No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,
This is one of my all time favourites and I named a necklace after it - I sold two in a royal blue, and decided to make another to use up the left over spacers. This one was in a pretty peacock blue with an Aurora Borealis finish - I called it Beguiled!
( didn't think it would be quite right to call it Bothered or Bewildered )
This is probably one of the few pieces I can remake easily - I know the bead sizes, the sizes of the spacers, where to source them from, and the exact numbers of the beads required to make it all written down - so, I shall make it from time to time in different colours - my threshold for boredom is very low! so it will have to be different in some way.
The Aurora Borealis (AB) finish is where a crystal has been coated on the outside, covering about half the crystal face. When the crystal is turned, you can see the colour of the crystal on one side and the AB finish on the other. The more facets the crystal has, the better the effect, and a rainbow effect appears when the bead is turned.
I just love this finish, and buy most of my crystal with it - they are usually a little more expensive than normal crystal, but the shine is worth it. Unfortunately my photography skills have not kept up with my magpie skills - so I get a bit frustrated - but I really cannot find the time to read the entire manual of my little camera (which is larger than the camera), anyway, it all reads like Double Dutch to my simple mind.
So, my plan is to lie in wait till some unsuspecting person walks through the door who can teach me a thing or two about the camera, arm wrestle them to the ground, and make them divulge .....or else!
The lady who bought Bewitched took one look at Beguiled - and was a bit fed up - she thought that it was better than the original - maybe she will have the second one as well, who knows??
This one was made of black and silver crystal in three strings - the AB finish on black gives the bead an oil slick, shiny finish that no longer looks totally black. I added a couple of Lava rock beads - they have a channel cut through the middle and little rhinestones have been applied by hand in the Swarovski factory. Due in part to the painstaking work involved, the beads are expensive - but, Christmas comes but once a year, and every one likes to look their best - a few pennies extra towards this may well be in order. The lava beads, due to their weight, cause the necklace to drape beautifully around the neck.
I played with polymer clay all weekend - curing and sanding- and buffing! I made some earrings to donate to my favourite charity, and once these were all packaged up, I felt I could go back to my bead stash, which has been sitting forlornly in the corner, while I play with crystals.
In the colours of the midnight sun in summer in the northern - most part of the world - this was taken in Norway last year.
I used some Kyanite slices, resembling the blue of the sky, and I added some coral and black agate geode beads to make this necklace. The geode beads are pretty - they are cut and rounded off to reveal the crystalline structure of the minerals inside the gemstone, and they sparkle in the light. The sponge coral chunks are earthy, and a beautiful deep red.
Eastern Promise - Royal Blue
It was that time again, time to dip into my stash of Nepalese artisan made pieces - they are so pretty, albeit rather expensive - but in my opinion, if one considers the work that goes into a handmade piece of wearable art, it is well worth the price. I knew I wanted to put this pendant on a lapis lazuli necklace, and had been collecting enough to make this piece. As it is rather a large pendant, it needs a robust necklace to balance it, so I put a four stranded necklace together with lapis, coral and stardust beads.
This one is named for Princess Tiana - from the story of the Frog Prince - you know the one, where you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince ( and then if you're totally unlucky he turns into a pig )- the original story came from Russia - Disney set it in New Orleans, and there are some incredible jazz sounds in that movie. The pale green Czech pressed beads, the tiny silvery crystals, and the lava rock in a multi strand necklace looks very sophisticated and simple - Bling for the daytime!
La Belle Epoque
There is a lot of nostalgia for 'The Beautiful Era', just before the onset of the First World War, when all was golden and glowing - the 'retrospectoscope' has been liberally applied to this memory, complete with rose tinted glass. Beloved by the French, La Belle Epoque is thought to be a time when relative peace and prosperity in the land allowed art to flourish, parties to be gay and wild, and women to be louche, and men to have a rakish Rhett Butler smile and not give a damn - what more can you ask for?? Louche women and wild parties demand - yes, you guessed it - BLING!
This necklace will take you to any party - three strands of black and silver with an AB finish, a Blinged up Lava rock bead focal, and peacock coloured crystal on one side.
Next week we take a short break in Rome, and I will have very little time to make anything. I shall of course spy on what the European women are wearing - at this time of year, it is usually all about scarves, and earrings, necklaces don't get a look in.
Have a good week, and I will catch you when I get back,