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· Some recent-ish earrings
· Keishi pearl necklace part 2
· Keishi pearl necklace (no pics yet)
· Freshwater pearl and tourmaline bracelet

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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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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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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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