lampwork and sterling silver statement neckaces

I have been busy in the studio building up my inventory for a show I will be doing in Tucson January 20-21.  If you live in Tucson I hope to see you there.

La Encantada Fine Art Festival

I will have 12 necklaces from my newest collection – called recherché.  Roughly translated from the French it means exquisite and rare.  Most of them in this grouping are one of a kind.  They have a lampworked cabochon that I made that cannot be duplicated exactly or they contain a special stone.  There is a short and long version of the teardrop necklace without enhancements.  Here is a glimpse.



I will describe each piece in more detail in separate posts.

new tag




A talisman is an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.  But it really could be any object that has come to have meaning to you.  To me a talisman is a special piece that evokes a memory and makes you feel good.

Talisman Necklaces


A few years back I designed and sold a series of “Desert Talisman” necklaces each with their own story.  I sold them all; but of course I had to keep one for myself.  I think of it as my summer necklace.  I first wore it on a trip to the ocean back in 2010.  I called it “Wings” as it was the perfect adornment for a walk on a sandy and breezy beach in the morning looking for shells.  Now when I wear it I think back to that week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and all of the happy memories.

The necklace is a collection of five elements.  The round bead is a hollow lampworked bead that I made.  It’s surface decoration is a series of scrolls or swirled lines.  Next to it is a beautiful feather that I wired to the necklace.  The orange color in the feather speaks to me.  The third piece is a series of metal disks strung with crystals and beads.  Another piece is a remnant of a coin that I purchased when visiting the Island of Kos in Greece.  I set it in gold with a small amethyst.   The last piece is a stone that I purchased some years back at the gem shows here in Tucson.  It is a fuchsite stone with ruby in it.  Then the stone was tumbled for a lovely matte finish.  All the elements hang from a darkened sterling silver chain.

The necklace slips over the head.  It is 26 inches and when worn hangs about 16 inches including the elements.

Everything except the feather can be cleaned with a damp soft cloth if necessary.  The dark patina will change with age.


A new series of Desert Talisman necklaces will appear in my new shop this fall.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Tuesday Ta Da

Just a Sneak Peak

I’m developing a new line incorporating my lampworked glass beads, metal, and desert inspiration.  I talked about a hollow bead last week where I had ground off one side.  To me it is reminiscent of a pod especially those prickly pear pods.  So here is a sneak peak of the finished piece……

ta da


And the inspiration…………..

ta da inspiration

creating the desert in glass and metal

A Necklace for Every Day

necklaceI was out in the studio today – hammering textures. And forming some etched copper. I left with a new necklace.


creating the desert in glass and metal

Totally Handmade


Totally Handmade – what does that mean?

  • sketch the necklace – about a half hour
  • make the lampworked beads – about 2 hours
  • anneal the lampworked beads – 24 hours
  • clean the lampworked beads – 10 min
  • create a template for the silver links – 30 min
  • use template to saw the silver links – 1 hour
  • refine the silver links, and polish – 1.5 hours
  • fabricate the jumprings – 30 min
  • wire the beads – 1 hour
  • fabricate the clasp – 20 min
  • solder the clasp – 10 min
  • clean all of the silver components – 15 min
  • patina the silver components – 15 min
  • wire wrap semi-precious stones to one link – 15 min
  • connect the necklace  15 min
  • photograph the piece 30 min

It’s a lot of work; but I LOVE doing it.


Handmade Chain with Beads

handmade chain

I am putting together a new collection.

It will use my glass beads, but also more metal in the designs.

– sterling silver and copper and bronze, and a little gold.  

So I am making prototypes now which helps me visualize the pieces and see where adjustments need to happen.  This necklace has stations of glass beads between lengths of chain.  

The jump rings are twisted wire and soldered.  (lots of work)

I really like the look, but and also going to bezel set a bead in silver for the station instead of the wrapping.  

So much fun….

creating the desert in glass and metal


Spiculum – Shell Forming



The long tapered bronze form on this necklace is called a spiculum.   Spiculum comes from the Latin word spiculae, which means “a tapered hollow tube.” The beauty of using a spiculum in metalsmithing is that you can create considerable volume in a design that also packs considerable impact–but without the considerable weight or considerable cost in materials. Forming simple metal sheet into these stylistic tapered hollow tubes allows you to make a statement with your skill and craftsmanship, not how much you spent on the materials used in a piece.  It is time consuming, but I love the effect.  For earrings it is a great technique and I plan on making several shapes in the new year.

This spiculum is a hollow form using a technique called shell forming.   The word shell means the outer skin of any form. The shell form is never solid. It begins as a flat shape, but through the shell-structuring technique, it evolves into a three-dimensional object and finally into a hollow structure.  Although grounded in traditional silversmithing, it presents new ways of working with and thinking about form. Forming is primarily done using one resilient tool and one steel tool. When using a metal hammer one works on a wood or plastic stake and when using a metal stake a plastic or wood mallet is used. The resilience of the wood or plastic tool allows the metal to be stretched gently thus rapidly creating strong but fluid structures. 

This piece also contains one of my lampworked beads and turquoise beads.  A great piece for the southwest.

creating the desert in glass and metal


Mesa Necklace with Hollow Bead

Mesa Necklace with hollow bead

This necklace has a sterling silver pendant etched with a hand drawn image inspired by the mesas of Arizona.  I added an amber hollow bead.

The necklace is long without a clasp – great for layering on a fall sweater

The necklace measures 28 inches

The silver pendant and bead add another  3 inches

The pendant measures 3/4 inch by 2 inches

The lampworked bead measures 14mm by 20mm

mesa hollow

mesa hollow

mesa hollow

mesa hollow

mesa hollow

It’s in my Etsy shop now

creating the desert in glass and metal

Desert Blooms Bead – Mesa Series Necklace

Blooms in the Desert




I love the desert blooms

They are opulent

and sometimes ephemeral….  living for just a few hours

Desert Blooms in glass


So one of my favorite beads to make is one I call the “Desert Bloom Bead” and it is captured forever in glass

So the Mesa Series Necklaces had to have one with a Desert Bloom bead





The sterling silver chain is long

and slips over your head

Available in my shop October 30

creating the desert in glass and metal


Monsoon Sky

Monsoon Sky

The Tucson monsoon season is officially over.  It was certainly dramatic this year and dumped 20% more rain in Tucson than usual.  I guess that means our yard will be scattered with 20% more weeds too… but I’m not complaining.  The rain was awesome!

The skys are beautiful during or just before a monsoon rain.  Sometimes there are lots of orange.  but one night the sky had an unbelievable pink.


So I had to make a bead – right?

monsoon sky bead

Some blues, golds, pinks, and a swirl of fine silver wire heavily encased in clear glass.

So it went into one of the “Mesa Series Necklaces”

monsoon sky bead necklace


monsoon bead


no clasp

long sterling chain fits right over your head

etched sterling silver “Mesa” pendant is blackened and hallmarked

available October 30 in my shop

creating the desert in glass and metal