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On This Page
· Beading thoughts part 3
· Better pic of Madeira citrine earrings
· Madeira citrine earrings
· London Blue Topaz necklace, sterling chain necklace
· Happy New Year! (pic of double strand freshwater pearl necklace, pearl earrings)
· Shiana fine silver, lapis and Bali sterling set
· Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
· Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
· Argentium silver ear wire thoughts
· Hammered sterling silver hoop earrings with blue apatite
· Venetian glass bead necklace on leather cord, handmade clasp
· Aquamarine and labradorite bracelet
· Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
· Chalcedony necklace, then and now
· Venetian glass heart necklace
· Venetian glass heart pendant
· More blogging here...
· Citrine/sterling necklace and earrings, rambles...
· Rambles and a few pics
· More blogging here, with pics
· Braided bracelet

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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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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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London Blue Topaz necklace, sterling chain necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 4, 2008 at 2:13 PM (Pacific)

london blue topaz necklace


Finished this today (top center pic). I added an extender chain in the back, with a small round citrine and Bali sterling bead at the end. I blogged about the development of the piece here: Fashion Notes: Something I've been fiddling around with if you'd like more detail.

I've come to realize...most of the time, what I'm looking for is a sort of industrial look. Or I should say, I miss the industrial concept. So much of what I see is...I don't know how to put it. Meaningless, unattached to any purpose.

Which I feel accurately reflects our U.S. society--we've lost our sense of purpose. The U.S. was always a place where people built stuff, made stuff, manufactured, innovated, pushed ahead. The end goal was never some bizarre life of leisure. The end goal was to make another factory, or railroad, or software program.

I'm wearing this chain today:

sterling chain necklace


It is, literally, a length of chain. I bought it because I'd seen this beautiful, super long sterling necklace on a modern English tv show. I bought a length which I felt would surely exceed the length needed, just to be on the safe side...and yet, when I saw it, what a lovely chain. It's not heavy, it looks like more because the links are hammered flat. Today I used a fine silver jump ring...it was soldered, I had to cut it for something else...it's just, turn the angled end of the ring in a cup burr a few times, and join the chain together. I don't want to cut the 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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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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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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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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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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Venetian glass bead necklace on leather cord, handmade clasp
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 22, 2007 at 1:42 PM (Pacific)

venetian glass bead necklace on leather cord

venetian glass bead necklace on leather cord

handmade sterling silver hook clasp

I went ahead and glued the steel block back onto its base. It's still curing but that hardly means I can't use it. :D Thought I'd try my hand making a simple sterling hook and eye clasp.

Not sure if I'll keep this clasp on this piece...thinking it would make more sense to use a lobster clasp the way I did on the previous Venetian glass bead necklace. My reasoning is, these beads are expensive and they're glass. If the hook slips out for whatever reason, a chance the piece will fall and the beads crack.

That said...hammering wire is one of the most fun aspects of jewelry making ever. Even if you don't actually need to hammer something, I think you owe it to yourself to own a block or anvil and a hammer.

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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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Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 23, 2007 at 6:14 PM (Pacific)



This is pretty straightforward, it's to match the necklace and earrings earlier:



Wondering if I should make it three rather than two strands. I'm going to get a silver three-strand connector bead anyway (just as I'm getting a vermeil one) so I'll decide then.

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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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Venetian glass heart necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 12, 2007 at 3:44 PM (Pacific)



Okey dokey...the Hypo Cement alone was not enough to anchor the end caps (see previous posts). Not that it should have been; it was sold as a "glue-in and crimp" clasp. I was just seeing if it would work with glue alone.

Part of it could have been that I didn't get enough glue in there (Hypo Cement tends to come out even when you don't squeeze the tube), part of it could have been that it didn't cure long enough (the end cap is completely closed on one end after all).

I gave it the full 24 hours and then tried pulling it. One end felt loose, the other less so. I started crimping the bottom of the loose-feeling cap and gave it a pull. The entire cord came out. :p I pushed the cord back in and this time really crimped it...and tried pulling it. Basically I pulled it up to the point that the leather started to stretch...I expect the clasp to be secure. Crimping it did work.

Anyhow it's done, except that I'll attach an extender chain when I get some.

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Venetian glass heart pendant
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 11, 2007 at 3:53 PM (Pacific)



I'm planning to make a series of these actually, using different Italian glass heart beads. This is a blue bead my daughter discovered in a bead shop, combined with Bali sterling spacer beads and a Swarovski roundelle.

This is going to go on the leather cord necklace when the latter is done.

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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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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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Braided bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 12, 2006 at 6:51 PM (Pacific)

It's more of a "bangle," I suppose.







It wasn't that hard to make. The tricky aspect is the gauge of wire that you use. WigJig wasn't kidding when they said their braided bangle was 26 gauge wire. You've got six wire ends to finish on each side, and they have to go nicely into the loop of the clasp.

Hence, this was the smallest clasp I could use for this piece (24 gauge wire). The violet-stone one in the next post was what I tried to use at first: too small.


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