Keepsake Necklace Drop Builds Memory Juice

Call me crazy, but I get juiced helping people reclaim their memories.

Take my friend Zelda, for example.

A bracelet and pin, purchased by her late husband in Italy before they were married, held an important place in her jewelry collection. Unfortunately, the pin was broken. The bracelet left black marks on her skin.

As precious as the pieces were, they simply never saw the light of day. Yet, the distinctive, colorful florals held special memories for Zelda, apparent from the tone in her voice to the gentleness with which she handled the objects.

As Zelda explained, the “good” metals were restricted by the war. Her pin and bracelet were of colored Italian glass, set in base metal.

It’s an honor to be trusted to revive an important segment of personal history. I set to work.

A polishing cloth and soft scrubbing brightened the pieces immediately.

The tiny components of the original bracelet and pin were well preserved. There were no missing portions.

I carefully cut the soldered metal base of the pin from the back, filed it to smoothness, glued it to pellon and began beading around my cabachon.

Because of the precise elements in the original, I elected to use Japanese beads which are amazingly consistent in size and color. A pink matte bead formed the base for my beadweaving.

Once I stitched a few rows of pink, I added copper from my stash of copper Czech glass to the mix.

In an inspired moment, I chose to create a self-bail of turquoise, thereby dramatically highlighting that dominant center color.

As I usually do, I finished the back with leather, beaded it to the front and added my copper MEM tag along with a whimsical heart charm.

The completed beadweaving – a necklace drop – can be worn on a silver or gold chain or a leather strip of Zelda’s choosing.

Most importantly, a treasure previously relegated to the jewelry box can now be enjoyed any day of the week. How fun is that!

Side story about pink matte beads: In a quest to visit bead stores across the country, I purchased approximately three times more beads than I needed for this particular project at Plum Bazaar, Emporia, KS. (www.plumbazaarbeads.com) I stopped there during a huge snowstorm in December on my way to Kansas City for the holidays. Luckily, my 20-minute store tour gave me a great side memory/story about the project.

See what I mean about memory juice? (When it comes right down to it, who’s reclaiming what memory?)

Do you have a memory you want to revitalize?