32 thoughts on “Trying out beads

  1. OMG those are beautiful! I actually think I like the first one best – but it’s really six of one 1/2 dozen of the other – they both look lovely. I think it’s becaue it stands out on the black background better – and I wear alot of black ;-)

    Are they enamel painted trompe l’oeuil to look like marble? Very successfully! I don’t suppose you have process shots of them somewhere … ?

    My one disappointment in Paris was that the rooms on the Louvre that had all the red and black figure pottery were closed! Bummer!

    1. I am undecided, I will have to take a picture over skin, that may be very different… they are for me and I am quite pale.

      Yes, it is vitrifiable paints (Blythe) over ivory tone opaque enamel. I actually do have process shots: http://medvssa.livejournal.com/198046.html
      I have some knowledge of mural trompe l’œil and I applied it here on a very tiny surface. It worked better than I expected :)

      When I went to Paris, the jewellery rooms on the museum of decorative arts were closed… argh, so frustrating, one of the things I wanted to see the most…

  2. I like the second pic better for my part. You’re creating such gorgeous works of art, Mer, it is so wonderful and such a pleasure to watch. Thank you very much.

    1. My pleasure :)
      Can I ask why do you like more the second? less symmetry?

      Marie, you told me that the clay setting of your Violet broke. I am gonna get silver soon, and now I can make a new setting for it. Would you mind to pay the price of the silver for this? it shouldn’t be much. It could also be brass which is much much cheaper, but I don’t think golden would go so well with that one.
      If you want me to do this just send it back to me :) (do you have my address? Mathieu de Layens…)

      1. I prefer the second one because of the grey pearls which contrast more with the main enamel, than the ivory ones, from my point of view. It’s a bit more powerful I think.
        I’ll be ok for you to make a new setting of the Violet and for me to pay for the silver, but not now because I’m pretty poor (got no job and no umemployment insurance either…). I hope this crisis will pass soon.

        1. I will have to see how they look on bare skin :)

          Sorry abot that :( there is no hurry for me of course, I just feel bad that your setting broke and you cannot wear it now. I can temporarily glue a brooch at the back if you would like to wear it meanwhile.

              1. Ha Mer, 18 months later, I’m still that poor. My material situation is still very unstable, and weak. I’m sorry, my priorities are very basic right now.

                1. Marie, I know it is not a priority, but I would still want to make it for you. You don’t have to pay me, you bought this pendant from me and it broke, so I would like to fix it. I have devised a setting that doesn’t use much silver, but it is strong and looks nice.

                  Would that be fine for you?

                  And if there is anything else you need, please let me know.

  3. I love both of them. And I take back what I said about the labradorite not setting off the enamels as well- together with the others, they are fabulous. :)

    As far as the gold goes- you could use gold for the bezel but silver for the backing- that would save some money.

    1. Yes I think it adds a bit of variety :)

      I am thinking of a kind of setting that would use less material: the bezel soldered to a square wire, then the enamel may rest over the square wire and the bezel be closed over it. I want to try this with silver first.

      Not sure about it because I would like this one to have a really classical (greco-roman) look to it.

      1. That plan for minimizing materials sounds really good! It might be tricky to get the fit right, but I think it’ll do the trick.

        There’s a kind of wire called “step bezel” that has both these elements built in; I find it awkward to fit since it kinda has to be perfect from the start, plus it only comes in a few profiles- but this might work. Honestly, though, I think getting square and strip and making your own would be more effective, although one of Hoover and Strong’s profiles has a decorative half-round element on the outside, which is pretty.

        1. I saw this kind of wire in the Rio catalog I have, but the dimensions didn’t seem very comfortable to work with. I was thinking of a bezel of about 0.5 and the square wire of 1 or 1.5 to give a good “seat” to the enamel. With patience and annealing often I think it shouldn’t be a problem to give it the right shape.

          I’ve also thought of something a lot more time consuming… wrapping a tube of gold around a halfround copper wire, draw it through half wire, shape it, then eat away the copper in nitric acid and solder the two parts togheter (this sort of halfmoon and straight at the bottom. This for a hollow halfwire.
          But I am afraid of loss of material, I would actually like to use 24k and I can barely afford that.

          But I think I am gonna document a bit about classic jewellery first to get some ideas. I am afraid I will find a lot of massive stuff, hehe.
          For the earrings, I have enlarged earholes (3mm) and I remember seeing roman earrings that were much thicker than we make them now.

          1. The tubing sounds really interesting! I have directions for something similar in a square tube, but haven’t needed it so haven’t tried it.

            If it were me, though, I think I’d use 22-24k for the bezel, but 18k for the square wire seat; I’d be concerned about high-karat being too soft for that, and so not protecting the enamel as well. *shrugs*

            Also- I don’t think I’d make half-round tube in 24k, again because if its softness; I think 18k, and then depletion gild the outside to bring up 24k on the surface.

          1. Well, “green gold” is usually pretty much electrum, since it’s often made of just silver and gold. It does NOT have the rich yellow color of most 22k or 24k, though- far from it; it’s sort of pale. Personally, I HATE the color, but that’s a weirdness of mine. :)

            I just looked at Hoover and Strong, though, and their green has copper and the lower karats have zinc. The 22k green isn’t a bad color, though, and is hard to tell from the 22k yellow in most lights. Unlike the 14k and 18k ones.

            1. Yeah well, I’ve been reading about elektron and it could be anywhere from 40% gold to 75% (the 18k you mention). In fact I also do not like pale gold… it was mostly attractive due to historical reference. Although… if the gold is pale due to high silver content, could it be patinated? that would be cool. But I think I prefer a yellow or red gold for this one.

              I’ve been reading about other ancient alloys and some are really interesting. Like Corinthian bronze (copper, silver & gold) which could be pretty red. There is no recipe for it as it is supposedly lost, but for example there is this precolombine Tumbaga alloy which can be copper (80%), silver (15%), and gold (5%), which seems similar. And apparently depletion gilding was done, too.

              1. I was pretty surprised to see copper and zinc in the green gold, actually; from my readings, I’d thought it was a pure gold/silver alloy, like electrum. I hadn’t looked into it more because, as I said, I HATE the color- it literally makes the hairs on my neck stand up, for some reason. (there’s a range of greenish yellows that do that to me- weird, isn’t it?).

                I’m not sure it could be patinated; I know when a friend kiln-annealed some 22k green gold, it developed NO oxidation at all, and even the yellow 22k did (and it is low enough at oxidation that it can be fused like fine silver).

                Corinthian bronze sounds very cool! Gods- I’d love to be able to do some serious experiments in alloying, had I both time and the money for such… :) I have read about the Tumbaga alloy; I have this insanely technical book on goldsmithing that talked some about it, and definitely whetted my interest.

                At one point I got very small pieces of 10k, 14k, and 18k yellow gold for depletion gilding experiments, but have not gotten around to doing the experiments yet. Sigh. I really have to look at better time management…

                There’s also at least 1 Japanese copper/gold alloy- I think 4% gold. There might be one with more gold, too. They didn’t do depletion gilding, but have some weird patination recipes that give these odd alloys some amazing colors.

                1. That Japanese alloy must be Shakudō… found it yesterday on Wikipedia too, hehe, but I didn’t mention it since I am going after something that could pass for classic, heh.

                  I am really considering a small setup where I could cast my own weird alloys. We did it in school and it really isn’t that complicated. I have a very small room for my workshop, though, so I am very limited with space (good part of it is already taken by the kilns). I think the main problem is the source of heat, my appartment has no gas and my torch is too tiny for this. A big torch would ask for a bigger bottle which I doubt I am allowed to have indoors (I have a blue camping gas now). I wonder if there are small electric kilns for melting metal, I didn’t find anything in the Rio catalog.
                  Perhaps it is just crazy to even consider this in an appartment, but what else can I do? I don’t see our housing situation changing anytime soon.

                  1. I know there are electromelt set-ups one can get; we actually have one, but haven’t used it much (if at all- I’m not sure, since that’s the sort of thing J’s more keen on than I am). Rio does have one, so search for “electromelt” on their site.

                    A big bottle of gas is probably not ideal for an apartment, no. :) I think you are smart there!

      2. Addendum- make your own step by using a slightly wider gold bezel strip and solder a square silver wire to the inside. ALL the outside would be gold then, but it’d still save some money. Just a thought! Step bezel is a pain to work with, even if one makes it oneself. Totally non-forgiving. :(

          1. Oops- I wasnt’ clear. I think 0.5mm is fine for a pretty hefty bezel in terms of thickness- but if one were soldering the square inside it, one would need it to be wider to cover the square wire- for instance, if the strip needed to be 2mm wide to set the enamel, and the square wire was 1.5mm, then the bezel strip would need to be 3.5mm by 0.5mm, so there would be no silver visible except on the back. Is that any clearer?

  4. it’s levelek from LHC :)

    Medvssa, these are in.creible! Seriously stunning. I can’t believe you painted all that detail yourself. It’s to die for.

    I also prefer the second version, with the grey beads flanking the centrepiece.

    1. Re: it’s levelek from LHC :)

      Hey, cool to see you around here :))

      Thank you!! I will have to see how it looks over bare skin, too, the paler beads might be too pale.

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