For the Love of the Grape

May 03, 2022

Batu Manakarra Brooch

For the Love of the Vine

Batu Manakarra (aka grape agate,) sterling silver


Ever since I read the article in Lapidary Journal about Batu Manakarra and saw Lexi Erickson's pendant I was on the hunt for pieces of this unusual and beautiful stone.  I've got a couple more pieces waiting for inspiration, but with the largest piece cut by Gerald Howard into a heart shape I created the brooch above.  It's one of the pieces I'm extremely proud of as my vision for it came into reality.

The vine, the grape, the wine... they've inspired other pieces as well.  There's such romance in the business of wine that art inspired by it is not unusual.  In the fall of 2003 my husband and I took a barge cruise on the Canal de Bourgogne.  It was a magical week of vineyards, castles, countryside, delicious food, and wine.  While recently looking through some photos of our trip the travel bug is getting fed big time.  

The barge goes very slowly so you can hop off at any point and walk along the old tow path for the barges or ride bikes into neighboring towns.  The Captain would tell us which locks he'd be and at what time to get back on.  My husband was an avid bicyclist so he'd head out to burn calories while I enjoyed a peaceful walk in the countryside.


Barge on Canal de Bourgogne

Antique shop in Beaune, France

Barge going through lock on Canal de Bourgogne

tow path along Canal de Bourgogne

week's worth of wine

Week's worth of wine for the cruise!


Vineyards near Dijon

home along the Canal de Bourgogne

Chateau-neuf en Auxois

Cows and bicyclists along tow path of Canal de Bourgogne

Pretty fence along Canal de Bourgogne

House garden along Canal de Bourgogne

Bicyclist along Canal de Bourgogne

Chocolate shop

Duck level view from our bedroom on the barge


Lock house on Canal de Bourgogne

This lock house is called Marcs D'Or which translates to Muck of Gold or Sediment of Gold.  LOL!


Lock house along the Canal de Bourgogne

Homes and lock houses along the canal almost always had lace curtains.  They were all different!  I enjoyed checking them out to see how many different varieties there were.  I don't think I saw the same on any house.  It was this memory that had me putting lace curtains in every window I could in our home.  I'm happy to share the online shop that I found in France that carries them.  Although it's been a few years since I ordered ours they produced exquisite lace and delivered quite quickly.  They can make them to your window specifications!  Macrame Lace can be reached here.


One more inspiration story from the grape:  A few years ago a dear friend asked me to make a special piece for his wife who sadly is suffering from dementia.  We've shared many wine memories at Yosemite, at the beach, and our dinner parties with them and purple just happens to be her favorite color.  So drawing from those thoughts and my colorful stash of stones I came up with this.  It meant a lot to all of us.


Amethyst druzy pendant


"The older the grapes,

sweeter the wine."  Janis Joplin