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:

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

May 2, 2017

Jean Schlumberger-Inspired Collar Neckace

I am often inspired by photos I come across of classic jewelry, namely ancient styles seen in Roman and Greek pieces. With this piece however, I was inspired by a photo I found (thank you Google) of a beautiful gold floral collar-like necklace by the great french jewelry artist Jean Schlumberger, who was known for his many designs for Tiffany's in the 50's and the following two decades.

Jean Schlumberger's Tulip necklace for Tiffany's. [Image found via Google.]

My necklace is quite obviously nowhere near as glorious as the inspiration necklace, but it was fun taking that inspiration and trying to turn it into something that fit within my design style. I confess: it didn't work. This necklace was a total failure. By that I mean this piece did not turn out anything like my original vision for it and I was really disappointed with the final outcome. That being said, failures are teachers too, and in trying to create this piece I learned things I wouldn't have if I hadn't attempted it. And while I'm happy to have learned a thing or two, this necklace will definitely go into the 'upcycle' pile to be taken apart and remade into something new. But before that happens I figured it was worth sharing here, even if it falls into the 'failure' category.

I began by creating some organic leaf forms out of heavy 16-gauge copper wire. I just used my pliers and fingers for these; no wire jig or pattern.

I then wire wrapped the leaves to a wire choker form, wrapping the entire choker wire for uniformity.

I knew I wanted to add beads to fill in the spaces between the leaves, but hadn't exactly figured out how to link them to the choker in a way in which they'd stay in place rather than sliding around between each leaf. So for the next step, which I didn't photograph as it ended up being a spontaneous solution, was to use jump rings to attach a length of chain all around the underside of the wire choker form from the first leaf to the last. You can see the chain in the photo below.

I had first planned to use only citrine and pyrite beads to keep a golden feel to the necklace, but soon realized I didn't have enough of them to fill in the necklace properly. I found some carnelian and dyed jade beads to the mix to keep a sunrise palette and strung them all onto ball headpins along with gold floral bead caps to give each bead a flowery feel.

I then attached all of the beads to the chain that ran along the underside of the choker, which had the result of the wire leaves laying on top of the beads, rather than the beads being the main focus.

I still wanted a bit more organic movement to imitate the way the inspiration necklace's tulips seems to fall down the collar and almost seem to be moving, so I added short lengths of gold chain along the necklace to hang down among the beads.

All in all I suppose this piece came together (physically) somewhat okay considering that I had little idea how to create what I wanted when I first started. If I attempt to remake this at some point I will invest in more citrine and pyrite beads and keep the color palette strictly golden, rather than reusing the carnelian and dyed jade (red) beads. I will also not use a pre-made wire choker form (I'm generally not a fan of chokers, and I don't like how close this piece sits to the throat), and I'm already exploring a way to make a flexible chain of wire leaves instead. So check back down the road if you're interested in seeing the 2.0 version. In the meantime, here are a few more photos of the 'failed' version:

What do you think, yay or nay? How would you make this necklace better/different? 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

April 1, 2017

Whimsical Fruit Salad Necklace: March Pretty Pallette Challenge

We've had such a rainy, dreary, gray winter in San Diego. It's rained so much, my home actually has water damage to the floor in the living room, as the ground outside flooded and the water seeped over the foundation wall around our fireplace and up through our hardwood floor (and on that note, who even needs a fireplace in San Diego? We've never even turned the heat on in our condo.). Well, finally the sun has started shining here again and spring is definitely in the I was super excited to see the beautiful colors that were selected for Halcraft's March Pretty Palette Challenge!
Click on the photo to go to the Pretty Palette Challenge on the Halcraft blog.
This is the color palette chosen (from the inspiration photo above) for the challenge.

These colors reminded me of an orchard in bloom, so I was inspired to create a necklace full of mixed fruits.

I used a selection of beads in the color palette given, plus I added some yellow and peachy pink as well, as the tulips in the inspiration photo also had similar shades in their petals (or at least that's how the photo shows up on my laptop monitor). I fudged a little and used copper wire and metal components in place of the taupe color in the palette, as to me they both represent the earthy colors in the inspiration photo.

Except for the small yellow stone beads and all of the glass leaves, all of the beads I used in this necklace are Halcraft beads I found at Michaels, and include howlite, quartzite, and coral. All of the handmade chain links are formed from German style copper wire, and I used a store-bought copper toggle clasp and side connectors.

I created five different strands with handmade copper wire chain links, each showcasing a different colored 'fruit'. I also attached each strand to a fleur-de-lis component on either side for a little visual interest--I'd had these metal components in my stash for awhile and was happy to finally find a use for them. This made for a really fun and colorful necklace!

I created a fun copper wire chain for the bib to hang from using some handmade wire links I had leftover from a previous project. It's hard to tell from these photos, but interspersed between each wire link is a small copper/bronze-ish metal bead with rhinestones (I can't remember if these are Halcraft beads as well? They've been in my stash for awhile...), just for a little sparkle.

I think this is a really fun piece, and it came together so easily! Pretty much just as I'd envisioned, which so rarely happens without lots of fidgeting and remaking and frustration.

I can't wait to pair this with a summery skirt and a pair of sandals. How would you wear this necklace? Has spring arrived yet where you live? I'd love to know.


Possibly linking up with:

Pretty Palette Challenge at Halcraft
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