As I begin designing a new jewelry collection, (tentatively called Pirates Collection), I try out different forms for metal beads.
Etched Metal Beads
The metal bead in the center is copper that I etched and then folded. On either side are brass tube beads that I made by first roughing up for an antiqued style. The flow of a shell and a coil of copper inspire me.
I like my hand-made metal beads on the thick silver chain I made. But this is just a beginning for the design. I will most likely change this in the final piece.
Metal Ring Beads
I will continue to make samples of metal beads using different techniques and forms. Here is a ring bead I made with a pirate slogan engraved on it.
I'm getting very excited about the new collection. Hopefully, I'll have it ready in the Spring.
Maybe tomorrow I'll try stringing these metal beads on leather. What do you think? Come back then and we'll see how they look.
I've decided to use mixed metals in my new Pirates Collection. Most of my other collections only use silver.
Here's a bit of information about the metals and their terms that I use in my jewelry creations.
Silver - When I use the term silver, it is Sterling Silver, as in 925. The term Sterling means the metal is composed of 925 out of 1000 parts silver. The remaining 75 parts, or 7.5 percent, is copper. Most people are not allergic to sterling silver. I sometimes add a dark patina to give an antique look to silver.
Copper - My copper pieces are 100% copper. I often add a patina to either warm to an even brown tone or to an almost black color.
Some people can wear copper and have no reaction at all. On others, the copper will react with the skin and leave a dark or green mark. When I design a piece with copper, I try to take this into account. I try to have silver in the place that is in contact with the skin. For example, earring posts are always in sterling.
Brass - Brass is an alloy (a combination) of copper and zinc. There are many recipes for this and each produces different colors and strengths. The type of brass I use has a very high copper content. Brass often looks like gold when polished but can quickly turn dark. I usually use a patina to control the darkening of the brass. If you are allergic to copper, you might not be allergic to brass.
The Sea transforms them and then throws them onto the beach, for us to collect. Some people call it beach glass and some call it sea glass. By any name, everyone seems attracted to it.
Frosty Green Beach Glass Pendant
I sometimes wonder why it is, that on a beach full of beautiful shells, I am most often attracted to the man-made bits - not just the glass, but other items too. Is it because they become more precious by their scarcity on the beach? Could it be because they show the combined efforts of man and nature? Or is it the mystery of wonder - how long did the sea toss this, what person once held this?
These are the types of questions I ask myself while I make jewelry using beach glass I find on my morning walks.
Please let me know if you have a piece of glass you've found and would like made into a custom pendant. I think it's so much more meaningful when the wearer discovered the "gem" themselves. If you wear it, let me know if you figure out the answer to the question - what makes beach glass so appealing?
Many of my pieces begin with a walk on the beach. Here's a view of what I focus on. Can you guess which shell will become the next piece of jewelry?
I empty my pockets onto the jeweler bench. Just a few treasures today.
From Shell to Jewel
The chosen one. Wrapped in silver. Now I need to file the silver closer to the uneven height of the shell.The transformation has begun.
I'm starting this new year with a new blog. Here I'll share with you some of the work that goes on behind the scenes. You'll see the inspirations, the discoveries and the process of creating the jewelery I offer for sale.
This year I plan on filling out some of the existing Collections. I also plan on creating at least 2 new Collections. I invite you to take a few minutes each day and join me on this wonderful journey.
Inspiring Ship sculpture
The inspiration for the above ship coin pendant began with a walk on the beach. The ship on top of the Paramount Theater on the Asbury Park boardwalk made me remember some coins I had. I always meant to use them in jewelry. I've been thinking of creating a Pirate themed Collection. So, on January 1st, I made the simple pendant.
Here's the reverse side of the pendant. The coin behind it is another of the same. I added a dark patina to the pendant. It's all brass and should weather well.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
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