July 18, 2017

Marimekko-Inspired Necklace: July Pretty Palette Challenge

I confess: when I saw the inspiration for Halcraft's July Pretty Palette Challenge, I was a little unsure where to go with it. The inspiration for the challenge was this fabric designed by Marimekko, and the coordinating color palette is shown below.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time then you probably know that I LOVE COLOR. Bold colors do not scare me at all. However, this bold palette was not a group of colors that I would generally gravitate toward, nor think to put together in one one piece (at least not in these particular hues). And to be honest, I'm not a huge Marimekko fan. Don't get me wrong, as a former design student and art historian I can certainly appreciate the hallmarks of the Marimekko design house: bold colors, simple lines, repeating patterns, and two-dimensionality. But when it comes down to it, sometimes I just prefer a little more depth to the design.

That said, I relish assignments like these: to translate a concept or design style into a physical piece of jewelry (blame it on my architecture/art history nerd brain), so I knew I still wanted to give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did! I ended up creating a piece that I never would have dreamed up before, and I really love how it came together.

When the July challenge was posted I had already begun work on another idea, and coincidentally it involved flowers. I had been wanting to create some dimensional flowers as earrings, then decided instead to make a necklace, and already had all of the wires cut to create the flower frames. I hemmed and hawed about how I could rework the design and eventually came up with something that somewhat fit the Marimekko inspiration.

Now I know that these 'flowers', being 3-D and having scroll-y, ornate edges, are pretty much the opposite of what I just listed above as being typical of Marimekko. But hey, I did have the 'bold color scheme' going on. So I figured I would also try to focus on the 'flatness' and 'simplicity of design' qualities instead and refrained from any of my usual ombre or plethora-of-colors within each flower, and the only sparkle in the entire piece is from the crystal beads in the centers of the flowers.

[Note: you can click on the 'Tutorials' tab above for links to how I create my wire frames and embellish them with beads.]

In similar fashion I tried to keep the side connectors and toggle clasp as simple as I could (but you know I couldn't leave them completely devoid of color, so there are some tiny agate and bamboo coral beads). All of the wire focal elements, side connectors, chain, and toggle clasp are completely handmade using German style wire.

The flowers feature aventurine, bamboo coral, quartzite, jade, and crystal beads. The color palette we were given didn't include white, but the original inspiration fabric had sprays of white dotted flowers scattered throughout and I really wanted to include that detail, so I created the fringes made of glass pearls and more quartzite. For the blue of the color palette I used some beautiful (reconstituted) lapis beads around the sides of the necklace. All of the beads except the agate beads on the toggle, the tiny green crystals (around the outer edges of the green flower), and the glass pearls are Halcraft beads from Michaels.


This necklace may not embody the whole spirit of Marimekko, but I'd like to think it's a nice tribute to the inspiration fabric if nothing else. I also think it would be really fabulous recreated as a bridal necklace with pearls and fancy crystals (and maybe some pyrite for the slightly edgier bride? Or a few colorful accents in the bride's wedding colors...?). Hmmm, maybe my next project?

What do you like about Marimekko designs? Would you pair these colors all together in one piece of jewelry? Any interest in seeing a bridal version? 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


  1. I have used these colours together before but not in this proportion. The 3D frames really make the colors pop. The necklace looks absolutely grand in the pictures and I am sure that it looks even more beautiful in person.

    1. Thank you so much Divya! I always find your color palettes so inspiring--I should have known you'd have experience with these colors! I think the 3D flowers are my very favorite part.

  2. Sarah, I am in love with your flowers! Like you, I found ALL of these colors a bit intimidating. They're all bold, saturated, and pretty intense. That said, you have created something amazing with them! I'd love to see these flowers done by you in colors and designs that are more...YOU. Thank you so much for adding your creativity and passion to another Pretty Palette!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Molly! My fingers are itching to work up a few variations of these flowers and I definitely think they'll make some future appearances. Thank you for giving us such great inspiration to work with!

  3. I absolutely love what you made! I'm incredibly impressed with your flowers, and the way everything comes together. You make the bold, saturated colors seem delicate and more approachable. Simply lovely!

    (And hurray for finding another art history nerd! Yay! *grin*)

    1. Such a lovely compliment, thank you very much! The flowers were a lot of fun to create and I can't wait to use variations of them in future designs. And I'm glad to meet a fellow art history-loving jewelry-maker too! :)


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