March 25, 2012

Year of Jewelry 2012, Weeks 12-15

The Year of Jewelry Project is a personal commitment to make one piece of jewelry every week for a year.  I have participated several times, but never made it through an entire year without being overtaken by other obligations.  This post has my projects from when I participated in 2012.  The best part of participating is seeing all of the various projects posted every week.  It is also amazing to see how many techniques and projects you can make yourself when you make one every week.

Year of Jewelry 2012, Week 12: Crochet Gemstone Necklace / Bracelet



Technically, this crocheted gemstone necklace is week 12 of the Year Of Jewelry (YOJ), but only week 1 for me.

This is my first crochet necklace.  It is 42" long and can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet.  Crocheting around beads is a relatively easy technique to learn, although it did take a few tries to get it right.


The necklace has two different gemstones, small (4mm) rough apatite rondelles and larger smoky quartz beads that are flat faceted stones.


I made it so that half of the necklace has each stone so when it is doubled as a necklace, it looks like two separate necklaces.

To make a necklace like this - the first step is to string all of your gemstones in the order and amount you need to crochet them.  The only room for error is on the last set of gemstones - where if you have too many, you can stop the necklace before then and remove them. Otherwise, you have to plan how many gemstones are needed for the necklace and how many stitches to make between each stone.


This necklace took a few practice tries, making small sections, and measuring in advance of making the final project.  I strung some of each stone, stitched and measured several times before I had it right.

This is a comforable and versatile design.  The cord is C-Lon micro macrame cord in a neutral beige. I used a small crochet hook.

Year of Jewelry 2012, Week 13: Woven Bracelet with Beads


I really liked the necklace I made for week 12 of the YOJ so I decided to stay with the same bead crochet technique and make a bracelet.  I raided my 'lonely bead jar' to find assorted gemstones to use.  None of this was my original plan, but you need to go where your muse takes you.



I have been wearing the bracelet non-stop since I made it, and I really love how comfortable it is.  You don't even notice that your wearing it.  I don't usually keep my jewelry on day and night, but I really want to make sure it 'holds up' to everyday use , (and abuse!).  So far,
it hasn't stretched or gotten dirty (both of which were concerns).  I also pull on it - HARD - to make sure the knots will hold and so far, so good.

Year of Jewelry 2012, Week 14: Flower Gemstone Pendant


As a designer, I almost always plan my projects in advance,  I have a sketchbook for jewelry that I use to make notes of things I see that inspire me.  It could be a piece of jewelry, a pattern, a color combination or an idea for a whole jewelry line.  I always have a notebook ready to capture it.

This week, I planned to make a gemstone flower.  This is not even close to my original sketches, but I'm still really happy with the way it turned out.


My original plan was much simpler - like a daisy chain you normally make with seed beads - only using gemstones.  I was having difficulty getting the shape I wanted with the technique, so I gave up and started fresh today.


This pendant is made with 26 and 30 gauge sterling wire. I used the wire to make a frame around the bead and then added the beads around the frame so they formed petals.  The petal beads are added individually and them the wire is twisted beneath the stone to lock it in place.   The center stone is green hued faceted jasper. It is surrounded by 4mm facteted rainbow moonstones



I am satisfied with most aspects of the necklace and plan to try and make several more.  I really would like a pair of earrings that incorporates a flower like this - hopefully that is next week's project.

Year of Jewelry 2012, Week 15: Gemstone Vine Earrings


This week I made some twisted gemstone vine earrings. I like the earrings I made this week - and the technique was challenging but not too difficult.


The technique is similar to the way I made the petals of the flower for last week's project.  You just add the rondelle, pinch the wires around the stone lengthwise and give it a few twists to lock it.    Then you continue twisting the wires to make the 'branches'.  I made these earrings using 26 gauge sterling silver wire, but it could easily be made with 28 guage for smaller rondelles. Refer to the article at the link for more information on the types and sizes of wire used for jewelry making.


I made my own earwires for these earrings too.  One of the things I like most about these earrings is the flash in the moonstones.  They are beautiful gemstones.


I was a little disappointed that i didn't realize how darn long they would be.  At almost 3 inches, they feel too dressy for most days (but I'll wear them out to dinner at the local pizza place tonight anyway!).  They are very lightweight and comfortable to wear.

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