One of the delightful but demanding aspects of my work is sourcing materials. England provides a certain amount of the antique, but for jades and most stones and pearls I need to travel. I buy from a wide range of places; markets, antique shops, and exhibitions throughout the world, trying to search out wonderfully coloured stones, carved in effective shapes.

Every necklace which can be purchased from our online shop comes with a full description of all its components along with its symbolism.



Jade samples

Jade is thought to be a spiritual stone, known as the jewel of heaven. It is believed to protect the wearer (Chinese babies are given jade bangles at birth) and to bring them good luck and to keep them safe.

Jade is categorized as either nephrite, sometimes known as “mutton fat” jade and is in creamy colours, or honey tones, brown or various green tones; or as jadeite, usually from Burma and capable of a fine, high polished carving and even  a translucence; it comes in an amazing array of colours, a range of greens, (apple green, spinach, emerald, moss and celadon) lavender, white, red, honey and yellow grey and black. 

Antique jades I buy whenever I can, but they are becoming more scarce and expensive. Burma jade has a beautiful lustre and can be interestingly carved. Sometimes the carver chooses a jade stone combining 2 or 3 colours which he highlights in contrasting tones, such as a monkey in celadon jade, hiding behind a burnt orange banana leaf. Even the reproduced antique jades are a delight, but for the best choice, it means China. The jades always have an appealing story within.

Jade buckle and thumbguardBuckles and Thumb Guards
The Chinese relished the use of belts, and with belts, a buckle is essential equipment. The buckle, especially antique ones, can make stunning pendants. Jade thumb guards were used by archers or simply as thumb decoration


Turquoise samplesFor pendants, I am always drawn to the antique stone because of its warmth, variety and shading. Turquoise has a surprising range of colours, from the various blues to greens, yellows, black and even browns. Some turquoise comes from China and Tibet, others from the US, Iran, and Mexico to name a few. I mostly use natural turquoise and what is called ‘stabilized turquoise’, which is natural but too porous to hold its lustre, so it is then infused with a clear resin. Under pressure, the resin is absorbed into the rock and permanently hardens and deepens in colour. Very occasionally I will use treated turquoise mainly for its colour, carving or shape


Amber samplesOriginally the resin from pine trees, it takes 45 million years to create this rich, light organic substance, found mainly but not exclusively in the Baltic countries. I use natural and antique amber. Copal is much more recent resin, between 100 and 1000 years old. It has a brighter, brasher look, effective for certain designs and combinations.


Ivory and bone samplesI mainly use antique and vintage carved bone for my necklaces. Bone is not an endangered substance, so contemporary designs are quite useful. I also use mammoth carvings, as the mammoth has been extinct for a very long time.


Wood samplesThe wooden elements come mostly from China, being hand carved and rich in patina, particularly when in the detailed shapes of the tiny boxwood netsukes. Antique sandalwood when available not only gives a wonderful colour but scent as well.


Pearl samplesI only use the cultured freshwater variety of a good, lustrous quality and size. The freshwater oyster produces 30 pearls per oyster thus reducing the cost of pearls. But the nacre on the pearls I choose is every bit as good as the salt water variety. Colour is usually achieved by placing the pearls in a sealed jar of water and dye with a tiny electric current. This slowly takes place over a period of time, changing the pearl to the delicate pastels now available.

I also love and use Keshi pearls as they give a necklace a delightful, ruff like appearance.  Keshi are a nucleus free pearl which forms in the cavities where the first generation pearl once grew. They are freeform, resembling cornflakes and they are the closest cultured pearl equivalent to natural pearl.


Silver samplesAt times I use Victorian silver, but more often I work with hand made silver from the Karen Hill Tribes in Thailand. Each bead is hand worked or woven and is a tiny work of art in itself. I also use rhodium silver from Korea, made from moulds and hand worked, and silver from Indonesia and India.

Vermeil, gold, antique bronze and brass

Vermeil, gold, bronze, brass samplesI love the yellow antique gold from Afghanistan and India but the use of gold makes a necklace much more expensive. Vermeil is 14kt. gold plated over silver. As the vermeil ages, it takes on a lovely gold/ silver worn look. The antique bronze and brass comes from West Africa and is made by the lost wax method.

Shells, seeds and horn

Shell samplesI use the polished seeds taken from the Bodhi tree under which Buddha was said to have sat. Occasionally I work with treated shells and natural horn from cows.


Glass bead samplesI cannot resist the hand blown glass the Chinese are now making, along with the Venetian glass, hand blown Indian glass, antique re-cycled glass from Ghana, antique Peking glass and Victorian hand blown glass. But the magnificent Venetian glass made by the glassmaker Moulaye takes glass beads to a completely different level of artistic creation. (for more information see About the Necklace)


On the whole I choose natural colours, vibrant or subtle. But occasionally I will use heat treated materials because of their stunning shades. 


The following semi-precious stones are less familiar but are frequently used:


Amazonite samplesA blue green feldspar from Russia and the USA.


Apatite samplesA green, blue, grey or yellow crystalline phosphate from Mexico.


Aventurine samplesA green quartz, with small mica crystals, it is sometimes also in yellow, orange, blue, mainly from India.


Chalcedony samplesa white to sky blue fibrous quartz, even green, it has a waxy translucent lustre, and comes from India, Burma, Brazil, Mexico and the US


Chiastolite samplesa brown island silicate of the andalusite family with a cruciform inclusion, from Chile


Chrysocolla samplesa blue/green ring silicate from the US and Peru


Chrysoprase samplesan apple green translucent quartz of chalcedony which obtains its colour from nickel traces. It is from Australian but is a rare stone


Kyanite samplesa blue island silicate from Brazil


Fluorite samplesa calcium fluoride crystal, quite delicate and soft, in green, blue, violet, yellow and clear, found in the US, Germany, Kenya and Mexico. It gets its name because under ultraviolet light it is very fluorescent.


Labradorite samplesa tan/grey iridescent feldspar from Madagascar


Mookaite samplesan oxide quartz in red, yellow and beige marbled, from Australia

Moss Agate and ladorite

Moss Agate and ladorite samplesa clear quartz with moss green inclusions and a clear crystal with coloured inclusions, sometimes called landscape agate because it looks like a window view of a landscape.


Prehnite samplesa grey/green silicate from India


Rhodonite samplesa chain silicate in pinks from the US

Rutilated Quartz

Rutilated Quartz samplesclear quartz crystal with gold, copper red or brown fibre inclusions


Sugilite samplesa ring silicate, in violet colour. Very rare, found in Japan and South Africa

Tourmaline Quartz

Tourmaline Quartz samplesa rock crystal with black tourmaline needle inclusions, from Brazil


Unakite samplea pistachio green and pink silicate from the US