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I have been amazed to see the season of Mardi Gras (translation: Fat Tuesday) extend to the rest of the country. I was looking at a major women’s fashion magazine recently and it featured suggestions on how to celebrate the Superbowl, Valentines Day, and Mardi Gras this year. It seems everyone wants a taste of that King Cake.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras include purple, green, and gold. The purple does NOT represent royalty like amethyst but is symbolic of justice. The other colors of the Mardi Gras season, are green which represents faith and gold, which is symbolic of power.

The accepted story behind the colors is that in 1872, when the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans, he was he was given the honor of selecting the official Mardi Gras colors by the Krewe of Rex. These colors influenced the color choices of two major Louisiana colleges. LSU choosing purple and gold and Tulane choosing green and white.

So, in honor of this Mardi Gras season, I chose these jewelry designs in those colors.

Purple glass, craft wire earrings

Purple glass, craft wire earrings

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Purple glass, craft wire earrings

Green rice pearls, prayer box,

Green glass and craft wire earrings

Green glass and craft wire earrings

Rutilated quartz, pearls, gold-filled bracelet

Rutilated quartz, pearl, ribbon necklace

Rutilated quartz, gold pearls, and ribbon necklace

Lately, I am into shapes in my jewelry designs. I have always loved the quatrefoil shape and have used some metal pendant/links in necklaces and bracelets. I wanted  to find a way to incorporate chevron, triangle, and rectangle shapes into my designs. Since I am not a metalsmith, I decided to use leather instead of metals.

I painted the leather with metallic paints in bronze, gold, and silver colors and then cut them into the various shapes. Using jump rings, I am able to link the shapes together to form patterns. For the cuff and hand bracelets, I embellished them with stones and feathers.  I love how these are turning out.

Single Chevron Silver/Bronze

Single Chevron Silver/Bronze

Chevon Necklace

Chevon Necklace

Triangles with dangles

Triangles with dangles

Chevron Necklace with chain links

Chevron Necklace with chain links

Embellished Cuff Bracelet

Embellished Cuff Bracelet

Hand Bracelet

Hand Bracelet

Chevron Necklace

Chevron Necklace

Earrings Silver Side

Earrings
Silver Side

EarringsBronze Side

Earrings
Bronze Side

Shape of My Heart

Sting

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesn’t play for the money he wins
He doesn’t play for the respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape, the shape of my heart

And if I told you that I loved you
You’d maybe think there’s something wrong
I’m not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who smile are lost

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape of my heart

I can remember when I was younger and I frowned upon anything old or worn. As I have gotten older, I cherish old, vintage, worn, aged (whatever you want to call them) items.

I have used some vintage lace in some of my jewelry designs for accents but decided to make them the main component. I call this project, “faux gilded” because instead of dipping the lace in gold or silver metal, I used some craft supplies.

I cut the lace in various shapes depending on the size or pattern, painted them with metallic acrylic paint in gold and silver tones, and coated them with Mod Podge for added stiffness. After they dried, they took on a life of their own becoming bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings. I embellished them with ribbon or beads. I love how the paint brought out even more of the detail of the lace designs.

BTW: The term “gild the lily” means to apply unnecessary ornament;  to over embellish.

Contrary to popular belief, Shakespeare did not coin the term “gild the lily”. Below is the quote by Salisbury from King John, 1595:

Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

‘Gild the lily’ doesn’t appear in the original quotation. The term “paint the lily” was used in the 20th century, with the same meaning we now apply to “gild the lily”. Clearly, this is the correct quotation. The two versions coexisted for a time but “gild the lily” became the much more popular one.

I thought this an apt description considering that the vintage lace has such a beauty on its own…but I do like the extra embellishment.

Rutilated quartz, chalcedony, gold stick pearls on gold filled necklace

Rutilated quartz, gold stick pearls on gold filled bracelet

Black and gold and fleur de lis are still the rage due our illustrious Saints winning the Superbowl!   

You can show your love of the colors and the symbol of the Saints in subtle ways…like wearing these jewelry designs.   

Fleur de lis lampwork glass pendant on gold pearls necklace

Fleur de Lis slide pendant

Black obsidian on sterling silver earrings

Mardi Gras Bracelet

Fleur de lis and crown glass slide necklaces

Mardi Gras always falls on the Tuesday that is 46 days before Easter, is always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent.  February 24 for 2009 but that actually marks the end of the Mardi Gras season.  Carnival officially begins on January 6, which is known as Twelfth Night or King’s Day, so named because it falls 12     days after Christmas on the day the Wise Men are said to have reached Bethlehem.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These colors are said to have been chosen by Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovitch Romanoff of Russia during a visit to New Orleans in 1872. This doctrine was reaffirmed in 1892, when the Rex Parade theme “Symbolism of Colors” gave the colors their meanings.

The traditional King Cake is a coffee cake, and is oblong and braided. It is iced with a simple icing and covered with purple, green and gold sugar. Each cake contains a hidden bean or small plastic baby, and custom tells that whoever finds it must either buy the next King Cake or throw the next King Cake Party.

The fleurs-de-lis; pronounced /ˌfləː(r)dəˈliː/ translated from French as “lily flower”) is a stylized design of either an iris or a lily that is now used purely decoratively as well as symbolically, or it may be “at one and the same time political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic and symbolic”, especially in heraldry.

(information from Wikipedia).

These new designs feature cream, yellow, and gold tones. The earrings at the bottom are made with freshwater stick pearls and chalcedony using gold-filled wire. The necklace is made with a shard of stain glass that has been soldered to create a pendant and is on leather cord with a unique pewter bead closure. The center earrings are a beautiful shade of faceted vintage crystal and freshwater stick pearls using gold-filled wire.