May 19, 2015

'Twilight Skies' Bohemian Layered Necklace

I'm totally loving this new piece. The colors. The mixed metals. The layers. The handmade wire forms. It's intricate in detail, exotic in color, bohemian in its mix of styles, and rustic in its hand-crafting, all at once.

You might recognize it as very similar in design to the Indian-themed 'Bombay Dreaming' necklace I made awhile back for a beading competition. I liked that design so well I decided to create some other versions, but playing around with the colors and wire shapes. For this piece I ended up using German copper wire in antique bronze and gold tones, glass pearls, beautiful agate and jasper stone beads, and some delicate silver chain.

[On a side note, can I just say I'm terrible at 'naming' jewelry designs? I never felt the need to title the jewelry pieces I created until I started blogging, but blog posts need titles and that usually requires some creative wording. Not my strong suit. With this one the colors made me think of a sunset fading into twilight, when the sky is pink and orange and fading into purple. Pretty imagery, but the resulting name--Twilight Skies--sounds more like a bad TV series than a pretty piece of jewelry. Alas, no better ideas have come to me. So please accept my apologies for the likely ongoing run of cheesy jewelry titles.]

This piece mostly started out with a desire to play around with some new wire shapes, and I love the resulting product! (I have so many other ideas for this wire form, including some matching earrings!) Generally, if I'm creating just a couple of small wired shapes I just use my round pliers, but since I wanted to create several large and *identical* wire forms, this time I pulled out my Wig Jig.

Once I had the pegs laid out to create the shape I had in my head, I cut several 8-inch lengths of 20-gauge wire (German copper wire, in antique brass color) and looped them through the wig jig to create the shape below.

After I had all of my wire forms created, I used my steel bench block and chasing hammer (the flat side) to lightly hammer the forms; this flattened them, created some texture, and work-hardened the wire all at the same time.

(I use an old bubble mailer as padding under my bench block to protect my work table; this mailer just happens to be metallic.) If you use a wig jig you'll generally need to flatten out your wire form somewhat; in the picture below you see on the right what the form looks like directly off the wig jig--pretty skewed, not laying flat...not very pretty. On the left is what the form looks like after it's been lightly hammered on the bench block. Much nicer!

Once I had all my wire forms created, textured and flattened, I got to work wire-wrapping them. Wire wrapping is not absolutely necessary, but I like the detail it adds. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping the wire loops to keep their shape and not move around, and it just adds more stability to the wire form overall.

In the photo above you can see the various stages: I start with a hammered form; next I use 26-gauge wire to wrap the form (with these forms I used about 6 inches of wire for each form), add in a few beads during wrapping for some extra detail, then attach my focal element (the colored bead) once the wire wrapping is complete.

For the middle 'layer' of the necklace I created about 18 inches of chain composed of hand-formed wire links (about 75 wire links, each made from 3/4"-long pieces of 20-gauge German copper wire). I used a gold tone wire for these links, since I wanted this necklace to have a mix of metals.

To this gold chain I attached dozens of 4mm glass pearl dangles (on antique gold ball head pins to keep up with the mixed metal look), in what I like to call a 'spatial ombre' pattern--increasing distance between each dangle, so the bottom center of the chain is full but the pearls are spaced farther and farther apart as they climb the sides of the chain.

I also made the silver wire connectors for each side that connect all the layers of chains and beads on the bottom end to the clasp on the top. For each of the connectors I used about 5 inches of 20-gauge silver-tone German copper wire, and just used looping pliers to form the shape (no wig jig here). As with the antique bronze wired shapes, I lightly hammered the silver connectors on my bench block to work harden them a bit and to give them a little texture. Since I formed these with pliers and not the wig jig, they didn't need too much flattening. And, since they need to keep their shape while holding a small amount of weight from the beads and chain, I used a small amount of 26 gauge wire to wrap the large upper loops.

I used a store-bought clasp because I thought it was prettier than anything I could make, plus I think the flower sort of reflects the shape of the wire forms in the necklace.

Kind of flower-like, right? Maybe kind of half starburst, half flower. Maybe I'll call this shape a 'flowerburst'. See, terrible with creative names. Proof.

I think next time I'd space the wire forms a bit farther apart in the bottom layer and make the whole necklace a little shorter, but overall I really love how this necklace turned out. It even has me inspired to think about opening my Etsy shop again. I love creating these sorts of designs so much but I have absolutely nowhere to wear them, so maybe I should offer my rapidly increasing stock for sale in hopes that someone else might wear them, right?

What do you think of the 'flowerburst' forms? What colors are you loving right now? Any ideas for a better title for this necklace?? I'd love to know!


Linking up with:

Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Friday Finds at Minted Strawberry
Link Party Palooza at I Heart Naptime
Motivational Monday at Curly Crafty Mom
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Worthwhile Wednesday at Crafty Allie


  1. i'm so glad you took your jewelry supplies back out of storage, i am loving all these new designs you are making! You are so incredibly talented!!!

    1. Rebecca, you are too kind--thank you!! I'm having so much fun making jewelry again...and stocking up on new beads! :0 Now I just have to make sure I keep using them lol...

  2. That's beautiful, I love the colours and the gorgeous wire work you've done. Fab!

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment, Julia! I really love this mix of colors too--I think they're even more vivid and beautiful in person. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your technique of this beautiful wire design! I have been admiring your design for this necklace since you posted it a few weeks ago. I appreciate your generosity in sharing this with all of us!


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