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· Some recent-ish earrings
· Labradorite pear necklace
· Citrine and labradorite earrings
· Rambles...
· Labradorite necklace
· Various jewelry pics
· Various earrings
· Rambles and some pics
· Aquamarine and labradorite bracelet
· Labradorite and vermeil necklace and earrings
· Turquoise and labradorite bracelet
· Jade necklace: then and now
· Wire thimbles...I love you!

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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'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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Labradorite pear necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 20, 2008 at 7:08 PM (Pacific)

handmade labradorite pear necklace
handmade labradorite pear necklace

In the top pic, I was leaning at a funny angle, trying to capture the schiller in the stones. It hangs much more the way it does in the bottom pic.

I made this for special occasions, imo it's too much for every day. Unless you can pull something like that off. :)

BTW labradorite is light for its size. I thought these stones would be way heavy, all together on the chain like that, but they're not. I'm not even sure this needs a counterweight in the back--I haven't finished the back, I haven't even cut the chain yet. I'm using a chain sample I got, so the last thing I'll need to do in this piece is cut the chain itself.

For this necklace (top center image):

handmade london blue topaz necklace

...I put a small smooth citrine coin in back, on an extender chain. I got the idea from Midori Jewelry. The necklaces have this neat little green "melon" in back. I didn't want to copy the melon, of course, but I liked the idea of finishing the pieces all in the same way. So I'm thinking of putting another citrine coin in the back of this piece (I've had these coins since forever and couldn't figure out what to do with them until recently).

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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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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'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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Labradorite necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 31, 2008 at 4:16 PM (Pacific)

labradorite necklace
labradorite necklace clasp detail
labradorite necklace pendant detail

I have this on the LP blog actually, only now I've worn it a few times. It's interesting, because often there's a problem putting a flat stone in front of a necklace. On many designs, the flat bead will turn sideways and stick straight out instead of lying flat. This is particularly true of a string of flat beads; it looks nice, but is impossible to wear.

This works somehow. I suspect it has to do with the stone itself--it's cut so there's slightly more weight on one side of it. As long as you face it correctly, it'll stay flat.

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


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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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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Rambles and some pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 17, 2007 at 7:16 PM (Pacific)

Haven't been able to make anything new (or even redo anything old) lately...been fixing up the site. Got fed up doing it for a long I'd like to get it back into shape.

So far I've finished most of the active blogs and some of the archived ones. I started doing the Wit & Wisdom Blog--it used to be five enormous posts, before there were individual pages for blogs. Now I'm making it one quote = one post. (It's probably less than half done now, since you can't keep posting like that on Blogger.)

It's not going to be nearly as horrible as it looks now...I'm going to put a search engine on it (once at least some of this stuff gets crawled) so you'll be able to search it properly.

I did get to take a couple new pics as follows:

labradorite and vermeil multi-strand bracelet

^ This is all labradorite and vermeil.

citrine and sterling silver multi-strand bracelet

^ This is citrine and sterling silver. It's not a new piece, just a new pic.

bali vermeil cage bead and turquoise necklace

Top view of my Bali cage bead necklace.

black swarovski crystal and bali vermeil necklace and earrings

Same black Swarovski crystal and Bali vermeil necklace and earrings.

The rest of the new pics are in my Picasa album.

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Aquamarine and labradorite bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 8, 2007 at 7:35 PM (Pacific)

aquamarine and labradorite bracelet

aquamarine and labradorite bracelet

aquamarine and labradorite bracelet

I'm pretty pleased with this piece even though these aren't the best pictures. I've found with my (older) digicam, the lighting has to be just right or else the pics get out of focus to a degree.

This is a bit more luxe than I usually make it, but it's a gift (note the gift bag!), and I wanted to do something with aquamarines. The strands are mainly faceted aquamarine rondelles, with some faceted labradorite rondelles and Bali silver beads. The clasp is also aquamarine and silver.

Got to try out that EZ Bracelet Sizer while making this piece. It does help actually. I started out with two strands, then decided to add the third strand with three aquamarine nugget beads in the center. It was too big with two strands but just right with the three.

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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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Turquoise and labradorite bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 1, 2007 at 5:34 PM (Pacific)

No crimp covers yet, still trying out the design.

Getting a little bored photographing everything indoors...and inspired by the Heartworks by Lori site, where she uses natural objects such as flowers, shells and leaves in her photos...thought I'd try out a few outdoor pics.

Hm. Mine are probably not as good as my indoor pics in commercial terms, but I'm loving the idea of including natural objects somehow...especially for stone jewelry, or pieces with a tiny bit of roughness to them.

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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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Wire thimbles...I love you!
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 31, 2007 at 3:05 PM (Pacific)

My wire thimbles came from Rings 'n' Things today...oh, these are worth it.

They do make your loop bigger looks fine but you do have to incorporate the slight extra length into your design.

Here is a piece I was working on when the order arrived (mind you, I'm still waiting on my crimps, so this design was temporarily strung anyway):

You'll note how much the wire thimble extends the length of the strand. When I get the crimps and actually make this piece, I'll likely take out the vermeil beads at the two ends of the strand, and just go with the look of a gf crimp cover terminating the strand.

Here you can see again how much difference the wire thimbles make in terms of length and space.

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