Animal Adventures

How Hard is Your Birthstone?

First, its' important to know that the Moh's Hardness Scale is outdated.  It's a guideline only.  Second, it's at least as important to know that the hardness scale has got absolutely nothing to do with how easily a stone can break; that's referred to as how brittle a stone is, or, the stone's 'cleavage.'  Last, some months have more than one birthstone (with but one exception, this was due to a blending of ancient birthstone lists from around the world and through time.  The one exception, December's tanzanite, was purely a marketing ploy.)  Here they are:

January:  Garnet  6.5-7.5

February: Amethyst  7

March: Aquamarine  7.5-8

April: Diamond 10

May: Emerald  7.5-8

June: Pearl  2.5-4.5

July: Ruby  9

August: Peridot  6.5-7

September: Sapphire  9

October: Opal  5.5-6.5

November: Precious Topaz  8

December: Turquoise  5-6


Photo:  14k Gold Dove Pendant Hand Made in the Pacific Northwest by All Animal Jewelry,

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Horseback in Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness

The sun peaked up over the eastern edge of Oregon's high desert lighting up the scattered morning clouds.  It was 5:15 am and I was certain my iPhone clock was dead wrong. The bright gold and pink tinged clouds drifted past the little mesh window at the peak of my tent.  The horses were snorting, snuffling, pawing and fussing. I was certain of whispered voices and muffled footsteps and, being the only city girl and horseless at that, I dressed in a jiffy, made my bed and stepped out into the cool mountain morning.  Gorgeous, and no one else was about.  Nothing for it but to check out the camp and make myself useful.  The palomino gelding was interested in my coat zipper but I'd learned that lesson when the Arab gelding made off with my last zipper.  Is it geldings or is it zippers? It must be the zipper because it seemed way too interesting to the horses on both occasions; their lips flipped the zipper around and around and around. In any case a little poke with the butt end of the rake and a flip of my hand and he left me to the business at hand of cleaning up his business.  

Stepping out of the pen and walking over to the juniper tree there were the three mourning doves in their nest with both parents alert in the branches nearby.  Beautiful and just about ready to fledge there were more birds than there was nest but they kept still and close together.

Soon the other campers made their way to the campfire, Gordon had the coffee on, Karen brought out the scones and raspberry muffins, Sharon had a big bag of edible pod peas from her garden, laughter soon flowed freely among this gathering of friends.  7;30 came and went but we soon saddled up and lined out up into the foothills of the Three Sisters Wilderness area.  Along the way there was a spectacular old juniper, stripped of every last vestige of bark and leaf, it's long and twisted branches silver and gleaming in the morning sun.  It seemed evident that it was soon to be scorcher of a day but no matter, the vulture that sat atop the juniper was obviously enjoying the warmth on his outspread wings.

We made our way through miles of dry pine and juniper forest, along hillsides and across hilltops with views of the mountains in the distance.  The dust billowed up  so we spread out some and took to the sides or going cross-country and intersecting the lead horses at a forward position.  Nonetheless our nostrils will filled with dust  by the time we made it back to camp.  The horse I rode was a big, beautiful dappled blonde mare with an easy trot sustainable for miles by both horse and rider. Back to camp, the saddles off, the horses were washed down.  The salty sweat on their backs in the fierce summer sunshine will bleach out their coat just as sure as putting lemon or some other product will bleach out a beach bunny's hair.   We walked the horses to their paddock and turned them out to roll around in the dust then trot off with their little herd, tossing their heads and acting fresh and sassy.  Native Americans have a saying for when people have a close interaction with any of the earth's creatures: we have walked in the shadow of a rainbow.  It was now a 96 degree day but the rainbow was casting a long shadow.

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Sadie Mae & the Humane Society

Pretty kitty ring in silver or 14k gold Ever been to the Humane Society? When I was in college my best friend, Jenny,  lost her cat to a very bad car.  With good intentions I set off for the San Luis Obispo Humane Society to find a kitty.  Walking through their grounds I passed the puppy pen, an outside area that had a dog house and very few puppies.  I already had a dog, a dog I loved very much, a dog I'd waited for "my whole life", so there wasn't a problem in stopping to say hello and give a pat to this   Pretty Kitty Silver Ring!

cute but gangly and mangy, long legged, Heinz 157 pup. Just about as soon as I reached over and said "Hello there little puppy" two things happened.  The puppy melted and the dog house exploded.  It was 101 Dalmatians all over again but it was the siblings of this little hobo that had melted under human touch. Think little kids and the school yard is a tough place? Hah! Those little mongrels were vicious to that sweet pup, the only sweet one in the litter.  Reaching down and scooping up the pup it didn't matter what I was going to do with the pup, only that she needed to be out of there.  As a college student with a dog, it was already interesting finding a place to live.  Now there were two! I ended up giving her as a gift to someone I was in a relationship with but who soon thereafter didn't want her; they wanted to be "free" of all responsibilities.  Good for me.  I'd named the little girl Sadie Mae since she looked like a little hillbilly from the Ma and Pa Kettle movies. I'd loved her from the moment I saw her so she was welcome.  Sadie Mae was a great dog. Sadie was loved by all our neighbors and she loved everyone. We buried her in our backyard in my husband's baby blanket, and, as in the story Where the Red Fern Grows, ferns now grow there. 

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December 10, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Playful Elephant Seals

Seal or Sea Lion pendant in silver, jewelryLisa was recently visiting the California coast when she stopped to enjoy the playful Elephant Seals basking in the warmth of the summer sun.  This is serendipitous as she has just finished a similar pendant, an amazing and life like Sea Lion Pendant in a Circle.   This was a suggestion from Tami and we thank you as well as welcome any other suggestions you all may have.  

Tom and Lisa take a realistic approach by incorporating every fine detail of the animals we love into their jewelry.  This is what sets our jewelry apart and what makes our jewelry treasured keepsakes to last a lifetime. 


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October 06, 2012 1 comment 0 tags (show)

Season of the Frogs

In the sunny little beach town of La Jolla, California there yet remains wild canyons inhabited with a variety of snakes, horned lizards, blue belly lizards, and frogs.  A little stream trickles through the north end of Rose Canyon and there, during the early spring, mossy clouds would appear.  When I was a small child and would walk home after school I meandered through the canyon searching for wild things. Once found I'd watch them, claim them, and then expect them day after day.  Finding the mossy clouds was exciting because it heralded the onset of the season of the frogs.  Through the days and weeks that followed the appearance of the mossy clouds there would next appear the gelatinous mass of tiny eggs, then the tadpoles would appear as an oval within the egg, gradually a tail would emerge, then the tadpoles would have hiccups of wiggling, and finally, break free of their eggs.  

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Once free the tadpoles were usually found in a somewhat comatose state, barely moving in the water until an intruder appeared. Over time little buds that became small legs appeared and soon, very slowly, the tail began to shorten. And finally, there they were, frogs!  Too soon the frogs were gone, hopping off to wherever frogs hop off to. Every day was so exciting to see what may have occurred in the last 24 hours.  This story doesn't end happily, by the time I was in junior high school the stream was poisoned as part of the city's mosquito control program. 

Our All Animal Jewelry is created and cast here in the Pacific Northwest to remind us to meander through the canyons every now and again.  Realistic treasures in sterling silver and 14kt gold.  

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March 30, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Ot the Otter, part 1

Otter Heart Pendant in SilverThere was a small creek flowing through the dairy farm that I grew up on along the central Oregon coast. It was my sister's turn to bring the cows in for milking that evening and one of the old cows name Bray would not cross over the creek. She had her head down looking at a small object along the creek bank. When my sister went to get Bray, she found a baby river otter barely alive along the creek bank. She went running to the barn to get Dad to come look and then took the baby otter to the house to Mom. Mom fed the otter milk from an old baby bottle and fixed her a bed in a cardboard box. My sister had a coat with a faux fur collar and Mom wrapped the collar around a wind-up alarm clock that ticked loudly. The small otter curled around the collar and went to sleep. Mom said the fur and ticking of the clock was like being close to the mother otter and hearing her heartbeat. Mom named the baby Otto the Otter, but of course, we shortened the name to Ot.

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March 10, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

A Squirrel in My Coat, Part II

As fall cooled into winter Timothy, the gray squirrel, was easily tamed and became a good friend. At feedings Timothy held the little baby doll bottle hungrily emptying it.  A delight to watch, Timothy's lash fringed enormous limpid eyes were beautiful and the perfection of Timothy's tiny hands, only a few millimeters long, were fascinating. Day after day passed without any difficulty, in part because I kept Timothy away from the adults as much as I could. There were my grandparents, my mother, frequently visiting aunts and uncles and the great aunts and uncles that were neighbors on both sides of my grandparents home.  There came the day, however, when our great, great Auntie Bella came to visit.  My Nana gently directed that Timothy was not to be in Auntie Bella's presence during her morning visit. All went well until the visit extended to the afternoon and past Timothy's feeding time.  There was nothing for it but to put Timothy under my coat and feed him.  Into the kitchen with greetings to both matrons, milk secured, bottle filled and warmed, I was happily making my way through the kitchen to the out of doors and safety when Nana asked, "Do you have Timothy under your coat?" Fifty years later I still wonder at why Nana asked knowing now what a positive response would illicit.  Although only 5, I knew then, so I lied. "No."  As if on cue, Timothy's feather-duster size fluffy gray tail dropped into view from under my coat.  Having never before witnessing such a thing, the response that issued forth from Auntie Bella was mesmerizing in it's delivery and decibels.  I was rooted to the kitchen floor watching Auntie Bella as her face and portly body, contorted with screams, bounced up and down in her chair.  Nana couldn't seem to get her feet under her but as soon as realization came upon me, I found my feet in a hurry and made it to the door far ahead of Nana.  Timothy and I stayed away the rest of that day and well into the evening.  

      Explore many of our Wild Animal Pendants on All Animal Jewelry, handmade in the Pacific Northwest, USA.Lion Pendant

         Bear Pendant in Silver 

Raccoon pendant

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February 29, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

A Squirrel in My Coat, Part I

I had the usual urban pets, a carnival won plastic-bagged fish or the occasional turtle complete with plastic pool and a gently swaying plastic palm tree.  I longed for something warm blooded, a pet to care for and connect with.  However, although young, I was aware of the fact that my mother was a widow and worked hard to care for my brother, sister and I.  Fortunately, there were the grandparents and relatives in New England.  It all started one summer when the old carriage shed out back needed to be torn down.  The men were hard at work while the handful of young cousins circled the scene of destruction; tearing something apart has a magnetic quality for children of all ages.  Midway through the process, an exclamation combined with the sudden halt of swinging axe and maul caught our attention.  An intact nest with four baby grey squirrels was among the wreckage, along with their not-so-alive mother.  I was immediately jumping up and down happy, mentally claiming the babies as my own.  At four, almost five, years old I knew what I needed and wanted and this, these four little mammals, were delivered unto me.  One of the men deposited the babies in a 50 gallon burn barrel.  He took great care in doing so, handling the beasts with his heavily gloved hands "in case of rabies."  Meanwhile I had turned on my heels and dashed off to the old New England manse, run up the back flight of stairs to the nursery and found among the bits and pieces in the toy cupboard a functioning bottle for a baby doll.  Down the stairs, to the kitchen fridge, pouring milk into a pan to heat then into bottle, out I raced to the barrel. Peering over the edge, there they were: glorious, beautiful, small and definitely needing me. As I reached in my Nana screamed, fearful and protective.  With supervision I was allowed to take them out and feed the baby squirrels, and so I did the rest of that day until my bedtime.  In the morning was another feeding, then off I went to school.  I remember nothing else of that day other than my frantic dash home and directly to the barrel in the backyard.  

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 Again peering over the edge I did not expect to find what I did.  The barrel was empty.  My eyes flew wide, I ran into the house calling for my Nana and, finding her, relating the shocking news: someone had stolen the babies!  My Nana composed herself and calmly told me she had given all away but one to the Squirrel Lady down the street.  We all knew the Squirrel Lady.  Her front yard was populated with enormous elm and oak trees, home to dozens of the beautiful big New England gray squirrels.  No matter and all the worse, as far as I was concerned.  The Squirrel Lady already had dozens of squirrels.  These babies were mine, MINE, and now I had none!  I stared in horror at my beloved Nana, it was inconceivable that she had betrayed me.  She then repeated that there was one, and this one I named Timothy.  I cared for Timothy and raised him.  He slept in my room on a pillow, which my Nana could not abide so she simply avoided looking that way when she came to say goodnight.  My bedroom window had a 6" sliding screen propped onto the bottom sill.  I would crack this open for Timothy who would make his way along the icehouse roofline and jump onto a nearby oak. Timothy was never gone long.   -  Lisa Voelker, February 2012

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February 20, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Brave Lou Lou

Nearing the completion of our master bath renovation, we were eager to try out the new whirlpool tub with its invigorating thirteen jets. Unbeknownst to us, the latest addition to our family, 4 month old kitten Lou Lou was also very interested in checking it out. Catching some motion near the tub, I found Lou Lou stretched out along the grab bar excitedly mewing and batting at the water shooting out of the jets. All the time she was also trying to figure out how to play with the enticing water swirling around in the bottom of the tub. Oh to be young and have a brave new world to explore!


Cat ring in SilverCat Angel in 14k goldcat pendant   





Visit our Cat Collection where you will find precious pendants, rings and earrings all to warm the animal lover's heart!  Custom orders welcome, all of our jewelry is handmade in the USA.

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February 18, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)