HANDMADE JEWELRY | ONE-OF-A-KIND + CUSTOM
When we switched over from an e-commerce site to a blog recently, a lot of the products we've offered for several years now just ... vanished. That was unfortunate, but intended. I wanted to clear the decks and restart largely fresh. It has taken us a few weeks to cull, then organize the survivors. Plus, a few new pieces came to life. Apologies are due, as the process has dragged a bit.
But today, we're beginning to post back some of the older items we want to keep offering. First up: our sterling silver charms.
Above, you can see a variety of charms we've made in the past, from plain to personalized. Cubes, discs, hearts, you name it. One particularly popular item is the recently rechristened "Hannah's Charm" (center), which includes a small gemstone bead of your choice. The cost of these is around $10, depending on whether you need a chain, which we can add for just a little extra.
Interested? Let us know!
I’m still immersed in Southwest-style beads and symbols.
For the past week, I’ve been working on and off on a very lightweight necklace. I finally finished it late last night, so late that I went to bed before posting it (sorry!).
The necklace itself is primarily 4mm jet and 2mm turquoise and coral beads. I kept the sizes small, and the stones are also purposefully low-weight (jet is related to coal). At the last minute, I used a few 1mm Thai silver beads to add contrast and brightness. I restrung it several times before I was satisfied. It also started out longer — 24” — but I removed some of the turquoise and coral to shorten it 2”.
Also toward the end, as usual, I put together a snowflake obsidian pendant. The stone was originally part of a set intended for earrings. I thought the snowflake patterns on each were too dissimilar (likely cut from separate stones), not to mention too big for earring drops, despite their weight (obsidian is a volcanic glass with somewhat high sand content). I didn’t want to hang it on a simple wire bail or jump ring, so I bored out the drill hole a little more and slid the obsidian over small turquoise tube beads strung on sterling wire.
I finished the necklace with a sterling hook, though I considered using a lobster claw instead. I’m always curious what wearers think of different clasps. My sense was that a pinch hook might be OK on such a light necklace, but I'm interested to hear other opinions.
Separately, I also began working on a sterling cross to become a pendant. I stamped a cool sun symbol in the center of both sides, slightly over-stamping to attempt a unique look. Not sure if I like that or not. It still needs a bail, and I also need to decide how much to polish it or if it needs to be oxidized (I think it does).
Still catching up after our site change, so some of you may have already seen this in the past few days on Instagram.
I had a special request from a special person (thanks, Gwynn!) to find a new hangout for a bear fetish pendant. She had purchased it many years ago, but had never found just the right way to wear it.
I’ve been working with Southwest styles and elements since we moved to Santa Fe recently, so the timing was good. I quickly picked out a high-quality strand of Kingman turquoise direct from the mine to complement the material the Zuni carver, Brian Yatsattie, had used back in 1999. I also acquired some sterling saucer beads of four different sizes and patina, then scavenged four big silver Thai round spiral beads. She wanted the necklace long (29”), so it doesn’t need a clasp, which helps since it is a bit heavy with the stone carving.
One last touch, which I asked permission to change, since it might have been something the artist applied (it wasn’t): I removed the basic silver wire bail already on the fetish and replaced it with something of my own design. I had some sterling strip that was flexible enough to wrap around and fit the form of the bear, but sturdy enough to provide a bail loop. I soldered the loop after fitting it around the bear, which was tricky, but covered the joint with a proper silver wire wrap to add strength and stability at a bendy spot.
While this bear has already gone home to it’s special owner, I can still find more of the Kingman beads if anyone is interested in something similar. I can also help you locate an appropriate Zuni fetish here in Santa Fe, ground zero for Zuni fetish fans (you should see my collection).
Still catching up after our site change, so some of you may have seen this already on Instagram.
These handmade sterling crosses were part of a sample I just sent to Texas for consideration in a church gift shop. I’ve riveted the pieces together using sterling wire, although I’ve used copper rivets in some earlier models. I hung one on a sterling chain and the other on a suede cord, knotted with a sliding artisan sterling ring to make the length slightly adjustable.
While I often use these two basic hammering patterns (each using a different hammer) because they’re my favorites, I’m hoping to try other techniques if I have an opportunity to make more. I’m also experimenting with different types of handmade bails. But I’m trying to get away from the hole punch/jump ring method of hanging such items, since I have a modest soldering station set up, finally.
As always, comments are welcome.
We've reworked our site, almost entirely. Rather than spend a lot of time trying to market our products -- which wasn't really going very well anyway — we decided instead to just post what we make in a blog.
Our plan is to post items on our Instagram feed first, then post them to our blog here as well as soon as possible. Sometimes, the items will be custom items we are working on, so will already be spoken for. However, most will be new creations that we like to call "hot off the bench." They may even be works in progress, looking for your feedback. If you see something you like, please feel free to send us a message on Instagram or through our Contact page here.
Much of our jewelry is one-of-a-kind, generally because we often use elements that we won't be able to purchase again. However, we usually can remake designs with different beads, stones or metals to fit your desires. A few designs, like our "big water drops" earrings, have proven so popular that we stock the necessary pieces to make them quickly, on demand. Bottom line: If you like something, never hesitate to inquire about it!