Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Lovely lapis lazuli

I've always had a bit of a passion for lapis lazuli. It started years back, when I was working in retail. One of the companies I worked for sold a pen that was coated in lapis, and it was one of the most beautiful things I had seen.

With all the extended time off work, I started tinkering with jewellery making, mostly using up the glass and plastic beads I had sitting in my stash. Then I discovered that you can buy beads made from semi-precious stones, and I was overjoyed! I bought a whole bunch of small, irregular chips from (great prices, good delivery and high quality), among them a long strand of lapis lazuli.

My first project was this "illusion" necklace. The key component, other than the beads, is mono-filament. This transparent thread was something I already had a stock of - it's invisible nature makes it very useful in the working of certain magic tricks, and I had used it when putting together clown shows.

For the necklace, the beads are simply threaded on, and the thread re-looped through each bead to keep it in place. I love the impression this gives that the beads are floating in mid-air.

The second project was this bracelet. I've always loved silver more than gold, so I chose to make it up using silver coloured wire. (I think I would like to try it again, using gold - it would really compliment the gold flashes in the lapis)
Each section of the bracelet is made up using an eye-pin with two beads on it. The open end of the eye-pin is formed into another eye, and then the pin is twisted in the centre, with a bead either side of the twist. The sections are then connected to each other with jump-rings, giving the whole piece a greater degree of flexibility. It is quite a simple technique, but gives an unusual finished design.

I used the same technique as the basis for these earrings. This time, however, I attached a headpin with a single lapis chip to each eye loop. This produced a chandelier-style that is reminiscent of Roman jewellery.

I'm quite pleased with all the results - and I still have enough lapis lazuli to make some more projects!

 All these pieces are available for sale in my Etsy shop.

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