Friday, August 31, 2007

Lariat Necklaces

I like to wear lariat necklaces myself, so it's a bit odd that I don't make them that often or make that many. I got started on these simply because I happened to catch a glimpse of one of the new Swarovski crystal rings as I was looking for some other beads. The ring was in one of my favorite colours - Copper - so I couldn't resist seeing what I could do with it. I decided not to do that much. I used 14 karat goldfilled chain and wire and attached the Swarovski crystal ring to one end, and a large copper bicone to the other with a few little bead accents. I put a Swarovski butterfly in copper to one side of the ring - and I'm in love with this lariat necklace.
Another of my favorite Swarovski colours is blue Montana and since to me it seems to be much more the colour of a real sapphire than Swarovski's actual sapphire colour, I used the Montana crystals to make a lariat that would also work as a birthstone necklace for September. This necklace is outstanding because of the wonderful Karen Hill Tribes chain with little links holding together huge hammered rounds and large flower shaped sterling. This is a rather long lariat necklace; one thing I like about it is that you can wear the back of it facing front during the day when you're at the office, then when you're ready to go out, you just turn it around and you have tons of sparkle! The large Swarovski crystals fit through the hoop, but I also added an almost indiscernible little ring clasp for those who may wear it out dancing.
Finally, a green aventurine lariat necklace made of aventurine disks, faceted olives, and carved flower beads. Here the loop that the other side goes through is made of the faceted olives, and because of the size of the loop, the other side can be looped through more than once to shorten the remainder.
All of these lariat necklaces can be found on the Lariat Necklaces page of the Cluny Grey website.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Swirls of Abalone

I am very fond of natural beads that have flash, iridiscence, sparkle, glitter, so moonstone and labradorite are favourites as are lepidolite, some mother of pearl, and abalone. When I am able to combine these into one piece of jewelry that is aesthetically pleasing, that makes me really happy. So I like the abalone and labradorite bracelet that you see above very much. Besides pretty swirling abalone ovals and the nuggets and coins of labradorite that have tons of good blue flash, I used some of Robin Weber's best (I think) silver lentil lampwork beads that do a great deal of glistening on their own. Karen Hill Tribe silver from Thailand and a Bali sterling toggle clasp complete the bracelet. This bracelet and the other abalone jewelry can be found on the Cluny Grey site on the Abalone Jewelry page.

I made two sets of simple earrings: the first resemble chandeliers with the difference being that only one oval of abalone hangs from each chandelier. The earrings below have some of the same abalone ovals, only this time they hang from very thick and large chain links of imprinted Karen Hill Tribes' chain which in turn hang from sterling earwires with a large swirled disk on the front and wires that fasten in the back.
Abalone jewelry goes with many different styles and colours of clothing. A lot of abalone that you see in jewelry is actually a veneer of the mother of pearl glued to a some sort of backing. True natural abalone is a plain brown on one side with the beautiful iridiscent mother of pearl on the other. Abalone is really a hard substance, so natural abalone is great for jewelry.

I'm still busy putting more of our Fall jewelry on the website. Meanwhile, we had a great thunder shower today which finally cooled things off a bit.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lampwork in All Its Moods

I love lampwork beads although calling some of the lampwork I've seen merely "beads" seems an understatement. Take the lampwork beads in the bracelet above. An amber-opal (my term) colour takes the form of a gorgeous flower bead and little "ruffled" nugget beads. Beads such as these are a joy to work with! These are by Lynn Nurge, a Texas beadmaker (hmmm...wonder what there is about Texas that makes for such great lampwork artists?). I accented the lampwork with Copper Crystal large Swarovski crystal beads and sterling silver. The bracelet reminds me of the wrist corsages that young girls wear (used to wear?) to the prom.
The next lampwork bracelet is made with some very, very nice etched lampwork beads in black and silvery-gray. With sterling silver and Silver Shadow Swarovski crystals (large Cosmic crystal and rounds about 10mm), it has a decidedly cool feel to it (good because once again the temperature was over 100 F today - a trip to the post office left me dry and drained!).
******To my readers in Finland, Estonia, and Norway - are you making jewelry or are you out enjoying what must be very pleasant weather where you are? And to my Canadian friends, I can just imagine what Vancouver must be like right now - how lovely! And to my readers in Manitoba (around Churchill, the Polar Bear capital), surely you are basking in warm (not hot) sunshine and cool breezes.
Until next time....