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Posts Tagged ‘artisan jewelry’

Jewelry Inspired: Funky Copper Disc Choker

I added a little somethin’-somethin’ to my Artfire Studio today. This copper choker has been sitting on the bench for some time begging to be finished. I bought these copper discs – no word of a lie – 10 years ago. I used to buy a fair bit of Estate sell-offs back when ebay wasn’t so saturated. I admit at the time, being new to the jewelry making game, I wasn’t aware of the size when I bought them. 15mm just didn’t compute in my brain as being on the large side. So when the lot arrived – almost 100 – I had no idea what to do with them. They seemed so big and flying saucer like…

So they sat in the supply pile for well, a decade. Then this summer I decided to pick up some copper headpins, and see if I could make one of my signature funky chunky bracelets.

(Oh and I decided to pair up the discs with a 3.3mm bicone copper bead to add some dimension…)

I wanted the piece to be really solid so I started putting the discs really close together on the links of dash dot sterling silver chain (I love this chain by the way – although it is expensive it is really heavy duty, perfect for projects like this). It definitely was solid…however by doing this it did not have much bend…kind of hard to make into a bracelet. Since I already started it, I didn’t want to dismantle and start again, and I knew I had a fair bit of beads, so I decided to turn it into a choker.

So I got the beads put on and then, there it sat for a very long time. About three months! I just couldn’t decide how to finish it. Although I had assembled the discs on a heavy gauge sterling silver chain, I did not like the way the sterling stood out against the copper for the extender chain portion of the necklace. I probably could have oxidized the chain, but I was lazy. Instead I found some really heavy duty vintage copper chain to finish off the piece.

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I put a fairly long extender chain on it so that it can be adjusted to wear in a variety of ways. I also like the dramatic effect it has: the large beads at the front, and the slender sleekness of the chain trailing down in the back…I really love how it feels like a puzzle in your hands.

This is a piece for someone who wants to make a bold statement, and own a truly one-of-a-kind. I know I could never get these beads again. They are assumed “vintage” although I cannot confirm this…

Jewelry Inspired: Sparkly Reconstituted Smoky Quartz…

Expanding on yesterday’s post, that lately I have been working with colour themes, I now introduce you to one day’s project: fun with reconstituted smoky quartz. Essentially, these are glass beads that contain particles of smoky quartz. So yes, they are “just” glass but are they ever so pretty! I don’t purchase a lot of glass anymore but when I saw how these faceted beads danced under the lights I had to have them. They are a nice size too – 12mm, so they really make a statement.

Initially, I set out to make one of my signature chunky bracelets. However, as the piece evolved it became clear that it laid better across the neckline than on the wrist. And so, voilà – this piece was born:

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Unfortunately, my photography skills do not do it justice. It looks and feels like a million bucks on. This is probably due to the heavy sterling silver dot dash chain, as well as the 22 gauge sterling silver wire each bead is affixed on the chain with. I also made sure to make it adjustable length wise so that it could be worn in different ways: choker style or longer. I love how it looks and feels on –

I was really, really tempted to keep it for my own personal collection!

If you can imagine, this was a fairly labour intensive project, so I finished up my adventures in sparkly amber coloured bead land with two elegant and tasteful pairs of earrings:

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That was fun! I am really hoping to find time to do more projects like this!

Jewelry Inspired: Aqua Blues…

So the other day I had the opportunity to have an adventure in sea blue – or aqua blue as these particular beads are properly called. I currently have dyed quartz and fiber optic cat’s eye beads in aqua blue. I have beads of all colours of the rainbow in the cabinet…so I love to get requests for specific colours to work with esp. if it is one I have not touched in awhile. I mean really, do I need an excuse to get creative? Twist my rubber arm…

Check out these dyed faceted quartz beads paired with sterling silver hoops. I tell you, the pictures do not do these babies justice: so pretty and sparkly!

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I also have many round 4mm dyed quartz beads. Kind of boring, you know? So I had this idea to wrap them around some memory wire  – the bracelet size – with 24ga sterling silver wire to make a fun & funky hoop earring. I have not worked in memory wire in a long time, & due to the success of this experiment I think I will be doing more projects using memory wire in this way. I can also see making some cool pendants & such as well, not just earrings!

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The hoops face back-to-front when you wear them – just like a normal pair of hoop earrings. I decided to put them on sterling silver French ear hooks (earwires) for comfort.

Finally, I really love the look of this hue of blue with white, so I wanted to make a dangly pair coupled with a freshwater pearl accent…and here you have it: 4mm dyed quartz, fiber optic cat’s eye beads and 5mm frewshwater pearls on sterling silver:

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It was really fun to work with this colour amongst all the Fall colours here in Québec…really makes me long for white sandy beaches and turquoise seas! 🙂

Jewelry Inspired: Fire Agate in Sterling Silver ~ Finding Creativity Again…

I sold my “Day of the Dead” earrings,  so I wanted to make something in replacement. I was drawn toward these faceted fire agate beads that I picked up at a Gem & Mineral Show this summer. Not exactly falling into the category of, “leftovers” but  I have been jonesing for some true creativity & inspiration lately, so I’ll take it wherever it appears!! 🙂

This always happens when I go away. While on vacation, my mind is turned on. I get lots of ideas for marketing, photography backgrounds…what I would like to make and designs…however when I sit back down at the bench my head and hands just don’t seem to be communicating. What we got here is (a) failure…to communicate… 😉

So earlier this week I sat down with the beads and some sterling silver wire. I knew that I wanted them wire wrapped, that I wanted them to be somewhat free formed and more rugged/edgy than elegant, certainly not  “perfect” – but would have a universal appeal and style. I tried a heavy gauge square wire. Then a  heavy gauge round wire. Both attempts ended up in the scrap pile. I found myself digging out the bead caps and making a simple yet beautiful pair of fire agate earrings…

The only problem is, it nagged me all night and into the morning. It’s not what I wanted to do – at all! Although they looked great it wasn’t what I was going for. So out came the nippers and cut cut cut…I dismantled them. I could have gotten two more beads out of the stash but – these were the ones I wanted to work with. So with determination I sat down again. This time with a 20 gauge round sterling wire. I was amazed at how fast and easy these worked up:

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These earrings were such a joy to make. They were truly meant to be. They also reminded me to never give up – and to never settle. The creativity will come back…it always does… 🙂

Artist Inspired: Amethyst/Citrine Rough Cut Necklace by mcstoneworks

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a great stone or mineral sample. My jaw dropped when I saw this necklace made with rough cut amethyst & citrine by Michele Carte of mcstoneworks. This piece combines my love of jewelry and stone specimens all in one! I absolutely love seeing these gemstones in all their natural beauty. A piece like this I would love to examine up close!

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When I inquired about the piece, Michele, a fellow SATeamer, replied,

“I found the amethyst/citrine rough cut beads at a gem and mineral show. I couldn’t put them down. They were just so beautiful in their natural rough state. I decided to use a simple design so the focus was on the rough cut stones. I didn’t want to detract from them. This design is quite different from most of my other pieces.”


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Michele has been designing jewelry for about 3 years, and I think I am drawn to her work because she too is inspired by nature (on a side note: Michele & I share the same birthday of April 22nd. So it’s no wonder to me why we are so drawn to nature ~ April 22nd after all, is Earth Day & makes us the very earthy sign of Taurus. :)).

“Most of the pieces I design are inspired by some aspect of nature. I use a lot of flowers, and leaves in my work. My husband and I own an interior plantscaping company so my designs are a natural extension of my love for plants and flowers. I also like flower gardening.”

See Michele’s other nature inspired pieces in her Etsy Shop. I also really like her resin flower jewelry!


Artist Inspired: Mother and Child Pendant by Dianne Karg Baron

When I joined the Starving (Jewelry) Artists Etsy Street Team last year, one artist that caught my attention right away was Dianne Karg Baron. Her wire work is absolutely perfect: the attention to detail & craftsmanship is second to none & the designs truly inspire me. I knew that I had to have an example of her work featured here for future reference. Although there are several other pieces that are far more intricate, I was totally drawn to this pendant entitled: Mother & Child.

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I chalked up my intense interest in this pendant as the result of being a young mother, having given birth twice in an 18 month period. Then Dianne shared the background on this design, and it was then that  I understood why this particular piece held such a powerful energy:

“…And sometimes, the inspiration for a piece comes from an episode in my own life. In the case of “Mother and Child”, it was a miscarriage. Back in May, I discovered I was pregnant. It was a surprise pregnancy – completely unexpected. On the Monday I took the test, had a positive result. On Wednesday I went to my family doctor to get the process of finding an OB started and to schedule an ultrasound. On Thursday I started bleeding… After a couple of hours of sitting in Emergency, I had some tests and was sent home with the advice to come back if it got heavier. On Saturday, I started cramping severely, went back to Emergency and miscarried while waiting for a second set of test results.

It all happened so fast that I barely had time to wrap my head around the idea. Originally, I had planned on delaying doing the pregnancy test until Thursday, and then got impatient. It occurred to me that if I had followed through on the original plan, I would have never known I was pregnant.

I knew the chances of going full term were slim: I have underlying health issues that would have made for a very difficult pregnancy. So, the miscarriage wasn’t a surprise, but I was still sad. More than anything, it made me wish I’d met my husband 10 years earlier.

I’m of the opinion that every pregnancy is a soul connection between the mother and the child. That connection continues regardless if the pregnancy is terminated, miscarried or goes full term. Part of my grieving process has been to think in terms of still being “Mommy” to an angel who didn’t quite make it to Earth.

The pendant is my expression of that soul connection: it clearly shows the baby growing safe and secure in its mother’s belly. The foetus is abstract, and to my view, also looks a little like an angel wing. So my hope is that it works on both levels: celebrating the ones who join us, and remembering the ones who are growing up on the other side.”

When I received this background on the pendant, I found myself welling up with tears. I wanted it to remain in Dianne’s words rather than edited as I am sure many women will be touched and even comforted by her story. This piece is a true testament of how we can use our creative abilities to heal & inspire others.

Dianne has been making and designing jewelry for almost 15 years. She finds her inspiration from art, from architecture, from nature, from history – and of course, from personal experience. See more of Dianne’s work, including tutorials, at her Etsy Shop & visit her website.