Second Saturday Sale Day – Bracelets

Bracelet Sale

It’s Saturday August 12th and there is a sale happening

Here’s the direct link – click on shop the sale now

shop the sale now link button



Higher Prices for Pearls at the Gem Shows

At February’s Tucson gem shows, prices of white freshwater pearls were significantly higher than in years past. I asked my favorite vendor why and he said that Asian consumers are the reason.

Top-quality round white freshwaters are the most expensive and toughest pearls to obtain. Plus, production of bead-nucleated pearls is up, as is demand for bigger sizes.

I personally like large baroque fresh water pearls with a shimmer of color.  An even though I found some beautiful pearls the price was almost double from last year.

The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence that pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.  The very best pearls have a metallic mirror-like luster.

Here is a bracelet I made with a 16mm baroque freshwater pearl with a glorious luster and lots of flashes of color.


I added 2 of my lampworked beads and a 22K gold spacer bead and strung the bracelet on a stretchy cord.

( see my video about stretchy bracelets)

I love the ease of wearing a bracelet like this and it really adds a little class to any outfit – including jeans.  All the colors of an Arizona sunset.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Another bracelet

Working on Lots of Projects

I am on a mission in the studio….  teaching myself new techniques and making new jewelry.(and buying the tools to make the projects!!!)  I must have 20 or 30 projects marked in journals that I want to try.  Plus I just finished an online class where I made an awesome “Boho Bracelet”.  But this week I found a step by step tutorial on my desk (while cleaning) for a bracelet called the wavy bracelet that I purchased from Robin Cornelius several months ago.  Robin teaches this project at the Bead and Button Show, but I couldn’t get into her class so I decided to try it from her tutorial.  Anyway, the print out has been sitting on my desk and now that I finished my online class I decided that this week I would work on the wavy bracelet.

the Wavy Bracelet

It’s supposed to be a bangle bracelet, but I mis-measured my silver when I was cutting out the bracelet; so it became a cuff.  And I love it.  I have enough silver for about 5 bracelets so I know what I will be doing over the next few days…  will probably make them bangles and will make them in several sizes.  I set a CZ in this bangle and I love the little glint of bling peaking out.  The patina in the inside of the bracelet is awesome…  what colors!!

wavy bracelet

There are several methods to use to create the fold in the silver.  But I have to say I have been enjoying my vertical vise by Bonnie Doon.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Cuff Bracelet

Arizona cuff bracelet

Cuff Bracelet

I really learned a lot with this cuff bracelet project.  I got to use my new guillotine shear from Rio Grande.  I modified a font in Word – so the letters would all touch.  I sawed the word in brass and then riveted it to the sterling silver cuff.

Recently I took an online class to learn cold connections – with Connie Fox.  I also wanted to make a cuff bracelet.  So I sawed out the word “Arizona” in brass.  ( this was a project in Art Jewelry Magazine) That was good practice!  And then I riveted the brass onto a sterling silver cuff – learned that you form the cuff, and then rivet; otherwise the holes would distort.  (thank you Cristina Leonard and Gail Lannum).  I oxidized the silver for a nice contrast with the brass.  And I just love how this piece came together.

It’s fun to find time in the studio to just play…  maybe I should have titled this “what I did on my Christmas vacation”….

creating the desert in glass and metal

Desert Trail

Desert Trail Bracelet Desert_Trail2


Studio Time – New Bracelet – Desert Trail

Just like a hike on a desert trail with stops to admire the scenery, this bracelet is a path of luscious lampworked beads.  I like to make beads that are richly saturated with hues of color inspired by the desert.  This is a 2-strand bracelet with each bead capped in sterling silver and separated by tubes of sterling.  It’s adjustable.  It’s classic yet edgy with the use of handmade lampworked beads.  The bracelet shown incorporates the blues and greens found in the desert, but also comes in several colorways.  A selection right now can be seen at Beyond the Torch Gallery and Studio in Phoenix, AZ.  The grand opening will be Saturday September 20, 2014.


the inspiration – the Sonoran Desert………………

Inspiration from desert hilkes


Desert Trails in Tucson

There are numerous trails to hike in Tucson.  There is a wonderful trail near my home on Pusch Ridge called the Linda Vista Loop.  Recently with all the monsoon rains that southern Arizona has been getting, I got to see the waterfall on the Ridge actually flow right from my front porch.  Here’s a photo taken by my neighbor from his telescope.  Waterfall Pusch ridge

creating the desert in glass and metal

A New Bracelet Prototype

Moody - new bracelet - prototype

New Designs – Creating the Prototype

So how do I go about designing something new?  Sometimes I sketch.  Sometimes I make a prototype.

For this design I was inspired by a bracelet that I saw in a magazine.  It was simply a metal bracelet that wrapped on the arm 4 – 5 times.  I liked the simplicity, but also wanted to incorporate some lampworked beads.  I have been making these spacer beads; flat wound disks that I finished with some clear raised dots.  What makes them really cool is a layer of a highly reactive glass before I add the dots.  You can see the flash of color from the side.
Moody bracelet


I made this prototype out of copper – because it is cheaper than silver.  I wanted to practice the riveting of the beads and figure out the placement.  I decided to add some sterling disks for contrast.  I’m really happy and will now begin to make them in silver with possibly a gold disk.  But I like wearing copper and my skin does not react adversely to copper; so this piece has found a home in my stash.

Oh yeah – why the name “Moody” – because the glass used is called “Moody Blue”

creating the desert in glass and metal


Bracelet with riveting

Bead and Button Class #1 – A Bracelet with Rivets

This bracelet was made in the first class I took at the Bead and Button Show last week.  It was taught by a dynamic duo – Cristina Leonard and Gail Lannum.  The class was fun and packed full of techniques; plus you left with a finished product.

Techniques vs Project

So do you like to take a class to learn a technique or to go home with a finished piece?

I like to take a class to learn a technique or to improve on a technique that I already sorta know how to do.  This class had lots of techniques to learn, riveting being one.  Riveting is a method of attaching two pieces of metal with a cold join instead of soldering.  I have riveted pieces in my studio, but I have never tried to rivet on a curved surface.  I even thought that those rivets on the bracelet were made when it was still flat before forming the bracelet…. but learned that the holes would deform if you did that and would compromise their function.  So how in the heck do you drill that hole on a curved surface?   A wooden bracelet mandrel.  Voila!  how simple.  I also acid etched the brass and made the metal clay pieces.  A very satisfying class indeed.  Oh yea!  anneal those brass rivets and it’s a whole lot easier to form them!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Sterling silver and glass

photo of silver and glass bead bracelet

I stated in January that I wanted my work to “evolve” to include more sterling silver.  So here is a piece I have been working on for the last 3 weeks.  Making this bracelet has forced me way out of my comfort zone.  There are several silver fabrication techniques.

The Beads

I made these lampworked beads in response to a challenge to make 40 beads using 2 or 3 colors.  I chose opal yellow and a black glass from Double Helix Glassworks that has a heavy silver content.  I also challenged myself to make a disc shaped bead with surface decorations on the side of the beads as I knew I wanted to set the bead in sterling silver components – like gemstones; but with a tube rivet.  So I also had to flat lap the beads on one side so they would sit nicely on the silver.  And I had to grind the hole slightly larger so that the sterling silver tube would fit.  Very happy with the beads.

The Sterling Silver Fabrication

Last year I was supposed to take a class with Kristina Logan to learn how she makes a ring by setting a lampworked bead in sterling silver.  Unfortunately I had to leave the class unexpectedly, and never got make the ring; but this technique has been on my to do list ever since.  So for the last 3 weeks I have been experimenting in the studio.  First I used Argentium silver for the back plate and fused a large jump ring to it so that the bead would fit in nicely.  It’s not really a bezel as the bead is tube riveted in place, but it frames the bead nicely. I decided to keep things simple and not texture the jump ring.  I also decided to file the backplate flush with the jumpring.  Ummm…. lots of work!  And I learned I should have filed that jump ring flat before fusing.  Next I soldered the sterling silver tube to the center of the back plate.  Learned quickly that I had to make sure the ends of the tube were perfectly flat after I cut it so that the tube would sit up nice and straight.  Learned how to solder that tube down in a class with Richard Salley a few years ago, so that went fairly smoothly.  Very important to make sure the tube is in the exact center!!  The pieces looked really good.  So I pickled and cleaned them up.  So how was I going to connect them together?  I decided to solder small pieces of tubing to the sides of the components and slide a jump ring in the tubing.  But I really didn’t want to saw out those small pieces so I used crimp tubes instead.  Now you have to understand that the crimp tube is thin and the component for the bead is pretty thick.  Want to guess how many of those crimp tubes I melted?  So thank heavens for You Tube where I  learned I could sweat solder to the component and then heat the component to attach the crimp tube.  I did have to file a nice flat side on the crimp for a good fit.  Now the clasp…  I wanted to make a toggle, but that would have made the bracelet too long.  I could have deleted one component, but decided to make a shepherd’s hook instead.  Learned how to do that with wire ages ago in a class with Lynn Merchant.  That got soldered on too.  Made a nice brushed finish.  Then check each bead for fit…. a little more flat lapping….  but oops the tube was now too tall to make the rivet.  file file file.  By the third one I figured out how much tube is just enough.  So it’s done.  I, of course, see all of the flaws.  But I am happy and I will wear my new bracelet when I go to the Bead and Button show in a few weeks.


Monday Morning Jewelry Inspiration – the Wrap Bracelet



I love the look of multiple bracelets.  And Chan Luu has certainly made the wrap bracelet very popular.  So you get the look of multiples but it’s really just one bracelet.  Here is my new version of a wrap bracelet.  It’s in a festive holiday palette of silver and gold with a hand made sterling button, two of my lampworked beads,  some lovely glass trade beads, and some gray and gold seed beads… as well as silk wraps and macrame techniques and the laddering made famous in the Chan Luu bracelets. – all on  silver leather.

…..Creating the desert in glass and metal……

Production mode in the Studio

soldered jumpring on a lobster clasp

So this looks like just a lobster clasp and a jump ring….  and it is.  But part of my production routine for some of the bracelets I make is to solder this jump ring.  I like to do this because a bracelet gets lots of wear and can catch on things as it is worn; so this joint is very vulnerable .  The soldered jump ring helps to avoid a breakage.  I like to make up a dozen or so of these clasps and jump rings so when I am ready to make a lampwork bead bracelet I don’t have to stop and solder.  I end this type of bracelet with about an inch of 1 on 1 chain maille; but I don’t solder these jump rings because I want to be able to customize the length of the bracelet for client.  Here’s an example of a this type of bracelet.

lampwork bead bracelet