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On This Page
· "A" sapphire earrings
· Happy New Year! (pic of double strand freshwater pearl necklace, pearl earrings)
· 2007, the year in beading
· Shiana fine silver, lapis and Bali sterling set
· Prehnite and peridot earrings on Argentium sterling silver wire
· Hammered Argentium sterling "links" earrings
· Hammered Argentium sterling earrings
· Various earrings
· Interesting article/site on argentium sterling silver
· Argentium silver ear wires, end of Day 2
· More Argentium sterling silver ear wire thoughts
· Argentium silver ear wire thoughts

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"A" sapphire earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 17, 2008 at 5:32 PM (Pacific)

sterling silver and sapphire earrings
sterling silver and goldfilled sapphire earrings


The bottom pic was taken rather hastily, I didn't have time to hang the earrings properly so I put them down on a white tee shirt. :)

Here I went for grade over size, so these sapphires are really very small. But they're not the opaque stones normally used in handmade jewelry; they're translucent, with small areas of transparency.

This is a hoop idea I got from Midori Jewelry. That was the first place I saw such a hoop. I'm getting better at making them although I've found I need to be very slow and patient while doing the wrap at the top. It's easy to fuddle it up. I added my own "touch" by hammering the wraps. Mainly because on some of my hoops, I didn't feel the wrap was secure enough, but I don't dislike the finished look. The idea for me is to produce something that looks a tiny bit rough, after all.

I can't wear 14KT gold earrings so you'll note, I used vermeil ear wires for the gold pair (from Shiana). Normally I don't think vermeil would work, but the Shiana vermeil, so far, is as superior as they claim. The gold plate is thicker than usual, plus it's over fine silver rather than sterling.

I went for the relatively inexpensive 14KT gold tiny beads to give the earring a more golden appearance. In fact it crossed my mind you could cover most of the wire with these beads if you wanted to.

It took me forever to come up with this design, because I specifically wanted to make smaller earrings. Tiny stones + smaller earrings...the stones didn't show well with my earlier designs. For example, I tried the one where you take a piece of wire and wrap it round and round the hoop--similar to this: Going Green Hand-Forged Earrings--and the tiny little sapphires hardly showed at all. weeps! I concluded the only way to get them to show would be to use a lot of them, all together.

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Happy New Year! (pic of double strand freshwater pearl necklace, pearl earrings)
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 2, 2008 at 1:09 PM (Pacific)

double strand freshwater pearl necklace with pearl earrings


This is me wearing:

double strand freshwater pearl necklace

freshwater pearl, argentium sterling silver hoop earrings

I would like to wish my fellow beaders a happy and prosperous New Year, with more and more people choosing handmade jewelry. :D

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2007, the year in beading
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 8, 2007 at 2:15 PM (Pacific)

For your reference:

2006, the year in beading
2005, the year in beading

Technically I should wait until January 2008, but I'm afraid I'll be caught up in something else by then.

From this point forward, I'm going to post the first image of the given year, and rip it to shreds write some commentary on it:

turquoise necklaces

Neither of these exists anymore, although of course I've recycled the beads.

turquoise nugget necklace and earrings

American turquoise nugget necklace and earrings...hmmm, same sweater. This is a nice set; I still wear it.

turquoise necklace

This is okay too. I've had better luck placing flat oval beads toward the back and sides, rather than doing them all around, because, in the front, they tend to flip around too much.

I've also become pickier about aquamarine. I still have the aquamarine from the first necklaces but the quality of it is pretty eh.

And now the last piece I've made in the given year (okay, I know I should wait until the end of the year):

freshwater pearl and argentium sterling silver earrings

These are really nice. I fell asleep wearing them...very comfortable. This is me wearing the earrings:

freshwater pearl and argentium sterling silver earrings

I can admit one thing that drives me nuts, is that no one seems to take pictures of earrings "on." I can dig the necklaces, because these are usually photographed on a bust, or at least placed in such a way you can guess what they'd look like on, but earrings really must be worn. jhmo

I've moved away from fancy premade clasps in the main. They're expensive, and I've found something simpler tends to work just as well. If I truly hankered for a fancy clasp, I'd make one, and I've been making my own extender chains too.

As far as the stones, turquoise is still one of my favorites.

Predictions for 2008:

I'm not planning anything radically different for 2008. I can't afford to start silver- or gold-smithing, that's off the table (although I haven't ruled it out for the not-so-near future). I've given a certain amount of thought to selling my jewelry, but the tax system tends to make me think it's not going to be worth it. I do bookkeeping for small businesses in California...we are, ah, a heavily tax-oriented state.

I am planning to continue making jewelry as I have been. I enjoy it even more now, both making and wearing it.

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Shiana fine silver, lapis and Bali sterling set
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 24, 2007 at 5:46 PM (Pacific)

lapis and silver set

I can't believe I didn't post this here? My brain's been fried lately.

This is a set I made from the Shiana fine silver pieces blogged about here: The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog
Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
.

The flower pendant, butterfly beads, and double-flower toggle on the bracelet are all from Shiana. This image came out a bit darker than how the stuff looks in real life; it's typical lapis, a dark-blue strand mixed with a strand that has more white inclusions and pyrite. The pendant is oxidized but looks "brighter" than in the picture.

The butterfly beads are quite interesting; they're not hollow the way typical sterling silver beads would be. They're two pieces of solid silver stuck together, with a small channel in the middle. Both the pendant and the beads are heavy for their size...my original design had two strands of lapis (was kind of interesting, engineering the front) but was too heavy for practical wear.

The double-flower toggle is bright silver, but it's true what they say on the site, it's not really bright or shiny. All of the silver has a beautiful soft glow.

The argentium sterling earrings are exceedingly simple for a reason: I've found even slightly elaborate earrings don't work with even marginally elaborate necklaces. The overall effect is too much, and I end up never wearing the two together.

Here are the same earrings with a different necklace (I didn't make the necklace, it's Iranian):

argentium sterling earrings

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Prehnite and peridot earrings on Argentium sterling silver wire
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 12, 2007 at 6:28 PM (Pacific)

prehnite and peridot earrings on argentium sterling silver wire

I'm writing a post about these in The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog, should be published in a day or two. :)

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Hammered Argentium sterling "links" earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 2, 2007 at 9:14 PM (Pacific)

hammered argentium sterling links earrings

hammered argentium sterling links earrings

I'm getting a bit better at this. Now I can tell, as soon as I put the earrings on, whether or not they'll start feeling heavy toward the end of the day. It's a fine line...on these, I had to change out one of the Bali sterling beads. That tiny bit of extra weight makes the difference between "featherlight" and "starts to feel heavy if you wear them long enough."

Pretty pleased with these.

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Hammered Argentium sterling earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 1, 2007 at 1:10 PM (Pacific)

hammered argentium earrings with rose quartz

Been playing with these over the past couple of days. They're long, but lightweight (being only thin pieces of hammered silver, with two small rose quartz beads), and because they're neither hoops nor anything terminating in a loop, they don't get stuck in your hair or collar.

This is also the first time I've made earring wires, thanks to Argentium silver. Before that, I would have had to use niobium, titanium, or 18KT gold...procuring the first two kinds would likely be more headache than buying the blanks, and 18KT gold...hardly worth making this type of earring wire (for that, you would want either a readymade leverback, for a special pair of earrings, or else a kidney wire idea where you could interchange the dangles).

About the rose quartz beads...I've had these for a long time. I never actually got rid of the inexpensive materials I started out with...and if it's possible, I recommend you don't either. My daughter is managing them now. For these earrings, I started out using two small freshwater pearls instead of the rose quartz. But the idea of the earrings was to capture light, so I decided to look for something clear or translucent.

I had in mind to use glass, something like two small rough-looking glass beads (like Indian glass). I found some blue ones, but it occurred to me that making the two stones blue would limit these earrings to being worn with clothes that go with blue. I already have a fair amount of blue earrings. So I looked for clear glass, but it occurred to me the faint pastel pink of rose quartz was actually pretty versatile, almost like "blush makeup for the ears" (on the concept you don't have to match your blush to your clothes).

Anyhow there's the theory. :)

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Various earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, August 29, 2007 at 7:34 PM (Pacific)

argentium sterling silver hoop earrings with swarovski crystals

argentium sterling silver hoop earrings with labradorite

argentium sterling silver hoop earrings with freshwater pearls

These are pretty neat for you to whip up, you will need to hammer them. Then you can decorate them however you please.

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Interesting article/site on argentium sterling silver
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 23, 2007 at 11:30 PM (Pacific)

Is Argentium Sterling hypoallergenic?

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Argentium silver ear wires, end of Day 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 10:04 PM (Pacific)

Well I'll be darned. All these years, I've never been able to wear sterling silver earrings. I tried it many times over the years, then finally gave up. But these argentium ear wires have worked...I still have them in. No oozing, itching, pain, redness, swelling...amazing, simply amazing. If you are designing for metal sensitivity, you may want to look into this.

I got this great tip from the jewelrymaking.about.com forum, which I'll say again, is the best beading forum. What's great is that it's well run, has a core group of knowledgeable and friendly posters, and is the perfect size--big enough to always have new material, small enough so you don't feel lost in the crowd. :)

So, it's go for the argentium wire earring experiment. Yay!

Oddly enough I've started liking these "test earrings." At first I felt they were too thin...they're made from the only argentium wire I had on hand...now I think they look interesting that way. The effect is almost like invisible hoops where you have the dangles floating in air. I suspect they might look better with two dangles per hoop instead of one...might try that.

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More Argentium sterling silver ear wire thoughts
posted by TheBroadroom.Net, May 22, 2007 at 7:25 PM (Pacific)

I got to wear these only a few hours last time, now I've been wearing them another few hours. So far, so good. I should explain that I can't wear "regular" sterling silver or 14KT gold ear wires, only 18KT ($) or niobium...niobium is best but harder to integrate into designs than gold or silver.

I'm going to try wearing these over the next day or so, all day, to see if they really work (knock wood).

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Argentium silver ear wire thoughts
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 18, 2007 at 4:37 PM (Pacific)

argentium sterling silver wire hoop earring with keishi pearl

Read on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum that Argentium silver might be better for people with metal sensitivities, than regular sterling silver.

Having nothing to lose--I can't wear either regular sterling or 14KT gold earrings, only 18KT gold or niobium--I made up this solitary hoop earring. Normally I'd use a heavier gauge of wire for this, but this is the thickest Argentium wire I had on hand. I hammered the hoop to make it harder and added a pink keishi pearl drop.

So far so good, but then I haven't been wearing it that long, probably an hour at most. I'll post back here if it does work out.

I hate getting my hopes up, because for years and years I couldn't wear earrings at all...then Simply Whispers came out, and drugstores started selling those special surgical stainless wires in packs (which they don't seem to anymore?). Initially I converted my earrings to these types of wire, then I found 18KT gold also worked (but how many of those can you buy). Niobium is the best of all. But let's see if this argentium works.

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