Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Caribbean Blue Larimar is an eye-pleasing treat!

I think I fell in love with Larimar the first time that I saw it. My first experience with Larimar was a click on a new listing on Etsy's main page. The listing was for a Larimar and coin pearl necklace that had other beautiful elements, and I was entranced. Since I make jewelry (can you guess?) I didn't automatically purchase it, but I should have. After researching a little about this beautiful stone, I came to like it even more. Mined ONLY in the Dominican Republic, on ONE dormant volcano, Larimar's pure blue tones remind me of the beautiful waters of the Caribbean. I can't get enough of it!

Wikipedia describes Larimar as " rare blue variety of pectolite," which makes it related to other intriguing stones like prehite, serpentine, and calcite, as well as sugilite. They're crystalline, and the splinters of it are brittle. This makes me think that maybe it is also related to Kyanite. I have an intriguing specimin that I plan to use as a pendant very soon.

This two-strand necklace has a sterling silver wire-wrapped bail and mount, with silver spacer beads and smoky quartz to bring out the rich blue color. Matching earrings, as always, round out the set.

Owning a necklace set made with Larimar is like owning a part of the sky. It's easy to catch yourself staring at it, trying to absorb it's cool blue-ness. It's absolutely mesmerizing! See it in person and tell me you don't agree. Larimar just makes you want to drink it in, like a tall glass of ice water on a summer day in Florida. Spectacular!

If you want to read more about Larimar, there's an incredible article from the Lapidary Journal, here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here comes the bride....

My latest bridal collection was an alchemy bid that I won wayyyyy back in May. I'm so happy when brides plan ahead of time, because then I can make the most of my connections to get just the right materials. I probably went to 4 beads shows to get the elements that I used for this one, plus purchased supplies from Etsy sellers, too. To get closer-up photos of the whole set, you can click this link to go to the "sold" listing in my shop.

The bride was wearing a Maggie Sottero gown, here, in champagne or ecru satin, and was looking for "something like" the model's jewelry in the photo. I picked up some micro-faceted champagne-colored crystal globes, ecru and bronze glass pearls, and some other faceted czech glass beads in an iridescent, not quite AB, finish. Then I fashioned the Japanese lantern-style bead clusters with swarovski crystal, 4mm glass pearls, and AB delicas in addition to the bronze glass pearls. All of the metal, with the exception of the 26G wire used on the clasp and the lantern beads, is sterling silver. The set includes a two-strand necklace, a three-strand bracelet, and matching earrings. These photos are really bad. I had a friend lined up to take some in her studio, but I didn't have time for a break, since my customer was getting married Nov. 7, and I had to get them in the mail.

The flower girls have sets that are similar to the bride's, as they're wearing similar colors. I used the same glass pearls, crystals, and hand-wired segments. the pendant is a link with a perforated bead disc, like the bridesmaids' earrings, but with a flat back. The glass pearl teardrop adds a little drama and glamor. The earrings are teardrops on standard ear wires. Nice and simple, but really dainty and feminine. The clasps have chains that can adjust up to 15 inches or so as the girls grow. Hopefully they can continue to wear them for a long time. I think they'd make great First Communion or Confirmation jewelry, or jewelry for a christening, don't you think?

The attendants' ensembles were fun, too. I've posted previously about the copper-dipped Maple leaves, and here is the result. Aventurine in peach, yellow, red and white was mixed with goldstone and toffee-colored faceted crystal to reflect the glory of fall leaves and color.

The earrings were created with similar materials, in addition to a 6mm goldstone focal bead, and copper foil-lined "e" beads around the outside for sparkle. They're mounted on the same vintage-style elements as the flower girl pendants, this time with ear posts. There's also a tiny copper maple leaf peeking out from under the beads on the earrings. I'm hoping the bridesmaids will get wear out of these necklaces for many different occasions besides the wedding. The bride was careful to make sure that the design we settled on would last for all of her attendants.

There's always a bit of anxiety when your creation leaves your hands. Will the customer be pleased? Is it exactly what she was hoping? Will the item fit? Match? Get there in one piece? All of those questions swirl around in my head while I'm waiting for the customer's feedback. So, when she wrote a couple of days ago, my sigh of relief was heard all over the house. Here's what she wrote:

WOW words can't describe how perfect everything is! Sorry it took me a while to let you know I got them, things have been crazy. The bridal necklace is so perfect. I could never have imagined anything like that. The design and scale are perfect for the dress. The bridesmaids necklaces are so awesome in person! I know the girls will love them. The flower girl necklaces are adorable! They will be so excited to have something pretty like the big girls.

Laura I'm so happy. This is just the perfect touch. I'll have plenty of pictures for you, I know they will be gorgeous! Thank you so much!
I just had to crow about that. Custom work is very rewarding for me. I spend a WHOLE lot of time on it, and nromally for sweatshop-style wages, but it's fun, and I get to be a part of someone's special story. It's like writing a page or a chapter in a book. I like it very much.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And the feathers were flying....

Had some fun recently with some Pheasant feathers! A lovely Etsy customer contacted me to commission a necklace that featured these beautiful orange-tipped feathers. I was intrigued by the design, and set to work. She sent 9-10 feathers for me to work with, and they were all just gorgeous! I chose 7 of them to mount onto the necklace, and she'll have the rest to use as replacements if the original ones are damaged in any way. What a fun project!

The front part of the necklace has a chain that features antique gold finish leaves, and chain. a center piece of chain also runs across the front. The sides of the necklace are hand-wired with round onyx beads and matching chain links. The wire used for mounting the feathers is Artistic wire, in a bronze finish. I completed the set with earrings that are descending clusters of onyx, hung on short pieces of the leaf chain that stretches across the middle of the front of the necklace. Since the necklace is a long 32", I skipped the clasp.