Need For Beads, Inc.'s Fan Box

Click on my logo to become a fan!


Need For Beads, Inc. on Facebook

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Birthstone Earrings (Or, How I Found My Muse!)

Earring Inspiration
It happens to all of us. We finish a project, and then clean up our workspace (well, at least I do!). We start looking around for ideas for our next endeavor and find that we have no inspiration whatsoever! Bead long enough and creative block will occur.
The few times this has happened to me, I went through my beads, hoping they would inspire me. When that did not work well, I went through old beading magazines. Still nothing moved me.
The way I found a path out of my funk was to go back to the early days when my skills were not as developed. I picked something easy to make, like earrings, and then a theme. When this happened to me, I chose a theme for birthday earrings and pulled out my stones, crystals in the gemstone colors, and two bags of earring findings, one in silver and one in gold. I set to work after I little more preparation.
First, I researched the traditional birthday stones on the Internet. I printed out the following list:
  • January - Garnet
  • February - Amethyst
  • March - Aquamarine
  • April - Diamond
  • May - Emerald
  • June - Pearl or Alexandrite
  • July - Ruby
  • August - Peridot
  • September - Sapphire
  • October - Opal or Tourmaline
  • November - Topaz or Citrine
  • December - Tanzanite, Zircon, or Turquoise
I also brought out a bag of pearls so that I could have more than one type of gem in the earrings. Putting everything in front of me, I started with January's birthstone: garnet.
Garnet Earrnings
A little bit of chain, a bit of wire work, and the January birthstone combined with a few pearls got my creative juices going. It was time to move onto February. Sticking with the gold findings I came up with a very simple design, but one that highlighted the high quality of the amethyst stones that I had.
Amethyst Earrings
On to March! For this pair of earrings I decided to switch to silver components as the color of that metal is cooler and in keeping with the watercolor of aquamarine.
Aquamarine Earrings
Although not a gemstone per se, the aquamarine Swarovski crystals are just as pretty and are more economical.
Diamonds are for April, and they come in a range of colors. However, clear quartz crystal can be a suitable substitute, as can be clear Swarovski crystals. Leaving that month behind, I went on to May, but not before deciding to look into herkimer diamonds or the costs of black diamonds. Herkimer diamond is the generic name for a double-terminated quartz crystal. I think these would work well for an April birthstone earring.
Emeralds, the stone for May, can be just as expensive or more expensive than diamonds. I remember that I made a pin with opal, emeralds, and tanzanite, (see below), but I knew I had a few leftover emeralds in my stash. I decided to make a pair of bead crochet earrings in which I randomly placed emeralds amongst the seed pearls.
Emerald and pearl earrings
Emerald, tanzanite, and opal pin
Now that I have looked at my chart of birthstones, I noticed that the pin has three birthstones its design: not only emerald for May, but also opal for October and tanzanite for December. This is a pin that I could wear with several of my birthstone earrings!
You would think that I was born in June for all the pairs of pearl earrings that I have. Here's just a few of some of my designs:
pearl earrings
Notice that the micro-mail background for these pearls is a peridot color? This pair of earrings could also be considered a pair of birthstone earrings for August! This makes the point that colored wire can also help us design towards a theme.
Another pair of earrings I had made previously took some time, but several colors of pearls were used in the design. Lucky are those born in June as they have several colors of pearls from which to choose!
pearl earrings
So far, techniques have gone from wire working to chain maille, beading around a cabochon, to stringing fringe. What a great way to practice your skills!
July is ruby, another expensive gemstone. For this month I would probably use Swarovski crystals, and put them in a design like the one below, which used sapphire crystals.
sapphire earrings
We've already seen a pair of earrings that uses peridot colored craft wire with pearls, but we could also use peridot Swarovski crystals with the design such as the one above for the month of August's birthstone earrings.
For September, using sapphire gemstones does not have to be as expensive as you would think. I found these sapphire stones for a reasonable price, and decided to show them off with the wire wrapping technique known as herringbone.
sapphire earrings
We've already seen the opal that most of us are familiar with used in the pin design shown in this article, but there are several type of opals: fire opals, Australian opals, Peruvian opals, and Ethiopian opals to name a few. Like pearls, the choice amongst opals are many. For October, here's an example of a pair of earrings made using Peruvian opals.
Peruvian Opal earrings
The same type of opals also come in pink:
Peruvian Pink Opal earrings
Tourmalines come in a variety of colors from pink, green, to black, so the options there are also just as numerous.
November's stones are warm colors, with topaz and citrines being yellowish orange. Simple studs can be beautiful if using stones, but all the designs open up if you use crystals in this color range.
And December is similiar in that dyed howlite can take the place of turquoise, or if you want earrings with natural stones, turquoise goes from yellow to blue to green. Here's a pair of earrings made with Sleeping Beauty blue turquoise:
Turquoise earrings
By choosing a theme, several design ideas can present themselves. By going back to easier work, you can revive your interest in beading and have your muse whispering new ideas in no time.

1 comment:

Elena Brown said...

These are amazing!! I generally don't wear earrings on a daily basis, but I think I'd have to wear these non-stop. Can't wait to look at Alexis Russell's other designs.

Indian Traditional Jewellery

Need For Beads, Inc.'s Fan Box

Need For Beads, Inc. on Facebook