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· Sapphire and gold hoop earrings
· The Mom pendant
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· "A" sapphire earrings

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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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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The Mom pendant
posted by Colleen Shirazi, 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 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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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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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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