All that I know
Of a certain star
Is, it can throw
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue
Till my friends have said
They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!

Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?
Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.
– Robert Browning

And now you know why my new Etsy shop is named Dartle. Most of the bead jewelry I make is either natural stone or very sparkly glass and crystal; it tends to be inspired by water, mountains or stars. I wanted a name that would suggest some of those things (at least to me!), and many of the sea and star-related names I thought of were already taken.

I used to do a lot of bead-and-wirework, but it got to where I had more than I could wear, didn’t have many people to give them to, and thought it would be difficult to sell them while living in the Netherlands or Taipei. I was getting Beads of the Month, too, but finally had to stop because I had more beads than I could use. For a while I made things and put them in a bowl to sell ‘someday’, but that felt so unrewarding. Someday is here now, though; I’ve started making things again, now I have a place to sell them.

You can see all pieces here at the shop, but here’s a sampling:

The difficult part seems to be marketing. Obviously I like sales, but if my stuff is not your style, or you don’t want to buy anything for whatever other good reason, I’d also appreciate mentions to friends, Facebook sharing, Etsy favoriting, Pinterest linking or whatever.

The other hardest part is more interesting – figuring out what my beads are! A lot of them were labeled in the store, or in the case of Beads of the Month on a separate sheet, so I don’t have that information any more (obviously I should have been more careful to label things, but it’s a few years too late now). I can usually tell which are stone and which are glass or ceramic, but even that can be harder than you’d think – for instance, it’s hard to tell amethyst from purple glass with flecks in it. In some of my tiny beads, it’s hard to tell amethyst from garnet. And I’m rapidly developing a theory, bolstered by a recent visit to the excellent Rice NW Museum of Minerals and Rocks, that the vast majority of pretty rocks with different colors in them are some variety of either agate or jasper (which in turn are forms of chalcedony. It all comes down to quartz.) There are also stones that are agate or jasper plus something else, like tiger iron, and stones that are chalcedony but not agate or jasper, like tiger’s eye or carnelian. So I’m just trying to be honest in the shop; if I’m not pretty sure what something is, I’ll call it natural stone; if it’s dyed, I say that, and if I have a pretty good idea, I say something like “natural stone, probably rhodonite”.