There are two things that please me when designing jewelry: 1) I like to combine components from the Earth and the Sea and 2) I like to use those that originate in differing parts of the world.
In this jewelry set, I got to indulge both ideals. The Peach Jade pillow beads are from Asia, the small ones are Peruvian Opal and come from South America. The large transparent accent bead is made of Quartz and is called Lodolite, from Brazil. And while all have been mined from the ground, as well as the metal for the Sterling clasp and the tiny fluted beads, the pearls were harvested from the ocean. More than that, they are natural, not the product of human intervention (so called Cultured). The oysters made these all by themselves, the old-fashioned way. The apricot color is also naturally attained, the effect of minerals in the water where they grew. No dyeing needed. Both these factors make natural pearls of natural coloring more scarce than cultured pearls that may have been dyed, and therefore more special and costly.
When I set out to design this artisan necklace, I laid out several possible supplementary elements, some darker and/or in other colors. But none seemed to work as well as the pastel pearls.. However, when it came time to make earrings, the Jade pillow beads were too big and much too heavy. No smaller ones were available, so as sometimes happens with my work, I had to put the piece aside, waiting till I could find something to match. In the meantime I made the delicate earrings pictured here.
Natural stones come in a wide range of colors and shades. If I couldn’t find Jade to match, perhaps another stone might be a match for color and be the size needed. I was in no rush, determined to wait till all elements were just right (please see January’s blog ‘So why be content with just a necklace?’ – Autumn Medley). I have dozens of necklace projects waiting their turn for my time and attention. I often put bead combinations together to be refined and designed later, someday.
Since color match is of first importance in my work, I cannot search online. Even with the best monitors and photography, it is impossible . So I have to do a physical search – I need to hold and examine the stones. After about a year, I discovered a strand of Peruvian Opal (which does not have flashes of color but is beautiful nevertheless) of the right size and shape. Only four of the beads matched well enough to use, two for the tassels and two for matching earrings
At last, the set was finished and could take its place of honor in the Collection. I can see it worn with a dressy suit or a classically designed evening gown, its wearer standing out by being different. Subtle and sophisticated in a room full of flashing jewelry and “Look at me – Please” costumes. What do you see? Comment below – I’d really enjoy your feedback.