Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello everyone, how have you been this week? Last weekend was a bit damp, but I'm hoping that this one will be better as my garden is crying out for weeding and planting into the bare spots where the frost has killed off my perennials. A trip to the garden centre is written in my stars (as well as a massive bill). A lot of our garden is permanently in dappled shade and it is quite a challenge to find plants that flourish there and are disliked by the slugs and snails that love shady, wet corners.
The necklace I made this week was commissioned by my bestie - she walked around a market in Boston, USA, and saw a necklace that she fell in love with but walked away from because she is a careful buyer and doesn't impulse buy like the rest of us (me). She used to drive me crazy when we went shopping as young women, with her shopping technique. 'I want this one, but in another colour and another print, in a different material,' was the constant refrain. She took a grainy picture of the necklace and sent it to me - could I make one like it, please? I do not like to copy another person's work, however, this was basically a string of interesting beads, and the challenge was to identify the beads, find them, and then restring them for her. And so the work/fun began.
She told me that the beads were a really pretty shade of pink. I guessed that they were most likely rhodochrosite, although her dreadful photograph was pretty inconclusive, so I sent her pictures of the beads I found. I got a question in return - why rhodochrosite and not rhodonite? What was the difference?
Obviously, as a scientist and researcher, she wasn't going to take my word for it; thankfully I knew the answer.
Both rhodochrosite and rhodonite are predominately pink. What sets them apart visually tends to be the veining and banding. With pink rhodochrosite, white or gray bands typically run across the stone. They tend to be mainly parallel to one another. Pink rhodonite, on the other hand, has dramatic black smudges. Rhodonite commonly has a notable matrix of black manganese oxide, which contrasts dramatically against the pink. While there is some veining, it doesn’t tend to create the distinct parallel lines one finds in rhodochrosite.
The next task was to actually find the right beads - I hunted high and low - shops in India, China and the USA were scoured for these beads at a reasonable price. I even bought some from China, but they were the wrong size and have since been used in another piece, Melange. I looked on Etsy but the prices were prohibitive. Eventually I found a string of beads at a wholesaler in Oregon, USA and had them sent out to my friend, who thankfully said that she approved! Now we had to find a way of getting them to me, and the finished necklace back to her. Fortunately, she found someone who works in the UK, but was going to conference in the US in April who kindly agreed to carry them to me.
Pushpa's Pink Necklace
I added a few chunky, rough nuggets of strawberry quartz, a couple of silver tone beads that ought to age and tarnish well with time and a rhodochrosite seahorse clasp that has been sitting in my stash for a few years now. This was not part of the original remit, of course, so I was careful to make the piece so that the clasp could work to one side, should she wish, or at the back if not. I'm quietly confident that she will like the clasp, however, it can always be changed if she doesn't.
To my mind, one doesn't go to a jewellery designer for an 'ordinary string of beads kinda necklace!' There has to be something that sets my pieces apart from the run of the mill, and it would grieve me to be accused of being that. The clasp has been cut so that part of the ring is slimmer than the rest, so that it fits easily under the chin of the seahorse, and once it is in place, the ring is turned so that the necklace remains secure due to the weight of the beads and because the thicker part of the ring cannot escape from under the hook/chin.
So, what d'you think? Will she like it? Do you?
I've also been sewing beads onto my next piece, a few at a time. For the first time, I had a design in mind when I started, and drew it out onto the felt - much good that did me, though, because I've already altered it thrice since I started! I might have it ready for display in a couple of weeks. For some reason, I've picked pink as the predominant colour once again. However, I have a cunning plan to water down the 'pinkness' of it so it doesn't look too girly - this is most definitely a grown up's necklace.
Have a wonderful weekend, folks, and I'll catch up with you later.