.   The other day, a vendor from Virginia entertained us with a drill motor and his metal sun sculpture.   We were so bored that watching the drill toting vendor embellish a wall in his booth with a hand forged sun sculpture was the most exciting event of the afternoon.   Well, that is until Tessa uncorked the moonshine.

There are sales representatives who will lose their jobs due to the lack of orders.   The UK votes to leave the EU.  A downward spiral effect that will have repercussions too numerous to ponder but here is one repercussion and a reason to buy American made art.

American artists like myself are hoping that both wholesale and retail buyers will focus on purchasing American made hand crafted art.  Purchasing from an American artist is like the dropping of a pebble in a pond.   The pebble drops and the purchase reverberates outward into concentric circles of subsequent purchases.   I buy more silver to make more earrings.  I purchase sapphires mined and cut in Montana.   The Montana based gemstone dealer in turn makes local purchases that reverberate globally.   Now the cheap bracelet purchased from a well known reputedly all made in America clothing and accessories store that cannot be named here might be designed in America but is it really Made in the USA?  This is part of the reverberating pebble circle going outward. If it was made overseas in a sweatshop with no OSHA or other protections in place to prevent a factory fire or worse, protections for the metalsmith from the chemicals used to electroplate the base metal with sterling silver to create perceived value of serious bling then here is what does not happen.   The pebble drops and goes elsewhere and when that happens, everybody ultimately loses



Just in time for Valentine's Day February 03, 2016 14:13

Please check out the new  selection of pieces using reticulated silver, pink tourmalines, white coin pearls, Swarovski crystals and rhodolite garnets.   Please enter Valentines into the search function to see them all.

Trendy and Heirloom Jewelry August 25, 2015 11:18


Have you ever walked into a Goodwill store and seen all the jewelry for sale?  Most of the jewelry will be of two varieties: junk, which is to say Mardi Gras beads and other manmade material or pieces that are no longer consider trendy or in style.    Some bargains are to be had for sure, especially for jewelry designers who are seeking raw materials to remake into new pieces.  Just the other day, my studio partner found some beautiful glass Czechoslovakian beads that have been reinvented into beautiful earrings with sterling silver accents that will soon have new ears to hang from and hopefully become someone’s heirloom.

Heirlooms mean antique.  Paste jewelry.   Art deco jewelry.  Victorian cameos.  George Jensen designs.   The list is long but the point here is this: just like classical literature, an heirloom will stand the test of time.   Jewelry that is trendy will not.   Some of it, will even end up in landfill.

Let’s take jewelry made for the runways of Paris, Milan and New York.   It is meant to be worn for a season.   C’est tout.   That’s it.   Six months from now, it will be passé or no longer au courant or in style.  The trendy pieces seen in Vogue and Elle, will not become heirlooms.   They will end up at Goodwill or a second hand consignment or discount store like Nordstrom Rack.   Or, as I said before, in landfill.

As a volunteer with the Seattle Women’s Jewelry Shelter Project, I know this first hand.   Unsold jewelry was sent to us from American Apparel by one of the higher ups who found out about our mission to upcycle donated jewelry.  They donated and continue to donate a pile of several pounds of the last season’s unsold pieces, Made in China with cheap labor from cheap base metal and plastic or cheap glass stones.   We were and continue to be the last resort before it ends up being thrown out.   Landfill.  

Trendy jewelry does not stand the test of time.   It is made with cheap materials by cheap labor in countries that do not have safety nets for the workers in case of a factory fire much less a union to help protect them from abuse, injury and chemicals.   

Purchase a piece of jewelry, handmade by an American artist and you will be supporting not only an artist but also supporting the arts in general, while perhaps, owning a piece of jewelry to pass along some day.  Purchase trendy, hello Landfill.

Recycled Precious and Fairmined Metals July 09, 2015 12:46

Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs uses only fairmined and recycled precious metals.

What Scratches a Diamond? June 07, 2015 19:35

What will scratch a diamond? Well, only another diamond. Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones registering a 10 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness. What can a diamond scratch? Well, only another diamond plus all the other gemstones in the mineral world. What is the Moh’s Scale of Hardness and what do gemologists mean when we say a gemstone’s hardness?
The Moh’s scale of hardness was developed in 1822 by Frederich Mohs. This scale is a chart of relative hardness of the various minerals with 1 being the softest up to 10, the hardest. Succinctly put, Moh’s scale is a measure of the relative hardness and resistance to scratching or abrasion between minerals. Thus, the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. Now, please note that a hard gem or mineral is not automatically tough or durable.
A mineral’s toughness is its ability to resist being fractured. Toughness is extremely important to many jewelry wearers because if the gemstone is purchased to be worn on a daily basis, it may become damaged either by impact or by being chipped and that makes it more fragile. A tough mineral will resist fractures. A soft mineral will not.
Usually diamonds are very hard, but they can certainly chip and fracture in normal day to day wear and tear. For instance, if a mineral crystal is formed in a certain way, it can make it prone to chipping or fracturing. Another way a gemstone can be more prone to chipping or fracturing is by how it is cut. A diamond that has many facets may be more prone to chipping, while a diamond that is cut with less facets, may be less prone.
When buying jewelry, a jewelry designer must know the hardness of stones because certain stones are too soft to say, be worn as a ring. A consumer will not see a lot of apatite in rings because this beautiful gemstone is only a 5 on Moh’s scale. It comes in beautiful shades of blue and green that can rival an aquamarine, it is still not hard enough to withstand, say a ring finger inadvertently knocked on a car door or a kitchen counter.
What does this all have to do with a jewelry designer and a buyer? Well, as a designer, I have the obligation to educate my customers about their options and to help make a good choice. This begins knowing the gemstone’s number on the Moh’s scale of Hardness and how tough and durable a gemstone is compared to others.
Check back for an upcoming piece on sapphires and spinels and where they range on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.
Ellen Lyons