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On This Page
· Some recent-ish earrings
· Knotting pearls on silk part 4
· Knotting pearls on silk part 3
· Knotting pearls on silk part 2
· On knotting pearls on silk
· The Mom pendant
· Rambles...
· Happy New Year! (pic of double strand freshwater pearl necklace, pearl earrings)
· 2007, the year in beading
· Various earrings
· Keishi pearl necklace part 2
· Keishi pearl necklace (no pics yet)
· Square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain
· Coin pearl pattern
· Freshwater coin pearl jewelry
· Argentium silver ear wire thoughts
· Triple hoop earrings with square pearls
· Triple hoop earrings, hammered goldfilled wire and freshwater pearls
· Three bracelets
· Freshwater pearl multi-strand necklace
· Bali vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings
· Freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet set
· Freshwater pearl and tourmaline bracelet
· Three strand freshwater pearl necklace
· Jade bracelet with Bali vermeil beads and green apatite clasp
· More blogging here...
· Jade and pearl necklace and bracelet pics
· Jade necklace: then and now
· Jade and pearl bracelet
· More blogging here...
· Pics and more 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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Knotting pearls on silk part 4
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 2, 2008 at 7:59 PM (Pacific)

Oooh! I'm excited...I just glued the ends of my four strands of knotted pearls. Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and try finishing the piece.

Normally it wouldn't take this long. I found the most difficult parts were getting together the right thicknesses of silk, and figuring out how to knot with doubled thread.

I started out with Griffin silk, with the "built-in needle," but ended up using Gudebrod Champion silk in size D, with separate needles. The built-in needle is handy for straightforward knotting, where you don't need to double the thread, but it's not the most practical if you're doing anything different.

With the Champion silk, I made my own built-in needle...just cut the thread twice as long as you need (it's about a yard or meter for a non-choker-length strand, so cut two yards), thread the needle on, and make a double thread. Knot the two ends together and thread on your clamshell. I put a tiny silver bead between the clamshell and the first knot, hoping that will keep the silk from fraying.

Then you string on a bunch of pearls and start knotting. It's not like the Griffin thread, where you have to string all of the pearls before you begin to knot, but it does go more quickly if you string a bunch, then knot them.

I had to do a slightly larger knot than a regular overhand knot...here I just added an extra "turn" on the overhand knot, if that makes any sense. With #0 Griffin silk I had to do more than one extra turn...it was a pain. But with Champion size D, just one extra turn did it.

I learned a few things...even if the knot feels right, you have to inspect it before making the next knot. If there's too much slack, you can still fix it by adding in another plain overhand knot and incorporating the slack knot into it...but if you've already knotted the next pearl, you can't do that.

I tried stretching out the silk while I was working with it. In fact I'm wondering now if pre-stretching the entire thread is a thought, the way you'd pre-stretch stretchy cord.

The knots don't actually have to be 100% perfect, I screwed one up and tried fixing it by threading in some extra silk and knotting that. It won't make it 100% perfect (were I doing a single strand, I'd restring the entire thing) but for this multi-strand piece, I was satisfied with it.

Once you have the materials and method, and your tool of choice (tweezers or awl), it goes pretty quickly.

I'm going to try my four strands on this clasp from Shiana.com:

shiana.com silver toggle

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Knotting pearls on silk part 3
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 27, 2008 at 9:23 PM (Pacific)

Still working on my first project! I had decided to make it a multi-strand pearl necklace, and haven't had much time to work on it.

The first strand is finished--large freshwater pearls on #4 silk. I haven't glued it, but the clamshell is knotted in place on one end; waiting for the rest of the strands to be knotted before finishing the other end.

The second strand, of small pearls...eh...I tried doing it on #0 silk, doubled. #4 was too thick and I didn't have anything else on hand. Bleh. I got the strand done, using a larger knot. #0 is so thin, the usual overhand knot is too small. But I don't want to use this technique any more; it's too time-consuming, and uses too much silk (doubled, 2 meters of #0 is just enough to do one standard-length strand of small pearls).

While I was doing this strand, I found you can rescue a knot which comes out a bit too far from the pearl, by adding in another overhand knot, and incorporating the first knot into it. I don't know if this will work with thicker silk (the resulting knot might be too big), but for fine silk, it worked well.

So I need to buy more silk. I'll probably go with artbeads.com. I've ordered from them many times; they're quite reasonable, free shipping, no minimum purchase, and most items can be bought by the piece.

Despite all the head-aches of figuring out the right kind of silk and how you wish to finish the ends (clamshells vs. french wire), it's a good skill to learn. Say you wanted a necklace of large round beads. You could string them on softflex, but knotting makes the strand look so much nicer.

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Knotting pearls on silk part 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 21, 2008 at 6:56 PM (Pacific)

Argh! Of course by now I've discovered how different are the thicknesses of silk (or rather, how differing the drill-holes are in pearls!). I tried my #4 Griffin silk on some smaller pearls I had on hand...no dice, not at all. mumbles...

That's one aspect of making anything jewelry, that is not obvious to people who don't do it. Unless you own the bead store, you're perennially short of at least one item you need to finish the piece, at least until you've been short enough times to own tons of materials. I even tried altering my design to use larger pearls, but they all have these miniscule drill-holes.

It's just as well, since I need to restring another piece; hopefully I can cover both in a single bead-shop visit.

The other piece is more complicated and I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. It's four strands of very small pearls, with the four strands coming together at the top of each end of the piece, joining into a single strand, which is then attached to the clasp. The thread (it looks like cotton) at the tops is exposed and beginning to fray.

I'm thinking if I redid this on silk, and used french wire to cover the exposed parts of the silk, it should work, but still it'll probably take a couple tries before I get it the way I want it.

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On knotting pearls on silk
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 17, 2008 at 10:00 PM (Pacific)

griffin silk cord

I finally got around to trying this. Why did I wait so long?????

It's actually not too difficult, though it is time-consuming (then, everything to do with making jewelry tends to be time-consuming). I got the silk and clamshells yesterday, along with a strand of pearls, at Bead Castle in Berkeley. The owner was very helpful and recommended Griffin #4 silk for those particular pearls.

I did my first knotted strand yesterday. Since I don't own a bead awl, I used a very skinny mandrel from a jump ring set. This worked okay (the mandrel is too skinny to make jump rings with, btw) but you really need either the awl or knotting tweezers, or something very similar. I got the tweezers today. The awl seemed scary sharp, and the tweezers looked handier (if your knot looks as if it isn't going to be placed correctly, you can still get it apart again with the tweezers).

I wasn't 100% happy with my first strand, but I'll have to say it looked pretty decent. Like anything else in jewelry making, you want it to be perfect, so you have to practice some.

So I'm planning to redo my initial strand--started it tonight in fact--and make a four-strand necklace. I want to do something like this (from Blue Oyster Pearls Necklaces Catalog) but simpler, something I can wear to work. I have the one large pearl strand, but I'm planning to use it with three strings of small pearls, rather than use five kinds of pearls.

Having just begun, I can't advise much, but I didn't glue the knot into the clamshell on my first try. I was too chicken. A good thing, since I need to redo the strand!

I can say it's well worth the effort of knotting; stringing beads straight is not the same. The knotted string drapes better and imo looks better too. Plus the more obvious advantages--the nacre of pearls strung without knots (or spacers) is supposed to wear away eventually--and knotting adds some instant length to the strand, meaning you can stretch out your pearls and cut the weight of the necklace.

image courtesy www.ottofrei.com

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The Mom pendant
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 20, 2008 at 12:06 PM (Pacific)

handmade circle gemstone mom pendant

This is a pic of what I was blogging about yesterday.

As you can see, it was a bit of a bugger to photograph. You can get a nice still image by hanging the piece, but then the scale is unclear (plus you can't see all the stones).

I'm quite pleased with how this Mom pendant turned out. When you wear it, it looks different, depending on the light and how the stones have fallen. So sometimes the citrine becomes illuminated, and you see this little golden glow. Sometimes the moonstone shows more...it has the barest of flash, I passed over moonstones with blue flash in favor of this one. The sapphire sometimes shows and sometimes doesn't. At first I tried to get it to show all the time, by putting it at the end or in the front of the chain, but decided I liked how it was. The aquamarine has a small inclusion in the back. In a sense it's the prettiest stone in the piece, because of the light blue color, but the slight imperfection makes it fit in better with the other stones.

Our generous friends at artViper have improved their screenshot thumbnail script. Actually what they did in the case of this blog, is cut off the top banner in the image capture. Great! So I've implemented blog post thumbnails again. Here is a screenshot of the citrine page:

screenshot of post thumbnails

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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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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 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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Keishi pearl necklace part 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi, August 5, 2007 at 9:51 PM (Pacific)

keishi pearl necklace

Very pleased with this; it's a lovely piece. I tried photographing it in the usual way, but there hasn't been enough natural light, over the past two days, to do that. So I finally gave up, had someone else model it, and used a flash. And it came out better that way.

I'm still waiting on my catalog; it's a metals company, so I'm thinking now of buying some karat gold beads...you wouldn't need a lot of them. For this model, you would need six at most, and a small karat gold clasp, to make a perfect necklace.

Not that I'm thinking of restringing these pearls. But I can see now that keishi pearls work well. They're different from traditional round pearls, but better, for a single strand, than regular freshwater pearls. The lustre is high, plus the "cornflake" shape makes the lustre reflect the light from various angles.

Here's some info on keishi pearls:

Keishi pearls
How are keishi pearls formed?

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Keishi pearl necklace (no pics yet)
posted by Colleen Shirazi, August 4, 2007 at 7:53 PM (Pacific)

I tried taking a pic of this, but it's too late in the day to get a good picture (I don't use a light box, so must rely on natural light). It's the first piece of jewelry I've made in almost two months...I suppose I was a bit rusty (got my double crimps slightly too far apart, that sort of thing), but I felt the process came more naturally to me than before.

It's a necklace made from a strand of natural pink keishi pearls I got months ago, same ones in these earrings:

argentium sterling silver hoop earring with keishi pearl accent

They're gorgeous pearls in the classical "cornflake" or petal shape. I went through 300 designs figuring out what to do with them lol...then concluded that with these pearls, simplicity would be best. So, no triple strand, double strand, 2-to-1 design, super long strand (yep, I tried that too)...no mixing them with labradorite or lots o' vermeil. The finished necklace is just the pearls, strung with a few Bali vermeil daisy spacers and smooth tourmaline rondelles (opaque, not gem grade), finished off with a simple Bali vermeil toggle.

Even the bead spacing came naturally, something like 12 in the front, then ten, ten, six. One of those things that probably shouldn't work and does.

I had the idea of saving out a couple of the pearls to make some earrings...as it turned out, I couldn't use two of them anyway, the drill holes were too small. That, btw, is going to be my next tool purchase: a bead reamer. I never got around to buying one before, but it's easy to see it would pay for itself the first time you used it.

I feel much better. I like making jewelry, but it's something you have to take a break from at some point, or at least I do. It's so easy to just keep buying stuff...if you step back from it, it becomes clearer what you should buy, and what you shouldn't.

It's not the price of the beads, not at all. Some cheap beads become next to useless, you really can't do much with them. Hence they're a waste of money. Other beads, like the keishi pearls, okay I was lucky and bought them right before they doubled in price (rolls eyes), those look beautiful almost simply strung on a piece of softflex, with a few inexpensive accents.

I went through trying to make a three-strand necklace too, out of labradorite rounds and vermeil...and it finally struck me, that the design was fine but would look much better with a stronger-colored bead (rather than the grey of the labradorite), I dunno, something like garnet. A three-strand (twisted, not graduated) necklace of garnet rounds with the vermeil. Of course I have no garnet on hand...but it further occurred, it would be better to get pickier and buy better garnet too.

Oh, and I am going to fix up this blog, especially the tags. We recently overhauled the tags on The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog (Dain's got a cool article up there on lipstick colors, if you're interested)...it's roughly 450 posts, so it's going to take time to re-label them, I doubt I'm going to go back and do all of my posts. I put up a script to list the labels in the first place (FTP Blogger.com users don't have this feature), then pull out the main categories and list them first. These also create a "links list" page rather than just the label page itself, because some of the labels have tons of posts and would take forever to load.

Anyhow it's great being back making jewelry. :)

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Square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 9, 2007 at 4:33 PM (Pacific)

square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain

square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain

Please excuse the photo...I was out in the garden today, digging up holly. Can you believe holly is a weed out here? It was a cherished, Christmas plant back home. Plus there are tons of English ivy (another weed out here) and blackberries (we have a blackberry "zone," but the darn thorny things seed all over the place).

Here I am trying out the idea of finishing the ends of a bulk chain with wrapped loops (see How to finish the ends of fine gauge bulk chain).

Probably overdid it a bit here, added some Bali vermeil beads, hmmm...what would be nicer would be the small goldfilled beads, but a bit bigger than the ones I have now. The biggest size I have on hand is 2.5mm, because I don't usually use goldfilled beads except as tiny spacer beads (the ones in the pic are 2mm). Thinking more in terms of 3mm, possibly one of the fancier styles.

Oh yeah, and because everyone needs an animated gif:

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Coin pearl pattern
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 23, 2007 at 12:25 PM (Pacific)



This is what the bracelet and necklace are going to look like. I'm going to try stringing it using a three-to-one reducer, not sure about the clasp yet (thinking of using handmade wire hooks though).

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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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Three bracelets
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 5, 2007 at 11:06 AM (Pacific)

swarovski crystal, freshwater pearl, glass bracelets

Here are three little bracelets made of various materials...swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, blue lace agate chips, and some blue glass beads I've had for a while.

Edited to add: was in a hurry when I posted this, had to finish the pieces in a hurry too... The bottom two bracelets were designed by my daughter (by herself, I didn't check her work over).

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Freshwater pearl multi-strand necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 2, 2007 at 7:48 PM (Pacific)

freshwater pearl multi-strand necklace

Pretty pleased with this...it's a bit longer than a choker, so it's comfortable on even with the multiple strands.

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Bali vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, 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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Freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet set
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 8, 2007 at 8:39 PM (Pacific)

freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet set

Tried taking this pic at night...the previous pics were taken just as the sun was going down, and they're better than this one. Indirect artificial light didn't work, so I put the overhead light on and played with the settings on the camera. It's still not optimal...the shiny parts of jewelry make them difficult to photograph...but it'll do.

Here, the gift bag didn't actually belong with the set but I liked the idea of including a gift bag in the picture! Makes it all look so gift-y.

This set incorporates some Bali vermeil beads including the square one in the center of the necklace that didn't come out too well. It's this one (in vermeil of course):


image courtesy bali-handmade.com

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Freshwater pearl and tourmaline bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 23, 2007 at 6:34 PM (Pacific)



Here I think the charm is in the tourmalines...because they're "rough" looking in real life, rather than transparent gem grade tourmaline. The colors range a lot too, I really liked the black-plum colored ones so I included some of them here.

The pearls...as mentioned earlier, are those one-sided top-drilled ones. Doing them in a multi-strand design seems to keep a lot of the domed sides showing, for whatever reason.

I have some pink keishi pearls I'm going to use for a "matching" necklace...it's...harder than it looks. Ideally the pieces should work independently, i.e. you should be able to wear any one piece alone and have it work.

You should also be able to wear them as a set, and that's not something I have actually achieved as of yet. Even the citrine and silver "set" is not something I would care to wear all at once. I have it in mind to get more Bali silver beads (I got a lot of vermeil last time because I don't usually use silver) and make a pair of simpler citrine and silver earrings.

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Three strand freshwater pearl necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 17, 2007 at 7:25 PM (Pacific)



Heh heh, I'm really nervous. This is my first "commission piece"; it's the first piece I've been commissioned to make for someone else.

Did I put enough slack in it?

It's a straightforward enough design, three strands of freshwater pearls (literally: three 16" strands transferred to softflex and double crimped, with wire thimbles). I tend to prefer slightly more, rather than slightly less, slack in my own pieces. Here I felt nervous so I didn't do that. Now I'm hella nervous. Did I mention I was nervous?

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Jade bracelet with Bali vermeil beads and green apatite clasp
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 27, 2007 at 2:20 PM (Pacific)



Ta da! Finally done with this piece. The key are the Bali vermeil beads, perhaps because they have so many kinds.

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More blogging here...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 10, 2007 at 4:10 PM (Pacific)

The Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog: It's been a day of...

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Jade and pearl necklace and bracelet pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 8, 2007 at 7:45 PM (Pacific)







Not the best quality pics, I took them just now. In the first pic if you look closely, the pearls have this eerie halo of light (at first I thought it was lint!). And the bracelet clasp is much prettier in real life. Oh well, just to give you an idea of the finished pieces.

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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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Jade and pearl bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 30, 2007 at 10:26 AM (Pacific)









As you can see, I didn't bother stringing the third strand. I did the first strand to check the length...the second strand to see if the bead size would work with the spacer bars. When it's finished, it will have the infamous "wire guardians," plus of course some goldfilled crimp covers. I'll also likely migrate the deepest-colored jade beads to the ends of the bracelet, since the stone in the clasp is a deep green color.

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More blogging here...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 24, 2007 at 6:24 PM (Pacific)

The Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog: Pearl bracelet

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Pics and more rambles
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 22, 2007 at 2:08 PM (Pacific)







Jewelry is difficult to photograph, to the point that people who make jewelry sometimes pay someone else to photograph it.

I have picked up a few pointers from reading on the topic...
  1. You are to photograph all of your pieces "on" a form...like a bust, or a neck form...not flat. I don't own a form but it sounds like a good investment, if you wanted to sell your pieces online.

  2. Flash is bad. It bounces off your shiny beads and is a general pain in the butt. Try turning the flash off.

  3. Direct lighting is almost as bad as flash! That explains why my previous citrine pictures were so bad. I played around with the top two pictures, trying to reduce the direct light (to the point that I stood in between the indirect light to block out more of it).

  4. You should always use your "macro" button on your digicam (the flower icon one). And carefully "focus" (hold the shoot button down halfway) before taking the pic.

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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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