LET’S TALK ABOUT JEWELRY SERIES – STRINGING, AND A LITTLE ABOUT DESIGNING

For those of you who make jewelry you know what this means, but for those of you who don’t stringing is a term jewelry maker’s use to describe putting together a piece of jewelry.  There are different types of stringing media – which I’ve already covered here.  I use Accuflex wire because it’s very flexible and also very strong – I’ve never had a necklace or a bracelet strung with Accuflex break on me that I know of yet.

Pink Romance - If you'd like to own this gorgeous bracelet, just click on the picture and you'll go to my shop to purchase it.

Basically, stringing involves placing beads in a harmonious color combination onto the stringing media, adding crimp beads at each end and adding a clasping mechanism for keeping the bracelet or necklace around your wrist or neck.  Well, at least that’s the technical aspect of it.  In reality there is so much more!  The much more meaning the overall designing of the piece. 

I use a bead board when I’m creating a piece of jewelry.  First I lay out all my components on the board, then I play the shuffle game – I move different beads in and out, change their placements, add spacer beads and bead caps, and generally just have fun playing around until I happen onto a really beautiful combination.  Then I adjust again for size – sometimes I have to add or take components away to “fit” the size I want to make.  I find bead boards to be an immensely useful tool.  Not only do they keep the beads in place as you design, but they also have inch and half inch markings so you have a rough idea of size before you start the actual stringing.

When designing the bracelet above,  I started with the three focal beads.  They were what determined my choice of supporting beads.  The focals have the prominent color of burgundy and the supporting color of pink, and also a midge of white and beige.  Taking all that into consideration, I chose the colors of pink and white to support the focals and create a romantic feel to the bracelet.  I chose pink rhodochrosite round beads because they are associated with attracting love.  You can read more about this gemstone and why I chose it for symbolic reasons here and here.  I also chose plain, pure white round lampwork beads to add some break in tonal color between the burgundy and pink and lighten up the color scheme a little, and also make it more vibrant. 

My next consideration was choosing bead caps and spacer beads.  Personally, I love the Bali and Tibetan styles of  silver beads, bead caps, clasps and findings – and you will find them in the majority of my handmade lampwork jewelry creations.  I think they add a lot of character, texture and sparkle, and their intricate designs work very well with lampwork beads. 

To further enhance the romantic theme of this piece, I chose to use a Bali silver heart themed lobster claw clasp.  I find lobster claws to be extremely versatile when designing adjustable length jewelry because they provide a secure closure at different lengths and will be able to fit many different sized wrists.  Finally, to finish the piece off I added a “weighted dangle” (as I call it :D) to the clasp end of the bracelet.  This serves two purposes.  Most importantly, it acts to balance the bracelet on your wrist so the clasp stays underneath it and the focals stay on top.  Secondly, it adds yet another dimension of beauty and form, and it gives the piece a more finished and fancier, artisan OOAK (one of a kind) look.

So, that’s all for today.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it both educational and interesting.  Next up in the series – Bead Mania!!

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