One of my favorite types of jewelry pieces to create is one that has personal meaning and significance to the wearer. I love receiving those special components and being directed to create something beautiful from them. The above is a clergy necklace I created with such special parts.
Here are some details: The above piece contains gemstones from Capernaum, where Jesus walked, his own town. These types of beads are commonly referred to as ‘Beggar’s Beads’, a name which has its own interesting story worth looking up. The other beads are made of sustainable olive wood, from fallen branches, from Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The olive branch and wood, also has historical Christian significance as a symbol of peace. And the cross was another gift from a traveler on a pilgrimage to the holy land, made of olive wood, it’s design and composition also with a greater meaning.
One might see why combining these specific beads and cross together would have a meaningful significance for a clergy person, or Christian. Gifts that have an extra reason for being special are always more appreciated.
What are some of your favorite special pieces?
If you have any special parts that you’d like made into a piece of personal significance, that’s something I do.
Contact me with a special request at my online web shop, tweet me, or send me a fb message:
For years I’ve had these smaller pendants that I was going to use in a matching gemstone necklace, someday, but never quite got around to it. They are delicate and, well, charming. But, they are not quite large enough to stand alone as a focal pendant.
So, I decided to put them all together on my redwood beads. It is lightweight and displaying the pendants all together makes the necklace and pendants much more interesting than each as a solo piece.
Creating a charm necklace is also a great way to use up single stone beads or solo beads. Just make a pendant out of the bead and add to an already existing necklace or create a new setting for them.
Another great thing about this idea, is that it keeps all your keepsakes in one place. Those special memories will have a new home that is much more wearable than each alone. Go ahead, free the charms and smaller pendants from your jewelry box and create a charm necklace to remember and wear.
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It is not often that I will see a natural sardonyx, in bead form. I think this is one of those gemstones that doesn’t usually get properly identified, as for the strong resemblance to carnelian and orange banded agate. Sardonyx is a combination of chalcedony, sard and onyx. It’s a beautiful gem with much lore and many different thoughts on gemological classification.
This particular stone was even more interesting than the usual in shape and cleave points. The facets are unevenly cut, probably due to the fracture points within the stone. Personally, I have had a few unplanned shapes come out of a stone while cutting during my own lapidary art creations.
When working with an interesting shaped, rare stone, there can be some challenges. In this bead the shape, size and weight had to be considered. It was obviously made to be a focal. Due to its hardness (sturdiness), I chose the sardonyx for a bracelet.
I did not use a traditional color match, this is a stone that should stand out.
I decided to create the design, like I usually do, by matching gemstone/gemology properties. As usual, the stones resonated very well together and when the piece was finished, seemed as if it was always meant to be this way. It is very attractive in sunlight. Maybe I’ll get a better picture on here when the sun returns…
For the band, I used chrysoprase barrel stones, bloodstone rondelles, chrysocolla round and two rose quartz ovals.
Can you guess the energy/purpose of this piece?
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I promised one of the kindest most creative kids I know that I’d post this pattern to share with the world. We hope you enjoy it 🙂 At the artist’s insistence, we’ve included pictures with and without the pegboard for your creating ease.
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Sometimes I am gifted with a charm or some precious stone/bead form a loved one. On those occasions like this one, I choose to use that gift opportunity to design something from my ‘odd’ bead pile for myself.
What exactly is an odd bead pile, and why should every prodigious bead jeweler have one? When buying stock for your shop, you will usually come across beads included in your order that don’t quite fit the project you are working on, or have too many ‘character flaws’ to be useful.
A gemstone or bead character flaw that contributes to its addition to the ‘odd bead’ pile is as follows:
1. Not the same size or finish as the rest of the beads in the lot. This makes that ‘odd’ bead stick out all the more.
2. Too many natural inclusions or pock marks in the stone. This can make the stone photograph poorly. Even if it is a sturdy stone, a picture could make it look as if it will break at any moment. Or, in the case of large pockets of rough pits on the stone, most likely will break.
3. Not enough of the main stone material clearly displayed in the stone. For example in the above bracelet I used faceted round red jasper beads that have too much clear quartz in them to be used as ‘red jasper’. They are mostly colorless with only a small spot of the red jasper color. This is my ‘personal’ quality control. I feel if a buyer is entrusting me as a seller to deliver a specific stone, it really needs to be that stone, and a good show of the stone as well. Certainly if every seller did this, I wouldn’t have such a large amount of unsalable stones.
4. Mis-shaped bead. If you are matching this is an issue.
5. Wrong bead hole size for current project. Sadly this happens a lot and something every beader needs to really watch out for.
6. Misplaced bead hole. Especially when working with natural gemstone beads, some bead holes will not be drilled in the optimum location or angle. This can make the bead lay awkwardly or even worse, breakable and destroy your metalwire, string, line, or make the actual bead very susceptible to breakage. Gemstone chips, or any cut other than round can be notorious for this.
7. Entirely wrong gemstone. Just because you ordered Green aventurine beads, doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll get on the whole string. Anything else could be included. And I mean anything depending on the quality of your distributor. Know your stones! This will help immensely.
8. Lastly, all those extra solo beads that didn’t make it into whatever project they were initially designed or purchased for, due to such reasons as jewelry sizing or odd counts of symmetry.
In all honesty, some of the most interesting beads end up in that ‘odd bead’ stash. Personally I love the character that those odd beads show, and as a jeweler who can fix anything that doesn’t hold up to the durability test, I don’t mind taking those chances on myself.
In the shop however, is not the place to make those risks. Bead sorting is an essential component to extend your reputation as a reliable jeweler and shop owner. Like my previous post on the importance of testing your pieces, this is also an integrity as a designer and seller issue.
So who is Kokopelli anyways?- “flute player, mythical Hopi symbol of fertility,replenishment, music, dance, and mischief” Seems a pretty perfect totem for this gal, and along with those ‘interesting character filled odd beads’… an OOAK design fit to be worn 🙂
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Rummaging through my gemstone beads, I came across some unexpected pebbled garnets that were mixed into a string of garnet chips. They were the size, shape and look of those special garnets that one might discover ‘in the wild’, in rivers, or ground. And so my inspiration was peaked. I snagged these six stones from my chips stock and began working on a new design.
Artist’s go through all sorts of processes once the inspiration spark is lit. Personally, when I am working with gemstones, cut, size, color, wearability, are all important factors, but often take secondary importance to gemstone significance. I want everything I make to have a reason, a purpose, a point to be. Because in my mind, if there is no point or purpose, well then I have no reason to make it.
So in this piece, I went with the protective, grounding energies of garnet, and matched the rest of the stones based on that purpose. The final design I came up with used: 1 black tourmaline at the base, followed by three garnet pebbles, sparkly yet extremely fragile stabilized pyrite and finished with three faceted black spinel stones, per earring post. The choice of stones gave me a fairly long and heavy earring, which is not really what I like to show in something that will be hanging from my dainty ears. I knew i might have to make some modifications with this one from my initial ideal version. because let’s face it, sometimes the greatness of our plans does not align with the practicality of our result, which is being able to wear a fabulous comfortable piece of jewelry.
With the gem design being pretty important, I knew I wanted to keep all or most of the design initially planned. Some modifications that I took in account to keep the weight down , I used a very thin gauge solid sterling silver head pin for the gems to be on. By using a lighter metal, I was not going to get the durability, but because of the weight of the stones, this helped to keep the stones strait and in place. What I mean by durability here, is that sometimes a thinner gauge wire will bend out of shape easily. Since I wanted a nice strait piece, the weight of the stones compensated for what would usually be a deal breaker in design.
Because of the thinner gauge of the choice of headpin, I also lost a bit of length capabilities and had to take out one of the stones. Originally I had planned on two black tourmaline stones for the bottom. not only was this impractical from the view of gauge capabilities, but it didn’t look right when put together. Sometimes a design will look better on the board than it does on the wire (or thread). Another great reason to test before settling.
Keeping in mind the weight of the stones, in my first version I used a heavier gauge ear wire. Notice I said first version, I’ll get back to that in a bit. But here is why I initially chose a heavier gauge earwire, logically to support a heavy material, you would assume using a heavier metal support would be ideal. This is where wear testing a piece is essential. because that perfectly created visual first version which looked spectacular, did not wear that way. If I never had the piece wear tested (by yourself or a trusted friend), I wouldn’t have realized they were uncomfortable and unwearable design.
Wear testing new designs is a great way to work out the ‘bugs’ or problems in a piece before they get associated with your name and reputation as an artist. After wear testing you might find that a piece is too heavy to be worn comfortably, as in this case.
Some other issues wear testing helps us jewelers avoid: too clunky, does not move well, moves to much, snags on something, has a sharp spot, needs more filing, stone not set properly, too small, colors not as imagined, balance is off on a necklace, does not lay right, clasp not workable, ring is too thick, stone used too large or small, etc. Basically all those little ‘details’ that you personally notice when you buy and wear jewelry, others will notice while wearing your jewelry and judge you and your jewelry on.
Be a professional in your workmanship. Whether jewelry design is your hobby, profession or solely artistry, it is always best to test your jewelry designs before selling or giving away as gifts.
So getting back to my story, what did I do in version 2 of the design to make it a success? I changed the ear wire gauge to a lighter gauge. Sometimes reality defies logic. In actuality the lighter gauge in metals matching was more important than the bulkiness of the stones matching the bulkiness of the metal gauge.
Wear testing also helps us more efficiently make our creations. What was a problem in the past, becomes easily avoidable in the future.
I hope this has inspired you to get out there, create, don’t be afraid to get messy and fail, then fix your mistakes. 🙂
Support a Vegan Artist, visit my handmade jewelry webstore at : https://www.etsy.com/shop/goodnessinthecosmos
What’s better than an ugly Christmas Sweater? Classy and elegant Christmas Jewelry that’s what! Shown above some seed beaded glass earrings I’ve finished up. This week is special gift making time. Seed beading is such a precious gift. Tiny colors of glass all woven together with bits of thread, and this is what you get! Handmade Earrings,with lots of time, energy, intention and love becomes art on your ears. Seed beading is the best jewelry gift I can give to anyone, truly. A very meticulous art of love. And with earrings, you get all that goodness twice.
Show some winter love by gifting to others. It feels good to give handmade, and hopefully to receive that love too 😉