For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Posts tagged ‘gemstone beads’

If At First You Don’t Succeed….Do It 120 Times!!!

I have learnt a lot of different techniques for making jewellery over the past year or so, but the one thing I still enjoy more than anything else is making fine silver chains, using pure silver wire.  It just relaxes me so much and I can go into my own little world and make beautiful bracelets and necklaces.  But as people keep telling me..nice as they are…a chain is just a chain – there is no WOW factor…even if it has a really decorative design…it is still just a silver chain.  I know they are right.

Last Christmas, I sold quite a lot of chains that I had wired semi precious stone beads onto.  Many people think that these stones have healing powers and this made them more attractive to buyers.  I hated wiring those beads on last year.  It is one of those techniques that I just couldn’t get to grips with.   It was great to get commissions – until they said they wanted semi precious stone beads!…that really knocked the shine of it!!

Not long ago I developed a new design for a chain that I knew would make a really great basis for a beaded bracelet and it incorporates my favourite twisted link which is rapidly becomming a feature of my most popular chains.  I knew I would have to face the hated bead wiring to really make the best of this chain.  So this weekend I decided that I would do nothing else until I had made 4 beaded bracelets.

I had to make a batch of ballpins – fine silver wires with a little bead of silver fused onto one end – as it is these that the beads are wired on with.  As I planned to use around 30 beads for each bracelet that meant I needed at least 120 pins….I could put off the beading for a little bit longer!!  But inevitably – I had to face it.

I chose a range of beads that were colour co ordinated…a range of red/pink; a range of turquoise/blue; a range of greens; and a mix of blacks an reds.  Most of the beads were semi precious stones but I added some glass ones as well to add a bit of sparkle and add a variety of shapes and sizes.

The first bracelet was a trial…I was all fingers and thumbs!!  Some of the wires had to be cut off because I had not done them right but I kept on and a little over an hour later I had a beaded bracelet!!  and it looked really good!!  And you know – there is nothing that spurs you on like success!  The second one came a little easier and looked just as beautiful!  I was definitely getting into this, I had developed a technique that worked for me and it was getting easier and easier with each bead I wired.  My fourth bracelet took about 40 minutes to complete the beading…still a rather long time – but it was no longer a challenge – more an exercise.

I was actually rather upset that I had only done enough pins for four bracelets because I wanted to try a freshwater pearl and swarovski crystal one too!  I have had other commitments today and so I still haven’t had a chance to get another one done…but just try and stop me tomorrow!!  I have an idea for a necklace too!!

I have shown a few people these new bracelets and have had nothing but positive reactions…so I am really quite excited!!  Why, oh why did I put it off for so long??  If I had faced my demons back in January, after the Christmas rush, I could have had loads of lovely colourful fine silver and semi precious stone bracelets and necklaces for sale on my website ages ago!!  What a silly woman I am!!

I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of my new beaded collection of bracelets!

A Charming Way to Spend a Weekend!

I had an idea this morning (Saturday) to make a sort of charm bracelet using one of my fine (pure) silver chains and the little pmc (precious metal clay) letter discs I made last Sunday ( see Sunday Playtime).  I have a fairly large immediate family and thought it would be a great idea to have the initial letter from each of their names on my ‘experimental’ charm bracelet.

Cast pmc charms before firing

I am rather taken with the idea of having jewellery that moves a bit so I thought I would mount the discs on rings that would slide up and down on the bracelet chain.  However, because there are so many of these discs on the bracelet they tended to get all clustered up in a clump!…so here’s my great idea…I have wired semi precious gemstone beads (relevant to the individuals whose initials are on my bracelet) onto the jumprings that connect the twisted elements of the chain together.  As I went along I ‘trapped’ a slider into the spaces between the wired gemstones.  This meant that they could still slide but only within their own little bay.

Finished bracelet with discs mounted on large decorative rings

The bracelet is surprisingly heavy and makes a fantastic changling ( my newly invented word to mean a rather subtle jingling!) noise as all the rings slither around on the chain.

I think I would probably like to add a few more charms and/or beads to it as it is a rather ‘inbetween’ design…it certainly isn’t minimalist (!!) and yet it is not sufficiently ‘filled out’ to be dramatic.  That is for another day however…

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Well, I left it overnight to think about it and first thing this morning (Sunday) I took the whole thing apart again!  I decided to cut down the size of the rings the charms were mounted on – which meant that they only just had the clearance to slide about but made the whole bracelet more streamlined.

Bracelet denuded of beads and with smaller attaching rings.

Then I reattached the semi precious gemstone beads and one of my pmc chunky heart charms at the ‘bar’ end of the chain to fill up what was a bit of a gap.  I am a whole lot happier with this bracelet – it is more balanced and far more comfortable to wear.  Before I put the beads back on I weighed the silver components of the bracelet and found it to be over 13 grams…so you know you have it on!!  There is still plenty of room to add more charms if I decide to but I think I will wear it like this for a while and give it a ‘test drive’!.

Finished bracelet ready for a ‘test drive’!

I am really pleased with these little letter discs.  In fact – I might take a temporary break from making flower based designs to have a go at some ‘wordy’ ones!

I’m having a day out tomorrow to go to the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England.  I really am terrifically excited and hope to get a real buzz from looking at the amazing craftwork people are making now…who knows – one day I might find myself exhibiting Solunar Silver Studio jewelelry there!!  I’ll let you know what kind of day I have later in the week.

By the way… for anyone reading my blog on condron.us – Yorkshire is another fantastic place to visit in the UK!!

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