Jade by Janice Christensen-Heller

We got in some new jade pieces and decided to do a post about jade.

The name "jade" originates from the Spanish "piedra de ijada", meaning "stone for the pain in the side". It was named by Spanish explorers who saw natives of Central America (Mayans and Aztecs) holding pieces of jade to their sides, believing that it would cure their ills.

The term jade is applied to two types of metamorphic rock, nephrite and jadeite. For thousands of years they have been used for tools, jewelry and ornaments.

Nephrite is more common than jadeite and deposits have been found in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, Zimbabwe, Russia, Taiwan, Alaska and Poland. The main source of jadeite is Myanmar (Burma). Jadeite is also found in Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Cuba and the USA.

In the history of the art of the Chinese empire, jade has had a special significance, comparable with that of gold and diamonds in the West. Jade was used for the finest objects and cult figures, and for grave furnishings for high-ranking members of the imperial family.

In Maori culture, jade objects were believed to have their own mana and were handed down as valuable heirlooms, often given as gifts to seal important agreements.

Jade is an ancient symbol of love and virtue. Ancient people thought that wearing jade would increase body strength and add longevity.


Hercules by Janice Christensen-Heller

We just got in this Greco-Roman intaglio of Hercules (or Heracles if you want to be ancient Greek about it), bezel set in 21k gold from our Lebanese friend and antiquity dealer Bassem. What woman wouldn't want a buff naked Roman god around her neck?

Chris Ploof by Janice Christensen-Heller

We're really proud to represent Chris Ploof on the west coast. We love his unique approach.

Here's an excerpt from his site about the design process:

'We forge meteorite iron with exquisite attention to its longevity, have adapted the strength and beauty of ancient sword making secrets into wearable, stainless Damascus steel, and we famously fuse luscious color combinations of gold, palladium, platinum and more in our Mokume Gane.'

Margaret Dorfman Vegetable Parchments by Janice Christensen-Heller

Come see our collection of Margaret Dorfman sculptures!

Here is her lovely artist statement:

I have always found delight in creating things. I discovered at an early age that I did not need to go to stores to find materials for my projects; just looking around me turned up acorns, bark and moss.

To this day, I enjoy searching for unconventional materials in unexpected places - Chinatown for lotus root and bok choy, small Mexican mercados for chili peppers and papaya, Japanese markets and Korean groceries for green-necked daikon. Although I now use a produce supplier, I still visit these venues with an eye out for the unusual.

I cut all the fruits and vegetables by hand with an old-fashioned mandoline slicer, a few exotic Japanese tools, and a wickedly sharp assortment of knives. My studio follows sustainable practices: using reclaimed water and recyclable packaging; and no toxic products are used. Leftovers are composted and unused produce is donated to the local zoo.

For the last 13 years, I have worked full-time creating art using elements from the natural world. It is never boring and I cannot imagine doing anything else. It feels like there must be some mysterious alchemy involved as these ordinary fruit and vegetables transform from commonplace, everyday items into objects of unexpected beauty. But I know it is not magic and I am not actually creating something new. I am only uncovering what was always there, waiting to be seen.