Monday, 13 February 2012

Inspired by Roman designs and prime numbers

This bracelet wasn't meant to happen. What I was supposed to be doing, was to be dismantling two necklaces I had (one of graduated blue-grey glass pearls, which was a gift, and one of purple beads, which I had bought at a craft fair), neither of which I actually wore.

The blue-grey glass pearl necklace was subtle and elegant (so I didn't wear it! it seemed rather elderly in outlook), and also was rather heavy to wear.

The purple-bead necklace is rather special to me as I agonised for (what seemed like) hours before buying it. This was some years ago and I really didn't have much money. The kind and friendly vendor patiently answered all my questions about handmade jewellery and even made me a pair of purple drop earrings at a discount price to go with it. I was hugely impressed; this was one of the things that eventually inspired me to have a go myself! Also, I think the person I bought it from was only just starting out; I still see her quite a lot at our local craft fair, and her style has evolved a lot over the last few years; she's now got a lot of new techniques and is developing her own unique "signature" style. Now she's established a profitable business, I think she also uses more sterling silver rather than silver-plate. I am still very happily at the silver-plate stage! My current business model is to keep giving things away, or keeping them for myself, until further notice, because I don't want to be worrying about whether my stuff is good enough to sell until I know it is.

So anyway I thought the central focal bead from the purple necklace, which is a disc-shaped lampworked bead, would harmonise nicely with the blue-grey glass pearls and bring out all its beautiful colours.

Then I remembered I had some two amber-coloured beads. The golden amber colour is complementary to the purple colour so the combination brings out all the richness of both colours. Then, because I associate amber with Roman jewellery (I think I must have seen some amber jewellery when we "did the Romans" at school!), I added in some curly silver-coloured spacers which also always make me think of Roman designs. My beads, needless to say, are not actual amber. They are quite pretty when the light catches them, though.

Since it was turning out to have a formal, classical look, I gave the bracelet mirror symmetry, with the blue-grey pearls in threes. If in doubt, I like to use prime numbers in the things I make: threes, sevens, elevens - I don't know why, it just seems right. I added a large clasp to balance out the purple disc-bead. On each side of the clasp are a small, clear Czech crystal and a crimp with a silver-plated crimp-cover. Honestly - those crimp covers take substantially more practice to get right than do the crimps themselves! I think I am starting to get the hang of them now, though.

And I added two of those little iridescent leaves as wire-wrapped dangles; one just by itself, and the other with a clear Czech crystal. The dangles have not photographed very well, but you can maybe see them slightly better in the last photo, taken in wintry afternoon sun. Their lightness contrasts nicely with the weightier round beads.

Of course this bracelet is only reminiscent of half-remembered Roman motifs. It makes me want to go to the British Museum again, or the museum at Bath, or the Hadrian's Wall sites, or any one of the countless Roman sites and museums scattered up and down the country. Did I tell you how much I love museums? I really love museums.

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