Combining the Earth and the Sea, plus several continentsThere 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 necklace 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. And while both are mined from the ground, as well as the Sterling clasp and tiny fluted beads, the pearls are 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 these pastel pearls. However, when it came time to make earrings, the Jade pillow beads were too big and much too heavy. So in the meantime I made the delicate earrings pictured above. Since no smaller Jade beads were available, as sometimes happens with my work, I had to put the piece aside, waiting till I could find something to match. Next month I write about the Autumn Medley pictured here – I waited years to make this one.
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 – I have dozens of necklace projects waiting their turn for my time and attention. I often put bead combinations together to be 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 earrings and two for the tassels.
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.