As A Veteran and a Jewelry Artist, Joshua Farrally Draws on His Military Background and Young Family For Inspiration

MEET REAL JEWELRY ARTISTS: Joshua Farrally / Kansas City, MO / Paracord Bracelets

Following his own departure from the military, Joshua Farrally entered a new type of service as a full time stay-at-home dad so that his wife could continue to serve as an active duty member of the United States Air Force. But that didn’t mean he was ready to give up on contributing income to the family budget. Instead, Joshua decided to pursue the American dream of starting a small business.

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“Our goal is to always have one parent at home with the kids, at least until they start going to school – and – I really enjoy being a stay-at-home dad. So, I wanted to find a home business where I could help bring in some cash for our extra-curricular activities.”

His wife already had experience selling on Etsy, so that website seemed like a natural venue for his new business. The only question left was what to sell – the husband and wife duo put their combined experience together.

bracelets2“While in tech school with the military, a sergeant there taught us how to make a paracord bracelet. 550 Paracord, also called parachute cord, is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. It was used to make parachutes during World War 2 and was used by astronauts to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. It peaked my interest at the time so I made a few for myself and my friends. …while brainstorming with my wife on ideas for an Etsy shop we decided this was something I could do easily. We started researching different weaves, materials and marketing ideas. My wife set up my Etsy shop and made all the graphics. I immediately ordered the materials I needed.”

After experimenting with various designs, styles and sizes, Farrally knew this was something he would  not only enjoy doing, but could also use to bring in extra income.

“I started off making a couple bracelets for my daughter. I made her the Tinkerbell Inspired bracelet and the Doc McStuffins one (both found in my store!). This opened up the line for infants, toddlers and kids. I also made a very simple bracelet for my son and a camo bracelet for my wife to wear in uniform. We enjoyed this so much, I knew this would be something I could do on the side and enjoy.”

That was it –  FarrallyManMade was open and ready for business. The shop carries a wide range of hand crafted Paracord bracelets in a variety of styles and colors from traditional military hues to brightly colored children’s pieces. But these bracelets don’t just look great – they also serve a real function.

“Paracord is made with nylon that won’t mold or rot and it’s UV resistant. It has an outer sleeve with 7 inner braided strands. Paracord is still a favorite among military professionals and outdoors men of all kinds, but it’s also become a modern style in fashion and jewelry wear.”

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As if this wasn’t enobracelets4ugh, a number of the bracelets in the FarrallyManMade line are designed for special causes and Farrally contributes a portion of the sale price for each of these items to charities.

There are plans in place to expand FarrallyManMade’s offerings. Joshua will be adding a mix of men’s and women’s jewelry including leather cord necklaces, leather wrap bracelets and some more urban designs.

Right now though, he’s happy to be able to do enjoyable work from home in Kansas City, Missouri while watching over his 2 year old daughter, 3 month old son and their 3 year old German Shepherd.

You can shop the full selection of Joshua’s artwork here:  FarrallyManMade

 

U.S. Men Now Wearing More Jewelry – Welcome to the Party Guys!

man wearing rings jewelry

The New York Times ran an intriguing piece this week on the uptick in consumption of Jewelry by American and European men. I can’t speak for our brothers across the pond, but it doesn’t take a sleuth to see that dudes here are wearing more jewelry today than they were a few years ago. Rings, Bracelets and Cufflinks have made a killer come back  — which can be evidenced by the anecdotal fact that I ran into my mechanic (the scrubbiest, non-metro, manliest man I know) at dinner with his fiance last week (in a part of Western NJ that might as well be a wormhole to Kalamazoo) and he was sporting a pair of blue guilloche enamel links -with jeans no less.

I’m sure there’s a dozen reasons why jewelry has resurfaced as an “acceptable” male accessory, but we’ve got our own take on it. Consider the fact that in many cultures men regularly wear jewelry that might be considered too feminine in the West (just take a long hard look at the hands and wrists of your male Indian friends and acquaintances). And that’s really the crux of the issue, isn’t it? We Westerners have been putting jewelry and femininity in the same box for decades. But things they are “a’changin” my friend.

The later 90’s to early 2000’s rise-of-the-metro-man combined with: continued growth and progress of the women’s movements; the mainstreaming of what were formerly American subcultures (hip-hop culture, gay culture); and the ever present desire to push boundaries – have all come together to soften our collective projection of Western maleness.

cutesy guys

 

 

Assuming you’re in the “art imitates life camp”, just look at the 21st century’s Hollywood leading male heroes — Chris Pine, Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds — all cutsie-bootsey boyish heroes that wouldn’t hold a flame to the rough masculine heroes of yesteryear (epitomized by the likes of Bogart and perhaps Eastwood) — but we love them and keep flopping down $20.00 a ticket to see them save the world. Why? Because we can live with the idea of a hero who isn’t 100% manly-man 24 hours per day. (Consider the evolution of Clancy’s  Jack Ryan from Baldwin to Ford to Affleck to, you guessed it, Pine.)

In addition to undoubtedly saving countless American men from feelings of inadequacy (except perhaps for that whole abs thing), this increasing comfort with softer masculinity allows Western men to wear some jewelry without fearing the repercussions they might have suffered a few decades ago. The reluctance to wear jewelry (other than the obvious personal preference) stems from a fear of appearing less-masculine, but if we live in a world wear its acceptable (if not desireable) to appear less masculine, but still be a man, then there’s no risk to the wearer. In fact. many would argue that wearing jewelry is simply an expression of how comfortable you are with your own interpretation of masculinity.

Now, that’s not to say we expect to see your average Joe flaunting pearl lavalieres anytime soon, but keep your eyes peeled just in case. In the meantime, welcome to the party, guys, and take a look at the hundreds of pieces of vintage men’s jewelry we’re currently offering. (as a welcome gift – use the code “MENS18” to take 18% off any men’s item in our Etsy store – now through June 1, 2015)

Shop Men’s Jewelry on Ebay

Shop Men’s Jewelry on Etsy

 

Matching Jewelry and Stones to Marsala & Pantone’s Other Spring 2015 “En Plein Air” Color Choices – A Hunter Ridge Spring Jewelry Guide

Easter Blue Topaz

Pantone’s annual color report is out and its time to consider the jewelry that best compliments the season’s colors and attitude. Spring is generally a time for awakenings – metaphorically and physically – and is thus a great time to get in touch with your lighter side. This year’s color choices mesh well with that goal.

Easter Blue Topaz

 

 

Fortunately, there exist a wondrous menagerie of natural, affordable gemstones that fall both in, and around, this Spring’s vaulted palette. Marsala is the color of the year, and while it’s possible to use jewelry to match or at least “color block” in this tone, we’d suggest bringing the color to life in your clothing and then using jewelry to brush in some of  the season’s other colors that happen to synergize well with Marsala.

Marsala’s rich tone is perhaps best matched to the blue-green spectrum and luckily for us, there’s an almost unending assortment of blue-green’s that can be easily and affordably accessed with a variety of copper bearing gemstones. These of course include members of the Turquoise Family. Turquoise owes its rich green and blue colors to copper salts that stew with the stone during its creation. Just think about how a clever copper roof turns green after a few years in the elements.

The jaw-dropping earrings pictured at the top of this post were crafted by famed Santo Domingo jeweler and lapidarist Jimmy Cabeza. They feature two thin book-matched slices of natural Easter blue turquoise. Stunning statement pieces that won’t go unnoticed.

Easter Blue Turquoise

For that same Easter Blue color in a more budget-friendly edition, try something like these square,  vintage, unattributed earrings. They were also crafted in the tribal Southwest, but alas we do not have the benefit of knowing the artist.

See all of our turquoise pieces here

LARIMAR

The ever popular Dominican gemstone, Larimar aka “Stefilia’s Stone” is a springtime favorite. The stone is named for the “sea” and truly lives up to the moniker. Light Caribbean blues blend with sheer whites and greys to create an inviting pool of color that anyone can jump right into.

Larimar has recently become more popular, but there was a time when you could source it only on location in the Dominican Republic. It’s a form of pectolite, and like turquoise, derives its unmatched blue color from copper salts.

Larimar Pendant

 

While not a copper bearing mineral, we would be remiss not to mention the oft forgotten Blue Chalcedony and its cousin Chrysoprase. These simple stone lie in the vast family of cryptocrystalline silicas (see our blog on them here). The blues and greens in these beauties can be attributed primarily to traces of nickel oxide.

 

The single “true blue” identified by Pantone this year is labeled “Classic Blue” and Lapis Lazuli is an obvious match. Prized for millennia, the best specimens of this rich blue stone hail from Afghanistan (see our blog on Lapis Here). It creates a symbiotic contrast with Marsala toned clothing

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Above are two awesome vintage pieces. The first piece is a hinged necklace with fine grade lapis set in 950 silver. It’s an entirely artisan crafted classic circa 1970’s.. The second piece is a super rare 800 silver (see our silver article here) and very fine lapis cabochon Bali necklace from pre-1970. This is the color most people associate with lapis. The pieces below feature the slightly less common “denim” lapis and are both Southwest tribal pieces.

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See all of our Lapis jewelry here

Also on this year’s spectrum are earth tones “Custard” and “Toasted Almond” This is a great opportunity to look to humbler minerals like Marble, Agate and Quartz — but also certain varieties of opaque and translucent amber.

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 Antique Scottish Agate Flower Pin Circa 1900 and a Tova Jewels designer yellow agate chunky link statement bracelet

See all of our agate here.

The yellow quartz gems, including citrine, are a super affordable way to add yellow glamour to your get-up. These stones reflect the angular spring sun and glow from within.

quartz

Simply classic large yellow quartz cocktail ring.  

See our citrine here

Amber is another obvious choice for yellow and mustard. This versatile gem can be soft and understated or bright and ambitious. Read our article on finding genuine amber here and see all our amber jewelry here.

Amber earrings  Amber tie bar 

The amber dangle earrings are from Poland and feature natural Baltic amber. The tie bar is a vintage Russian piece with a column of rich golden amber. 

If you want to skip the accessory colors and go right for the muted reds “Strawberry” and “Marsala”, it might seem a challenge at first blush, but don’t be discouraged. These color combos are easily achieved with members of the Jasper Family.

Marsala AgateMarasala agate 2

These earrings by Joanna Laura Constantine feature natural agate panels that run the spectrum of red from marsala to fire. The ring is an antique circa 1900 featuring a blood agate cabochon.

See our reddish agates here, and jasper here.

 If you want to hit the full Spectrum — then there is no better choice than natural fluorite. It’s impossible-to-reproduce color variety just screams SPRING!!

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