Thursday, June 28, 2012

Design This – Bridesmaids’ Bracelets

Last year when a customer of mine was picking up her custom jewelry set, we got to talking about her daughter’s upcoming wedding. It was coming together as an outdoor summer wedding. I asked if the jewelry had been decided on yet and if not did she have any idea what style, colors or types of jewelry were being looked for. She said that her daughter already had her jewelry taken care of but the bridesmaids’ details had not been worked out yet. I pulled out a strand of pretty, shell leaf beads that I thought would go well with an outdoor wedding, pearls and whatever the wedding colors were going to be. My customer liked them and I suggested that if her daughter liked the necklace and earrings that I had made, that perhaps she would like to come over and look at materials that I had on hand to see if we could work up a design that she would be pleased with.

After being told that a brainstorming session would be welcomed by her daughter and that the materials for the bridesmaids’ bracelets should incorporate clover green, some sparkles, some nature components such as the beads that my customer had seen previously, some pearls and possibly some chain work as I had used in a section of her necklace, mother and daughter came over to look through the materials that I pulled together and examples of some jewelry that I had in stock that I thought might serve as inspiration. After looking over the jewelry and materials, an idea for the bracelets began to take shape. The bride to be liked the idea of a double stranded twisted bracelet for each bridesmaid. She wondered about incorporating “something blue” in the bracelets with another crystal color that complemented her tanzanite ring. Luck was with us and I had what she was looking for. She picked crystals in clover, golden beige and the tanzanite match for one strand and pearls, a pressed glass Czech leaf bead similar but more dainty than the beads I had originally shown her mom and an antiqued gold plated chain for the other strand. She wanted the bracelets to close with a toggle clasp. I was going to have to locate antiqued gold plated toggles to go with the chain that she had picked. We had time though, so I searched.

First I searched at a couple of traveling jewelry markets when they were in town. I could only find shiny gold plated or gold filled, no antiqued gold findings. Then I turned to an online supplier that I had purchased from previously. They had so many choices in a variety of styles that I wanted input from the bride to be to see if she had a preference. We finally settled on a dainty toggle with a leaf motif to complement the Czech glass leaf beads. Once these were ordered the only thing I still needed to know was sizing for the bracelets. After a bit of discussion back and forth, we decided to make two of them the same size with one a little longer.

Now it was time to sit down at my beading board and compose a design from the chosen materials that would look essentially the same in both lengths and put everything together. The twisted design allows for a bit of flexibility in sizing. While there is some twist already incorporated into the bracelets, it is possible to twist them a bit more, shortening them slightly before clasping them. I was very pleased to hear from the bride after the wedding that all three bracelets fit perfectly.

While this design came together through a couple of face to face meetings, it is not necessary to do so for me to design a custom piece for your needs. You can find several other “Design This” posts, using the "search this blog" widget, that describe my custom design process at a distance. Whether near of far, I’d be happy to discuss your custom design needs with you.

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