October 2009


A style of jewelry I don’t make, but greatly respect and admire is chain maille jewelry.  Chain maille jewelry has its origins in chain maille armour created in medieval times.  It is a style of jewelry that is very labor intensive, requiring precision and I would think a lot of patience.  It can be expensive, but when one considers the amount of metal consumed as well as the countless hours complex designs require, it becomes easy to see how very worth it a well made piece can be.  There are chain maille artists who work to replicate and honor chain maille patterns from the past and those that put their own spin on it.

One chain maille artist who definitely puts her own twist on things is 88Links.  I love her Egyptian Glory Neck Chain.  It combines chain maille with Egyptian symbolism so beautifully.  88Links says its inspired by ancient Egypt and confident women everywhere and I see the sense of strength and confidence in the piece.  You can see more of 88Links work by clicking here.

88Links

Photo courtesy of 88Links

Astraea Designs, another chain maille artist, says she is inspired by ancient cultures, mythology, and medieval and Renaissance costumes.  That inspiration is evident in her Gold and Bronze chain maille necklace.  She has beautifully encased a brown mother of pearl disc in an artful chain maille arrangement and accented it with three smaller tiger’s eye beads.  More gorgeous designs can be seen here.

AstreaDesigns

Photo courtesy of Astraea Designs

Kani73 puts a modern twist on chain maille with these earrings that combine traditional techniques with a flair that is very much today.  Kani73 based these earrings on a European weave worked in a triangle pattern and then attached it to an open spiral that provides contrast to the tight mesh created by the chain maille.  These gorgeous earrings are called Midnight Garden Earrings; other designs are available here.

Kani73

Photo courtesy of Kani73

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Beautiful earrings deserve beautiful storage and these are some of my favorites.

This gorgeous ceramic earring holder from The Artisan Connection is a piece of art itself.   They offer it in several color choices to match your decor and think the earrings are held far enough away from the ceramic piece that it can be enjoyed even with lots of earrings on it.

Photo Courtesy of The Artisan Connection

Photo courtesy of The Artisan Connection

VivaTerra has this lovely organizer – they call it the Jewelry Tree of Life.  It would be beautiful on a dresser or shelf and has a little storage area for a few rings or other treasures.  If you’re just starting on your earring collection, this one does not look empty with just a few pairs on it.

Photo courtesy of VivaTerra

Photo courtesy of VivaTerra

Of course, I recognize this might not be enough storage for some of your collections (including yours truly), so here’s a lovely alternative from NesserryGoods that rotates, offering two sides to store earrings.

Photo courtesy of NesserryGoods

Photo courtesy of NesserryGoods

Another beautiful alternative is this lovely birds-eye maple earring rack from Davin & Kesler available through Sattva Gallery.  It too is a work of art and offers pegs for hanging bracelets or necklaces.  The bars can be adjusted to accommodate different lengths of earrings and additional bars can be ordered.  It can be hung on the wall if you’re short on dresser space.

Photo courtesy of Sattya Gallery

Photo courtesy of Sattva Gallery

I love all of these organizers because they are pretty in their own right and will do justice to handcrafted, heirloom and other special earrings. I like that you can easily see your earrings  – after all – out of sight, out of mind.

These are my favorites and I received no compensation or merchandise from any of these companies.

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EmmaBracelet

Like a lot of people, I have a jar filled with buttons.  Every so often, I dump it out, run my fingers through the buttons, and get inspired to make something with them.  That’s what happened with this button charm bracelet.  For this bracelet, I found myself drawn to buttons in soft tones.  Most are buttons with two holes, although I did use a few shank buttons here and there.  Each button is attached to the chain using wire-wrapping for security.  I also added little brass charms to add visual interest.  Matching earrings completed the set.

EmmaEarrings

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Teri Greeves beadwork, Photo courtesy of Jane Sauer Gallery

Teri Greeves beadwork, Photo courtesy of Jane Sauer Gallery

PBS began airing the second season of this award-winning show last night and once again, I was just mesmerized.  I remember when I heard about the first season – I think it was an ad in Ornament magazine – putting the dates on my calendar right then and there.  The show is beautifully done and showcases the work of people who have spent decades, lifetimes in some cases, mastering their craft.

The first episode last night was especially exciting for me because it featured the beadwork of Teri Greeves.  I had seen her work before in magazines, but it was a special treat to hear her talk about her work and her inspiration.  The other artists showcased – equally talented, all very humbly explaining their work.  It truly is an example of the best of what television can bring into our homes.

SettingStones

Right now I am working designing a necklace that will primarily feature this strand of chrysocolla beads.  I plan on creating a pendant using the two cabochons shown in the photo.  One of the cabochons is black onyx and the other is chrysocolla.  I’ve done a sketch to show the basic concept of where I am heading with the pendant.  Next, I’ll cut out the pattern, glue it to a sheet of sterling silver, cut it out and get the setting made.  I’m excited about it, I love the colors and hope the resulting necklace will be stunning.  What I see in my mind is – just gotta get it done.  Off to work.

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Why not?

BraceletAsNecklace

A friend gave me this bracelet and I love it.  The brass keys are just so pretty.  I wear it as a bracelet, but find that I am wearing it even more as a necklace.  I did this by adding some chain in the same color tones.  I use the clasp on the chain to connect to one end of the bracelet and the clasp on the bracelet to connect to the other end of the necklace.  It works beautifully.

So take a look at your bracelet stash.  Maybe you’ve got a piece that can do double-duty as a necklace.  It’s great to be able to buy something new.  But sometimes, shopping in our own wardrobes and finding new uses for things can be smart and fun.

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I got my hair done yesterday and when I walked in my stylist had a big smile on her face.  I also noticed she was wearing big, bright yellow earrings with the letter “B”.  I mean really big and really bright.  And she looked adorable.  I asked her about the earrings and she said she just loved bright colors and that all of her jewelry was very colorful and bright.

Big, bright yellow earrings aren’t for everyone and I think that’s the point.  Each of us has things we wear that highlight our individual style and say a little about who we are.  And we all do it uniquely, with our own personal flair.

How do you use jewelry and accessories to show your personal style?  I’d love to hear from you.  And if you want to send photos and tell me a little about your approach to style, I’ll put them up.

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