Chloe Mayer

Recent Posts by Chloe Mayer

Gold prospecting for beginners

Every time you turn on the television, you might run across a new reality show about a crew looking for gold. Is there another gold rush that you missed? No, not exactly. It is the price of gold that has people hitting every corner of the planet feverishly tearing the ground up. Even beginning prospectors are trying their hand at prospecting to see if they can strike it rich. Many people find broken dreams when prospecting however it is quite possible to be a successful gold prospector if you learn basic rules of the trade first. Beyond that, doing research on where to find gold can increase your chances immensely.

Once your research is nearing its end, you will want to find a location that has potential for having gold. Most people will think that if there is a creek or river near their home, then there is a good chance they have a gold producing claim nearby. That is not the question you need to ask yourself. Instead, you want to look at the history in the area. Has gold been found in the area before? The answer to this question will be the most important one that will determine if you are going to be successful at finding gold or not. Yes, there is a possibility you could strike it rich on a new gold strike but the odds are much better if you search in an area that has produced gold before.

Researching an area before heading out is going to save you plenty of money, effort and time. Back in the 1800’s, the United States had thousands of men trampling over each other trying to strike it rich. The western states went from desolate to boom towns overnight. When someone would find a large amount of gold, word would get back to civilization and thousands would converge onto that area of land. These “gold strikes” were very common in the 1800’s and helped the west become what it is today. It didn’t just happen in places like California and Alaska though. North Carolina and South Dakota had their own little “gold rush” and it redefined the area forever. You can learn about these mining towns and see if there are any in your area just by a little research. There are tons of books that have detailed info on what states produced the most gold and which states still do. In fact, there are some that will point you to areas of the world that produce the most gold today. If you want to become a successful prospector, find out where gold has been found beforehand and that will greatly improve your chances of finding it when you set out on your own.

When your research is over and you have chosen the area you wish to mine, the next step is to equip yourself with the proper prospecting equipment. When you are first starting out, it is good to remember that getting carried away with buying equipment is a bad idea. Just buy a few basic tools like a sluice box and a standard gold pan. There is no need to go all out unless your claim produces a significant amount of gold. You want to spend time learning how to pan and prospect before spending a lot of money. For instance, gold is much heavier than most sediment and deposits you will be picking up. This is why running it through a sluice box will allow everything else to run off keeping the heaviest materials, especially the gold, attached to the mat.

It may seem like finding an area that has gold is easy, but it isn’t. This is one thing that beginning prospectors will often make a mistake with and it results in failure. Only a fraction of the U.S. landscape has gold of any quantity and if you decide to just pick up a pan and start gold panning any old creek, chances are you will fail. Take the time to find the areas that you know have a history of gold. With the right equipment, you just may strike it rich!

For more information on prospecting, consult the links below:

Art history guide for kids

Experts say that a very special artist is born every couple hundred years or so. Someone like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci will come along and change the way artistry is performed. Artists will begin to sculpt, paint or draw according to this new prodigy. Every period had a person who defined art in their own way and that is how the different art periods were born. Here is a list of those stages, along with what the future might hold.

Middle Age artwork is divided into three styles and periods: Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic. Most of the art that came out of this period was of a religious background, mainly towards the Catholic Church. The artwork included engraving, manuscripts, stained glass windows, metal work, sculptures and paintings. The Eastern Roman Empire contributed to most artwork because it held a firm rule over most lands. From 500 to 1300, this type of artwork thrived and was the stepping stone for every type of art that would follow.

The Renaissance period was all about new attitudes and ideas. One of those new ideas was called “humanism,” which put a focus on human needs, abilities and interests. It was this idea that led artists to paint whomever they wanted and change the way they painted them. This period is divided into two different periods: the Early Renaissance and the High Renaissance. The Early Renaissance (1400 – 1479) focused on creating the perfect form, while the High Renaissance (1475 – 1525) gave artists more perspective and realism with their work. Some of the new styles and techniques that were born during the Renaissance period helped artists define who they were and what their artwork was to be. Perspective is painting or drawing a picture that gives the illusion there is more than one dimension. The use of darkness and light was also introduced during this time period.

The Neo-Classicism art movement (1750 – 1830) was a time period of many restrictions and rules for artists. People who painted were bound by certain rules and this showed the technical mastery they possessed. Many of the paintings during this period were of Roman and Greek ideals and themes. When Napoleon reigned, this style of art flourished greatly. Even interior decorating took a swing at Neo-Classicism artwork by working in motifs that represented this style. It was during this period that artists were being seen as educators and not mere students of the arts.

Romantic art (1790 – 1880) started in Europe and affected literature, art, music and philosophical thinking forever. This type of art focused on feelings, moods and emotions of every kind including imagination, mystery and spirituality. Artists were painting and sculpting everything from religion to revolution to landscapes. One very important thing that sets this movement apart from others is that the brushwork became less precise and looser than ever before.

Modern art (1860 – 1970) was all about experimentations. Artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso threw tradition to the wind and decided to experiment with their work, only to see it flourish. With fresh ideas and new ways of seeing things, artists stepped away from the narrative and leaned toward abstraction (art that uses colors, shapes and forms to tell a story). The start of Modern art can actually be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment (1650 – 1789). It is believed that the pioneers of this type of art were Impressionists, Realists and Romantics.

Impressionists focused on capturing experiences or feelings rather than achieving an accurate picture or likeness. Realists were artists who tried to depict a truthful experience in their artwork without the need of exotic or supernatural elements. Romantics wanted to use as many feelings and moods as possible in their artwork, while displaying a pure piece of artistry. But other types of artists were born in this era as well. Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Futurism are just a few.

Contemporary art (1950 – present) contains more than four dozen different types of art. It is a type of artwork that never seems to stop changing. Many artists and lovers of art will tell you that Contemporary art is what people perceive it to be. Expressionism, which is the art of expressing emotional experience or meaning rather than trying to do so in a physical reality, was one of the first contributors of Contemporary art. When the 21st century came about, a new kind of art form hit the globe: Videogame art. This type of art uses computers and video games as the artistic medium.

As the world steps further into the 21st century, art will continue to evolve in several ways. As technology seemingly takes over, there will be a chance for artists to make their mark on the art world. Will virtual reality become an art form? Is architecture going to define the art world like it did in centuries past?

For more information on this topic, consult these links below:

Ten most famous paintings

Experts say that a very special artist is born every couple hundred years or so. Someone like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci will come along and change the way artistry is performed. Artists will begin to sculpt, paint or draw according to this new prodigy. Every period had a person who defined art in their own way and that is how the different art periods were born. Here is a list of those stages, along with what the future might hold.

Middle Age artwork is divided into three styles and periods: Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic. Most of the art that came out of this period was of a religious background, mainly towards the Catholic Church. The artwork included engraving, manuscripts, stained glass windows, metal work, sculptures and paintings. The Eastern Roman Empire contributed to most artwork because it held a firm rule over most lands. From 500 to 1300, this type of artwork thrived and was the stepping stone for every type of art that would follow.

The Renaissance period was all about new attitudes and ideas. One of those new ideas was called “humanism,” which put a focus on human needs, abilities and interests. It was this idea that let artists to paint whoever they wanted and change the way they painted them. This period is divided into two different periods: the Early Renaissance and the High Renaissance. The Early Renaissance (1400 – 1479) focused on creating the perfect form, while the High Renaissance (1475 – 1525) gave artists more perspective and realism with their work. Some of the new styles and techniques that were born during the Renaissance period helped artists define who they were and what their artwork was to be. Perspective is painting or drawing a picture that gives the illusion there is more than one dimension. The use of darkness and light was also introduced during this time period.

The Neo-Classicism art movement (1750 – 1830) was a time period of many restrictions and rules for artists. People who painted were bound by certain rules and this showed the technical mastery they possessed. Many of the paintings during this period were of Roman and Greek ideals and themes. When Napoleon reigned, this style of art flourished greatly. Even interior decorating took a swing at Neo-Classicism artwork by working in motifs that represented this style. It was during this period that artists were being seen as educators and not mere students of the arts.

Romantic art (1790 – 1880) started in Europe and affected literature, art, music and philosophical thinking forever. This type of art focused on feelings, moods and emotions of every kind including imagination, mystery and spirituality. Artists were painting and sculpting everything from religion to revolution to landscapes. One very important thing that sets this movement apart from others is that the brushwork became less precise and looser than ever before.

Modern art (1860 – 1970) was all about experimentations. Artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso threw tradition to the wind and decided to experiment with their work, only to see it flourish. With fresh ideas and new ways of seeing things, artists stepped away from the narrative and leaned toward abstraction (art that uses colors, shapes and forms to tell a story). The start of Modern art can actually be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment (1650 – 1789). It is believed that the pioneers of this type of art were Impressionists, Realists and Romantics.

Impressionists focused on capturing experiences or feelings rather than achieving an accurate picture or likeness. Realists were artists who tried to depict a truthful experience in their artwork without the need of exotic or supernatural elements. Romantics wanted to use as many feelings and moods as possible in their artwork, while displaying a pure piece of artistry. But other types of artists were born in this era as well. Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Futurism are just a few.

Contemporary art (1950 – present) contains more than four dozen different types of art. It is a type of artwork that never seems to stop changing. Many artists and lovers of art will tell you that Contemporary art is what people perceive it to be. Expressionism, which is the art of expressing emotional experience or meaning rather than trying to do so in a physical reality, was one of the first contributors of Contemporary art. When the 21st century came about, a new kind of art form hit the globe: Videogame art. This type of art uses computers and video games as the artistic medium.

As the world steps further into the 21st century, art will continue to evolve in several ways. As technology seemingly takes over, there will be a chance for artists to make their mark on the art world. Will virtual reality become an art form? Is architecture going to define the art world like it did in centuries past?

For more information on this topic, consult these links below:

Understanding Art History Terms

Not all art is a simple painting done with basic brush strokes. Some art is done by splashing paint against canvas, pasting it on in thick strokes, or even letting a water color stain the canvas. It is the variety of styles that make every piece of art so unique. As you study the terms outlined below, you will find how balance and symmetry play a role in a scene, as does contrast and disproportionate objects. Art is what you want it to be, and can look like the shape of an object or the feel of an emotion.

Abstract Art: When colors, shapes, designs, or brushstrokes are used to depict a picture that isn’t of the natural world. The picture won’t look like anything of this world but should still bring meaning and emotion.

Action Painting: Painting a picture that displays the action involved in creating it; flinging paint at the picture, dripping drops of paint on canvas, or smearing it on thickly.

Analytic Cubism: Using shapes to create people or objects. Analytic Cubism was invented by Picasso.

Appropriation: Gathering inspiration from earlier artwork and creating something new from the idea.

Bas Relief: The slightly raised parts of a sculpture.

Collage: The compilation of paper, clippings, objects, or photographs onto a flat surface using glue to create an overall picture.

Contrast: Using opposite colors, shades, textures, sizes, or shapes to heighten an art piece’s look.

Color: Red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors that the eye sees when light is reflected off an object. Orange, purple, and green can be created from the primary colors and are called secondary colors.

Distemper: The use of powdered colors mixed with some type of binding element.

Elements of Art: When looking at a piece of art you will see basic things that make up the picture such as lines, tones, tints, texture, color, hue, symmetry, scale, dimension, form, light, point, shades, shapes, direction, and space.

Golden Ratio: The perfect balance of shapes, colors, tints, and elements in an art piece.

Hue: Also called “pure color”, the hue is a color that does not have white or black pigment added to it.

Impasto: A painting technique that uses thick amounts of paint to give the picture texture and dimension.

Impressionists: A type of painting that came along in the 19th century as a way to capture short moments with color and shades.

Line: Is the path drawn from point A to point B. In art, various lines can add dimension and meaning to a picture by adding curves, thickness, length, and direction.

Medium: This is the materials used to create art. It can be paint, chalk, clay, or pencils.

Nonobjective Art: This word can be broken down into two words, no object. This is a painting that uses shapes, colors, lines, and forms to create a picture that has no recognizable subject. There is no direct object in the art.

Proportion: The shapes in a picture are even and balanced with backgrounds and other objects.

Shade: Adding black to any color to make it darker.

Shape: A shape is a square, circle, triangle, rectangle, or any other form.

Stain Painting: Taking oil paints that have been thinned down and letting them soak into materials such as glass, wood, or canvas. It then leaves color on the material that is thinner and almost transparent.

Symmetry: When two sides of an object, shape, or picture that are balanced and equal to each other.

Tension: The placement of contracting or opposite elements, shapes, brush strokes, or lines used in art next to each other that don’t fit naturally but add character to a piece.

Texture: The surface of art that has a different feel to it when touched. Texture can be added to any artwork to give it more character and personality.

Tint: This is the opposite of shade. Instead of adding black to a color to darken it, white is added to a color to lighten it.

Unity: A piece of art that runs smoothly together without any specific distraction from colors, textures, tones, or shapes. This is usually paintings that are calming and relaxing like the painting of a mild river.

Value: The tints, shades, and contrasts of light and dark are all values.

Watercolor: This is a type of paint that is water-based and has translucent character.

History of Finance In America

Money, wealth, and economic freedom are some of the most important factors to consider in the history of the United States. Many colonists traveled to America in search of more economic opportunity. Many believed that by traveling to America they could change their fortunes. In a little over 200 years, the US became one of the richest nations on the face of the planet.

Prior to the American Revolutionary War, in the years leading up to 1776, there was no American government, rather the individual colonies we subservient to England as a whole, but different in their economic affairs. Many colonies used their own money that often did not work in other colonies. Gold was always accepted, as were several other forms of trade such as animal pelts and dry goods. Once the United States declared their independence from England, they essentially had to create a functioning government from scratch. There was a Congress made up of representatives from each of the states, but the national treasury was essentially bare. It was only through the securing of international loans and the donation of private wealth from some prosperous American businessmen that saved the fledgling country from ruin before it even began.

After the war, America had to set out creating a national treasury system that had henceforth been unknown in the Colonies. The first stock market, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, was founded in 1790 in a coffee house. It was quickly overtaken by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), due primarily to the NYSE’s ideal location on Wall Street in New York City. A national monetary system needed to be created and managed, along with the institution of taxes to repay debt incurred during the war. The creation of the republican government was accomplished with economic freedom uppermost in the Founders minds. In the succeeding years, America went through a tumultuous economic period with such institutions as a government sponsored bank and increased tariffs to promote industrial growth and prosperity. Leading up to the Civil War, America changed its economic system many times in ways such as the rechartering of the national bank system and the lowering of tariffs to promote westward expansion by railroad.

During and after the Civil War, the US economy boomed. Simply put, the Union became rich while fighting the Southern Secessionists. They had cities, industry, crops, and natural resources that all grew immensely during and after the war. At the onset of the War, the Treasury was a small institution. Through the implementation of new taxes (often wrapped in a cloak of patriotism) and the sale of government bonds, the nation was able to prosper and grow. The end of the war ushered in the Gilded Age, a de-facto second Industrial Revolution. During this time, tycoons ruled the day and industry boomed. Free land was given to citizens by the government in an effort to move people out of the cities and into the western frontier. Railroad companies were paid by the mile to connect the East and West coasts. This mad grab for money led to many scams and scandals, but also secured its place as the greatest period of economic growth in the history of the country.

At the beginning of the 20th century, many businessmen had made their fortunes courtesy of monopolies and federal subsidies. Many workers became disenfranchised and this new middle class became suspicious and tired of tycoons and their policies. They favored government intervention and regulation in order to secure free enterprise. Several innovations during this time, such as Henry Ford’s assembly line and the spread of electricity gave rise to even more industrial and economic growth. World War I broke out and federal taxes were increased for a time to pay for the war. While short lived, the effects had to be undone following the war. Thanks in no small part to Ford, the automobile industry exploded, which had a similar effect on associated industries such as oil, gas, rubber, and glass. The economy was better than ever until the Wall Street Crash of 1929. This crash ushered in the period known as the Great Depression, a 10 year period in America that had a stark effect on other Westernized countries as well. Several factors led to the crash, including Americans taking out loans to buy stock, an oversupply of food crops, and political actions. After a few of the major banks in New York City put their own money into the stock market in an effort to stave off a depression, panic selling started and Americans couldn’t dump their stocks fast enough. This sell-off created a void in the market and severely decreased confidence in the American economy. The Great Depression also saw the death of the Gold Standard, meaning paper currency was no longer backed by an equal amount of physical gold. In effect, paper money was now just a promise from the government.

This entry was posted in: Finance

Do Your Diamonds Make the Grade?

Using the 4 Cs of Diamond Grading

Evaluating diamond quality can take the eye of a well-trained professional. With a little knowledge, though, you can estimate the value and quality of diamonds. Start by using these tips. Many diamond graders refer to them as “The Four Cs” of diamond evaluation.

The First C: Carat Weight

Image via Flickr by Kim Alaniz

Diamonds are weighed by carats. One carat equals .2 grams. If you have an accurate kitchen scale, then you can measure a diamond’s weight.

Large diamonds are typically more valuable than smaller ones. When determining value, though, you also have to consider the overall diamond quality.

The Second C: Color

If you take a close look at your diamond, you’ll likely see that it isn’t truly clear. Most diamonds have some tint to them. Very few are completely colorless.

Color gets measured on a scale from D to Z, with D being totally clear and Z being yellow diamonds.

The Third C: Clarity

Clarity describes how many inclusions or blemishes a diamond has. Inclusions are defects inside the diamond. Blemishes are defects on the diamond’s surface.

The diamond quality chart for clarity might look complicated at first, but it gets easier to use with experience. Basically, a flawless diamond is graded “F.” Those without any inclusions and only minor blemishes are graded “IF.” The diamond quality scale continues from there.

If you plan to rate a diamond’s clarity on your own, then you will need a magnifying glass powerful enough to increase size by 10 times. That’s what the pros use when they look at diamonds for imperfections.

The Fourth C: Cut

All natural diamonds mined from the earth are completely uncut. If you happened to find an uncut diamond, you probably wouldn’t even know you had something valuable in your hand.

It’s the cut that brings a diamond to life by adding reflective surfaces that enhance the stone’s beauty. It takes a master craftsman to cut a diamond perfectly without adding any flaws. That’s one of the reasons that diamond cut and clarity play such an important role in establishing a stone’s value.

Anyone who has bought a diamond ring, necklace, or other type of jewelry knows that diamond cutters use different styles. Some popular cuts include:

  • Pear
  • Marquise
  • Round brilliant
  • Oval
  • Emerald

The number of facets cut into the diamond helps determine its value. Most diamonds have 58 facets. Those that stand out as the world’s most beautiful diamonds, though, usually have more. The Hope Diamond, for instance, has 74 total facets (including those on the girdle).

When counting facets, refer to this chart to help you identify different parts of the diamond. The more you know about the shape, the easier it becomes to count the facets. Although, considering that most diamonds are quite small, it’s still difficult to count the facets accurately.

Now that you know more about determining diamond quality, do you think you could judge the stone? What obstacles have your encountered when choosing the best diamond? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Frame Artwork

Framing artwork and photography is a smart and easy way to preserve the integrity of the artwork. Choosing the right material is one of the most important aspects of framing, as selecting wrong can damage the items. In some cases, unsuitable materials can even affect the artwork to the point of making it irreparable. The specific materials that should be used to help frame artwork or photography include a frame, glazing, front mat, and back mat. A backing, moisture barrier and dust cover should also be used. Keep the following tips in mind when locating the best quality of materials to preserve your artwork, so that it will look as fresh and vivid as the day it was created.

The Importance of Archival Quality Materials

When framing artwork or photography, it’s best to choose materials that are considered to be of “archival quality.” This means that the materials have been made to preserve the integrity of the framed item as long as possible, and that the artwork can be handled without it being damaged. Generally, archival quality materials are more expensive than those that are not, though customers may be able to find more inexpensive alternatives by looking for materials that are labeled as “conservation” or “museum quality.”

Frames

Metal frames are the most popular types for archival framing, because their anodizing or baking protects artwork from damage. Typically, it can be a good idea to forgo wood frames, as they are prime sources of damaging resins and acids. If a wood frame is chosen, it should be finished and sealed, with its rabbet carefully lined against the moisture barrier to discourage the transfer of acid. Selecting a modest frame in color and style can do wonders for a photograph or piece of artwork’s presentation, as the eye can naturally gravitate towards the art instead of the frame itself.

Glazing

Glazing refers to the protective, clear sheet of the frame. This can be made out of glass or acrylic. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. While glass is cheaper than acrylic, scratch-resistant, and needs only minor cleaning maintenance, it is also heavy, can shatter, and has reflective qualities. The more expensive acrylic alternative is lighter and less apt to break, but it can scratch easily, and carry a static charge which can damage certain types of artwork. “Museum quality” glass, which features the advantages of both glass and acrylic sheets, may be able to be purchased at a higher price.

Front and Back Mats

Choosing the best quality front and back mats is important because of their proximity to your artwork or photographs within the frame. Several different grades of mats exist. The best archival quality mats include 100% cotton rag and 100% cellulose. These are 100% acid and lignin free and can be buffered. Plain acid-free mats are not archival quality, but the absence of lignin in them will provide good protection for a while. Mats that are simply buffered are susceptible to acid over time, and standard mats are not acid-free at all. As a general rule, front and back mats should be of the same material and size, and also contain hinges, edge stripes or corner supports with which to position the artwork or photographs.

Backing, Moisture Barriers and Dust Covers

As with other types of framing materials, backing should be of archival quality. To avoid backing that can damage artwork, “foam core boards” should be passed up in favor of those labeled as “blue board” and Coroplast®. Moisture barriers protect artwork from unwelcome wetness. Good moisture barriers include those made out of polyester film, polypropylene, or Marvelseal. These barriers are especially important if the artwork is exposed to the elements, or if artwork is to be displayed outside. Dust covers, positioned on the back of the frame, protect artwork and photographs from dust and vermin. For the best results, strong and impenetrable acid-free backing paper should be used in lieu of anything that comes standard with the frame.

Guide to Antique Jewelry

Jewelry, specifically antique jewelry, reflects the time period in which it was made and is available in an endless range of styles. Artisans and jewelry makers have also created and reinvented fashion jewelry in the styles of antique jewelry; these pieces have continued to be well-received by the public and worn as a fashion statement and tribute to a given style of antique jewelry. These antique fashion jewelry reproductions have changed how these pieces are authenticated and identified.

Popular Periods of Antique Jewelry

Georgian (1700-1837)

In the Georgian era, it was common for wealthy aristocrat to wear jewelry as a status symbol. The jewelry from this time period is typically rough and crafted out of silver, as access to gold was limited. Single or flat cut gemstones, including topaz, coral, diamonds, pearls, and garnet, were used to embellish the precious metals and silver-foiled backings were used to improve the color and sparkle of the gemstone.

Georgian Period Jewelry

Victorian (1837-1901)

The Victorian era was heavily influenced by Etruscan, Indian, Moghul, and Egyptian culture. This brief time period resulted in a variety of exciting motifs; natural and animalistic subject matters were typical of this time period and many pieces featured floral designs, linked hands, and reptiles. England’s Queen Victoria was a key figure during this time period and at the time of her brother, Price Albert’s, death, she used fashion and jewelry to express her grief. Black was the color of the day and accenting one’s attire with jet black glass, and enamel was considered the height of fashion. Some chose to embellish their pieces with amethyst, coral, garnet, seed pearl, and opal gemstones. Rose and yellow gold was also gaining favor during the Victorian era, and towards the end (1880-1901), pieces became more refined and silver gained preference.

Jewelry in the Victorian Era