Over the years I’ve experimented with lots of products & read lots of books in order to
create my giant gem portraits. Here are some of my favorite books, fabric, notions & tools.
Tiffany Diamonds by John Loring
Nothing sparkles quite like a diamond, and no diamond sparkles quite like one in a Tiffany setting. This lush volume celebrates the glittering world of Tiffany diamonds through its captivating history and sumptuous jewelry. John Loring recounts how Charles Lewis Tiffany was crowned the “king of diamonds” in 1848, how the firm purchased the French crown jewels in 1887, and how Tiffany introduced the engagement ring as we know it today. Intriguing and often mysterious tales of the world’s famous diamonds-the Koh-i-noor, the Regent, the Sancy, and many more-embellish the text, and anecdotes about the illustrious owners of Tiffany diamonds provide a rare glimpse into the glamorous lifestyles of these privileged few.
Tiffany Colored Gems by John Loring
Tiffany Colored Gems is about Tiffany & Co. and traces the fascinating history of the company’s use of coloured stones in its jewelry designs from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Organized by colour, stones of every variety and shade make their appearance, from emeralds, sapphires, rubies, amethyst and topaz to tourmalines, citrines, opals, turquoise, coral, and jade. Prominently featuring Jean Schlumberger and Paloma Picasso’s designs and lavishly illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs, paintings of famous stones and those who wore them in centuries past, as well as design sketches and drawings from Tiffany’s extensive archive, Tiffany Colored Gems is sure to tantalize and captivate jewellery lovers and history buffs around the world.
Fancy Diamonds by Ian Balfour
In Famous Diamonds, Ian Balfour tells the fascinating stories of almost 80 of these remarkable gems including the famous: Koh-i-Noor, which is set in the British Crown Jewels; the infamous: the deep blue Hope Diamond, which is said to bring bad luck to all who handle it; the biggest: The Cullinan; and the Hollywood romantic: the Taylor-Burton Diamond. Some have detailed histories that can be traced from the present day back to the moment they were mined, while others have a more mysterious past or have disappeared from view. Also included are shorter entries on a further selection of some forty notable diamonds.
Spectacular by Liana Paredes
The Merriweather Post collection offers an enthralling glimpse into one of the most remarkable, and intact, collections of jewelry ever amassed.
Spectacular immerses the reader in jewelry history and design, weaving in seminal moments in Post’s life as one of the most passionate and confident collectors of jewelry of the twentieth century. There are exquisite pieces by Van Cleef and Arpels; numerous examples by Cartier; contemporary commissions from Harry Winston, George Headley, David Webb, and Fulco di Verdura, and historical pieces such as the Marie Louise Diadem, and the legendary earrings worn by Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.
Spectacular provides a critical perspective on developments in changing jewelry styles in America and Europe through one woman’s unique collection. Fascinating essays highlight special details of the gems and jewels, as well as their sometimes scandalous history. Full of fabulous images and interesting facts this new volume will appeal to anybody who wants to know the story behind some of the most amazing jewels ever created.
The National Gem Collection by Jeffrey E. Post
Published to coincide with the opening of the Smithsonian’s newly reconstructed gem and mineral hall, this volume offers an overview of the world of gems. It focuses on over 10,000 gemstones and jewellery pieces in Washington’s National Museum of Natural History, including the Hope Diamond.
GEM: The Definitive Visual Guide (Senior Editor: Anna Fischel)
Feast your eyes on glittering gemstones, kaleidoscopic minerals, and famous trinkets in this comprehensive exploration of Earth’s finest jewels.
The Most Fabulous Jewels in the World by Lawrence Graff
This privately commissioned book celebrates the life and achievements of Laurence Graff whose passion for diamonds has been inspiring him to create the most fabulous jewels in the world for 50 years.
Queen of Diamonds by Evelyn Walsh McLean
The last and longest private owner of the Hope Diamond, Evalyn Walsh McLean purchased the diamond when she was only twenty-four; spent more than $200,000 on a fabulous honeymoon and ended up in a Paris hotel without enough money to pay the bill; wandered the gloomy rooms of her home imagining crawling reptiles while overcoming her morphine addiction; and stood in the rain wearing a fur coat and clutching the Hope Diamond as her beloved Washington Post was auctioned. The deep indigo stone is but a single facet of her rags-to-riches story.
Painter’s Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics
I designed the Birthstone Series specifically with Paintbrush Studio’s Painter’s Palette Solids in mind. With 168 sparkling colors, Painter’s Palette Solids literally became the perfect treasure trove from which I selected my gem fabrics. To learn more about Paintbrush Studio Fabrics entire line of fabric, visit https://pbsfabrics.com/.
Jennifer Sampou’s Sky Collection
100% Full-Width Cotton Prints. 30 Digitally Printed, Stunning Designs.
When I discovered Jennifer Sampou’s SKY collection, I knew it was perfect to use in my gemstone patterns. These 30 delicious ombres cover the color spectrum in a staggering range of values. When I look at her fabric I see Amethysts, Ametrines, Aquamarines, Citrines, Watermelon Tourmalines, Opals, Morganite, Sapphires, Blue Topaz, and many more fabulous gems.
To learn more about Jennifer’s fabulous new collection, visit her website at https://www.jennifersampou.com/sky.html. Then feast your eyes on beautiful fabric like this…..
Gradients Kaleidoscope by Moda Fabrics
This luminous print by Moda gives my gem patterns a complexity without additional piecing. It’s an older line and a bit hard to find. We’ve had success on Etsy, eQuilter.com and other major suppliers.
Notions & Tools
Acorn Precision Piecing Products
SeamAlign Glue — Use this amazing fabric glue in place of pins and see how easy to get perfect positioning every time. Shelly and Bernie Tobisch have invented an amazing product that holds fabric together firmly, but won’t fray your edges if you need to pull the pieces apart and reposition. You’ll love it!
Easy Press Solution — When you apply this product to the inside of your seams with the special pen tool and then press with a hot iron, you won’t believe how flat and crisp your seams become. This makes all the difference when making my gemstones with all their interlacing seams. You’ll b amazed.
Sulky 40-weight Rayon
Sulky® 40 wt. Rayon has the same luster and smoothness of silk but is stronger than both silk and cotton. It’s my preferred thread for the “wild-motion” machine quilting I use to complete my diamonds. It can also be used in a bobbin when working on projects that need matching bobbin and top thread. And best of all, it’s available in 388 colors.
I also use Sulky® Invisible Thread for all sorts of applications. In fact, I used Sulky® Invisible Thread to quilt “Jewel Box” quilt which features all 12 blocks from my Birthstone Series.
If you need a little bit of help keeping your freezer paper attached to your fabric — or any other issues with adhesion — try Sulky’s KK 2000 spray adhesive.
It temporarily bonds fabrics to appliqués, batting and even patterns. Bonding disappears in 2-5 days. Works great for landscapes and quilting projects. You can re-position the fabric before stitching it into place. It has a precise spray pattern, concentrated and virtually no staining. Spray at a distance of 6 inches. It is non-toxic, odorless, ozone friendly, nonflammable and will not stain. It contains no CFC’s or HCFC’s. 3.6 ounces per can.
Amity Gloves (Swan Amity Studios)
I love these gloves. I’ll never free-motion quilt without them. Their ergonomic design, breathable fabric, and durability is just what I need to work on my gem quilts.
Since discovering these gloves at Quilt Market a few years ago, Swan Sheridan has become a dear quilt buddy. To learn more about this amazing entrepreneur and to purchase a pair, visit https://www.swanamitystudios.com.