Friday, November 07, 2008
I'm cranking out the jewelry again these days. Here's one I made Thursday night. The materials can be expensive, depending on the quality of pearls, etc., but doing the knotting I realized I might make more money for the same amount of effort tying fishing flies. THEN I'd have to go trout fishing and that would become yet one more expensive habit, I suspect... SO, I suppose I'll stick with the jewelry-making. (I think you can clicky the bottom two pictures for more detail.)

The first pic is the pile of pearls and crystals I used in this mix. The lighting is not very good. I need to work on that. The color of the swarovsky and the green pearls is olivine. The bicone crystals are 4mm, to give you an idea of the scale. The green pearls are dyed. I've stayed away from dyed pearls, mostly, because I'm not sure how color-fast they are. Natural colored pearls are worth a fortune, by the way, but I suspect they dont' come in green or fuschia the way many vendors market these freshwaters. The cord I use is silk. I like the look of the silk cord, but one problem with silk is that it stretches where synthetic cords will stay the same length. Probably on a piece of jewelry like this, though, it's not going to be worn enough to get stretched out. I'm going out on a limb to say that probably no one will be playing rugby in this piece of jewelry.

The second picture shows how the beads are strung in the proper order, with a stop bead on the end of the string so I wouldn't accidentally un-string them as I make the knots. The stop bead is a glass bead I made on torch this spring, btw.

The third photo shows the strand as the pearls on the left have been knotted, an awl sticking through the most recent knot. The tip of the awl is used to [puncture clumsy fingers] slide the knot down the silk cord and snugly up against the edge of the pearl. This process can take a little more finesse and effort than you might expect.

The final photo shows the completed necklace, which is about 18" long. See those little double-pearls? I've been calling them mitosis to myself all night. They're really cute, and they have a neat, grainy texture.

These pearls are freshwater, cultured pearls which are produced by introducing a seed into the oyster, which the irritated oyster coats in nacre. It's sort of nature's equivalent of a pebble in the shoe, except the oyster lives in the shoe and has no hope of expectorating the pebble.

Nacre is really fragile, and can be flaked off when you least expect it. The nacre is also very sensitive to chemicals. One has to be careful not to scratch the pearls with the awl or with other tool surfaces. There are also rules about wearing pearls:
  • pearls should be the last thing you put on before you leave the house
  • pearls should be the first thing you take off when you get home
  • you should never spray perfumes or oils on or near pearls
  • always clean pearls with a clean, soft cloth
  • if pearls get dirty, have them re-strung - don't try to wash them

Pearls are drilled not all the way through at one go, but are drilled from each side toward the center. This means sometimes the holes don't meet up squarely in the middle on the inside. This can be frustrating, depending on the size of the needle you're using to thread your cord through the pearl.

Anyway, I thought you might want a gander at some of what I'm making. And by the way, I've been working with real pearls for yonks, and I have no idea how you pronounce nacre.

Uh, unless it rhymes with acre.
Written by phlegmfatale
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Name: Phlegmfatale
Location: Elsewhere, Texas, USA

I'm not whining;
I'm unburdening.
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