30 June 2011

Double-Duty Necklace

It's been awhile I didn't make double-duty necklaces: 1) to adorn someone's neck, and 2) to serve as prayer beads. In the past I've made several versions of this style. I started with a short-length adjustable necklace and later made a long one, both using artisan lampwork beads. Besides creating functional pieces, my intention was also to promote lampwork beads in my work. I was a newbie in lampwork beads world and easily got excited when I spotted cool bead designs on internet, in books or magazines. Within a few months, I owned a handful of artisan beads from here and USA! After seeing how unique and beautiful they were in person, I instantly knew they would give some art touches in my designs. Since then I've weighed lampwork beads as equally important materials as Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

Back to double-duty theme, last year I made necklaces featuring lampwork beads as pendants in different ways. One was hung on one of toggle parts and the other positioned very close to crimped two wire ends. This year I used a sterling connector to hold a lampwork bead pendant.

I also experimented with a very large ring. I was thinking of a prayer beads necklace that would easily slide on a door/window handle or a small hook and I came across a really big lead-free pewter ring (about 32mm in diameter) from TierraCast. I'd read lots of positive comments and feedbacks on internet about this brand and so I thought it was time to prove them. The outcome wasn't disappointing. I should start stocking more TierraCast elements now.

Another recent experiment was a short necklace with Swarovski crystal pearls and copper findings. The photos of famous ladies like Elizabeth Taylor and Princess of Wales Diana wearing pearl necklaces had inspired me to create a simple, timeless, elegant piece. Classic style. And without knots. While generally pearl jewelry are strung knotted, my version of this style was replacing knots with small spacers and crimp beads.

The result may look deceptive. I bet no one would ever think in first place that this necklace is actually prayer beads!