Birthstones: October - Opal


Illustration: Hot Shoe Prints

In October, you actually get to choose between two stones, Opal and Tourmaline. According to legend, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, which is quite fitting given that opal refracts light into rainbow-like colors, and tourmaline comes in all of the colors of the rainbow.  Since Opal has been EVERYWHERE lately, I decided to dig a little deeper and focus on its properties and lore today. - American Gem Society


Color - Opals are often referred to by their background “body color”—black or white but are characterized by their "play of light".  Opals are composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colors of the rainbow. These flashy gems are called “precious opals;” those without play-of-color are “common opals.”

Mohs Hardness - 5.5 - 6.6


Throughout most of history, opal has been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all gems because it can show all colors. The Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all and the Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. - GIA

    Opal’s classic country of origin is Australia. Seasonal rains soaked the parched outback, carrying silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. When the water evaporated, these deposits formed opal. Sometimes, silica seeped into spaces around wood, seashells and skeletons, resulting in opalized fossils.

    Since opal was discovered in Australia around 1850, the country has produced 95 percent of the world’s supply. Opal is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho. - American Gem Society

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    In the metaphysical world, Opal acts as a prism within the aura, bringing a full spectrum of Light energy to the system, soothing and clearing the emotional body, and boosting the will to live and the joy of one’s earthly existence. It enkindles optimism, enthusiasm and creativity, and allows for the release of inhibitions inspiring love and passion. Opal enhances cosmic consciousness and stimulates flashes of intuition and insight, yet is a protective stone for deep inner work, meditations, and lower world shamanic journeys. - Crystal Vaults

    Opal is a stone of inspiration which enhances imagination and creativity. It can bring inspiration to projects and to life and Spirit. Its own spirit is at times like that of a child spontaneously playing, dashing color where ever it  pleases. Carrying this imaginative spontaneity into the realm of you life can bring strong creativity.

    Opal has a larger proportion of water in it than most stones and is considered a water stone. This can help ease the effort of handling change in life. Like water rolls over and past rocks and roots in its way, the energy of opal can help continue on your path regardless of obstacles. During times of transformation, this  is an invaluable energy to work with and hold close to your heart. - Crystal Meanings


    Bayou City Art Festival

    HOUSTON!  Join me this weekend at the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston this Saturday & Sunday October 8-9 from 10-6pm.  With over 300 artists, non profits, food, music, and a children's creative zone, it is sure to be worth the trek.  Find out more information here.  I'll be holding it down in booth #610.  I hope to see you at the show!

    We're Hiring - Part-Time Marketing & PR Manager

    I am hiring, and you or someone you know might be the right fit!  

    Below are the details for the position, and you can apply online here.  Feel free to spread the word.  I would love your help in taking my business to the next level! 


    fail STUDIOS is looking for a part-time Marketing and PR Manager to create content and spread the word about our brand. Under the direction of Christine Fail, the designer, you will be involved in marketing initiatives from concept to completion utilizing our website, email blasts, social media, and PR outreach to achieve our goals of growing our fan base and increasing online revenue.

    Duties include, but are not limited to:

    • Campaign strategy & execution
    • Copy
    • Social media management: Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest
    • Emailing editors
    • Writing blog posts
    • Crafting email blasts
    • Creating metrics and analyzing data on performance/reach
    • Graphic design in support of each campaign
    • Advertising, traditional and online

    The right candidate MUST have:

    • 2+ years of relevant marketing experience
    • Good eye for design
    • Excellent writing skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Follow up
    • Basic graphic design knowledge
    • Project management experience
    • The ability to think and write within the established brand voice

    The right candidate MUST be:

    • Creative
    • Analytical
    • Forward thinking
    • Organized
    • Positive & excited
    • Self directed

    Bonus points:

    • Experience with SEO & website optimization
    • Experience creating, managing, and evaluating online advertising
    • Photography skills
    • Prop styling
    • Small business management
    • Familiarity of the fail brand, aesthetic, and voice

     The marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the past 5 years, and small businesses are able to get their messages out in new and unconventional ways. We are looking for someone to bring creativity and excitement to the task. The position requires 5-10 hours a week and pay is commensurate with experience. Applicants can expect a $15-$25/hr at base depending on experience, with additional monetary incentives for candidates bringing substantially more to the table. The schedule is flexible within our regular studio hours (M-F, 10-5:30).

    fail STUDIOS is a small studio located in east Austin filled with young women making things, organizing things, and paying way too much attention to our studio dog Dunkin.

     Applicants must forward a COVER LETTER with resume and SALARY REQUIREMENTS. Any applications submitted without a thoughtful cover letter or salary requirements will be dismissed immediately. 

    Birthstones: September - Sapphire

    Illustration: Cynthia BK

    Sapphire is most desired in its pure, rich blue color but is present in almost every color including pink, yellow and green. With a hardness closest to diamond, these stones are my personal favorites for life long wear!


    Color - Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark green-blue or violet-blue, as well as various shades of pure blue. The most prized colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violet-blue. 

    Sapphire is a variety of the gem species corundum and occurs in all colors of the rainbow. Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (pink sapphire, green sapphire). Ruby is the red variety of corundum. - American Gem Society

    Mohs Hardness - 9


    Traditionally, sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Its extraordinary color is the standard against which other blue gems—from topaz to tanzanite—are measured.
    For centuries, sapphire has been associated with royalty and romance. The association was reinforced in 1981, when Britain’s Prince Charles gave a blue sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana Spencer. Until her death in 1997, Princess Di, as she was known, charmed and captivated the world. Her sapphire ring helped link modern events with history and fairy tales.
    In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. During the Middle Ages, the clergy wore blue sapphires to symbolize Heaven, and ordinary folks thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings. In other times and places, people instilled sapphires with the power to guard chastity, make peace between enemies, influence spirits, and reveal the secrets of oracles. - GIA

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    Today Sapphire is still a Stone of Wisdom, a royal stone of learning, mental acuity and psychic activation, a seeker after spiritual truth. Its pure Blue Ray brings order and healing to the mind, lending strength and focus, and an ability to see beneath surface appearances to underlying truths and to utilize that knowledge.

    It stimulates the Throat and Third Eye Chakras, allowing one to access deeper levels of consciousness in order to gain a fuller understanding of self. Associated with the planet Saturn, Blue Sapphire embraces order, structure, and self-discipline, and is ideal for accomplishing goals and manifesting ideas into form. Sapphire’s power to transmute negative thoughts and energy also makes it highly effective for earth and chakra healing. - Crystal Vaults

    Luna, Fall 2016

    The Luna collection for fall 2016 welcomes the return of semi precious stones into the fail collection for the first time in 2 years!

    With Luna I am expanding on the theme established in spring, playing on the relationships between shapes, now specifically the circle and sphere.  Inspired by a marble-like mosaic magnesite bead, the resulting monochromatic color palette contributes to the cohesion between basic colors and basic shapes.  The results are a small collection of both everyday pieces alongside powerful statements.  
    photos by George Barberis

    This or That: Trace Hook Earrings


    It's finally(!!!) cooling off here in Austin and beginning to feel like fall's on its way, especially with the launch of the new collection next week. Dressing for late summer / early fall in Texas is always tricky so it felt like the perfect time for a "This or That" outfit post using the fail Trace Hook Earrings, one of my best-selling and easy to wear items (they match everything!). I love these earrings as everyday essentials paired up with seasonal uniformshere they're styled with one last all-white outfit for summer and dressing up a LBD / denim jacket combo for cooler temps. 
    Start brainstorming how you would wear them and if you aren't already, follow me over on Instagram for more Trace Hook fun coming later this week! 

    Birthstones: August - Peridot

    Illustration: Elisa Werbler

    Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.  - American Gem Society


    Color - The color range for peridot is narrow, from a brown-green color to yellowish green to pure green. Yellowish green is the most common peridot color seen in jewelry. - GIA

    Mohs Hardness - 6.5 to 7


    The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Most peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Some also came to earth in meteorites, but this extraterrestrial peridot is extremely rare, and not likely to be seen in a retail jewelry store.

    Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, peridots. - GIA

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colors. The gem often occurs in volcanic rocks called basalts, which are rich in these two elements - GIA

    The lime, green, gentle Peridot gem, the August birthstone is associated with less tangible qualities of peace, good fortune and happiness. The mellow glow of the Peridot, a soft, light green under the starlit sky or lantern has earned this lovely gemstone the title ‘The Evening Emerald’. The august birthstone is associated with prosperity, growth, dignity and love. It is also believed that the stone has the power to ward away Evil and nightmares, bestowing peace and progress in one’s life. - Birthstone Zodiac

    Retailer Love: Good

    good store boston - fail jewelry retailer love

    Boston-based good was one of the first shops to carry my EPIC hoops and has been a favorite fail stockist ever since. With a modern New England aesthetic, good specializes in regionally-sourced goods as well as handcrafted objects and gifts from around the globe. With more than a decade's experience showcasing artisans and makers including BBDW, Farmhouse Pottery and ClauiaNoel, they’re a favorite stop to find something unique.

    Shop good online at and keep up with their shop happenings on Instagram.  

    Image credits: good, @stylecarrot, @etsy, and @mindyerazo