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The Choker - A brief history

Posted on March 10, 2017 at 5:15 PM
The choker necklace dates back thousands of years. Beginning with the Sumer empire in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, the choker was used to protect the vulnerability of the neck. The choker crossed all cultures and lands. It was worn though out Africa, India, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Native America and South America. The choker was worn for protection, wealth and power. Anne Boleyn, Queen Victoria, Princess Alexandra signified their wealth and power by wearing chokers adorned with pearls, precious and semi -precious stones. The choker has played a political role in history. During the French revolution, French female expatriates and later women in England wore a red ribbon around their necks in solidarity for those who lost their lives to the guillotine. A black ribbon worn around the neck during the 1800's had the connotation associated with prostitutes until Princess Alexandra, adorner herself in layers of chokers. In turn, society ladies followed suite signifying their wealth. The choker became the Feminine Symbol of Power for the American Women in the 1940's. The choker reappeared in the free spirit late '60's, the rebellion of the '70's & '90's. It is more popular today. The choker is a personal preference. As a jewelry artist and lover of fashion, the choker is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. I love the powerful and defiant look of multiple chokers in varying gemstones worn together. Want to hide an aging neck? Try layering several chokers. There are many reasons as to why one wears a choker, but I think that we can all conclude; The choker is one of the most powerful statement pieces one can wear.

JCK /AGTA 2015

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 4:20 AM

I am so excited to be attending JCK/ AGTA in LAS VEGAS.  Planning my to do, to buy. Sessions and Events. I will be purchasing all of my new metalsmithing equipment at the show.  More new Designs and Techniques coming soon!  Check out my Social pages as I will giving you updates and pictures during this event.  If you or anyone you know are looking for a particual Stone, now is the the time to speak up!  There will be gems abound from all over the world and some from the mines directly.

Follow the excitement:






Posted on January 12, 2014 at 12:35 AM

Titanium Magnetic Jewelry and Properties

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 12:30 AM

What's New- Titanium and Magnetic Jewelry

I have been so excited about working with Titanium and designing new pieces. I cannot seem to keep them in stock long enough to get them all in featured in my webstore.

Titanium metal has a grey almost antiqued appearance that looks great on both men and women. My extra small horseshoe chain is a great men's piece that is so unique with or without a pendant. It is an everyday chain. One of my favorite things about Titanium is that it is so lightweight and comfortable to wear and it is hypoallergenic. I can use Titanium to make my ear wires for a uniform look when designing earrings.

If you see any design on my website or facebook page that you would like in Titanium, please visit my contact page and drop me a note. It is my goal in 2012 to bring you more pieces to my webstore.

Interestingly, TITANIUM has opened another avenue for me......MAGNETIC THERAPY.

It all started with a friend who loved my titanium jewelry and wanted me to incorporate magnets in a bracelet designed for him. Magnets help releive his pain. This comment came from someone who I would have never thought would beleive in such a thing. So I had to do some research on magnets.

Did you know???

* The ancient Greeks and Eqyptians used magnets 3000 years ago to heal the sick.

*When a magnet is placed over the body, the charged particles of iron in the blood and other cell tissue become attracted to the magnet. The result of this process may increase blood flow, heat and the increase speed of oxidation and nutirent saturation body tissue. As a result, a person might feel more energized, awake or physcially beteras a result of this treatment.

* The human body emits electrical signals to inform the body and brain of pain. This pain may be physical, as with arthritis, or emotional, as with depression. Magnetic therapy, utilized across the body, might disrupt these pain signals. With the pain signals disrupted, the discomfort of physical pain is eased. Also, nerve chemicals that stabilize brain chemistry could be disrupted as well

*You should not use magnetic therapy if you have a pace maker.

*It takes approximately 30 days of wearing your magnets to benefit from their effects.

After my research and knowing I that suffer chronic back pain, I was excited to make his bracelet and curious to try it myself. Since my pain is located in my upper and mid back, I created a long strand of magnetic beads and hooked them to one of my chains, so it would cascade down my spine. Though it has not taken away all of my pain, I must say that it has helped with the nerve damage I suffer.

Being a jewelry designer, I had to see what types of jewelry designs were available that incorporated magnets. I can say that my pieces are unique, handmade and always one of a kind.

I have since created magnetic braclets, necklaces, pendants, rings, toe rings and earrings in both sterling silver and titanium, wherever you might suffer pain.

I look forward to your feedback, should you purchase any of the pieces in my webstore.

I am excited and encouraged to take this path in helping those, like myself, cope with pain.


Amber, Pearls and Boulder Opals, oh my

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 10:00 PM

I had an amazing weekend at JCK Las Vegas.  I am just now recouping from all of the walking and sensory overload.  It was an educational and inspirational weekend.  Best way to get the creative energy flowing again. 

The Amber and Pearls were purchased at JCK.  The Boulder Opal is hand cut by Janice's Opals in Queensland Australia.  All pieces are waiting for a design and a wearer. 


Gemstone Properties

Posted on December 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Please browse my photo gallery album titled Choose a bead.  You will find gemstone properties and their meaning along with photos.  This is great tool when selection a handcrafted piece of jewelry for either yourself or as a gift.  Click on the link below to visit directly.http://www.marciakerteldesigns.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=11906788



Wire Jewelry Artist of the Month

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I want to thank the wonderful editor, Rose, and the staff at wire-sculpture.com for selecting me as their Wire Jewelry Artist of the Month for August 2012.

You can view the write up at www.wire-sculpture.com/pages/artist201208.html


Thanks Again for this wonderful Opportunity.



Posted on July 29, 2012 at 2:10 AM

Hello All,

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. There have been several storms accross the midwest lately. I hope it hasn't put a damper on anyones fun in the sun.

I will soon have some exciting news. I cannot share now, but stay turned in the next week.

I also wanted to repost information about toe rings. I have been sporting mine at the beach....


Summer is in full swing and as I walk pool and beach side, I can’t help but notice all of the naked toes in sandals and flip flops. I wanted to create a variation of my adjustable sterling silver S wrap toe ring and what a better way to so than to add a little color, a little dangle, an little eye catching bead.

Most toes are disproportionate, the tip being much larger than the base, where your ring would rest. When you purchase ordinary toes rings you have to fit them over the top, leaving the ring loose at the base and irritating the nearby toes.

My Sterling Silver S Wrap Toe Rings fit over the top portion of the toes and with a light squeeze on the “S” when the ring is in place fits securely to your toe without causing irritation and rubbing to nearby toes.

I wanted to add a personal touch to every ring by giving you the choice of bead based on color and/or metaphysical properties. To make your research easier, samples of beads and their metaphysical properties are located in my photo gallery titled “Toe Rings- Choose a bead”

So add a little personal touch to your flip flops and sandals. Choose a bead and pick a toe.



Posted on December 31, 2011 at 6:10 AM

Titanium metal has a grey almost antiqued appearance that looks great on both men and women. My extra small horseshoe chain is a great men's piece that is so unique with or without a pendant. It is an everyday chain. One of my favorite things about Titanium is that it is so lightweight and comfortable to wear and it is hypoallergenic. I can use Titanium to make my ear wires for a uniform look when designing earrings.


Posted on December 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM



Amethyst, one in a Series on Quartz

As we learned in an Introduction to Quartz, macrocrystalline quartz is when the mineral’s crystals are easily visible. When this type of precious quartz is translucent to transparent, it can be made into cabochons or carved; however, when it is "jewelry grade" or totally transparent with zero inclusions, it is usually faceted into some of the most amazing gemstones! The color of a quartz is the result of it forming near, or with, another mineral or compound. The type of material that will be covered in this article is: amethyst; to be followed by ametrine and citrine next week, with prasiolite (green quartz), rock crystal, rose quartz, and smoky quartz being covered later.

About Amethyst


The color coming from iron and from being exposed to natural gamma rays during its formation, quartz found in hues of deep blue-purple through light pinkish-lavender, sometimes with reds and gray, is better known as amethyst. Most of the amethyst on today’s market comes to us from South America and Madagascar; however, it can be found all over the world and is also mined in India, the Ural Mountains of Russia, Germany, Canada, Pakistan, Finland, and Sri Lanka. Special forms of amethyst include the "cactus" amethyst, that is found only in South Africa.

The Four Peaks Amethyst Mine (pdf download) in Arizona is almost impossible to access; however, several years ago I had the pleasure of personally meeting and digging with the then-miner of Four Peaks Amethyst. This deep, rich purple material is similar to that only before found in Siberia and is difficult to find on the open market; all the rough material being cut in Thailand and the faceted stones are mainly sold to major jewelry manufacturers.

The amethyst from Thunder Bay, Canada is often a bit more pink due to hematite.

Amethyst from the Thunder Bay area of Ontario, Canada often has extra "spots" of hematite, causing a reddish-pink tint to the lavender crystals. By the way, this is a fun place to visit, because the gravel in some local parking lots is actually small chunks of clustered amethyst crystals!

The amethyst geodes, called amethyst cathedrals, that most of us adore are formed by the quartz crystallizing in pockets left by gasses in volcanic rock. Most of these come from Minas Gerais in Brazil, as small to gigantic geodes that formed in basalt. The blackish-gray material that surrounds these geodes is a stabilizing compound that is used to strengthen the thinner quartz walls. The beautiful, but pricy, flower-like slices of amethyst that can be found on the jewelry maker’s market today are slices of stalactite that often have a quartz or agate center. These amethyst slices come to us from Brazil and Uruguay.

Amethyst Facts

It wasn’t too long ago that gem quality amethyst was one of the "top" gemstones, along with ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond. The best specimens used to come from Siberia and it was rare to find in large quantities and good color. However, when large deposits were discovered in South America, amethyst lost its "top" gemstone ranking. Now, because it is no longer difficult to find, amethyst is extremely affordable and available in a wide range of quality.


Amethyst bead necklace

Marcia Kertel created this amethyst necklace using sterling silver wire, amethyst beads, and black pearls.


Amethyst’s range of colors encourages different marketing names and labels. For example, the pale amethyst that is more of a violet pink color has been called "Rose la France" since the 1930s. Translucent to opaque amethyst "quartz" that has banded stripes of white, purple, and lavender, can be labeled chevron amethyst and is mainly used to make into beads and cabochons. Amethyst can be confused with beryl, kunzite, fluorite, spinel, and tourmaline. Just beware of any deep purple faceted stone named "Japanese" amethyst as this is synthetic, or glass. Natural amethyst is extremely affordable and a great choice for wire workers! Amethyst will fade in sunlight, so be sure to keep your specimens and stones away from brightly lit windows!

A faceted, 27 carat Rose la France amethyst wire wrapped into a pendant by Dale Cougar Armstrong.

Amethyst Metaphysical and Cultural Meanings

For centuries, amethyst has been one of the most popular quartz gemstones; the name coming from the Greek "a-methystos," meaning "unaffected by drink." Many people are familiar with tales of ancient Romans and Greeks supposedly drinking wine from cups carved from amethyst as a way to prevent intoxication, however my research discovered the actual reason. After folks had drunk enough regular wine to become slightly light-headed, watered-down wine was poured into amethyst cups whose color made the wine appear to be of the best quality, thus preventing (or trying to prevent) heavy intoxication. Pretty clever!

Amethyst is the state stone of North Carolina and the national stone of Uruguay. It is one of the stones mentioned in the Bible as being required in Aaron’s Breastplate as well as being one of the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem. It is the birthstone for those born in February and the anniversary stone for the 4th and 6th years of marriage. Catherine the Great was a famous collector of amethyst, and the amethyst worn by Edward the Confessor in 1042 England is the oldest of the crown jewels. This lovely purple gemstone has been the chosen stone of kings and popes, as such many of the Catholic faith wear amethyst rings as a symbol of understanding thought and philosophy. Ancient people also wore amulets carved from amethyst, to prevent sickness and bad luck.

Metaphysically, amethyst is said to be a "stone of spirituality and contentment", clearing the aura and balancing the energies of emotion, intellect and physical body. It is also supposed to protect against psychic attacks and to assist one with the assimilation of new ideas. (As designers, maybe all of us should carry an amethyst stone in our pocket this next year?)

Green Amethyst

 A couple of years ago, "green" amethyst hit the gemstone market big time! Affordable, beautifully faceted stones seemed to be everywhere and a lot of us wondered just "what" this stone was. Why was a stone that has been known as being shades of purple suddenly being called "green"? (Kind of like an "orange" emerald.) Well, it turns out that whereas natural, gem-quality green quartz is pretty rare – you have probably guessed it – this "affordable" green amethyst is actually lab-enhanced, or heat-treated amethyst! Not just any amethyst will turn green when heat treated. The amethyst must come from certain areas of the world, and be very pale in color. Of course, this meant that man could now make synthetic green amethyst too! So, most of the "green" amethyst on the market today is synthetically produced. When the majority of amethyst is heated, it turns into shades of yellow, gold and brown, transforming into… one of the subjects for next week’s profile, when I will write about citrine and ametrine. 

Have you made wire jewelry with ametrine or citrine before? Email pictures to tips@wire-sculpture.com, and they could be featured!


Print Resources:

  • The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, ISBN 0-394-50269-8
  • Love is in the Earth by Melody, ISBN 0-9628190-3-4
  • Gems and Minerals of the Bible by Ruth V. Wright and Robert Chadbourne, Harper & Row, 1954
  • Minerals of the World by Walter Schumann, ISBN 0-8069-8570-4

Internet Resources: