Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kokoro necklace...

For my latest necklace, named Kokoro, the main inspiration were the Japanese millefiori beads, in delicate porcelain. Kokoro is a Japanese word that means "heart", but not the physical heart (named Shinzou).

The hear Kokoro designates is a spiritual one: spirit, mind, essence, thoughts, emotions, feelings, the heart you use to "love" someone, to cherish for something. An abstract, poetic concept, meaning roughly "the spirit! or "the essence" of things.

It symbolizes my love for Japan, and what comes to my mind when I think about the meanings of "kokoro". It also has a tangible Japanese "presence" somehow, represented here by the use of Jade, silk and porcelain. I have used for my Kokoro:

- 2 oval Japanese Millefiori porcelain beads;
- 3 yellow silk beads;
- Black Swarovski pearls;
- Several Swarovski crystal bicones including four jet black off-centred pendants;
- 8 yellow Jade beads;
- Small gold-plated balls near the clasps;
- Antiqued gold-plated clasps in the shape of a flower.

I like the result: it is shorter and in a complete different style from the others:

Some close-ups:

One of the Japanese millefori beads, in yellow porcelain with colourful swirls and flower patterns. Main colours are yellow and black, thus my choice of the crystals, pearls and jade.
One of the silk beads I used, surrounded by light topaz Swarovski bicones and Swarovski black pearls.
The Jade beads and Aurora Borealis bicones...
More Swarovski bicones and crystal black pearls...
And, finally, a detail of the clasp I used, antique gold (plated)...

Labels: , ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:51 AM 0 comments

Thursday, November 27, 2008

6 Earrings for 6 Necklaces

Well, yesterday I made some earrings for some of the necklaces. It was a bit hard, I must say I much prefer threading 100 necklaces than making one earring. But hey, what's life without a little challenge now and then?

I am going to show a picture of the necklace and another of the earring in a close-up. The thumbnails below are smaller than usual, so, you should (as ever) click on the picture to see it real-size.

Positano Blú

I used one opal, 1 cream Swarovski pearl, one tiny gold-plated ball and gold-plated earring bases.


For that one I used Indian wedding cake barrel beads, Swarovski bicone at the top, and to finalise a small gold-plated ball and gold-plated earring base.

Violeta 2

Again, Indian wedding cake amethyst beads, antique gold spacers at the top and a gold-plated ball to finalise. The base is also gold-plated.


Used Indian wedding cake beads, pink faux pearls and silver plated-plated ball and bead caps, in a stainless steel (surgical type) earring base.


I liked this earring the best maybe. Used 2 cherry jade beads surrounded by gold-plated flower bead caps, finalising with a burgundy Swarovski pearl at the top and the usual gold-plated ball. As before, a gold-plated earring base keeps it all together.

Sol Niger

For Sol Niger it was simple: 2 Swarovski golden shadow bicones, one gold-plated ball at the top, a gold-foil Murano bead and base as before.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:32 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Positano Blú necklace...

The Positano Blú was my third necklace on that "productive" day. I called it Positano Blú due to the memories I have from that Italian town. The beads make me think about our very brief visit to Positano. High up in the hills on the Amalfi coast, a very narrow and winding road, and lots of flowers, old houses and lovely boutiques. The sunny day would hit those stones and the pavements, after a drizzle. Wet and shyly sunny it was on that day.

Then, I got a perfume from the Le Sirenuse line from Positano: the Eau d'Italie. It quickly became one of my favourites. And, again, a smell of lemons, wet grass and the sun hitting the stones - like after a day in the beach.

The necklace is thus a mix of the town and the scent. Or at least that's what I had in mind when I put its beads together. Here it is:

For Positano Blú I have used:

- 1 blue Millefiori big Murano bead in blue, white and gold foil, with a lacy texture;
- Gold-plated filigree spacers, smooth gold-plated flat discs, clasp and little balls;
- Swarovski pearls in blue and cream;
- 10 white natural opal beads (that is the "sun in the stones" for me);
- 14 small blue natural turquoise beads;
- Opalite tiny beads with Czech glass seed pearls.

The close-ups:
Here you can see the focal bead in detail, a lovely Millefioriwith blue and white lacy pattern and 24k gold foil, surrounded by filgree gold-plated caps and spacers, and the Swarovski blue pearls.

The above picture shows the fire opals, which clearly make me think of my Eau d'Italie cologne and the sun. If it had a smell, that would be it, lemons, sun and stones in a wonderful Italian village. You can also see the gold-plated spacers and the creamy Swarovski pearls in the middle.

Turquoise beads with black veins, tiny Czech pearl seed beads and opalites. - which are a real pain to work with due to the extremely diminutive size of the holes. I am running out of these already though!

And a final shot of the clasp, tip and tiny balls, all gold-plated. I really like the design of that clasp, it's very sleek in a nice art-nouveau revival way. Easy to use as well, because it's quite big.
posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:56 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Bonbon Necklace...

The 2nd necklace I made yesterday is called Bonbon. It's curvy, pink and looks a bit like a bunch of sugared almonds. Or old-fashioned raspberry bonbons...

Fpr some reason, the camera did not manage to capture the shade as is. Rather than a cherry red, I would say it is an Antiqued Rose hue. Colours are cooler in real life than they appear in the pictures.

For that one, I have used:

- Indian wedding cake beads with silver foil;
- Silver-plated and Tibetan alloy spacers and clasp;
- Cherry jade round beads in two different sizes and slight shade variations;
- Czech small beads;
- Czech Ghost glass beads in pink;
- Small rose Muranos;
- Silver-lined Czech seed beads.

The design follows the scheme of Violeta and Violeta2, roughly. For these 3 necklaces the Indian beads are the main characters.

Some close-ups:

The above picture shows the main Indian bead, which is in the centre of the necklace, as well as some of the silver-plated bead caps and spacers and the Czech seed beads - used as separators. You can also see a bit of the clasp, which is quite pretty and good to use (small hooks).

Finally, the above photo shows one of the cherry jade beads (measuring about 15mm for the bigger ones, and 10mm for the smaller), silver-plated bead caps and silver-lined Czech seeds.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:14 PM 0 comments

Violeta 2 Necklace...

(PS... I am updating this post since I forgot to mention the use of natural amethysts on this necklace! I think it is important, no?... Andrea/1st Dec 08)

Yesterday was a productive day, necklace-wise, I mean. I made 3. As always, it's great fun. I seriously still don't know very well what I am going to do with them, but I keep doing it. Yes, I would like to sell them. Just not quite sure how and where to start.

Violeta 2 is called that because it is a new rendition of my previous Violeta. I think I did not mention but it is "Violeta" not only because of the colour, but also because it's my Mom's name (and I wanted to "flatter" her a bit!). Purples (and a hint of crimson) dominate here, pretty much as before:

Violeta2 has warmer shades of purples, whereas its predecessor was more in the cool side. On this one I have used: Indian wedding cake beads, plum jade, Swarovski burgundy crystal pearls, Murano and Chinese foil beads, Czech crystal beads and antique gold and gold plated spacers and clasp. And last, but not least, 4 natural Amethyst chunky beads surrounding the main tubular bead.

Some close-ups:
The Indian Wedding Cakes in shades of deep plum. They are quite irregular in their colouring, thus, quite unique. They have copper-goldish foil. You can also see some of the small Czech beads and spacers.

On this picture, you can see the main bead and the Swarovski pearls.

Tomorrow I will post some pictures of the other two necklaces.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 2:47 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sol Niger necklace...

I made this necklace today. It's dark, but with some speckles of gold to it. I named it Sol Niger or "Black Sun", an alchemical term that represents the results of the Opus Magnum's first stage, the Nigredo, or blackness, darkness.

Ruled by Saturn, it also means decomposition, putrefaction, whereas everything that lives has to eventually die and give birth to a new stage (Albedo). New life arises from this melancholy process. The focal bead represents the inner fire, the inner, occult sun, and the crystals (black and clear) are both the prime matter and the result itself of the alchemical process - the Gold, and the promise of rebirth, which culminates in the last stage: the Rubedo.

I made this to remind a phase of my life, where I was into Alchemy and all sorts of "magic". It was magic. Even if I am not into it right now, it played a major role in my life one day and I am grateful for that.

I have used:

- Czech dichroic beads, black with colourful sparkles;
- A Murano focal bead in mostly black and gold and multicoloured foil;
- Swarovski Golden Shadow bicones;
- Murano small gold foil beads and sommerso black;
- Czech tiny "black bean" beads;
- Gold-plated oval and round beads, disc spacers and clasp;
- 2 small Czech fire beads.

Some close-ups:

The Murano focal bead, a microcosmic Black Sun, surrounded by Sawrovski bicones (Gol Shadow, a very appropriate name!) and two gold-plated balls.

I love the way the flash is reflecting in the bicone here, it looks very pretty. You can also see the small gold-foiled Murano beads.

Finally, a detail of the dichroic beads, one Murano in-between and a Czech Fire above.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 1:28 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Byzantium necklace...

I made another necklace today and called it Byzantium. I have used 3 Czech wedding cake beads (being one focal), gold-plated spacers, Czech glass golden balls and gold-plated oval small beads, and the most special gemstones: 2 dragon veins round, smooth beads and all the rest in shades of pink/burgundy jade.

It is called Byzantium because of its crimson and gold, almost solemn shades - perhaps smelling a bit like old churches and incense - and the use of Chinese beads (jade and dragon veins agate). These beads allude to the Silk Road, and the role played by Byzantium as the rendez-vous for the merchants on their way to the East, searching for spices, silk, precious resins, gemstones, and so forth.

It tries to symbolically link East and West, or at least the idea I used to have about Constantinople, the Silk Road, and its heritage of churches, gold, stained glass and History.

Here it is:
The close -ups are:

Czech focal bead, 2 spacers (plastic with bronze effect!), gold-plated thin spacers, 2 small cherry jade rondelle beads and the 2 chunky, heavy dragon veins (dark burgundy). The remaining beads are the rose, cherry jade ones in different shapes and sizes.

And finally, the other two Czech beads surrounded by the cherry jade beads:

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:34 PM 0 comments

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blooming Part 2...

On this necklace, I have used again 1 fioratto focal bead (the oval one) and 2 fioratto tubes, as it happened in the Serenissima one . I called it Giardino, for obvious reasons!

I also used antique Czech seed beads (in pink), some Swarovski bicones in peach/champagne, Swarovski crystal pearls in Rosaline, Czech glass beads (leaf, tulip and oval shapes) and poilshed rose quartz beads, besides the usual gold-plated spacers, caps and clasps.

Some close-ups...

Focal bead, Swar
ovski bicones & Rosaline pearls.

Fioratto tube beads & Rosaline pearls.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 4:35 AM 0 comments

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blooming Part 1...

I made two necklaces this afternoon. All in shades of pink, and mostly due to my Mother's request. I hope she will enjoy them.

The 1st one I called Rose Sommerse, aka, Submerged Roses. I made a bit of a pun using the name of the glass technique of some of the beads, and the fact that they are rose-coloured and have a rose motif to them in the fioratto ones. The glass technique is called "sommerso". This method melts different layers of different colours (usually two) under clear glass. I also used wedding cake (fioratto) pink beads, as shown here...

Details of the Sommerso beads, in shades of pink and gold (aventurina)...

And the wedding cake ones that follow. These are very irregular and I even had to re-thread everything after it has cut the nylon thread! For safety I used gold-plated caps on every single hole of them:

Besides the Murano beads, I also used some antiqued glass pearls, gold-plated caps, 2 tiny Swarovski bicones and the usual gold-plated beads.

The second necklace I will still photograph and post it tomorrow!

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:30 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Serenissima necklace

Yesterday, I have finished my blue necklace. I decided to call it Serenissima, as a little tribute to Venice - where Murano is, and all those beautiful glasses come from.

"Serenissima" means "the most serene" and refers to the title given to the republic of Venice - La Serenissima - which lasted over a thousand years (until the end of the XVIIIth century, precisely).

I used blue beads, trying to imagine Venice on a crisp sunny day, surrounded by the waters and the sun light reflecting on its surface and on the glass.

I have used 3 blue wedding cake beads (Murano obviously), Czech crystals, tiny faux pearls and gold-plated beads/spacers and clasp, as well as some tiny opalite beads (the blue ones at the end, a real pain to thread due to their almost invisible holes):

This necklace is shorter than the previous ones, thus, I made a little extension chain with some links I have here and one knot cover. I will have to replace it for the links are a bit big, and I also want to add a tiny bead to it. I only had links on that size, and also did not have any golden pins to make the bead, but I am going to buy some on Saturday, hopefully!

Some close-ups below. First, the focal bead, in aqua blue and similar to the black one in the Amarena necklace...

And, finally, the two little tubular beads, that are very pretty and delicate...

And, finally, another view here - I love "rolling" the necklaces when taking pics!

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:31 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Amarena necklace

I have decided to name my necklaces. This morning, I have finished my Amarena, or "cherry" in Italian. Why an Italian name? Because of all the Murano beads, of course, and because I love that country. Why "cherry"? Because of the two big pink beads surrounding the focal bead:

It was very hard to make it. Mostly because I firtsly threaded it with a silk cord. It turns out that I had to redo everything because I missed one or two black beads and then the cord ended up too short, and so on. Also, it is hard to thread with silk since it is too soft and you need to use a needle. But that's not quite the problem: due to the friction of the beads, the cord may end up frailed, and the fibers start to unravel. A pain. That's why I decided to do it again with a nylon wire - as it's usually done, it seems!

Some details:

The above is the focal bead, a wedding cake Murano in black, really big and pretty. The ones beside it are the cherries!

I also used...

This is a Japanese Tensha bead, which is made of acrylic and has a lovely shiny design with a floral motif. They surround the medium Murano beads and the cherries.

And this is the clasp:

The clasp is a small toggle one, gold-plated.

I basically used here:

- Murano beads - all black ones, cherries and focal;
- White-foiled beads (probably Chinese);
- Czech Ghost white beads;
- Tensha beads;
- Gold-plated toggle, spacers and discs.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 1:01 PM 0 comments

Monday, November 10, 2008

A red necklace - the Fragola

(PS... I am reposting this entry as to include the necklace name... Andrea, 26th Nov'08)

Another update on my necklace adventures! Here is the last one, that I made on Sunday night... Decide to name it Fragola, which means "Strawberry" in Italian...

Again, I mostly used Murano beads (as least the 3 big ones), gold-plated and bronze little balls, and Czech crystals. Well, 2 Swarovski bicones as well - but they are tiny.

The picture had to be taken with flash, since it was way too dark here last morning - even with all windows open. Gray, rainy Irish weather!

Here is some more views, just in case...

And a little close-up (this time, no flash, but still visible)...

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 9:41 AM 0 comments

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New necklaces!

(PS... I am reposting this entry as to include the necklace names... Andrea, 26th Nov'08)

Here are two necklaces that I made yesterday:


This one was made using 4 aqua Murano beads, silver-plated spacers and focal bead from Bali, cotton thread in the same shade and knots to hold the pieces in place.

In detail...

The knots cane be seen (barely) under the spacer beads.

And the second one:


This one I made using 3 lovely vintage Wedding Cake beads from Murano, gold-plated and bronze-coloured little balls, polished Czech beads as spacers, and other Czech iridescent crystal beads all over - including the tubular ones and the faceted gold ones. All vintage. The Czech beads I have recycled from two necklaces I had bought 25 years ago. They were intact, as new, really. The new necklace is all in shades of dark blue and amethyst/dark purple.

Some details as follows...

The above are the Wedding Cake beads. They are much prettier in real life, under sunlight, when you can actually see the true colour and the light refracting though it.

The iridescent Czech beads in a close-up...

And, finally, the clasp...

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:40 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's a dog!

Yes, it is REALLY a dog. Not a piggy, not a "mini-cow", but an English bulldog called Rhimma. She belongs to my friend Marcia and loves going to my house in Rio - she even knows the way. She's really sweet...

(The title of this blog was suggested by David, her proud papa...)

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 12:08 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Latest necklace pics - The Amalfi

(PS... I am reposting this entry as to include the necklace name... Andrea, 26th Nov'08)

Well, I could not wait to post the pics of my latest necklace (called Amalfi, teal green seas, to remember our trip to that town some years ago). I made it on Sunday, and people are liking it, which makes me very happy indeed...

I used here:

- 3 big Murano beads;
- 2 silver Czech Fire crystals;
- 10 round Amazonite beads;
- 8 oval Czech crystal beads;
- Silver plated Bali beads as spacers;
- Small irregular silver Czech beads instead of metal beads;
- Tiny silver balls and small crystal beads near the clasp;
- 1 silver S clasp.

In detail:

You can see the little seed beads and the two silver Czech Fire crystals. The seed beads are very irregular, but I like their asymmetry somehow.

I am right now in a "green" phase, since my colour tastes are always changing. Every time, every season, I may have a different favourite new colour. And the "queen" right now wears green.

The Amazonite beads have a gorgeous teal shade and a pretty, pigmented texture. These and the Muranos I bought in a lovely jewellery shop in Rio.

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:37 PM 0 comments


OK! Time to show a bit of what I've been doing lately! The necklaces, as mentioned on my previous post.

My 2 first necklaces were made of plastic beads, during my course. I learnt how to bead with nylon, and how to make pins and assemble a necklace only using metal chains. I also learnt a basic knot using a cotton thread for a more casual look.

Here they are:

Used nylon on this one...

On this one, I put beads to
gether with eye pins and links, no thread.

So, these were my first ones! They look very unprofessional though, due to the quality of the beads (plastic, training purposes!), the fact that they were my first ones, and also the extremely poor quality of the pics themselves. If I don't have my tripod with me, I am at a loss, I must say. Also, having Mark to help me is essential, no?

To another one now... This one was remade from an existing necklace: not using all the beads, not following its original design (and bad finishing, by the way!), and adding completely new beads. That means I recycled a necklace that my Mother had and never used it. There are some nice Murano beads on that one, as well as wood, metal and crystals. No plastic! I liked the results and so did Mom...

Redesigned and recycled.

On my friend Marcia.

Unfortunately, this time I had to use the mobile camera, which is a very low res. This is because I had some problems trying to open the battery compartment on my camera and ended up by locking it up, d'oh... But it gives an idea.

Another one is an Antica Murrina pendant, also belonging to my Mom. The only thing I did here was to add some metal and black Murano beads and a gold-plated S-clasp. I reused the ribbon that came with it and shortened it a bit. My Mother has threaded the beads for me, so, I just redesigned it, no hands-on:

You can see the beads (Murano and gold-plated tubes) and new clasp.

I have also remounted a big Tibetan necklace for my Mom, that was completely broken. That took quite a long while, I must say, mostly because of the tiny chips of turquoise and jade. Could not get any decent pictures though, they were all completely out of focus. Again, the lack of a tripod (and probably old age too) is to blame. Hhhhmmmm...

Anyway, this was a long, long post.

(Tomorrow, I will publish the pictures of my newest necklace, that I made last Sunday.)

Labels: ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 9:19 PM 0 comments

Back from Rio!

I am finally back from Rio, where I stayed 2 months, ie, since Aug'29th. I arrived last Wednesday and, since then, I am feeling a bit down - but it's always like this when I come back from my home town. I miss it lots!

By the way, Rio is still pretty and the weather was quite gorgeous - the way I love: not too cold, not too hot, just mild, breezy and perfect.

News in brief:

- Diet - I am on a diet since, dunno, July maybe? And all is working and going well. My Dietician is great, dr. Mary, here in Blackrock Clinic, I love her.

- Gym - along with the diet, I am going to the gym, here in Dublin and also while I was in Rio. That helped me loads too. I mean, helps me (present tense). However, since I came back, I did not go yet. Ha ha...

- Weird stuff (aka, "shit happens") - the day after I came back, I went to my local Post Office and when I left, I fell on the floor, face down. Yeah, I kissed the ground. Literally. The only thing I saw was people coming to help. Two lovely ladies brought me to their shop, where they helped me cleaning my face (blood everywhere) and gave me sweets. It seems I fainted, and it happened again inside the shop. Well, I cannot remember much, but it's true that I was a bit dizzy (as quite usually nowadays) and did not have breakfast, so... I am lucky that I did not break any teeth or nose though. Well, I am bruised - but even that is starting to clear up now.

- Jewellery - yes! That is great! I made a very basic jewellery course while in Rio, in a shop where I used to buy my own necklaces and stuff before! It was very good, and I was loving it. Well, I still am loving it because I've been making some nice necklaces and buying some beads and findings out of eBay lately. Next step will be a more detailed, advanced course if I can or perhaps a good book. I am super-interested in the materials that can be used and mixed: gemstones, glass, crystal, wood, porcelain and so on. No plastic though. I love the weight of real stones and glass instead. Wires and threads are also interesting me deeply right now! Anyway, will post some pictures of what I've done later tonight - or more certainly, tomorrow.

Labels: , , ,

posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:42 PM 0 comments