Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Colored Gemstone Bracelets

Even though Hawaii doesn't have a true fall season, I do like to dress in autumn colors from September through November. To match my outfits, I've made several necklaces over the years, but I realized that I own very few fall colored bracelets. To remedy this shortage, I started rumaging in my box of gemstone beads. In my stash I discovered a strand of rhyolite and one of prehenite (both from the Bead Shoppe in BFC), which seemed to go well together. I used only a few small faceted pieces of the prehenite even though initially I was going to use the large faceted ovals. I debated whether copper or gold-filled findings would look good with the rhyolite and opted for copper. There is a wire-wrapping technique called herringbone, which I used around the long, marquise-shaped rhyolite beads. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The bracelet with more beads was made by stringing beads on copper beading wire and using crimp beads to fasten off the wire ends. One trick I learned is to string the beads on the wire without cutting it off the spool. This allows you to put one end of the clasp on the wire after you are certain of the bracelet length; then you can cut the wire off the spool and attach the other clasp end. I think this method wastes the least amount of beading wire. Anyway, the beads used are amber (five different colors), sunstone (the small salmon-colored rondelles), peridot (green oval), tigereye (large square from a package of Dress It Up beads), and copper spacers (balls and daisies from Sierra Pacific, available at BFC). Both bracelets have Sierra Pacific clasps. My favorite beads are the amber and sunstone, because they have an inner warm glow that only natural gemstones can impart. If you cannot find amber or sunstone, you could easily substitute jasper or agate.

Splitting and swapping bead strands with fellow beaders is a good way to economize and yet have a variety of finished pieces. Sticking to one color palette (everyone get an autumn colored strand) but varying shapes and sizes of beads is one way your group can work together. A bead swap or jewelry swap could be just the thing to help you stay within a budget.

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