This necklace is made with a set of lampwork glass beads by Firelily. I've bought (and hoarded) a lot of her beads and encourage anyone who loves boro to buy from her. OMG but these beads I got were amazingly beautiful on their own:
In fact, I started out with a necklace design I was happy with -- and then kept going. First, I made a single strand necklace with no pendant. I don't often wear a necklace without a pendant because I are round. I'm not happy about that, but it is what it is. A single strand can sometimes accentuate exactly how round I are! :-)
This is what I came up with first:
You can see that with boro, what color (and what transparency) you choose as an accent can change the way the bead looks. Then I went nuts. There are 24 dangles between each bead, sized from 2mm to 5mm -- citrine, butter jade, peridot, and garnet, all on 26 gauge head pins to keep the bulk down. I used some really exquisite (and expensive) sterling silver beads I'd been hoarding, and even though I didn't have a drop pendant, I DID have a central sterling silver bead to balance things. I was pleased that even though I chose to pull out three different colors from the beads, I don't think I detracted from the glass beads themselves.
But then I decided to overdo it.
I tried on the necklace, and while I loved it, I felt weird without a pendant. I absolutely did NOT want to restring, because if you did the math, there are 384 dangles I'd have to restring (and yes, there was a color pattern to follow with each cluster, too). Holy crap. Just typing 384 makes my hands hurt, but that shows you how much I puffy-heart loved these beads.
To solve the restringing problem, I cut a short length of chain and using two jump rings, connected the chain on either side of the central silver bead. I added a filigree bead component (that is actually the middle bead of a HUGE three-bead pendant I got from Singaraja Imports (click here to see the entire thing).
When I bought that enormous, expensive tassel, (when silver was $50/gram, eek) I rationalized that either a) I'd use it to make something for me, or b) I'd take it apart so I could recoup some of the cost -- and I did just that by using part of it in the "Ginger Peach Soup" necklace in my book (and oh hey, I used Firelily Beads in that one, too!).
The nice thing about this design is because the pendant is a separate component, I can take it on or off just by opening and closing two jump rings. I'm not sure this is where I want to end with this piece -- I still have other ideas floating around -- but I thought it was interesting to watch the process.
Just realized that last photo isn't the best, which is another lesson learned. With boro beads, try to take all your photos at the same time, as time of day really can make a huge difference in how the colors present themselves.
Curious what your thoughts are! I'm quite tempted to make this a longer necklace by adding more of the small garnets at the end, since I've been grooving on longer pieces lately. Oh no. That would involve restringing 384 dangles. Nope, nope, not going to do that. What to do instead? Jump rings to the rescue again, by either connecting another strung length of garnets, or wire-wrapping garnets in rosary fashion, or skipping the garnets and adding decorative chain to reduce the weight (since it's going to be largely behind my neck anyway).
Lesson learned -- the best laid plans may hit a snag, but there's always, always a way to salvage something beautiful.
Stay tuned for more Tales from the Bead Hoard.
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