Thursday, November 29, 2012

Egyptian Royalty necklace

Lapis lazuli is one of those hard-to-find-good-quality stones that dates back to Biblical times. It brings to mind Egyptian splendor to me. In quality lapis, you should be able to see gold flecked in its surface. Maybe that's why royalty seemed to like it so much back then.
Anyway, I got some fantastic lapis from a dealer, and when my cousin challenged me to come up with a gift befitting a 10-year-old girl, I toyed around with some ideas and this is one of them. It has rich colors that can be worn to fancy outings, yet can go with simple, everyday outfits. Girls like sparkle, and the gold in the stones and the transparent gold seed beads I picked to go with it add to that effect.
It says I like a piece when it's one I'd consider keeping for myself!


Name: Egyptian Royalty necklace

Price: $20 (reason: lapis lazuli price, gold findings; sold to my cousin, Britney)

Length: 18 inches; pendant 1.25 inches long

Etched Leaf Pendant

Was looking through my personal jewelry this evening, trying to get ideas and cull stuff I don't wear to either sell or take apart for new projects, when I came across this little piece.  I made it on inspiration from FusionBeads a long time ago, and when I'd ordered the supplies I'd had no idea the pendant wasn't very big.  There were supposed to be two strands of cord, but when I folded over the crimps on the ends, the other strand squirted out, so I just kept the one.  I used antique brass findings, pistachio-green waxed cord, and a blacklip shell pendant etched with pistachio-green leaves.  I still like the effect.

Name:  n/a

Price: $15 (personal collection)

Length: 17 inches

Loom Bracelet

A couple of years ago, my sister bought me a beading loom for Christmas.  I started a pattern right away, but fought with knots and wildly differing sizes in my beads, and gave up.  I kept taking it out and trying to work on it, come up with a new idea to work on, etc.  This is the final result.
General thoughts: think I'm going to change the type of thread I use.  The loom's thread is thin and though the bracelet feels silky, it seems awfully loose and almost what I would venture to call cheap.  I had to redesign the clasp because the one in the instructions didn't work.  The nice thing about having a loom is it goes far quicker than by hand, and there are a lot of free patterns out there.

Name: First Loom Bracelet

Price:  $5 to $10, depending on beads used, size and complexity of pattern, time spent

Length: about 8 inches or so

Heishi Surfer necklace

This is Dan's other necklace.  I made this when we first started hanging out three years ago, because of a story he told me.  He and his dad did a mission trip to Papua New Guinea, where he was given a handmade bagi (think that's how it's spelled)--a long necklace of hand-carved red shell heishi beads and bits of the shells the tribe used as their currency, strung on hand-woven palm-root twine.  He wore it all the time in memory of the trip, until it broke at work and spayed tiny beads everywhere.  He picked up what he could, but he worked the machine floor at Caterpillar, so there wasn't a whole lot of hope to get the thing repaired.
I hunted down some blacklip shell heishi beads that had a little gold to them because he's a Purdue fan (and I only had a vague description of the bagi; I got all the details on how it was made, but, ironically, not a lot on its actual color and style), and strung them on hemp thread with a few hematite rounds to make bit of a pattern.  I kept it short so he could wear it at work and not get it caught on anything--though by that point he was working for Ivy Tech, not Cat.  I told him I knew it wouldn't replace the valuable treasure he'd lost, but I hoped it would still remind him of it, and wouldn't be so costly if it broke.
Well...he wore it out.  The hemp just couldn't stand up to the constant wear and tear.  So I replaced it with heavy fishing line.  Twice.  Then wire.  Knowing the wire was only a temporary fix, I hunted for an extremely durable stringing material and ran across SoftFlex wire, which is stainless steel coated with nylon so it doesn't rust, and the wire is braided for more stability.
Last night I convinced him to let me have the necklace back, so I could perform my preventative adjustment, and gave him back the shard tribal necklace from a previous post.  This is the first time I've gotten pictures of it.  It's nothing fancy, just a surfer-style necklace because I knew he also likes to swim.
I should note that for his birthday this year, his parents contacted the missionaries he and his Dad worked with years ago and commissioned a new bagi (pronounced boggie).  They brought it with them when they came up to visit our church this summer.  Dan's decided with the new one he's going to frame it for display instead of wear it.

Name: Blacklip and Hematite Surfer necklace

Price: original not for sale; can do similar for about $15 to $25

Length: 19 inches

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Seraphinite and Sterling Bracelet

Okay, so in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I made a bracelet for myself.  For Christmas last year, my sister bought me a mini-skirt (an article of clothing I always feel self-conscious in), and I haven't had a lot of opportunity to wear it.  Since Thanksgiving was at her house, I wanted to show her I do wear it, so I started to plot out a new outfit, which revolved around one of my favorite stones: seraphinite.  Seraphinite is a dark green stone with silver swirls in it.  The outfit came together after a long day of hunting (apparently, dark green is "going out of style" despite it being the holiday season!), and since I had a very small amount of seraphinite rounds available, I decided to make a bracelet to go with an older seraphinite donut pendant necklace I already had.  I dug in my bead boxes and found some sterling silver leaf beads I've had since I worked at Hobby Lobby, and a sterling clasp I had lying around, and wound up with this.

Name: n/a

Price: $20 (reason: seraphinite is rare and expensive; sterling is expensive; personal collection)

Length: 7.5 inches

Tribal Shard Necklace

I don't do men's jewelry very often, and this is actually a repair of one I made about a year ago (the wire I used wasn't strong enough to keep up with Dan's heavy wear and tear).  I guess that's the good thing about my sister and a guy that wear the stuff I make them all the time--I get to see how durable my work is.  In this case, the weight of the African green jasper chips and the Celtic pendant stretched out the wire I'd strung it on; I upgraded to SoftFlex wire, which has a weight tolerance that's considerably more.
Originally, this piece was meant to be two different ones.  I actually bought the pendant for myself.  I bought the stone chips late last year (years after the pendant), and the pendant just seemed to suit the piece I had in mind.  If the chips had been smaller, I still would've kept it, but they're large (and heavy!) enough they suit a guy better.  Dan liked it, so it became his.  I used gunmetal findings to keep with the more natural/rugged look, and still like the effect.  The pendant is actually etched porcelain.

Name:  Tribal Shard Necklace

Price:  $35 (original given to Dan V.)

Length:  19.5 inches; pendant 1.75 inch diameter