May 30, 2017

'Greenery Glam' Necklace and Earrings Set: May Pretty Palette Challenge

This month's Pretty Palette Challenge from Halcraft focused on the Pantone color of the year: Greenery. Below are the inspiration and color palette images from this month's challenge (from the Halcraft blog):

(Click here to visit the Pretty Palette Challenge.)
(Click here to visit the Pretty Palette Challenge.)
I chose to use the following mix of beads within the color palette for my design:

The pyrite, large aventurine, and small dark green tourmaline beads are from Hobby Lobby; the pale green faceted prehnite beads are a long-ago purchase from Fusion Beads in Seattle; and the small green quartzite, medium green aventurine, white quartzite, nebula glass, clear crystals, and silver luster glass beads are all Halcraft beads from Michael's.

I stuck to my usual wire-wrapping techniques this time, although I confess the end product is not the design I originally had planned. My original idea involved one single strand of smaller diamond-shaped focals and more emphasis on the upper part of the necklace, but because of the large size of the focal beads around which I planned the frames, the wire elements ended up being huuuuge, so I fell back on a previous design I've used several times (see most all of my prior Pretty Palette submissions...many of them [unintentionally] have a similar design/layout).

The basic forms I wrapped together to form the large diamond focal elements.
The wire form completed for one of the diamond focals.
Wire forms to be used for earrings and side connectors in the necklace.
I added beads in ombre shades of green to the diamond-shaped focal elements to try to give them a rich, jewel-like feel. Between the shape of the frames and the shades of green I hope I also managed to reflect a bit of the look of succulents as seen in the inspiration photo. [The frames were all created using the same technique as in this necklace. I embellished them using the same technique as in this necklace.]

I added white quartzite beads in between the focal elements to make the green really pop. (Also, you might notice in later photos that I eventually changed out the large, duller green aventurine center beads in these earlier photos for richer-colored bright green stones.)

I also wanted to continue to reflect the earthy inspiration image (the beautiful succulent plants in the photo above) in this necklace's structure, so I decided to use these slightly industrial, earthy pyrite beads to create the upper part of the necklace. I love this pyrite-meets-emeralds earthy-glam pairing! I don't think photos do these beautiful beads justice. Pyrite is really hard to photograph.

You can see the new green focal stones here. These are Halcraft beads as well.
Besides the three focal elements the side connectors and toggle clasp are all handmade as well, and embellished with clear crystals and silver luster glass to imitate the metallic shine of the pyrite.

Overall I'm happy with how this necklace turned out. It's too similar in style to a few of my recent pieces for my liking, but the earthy-glam pairing makes it a little different and really gives it a contemporary edge.

I made a couple extra wire frames to create a matching pair of earrings, and I wanted something a little different than the obvious chandeliers. I wanted something that felt glamorous enough to reflect the emerald-feel of the bejeweled necklace focals, and I think I managed to achieve at least 'unique', if not the glamour befitting emeralds.

These earrings were probably the hardest part of this entire set to create--getting them to hang at the same angle was close to impossible! Luckily, when worn they won't hang right next to each other and the slight difference in the angle of the frames won't even be noticeable.

And that wraps up another Pretty Palette challenge. Maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to do some photographic justice to these beautiful beads and not just how to wire-wrap them.

How do you like the pairing of the pyrite with the sparkling green jewels? What do you think of the unique earring orientation? I'd love to know!

Possibly linking up with:

Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello

May 3, 2017

Gypsy Fringe Earrings

Most of the jewelry I post here on the blog falls into the 'statement necklace' category, and in fact, that's what I've focused most on creating the past two or three years. Maybe because that's the direction commercial fads have been trending? However, truth be told (and if you've followed my blog from the beginning you already know), I am an earring girl at heart. I LOVE a big earring. Pretty much the bolder the better, in my book. I can't get enough of them. Especially with lots of metal and fringe and details. And now that I've grown my hair out again (to my shoulders, anyway) after keeping it pixie-short for two or three years, I can finally pull off a big earring again. YES.

These earrings were inspired by another pair I made a few years back, but these are bigger and bolder. The chandelier frames are made of copper-colored German style wire, and I just used a small bottle to shape the curve and some round pliers to create the looped portion along the bottom. (Obviously I ended up switching out the beads in the photo below, but you get an idea of how the frames were put together.)

With these earrings I wanted to experiment with adding a few unexpected details to bring a little extra excitement to the fairly basic design. I added some copper colored beads along both the top and bottom frames for a little extra pizzazz.

I added a bit of color with a delicate chain of tiny blue agate beads accenting the chandelier window.

I also tried to add a little extra bling with some tiny crystals at the bottom of each fringe dangle. The fringe dangles themselves are made of copper-colored glass bugle beads strung on ball head pins.

I added a center dangle of rock crystal and nebula glass for some big sparkle, and boom--simple earrings that make a big impact.

I just love these earrings and I can't wait to make more. They have presence, sparkle, and movement, and they fit perfectly into the boho/gypsy fashion trend that is so popular right now. They're the perfect statement earrings!

How do you feel about big earrings, yea or nay? What details would you add to future pairs? I'd love to know.

Possibly linking up with:

Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello

Tequila Sunrise Chain Bib Statement Necklace

So I figured while I'm posting about failures I might as well go all out. Yep, failure #2 right here. This necklace was modeled after my Egyptian-Inspired Chain Bib Necklace, but I wanted to go a bit bigger and bolder and feature a sunrise color palette (hence the name of this necklace). I also changed up the sides a bit by adding embellished connectors to better support the number of chains and to bring a little more color and bling.

Unfortunately, it was just too much, and I think this necklace paid the price for my overzealousness. There's nothing really wrong with this necklace I suppose, if you want a big and bold piece of jewelry; it just didn't turn out the way I had envisioned it in my mind. I do think the size ended up working against it here. For one, the focal element is too big, and thus less sturdy and more prone to warping.

Second, because the focal component is so long it required more and longer chains for the bib, thus requiring bigger connector elements. I embellished the connectors with colorful beads to try to fill in some of the empty space, but I just don't love them in this necklace because I think they distract from the focal and the chain bib itself.

I also didn't like that because the connectors have such variation in length where the chains connect, it was really difficult to determine the length of each successive row of chain and to get them all to lay somewhat orderly. I think this is fairly visible in the necklace if you're a detail person, and it really bothers my design brain to have them look so wonky.

On a positive note, one of the parts I really like about this necklace is the embellished chain I created to connect the side components to the toggle clasp. It just adds a pretty little extra finishing detail.

As for the process, I created all of the wire components in this necklace following my usual process for creating wire frames, adding some together to create one large frame, and embellishing them.

I also made all of the copper wire chain...and there was A LOT of it. The photo below is only a portion. I actually love making chain (I make each individual link by hand--no wire jig), but sometimes I wish there was a faster (and less abusive to my fingertips) way to get it done. Whew.

I made and embellished the toggle clasp following the same basic process as in my Queen Anne's Lace necklace.

All of the wire components were made with copper German style wire in gauges 20 - 26. This necklace also features a ton of beautiful stones in shades of yellow, orange, pink, and red, including chalcedony, raspberry quartz, lemon quartz, tourmaline, citrine, jade, quartzite, and agate, as well as clear crystals and white nebula glass beads throughout the bib and clasp.

At the end of the day it was a learning experience, albeit a time-intensive one. Because of the amount of time I spent creating the chains and finagling the layers I cannot bring myself to just scrap this piece, so it will likely hang out in my overabundant jewelry-that-has-no-future bin for now. Hopefully someday I'll find a market for all of my crazy outcasts! In the meantime, here are a few more photos and close-ups of this statement piece.

What do you think of this color palette? Do you like the embellished side connectors? How big is too bold for you? I'd love to know.

Possibly linking up with:

Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello