Seven Ways to Make a Statement
Hello readers - relax now, I'm not about to give you chapter and verse on fifty ways to wear your jewellery - I wouldn't want to bore you, and besides why go for fifty when just seven will do?? I'm often told 'Oh, you can carry it off, but it would look odd on me', so I thought I'd write a few pointers down if you want to give statement jewellery a go.......
OK, homily over now, let me tell you about the pieces I made last week.
Walk on the Wild Side
This necklace is in fabulously wild fuchsia pinks, bright greens and cobalt blue - the pendant is from Afghanistan inlaid with colourful glass, complemented by polymer clay beads - little wavy chips, and a couple of faux trade beads. This is just the kind of necklace that could be paired with jeans and a tee for an afternoon at the pub, and with your LBD and Louboutins at night - a go-anywhere necklace - well, perhaps not to an office - the bells on the chain fringe of the pendant might just put your work colleagues off a bit, although they would certainly see ( hear?? ) you coming!
Since the end of the Cold War and the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a chromium bearing diopside, (originally found in eastern Siberia, close to the diamond mines) has become available as an alternative to the much more expensive emerald. The green in this stone literally glows - however, in larger sizes the tone can be very dark. Careful cutting is required in the larger sizes to keep the angles slightly shallow to maintain the colour. In smaller sizes the color is exceptionally vivid and fresh.
I found an extremely contemporary pendant, set in silver, with chromium diopside, contrasted with mystic quartz, onyx and an agate druzy, and paired it with a string of fluorite. The greens in the fluorite beads were a bit too muted, so I added another string of acid yellow tinted, tiny seed pearls and onyx beads - this seemed to lift the colour value of the necklace, and set the beautiful green in the pendant off beautifully.
Now, this one will definitely go to the office with you, as well as on an evening out. Oh, and a White Russian is someone who comes from the area of Russia now known as Belarus, and also a cocktail made of vodka, coffee liqueur and cream, or a strain of marijuana!
Timbuktu is a town in Mali in West Africa - spindle whorls are African trade beads made predominantly in Mali.
Spindle whorls have been used worldwide for thousands of years, originally as tools in the cotton spinning industry to increase or maintain the speed of spin. In more recent years they have become much sought after as interesting beads and incorporated into the very fashionable genre of 'Tribal' jewellery.
The whorls were made from clay, amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal and wood. Local materials such as chalk, limestone, mudstone, and soapstone, have been used in those found in Mali and Guinea.
Used as weights for traditional cotton spinning, the whorls are fitted at the bottom of the spindle shafts, which are used as supported spindles to spin very fine threads. The bottom tip of the shaft rests in a small bowl placed in the weavers lap or on a table to one side.
As you can imagine, the clay/wood whorls are quite heavy and can be difficult to wear in a necklace. I designed mine out of polymer clay in three pieces, joined together to make a hollow, light bead. Strung on a handmade red and gold Kumihimo braid, they make a very effective, elegant and light daytime necklace. The beads, though light and hollow are robust and give the impression of being chunky and heavy, which is an integral part of the tribal look.
These red beads with a silver motif, made of polymer clay last weekend, and the blue chips will go into a necklace next week. Polymer clay is a very addictive medium, and I am increasingly seduced by it - I love the process of working out how something is made - the more complicated the better - there is so much fun to be had!
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
Sara is a lady who draws, paints and crochets - she also runs a Flickr group to support 'quality art and handmade'. She selects five designs as her favourites of the week and allows people to vote for them on her blog. My JuJu Woman necklace was selected this week - if you have a moment to spare, do visit her site and cast me a vote in the next seven days, please. http://sara-artstudio.blogspot.co.uk/
The pictures above are, from left to right, jaggery, citrine nuggets, and brown sugar. Jaggery and brown sugar are cane sugar with a higher content of molasses than white sugar - this makes the partially refined sugar moister. Jaggery is sold in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, and I have seen it piled high in the Asian shops in the UK just before Asian festivals, and sold in 5 kilo doorstop sized lumps wrapped in jute sacks.
My mother always had some in her pantry, and as children, we would sneak in and steal a few chunks, stuffing them into our mouths with a handful of raisins and cashew nuts and run into the garden, before we were caught and given a good hiding for our trouble. It is no wonder then, that I love citrine nuggets - they remind me of my childhood.
I have come to the sad conclusion that I am a bit of a glutton - I often describe beautifully marked gemstones as 'almost edible', though why anyone would choose to eat a stone is beyond me. It may be because I fall in love with the gemstone on the basis that more than one sense is excited - it not only looks good, but it looks like it might taste good! I do, however, stop short of actually putting them in my mouth - even though they have no calories.
When I made this necklace with citrine nuggets, all I could think of was brown sugar, no other name seemed to fit -so, that's what I called it.
I have had the carnelian leaf pendant in my collection for ages, as well as the opalite leaf in the next piece I am going to show you. The waxy translucence of the carnelian seemed to go perfectly with the crystalline structure of the citrine.
The opalite leaf in the next piece glows as if it has been touched by the light of the moon. I teamed it with faceted blue chalcedony and banded blue agate - I made the entire piece up, and then felt that the leaf, on its own, was too small for the size of the stones in the necklace, so I unpicked the whole piece, and make a wire frame for the pendant.
I had a new weave I wanted to try out, taught by a wire artisan called Mary Tucker. Her weaves have a flat appearance, almost like a woven fabric - I tried out a short segment, and when I separated the wires, I liked the result so much, I incorporated it into the frame for the pendant. Once I had enlarged the pendant, it fitted well amidst the large stones in the necklace. I originally bought the blue chalcedony because the blue reminded me of the baroque palace of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg and I remained true to that idea with the name for the necklace. Until St Petersburg, I had never seen such a brilliantly coloured palace - and it is indeed magical - I was there so many years ago, but have never forgotten its beauty.
Some beads are too pretty to languish in a dark corner, and these Nepalese wooden beads, as well as the coral, fall into that category. The coral has been dyed black - it is illegal to make jewellery out of real black coral, as it is a protected species by international law. These tear drops are made of sponge coral, which is from a sustainable source, and dyed black. Nevertheless, the tear drops are very pretty, and I have tried to use them to their best effect in this necklace. The origin of the name is Arabic where it means 'dark as the night, and mysterious', but when I dug a bit further, it would appear that the Urban Dictionary has claimed it as a noun - the definition of 'a laila' is interesting, to say the least.
I love agate beads that have markings on them - they are so delicate, it is almost impossible to believe that this artistry is wrought by nature. With these waxy translucent whisper pink Dragon's vein agate beads, I found it easy to design a piece adding just a soupçon of bling - a couple of magenta agate beads and a carved amethyst dragon bead, a few spacers - and there it was - the colours remind me of a fuchsia.
Fuchsias have always brought to mind a lady in a ball gown being twirled around in a fast quickstep that imbues her antebellum gown with a life of its own, ballooning around her, so her ankles and delicate dancing slippers are visible .
Thanks for stopping by my blog folks, I hope you have enjoyed this weeks efforts. Catch you next week, same time, same place
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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