08 November 2009

Variations on a Roman Theme

After almost a year, I finally finished the second of a pair of earrings which were inspired by a gorgeous, 2000 year old, gold, pearl and emerald, Roman earring that was found in Jerusalem last year. Here is a picture of the earring:

My version was made with sterling and fine silver wire, and, though I didn't have small emeralds, I did have two larger, polished round emeralds that I used as the focal on the tops of the earrings. I wreathed the emeralds with faceted ruby beads, and where the original Roman earring had the emeralds, I used rubies there, too. Suspended from the bottoms of my earrings are four Akoya pearls, to complete the look. I made the first earring the day after reading about the Roman find, then set it aside for almost a year. But now that I am getting ready to move, I have been trying to finish up those incomplete projects on my work table, and the pair is done.

After I finished these earrings, I decided to play around with the design, and started another pair yesterday. I received a bunch of beautiful pearls and beads as part of a bead swap on JewelryGeeks.com, and decided to use the lovely fresh water pearls I was sent. I paired the coin and biwa pearls with some rosy red carnelian beads, to give the earrings more of an old world flair (the Romans didn't have Swarovski crystals), and to tie the rich colors together, I wrapped them with copper wire.

I also decided to try a technique I'd seen some other wire artisans use on the frame, and wrapped looped wire around the frame for decorative purposes. The top loop also made a handy place to attach the ear wire. I used sterling leverbacks for the ear wires, because I knew that copper ones would turn my ears green, so I wrapped the fronts of the sterling wires with copper wire, to tie in with the colors of the rest of the earrings.

I am now quite taken with this design, and the myriad possibilities for variations on it, and will have more earrings of this style in the future.
Thanks for letting me share my design process with you!

06 November 2009

A fly in the works...

As you may know, I have been working on a tutorial for my seahorse pendants for some time. I finished taking the last of the pictures over the last couple of days,and was excited to be so close to being done, but when I sat at the computer to edit them and insert them into the tutorial, I discovered that my husband accidentally deleted a section of them from the middle of the batch when he was updating our computer, so now I have to start over again making another seahorse and retaking all the pictures. He felt so bad! I told him not to worry about it, and I plan on pushing today to try to retake them all in one fell swoop. Good thing I did all those chores yesterday, so my day today is free. On the bright side, the first seahorse I made turned out beautifully, so it isn't a total loss.

In the evenings, when my husband and I hang out together, I often sit and do wire work while he works on his laptop in the chair next to mine. The other night, I was looking at a big (10+ carat), orange tourmaline briolette in my collection, and thinking I wanted to make something with it. Another wire artist friend of mine makes these cute little wire bugs, which I've always wanted to try, and I thought that the briolette would make the perfect insect abdomen!

I opened my sketch book and started drawing up the image I had in my head. I imagined lacy wire wings, so that the color of the briolette would peek through, and planned the paths the wires would take to become the legs and wings. I didn't start it that night, as it was getting late, but the next evening, I began cutting and wrapping the frame together. I made the first wing that night, and couldn't wait until the next morning to finish it! It turned out even better than I planned! And, I have several large marquise-shaped briolettes of smokey quartz that would also work nicely with this design, so I plan on making another one soon, and taking pictures to make a tutorial for this design, too.

Now, I'm off to gather the things I will need to retake my seahorse pictures.
See you again soon! :D

03 November 2009


The end of October found me itching to play with my wire again, and after a jewelry friend mentioned sneaking in making a ring between her other projects, I decided a ring was in order, too. I had a vague idea in my head when I started it, and wrapped the band and part of the setting base, but then I had to look through all my stones and beads to decide what to feature in the ring. Nothing seemed to look right until I spotted a small octahedron fluorite crystal, like two pyramids with their bases stuck together, sitting on one of my shelves in my work room.

The crystal is a very pale shade of blue, with golden flecks of iron pyrite crystals near the point of one of the pyramids, and when I held it to the base of the ring, I knew it would be perfect! For some reason, the color and shape of the stone reminded me of Atlantis, and I curved and curled the wires of the setting into coiled waves rising up around the stone, like the temples of Atlantis sinking into the ocean. The coils of the setting lace around the stone like filigree, and the shape of the crystal peeks through the swirls.

Since I finished the ring, it has become a new favorite, and I have hardly taken it of since it was done. It sits majestically on my index finger, and looks like a ring a high priestess would wear. The night after it was done, I wore it to bed, and was awakened in the wee hours of the morning by the full moon shining through my window onto my pillow like a spotlight. I raised the ring to the light, and marveled at it in the moonlight. Magical!