Treasure necklaces, like the one that launched my love affair with beads, let me flow in the pure bliss of making. I adore the process of creating dangles, building personalized charms, and tending to the detail of structure for over-the-top adornment.
Sit with me as I explain why a treasure necklace is “back to the basics” for me. Personalized charms come first. When I begin a custom project, I’m familiar with the story my customer assigns to each item that will become her personalized charm. In addition to a focus on length, shape, and general appearance, I consider how each charm will add to the completed necklace. Above all, the individual dangle must stand alone in its individual attractiveness.
For example, in this memory necklace, a baby bracelet hangs from its alphabet name beads. Next to it is an original diaper pin (now more than 60-years old) and the medal that was pinned to the baby blanket.
The significance of treasured items gives me added incentive to coordinate detail, such as the addition of pink beads that soften the red used throughout the piece.
Children’s pictures in locket frames, rings, and other memorabilia become conversation pieces when they’re included as personalized charms in a treasure necklace. One of my favorite personalized charms, an old telephone connector, reflective of my customer’s mother’s work as a telephone operator, is front and center in this piece.
Once each personalized charm is complete, I lay the charms out in an order that is visually complementary, with thought to balance, weight and color. This layout can be likened to a writer’s first draft. The order may change as beads are added in strands that will drape across the owner’s chest.
This layout lived on my studio table for several days. I studied it at different times of day, frequently changing a bead or two. The engineering of the finished necklace received special attention. I used cones and a large sterling silver toggle. My intention was three-fold: I wanted the four strands to lie smoothly, to present a cohesive visual statement, and accommodate an ease in both the wearing and removal of the large piece.
Nothing matches the joy I feel when the receiver touches her custom necklace with its personalized charms, eliciting memories attached to each charm.
What messages do your signature creations send?