Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Design This – Beaded Necklace to Match Azurite and Malachite Pendant

Two years ago I purchased a beautiful azurite and malachite cabochon that had been formed and set in a handmade sterling silver mounting by Donato 2 Hawks. I looked forward to making a beaded necklace to incorporate the pendant into. The azurite is such a beautiful blue but it is different than most of the blues that I have in my bead collection and I didn’t have any malachite greens either so I needed to do some searching for the right materials. There was a bit of light blue in the pendant that reminded me of some of my turquoise beads.

At each trade show I went to after that I looked for appropriate beads. I found that some chrysocolla beads had potential. During the first year I found some nice large rounded rectangular chrysocolla beads and some faceted dark green synthetic beads. At the beginning of the second year I found some medium sized spherical malachite beads but the azurite blue continued to elude me. Just recently I found what I hoped would prove to be the final pieces to the necklace puzzle. I found some small, spherical, high shine colorful chrysocolla beads and two sizes of faceted agate spheres that were dyed a blue that looked like it would complement the azurite. I normally don’t purchase dyed components but these were a nice color that didn’t scream fake, so I brought them home.

Soon after, I had a chance to see if my collection would allow me to design a necklace that would do my pendant justice. In addition to the beads I already mentioned, I also included some silver and some opalite beads in my pile of components that looked promising. After laying out some different combinations, I settled on a few turquoise teardrops and small spheres, the rounded rectangular and high shine chrysocolla beads and both sizes of the blue dyed agate that turned out to be a good foil for the azurite in the pendant. Once I had a design that I liked, I began to string it up. Before finishing off the second end, I took a moment to see how the necklace would wear and found that the very large bail of the pendant was going to cause the pendant to slide too easily back and forth along the necklace.

Luckily this was only a minor setback. Looking closely at what I had already strung up, I saw the potential to create a loop that would keep the pendant in place. It turned out that the loop idea worked well to corral the pendant if I could find some smaller beads to allow it to bend tightly enough. Again I was lucky in that I had some dark blue seed beads in my stash that worked perfectly. The first try at making the loop took some attention away from the focal pendant however. Before I tried downsizing the loop I took a photo so I could compare my second attempt to the first one. I was pleased with the second loop. (You can see the first and second attempts above.) Now that I had a pleasing and functional design it was time to finish off the second end. Since the pendant was sterling silver, I also used sterling silver findings to complete the necklace.

If you have a special component that you would like to have incorporated into a custom piece of jewelry for you, contact me to see if I have what is needed to accomplish that for you.

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