Friday, October 28, 2011

Design This – Necklace to Match Bracelet, Part 1

When a previous custom order customer mentioned to me earlier this year that she had a bracelet that she wanted me to design a necklace to match, I told her that I’d be happy to see what I could come up with. I love a good challenge and eagerly awaited what was in store. I must admit however that I was initially a bit intimidated when I got to look at her bracelet (and I don’t intimidate easily). It was a beautiful bracelet, but very complex and it included a pretty dark gray macramé section that I wasn’t sure at first how I’d complement it. I don’t think I let my brief bit of uncertainty show and said I’d go home and pull out materials that I had on hand to match the components of the bracelet and start to work up a design.

After sleeping on the challenge, I realized that some gunmetal chain could be a good stand in on the necklace for the dark gray macramé on the bracelet. After pulling out a large pile of materials that matched or complemented the other components of the bracelet, I was still a little unsure of where to start. Did I mention it was a very complex bracelet and that the pile of materials was large and varied? In addition, I was unsure which components of the bracelet were most important to echo in the necklace and which materials of mine that my customer would like best. (If you haven’t checked them out, click on the images of the bracelet and the large pile of materials to enlarge them for a better view.) I decided that the best course of action would be to ask my customer to look over the materials in person instead of just in a photo.

This turned out to be a good plan. My customer was able to identify which components of the bracelet were most important to work into the necklace and set aside my materials that didn’t interest her. We were then better able to focus on the smaller pile that was left. I had a strand of small mixed gemstone spherical beads that made the cut with several containing good color for use in the necklace. (Not pictured, I thought of them after I took the photo of the pile.) My customer seemed to have a good time picking out the beads that she liked and arranging them. This gave us a good starting point. We brainstormed what to do with some of the other elements. Unfortunately, I did not have a good companion for the large pink soapstone bead or the filigreed silver elements of the bracelet, so I searched for materials from my suppliers and ordered some beads to see how they would work into the necklace design that was starting to come together.

Part 2 describes how the necklace design evolved and what the finished necklace looks like. If you have a custom project in mind, simple or complex, please contact me to see what I can work up for you.

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