Posts Tagged ‘beads’

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles

June 3, 2019


Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles. Photo by Mike Smetzer.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles.


Stringing and mosaic. All the beads are natural rather than dyed.

The lapis lazuli beads spiral out from pure lapis near the center to lapis with obvious inclusions in the middle to beads that are mostly inclusions with a little bit of lapis mixed in. The outer beads have a corduroy blue color rather than a rich lapis blue, but they also have some pleasant iron pyrite sparkle. Despite their limitations as gemstones,  the outer beads are visually interesting, especially as a transition to the tourmaline pebbles.

The tourmaline pebbles are small-to-large in size. Although drilled for stringing, they are bunched loosely here.

Necklace with Woven Heart Pendant

February 20, 2019


After a technology delay with a new camera, I have a post ready today on the first of two necklaces I made for Vera for Valentine’s Day. This one is something cool. The other necklace is something warm.

It has been awhile since I made any jewelry, but the ideas are stacked up quite literally on my shelves.

While stringing beads is less complicated than creating mosaics or writing, finding the right combination for a jewelry design is interesting and challenging, and sometimes surprising. It is a relaxing counterpoint to my other activities.


Necklace with Woven Heart Pendant. Beadwork by Mike Smetzer.

Necklace with Woven Heart Pendant.


Detail from Necklace with Woven Heart Pendant. Beadwork by Mike Smetzer.

Detail from Necklace with Woven Heart Pendant.


Technical Discussion

This necklace features a pendant finding with four interwoven hearts of nickel-plated pewter and an attached bail. It is inset with small clear gemstones of cubic zirconia. The necklace also features faceted glass teardrops, which are transparent aqua blue in color.

The featured elements are supported by clear faceted Asfour Crystal beads (30% lead). Platinum-plated crimp beads are used in place of a clasp as the length of 27 inches is long enough to slip easily over the head. Because of the difficulty of polishing small elements, I have given up using any actual silver for a new-silver color in most applications. The exception would be Argentium Sterling, if the price comes down or I become rich.

A Beadie’s Daybook: Glass Birthday Bracelet in Pink & Aqua for Vera

October 9, 2017


Glass bracelet in pink and blue fastened, beadwork by Mike Smetzer

Vera’s Birthday Bracelet

It has been awhile since I have done any jewelry as I have been focused on writing. I was quite glad to get back to it.

This piece started out with a short string of cherry-blossom-pink beads that Vera liked. They are a bit lighter than the photo suggests. Since these beads have a medium tone, I looked for a similar tone in a contrasting color.

Both the pink and aqua beads have a “partly cloudy” internal structure that varies from transparent to opaque. The aqua pattern is more dynamic, swirling like clouds around a planet. The pink pattern is static, like cloudy masses in a liquid suspension. The roundness of the aqua beads and their smaller size also set them off from the larger oval shape of the pink beads.

Both the pink and aqua colors call for a silver-colored metal for the clasp rather than gold .

Glass Bracelet detail, beadwork by Mike Smetzer

Vera’s Birthday Bracelet detail

The result is an 8½-inch bracelet with platinum-plated spring-ring clasp. It is strung on satin-silver beading wire. The pink beads are Blue Moon cherry “quartz” puffed-oval glass beads 18 mm x 12 mm – 19 mm x 13 mm. The “translucent aqua” beads are lampworked glass, 11 x 8 mm – 12 x 10 mm. The aqua beads were selected from the roundest beads in three strands of highly variable puffed ovals.

Looking forward to more stringing soon.

A Ringed, Sun or Celtic Cross Made from Wood Beads & Wire

April 14, 2017

Celtic (Sun) Cross in Wood Beads and wire, Beadwork by Mike Smetzer

This simple ringed cross is made from wooden beads that have been dyed and waxed. They are held together with copper wire coated with black enamel. The beads are 15 mm, flat, and round, with rounded edges.

Beadwork Study in Wood for a Transcendental Cross with Quote in Runes from Julian of Norwich

April 6, 2017

Runic text on frame: “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well” — Julian of Norwich

On May 8, 1373, a thirty -year-old woman, whose name is unknown, lay on her apparent death bed in the town of Norwich, England. As the curate gave her last rites, she began to see a series of visions of Jesus. In a few days she recovered and wrote down her visions in what became the first known book by a woman in English. She became an anchoress at the Church of St. Julian in Norwich and many years later wrote an extended interpretation of her visions.

In her Revelations of Divine Love Julian explains that the words of the phrase above were said to her in a vision by Jesus to comfort her in her distress at the existence of sin and the pain it causes. The original text would have been written in the English dialect of her time and region using the Latin alphabet. I like having the text in Anglo-Saxon runes because the three-time repetition has the power of an incantation or magical spell.

This hanging was created from more-or-less square wooden beads that I carved and filled with glitter glue. The beads are held in place with Nymo thread using a combination of ladder stitch and stringing. Glue is used between the beads for rigidity.