Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Focus Pieces-Turquoise

 So, early this summer my friend and I went to a gem show. It was pretty huge and I had a pretty good time. One interesting thing I found was a string with about seven or nine focal point pieces of all assorted kinds. I thought to myself what a great idea- there's an easy start to a necklace and I can just build components I have around the focal.  I think I got four or five strings.
I had a great sunny afternoon putting them all into groups by color, and then adding strands of filler beads, stone, glass and pearl that looked good.  I have to do it on a sunny day because the true light lets me make color combinations that just don't work when I do it by artificial light at night-the next day I
Then I got busy.
My first bunch of necklaces were based on turquoise. Yeah, I am pretty sure it's what Willis the Beadmeister calls "Faque Turquoise"; dyed magnesite.   Maybe if I had a shop I was selling this stuff in I'd spring for the real thing but not right now.
 This one was a gift for a friend. I loved the pendant. I paired it with some big pewter beads, and blue beads and some turquoise colored large seed beads. I made her some earrings as well.

This one was also a gift set, using the same blue beads. I shook it up by using these different pewter beads. I liked the markings on them-they make me think of waves.

For this one I used chips, separated by Miyuki seed beads, chalcedony faceted beads accented with pewter bead caps, gold-dyed pearls, and gold-dyed mother-of-pearl coins. The gold-colored striations in the focal stones made the gold accents a perfect foil for the gold-colored accents used in this series.


 For the next one, I used rectangular turquoise-colored magnesite and rounds, and bronze-colored pearls to go with the darker striations in the focal piece.
 For this piece, I used chunks of magnesite, rounds, and bronze small and large pearls, pewter accent beads.
At this point, I was getting a little tired or turquoise, so I put a few draft pieces aside and went on to some other colors that I will showcase next.
I set up combinations, put them in a baggie, and piled the baggies in a box.  When I had a few minutes, I would take one out and start playing around.  That made it much easier to keep going and keep myself entertained.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All About Me (Part 2)

I made a green necklace for St Patrick's Day. Last year, I realized I had very little green in my closet; this has been rectified and now green rivals purple in the closet.  Thus I needed some green pieces to wear with the green duds.  This is dark green aventurine.

It's paired with larger (4mm) agate beads, smaller (3mm) onyx beads, pewter Celtic squares, and sets off my sterling silver triskele ex-earring-turned pendant (lone survivor of a pair).
That's a pewter hook clasp with Celtic-style design.
Here's a close-up, however fuzzy.

So after coming back from the destination wedding (it was a destination for us, not for them!), I set about playing around for myself.  I took an earring that had a long-lost mate, and turned it into the centerpiece for a necklace.  I had planned to use Labradorite; I love its opalescence. Oddly enough, when I lined it up, I ended up useing Prehnite, a pale green African stone.
 No fancy spacers for this; just onyx beads to emphasize the tiny black streaks in the translucent stone, peridot to enhance the green and Miyuki silver-lined seed beads to separate & make them pop.  I had fun making the dangly earrings; they continue to be my favourite pair right now.  Here's a close-up.

Then I just had to make myself something with this yummy faceted lemon quartz. It didn't need much of anything to dress it up, so I just spaced it with Czech crystals & my trademark use of Miyuki  seed beads-this time gold-lined.  Sophisticated is what I was aiming for & I think I got it.

And dangly earrings to complement it; seed bead, cold-colored spacers and crystals.

I know this post is about my own stash, but I had to make something with the lemon quartz for my sister.  I paired it with citrine chips and gold-tone beads. Yeah, and some dangly earrings, too.

Then I used the leftover citrine chips and paired it with some large chips-my friend thinks they're glass, but I think they are dyed quartz or dyed fluorite.  I added jasper and seed beads.

The elementary school my kids went to had art and music as full subjects; when they were setting it up, the teachers all applied for grants.  The art teacher got funding for a kiln.  I have a lot of ceramic pieces the kids made.  Dan made a bunch of beads. I could never figure out what to do with them so I got my friend to string them.  Then I found some huge pewter beads and decided to re-string the set.  I wear it a lot more now.

This is another re-do; I removed the tiny opalite rounds on the back of the neck, added more pewter stars and opalite coins and moonstone spears.  It's a lot more balanced now. I also added a few strands to the earrings.

Here's the close-up.

I did the same with the amethyst squares; took out the smaller rounds on the rear of the necklace and balanced out the piece with square Celtic pewter beads drilled on the diagonal like the amethysts.

Here's a close up.

Did I show you the set I made for my son's wedding? I can't remember, so I'll show it here now.

This is a ceramic focal piece I had for a long time.  I finally decided to pair it with 3mm "fossil" agate, 4 mm howlite and pewter flowers.

Then I finally made the labradorite set. I used a sterling silver dragon that had captivated me as a focal point.  I used labradorite rectangular beads separated by pewter frame beads that contained labradorite ovals.  I used a few onyx beads on the dangling dragon. For separators, I used pyrite; everyone knows a dragon must have gold (however foolish).

Close-up; LOVE that opalescent glow.  I even like the dark specks. My friend hates this stone and thinks it looks dirty. I love the look, the feel, the weight.

So that's my stash. The next few posts will highlight some more stuff I have made for friends, and necklaces I have made just to be making things.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Wedding Jewelry

When I planned my vacation time for the year, I talked my son and his lovely wife into going to Australia with me.  They had been before their wedding to visit their best friends who are living there.  We booked for a week in May, which was all the time the kids could get off.  And then their friends announced- they decided to get married while we were there!
Next thing we know, there is a party of us traveling and a great deal of excitement. 
I asked the bride what she was doing for wedding jewelry, and she replied she didn't know. So I offered to make it for her-and she said yes!
This is a project of incredible magnitude, and great excitement for me.
She emailed me pictures of a few things she liked, and told me the color scheme.
I emailed her photos of all the beads I have (quite overwhelming, I have a lot).
She liked the Venetian glass best.

Around Easter, I had the kids over for dinner with the express idea of picking my daughter-in-law's brain for design- after all, she is close friends with the bride.  And she fell in love with a blue crystal I had hanging around.  We used that as the focus, and slowly build a design from glass bugle beads, sterling beads and Venetian glass.  This is the prototype.

It has silver foil beads, bugle beads, Swarovski crystals, pearls & the center crystal; Meredith designed it. We used the pale blue Venetian glass above.
We Skyped, and she liked it; the design was official.
Next, we designed bracelets for the bridesmaids.

Afterward, I did a few prototype designs for earrings.

I just can't make it not be sideways. Sorry about that.

Anyhow, my only worry was the two blues in the necklace, so I sent her a closeup.

She decided to go with the white Venetian glass instead of the blue.
You can really see the detail- the tiny square silver beads, the large foil silver beads, the Swarovsky AB bicones and the little white pearls. That crystal pendant is real bling.
So I finished the set with a really neat, modern sterling clasp.

 So it ended up looking like this:

I made earrings to go with the bridesmaids' bracelets.  Meredith especially loved the sterling wave clasps.

 My daughter-in-law Meredith loves color, so she designed her bracelet with brighter Venetian beads, and added in some blue glass beads as well.

I also decided to make a bracelet for the bride and groom's mothers, who were also attending.  I wanted them to have a keepsake and I thought having somethings with the same design might add to the sentimental value of it.  I knew the bride's mom was wearing teal, so I made hers with teal Venetian glass.  I guessed on the groom's mom and used blue.  It was a good guess- she wore a lot of blue and wrote me a lovely thank you note when we got home.

This is not the best bridal photo- I have hundreds-but it shows the jewelry off really well, so forgive me, Amanda.  I think that at 2:30 am the bride still looked like she was having a great time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


So this post shows my forays into earring-making, and how that has developed.
I have given away so many earrings that I didn't document by photographing and now I wish I had.
It all started with the pearls, remember?

These are coin pearls in a copper tone, with seed pearls.

The upper left are a maroon oval pearl-somehow I found other pearl rounds that matched.
Upper right is the complement to my own Wilma coral necklace. I can't remember if the findings are pewter or sterling. I think pewter, but am not sure.
Lower left is an early effort- white potato pearls. I used to wear these a lot.
Lower right; I got these semi-frosted glass beads at Vintage Vogue & really liked them. They are paired with Japanese seed beads on the largish size, also from VV, and silver beads.  I made two pairs- my friend Ros and her friend Lynda were staying over here and Lynda loved the purple so much I gave them to her.  She sent me some Celtic knot earrings from Wales as a thank you- and I wear those a lot as well.

Top left is Lapis Lazuli-these go with my Celtic lapis necklace.
Top right is turquoise and chrysocolla to go with my other Celtic necklace.
Bottom right is aventurine, silver, pewter & Czech glass-it goes with my leafy glass necklace & bracelet.
Bottom right is a close up of my carnelian set's earrings.  I just love the striations in that carnelian.

As I got more confident with wire work I started branching out from just a single dangling head pin...

These are aventurine cylindrically-shaped beads paired with cobalt glass beads from VV. I made these to go with an aventurine & cobalt necklace Kate had given me a few years ago.

This is Czech crystal paired with gold-toned beads & Miyuki seed beads lined with gold, strung on gold-tone wire. Sparkly!

You'll see the necklace this goes to later on. It's Prehnite, peridot & black agate with Miyuki seed beads lined in silver.  Look, Ma, no head pins!

All About Me

After making a bunch of things for friends, I turned to making some stuff for myself. I also tried thinking outside the box and shaking up my colors a bit. I have a tendency to stick to sea and twilight colors for myself.

This is my own red necklace with pewter spacers and three sizes of dyed coral.

This is my carnelian set. I loved the patterns on each oval bead. I paired it with carnelian rounds, onyx rounds and gold-tone beads & clasp. See? I am capable of making and wearing gold once in a while.
(I still always prefer silver and have had a love affair with pewter from the first time I ever engraved it.)

This necklace was originally made by Kate as a gift for me. It was too tight, she miscalculated the length. She got some more onyx beads to finish it but gave it to me to do as she was in the middle of moving.  It's jasper rounds separated by onyx 3mm rounds.  I liked the way she spaced it, so all I did was add onyx to the length. Then I made me some earrings to match. I subtracted the jasper rounds from the necklace & put them in the earrings so that the final count of jasper would not come to thirteen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Using Gemstones for Healing

So I got this book that explains the metaphysical properties of gemstones. Pretty much everyone knows their birthstone and what that stone represents.  In other culture, gemstones represent healing and chakra alignment. Crystal healing is a huge industry.
I am not sure how much I buy into that, but hey, it can't hurt. Planning jewelry for people with an eye to "boosting" systems they want boosted is apparently a new talent of mine.
I made jewelry for everyone I work with. I included quartz, which is supposedly good for people who work on computers a lot, in each one. I didn't take photos of all the stuff I made unfortunately.  I also made a bracelet for each neighbor.

This one is ocean jasper rounds (sacral & solar plexus chakras, stress reduction, adrenal function), pearls (hormone balance, harmonizes emotion, balances fluids in body), peridot (heart chakra, cell regeneration, neutralizes toxicities) and pewter.

This one is tree agate (stress reduction, recovery, increases optimism) & jasper squares (sacral & solar plexus chakras, stress reduction, adrenal function), tiny coral beads (good fortune), moonstone spears (hormonal balance, emotional stress), black agate and pewter.

This set is for a friend & is one of my personal favourites. It has fluorite rounds in green (heart chakra, heals emotional stress) and purple (heals bony structure of body, helps with physical trauma, mental focus) , fluorite purple chunks, moonstone spears, peridot, quartz rounds (cleansing & refocusing) and pewter spacer beads.

Because I tend to be really symmetrical, I got some fluorite large nuggets at the last show.  Unable to just mix them up, I separated them by color. This necklace I made for a friend who loves blue. It's ice blue fluorite, chunky potato pearls, pewter beads & clasp. Because I didn't like the way the bead wire showed between the irregular chunks, I separated each chunk with a tiny seed bead from Japan that is lined with silver.  The silver shines through and not only separates each chunk, it helps the light pass through and brightens the piece. I use this technique all the time now, but most often when I am working with irregular beads.
I liked the blue so much I made a second set.

This time I added pewter beads that make me think of waves. The fluorite is two colors of blue. The earrings were an experiment in seed beads paired with irregular chunks.  I ended up taking them apart because they did not please me, but the friends I showed them to seemed to like them.