Janet: What gave you the idea to do astrologically correct jewelry? How long did it take to perfect, and what did the "early days" look like?
Alicia: In 1995 I was studying astronomy in Santa Fe, NM, and wanted to make a necklace that had the planets around me as they were when I was born. I looked around for gemstones that looked like the planets both in color and in size. When it was time to place the planet beads, a friend suggested I use an astrology chart to find where they were in the sky. As a scientist, I initially blew her off, but when she showed me that a natal chart had the planet degrees AND included the constellations as well, I was intrigued. As soon as I made mine, friends started asking for their own. Word-of-mouth spread quickly, and a business was born.
What’s funny is that I started reading the interpretations for each chart, and after I made about 100 pieces I began to see the consistencies in the readings. Where our charts are similar, our personalities are similar. Where our charts are different, our personalities are different! I slowly began to respect the art of astrology. Ten years later, I do more astrology than astronomy!
It took me a short time to figure out the math to make the jewelry, but I’m always perfecting the design. Earlier this year I replaced the glass Jupiter bead with Botswana Agate. The last batch of Indian Glass I received wasn’t attractive enough for my taste, and I wanted everything to be genuine stone. Also, in 2006 we’ll debut Aventurine for Uranus.
The very first pieces I made were Christmas gifts for friends and coworkers in 1995. They told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on. The Internet was just making it into people’s homes. I bought a book to “learn HTML in seven days” and made my first website. My very first online order was from South Carolina for over $200! If it weren’t for the internet, I wouldn’t be in business.
In the early days, I also set up an easy-up at Trader Jack’s Flea Market in Santa Fe, NM on weekends. While most tourists were looking for Native American crafts, a significant number would beeline right to my spot. It was funny to watch people walk right up to me, knowing there was “something here” before even knowing what I did. The response was positive and I was inspired to keep going.
Janet: How did you decide which stones would represent which planets?
Alicia: Since I was an astronomer, it was important to me that the planets actually looked like the planets in the sky. I considered using the stones that energetically matched the interpretation of the planet, but every resource I looked at gave a variety of stones for the planets and zodiac signs. Not only was there little consistency, but I couldn’t find a source for who decided Mars was Carnelian, and why. After I chose my stones based on appearance, it turned out that 90% of them DID match the traditional associations. I validated New Age crystal theory!
Janet: What came first: being an astrologer or being a jeweler?
Alicia: I’ve always been “crafty,” but I actually learned how to do beadwork in order to make the jewelry!
Janet: What is your favorite item/s to create and why?
Alicia: My favorite items are the custom horoscope necklaces, because I really believe they harness the wearer’s power. In the first days, we would test it out: I’d blindfold someone, give him or her my necklace and a friend’s, and ask them whose was whose. About 75% of the time people got it right! I also like them because they can be used as a tool for growth and consciousness. When you learn what each bead does in your personality (by using the chart that accompanies the jewelry), you can fidget with the beads to call on your strengths when you need them. You can also learn which beads/planets are responsible for your quirks, and at that moment you find yourself about to do “that thing you always do that never works but you can’t help yourself”, you can play with the bead and, in that moment, make a conscious choice to do it differently.
Janet: How many are on your staff?
Alicia: We have 4 people on the staff. Trish does most of the beadwork (I still do some). Jamie, my husband, is my web designer and advisor. Kat does customer service, shipping and handling. I run all the back end business, from customer service to advertising to accounting. We all help at shows and expos. I just hired a publicist and I still need an online sales/eBay expert.
Janet: Do you have any interesting stories to share about your jewelry and its affect on individuals?
Alicia: There are so many cool stories I hear from people that I can’t even begin to list them. You can read many of them at the Testimonials page on the Wandering Star site. My own story is pretty cool: I made myself a Love necklace right after I met Jamie, in yellow because he’s a Leo (I’m a Cancer/Libra/Libra, and never would wear that color!). (You can read about what the Love jewelry does by clicking here) I wore this necklace every day, and this relationship was better than any other I had, by leaps and bounds. My folks met him, and liked him (they never liked any of my guys, including my first husband!). A few weeks after that, Jamie sat me down and told me that he needed some space, that there were things that he needed to take care of for himself before he could commit to anyone. Because every relationship is built on friendship, I told him OK, but that I cared for him a lot. That must have been the right answer, because 3 days later I got a call from him – his landlord had just given him notice, and it wasn’t even the first of the month! While we were IM’ing about it, I got an email from MY landlord giving me 30 days notice! We realized that the universe was kicking us in the ass to get together. We decided to move in together, but still give each other the space and time we needed to mature and grow. It worked! A year later, I restrung my Love necklace into a Family necklace and two months later, he asked me to marry him!
Janet: What is the highest compliment someone can pay you?
Alicia: I love this question! The highest compliment someone can pay me is to tell me that wearing my jewelry truly made a difference in her life!
(To show just how accurate the astrological chart jewelry is, here’s a question I asked Alicia about my bracelet):
Janet: I have a question about the silver beads on my bracelet. The card says:
"The pie slices around the inner wheel of your chart are the 12 Houses, facets of your life. Their degrees are written in the outermost circle and are marked by the Sterling Silver beads on the necklace. Start at the ascendant and count from silver to silver bead. The bold lines on the chart are marked with ribbed beads."
Wouldn’t there be 12 silver beads on the bracelet denoting the 12 Houses? I’ve been studying my bracelet vs. the chart on and off all day and can't make heads or tails of the house correlations. In fact, it appears as if the GOLD beads denote Houses 1-12 which would then be accurate. (However, the card says these denote signs.) As I try to read the silver beads, it would appear that Pluto is placed in the 5th house (as opposed to the 6th), which throws off the rest of the bracelet.
Alicia: On your bracelet, each bead equals 15 degrees. The houses on your paper chart vary in size – some are close together and others far apart. Notice that the silver beads aren’t equally spaced. You have transcepted houses in your chart, meaning that in two places, your houses are in the same sign and in two places, an entire zodiac sign fits inside one house.
Verify this by looking at the degrees in the outer wheel. If you look at the two silver beads bottom center right in your photo, that’s the 4th and 5th houses without any planets or cusps between them, so they’re right next to each other. Same with the 10th & 11th houses at the top left.
The Gold beads (Zodiac constellations) are equally spaced, with 30 degrees (two beads) between each (or more if planets or houses fall near the same degree).
In the 12th house, you can see it go Gold, degree, degree, Gold. In the 6th house, you have Gold, degree, Pluto, Gold. Those are the intercepted houses to balance the transcepted houses. Told you they were mathematically accurate!
Janet: Thank you so much for the beautiful creations that you and your staff intend into the world, Alicia--and for taking the time for this interview. My bracelet is absolutely gorgeous and it's so cool to be able to "wear my universe"!
Alicia: Thanks, Janet! I hope you love your bracelet and that its inclusion is an asset to your website and your work.
To read my review of my personalized astrology chart bracelet, click here. To learn more about Wandering Star Zodiac Gifts or to purchase your own Astrology jewelry, click on the banner below.
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