What Inspires You for Jewelry?

Just what is it that inspires you, when it comes to making jewelry?  Is it color?  A pattern on a piece of fabric?  Something from nature?  Perhaps found objects?

I did something yesterday that I rarely do -- went to the beach.  Even though I live fairly close to the Florida coast, I prefer quiet beaches; and around here, they are crowded on weekends.

But yesterday, hubby and I drove about 50 miles north and found a beautiful little beach that had few people (even on a hot sunny Saturday in May).  And wonder of wonders, there were seashells -- more than I had ever imagined.  This little stretch of beach had Sanibel Island (a world-famous shelling location) beat, hands down!

But I'm getting away from myself.  What I'm getting at is that looking at the shells, in their varied color combinations and shapes, I picked up a few (ok, quite a bit more than a few) to take home.  Some were solely based on wonderful color combos.  Others because their beautiful shapes would look wonderful in jewelry.

But these shells are inspiring me to color combinations I might not have otherwise selected.  Ideas for designs that are off my beaten path (i.e. more than just peyote).

In my case, it was a combination of color and form that has inspired me.  What is it that inspires you?

If you find your jewelry is lacking a spark these days, why not get outdoors and look around?  Maybe there are flowers or trees or even lowly mushrooms that give you ideas that are a little outside your normal work, be it color, format or some combination.

What’s Up With Jewelry?

I got to thinking about what's up with jewelry the other day.  We've run into some chilly weather and it's too soon to start the veggie garden.  Time for jewelry, perhaps?

The Curse of the Peyote

I should say organic peyote, because regular peyote is pretty easy to teach.  After I finished up my viking knit tutorial, I decided to start on one for free-form organically-designed peyote.  But here's the problem; how can I teach something that I do on a whim?  And how do I provide a pattern for something really free-form?

sculptural-peyote-bracelet-closeupSo I've been trying to come up with some patterns that are free-form enough to get you started, along with one that falls into the "Wow, where did you get that!" category.

I'm thinking about a pair of earrings (basic freeform), a pendant (a little more challenging) and then a knock-em-out bracelet.

Stay tuned -- I'm still working on it!

Another Jewelry Auction Site

I came across another jewelry auction site that looked rather interesting.  And while they don't have a ton of hand-made jewelry, they do have some nice pieces with precious gems -- amethyst, opal, etc.

Anyway, right now they have a $25 coupon -- $25 off your first purchase.  And yes, there are plenty of items for $40 and under, so you stand a chance of getting something really nice for a great price (the word "free" comes to mind). So, go on and check it out and get your $25 off coupon.

Bidz - CPS $25 Coupon

Viking Knit In Sterling

I made a really pretty necklace in sterling silver for a gift and darn -- I forgot to get a photo before I sent it off!  I'll see if the recipient will be so kind as to take a photo and send it on to me.

I made it with 24 g sterling wire, dead soft.  Ohhh, was it ever nice to work with!  Dead soft copper is pretty decent but the silver was even easier to work with.  At any rate,  I made it in a single knit, using 6 petals.  It ended up substantial, but still had a bit of a lacy look to it -- very nice, if I do say so myself. 

Of course I made the end caps, from 18 g sterling.  I went rummaging around and found some sterling beads, around 12mm that had been sitting around for a few years.

I finished with an S-hook clasp I made from 18 g sterling.  I made it a little fancier by wrapping it with 26 g sterling wire.  Had to end up using my hammer a little to harden it up some, but it was stiff enough to be safe.

Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough sterling left over to make myself a necklace.  Unless maybe I use some of my lampwork to add to the length some.  Hmmm -- maybe it's time to fire up the torch again!

Vintage Costume Jewelry Necklace – Redoux

OK, I took a little detour from my previous post, where I talked about what I planned to do with memory wire toe rings and vintage jewelry.  I prepared some Christmas bracelets for my friends using memory wire, then decided it was time to try my hand at vintage jewelry redoux, making a necklace.  So let's take a look at the overall process.

(Yes, I do have a photo, but read what I did before you look at the bottom of the post.)

Dismantling the Old Jewelry

The first step in the process is dismantling the old necklaces.  I chose some vintage faux pearl and bead necklaces that weren't signed (except for the one marked "Hong Kong") and took them apart.

The faux pearls were different colors; some white, some cream.  So I put these two in different plastic bags (plastic sandwich bags if you must know) to see how much of each color I had.

I also snipped off and undid the clasps.  Actually, only one clasp from the four necklaces was worth keeping, so that was the one I used.  But there were some goldtone findings (bead caps, small rondells) from one necklace I kept -- they went into another small baggie.

Picking the Vintage Costume Jewelry Components

I had an idea of what I wanted, so I went rummaging around in my other vintage costume jewelry for the focal component of the necklace.  Ah hah!  Something I had found at one of my flea market finds; it would be perfect for the focal.

The focal had some marcasite-look to it, so I had to then look around in my sterling findings for some rondells that would match the look.  At this point, I don't have enough vintage rondells in the antiques silver color I needed, so I had to dip into less vintage findings.  Although I will say, the findings I used were pretty much at least 6 years old...  😉

Adding Newer Pearls as Necessary

I mentioned that I had to add some sterling from my own non-vintage stock, and I had to do the same for the faux pearls.  I just didn't have enough of the white vintage faux pearls to make the double-strand necklace, so I improvised.  I had some white faux pearls I bought around 6 years ago, so I used those as fillers where necessary.

One day I will have enough of the various vintage pearl/bead colors to make what I envision without using not-quite-vintage parts as fillers, but for now, well, I do what I have to do.  And meanwhile I search ebay for the vintage beads and findings I want and need.

Vintage Costume Jewelry Redoux Necklace

Vintage Costume Jewelry Redoux Necklace

Finishing it Off

Now it was a matter of attaching the necklace to the vintage clasp.  When originally taking apart the clasp, I noted that the old construction used bead tips, so that's what I figured I'd use for this construction.  And it worked out beautifully! 

And that's something I want to mention -- look at how the vintage necklace was constructed, before you take it apart.  Does it use bead tips?  If not, how is it attached to the clasp?  Are there any unusual construction techniques used to make it a little different?

So now you see my vintage costume jewelry necklace, redoux style.

Finding Your Own Vintage Beads, Components and Findings

I like perusing ebay for my vintage costume jewelry beads, components and findings.  So here's a [nmslink:vintage jewelry lot, larger list of vintage beads and such] to redoux.  And below is a small sample of what you can see available.

Happy hunting!

[nms:vintage jewelry lot,7,0,5]

Beaded Jewelry: Something Old, Something New

One thing about beaded jewelry fascinates me, and that is what's new is also what's old.  I guess it's the same for fashion in general, but beaded work certainly.

I've mentioned that I've been haunting the vintage costume jewelry auctions on ebay, looking for both vintage jewelry and for inspiration.  I'm amazed at home some seed bead jewelry from the 40's and 50's looks like some of the lovely work I see today.

Seed bead jewelry often gets a bad rap; somehow it's seen as inferior.  Maybe because the beads are so tiny? Let me tell you, it certainly hasn't been that way in the past!  I've seen loads of gorgeous vintage jewelry that have seed beads are a good portion of their make up.

I also have gotten a chuckle out of larger beads in general.  There are oceans of pretty beaded "strung" jewelry from the 50s, 60s and 70s.  Nothing fancy, just pretty beads, albeit usually in double or triple strand necklaces.

And I somehow got the impression that memory wire bracelets were a recent invention.  Nope, I've seen flocks of wrap bracelets go by in the auctions.  Not to mention some of the costume jewelry books.

Beaded Necklace With Pendant (Un-named as yet)

Beaded Necklace With Pendant (Click to Enlarge)

Yep, what goes around, comes around.  Any way you look at it, beaded jewelry in one form or another is here to stay!

Something New, Inspired By Something Old

I finally finished the pendant/necklace that I started during the previous post.  The project took on a life of its own, and grew from a pin to a pendant to a full triple-strand necklace with pendant.  It was at one point (if you can believe it) even more elaborate, but then I decided to back off on some of the extras.

I'm wearing it now, to check the comfort level, which I find useful before trying to make other similar projects.

Because it's a test piece, I didn't go all out with supplies.  While the turquoise and Swarovski are real, a lot of the rest are "fakes".  I do have some sterling silver beads in this piece, but some of the silver is suspect (might be sterling or it might not -- hadn't labeled them well enough).

But I did find this project to be fun.  I find that I enjoy a more vintage look, and it's fun to try and re-create it using beads.

Speaking of beads, here are some lampwork offerings now showing on ebay (no, none are mine...these are just pretties).  (You can also see a [nmslink:lampwork beads sra blue,more complete listing here].

DARK RED NUGGET Beads  Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
DARK RED NUGGET Beads Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
Time Remaining: 27d 7h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $12.00
COURAGE Handmade Lampwork Glass Focal Bead Pendant Leah Nietz SRA N39
COURAGE Handmade Lampwork Glass Focal Bead Pendant Leah Nietz SRA N39
Time Remaining: 6d 7h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
DARK RED NUGGET Beads  Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
DARK RED NUGGET Beads Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
Time Remaining: 27d 7h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $12.00
IVORY SILVER DROPLET NUGGET Beads  Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
IVORY SILVER DROPLET NUGGET Beads Lampwork Glass sra tiny faceted rocks
Time Remaining: 27d 7h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $12.00
Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Time Remaining: 6d 14h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $14.40

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