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On This Page
· Some recent-ish earrings
· Beading thoughts part 3
· Rambles...
· Rambles...
· Rambles...
· Rambles...
· Sapphire and gold hoop earrings
· Citrine and labradorite earrings
· Rambles...
· Better pic of Madeira citrine earrings
· Madeira citrine earrings
· Green amethyst and prehnite necklace
· Green amethyst and emerald earrings
· Rambles...
· "A" sapphire earrings
· Happy New Year! (pic of double strand freshwater pearl necklace, pearl earrings)
· 2007, the year in beading
· Various jewelry pics
· 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
· Aha! Found the earrings...
· Aquamarine earrings, version 1.1
· Aquamarine earrings to go with the necklace
· Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
· Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
· Peridot earrings on goldfilled chain
· Interesting article/site on argentium sterling silver
· Argentium silver ear wires, end of Day 2
· Freshwater coin pearl jewelry
· Argentium silver ear wire thoughts
· Triple hoop earrings with square pearls
· Triple hoop earrings, hammered goldfilled wire and freshwater pearls
· Bali vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings
· Hammered sterling silver hoop earrings with blue apatite
· Version 1.1 of Swarovski crystal earrings
· Swarovski crystal and chain earrings
· Turquoise hammered goldfilled wire earrings
· Black Swarovski crystal and vermeil earrings, turquoise and vermeil earrings
· Labradorite and vermeil necklace and earrings
· Chalcedony necklace, then and now
· Jade necklace: then and now
· Citrine/sterling necklace and earrings, rambles...
· Rambles and a few pics
· More blogging here, with pics

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Some recent-ish earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 23, 2009 at 6:44 PM (Pacific)

Apologies for the great slab of iffy photography. Particularly the last image...the light was fading, and I had to wonder when I'd be able to photograph earrings again. I pushed the rack backwards to get a better image, but then the burgundy glow of the garnets was lost, so I attached an even more out-of-focus, yet better-illuminated pic.


handmade hammered hoop, golden rutile earrings
Hammered goldfilled hoops / golden rutilated quartz earrings

The hammered hoops were to be a prototype...I had the notion of getting some solid karat gold wire and doing something with that. But these were such a bugger to make, I decided to just leave 'em be. The tiny beads are karat gold in fact but the rest is goldfilled wire.

When you wear them, the little hammered pieces flutter and catch the light.

The golden rutile pair are so simple, yet they look really neat and golden on, what with the sparkle on the figure-8 chains.


handmade peridot, prehnite, tourmaline earrings
Peridot and vermeil / prehnite, peridot, tourmaline earrings

The prehnite pair are your standard Sundance Catalog, bunch o' green stones earrings.

I made the peridot pair quite recently, and wanted to do something different. Everyone makes earrings comprised of peridot briolettes on chains, right? These are really tiny briolettes--you need to use fine-gauge wire which is almost like a hair. I loaded the briolettes on until I got a glob of green light effect--you can't see the chain, but it's a heavy hammered goldfilled chain, which reflects light behind the stones.


handmade london blue topaz, tourmaline earrings on oxidized chain
London Blue topaz / tourmaline earrings on oxidized sterling chain

I need to redo the bottom blue topaz stones. Why was I in love with the idea of using a double loop at the top? It's useful when you need extra strength, but does little here but add more bulk. What's annoying is I made the loops a tad too small; the stones have a tendency to kink when the earrings are worn.

The tourmalines...eh...I'd like to redo these using a more delicate version of the same kind of chain.


handmade coin pearl and tiny pearls earrings
Baby coin pearl / tiny pearl earrings on rolo chain

The baby coin pearls are pretty basic; I wear them in summer, with pearl necklaces.

The tiny pearl earrings...I wanted the effect of small white flowers, like cherry blossoms. The pearls, including the rice pearls, were from the defunct Bead Biz of El Cerrito (wah! come back!); the rolo chain from Marvin Tanner. It is a gorgeous chain, but only fine-gauge wire can pass through it, so it's ideal for smaller pieces like these.


handmade moonstone, garnet hoop earrings
Moonstone and labradorite / rhodolite garnet, grey moonstone earrings

Do not go gentle into that good night, though it may be a bit useless to rage against the dying of the light. The moonstone drops in the left-hand pair have blue flash (it's utterly lost here, I'm just saying).

The pair on the right...I wanted to do a series of grey and burgundy earrings. I attempted to oxidize sterling silver wire (see previous two posts) but the darn wire was too good to tarnish--only the niobium earring wires, and tiny sterling beads that were on them, got even remotely fried.

So version 1.1 features a mysterious grey stone...I found two on a strand of otherwise not-particularly-grey stones...a fringe of rhodolite garnets, and a grey moonstone (bottom center).

If I get more time this holiday, I'll post more pics (I have some pendants and necklaces as well as other earrings).

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Beading thoughts part 3
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 7, 2009 at 7:54 PM (Pacific)

I'm trying to oxidize some sterling silver earrings.

By "trying," I mean it isn't working, quite. Last night, I placed the jewelry inside a ziplock bag, along with the yolk of a hard-boiled egg (smush the yolk some, but don't let it touch the jewelry). Right? By the following morning, the sterling was supposed to be black.

I'm guessing the well-intentioned folks who sold me the sterling wire (it's not argentium, just the regular kind) put an anti-tarnish treatment on it. Isn't it just the thing? when you want it to tarnish, it won't?

When I got home from work today, I noticed a slight golden-brown cast on the sterling. Jeesh! I decided to heck with it, mashed the yolk right into the earrings, and put the whole works--ziplock baggie, melange o' earrings and egg yolk--into the fridge. Let's see how it fares tomorrow.

Anyhow, the earrings were supposed to be a pair in a series of grey and burgundy earrings. I'd intended to combine grey labradorite (slight blue flash, if any) with some beautiful "rhodolite" garnet. The earrings wound up too heavy with the labradorite, unfortunately, so I ditched it in favor of more garnets, but the bright silver just looked old school.

I might end up redoing the earrings altogether...after doing this for some years, I've gotten good, and reasonably fast, with the mechanics...I'm not sure now if they're still too heavy, or if I'll be happy with the frames (the only non-argentium sterling wire at hand was half-hard 20 gauge, and I really prefer soft for this type of work). But I can't ditch anything until I see if I can darken the wire!

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 6, 2008 at 2:24 PM (Pacific)

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of using a tiny round bead, instead of a crimp (see previous Rambles...).

What I had on hand were crimp tubes. They actually don't look bad, crimped on a hoop like that, but a tiny round bead would likely look much better.

I've been turning it over in my mind about soldering. Wondering how feasible it would be to solder an earring frame, say, that already had dangles on it. Would it melt the wire on the dangles? For briolettes, I've been using a double loop at the top. It would be more difficult doing such a loop directly on the wire.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 5, 2008 at 8:26 PM (Pacific)

I got to finish some earrings today. Boy, were they a pain to finish! I had this idea of making a round hoop, with a curved bar inside it, like a much simpler version of these: Gokul earrings. Just the bottom hoops with the bar inside, and stuff hanging from the bar and from the bottom edge of the hoop. (Not even the fancy dangles hanging from the bottom, just regular little dangles.)

Thing is, I haven't taken up soldering yet. I don't think it's a big deal, but it does represent cost, both in time and in tools and materials. Soldering will be my second phase of jewelry making; I'm thinking of taking it up next year.

Anyhow...I had no idea how I was going to do the curved bar inside the hoop. I knew it wasn't going to be as simple as these:

madeira citrine earrings

Here, the shape of the hoop keeps the horizontal bar from sliding around. I knew that wasn't going to happen with the round hoops, but figured I'd go ahead, make the hoops and take it from there.

So I made the hoop and bar...how to keep this thing from sliding around? These are the versions I ran through:

drawing of hoop versions

In figure 1, I tried wrapping fine-gauge wire tightly around the sides of the hoop, directly under the curved bar. This didn't work, no matter how tightly I did the wrap. If you pushed firmly on the coil of wire, it slid down the side of the hoop.

I then tried wrapping fine-gauge wire above the curved bar, on either side of the hoop (figure 2). This worked, because the bar could not slide, but looked funny, since the wrapped wire covered only the top part of the hoop.

Figure 3 entailed covering the rest of the hoop with the fine-gauge wire. I've seen this done in finished pieces, but it didn't work here. You'd have to finagle the dangles on the bottom of the hoop...I had mine just hanging from the hoop itself. So the only way to do the wrapped wire, would be to use a continuous piece of wire. Anything else, the bottom wrap of wire would slide down...unless you wrapped it right up against the dangles on the bottom of the hoop. In which case, the dangles wouldn't really dangle, they'd just be stuck in a piece.

So I'm thinking, do I really want this entire earring to stand or fall, based on a continuous strand of wire?

Figure 4 was my solution. I didn't use fine-gauge wire at all. As an aside, I rather disliked the fine-gauge wire experience. I've used it to "glue" components together, I don't mind that, but the idea of covering the entire frame with wrapped wire irked me. The wrapped wire added to the weight of the earring, and there wasn't much practical way to use a continuous piece of wire...you were stuck patching the wraps together, and ending up with little odds and ends of wire trimmings (I know, if you did this often enough, you wouldn't have much waste).

In the end I just used...crimps. That's right, crimps. I put a crimp under each end of the curved bar. And it worked.

Thinking on it now...another solution could be to use a tiny silver bead under each end of the curved bar. You could then hammer the wire under the tiny bead to keep the bead in place. I've done stuff like that although it's tricky (you really have to hammer the wire to keep even a small bead in place).

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 2, 2008 at 5:37 PM (Pacific)

Hi! Haven't had much time to blog lately...

It's occurred to me...a new earring design usually takes me several days, at least. Sometimes longer. Once I have the design, it takes me several hours to actually fabricate the earrings.

I was thinking of that today...from the beginning, I had wanted to develop several designs and just use those. Part of it is sheer laziness, no doubt, but I believe in modularity anyway in my life. If I find a sweater I like, I'll buy the same sweater in as many different colors as I need, rather than try to find a different sweater. If it works, it works.

So far:

sapphire hoop indian-style earrings

I've already made another of this pattern, using a tiny prehnite faceted onion as the top stone, and three green amethyst faceted pears on the bottom (the pears were too big to use five). I'm thinking of making a garnet pair as well.

madeira citrine hoop earrings

This is good too. I'm planning to make a green pair...going through my clothes today, I realized how much green I wear. Blue is useful too. Thinking on it, I should make a green and a blue pair of every design.

green amethyst and goldfilled chain hoop earrings

This works, but a caveat: I got rid of the emeralds.

This is better for a larger stone...and might look nice with more unusual chains, like a figure-8 or textured chain. Even though I like this flat cable chain.

sapphire and sterling silver hoop earrings

This is an efficient use of tiny stones! I have a gold version, but need to redo it--I tried putting gold beads on the outside of the stones, instead of just using them to space out the stones. That doesn't work, since the gold beads are too light weight, they end sliding up the sides of the hoops. Plus, I think I'll do a simple-loop headpin rather than a wrapped-loop one, for the gold version.

That's it so far! I have other earrings I've made, but those are more one-of-a-kind, I'm not planning on reusing the design.

I'm also thinking of a round hoop, with a curved bar in the middle...you hang stones from both the curved bar and the bottom of the hoop.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 23, 2008 at 5:36 PM (Pacific)

Happy Easter!

Was fiddling around with some earrings today...I still need to finish the three-hoop necklace. The front is fine, but I finished the back with two grey moonstone rondelles. I love how the grey color looks, but the drill-holes were small. I really prefer using heavier wire in back to finish a chain, plus it could stand to be a bit longer anyway.

Anyhow, about the earrings. These are to go with my mom pendant:

hoop pendant with various gemstones


Only the earrings use just my kids' birthstones (peridot and pearl). It took me a while to make them though the design itself is quite simple.

For one thing, I've found it tricky making matching sets of jewelry. Usually the earrings end up too fancy; they work well on their own, but are "too much" when worn with the matching necklace.

At the opposite end are earrings that work only with the matching necklace and are too simple or blah to be worn on their own or with anything else.

For this exercise, I wore the necklace while doing the earrings, and came up with a design of a gold bead, a baby coin pearl, and a peridot faceted pear. The peridot I've had for over a year (it's the same one here); the baby coin is the same as in the necklace. The gold bead is actually karat gold albeit hollow in structure. I've liked adding karat gold beads here and there in my work; nothing else looks like real gold (unfortunately nothing else costs like real gold either, hence the idea of using it sparingly).

I love these baby coin pearls! I saw them used extensively on the Midori Jewelry site and got the idea there. They're quite a bit more versatile than the larger coin pearls and add a nice glow to whatever you're making.

All three components of the earrings are very lightweight. I've been making heavier earrings and I like them, but you can't wear heavy earrings every day.

I hope to have some pictures soon.

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Sapphire and gold hoop earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 20, 2008 at 7:03 PM (Pacific)

handmade sapphire earrings

This is a somewhat lower grade of sapphire. Still a tiny bit translucent, but without the rich color of blue sapphires.

I was very pleased these beads had been hand selected...I bought them online, three packages of four beads each. Someone had gone through and made sure I got two of each color. That's how I could make matching earrings.

This is goldfill and vermeil, with karat gold beads.

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Citrine and labradorite earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:55 PM (Pacific)

handmade citrine and labradorite earrings

Here's my first attempt at using a herringbone weave. I realize I linked to it earlier from the beauty & fashion blog, but now that I can get screenshot thumbnails of the posts here, figured it would be useful to post here for future reference.

Ultimately I was disappointed in using half-hard wire for the weave, because I found it impossible to bend the wire just so on the sides. I think the bezel ended up covering too much of the stone. I haven't given up on the weave itself, but I will wait until I can order some soft wire in this gauge.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 18, 2008 at 6:12 PM (Pacific)

...where was I? :)

I ditched the earrings...I can't make the herringbone weave work with half-hard wire. It'll make a bezel, but I'm not happy with it.

Latest projects:

Fashion Notes: Earring synergy (the ill-fated half-hard herringbone weave!)
Just Notes: What I've been into, lately (also featuring some pics I found on the Net of my home town)
Fashion Notes: Labradorite necklace

Today I'm making one of those necklaces...you've seen them...a small golden hoop, with some stuff hanging from it. It's a style I've been meaning to try for quite some time, but the challenge of course is to avoid a generic look.

So I started with my kids' birthstones--peridot and pearl--and thought to make a commemoration of my time with them. I added a small round citrine coin (smooth) to represent the sun, a tiny heart of sapphire (for the blue sky), a moonstone (for cloudy days), and an aquamarine (the sea). I wanted to add a tiny prehnite onion, for a grassy field, but it was getting to be too much so I had to take it off.

It occurred to me as I was making this, how much time it takes to make even a relatively simple construction. For me now it's less an issue of skill, and becoming less an issue of materials...I remember back when I found the entire process intimidating. Just making a wrapped loop was horrible, or a wrapped briolette. Now it feels quite natural.

Even so, as I say, it takes forever! The thing has to hang just right, it has to fall just right. The expensive stones have to show; they can't migrate to the back. It has to feel comfortable on. Even if everything seems right, I still have to wear it. I'll know at the end of the day, if it's something I ever want to wear again. Hence it takes at least two days to make a single piece, unless it's one of those freaky pieces that just happens to be right the first time around.

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Better pic of Madeira citrine earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 8, 2008 at 11:41 AM (Pacific)

handmade madeira citrine earrings


Not sure what to make next. Thinking of going ahead and making another copy of these frames, though I don't know what to put in them. I'm just thinking of "something symmetrical, using one or two chains, and a small stone."

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Madeira citrine earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 7, 2008 at 4:38 PM (Pacific)

handmade madeira citrine earrings


Been playing around with these for a while...had the idea of capturing this "winter tree full of robins" idea--not even sure they were robins? They weren't like East Coast robins, with vivid red-orange breasts, but rather a softer color.

Anyhow, because the citrines are wrapped to the chain, they move around a lot...rather like birds on a tree :) I tried this out initially with some bright silver chain I had on hand, but the oxidized one fits much better. (Using the same motif, it becomes like the dark branches of the tree.)

I was out of soft wire, so I went ahead and used half hard. It was, oddly, as easy to make the frames, because I'd started out using only half hard wire in the first place. lol! I'd had no real idea what temper to use for what, so I bought only half hard, in 20 and 24 gauges, figuring these would work for the most applications. So returning to this temper was curiously comforting.

I'd been trying for a long time to make this sort of frame. I'd say my earlier endeavors were typically too big and/or too heavy. And I've been trying lately to make more conservative styles, so again a smaller size is in order.

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Green amethyst and prehnite necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 9, 2008 at 4:10 PM (Pacific)

prasiolite and prehnite necklace, prasiolite and emerald earrings

prasiolite and prehnite necklace, prasiolite and emerald earrings


Playing around with backgrounds. The black background shows the structure better, but the white one shows the color of the stones.

Pretty pleased with the necklace...the key is the weight in back. Without adding extra beads, the weight in front would be too much.

Another idea I'm playing with is of making pieces which can be worn either casually or more formally. This one might do it. If you wear your hair down, you can't see the prehnites much, so it becomes a simpler necklace, just the front prasiolites. If you put your hair up of course you can see the whole shmeer.

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Green amethyst and emerald earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 3, 2008 at 3:17 PM (Pacific)

handmade green amethyst and emerald earrings


Quite pleased with these. The emeralds shown are really tiny, the ones that come at the ends of a graduated strand. Supposedly they're at least 2mm (which is already small) but some struck me as being even smaller. Stringing them though, they look quite pretty.

If you look at the right-most bottom pic, you can see the emerald "frame" is bent a little. I've fixed that since the photo.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 21, 2008 at 11:38 AM (Pacific)

Haven't been doing many new projects lately, aside from the aforementioned earrings. Mostly, I've been going back over old projects...the ones I want to keep...and fixing them up. It's a slow but steady process.

Traditionally (if three years' worth of anything can have tradition), I've been taking a month or two off beading every year. Now I don't need to do that. I suppose I've felt a certain amount of stress, in whether I could really make jewelry.

I'm not crafty by nature. My interest in making jewelry derives from my interest in the thing itself. But now I feel I have the capability, and it's simply a matter of keeping at it. So, instead of grinding to a halt, I've decided to do it more slowly, more introspectively, for the given month or two.

goldfilled circle pendant with pink freshwater pearl

goldfilled circle pendant with pink freshwater pearl detail


Here is a redo of a hoop originally designed with thicker wire. I ran out...of course...actually I was short in the neighborhood of a quarter- to half-inch of wire, and my supplier is out of stock of this gauge (and has been for quite some time). I don't want to switch suppliers, so I redid the hoop with the gauge on hand.

The golden circle is nice...I made it like a wedding ring in size. Haven't worked out the top 100% yet, I had to bend the loop over to get the pendant to hang straight. It's balanced, but I'd like to make the loop look more centered.

Wondering if these guys have something in common:

lapis necklace and sapphire earrings


For this necklace, I had made some "moral obligation" earrings, plain hammered silver hoops with lapis dangles. Nice, but, the sapphire earrings are nicer. I haven't worn them together yet though.

blue chalcedony and vermeil necklace


Discovered I'd fluffed one of the Bali vermeil beads in the back. If I'm redoing it though, I'll probably add an extender chain.

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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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Various jewelry pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 5, 2007 at 5:28 PM (Pacific)

hi!

This is the lapis and silver necklace and earrings mentioned earlier. The bracelet ended up looking not so good, so I didn't wear it.


last day

This is the American turquoise necklace and earrings from a while ago.

turquoise, labradorite and keishi pearl necklace

This is a new piece I'm fiddling around with. It's entirely personal, not something you'd make to sell (conversely, not something you'd be able to buy either). It is to commemorate the sea around Jamaica (the two above pics were taken there, as well as the background pic of the boat), which is just the most kick-ass sea you've ever seen.

Here I used American turquoise...the water there is turquoise. If you look out at it, you'll see patches of turquoise and deep blue. The turquoise sea is over areas of sand, the deep blue over coral reefs.

The labradorite has mostly greenish-blue or blue flash, and the pearl is a naturally pink keishi pearl.

The anchor is gold, actually. I went looking around for a golden anchor, and the best one was a 14KT gold charm. I found a sterling silver anchor at Target, but I really wanted a gold color (plus the sterling one was too big). In real life it looks almost like a fleur-de-lys rather than an obvious anchor.

It has an extender chain in the back, the kind you make using short lengths of chain and jump rings.

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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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Aha! Found the earrings...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 26, 2007 at 3:55 PM (Pacific)

JEZEBEL

(I was looking for these in the previous post.)

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Aquamarine earrings, version 1.1
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM (Pacific)

aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain earrings

Okey dokey, the version I did yesterday was too heavy. Too much silver at the bottom, stones probably too big...this one uses smaller stones and less than half the silver.

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Aquamarine earrings to go with the necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 5, 2007 at 5:09 PM (Pacific)

necklace and earrings made of aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain

earring made of aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain

Sorry for the less than stellar pics...I'm getting a bit tired. Soon I'll go water the garden. :)

Here the issue is how to "pop" the color of the aquamarines. In my experience, aquamarines are sold dyed, unless specified otherwise (and priced accordingly). i.e., when you wash them, you lose much of the color.

Yellow is a good color to pop blue (if you have blue eyes and "warm" coloring, you can enhance your eye color with yellow-toned eyeshadows: champagne, gold, peach, orange, brown with a golden tone, etc.), so I went with Bali gold vermeil for these stones.

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Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 1, 2007 at 3:54 PM (Pacific)

sterling silver and swarovski crystal hammered wire tulip earrings

Well that's it. Toward the end I was starting to think of these as "Murphy's Law earrings," because seemingly everything that could go wrong with them, did. Yet, here they are.

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Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 31, 2007 at 5:58 PM (Pacific)

sterling silver and swarovski crystal hammered wire earrings

Pretty pleased with these...the design took me a couple of days. The original design had three bends at the bottom, not four, but I found you have to make these bends pretty deep, and almost closed at the tops, otherwise your dangles "jump" from bend to bend.

These use handmade hammered "paddle headpins": Make Paddle-Style Head Pins

The headpins are fun to make and can be surprisingly versatile, although you have to use beads with small holes for this gauge of wire. I used an emery board to smooth the edges of the "paddles" where necessary.

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Peridot earrings on goldfilled chain
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 26, 2007 at 10:47 AM (Pacific)

peridot earrings on goldfilled chain

As you can see, it's the same design.

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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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Freshwater coin pearl jewelry
posted by TheBroadroom.Net, May 20, 2007 at 6:42 PM (Pacific)

Okey dokey...

coin pearl earrings on hammered goldfilled wire

multi-strand bracelet with freshwater coin and corn pearls

They're both pretty straightforward pieces. The bracelet is "reversible" of course, you can wear the coin pearl side toward your hand or away from it.

I'm still playing with the idea of making bracelets composed of multiple bracelets, rather than just multiple strands of the same bracelet, if that makes any sense. I have a couple of these already strung...one is mostly Swarovski crystals, but I crowded all three strands into the same loop and I think it would be better to use jump rings. The other, as mentioned earlier, is the same as the one pictured above only with silver beads instead of vermeil.

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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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Triple hoop earrings with square pearls
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 8, 2007 at 4:13 PM (Pacific)

Okay, decided to go with the square pearls for these. I'm still pondering the nature of the hoop...because I'd like to make some out of wire with a higher gold content. Is it possible to make a good pair without the expense of goldsmithing, yes I think it is. But I'm not in a rush over it.

Anyhow thought I'd experiment some with outdoor photography. I realize you seldom see jewelry "on" someone in professional photographs, but I secretly feel that's a shame. I love seeing jewelry on someone. I suppose it jells for me, the exact proportions and flow of the jewelry, how the earrings hang, where on the neck does the necklace lie. Funny eh?

triple hoop hammered goldfilled wire earrings with square pearls

Why the closed eyes, it was either that or squint or do the pic with sunglasses on. Detail:

triple hoop hammered goldfilled wire earrings with square pearls

triple hoop hammered goldfilled wire earrings with square pearls

I love this one ^ because of the shadow.

Indoors:

triple hoop hammered goldfilled wire earrings with square pearls

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Triple hoop earrings, hammered goldfilled wire and freshwater pearls
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 7, 2007 at 3:22 PM (Pacific)

triple hoop earrings, hammered goldfilled wire and freshwater pearls

Not sure what to do with these yet...right now they're identical, except one has a square pearl and one has a coin-shaped one. I'm basically out of goldfilled wire of that gauge, so making too many more of this design is out of the question until I replace it...but I'm envisioning three pairs of earrings that mix and match (i.e. two square pearl ones, two coin pearl ones, two of something else).

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Bali vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 2, 2007 at 4:01 PM (Pacific)

bali vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings

These are yesterday's earrings. I've decided they're not too heavy. In fact I'll probably make a silver version, although I'm not sure I'll use pearls for that one.

Still finishing off the six-strand pearl necklace...that's 24 crimp covers to add. :p Probably take a pic tomorrow.

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Hammered sterling silver hoop earrings with blue apatite
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 30, 2007 at 2:12 PM (Pacific)

sterling silver hoop earrings with blue apatite

I would rather have made these with lapis stones, but recall I'm still on my "bead cold turkey," so I used some blue apatite stones instead. Pretty pleased how they came out, would like to try making more hoop earrings.

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Version 1.1 of Swarovski crystal earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 26, 2007 at 9:49 PM (Pacific)

swarovski crystal earrings on goldfilled chain

The earlier version was terrible! I wore them in windy conditions and they were all over the place. I had the idea of stabilizing the bottom wire by simply adding more weight (hence the extra crystal) and added some on the sides to boot. The side crystals probably aren't necessary, but they look nice. This design is quite stable (I test it by grabbing the earrings and shaking them the way you would a smoothie in a bottle before drinking) but don't know yet if it's too heavy. If it is, I'll toss the side crystals.

And...Einstein that I am, I forgot not to do those teeny-spiral headpins on the bottom dangles of long earrings. Even hammering them doesn't help...they still end up sticking to your fake-fur collar, should you have one (looks guilty). So I switched these back to small-loop headpins and moved the spiral guys up to the sides.

At the end of all this, these remind me now of Indian chandelier earrings, on a slightly smaller scale.

Edited 4/27/07 to replace that horrendous night photo.

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Swarovski crystal and chain earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 4:26 PM (Pacific)

swarovski crystal earrings on goldfilled chain

This is a very simple design...I'm working toward making "wall of crystal" earrings, but these are not it. (I suspect slightly smaller crystals would be better for the "wall of crystal" earrings.)

Still they came out nicely. I'm going to wear these today.

If you look you'll see it's largely odd pieces of wire and chain. The readymade components are the earring wires; you could just as well make your own out of goldfilled wire. I haven't bought niobium wire yet--and not sure how much cheaper it would be if I did--as I have tons of preformed niobium wires on hand.

I'm running out of supplies...on purpose. Right now I need to be more creative with what I have. It's too easy for me to jump on the Internet and find what I need for the moment, or for the next few projects...more difficult for me to look at what I have and make something interesting out of that.

I do plan on buying more supplies of course, just seeing how much I can come up with before doing so.

Note: these earrings have been redone, the original design was too unstable.

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Turquoise hammered goldfilled wire earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 21, 2007 at 6:10 PM (Pacific)

turquoise hammered goldfilled wire earrings

Sweet! Got a hammer and a "block" today. The block...coughmade in Chinacough was a steel block glued to a wooden base, and the block came completely off the base after I'd used it...once.

I'm not overly concerned, as the steel block seems beautifully solid and it's simply a matter of E-6000'ing it back onto the wooden base...and you could just as well not glue it at all, and use it set on top of a wooden cutting board. Still, guys, could ya just glue the darn thing?

Anyway...still loads of hammering pleasure. Here is my first project...it's crude but I will keep it, the same way I've kept a sample of just about every "phase" of my jewelry making journey. The hammered spirals catch the light when you wear them. Plus, they feel just gorgeous when you touch them...nice and smooth.

My aim is to make more of my own components out of wire. I've seen some beautiful ones and found them inspiring. Plus, I'm tired of having to buy something every time I turn around in order to complete a project.

The bottom line is that handmade components can look better because the eye can discern that they were not mass produced.

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Black Swarovski crystal and vermeil earrings, turquoise and vermeil earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 11, 2007 at 6:13 PM (Pacific)

black swarovski crystal and vermeil earrings, turquoise and vermeil earrings

Not sure yet about the black ones. They're exceedingly simple, made to match a black Swarovski crystal and Bali vermeil necklace. Since the necklace was kinda fancy, thought I'd go simple with the earrings. They're a good light weight, and not too long, on.

The turquoise ones are standard jig creations...the trick is to bend them so that the turquoise drops don't flip around when you wear them. I also "soldered" the side loops with some fine gauge wire. Debated whether to wrap the bottom loops as well, but there's no purpose in doing so (I could also have wire wrapped the top loops but wondered if that would be "too much").

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Labradorite and vermeil necklace and earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 4, 2007 at 7:12 PM (Pacific)

labradorite and vermeil necklace and earrings

labradorite and vermeil necklace detail

labradorite and vermeil earrings

The necklace is actually not new, though you'll note I haven't attached crimp covers yet. It's a random design of labradorite rounds, some faceted rondelles, and Bali vermeil beads.

The earrings used to be made with tiny pearls...I made them a while ago and intended to redo them, I wasn't happy with my detail work. They were nice earrings but a bit ordinary, so I took them apart and used the chains for the new pair.

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Chalcedony necklace, then and now
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 2, 2007 at 5:22 PM (Pacific)

Then (far left):



Now:



There is another pair of the Bali vermeil cylinder-shaped beads in the back, behind the last pair of chalcedony beads, that would show in the summer when you put your hair up (in fact I think of this as a summer necklace).

These are the same chalcedony beads I used before; I bought six of them, so there is now a lone chalcedony bead in the box. I suppose I've gotten away from "wrapping for wrapping's sake" and more into trying to create simpler, more wearable designs.

Speaking of wrapping...AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! There are so many different choices even for wire for this. All along I've been using half hard, round wire, usually 22 or 24 gauge. Now I've been reading that soft wire works better. I tried out some dead soft for doing my briolettes:



...and it worked great, but I never thought of using soft wire for wrapping!

Then, to make things even more interesting, I saw a rec for half round wire, this one:


image courtesy www.rings-things.com

The idea is that half round wire lies flatter against your piece and tucks better. Now that certainly stands to reason, and it's a great idea, but I am dizzy!!!!!

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Jade necklace: then and now
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 5, 2007 at 12:11 PM (Pacific)



Sort of, anyway. There was an interim version, with peridot nuggets...and the one on the right, I'm not 100% sure about yet. I was one rondelle short of putting five rondelles at the ends, instead of four...I'm debating whether or not to get more rondelles anyway (it's a beautiful jade). If I do, I would probably go ahead and make it five.

The original is dated August of last year; the one on the right was done yesterday. Same jade beads, I just cut apart the original and reused them.

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Citrine/sterling necklace and earrings, rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 27, 2007 at 1:01 PM (Pacific)



Okay, I've redone the earrings...these are smaller teardrop-shaped citrine beads. Doing the wrap now has become easy for me. It took me, oh, about five or six times of totally dorking it up, but I've come to see that you have to dork things up at first. I mean you have to be of the mentality that you need to sit down and dork things up. And it's good. It's practice.

I'm starting to play with my 1mm black leather cord...I have five yards of it. It's really nice. I think it's better than 2mm for what I have in mind...I'd like to make a series of pendants. Mind you I don't know how to melt glass, these are just going to be worked with existing glass beads.

All in all I'm quite happy with how it's been going.

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Rambles and a few pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 10, 2007 at 5:17 PM (Pacific)




This is a horrible photo, I took it in the middle of the night. When I make the other earring, I'll take a better photo. What's great here is the top part...the citrine droplets catch the light and reflect golden. At the bottom is a citrine teardrop-shaped bead wrapped in argentium silver wire.







My daughter helped design this pendant...it's remarkably simple (being two white square pearls) but the balance of pearl and gold is quite pretty.

Ramble commences here:

Ugh, I'm at the point where I have several "almost finished" pieces. These pieces would be finished, if only...most of them are missing only one or two components, like the extender beads for the turquoise necklace, a clasp for a turquoise bracelet, some Bali vermeil beads for a square pearl necklace (I tried it with just the pearls; too plain), a clasp for a square pearl bracelet, yadda yadda...

I'm finding, once you've mastered the techniques, the next hurdle is finding all the pieces you need. It's almost insanely difficult. Even for basic components, I've used three etailers, not one.

I suppose I should look at it, that "almost finished" can become "finished" much more easily than, say, "half finished."

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More blogging here, with pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 2, 2007 at 7:09 PM (Pacific)

Year 2 of making jewelry

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