Aquamarine beryl in its natural state. Photo by Rob Lavinsky.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, but we love it all year round. Calling to mind cool water and summer beaches, it can also be incorporated into a winter wardrobe to evoke sparkling ice and clear winter skies. The gemstone’s name - from "aqua" (water) and "marina" (of the sea) - honors its color. Where sapphire and lapis make commanding statements in primary blue, aquamarine’s hues tend toward the gentle. The most spectacular examples of Aquamarine are a crisp, clear, sky-blue color, but it ranges from soft greys to almost green, and sometimes bears unique inclusions that earn the moniker “mossy aquamarine”. Aquamarine plays well with others, equally amenable to the company of golden or silvery metals, including the rich patina of oxidized sterling silver.
Sterling silver pendant with aquamarine in a "Four Star" pattern, by Adel Chefridi Oxidized sterling silver earrings with aquamarine and lapis beads, by Sarah Chapman
Aquamarine is part of the Beryl family - a family of prestigious minerals that also includes verdant Emerald (May's birthstone) and romantic pink Morganite and obscure but brilliant yellowy Heliodor. Like Emerald, it has long been popular as a gemstone for adornment, populating the crown jewels of many nations, but similarly adored by private citizens. For those who love minerals for their purported metaphysical properties, aquamarine’s watery hues are said to encourage a calm and tranquil disposition.
Tassel earrings and pendant by Philippa Roberts. Gold vermeil with aquamarine, rutilated quartz, and citrine.
Garnet teardrop and oxidized silver statement necklace by Ashka Dymel
Garnets have been worn and loved by gemstone collectors for millennia. They have adorned the finery and armor of royalty in ancient Egypt and Renaissance Europe, and were carved into signet rings used to seal the deal on matters of state and personal correspondence. In the modern day, they are loved for their beautiful color, and treasured as January’s birthstone. But there is more to garnets than might come immediately to mind - they are wonders of the mineral world, and a diverse family of intriguing gemstones.
When imagining garnets, the color that comes first to mind for most is deep red - the word "garnet" derives from the word pomegranate, whose red interior the gems were thought to resemble. In truth, garnets are a group of related stones with similar chemical and geological properties. Those January babies in search of variety need not despair: the unique conditions under which the different "species" of garnets form give them different sizes, shapes, and colors. From rich wine-red pyropes and cheery orange and coppery-brown spessartines, to brilliant green grossular garnets, the garnet group offers a rainbow of colors for gem lovers to adore.
Bronze and artisanal glass pomegranates on garnet beaded necklace by Michal Michaud
Geometric mixed-metals and garnet necklace by Art by Any Means
In addition to holding pride of place as January's traditional birthstone, garnets are a popular gift in celebration of second wedding anniversaries. And of course, their lovely red varieties are a romantic choice for a Valentine's Day gift for your sweetie! Let us share a few of our favorites from Heart of the Home’s selection of designs featuring garnet. Some focus on a single one of garnet’s gorgeous colors, while some play with different shades in splendid harmony. We think you’ll like them all.
Made with honey and love, this is The Most Delicious Bar-Bee-Que Recipe you'll Ever Eat. This is not a quick and easy solution to your summer celebration. This is a low and slow labor of love that results in the most tender, bone-sucking, finger-licking ribs you've ever had the pleasure of tasting. When we're lucky, our very own Jack Carr makes his world famous ribs for us.
This recipe is for 2 racks of pork ribs. It takes 6 hours total, and yes it's worth every minute.
The Rub Jack starts with any old base pork rub then adds: 1 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon Morton's Season-All Seasoned Salt 1 short tablespoon paprika 1 short tablespoon crushed red pepper
The Soak 1 stick butter 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup apple cider vinegar The Sauce 1 cup Tupelo Honey 3 cups ketchup 2 cups apple juice 1 cup red wine vinegar 2 cups brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 drop of liquid smoke 1 cup apple cider vinegar Bring to boil, then reduce, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Add 1/2 cup of regular pickle juice. Jack uses Mount Olive pickles. Add red pepper flakes as desired
The Ribs Jack uses the 3-2-1 method. Cover in rub, grill bone up for 3 hours at 220 degrees. While the ribs are on the grill, make your sauce. Wrap ribs individually in foil with butter, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Keep them moist. Put them back on the grill for another 2 hours. Unwrap, place bone side down on grill at 220, and glaze generously with sauce. Cook for 1 hour or until ribs come to proper pork temperature (145 degrees).
2019 marks Heart of the Home's 25th anniversary! (The big day is April 1st. Yes, really!) Visitors often tell us that we're a favorite place to find a really beautiful, unusual wedding gift, but we also have lots of ideas for anniversary gifts, too! We'll have traditional and modern ideas for twenty five years of anniversaries on our blog throughout 2019.
First Anniversary Traditional Theme: Paper / Modern Theme: Clocks
Paper seems like a simple thing, but we find the infinite potential in a brand new journal a thing of beauty. Imagine - a handmade journal, perhaps with a personal inscription on the first page? Or a photo of you and your beloved, tucked between the pages? How romantic! Personalize it a bit more by choosing one that speaks to your beloved's roots. We're mad for the gorgeous leather-bound journals by Tactile Craftworks, adorned with vintage cartography of Philadelphia, New York, Paris, and more.
And of course, no Paper anniversary would be complete without the perfect card. A sweet sentiment, or a bit racy? That's up to you, but either way: Tiramisu Paperie has you covered!
Clocks are the modern theme for this anniversary. How perfect a way to feather your nest and commemorate the time you've shared together, and will continue to share! From classic to contemporary, organic wood to stylish metal, a clock can be a beautiful gift. We like the traditional Appalachian influence of Sabbath-Day Wood's wooden and copper-face clocks, and the intriguing industrial aesthetic of Pendulux.
Second Anniversary Traditional: Cotton / Modern: China
"Socks?" we can hear you say. "Socks? For an anniversary gift?" For the Cotton anniversary, you bet! Solmate socks are not just any socks. They come in a kaleidoscope of perfectly mismatched colors. How about comfy-cozy socks, and a romantic evening by the fire? And yes, these are beloved by ladies and gentleman alike!
We love opportunities to think outside the box. The modern second anniversary theme is "China", which sounds limiting at first blush, calling to mind connotations like "fragile" and "only for special occasions only". But it doesn't have to be.
Consider: china - or, more correctly, porcelain - that can be worn. Boston studio Porcelain & Stone elevates this material to exquisite ornamentation. Hand-crafted from colored porcelain clay, their earrings and necklaces defy expectations about where this material belongs. Each piece in their marbled collection is unique, with whorls and swirls unlike any other. Exactly as unique as your love.
We can't go long without talking about pottery here at Heart of the Home. It's one of our passions, and has been a part of our store since our very earliest anniversaries. Our founder's motto has always been: "no useless pots!", and that unfussy, thoroughly practical philosophy brings the china anniversary into everyday functionality. A beautifully made, dishwasher-safe mug can be enjoyed over and over again. Or ditch the generic glass florist's vase and present an anniversary bouquet in a gorgeous ceramic vase that can hold cheery blooms for anniversaries to come. For coffee or carnations, Bill Campbell's creations have you covered.
Hand-turned bowls and handmade wooden serving utensils. Functional, unique, beautiful, and handmade in the United States!
Hanging on the wall in Phyllis’s office here at Heart of the Home is a disreputable-looking piece of paper with a corner torn off of it. It is an essential part of her equipment for the store because it has written on it, in bold Sharpie-marker black, the guiding principles behind what we do. Phyllis and her daughter Cat sat down almost 25 years ago when they founded Heart of the Home and thought carefully about what they wanted to bring to their customers.
There are 5 basic principles that they laid out, and these guides still inform our choices every time we go shopping. Here’s what we consider:
The first one is Functional. We really want to present things that you can use in your home. Our pottery is an excellent example - it’s all dishwasher and microwave safe. Phyllis's pottery rallying cry: “No useless pots!”
Second is Beautiful. It has to speak to our idea of an aesthetic object. Is it lovely to the eyes? Does it feel pleasant in the hand? When worn on the body?
Thirdly is Unique or unusual. Not something you see everywhere. We want our visitors to find something they’ve never encountered before. We love sharing those “wow, look at that!” moments with our clients.
Fourth and very importantly: Handmade. Let's support small businesses and committed artisans.
And finally, Made in the USA. Our craftspeople are living their dreams, making a living by making beautiful things, and it is our privilege to help them do that. By presenting the work artists in the United States, we support the long and storied tradition of American Craft.
We still believe in these basic ideas and try to practice them every day. Much of what you'll find at Heart of the Home was chosen for your enjoyment because it met three or more of these criteria. We pride ourselves especially in our commitment to Handmade in American, and 25 years of listening to enthusiastic customers tell us they value that, too!
In celebration of American Craft Week, we are hosting a special event with artist Eduardo Milieris of Watchcraft. Click on the image below to find out more.
What is American Craft Week
An opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American craft! Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and functional objects. And every day thousands of craft retailers, like us, share our love of these items by displaying, promoting and selling them. As one craft artist put it, "this is the creative economy!" American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation's economy, our balance of trade, and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let's tell the world! So we ask you to join us in publicizing, educating and displaying American Craft for ten days each October. Join the national celebration of American Craft!
What makes you smile?
American Craft Week is looking for great photos of crafts that make you smile, make you laugh, uplift your spirits. It can be something you make, a craft you've purchased or just a piece you love.
Prize: $250 for the top photo
Entrees must be received by September 21, 2018
American made crafts only
You must be able to tell us who made the craft
Only submit an image you have taken or have the rights to.
The National ACW Committee will choose the nine finalists and the winning photo.
One photo will be posted to the American Craft Week Facebook page each day during American Craft Week, October 5-14, with the Grand Prize Winner posted on October 14.
(C) 1998, 2016 Heart of the Home. All Rights Reserved. Images from this site may not be reproduced in any way without prior written permission of Heart of the Home and/or the artist whose work is portrayed.