Friday, November 13, 2009

Beaded Jewelry by Susan: The Collections: The Rock Garden

Those of you who are familiar with my etsy shop know that you can shop by categories, using the Sections option, or by color, flipping through the shop home pages. But you may not know that I think of my jewelry in terms of "Collections." When I displayed my jewelry on boards for craft shows, the items were grouped according to Collections. Telling you about them may give you a chance to see the range of styles and an idea of how I think about style when I design. So I plan to include a series of posts describing each of the collections. Here's the first one.

The Rock Garden:  These are all earrings that have as their main feature a bead made of natural stone. I didn't know anything about different kinds of stones and minerals (and still don't know a lot) before I got involved in collecting beads, but I have learned a fair amount. There are many different kinds of stones that are cut, tumbled, polished, and drilled for use as beads. Some are carved, and some are faceted.

Here are some examples: The ones on the right include beads made of serpentine that has been carved into an interesting shape and that has a pattern etched onto the center of both sides.
The earrings below feature faceted beads of aqua quartz.
Some stone is made into beads because it has an especially interesting grouping of natural markings, swirls or stripes or different colored areas where various mineral inclusions and changes in conditions have created patterns in the stone over time. Crazy lace agate, for example, has some unique markings and takes dye well, so it is colored in various hues and cut in a wide range of shapes, like the beads in  these magenta crazy lace rectangle earrings. Stone can also be etched in a technique that is very ancient and that is similar to the "batik" technique used to create designs on fabric. These etched carnelian beads are a good example. Sometimes stone isn't the color you'd expect, even though it hasn't been dyed. Turquoise is usually the blue-green color that is associated with the name itself, but there is also a stone calle "yellow turquoise." The yellow turquoise ovals in the earrings below have a bit of black marking in them; this is called "matrix" and adds to the interest and uniqueness of the stone. Be sure to choose the Section called "Stone Earrings" in my etsy shop to see many of the unusual earrings made with stone beads and taken from my Collection called The Rock Garden. (This name is especially meaningful to me because, for many years, I grew rock garden and alpine plants from seed.)

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