Lariat Necklace Challenge

The challenge was simple: create a lariat necklace. 

Creative Spirits, a monthly artisan group to which I belong, canceled meetings during the pandemic. For three of four months, a small contingency met via Zoom. The online option was less satisfying than meeting in-person because the tactile side of our creative ladies received little in the way of indulgence.

During the third Zoom meeting, an individual project for the group was proposed: the lariat necklace. (My thoughts on group projects from an earlier post.) No rules, no materials, no guidelines.

When I researched lariat necklaces, I discovered a broad spectrum of patterns, materials, and lengths. Lariat necklaces are fastened with a knot in the jewelry itself because they do not have a clasp or hook. Sometimes the necklace is wrapped twice around the neck and the weight of either end holds it in place.

It took some time for me to consider this descriptive information. Although I viewed a few examples, I stayed away from images so that my design mind could work subconsciously on the possibilities.

With no rules, I was stymied. I considered and rejected a variety of options. Knotted pearl lariat necklaces are particularly easy for summer. Reject. The attractiveness of long, beaded gemstone beads can never be underestimated. Reject. More of my favorite vintage African Trade Beads? Reject. 

It was the time of Solstice, a time when the sun marks its longest day and begins a new season. I decided to cut apart a necklace of malachite, a stone of abundance and energy. My plan to rework the materials included using open chain, designing and making two infinity bezels to hold a variety of charms. 

Satisfied that I’d found the perfect solution, I began.  In its completion, my lariat totaled 48 inches. One side held five charms. The other had only three. Each charm carried additional meaning and coordinated with the deep green malachite.

  • A heptagram (7-pointed star) wards off evil
  • A circle is never-ending
  • The bison symbolizes inner strength
  • Malachite for abundance
  • Malachite for transformation
  • The hamsa represents the hand of God; from it hangs a malachite bear, the guardian stone for travelers
  • A fairy invites its owner to engage imagination
  • A ring of silver with a malachite inset promotes emotional stability when worn on the left side

This lariat necklace offers numerous wearing options in addition to its meaningful charms. 

What most appeals to you in this necklace? I’d love to hear from you.

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