Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Which shall I Wear? Siam....or Golden Shadow?

Decisions, decisions! Which earrings shall I wear?

One of the benefits of custom design jewellery is getting exactly what you want to suit your look and your personal style.

When it came time for the Creative Bride to choose her earrings, she just couldn't decide..... Siam, with its rich burgundy hue....... Or elegant Golden Shadow?

So I made up one earring in each colour and when she had her dress fitting at the bridal shop she was able to try each one with the dress.
Siam? Or.......
Golden Shadow?
They each had their merits: on the one hand, Siam matched the bridesmaids' jewellery but on the other, Golden Shadow was so flattering against her porcelain skin. Both have a red glass heart captured within the filigree but she just couldn't decide. So I went ahead and made up the second earring of each colour so it didn't matter which way she eventually swayed. I also replaced the red heart on the Golden Shadow pair with a Golden Shadow Cosmic Drop.

The shape and design of her earrings is very similar to the bridesmaids' but this filigree has two extra loops to dangle crystals from (you can see how to make the bridesmaids' earrings here). The red glass hearts captured within the filigree really make the Siam version glow.

Whilst all the extra facets of the Briolette drops give the Golden Shadow version extra sparkle.

Both pairs of earrings have just the right amount of sparkle that's perfect for evening wear without saying that they're bridal jewellery so these can be brought out for other special occasions later on.

The morning of the wedding came, her hair and make up was done and she was fully dressed, and for the first time, all the bridesmaids were together and dressed too. Now she could make that decision seeing the whole picture.

And it was the Golden Shadow that won out - my personal favourite!
What do you think? Did she made the right choice?

Next up, the Wedding Collection looks at the Mother of the Bride jewellery. Please stop by next week to see how I put my own jewellery ensemble together.

'Til then.........

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wedding Jewellery for the Elegant Bride

The Wedding Collection continues today with jewellery for the bride.

Once again, the Creative Bride's brief was, well..... brief! Keeping in mind the jewellery the Bridesmaids would be wearing, she wanted something elegant, with the feel of Estate jewellery. And of course, it had to be gold.

Whilst most brides are opting for the zing of crystals, Michaela wanted a softer, more romantic and much less modern look. Pearls and clear crystals might be traditional, but our bride wanted subtle colour so we needed to find a substitute. And that colour was Golden Shadow - an elegant, neutral but with all the sparkle of Swarovski.

So, let's get this design underway.

I selected four brass components - two which will be layered to create the focal and two which will be connector components on either side of the focal. These are perfect for adding a little crystal flair to. The two focal components need to be riveted together but in order to do that, I firstly have to increase the size of the hole on one of the pieces. To make light work of this, I'm using one of my Engraving Drill Bitswith my Dremel Rotary Toolto slowly nibble the edge, enlarging the hole's diameter so that the rivet fits snugly. 

Once it's the right size, I've layered the two pieces together with the rivet.

It's quite a long rivet so it needs to be trimmed. The easiest way to work out where is to draw a line using a fine marker. I'm actually doing this on the back, i.e. I've inserted the rivet from the front to make it easier to mark the correct length.

I used my flush cutters to trim it to size because I don't have saw in my studio. If you do this, you will need to round the tube again afterwards.

Now that the rivet is the right length I'm removing it from the components and re-inserting it from the back. Doing this means that the rivet on the back will be perfectly formed and even if you don't get an even rivet on the front, it won't be visible.

Set the rivet using a rivet setting tool and hammer.

As you can see, the rivet didn't split evenly, but this will be hidden in the finished piece.

Now it's time to apply the crystals. I like to use Swarovski's CG500-35 because I know it's safe for use with foil backed crystals and it's super strong. It also has more open time than other epoxies too which means you can mix up a batch and position a number of crystals before the mix goes off.

The inner circle is set with Siam chatons and the outer circle with Golden Shadow.

Now to set the focal crystal. I'm going to create a "cup" for the crystal to sit in using ETI's Envirotex Jewelry Clay . This clay is a really strong adhesive and will give the crystal stability too. I mixed up a small ball of the Jewelry Clay and placed it over the rivet making sure it goes down into the tube.

The crystal is positioned in the centre of the clay. It's important to make sure it's also sitting level on all sides.

A light dusting with Pearl Ex disguises the clay support. And a dusting inside the rivet tube from the back will disguise the clay inside the tube too.

To give the pendant a "V" shape, I dangled a Golden Shadow Briolette from the bottom of the crystal-set focal.

I also attached some crystal bicones to the two brass components that I connected to either side of the central focal.

You can see them here. I've added some flat black crystals to these pieces to tie them in. These are Indian Siam because I couldn't get Siam and even though they are a different colour, they still work in the overall piece.

To complete the necklace, I created a chain of half bicones set in 2 loop connectors which adds a lot of understated sparkle. You can see how to set the bicones in the connectors in the Bridesmaids bracelets.

The Creative Bride was delighted with the finished piece. It definitely has the feel of Estate jewellery and is a piece she could hand down through the generations that come after her. It's understated, romantic, olde worlde - a perfect fit for her personality and suits the look she wanted for her wedding day.

The Creative Bride was calm, happy and relaxed as she dressed for her big day. The last item to be put on was her custom made jewellery. And the honour of putting it on went to me!

There's more wedding jewellery to come in upcoming posts so son't forget to check back for the next instalment of the Wedding Collection.

'Til next time......

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bridesmaid's Jewellery - Baroque-Style Earrings

In the last two posts, I shared the bracelets the Creative Bride gave to her bridesmaids. To complete their outfits, she also gave them matching baroque-style earrings.

These romantic earrings have a glowing heart captured inside the filigree and despite how ornate they look, they are a simple and easy design to put together and will take you just minutes to complete.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flush cutters
Working from the wire spool, place the last 3mm (1/8") of the wire in the jaws of the pliers and bend it at a 60° angle. This will make the first prong of a triangle jump ring.

Move the pliers to the other side of the bend you just made and bend the wire on the other side of the pliers at a 60° angle. This is the first side of the triangle.

Reposition the pliers again on the other side of the angle and bend again at 60°. This is the second side of the triangle.

Place the pliers on the other side of the angle and bend the wire at 60° to create the second prong.

Trim the wire to 2mm (1/16"). Trim the first prong to 2mm also.

 Insert one prong inside the Swarovski drop......

..... and then the other. Squeeze them together gently to secure the drop.

Attach a 3mm jump ring to the triangle.

Insert the jump ring into the bottom loop of a Tombac drop.

Place a second Tombac drop on top and close the jump ring.

The two drops should form a cage.

Open the cage out flat.

Place a heart bead inside the cage with the point facing toward the top loop.

Close the cage.

Open the loop of the earring wire and hook on the two Tombac drops.

Make the second earring to match. So elegant and so easy!

Here's the completed ensemble that each of the bridesmaids wore: bracelet, earrings, faux fur wrap and bouquet.

The next instalment in the Wedding Collection will be the Creative Bride's jewellery so don't forget to check back to see it.

'Til then.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bridesmaid Jewellery - Baroque Style - Part 2

Now that you've made your beautiful epoxy resin and crystal focal, it's time to turn it into an elegant baroque-style bridesmaid bracelet. If you missed how to make the focal, visit Part 1 for a list of all the materials required to make the bracelet and the step-by-step instructions on how to create the jewelled focal.

For this part of the design, you'll need the following tools:
Drill a hole approximately 1mm (1/32") from the bottom edge of the smallest tier of each connector (opposite the bow end). The metal is thick and you need to use a diamond drill bit to cut through it.

To make the bracelet sit nicely, round the connectors by placing them around a small cylindrical object like a bead container. Mine is 3.8cm (1.5") diameter. Use your thumbs to press the connectors against the surface at each end.

Once you have a bit of a curve, use bail making pliers to continue shaping the pieces until you are happy with the shape of the curve.

Shape them as much as you need to, to fit the wearer's wrist.

Place a flat bicone inside the 2-loop setting.

Press the claws over the crystal making sure it stays centred in the setting.

Use chain nose pliers to press the claws flush against the crystal to hold it securely. Take care not to scratch the surface of the crystal. Make a second crystal link.

Use a jump ring to attatch a crystal to the hole you just drilled in one of the connectors. Repeat for the second connector and crystal link.

Working on one side at a time, attach the focal to a bow connector by opening the loops of the eye pins in the focal and hooking them through the bow connector. Repeat on the other side of the bracelet. Lengthen or shorten the bracelet by adding or removing the crystal links.

Attach one half of the fold over clasp to each end of the bracelet.

The finished design - a Baroque-style bracelet with a rich jewel focal. The raw brass filigree gives the piece a vintage feel, adding to the romantic, elegant look of the bracelet..... just what the Creative Bride was looking for.

In my next post, I'll show you how to make the matching earrings.

'Til then.....


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