Saturday, January 31, 2009

La Notte 2 (new necklace)...

Last night I decided to make a new version of my previous La Notte. As I do with all new versions, this one is called La Notte 2. It is not exactly the same, of course, but also departs from the same idea and uses more or less the sane colours. However, where the original displayed golds and dark blue, this instead is all about silver shades.

Here's the new La Notte (2):

For this piece, I have used:

- Murano soffiato (blown) Luna focal bead;
- Several Miyuki Delica size 11 in silver, inside the focal bead and covering the wire (sterling silver plated steel);
- Swarovski bicones in different sizes and shades of silver (comet argent) and dark blue;
- Sixteen lapis lazuli medium beads;
- Six Czech fire iridescent round beads of the same size;
- Several light gray Swarovski pearls in two different sizes;
- Two faceted Czech fire beads in a lovely darkened turquoise shade;
- Round and disc-shaped spacers in silver and black metal;
- Czech fire small "heavy metal" faceted beads and bugles approaching the clasp;
- Tibetan silver toggle clasp.

Details as follows...

On the left, a close-up of the Luna bead. It seems to be foiled, since its surface is speckled with tiny silver or gold dots, like distant stars. If you click on the picture you will see it magnified and will also notice the Miyuki beads inside. On the right, we can see the lapis lazuli beads, the Czech fire round ones and the Swarovski pearls, all interspersed with Swarovski bicones in comet argent and blue.

On the 1st picture, detail of those faceted Czech fire beads I mentioned above, Swarovski smaller pearls and bicones. On the 2nd one a very close shot of the pearls and blue bicones with lovely AB (Aurora Borealis) coating.

On the left, detail of the Czech fire iridescent beads and the lapis lazuli beads. You may notice the gold spots in the lapis, due to the stone's natural impurities. The bicones can be seen as well. And on the right, detail of the buggles, some spacers, Czech fire tiny "heavy metals" and more of the lapis lazuli.

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:40 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Moanna necklace

I took more or less three to four days to finalise this, between planning and execution. The Moanna is inspired by one of my favourite films: "Pan's Labyrinth". It is a beautiful, but extremely sad film, which I see as a very strong anti-war message. This film, along with "Grave of the Fireflies" is one of those films that has marked me profoundly. The reason for that strength is perhaps due to the fact that their tragic stories are told from a child's perspective. It makes everything not even stronger, but infinitely sadder. In this case it was Ofelia, or Princess Moanna in her own imaginary world, to where she desperately tried to escape the grim reality of civil war.

Here is my Moanna:

Some images from the tale are present here: the Moon (which was Moanna's birthmark), the standing stones of the Labyrinth (central Swarovski pendant), the faeries (represented by the small butterfly Swarovski beads), the dagger (symbolised by one beige square pendant), the nature of the Faun (earthy shades of green and brown), the war (symbolised by two blood red Swarovski bicones surrounding the middle pendant and some round red Czech beads approaching the clasp).

Here is what I have used:

- Three large Swarovski pendants as focal beads;
- Swarovski stars and butterflies;
- Two small Aquiline Swarovski pendants;
- Several Miyuki seed beads (smallest size) under the pendants and also as beaded bails for two of them;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different shades and sizes;
- Two teardrop brown Czech Fire small pendants;
- Several Swarovski crystal pearls in pale almond;
- Four small taupe Chinese glass pearls;
- Stardust antique gold round spacers, two ornate flat spacers and toggle leaf clasp;
- Red Czech round beads;
- Small Amazonite beads in shades of pale green, brown-beige, aqua;
- Small Czech Fire polished beads in metallic hues.

Some details to follow...

On the 1st picture we have (from top to bottom): one of the small Aquiline pendants in Olivine, the Avant Garde pendant with a Miyuki beaded bail, two blood red Swarovski bicones and the main focal bead: a large Aquiline pendant representing the standing stone in the Faun's cave. Details of some of the Miyuki seeds can also be seen, covering the wire. I used two different shades: a silver one for the bails and iridescent bronze for the wire. On the 2nd picture a close-up of Moanna's crystal moon, with its silver beaded bail.

On the 1st screenshot, we can see the Moon's beaded bail, followed by one clear crystal Star, one bicone, small Aquiline pendant, a second bicone and a teardrop Czech Fire small pendant. On the 2nd one, the other green Aquiline bead, a second star, the Avant Garde pendant and the main Aquiline surrounded by two Swarovski bicones in ruby red. Those beaded bails are not too easy to make, perhaps because I have no practice. The Miyuki are tiny and break easily, especially when you have to use the pliers to hold the crimp and close the loop.

Detail of the red bicones and some of the tiny Miyuki seeds used for covering the wire. Also a close-up of the clasp.

On the 1st picture, another detail of one of the small Aquilines and green bicones, the Czech teardrops and one of the pale almond Swarovski pearls. On the 2nd pic, we can see some of the Swarovski crystal butterflies and the small Chinese glass pearls in taupe.

On the 1st picture, we can see the butterflies in different shade and the Chinese pearls once again, along with one big Swarovski bicone in brown. On the 2nd one, some of the small Amazonite beads, Czech Fire faceted beads, stardust spacers and the ornate bronze spacers. On the 3rd picture, another view of the Swarovski pearls, this time interspersed with the red Czech glass beads.

"And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look. "

Guillermo del Toro - Director, "Pan's Labyrinth"

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:11 PM 0 comments

Saturday, January 24, 2009

La Sirena 2 is now a set...

As I said before, I made La Sirena 2 by request of a friend. She also wanted a bracelet to match, and I have prepared it last night...

Here is a picture of the set:

And the bracelet alone:

It basically follows the same design, except that the fluorites have been replaced here by six lighter small Amazonite beads in shades of blue-green. This is because due to their fragility, and the fact that we tend to bang our hands every now and then, they would most probably break in no time.

Another thing I did was to use a magnetic clasp, which is much easier to handle. It's the first time I use one of those, so, my friend will be "testing" it for me and see how it goes. If necessary, I will change it to the usual lobster clasp (much more complicated to deal with though!).

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 1:51 PM 0 comments

Friday, January 23, 2009

La Notte necklace

As I am still trying to recover from my flu/cold, I have not really been very productive. The ideas come to my mind and I just cannot find energy to make much of it. Today however, I made another one. Just because sometimes I obsess about certain beads and cannot really rest until I lay out something. This piece is called La Notte (Italian for "the night"), and is a different colour from all other necklaces I made so far.

I wanted to convey the idea of how nights looked like some years ago, when the city lights would not obliterate the shine of the stars and we could still see the Milky Way in all its glory. Not anymore, alas, unless we are far out in a remote spot in the country.

For La Notte I have used:

- One large Murano sommerso globe as the focal bead, and two more oval flat discs as auxiliary beads;
- Two large rutilated quartz round beads, with gold stripes;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes and coordinating shades;
- Several Swarovski pearls in two sizes, Tahitian Look shade;
- Several blue sandstone beads with gold speckles, really tiny;
- Antique gold stardust spacers and crimps separating the smaller pearls;
- Two ornate antique gold spacers;
- Antique gold bead caps and tiny saucers for the Sommerse;
- Antique gold S-hook clasp.

Details as follows...

Details of the Sommerso dark navy beads with gold speckles, and some of the Swarovski pearls.

Above, details of the lovely quartz beads with gold flecks. I am not sure if they are natural or man-treated. Either way, they are gorgeous and smooth, very unique. The last shot shows a detail of the blue sandstones. The tiny "stars" are copper impurities. This is a kind of man-made stone, very pretty and composed by glass mostly (and other minerals). They look like they were immersed in star dust. The photos are unable to capture their whole luster, unfortunately.

Details of the clasp and stardust antique gold spacers. On the 2nd picture, we can see the Swarovski pearls and blue sandstone, along with some more Swarovski bicones and one of the ornate spacers. What I love about those Swarovski pearls is their tiny holes that are great for stringing, since they are very regular and well-drilled.

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:02 PM 0 comments

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Burlesque necklace...

Today's necklace (so far!) I decided to call Burlesque and I will explain why. But first, here is the Merriam-Webster's definition of the word:
Main Entry: 1bur·lesque
Etymology: burlesque, adjective, comic, droll, from French, from Italian burlesco, from burla joke, from Spanish
Date: 1667
1 : a literary or dramatic work that seeks to ridicule by means of grotesque exaggeration or comic imitation
2 : mockery usually by caricature
: theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous often earthy character consisting of short turns, comic skits, and sometimes striptease acts

Why have I decided to call it Burlesque: it's all about the colours. Fuchsia (not pink, not rose, but Fuchsia) and black. Pitch black. Lingerie colours - but not the good-girl kind! I imagine it would go well with a long pink boa and black fishnet tights. But hey, it's only a necklace! For the well-mannered ladies that would like perhaps to misbehave a bit. Once in a while.

Here is the Burlesque:

I have used today:

- One large carved obsidian rose (Chinese);
- Several Swarovski bicones in Fuchsia and Silver;
- Two large Crazy Lace pink agate beads (ha, lace! See?);
- Several black onyx beads in two different sizes;
- Several dyed fuchsia jade beads;
- Four vintage Japanese faux pearls (probably from the 70's);
- Tibetan silver clasp;
- Black metal spacers in the back of the rose to cover the wire.

Some close-ups:

On the 1st picture a detail of the back of the necklace, smooth black obsidian. On the 2nd one we can see the black metal spacers covering the wire and the lovely Swarovski fuchsia bicones that I used as accent beads.

A close-up of the rose. If you click on it you will see it magnified. You can also see the Crazy Lace agate beads, the large onyx beads and those Japanese pearls. In spite of their age, they are still very smooth and shiny. Some of the fuchsia jade beads are also visible here. The clasp is the usual S-hook in Tibetan silver.

On the 1st picture, detail of one of the black onyx beads and Swarovski bicone and, on the 2nd one, a close-up of the Japanese glass pearl and fuchsia jade. I recycled these pearls from a very old necklace that I won in an auction. The necklace itself (clasp and thread) was falling to bits, but all the beads were intact and pretty much like new.

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:17 AM 0 comments

The Domani necklace...

Again, an Italy-inspired necklace, also in aqua and turquoise shades. It is called Domani, which is the Italian word for "tomorrow". It came from a really abstract concept: when tomorrow comes, and what tomorrow may bring. It is a wish for better times, expressed by "a thousand flowers" (the millefiori focal bead), and cool and peaceful shades of blue and milky, translucent opalescence.

Here is Domani:

For this necklace I have used:

- One Murano millefiori focal bead in shades of aqua;
- Several opal round beads in two different sizes;
- Several turquoise round beads also in two different sizes;
- Swarovski bicones in Turquoise AB2X and Alabaster Mint AB (again, AB for the Aurora Borealis coating);
- Stardust silver-plated round spacers, silver-plated filigree bead caps and thick flowery ones for the focal bead;
- Four silver-plated bows and Tibetan silver vine leaf toggle clasp.

Some details, as follows...

On the left, detail of the focal Millefiori, ornate silver-plated caps and the Alabaster Mint bicones. The picture on the right shows the clasp in detail, an art-nouveau style vine leaf toggle. We can also peek on the stardust spacers here.

Close-ups of the large turquoise beads, larger opals, filigree bead caps and silver-plated bows, along with some Swarovski bicones and two smaller turquoise beads.

Another detail of the opals and small turquoises. Whenever I use opals in my necklaces is when I want to convey the image of the Sun. Opals really look like white cloud bathed in sunlight, and go really well with blue tones - which can be compared to a blue sky. Then, you have it: how you wish "tomorrow" would look like! Blue sky, sun shining, white fluffy clouds here and there. That's the idea!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 12:38 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

La Sirena 2 necklace...

It seems La Sirena has become a popular necklace. Lots of people really liked it and I had to make a second one for a friend who really wanted it. Unfortunately I could not find the long swirly Murano bead any more, as the one I had in the original. I replaced it by three round ones instead, that just arrived yesterday. Here it is:

Although the theme, colours and colours are the same, there are some differences in the design for both pieces, as you can see here:

The first picture shows the original La Sirena, whereas the second one displays the new version, roughly shown in the same position for comparison. I have put the three round Muranos together, interspersed with Swarovsky Crystal AB bicones and stardust silver-plated spacers. I also added two extra Amazonite beads and seven fluorites to compensate for the lack of the crackled rondelles (I only had eight left).

The rest of the elements is basically the same, except for two new Czech crystal beads between the rondelles and replacing the milky long ones of the original.

Some close-ups...

The 1st picture shows one of the Murano rounds in detail, while the second one shows the toggle clasp in Tibetan silver, always with the spiral pattern to go with the focal Muranos. The third picture has one of the Swarovski Crystal AB bicones I have used this time, as well as my beloved stardust spacers.

On the first picture you can see the new Czech glass beads , the Swarovski bicones in two different shades and sizes, as well as the aqua crackled glass rondelles and more of the silver-plated spacers.

On the middle picture, a detail of the Amazonites in a beautiful deep teal shade and the lovely round fluorites. Again, these are almost clear, with a very subtle and subdued shade of lilac/green, which has been captured well in the pictures today. They are indeed very fragile, and have a soft, irregular surface that is naturally "crackled". It might sound weird, but I think in this visible and tangible fragility all their beauty seems to dwell. I love fluorites! That's why I added another picture of them here!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:18 PM 0 comments

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The La Penombra necklace...

Last night, I made another necklace. I planned this one for 2 days or so, and could only finish it after I found the right combination of beads and colours. Because of the colours used I decided to call it La Penombra, which is Italian for "the twilight". And an Italian name once again due to the use of several Murano pieces.

At first I thought about calling it Valentine's, as a very obvious reference to the upcoming date, but then I thought: "Wait a sec, these colours are not Valentine-ish at all and, if anything, a bit on the darker side..." And I realised that it was a twilight, dusky piece, thus La Penombra.

The main bead is an Antica Murrina pendant, which I bought for myself two or three years ago and never used because I did not have a proper necklace to hang it to (mine are either too thin, or too thick!). It came in a nice velvet pouch and has the Antica Murrina certificate still.

I also used some tiny wedding cake beads that I have recycled from a necklace bought on eBay, an interesting vintage piece that seemed to be either a choker or maybe a little girl's necklace. At any rate it was too short and the links were getting tarnished. Also the clasp did not work anymore. Then I reused the beads. Actually, I bought it with the purpose of recycling already in mind.

This is La Penombra:

I guess it is easy to see why it is called Penombra. The colours are those you see after a sunset and the heart looks like a twilight sky: blue, gold, crimson, peach. Besides the Murrina heart, I have also used here:

- Twelve small blue vintage wedding cake Murano beads with gold foil and pink forget-me-nots;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes;
- Two round Dorado Swarovski faceted round beads;
- Four medium dragon veins in a shade of pink guava;
- Smal faceted Czech Fire beads in shades of blue, gold, purple;
- Stardust bronze plated round spacers;
- Antique bronze small disc spacers;
- Gold plated filigree bead caps for the dragon veins and smaller ones for the wedding cakes;
- Two antique bronze ornated Bali beads and S-hook clasp.

Some close-ups...

A close-up of the Murrina heart, placed over three stardust beads and crimps to lock it in place. Some of the Swarovski round beads can be seen as well. And the surface of the heart, magnified to show the colors and gold foil, which also reminds me of a galaxy, the xplosion of a supernova, things like that!

On the 1st picture we can see some of the dragon vein beads in detail, along with the antiqued bronze beads and filigree bead caps. We can also see the Swarovski bicones and stardust spacers interspersed with the stardust balls. On the 2nd picture, the tiny wedding cakes in detail and more of the dragon veins and Swarovskis bicones, with a lovely AB (Aurora Borealis) reflection.

Another detail of the wedding cakes, Swarovskis and bronze disc spacers, along with the S-hook clasp.

And to finalise for today, another view of Penombra...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 4:01 AM 0 comments

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Juuni Kokuki necklace...

This necklace I finished today was inspired by the Japanese epic anime series, "The Twelve Kingdoms" (Juuni Kokuki), written by Fuyumi Ono. It is a wonderful series and I would recommend it to anyone. The novels are wonderful too. However, only two volumes have been released so far here in our region (and by Tokyopop, of course!).

The necklace is a little tribute to Youko Nakajima, the heroin of the series, coming from Japan (pretty much against her will) to become the Empress of Kei, one of the kingdoms where the story takes place, and which is not located in our physical world.

The predominant colour in my necklace is red, like Youko's hair. And the main bead, a huge cinnabar Chinese carved disc, alludes to the Riboku tree, from where people and magical beasts are born. The story is based in the Chinese (mostly) and Japanese mythology, and is full of action, magic and political intrigue. However, I see all that as a mythical background for Youko's own personal saga: her first steps into adulthood and the changes she has to face in order to become a more assertive and confident young woman - which is comparable to her assuming her role as the Empress in that new world.

Here is Juuni Kokuki...

For Juuni Kokuki I used:

- One large carved cinnabar pendant;
- Ancient gold-plated rondelle at the top of the pendant;
- Small stardust spacers in several sections of the string;
- Chinese cloisonée beads in red and gold;
- Two Japanese Tensha beads;
- Ten small vintage Japanese red millefiori beads;
- Swarovski crystal bicones in shades of ruby red and dorado;
- Fire polished Czech tapered beads;
- Red faux pearls and stardusts near the clasp;
- Antique gold toggler clasp.

Some close-ups below...

On the left, a detail of the cinnabar bead, the large antique gold rondelle to hold the pendant in place and then the stardust spacers intertwined with red Swarovski bicones and followed by the cloisonées. Also visible are the clasp tips, faux pearls and more of the stardust beads. On the right, a close-up of one of the Japanese Tensha beads (acrylic), and more of the bicones. In the background we can peek at the Japanese red millefiori small beads.

Above, the Tensha and the golden and red cloisonées can be seen in more detail, along with the lovely Japanese millefiori, the Dorado Swarovskis and some of the iridescent Czech fire red beads.

And to finalise this post for tonight, another view of the necklace...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:11 PM 0 comments

Friday, January 09, 2009

The La Campagna necklace...

I have been feeling quite bad at the moment, with a really bad flu. I try to spend most of the time in bed, however, it makes me cough compulsively. Then I have to stay up, because it improves the cough somehow - and the blocked nose etc... I use this time to think about new necklaces and, yesterday, I even made a 2nd one, late at night, very much with the intention of cheering myself up somehow.

I called it La Campagna, meaning "the countryside" in Italian. It is a quirky piece, in shades of green, and pink, very much like wild flowers in a field. Here it is:

It turned out to be not only shorter than my usual, but also much lighter since I have not used any gemstones this time. Instead I have used:

- Three Murano Millefiori beads in shades of green with pink and blue flowers;
- Several oval tapered Czech beads, fire polished, also green-blue with lovely and subtle iridescence;
- Some Swarovski pink bicones in two different sizes to accentuate the pink present in the Murano beads;
- Tiny aqua Czech faceted beads interspersed with bronze/antique gold stardust spacers;
- Two different kinds of Tibetan spacers: one an ornate drum and the other a smaller flowery round bead, all in antique gold-plated;
- Gold-plated flower bead caps enclosing the millefiori;
- An antique gold hook clasp.

Some close-ups next:

Detail of the Murano millefiori surrounded by the complimentary Swarovski pink bicones and a shot of the hook clasp, wire loops, Tibetan flower bead and stardust bronze spacers.

The Tibetan drum spacers, smaller Swarovski bicones, tiny Czech aqua beads and stardust spacers and, on the 2nd picture. another detail of the millefiori with the gold-plated bead caps.

Again, a closer shot of one of my Tibetan round flowery bead followed by three stardust bronze spacers (which I really love to finalise the clasps) and also the tiny aqua beads and some of the tapered Czech fire ones in a bluish-green shade. These really matched the background of the millefiori.

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:42 AM 2 comments

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Carmilla necklace...

I have finished the Carmilla today. It is a very dark and heavy necklace, and named after the short Gothic novel "Carmilla", by the Irish writer Joseph Sheridan le Fanu. Yes, it is a novel about vampires and preceding "Dracula" by 30 years or so. If you wish, you can read it here.

Here it is:

For Carmilla I have used the following:

- One big black obsidian carved rose;
- Ten large dragon vein purple round beads;
- Two oval Indian amethyst wedding cake beads with gold foil;
- Twelve medium Argentinian amethyst beads;
- Six small purple jade beads;
- Eight smaller purple chrysocollas;
- Four Swarovski bicones in purple velvet;
- Antique gold bead caps and stardust small spacers;
- Two small black Swarovski crystal pearls for a finishing touch near the clasps;
- Antique gold flowery clasps.

Some close-ups below...

On the 1st picture, a detail of the Indian wedding cake, much similar to the ones I used for Violeta and Violeta 2, along with the bead caps and pretty dragon vein beads, with their fabulous texture. Right above it, you can see a bit of the chrysocollas and jade beads.
You might think Jade is a green stone mainly, but there are many other wonderful colour occurrences, such as: purple, violet, different yellow shades, orange, pink, fuchsia, red, blues, white etc... It is an amazing stone to work with, always smooth, strong, and not very heavy. I love it.

On the 2nd one, a magnified shot of the obsidian carved rose, very heavy and shiny.

The 1st shot shows the back of the necklace. I had to use two stardust spacers to cover the wire as usual and also crimps to hold the large rose in place. This can be seen in more detail on the 2nd picture at the right. The stardust balls are followed by some lovely purple velvet AB (Aurora Borealis) bicones and two smaller spacers on both sides.
The rose being that heavy, it actually broke the necklace the 1st time and had to re-string it using a thicker wire.

These pictures show the clasp in detail, front and back, along with the stardust spacers and the little Swarovski black pearls. The loop and crimp can also be seen, along with a knot cover that I used in one of the ends to hide a little gap that left the wire exposed at first. It worked great actually, and I turned the cover into a little ball with the help of my pliers. Very cool!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:13 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The La Sirena necklace...

"Sirena" is an Italian word that means "Mermaid". I was once again inspired by the South of Italy, and the blue waves and swirls of an imaginary sea where mermaids might certainly be found.

For La Sirena I used...

- One silver-foiled long Murano focal bead with aqua swirls;
- Six medium Amazonite beads that I brought from Brasil last time;
- Four long Czech glass creamy aqua beads;
- Ten Czech crackled glass aqua rondelles;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes;
- Six lovely but very fragile fluorite beads;
- Two round silver-foiled aqua Murano beads in the same design as the focal one;
- Stardust silver-plated round spacers (between the fluorites) and Silver Heishi spacers between the Amazonites;
- Two elliptical silver-plated beads;
- Several tiny silver-lined Czech glass beads;
- Silver-plated Tibetan clasp with a complimentary design.

Some close-ups, as usual...

The focal Murano bead...

One of the round Murano beads, also with the swirls (or spirals) as in the main bead, and the fluorites. These are of a lovely, extremely pale shade of green/blue, almost clear. Actually, the colour is barely detectable. As I mentioned before, they are very breakable and fragile, so, extra care is required when handling this necklace. However, that must be said of ANY glass necklace - not only this one! Between the fluorites, you can have a peek of the stardust tiny balls and, immediately underneath, the aqua crackled Czech rondelles, intertwined with some Swarovski bicones.

A detail of the Amazonite beads, flat Heishi spacers and one of the Tibetan silver beads in the shape of a tiny rose and surrounding the focal piece. And on the right, a close-up of the clasp, which has pretty much the same design as the Murano main pieces and would represent the waves , erm, quite well... No?... I also added some rose beads to the ends of the wire and before the clasps. I think it gives a nice finishing touch and reinforces the structure as well.

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

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Kaeru no Uta necklace...

The necklace I made today is called Kaeru no Uta, which, in Japanese, means "Frog Song". I made it mostly because my Mother LOVES frogs, and I managed to put my hands on some really lovely Chinese lampwork pendant beads, with super-cute frogs over a leaf. They are very delicate though, and should be handled with extra care.

In Japanese though, Kaeru not only means "frog", but is also a verb, meaning "to return". So, little ceramic frogs tucked inside your purse are meant to bring good luck, and a safe return home. Or even, money! In that sense, they are somehow linked to things or people coming back to their places of origin, even if only by a simple play on the words. It is said that if you have a frog around, it will indeed bring the good things back: friends, money, and so on...

Frogs are also linked to the Summer, and the rainy season in Japan.

Here is my Kaeru no Uta:

For this necklace I have used:

- One Chinese lampwork focal bead in the shape of a leaf with a cute frog grabbing it;
- Small Red Sea coral beads;
- Two big jade beads and two medium ones;
- Several aqua and dark green with black stripes dragon vein beads;
- Some few blue goldstone beads;
- Tiny red Swarovksi bicones;
- Six vintage Czech fire round beads with blue opalescence;
- Tiny faceted Czech fire beads in metallic, iridescent shades;
- Small gold-plated and bronze-plated stardust spacers;
- Antique gold bead caps and clasp in the shape of a leaf.

Follow some close-ups...

On the 1st picture a detail of the lampwork pendant. Note the back of the frog has some gold foil speckles, very pretty and delicate. His tiny toenails are painted blue, which may be the tendency for Spring-Summer, no? You can also see the two small Red Sea coral beads that I used as an accent. Between them, I placed two stardust balls, in order to support the pendant and cover the wire. But they are not visible.

In the middle picture, the green dragon veins (teal and dark green) are visible, along with one jade bead at the top (light green) and the blue sandstone beads. These beads have a light golden dust effect that is not quite visible in the picture, pretty much as if they were oiled and then submerged into gold/copper powder. Goldstone is actually a man-made gemstone, not natural, and produced by adding copper salts to glass, inside a furnace. These salts (copper) are responsible for its star-shine characteristic. The gold-plated bead caps can also be seen here.

On the 3rd one, a detail of the tiny Czech fire faceted beads, and right underneath, three of the Vintage round Czech beads. The red bicones, one coral bead and some of the stardust spacers are also visible.

On the left, detail of the back of the lampwork pendant and two of the coral beads, along with those lovely blue toenails! And, on the right, two big jade beads and some of the others (goldstone, dragon veins, coral).

On the left, we have another view of the different Czech beads I used, the small stardust spacers, coral beads and Swarovski bicones. On the right, a detail of the leafy antique gold clasp and some of the stardust spacers I used in both ends.

And, to end this post, a view of the back of the necklace, showing the lampwork pendant and also the back of the clasp...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:55 PM 0 comments

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Ryu necklace...

I made this necklace tonight, really excited about the ojime beads. This time, it is also a round one, but with a lovely Dragon carved. For this reason I called it Ryu, which means "dragon" in Japanese.

For Ryu, I used:

- The ojime focal bead;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes and shades of red and clear beige;
- Four Chinese golden cloisonée beads;
- Two glass pearls wrapped in golden mesh;
- Four Japanese wooden beads;
- Some Czech fire faceted small beads and Chinese glass pearls in powdered almond;
- Antique gold spacers, bead caps (only for the ojime) and S-hook clasp.

Here are the close-ups:

On the 1st picture, we can see a detail of the ojime bead, measuring less than 1 inch and very detailed. A little dragon with scales and beady eyes! The bead caps are also visible, as well as the copper crimps I used to prevent them from running while working on it, and which also compliment the overall look and colours. On the 2nd one, a detail of the new S-hook clasp, antique gold (plated), and very easy to handle.

On the left, you can see a detail of two of the cloisonnée beads used, the faux peral with mesh wire, some Swarovski bicones and Czech faceted crystals and another small glass pearl, almond-coloured in the right upper corner. On the right, another detail of the cloisonnée beads and Swarovski bicones.

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 12:43 AM 0 comments

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Chuu-chuu necklace!

Happy New Year! My 1st post for 2009! Holidays have been hectic, as they are supposed (and expected) to be, and I did not have much time for posting or making necklaces. But I will re-start today, and hope to make much more nice things in 2009!

Today's necklace was more or less based on my previous Mori. I almost called it Mori 2, but then I looked at the focal bead and it was so cute that I changed my mind immediately. It is an Ojime bead in box wood, with little mice and leaves carved in. I even thought I might call it Mori no Nezumi (Forest Mice), but then again, I thought it might require a cuter name.

Then I came up with Chuu-chuu. "Chuu-chuu" is the Japanese onomatopoeic word for the sound mice make (which I think of as being "kee-kee"!). Also, it has to do with the little bat in the animated series "Rosario + Vampire", who always makes that squeaky sound at the end of the episodes or, well... Whenever he wants to, really!

The main piece here is the central box wood Ojime bead, which is hand carved and inspired by the ancient Japanese ojime beads - which were mostly made of ivory years ago (long before the ban). These beads are intended to work along with netsuke and inro boxes, as a way to hang items to the kimono sash (or obi). The inro boxes are the equivalent of mini-pouches/pochettes, where you would carry cosmetics, tobacco, money etc. They would hang from silk braids attached to the obi or obijime. The Ojime beads would help to keep the silk braid intact, so it would not frail. The netsuke, in the other hand, would close off the end of the silk cord.

Here is a detail of my ojime...

It is indeed very detailed and intricate, measuring no more than 1 inch. The eyes of the little mice have tiny beads embedded, as you can see here, very lovely.

For Chuu-chuu I have used as well:

- One focal Ojime bead as I babled about before!
- Swarovski bicones and round beads in Dorado. The round ones can be seen in the above picture, surrounding the Ojime;
- Six medium-sized jade beads;
-Two medium-sized dragon veins rondelles;
- Two green-striped round agate beads;
- Four small jade rondelles surrounding two flat oval dragon veins in shades of green-black;
- Six smooth round amazonite beads;
- Brown Czech faceted small beads;
- Some few gold-plated round small spacers and antique gold toggle clasp in a lovely flowery (leafy?) shape.

Some close-ups:

On the 1st picture, a close-up of the clasp I used and some of the gold-plated spacers. In the centre, you can see one of the oval dragon vein beads, a small jade rondelle, the green-stripe agate and part of a dragon vein rondelle. On the 3rd picture, a detail of the lovely Amazonite beads, in shades of blue, green, yellow, beige. All very earthy.

On the left, you can have a detail of the green-striped agate ball and the Swarovski bicones, and also one of the dragon vein rondelles. And, on the right picture, the bicones once again, placed between the jade beads.

And, to finalise this post tonight, the Chuu bat from Rosario + Vampire. Note one of his functions is to cover any shots of the girls' pantsu (aka, panties!)...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:29 PM 2 comments