Monday, December 6, 2010

Cleopatra's Lipstick

Can you guess what tree is growing in my own backyard that produces a fruit that Cleopatra once allegedly used for lipstick?  

I've written about them before (Pom Pom Blossoms) when the buds were just forming, but now, my little pomegranates babies have all grown up and are about to begin a new journey turning my families lips pink before they travel into their bellies. 

Whether Cleopatra used the pomegranate seed juice for lipstick or not, we know that she must have drank the juice as the many of the trees were planted at Karnak Temple in Egypt 3,500 years ago!(according to Thutmose III, ruler of Egypt). She may have even had decorative items made in their likeness like the gorgeous silver vessel found in Tutankhamun's tomb (see below) and drank the fabled Egyptian pomegranate wine.... Sounds good to me!

I've been fascinated with Egypt since I was a child and was lucky enough to travel there with my family about 20 years ago and wander through the Great Pyramids, Karnak, Valley of the Kings and Abu Simbel.  Now that I'm reading "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff, a fascinating Pulitzer Prize winning biography, it's exciting to actually visualize some of the places Cleopatra traveled to as these famous monuments were still ancient wonder of the world in her time! 

 I just noticed the fabulous necklace in the carving of her above. Hmmmm.  I think I may have some jewelry design ideas here!

On the subject of lipstick and Cleopatra again, I must let you know that I also read that her lipstick was "made from carmine beetles, which when worked with pestle gave a strong red color pigment. This was mixed with ant’s eggs, which provided the base."  I prefer the pomegranate theory but whatever was used way back then was thought to be powerfully enchanting because in 1770, "England’s parliament passed a law against lipstick, stating that women who seduced men into marriage by means of make up could be tried as witches!"

silver pomegranate vessel found in Tutankhaman's tomb

PS.  If any of you witches out there are jones-ing to try pomegranate lipstick like Cleo, you can actually buy an eco-friendly one with pomegranate extract:  
Korres Raspberry Anti-oxidant Liquid Lipstick

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baubles, Bangles and More Beads ; )

I've been so indulgent the last year gobbling up loads of beads at the local gem and mineral shows.  As I've mentioned before, my eyes grow bigger than my pocketbook at these affairs and I just can't help myself from adopting all the beautiful treasures I see! My guilt is finally starting to wane since I'm actually using them in my new designs and putting them up for sale.  It is often not easy parting with my little creations but I'm so happy when someone loves them like I do....makes the separation go easier. 

Available on Etsy Sunday December 5th!

Here are a few new ones....

Persimmon colored onyx layered with a fine silver floral pendant
strung with a mix faceted semi-precious  stone beads 
(aquamarine, carnelian, onyx, moonstone, labradorite, 

fine silver pendant with Austrailian opal beads 
strung on Irish waxed linen

fine silver charms mixed with labradorite,
turquoise & sterling beads on Greek leather cord

All silver pieces are created from antique Afghani bronze jewelry dies that I found in a bazaar in Islamabad, Pakistan.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~