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I first learned about Helix Elemental Studio from a post on Phyrra’s blog. She was giving away a pair of bat-shaped earrings, but I was more interested in the word “dichroic”. I guessed that the first part of the word “di” meant that the glass was somehow duotoned…duochrome? Duochrome earrings? Okay, wait, what? Now I’m curious. I found the “dichroic glass” entry at Wikipedia, which linked to the Lycurgus Cup: a vase that looked jade green when viewed with the light above it or behind the viewer but which changed to red when the light shone from the side or behind the vase. I looked through the photos on the Etsy storefront, and finally decided on a pendant and a pair of earrings.
...and that was the beginning.
The pendant that I bought is pretty enough, but it's awfully large. I can't visualize how large something is when it lists its dimensions on the screen, and none of the photographs had the items beside something like a quarter (for comparative size referent.) The colors are nice, I like the design, but I think that because of the size I'll just use this as a holiday tree ornament. Most of the pendants are this size, especially the teardrop shape.
The other item I bought in my first order was a pair of earrings. They're also two inches long, which is almost longer than I like my earrings - but they're also my favorite pair that I've purchased from this shop. The lily design is pretty, the blue/pink color combination is nice, and when the light shines through these from behind, the bottom 2/3 of the earrings is suddenly...berry-red. All of the earrings I ended up purchasing included dichroic glass, but this is the most striking and dramatic display of the duochrome properties.
This pair of earrings has the same lily design, but is shorter and has some different colors. The dichroic properties in this pair are very subtle - especially when compared to the magenta/blue shift. In the above-pair's lower portion.
The third pair with the lily design - but the smallest of the three "lily-design" earrings, at 1 1/4".
I was attracted to both the smaller height of these, and the color combination. Many of the earrings that were available when I was looking at the shop were brighter colors, pastels, or pale shades. This red and purple combination was more dramatic, less "candy-colored", and more suited to the colors I normally wear. The floral design on these is the same as on two of my other pairs of earrings.
Here's another pair with the same design, in a warmer palette (and slightly more apparent rainbow-dichroic display on the lower halves of the earrings.) There is a slight bulge on one side of the left earring - that's not photo editing, just an irregularity.
These are longer than the earrings above, so you get to see more of that floral design. They're also a little bit thinner than the shorter earrings.
I think that these earrings were semi-custom - I noticed a gorgeous blue-green-toned pendant with a dragonfly design, and messaged the artist asking if he planned on making any earrings with glass like that (or with those smaller circular enameled designs - because sometimes, one wants something other than floral designs.) He responded by posting these earrings:
They've got the blue-green-purple glass, and while they don't have the smaller circular designs on the dragonfly pendant (which is still available, if anyone's interested) the design is different. I like the enameled designs, and the size of these is good - they're 1 3/8" long.
I know nothing about which colors work best to get that uber-dramatic dichroic effect in the magenta-pink-blue lily earrings, so every time I've purchased earrings it's always been something of a gamble as to whether or not the dichroic properties will be well and truly apparent in whatever I purchase. The first pair of earrings I bought from this store remains the most dramatic showcase for the dichroic effects, and so it's one of my favorite pairs. My favorite pair, the last pair that I purchased, actually has very little apparent dichroic properties...but I like the vine design, and the cool-toned color palette of the glass.
Most earrings in the shop are priced around $15 - a few dollars up or down depending on the design and materials. If you prefer all your hooks to be gold-toned, or all hypoallergenic, or something else, contact the shop owner and ask - there's not an extra charge. The pieces come in boxes with a gracious plenty of padding, and the earrings have those rubber stoppers that you can put on the hooks once they're in your lobe, as added insurance against the earrings' slipping loose. (The hooks are long, so it's not like they're going to fly off even if you sneeze violently...but I appreciate having them nonetheless.) The artist is based in Utah, and often ships the items the next business day, so I always received my orders within a week after placing my order. The artist will also do custom work - just message him through the Etsy system to get specifics.
These are glass - so when you purchase, think ahead to how you're going to store them. If you travel with them, be sure to either keep the original box with all of its padding, or have some way to keep both earrings wrapped and separated. They may chip, even if they only click against each other. Glass is also heavy - and unless you regularly wear longer solid-metal earrings, you may be unused to this much weight. It's not painful, and I've worn my largest pair of earrings all day with no pain or stretching. Just be careful if you've recently pierced or re-pierced your ears, as too much weight or pulling might be a little uncomfortable until your the new piercings have fully healed.
Until February 24th, you can use the code HELIXHALFOFF and get 50% off your entire order.
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