Monday, August 25, 2008

Copper and Sterling and Gold, Oh My!

As I look over some of the jewelry pieces I've made in the past few days, I'm surprised by how varied they are. Do you see a theme here? I don't! Or perhaps the theme could be called "what is on top of the pile"! Because I've been trying to get ready for a trip to Washington this week, I'm attempting to clear off the work bench a bit. Believe me, it's slow going! Why? Because not only is everything piled high, but as I look through the different layers of beads, gemstones, wire and lampwork beads, a particular bead (or group of them) will stand out and suddenly I get an idea for a bracelet or necklace or. . . well, you get the idea.
So, above is a bracelet resulting from a strand of lampwork beads I failed to put away sitting next to Swarovski crystals newly unwrapped. The lampwork beads are from James Derrick Reeves, and I hope he starts lampworking and selling again soon before I run out of the precious stash of his beads I've been hoarding.
Below, a jasper bracelet that got made because I just had to use those dear little donuts in something! They are so cute! Therefore, I built a bracelet around them - and some more of Derrick's incomparable lampwork beads.

Copper was on my mind after an e-mail from a customer; I had copper chain and wondered just how Swarovski's crystal copper crystals would look with the metal. The result: the charm bracelet below with Swarovski large crystals, flowers, and butterfly. I will pair these two up again most definitely!

I can be subtle; the jasper bracelet above is beautiful with swirls of greyish-purple, mauve, and colour mixtures that I can't think how to describe. Hmm, I sense a theme: more Swarovski crystals (tanzanite, this time) and a large lampwork bead by James Derrick Reeves. The addition of a small flat drusy only adds to the low-key beauty of the bracelet.
The huge lampwork beads below were meant to be put in a necklace. Their impressionistic quality reminds me of a Monet painting. Rose quartz and amethyst echo the colours in the lampwork; the only other addition is sterling silver - and that's the only other thing that this necklace needs.

The smoky quartz bracelet, above, is about subtle sparkle since every smoky quartz stone is beautifully faceted. Again, a bit of sterling silver is all that is necessary here.
Below is the opposite of the smoky quartz bracelet. Listen to the Warm (below) features vermeil, pink Peruvian opal, aquamarine, and yellow and orange carnelian. It's a crazy sort of bracelet, but then, it sums up my last week perfectly!
In keeping with the crazy week,if you go to the Cluny Grey Jewelry website, you will notice that while I have pictures posted of most of the pieces here, most do not have the prices or descriptions yet. Patience, they are coming!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lariats: Pearls and Gemstones, Gold and Silver

I like lariats, but like some other things I forget, I sometimes forget to make them until I realize that the Lariat Necklace page has only a few necklaces on it, or I put one of my own around my neck and think how much I like fastening a necklace in the front. I always have to take a break at some point during the day when working on custom pieces, especially when I am trying to think how I want the finished result to look (when someone has simply said, "Make a necklace for me" when its design is left up to me. Working on a lariat takes me away from the task at hand and refreshes me, and usually it doesn't take me that long to make one.
Here are a few lariats I've made over the past couple of weeks at odd times.
Above, getting ready for September and its sapphire birthstone is a sapphire lariat necklace with sterling silver. And yes, those yellow gemstones forming the stamen of the flower are sapphires also.
Below is a lariat necklace featuring freshwater pearls, Biwa and coin, with mother of pearl and flashing rainbow moonstone. Hanging at the end is a special Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver dragonfly pendant and a carved mother of pearl flower and leaf.

Below is a lariat necklace made with a 14k goldfilled textured oval link chain, a Swarovski crystal copper butterfly, 14k goldfilled pansy, and a 14k goldfilled dragonfly and disk.
Finally, the last lariat is one that I put on and reluctantly took off when it was time to go home (I try on almost all my jewelry pieces, especially bracelets, to make sure that they hang correctly and are well-balanced). It's a sterling silver chain with a double toggle and one of my favorite colour combinations from Swarovski: morion and silk Swarovski crystals. It also features a little sterling shell charm and a butterfly charm from the Hill Tribes. (There are two pictures of it: one on a white background, and one on a black background - getting the subtle silk colour to show up is especially difficult - it's a pale peach).
I'll be posting these on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website the next two nights (days are for making jewelry; nights at home are when I do the online postings usually).