Friday, March 27, 2009

What I learned from making this necklace

I fell in love with these lava beads at the Rings & Things trunk show I attended last fall, and had to have them in several sizes. I tend to mull ideas over in my head for a few days before I sit down to make anything, and after a few dog walks I knew that the lava beads just had to go with my newly acquired red and black Humblebeads. I thought I could find some large size 8 matte seed beads to balance the necklace, but no luck. I’m picky about my reds, and I after three bead stores, I still couldn’t match the perfect red of these beads. Finally, I found some Czech glass crystals. The color was right, but they didn’t have the organic feel I was going for. I bought the crystals anyway, thinking the color match was more important and I’d have to compromise. My other objective was to make an asymmetrical necklace, to really set apart the red beads. Here is my first result:

It looked great on the bead board and the necklace form. It looked great everywhere except around my neck. I tried to wear the necklace several times, but it just didn’t work. I made the silver-and-polymer-clay-bead section too large, compared to my neck size and where the necklace should lie. For a true asymmetric look, the beaded portion needs to be large enough to be noticed but small enough to fit roughly in the area between the front of your shoulder and the bottom of your collar bone. Here’s my second version. It’s a much better fit on me, and the design is still interesting enough.

So, what did I learn? Set your heart on perfection, but understand you may have to compromise on a few of your materials, so be flexible. Plan your necklace, measure, and then measure again when you’re done. Measure flat, but also measure against the curve of your neck. And go ahead and keep it simple. Just because you can make a double spiral, maybe you shouldn't. Don’t add too much stuff to your necklace and lose the dimension or balance that are so important to the functionality and success of the piece. Oh, and if you're going to photograph your jewelry, use a lint roller on the necklace form before you zoom in!


  1. Haha Karin (re. lint brush)! Very cool blog, so clear and interesting. Like life, sometimes what you plan is not what happens, but still turns out beautifully, right=).

  2. Love it! I can see why you had to have the cool red beads.

  3. Hi Karin, a blog post like this, reflecting on lessons learned from a project, can make the most valuable & interesting reading. Thank you for thinking of sharing--and for mentioning & using our beads. :)

    at Rings & Things

  4. I like the second one much more too. I'm like you. I put together pieces sometimes several times before I get it just right.