Instead of tackling the “to-do” list, I sat down at the workbench. Mistake. My fingers went after the leather. Truthfully, I’d been thinking about it for some time. Deep purple leather. The combination of red and blue, two favorite colors, almost always makes purple. And this purple…magnificent.
The sense of nobility that comes with purple inspired me to experiment with this necklace.(That, and the fact that I had this wonderful purple leather in my stash, a gift from a beady friend.)
It’s the vision, the design, that takes time. Over the course of a few weeks, I envisioned large brass rings holding three strands of special beads.
I did not realize that it would be difficult to engineer my knots. It required patience. Suffice it to say it took several tries and I’m still not completely satisfied. If pressed, I remind myself, I have the option to re-do this creation at some point.
Vintage African Trade Beads in this necklace
Old brass beads provided consistency and echoed the brass rings central to the piece. In addition to a natural elongated carnelian bead, each of my trade beads added delightful randomness to the mix. Many of the old African trade beads include glass beads with stripes, flowers and mosaic designs. Bright colors mix well and contribute to the joyful feel of the piece. I used oddly shaped glass beads as well as black and white rounds sometimes known as skunk beads.
Central to the longest strand is a special coin I purchased in Santa Fe. Read more about the story behind it in this earlier blog post.
Next to the coin on either side is a cast brass spacer bead with colored stones. Again, I used the brass for consistency. It adds a casual authentic feel when paired with leather.
Now I ask you, what woman would be seen unadorned? Not me. This bold design will be a great conversation piece. Just try me.