Monday, November 29, 2010

A medieval tradition among the Troubador poets of Provance equated the hunt of the hart (male deer) with the hunt of the heart(pursuit of the beloved [or love itself] by the lover).

In Medieval times, the hart was a highly respected animal, and had great symbolic and mythological significance. It was often compared to Christ for its suffering; a well-known story tells of how St. Eustace was converted to Christianity by seeing a crucifix between the antlers of a stag while hunting. Images of the stag dominate historical texts, testifying to the prominence of the deer in culture. It signified royalty, and only kings and the aristocracy were allowed to hunt for this magnificent animal.

It's hard to come up with words to describe this necklace. Honey-colored tumbled agate and bold rounds of red agate accent a breathtaking hand-carved stag pendant. The wire wrapping for this piece is in anti-tarnish 18 gauge brass wire, and the individual yellow agate beads are also wrapped with brass wire. The pendant features a stag in flight, bounding over the land, full of grace and power. It is rendered in a medieval style image, and, sadly, the photos do not give it justice. The earrings are matching red agate rounds, with luminous yellow tumbled agate on brass kidney wires. I will be sad to part with it, but it will be a great addition to the wardrobe of just the right lady.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From Concept to Creation....

i love custom orders at laurastaley.etsy.comcustom orders at

My newest creation was a fun collaboration between a beautiful bride and myself. After creating her bridesmaids' necklaces for her September wedding, we started to work on her bridal necklace (still under construction) and a necklace originally for her rehearsal dinner, but now to be worn as a statement piece at a friends wedding.

The color palette includes coral, green, champagne, crystal, pink, and cream. Wired gemstone and glass flowers have been on the top of my list for creating for a while, and with her own hand drawn design concept in hand, plus a nod to her bridesmaid necklaces, I created a handful of flowers, wired them to an anti-tarnish trellis of sorts, and nestled them in between juicy apple-green and other czech glass "leaves". Strawberry quartz is the focal color, with a central flower and "buds" hanging from the crystal leaf vines, and accents of crystal, seed beads, and organza round out the design. I'm really pleased with the result, and, more importantly, so is the bride!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ariel's treasure lost but now found...

custom orders for sea shell necklace laurastaley.etsy.comThis necklace was a custom creation commissioned by a pretty lady in Texas for a beach-themed formal event. The trick was to make flowers, but keep it beachy. So, why not use beachy to make the flowers? I was up for it.

The natural beauty and colors of these shells and coral are what makes the necklace. They're showcased in all their glory, and highlighted by gold, czech glass and recycled "sea glass" beads. These beads are not sea glass, but recycled glass designed to LOOK like real sea glass. They're also available in cobalt, which is a very rare sea glass color, and very beautiful.

The conch-like shell at the bottom is wrapped around the top with glass and pearls to tie it in with the focal "flower" and gold heishi plays hide-and-seek with different loose beads for extra sparkle. Closeup photos of this necklace set can be viewed in my "sold items" portfolio in my Etsy shop, here.

sea shell flower necklace at
I really should take the time to learn the names of these beautiful shells, and go to the local shell conventions that showcase and sell these treasures from the deep. I'd like to use them in future creations. The textures and colors are striking, and will be sure to start conversation wherever they are worn, don't you think so?
sea shell earrings and necklace set

If you are interested in a creation all your own, please contact me through my Etsy shop, click "Request Custom Item" or this link.

Friday, June 18, 2010

WOWsers, now THAT's a STATEMENT necklace!

tangled chain necklaces by laurastaley.etsy.comcustom order tangled chain necklaces

I had the opportunity recently to work with a lovely Etsy customer from California. I had at first bid on making a blue agate tangled chain necklace for her, which I completed in April. Check it out! Then she requested another tangled chain necklace, this time in bright, cheery, summery colors. I was thrilled! the hunt for the perfect beads turned up some sunshine yellow and apple green dyed magnesite, and when complementary beads were added, WOW!! Where the first
necklace was silver, gold, and gunmetal, this one has no antiqued finishes at all. There's a double pendant, for balance, and big bold chains everywhere. I really liked the finished product.

My lovely customer was invited to be a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding, so another statement necklace was in order. This time, we went over the top. 8 strands of glass pearls, rhinestones, and amethysts are woven into a 4-strand braid, with 18mm rhinestone balls entwined in the mix. A rhinestone and pearl brooch accents the side, and the sides are silver satin ribbon. Under the main swag of the necklace are two additional strands, one with faceted crystal beads, and one with silver glass pearls. On the bottom pearl strand are vintage chandelier crystals. Their brilliance and flash were fantastic!

These are the boldest statement necklaces I've made to date. Weighing in at 1 1/2 pounds, the pearl one is by far the largest! When I jumped back into jewelry three years ago, I never anticipated these babies! I think that's why custom orders are so fun. You get to know someone, their tastes, and you see things through their eyes. By learning about the statement or vision they are trying to create, you get to participate in their special event, and sometimes it's the most important day of their lives. It's a very gratifying experience!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

braided pearl bridesmaid necklace
A June Bride
A June bride
Blushes with a light rouge
Butterflies fill her stomach
As she awaits the moment
Of destiny before her.
Her train of white
Buries the room like snow.
Her smile makes the
Room glisten.
She takes a deep
Breath as the time
Soon comes,
To join the man
of her dreams
In Holy eternity.

By TheFuzzyOne (About TheFuzzyOne)

© 2002 TheFuzzyOne (All rights reserved)

These braided pearl bridesmaids' necklace sets were commissioned by a lovely bride through Etsy's "Alchemy." Etsy has a great forum for submitting any request for handmade goods under the sun (you can't imagine the requests I've seen!) and artisans like me lurk there to bid on the custom work opportunity. Thankfully, my customers can also request a custom item directly on my front page in my shop, here. The color palette for these necklaces was "warm, with some chocolate," and with the variety of glass pearls available, easily found by a search through Etsy's sellers. Dark and light chocolate, gold, champagne, ivory and cream glass pearls create an eye-popping symphony of warm, sensual colors that will complement the groomsmen's cummerbunds and highlights in the floral arrangements. The combination is luscious and warm. Gold chain and rings provided the structure for supporting the pearl braid, and a lobster claw clasp kept the necklaces adjustable "just in case." The earrings echo the style of the dangle attached to the extender, and feature hand forged wires.

Working with brides is very exciting, because I feel like I'm participating in their big day, though vicariously. Making their jewelry is a joyous event, and an investment of time well worth the effort. Best wishes to Meagan, and her husband-to-be!!

Pearl bridesmaid necklace sets

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A little Glitz and Glamour goes a long way....

One of my favorite things to do is work with brides on their wedding and attendant jewelry. Recently, I've had the pleasure of working with a lovely local bride who is getting married this Friday in St. Augustine, Florida. She was looking for a bracelet to match the pattern in the sash on her dress, and wanted to have as much sparkle as possible. She sent me photos of the sash, and we agreed to meet at the bridal store so I could take a look.

My husband is always saying "Brevity is the soul of wit," and with my tendency to be long-winded, that's not always a welcome contribution to our conversations, but in this instance, as in many, many others, he was totally right. The bride's dress was simple, with clean lines and beautiful sea shell ivory silk, and absolutely devastatingly beautiful on her! I made some notes, measured her wrist, we talked a little about the styles she liked, she showed me some pictures, and I left to work on her creation. I'll admit, at first I was a little overwhelmed with the task. After looking around, we settled on a design that mirrored the little rosettes in the sash, as well as on the bustle leading down the back of the dress from the bodice to the end of the train.

Here the the finished product. Crystal clusters are alternated with Swarovski crystal rhinestone balls, and accented by crystal spacers. Each is an individually wired segment, ending at a beautiful 4 strand sterling silver clasp. I'm not much of a photographer, but I'm hoping you can see for yourself how it turned out. The bride was thrilled, and that's good enough for me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carnaval...Dancing Quartz, Agate and Sodalite necklace set

Experience the fun and frivolity of Carnaval with this quartz, agate and sodalite set. The huge seafoam green dyed quartz pendant (a whopping 60mm!) is accented by sodalite, marbled with navy blue, echoed with colonial agate, and surrounded by swirls of tiny droplets of agate and sodalite. You'll find yourself dancing in spite of yourself!

The development of this necklace was so much fun. I've begun a new proces of designing, where each element comes together and ruminates for a while, then is created. I have project bags littering my worktable, awaiting the birth process. Stay tuned! More coming soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A spring bouquet bursting into bloom...

I was recently asked to design a statement necklace for Beth Anderson, the lovely Editor-in-chief of Chic Galleria. Beth is being featured this week in an article about statement necklaces on, the online presence of Lucky Magazine (link to the article). At first, I wasn't aware that the article was on statement pieces; the necklace was already in her hands and had been worn in her photo shoot by Photographer Jill Solomon. When she mentioned it, I was really glad I'd spent the hours putting it together!

Unless you're like the groundhog, who only checks above ground to see if spring is coming, you're already aware that metal flowers and anything floral are hot-hot-hot this season, so when putting this one together I worked with Beth's stated preference for gold, and incorporated the flower theme. Rose gold, crystal, and pearlescent finishes are highlights that bring the whole piece together and give it a feminine softness.

On my worktable, I've been experimenting with making gemstone flowers for my upcoming bridal line, and decided to make a few to vary the materials used in the flowers on this necklace. Czech glass and mother of pearl beads, with freshwater pearl and crystal, are the components of the main focal, and enamel flowers and brass flower buds make up the remaining elements. Champagne crystal and pearlescent czech rounds give the necklace a soft glow.
I'll be listing this one in my Etsy shop this week, coordinating with the publishing of the article on

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oooh La Larimar bracelets!

custom larimar bracelet by

One aspect of making jewelry is the artistry involved in finding the right look. An artist has to pick just the right pigment, paint, subject and medium for a project, and also has to feel the "vibe" of the project. The use, intent and feel of the item has to match with the materials, colors, and textures used. Likewise with a jewelry designer; both painting and jewelry piece are a form of artistic expression.

This is the first prototype of a Larimar multiple bracelet commission by a lovely bride on Etsy. It features a Thai silver starfish by Aardvark Silver on Etsy, and Larimar from Szarka at Magpie Gemstones. The bracelet is a 3-strand treasure trove of ocean bounty, with recycled glass, mother-of-pearl, shell and a mix of gorgeous ocean colored seed beads. For sparkle, I added some 4mm sterling silver beads. The result? well, it speaks for itself. I think Hans Christian Anderson's "Little Mermaid" is missing something from her jewelry box, don't you think?

larimar and recycled glass with pearls by