This earthy handmade necklace combines a southwest-style lampwork pendant with tribal elements that include blue African sand glass, black obsidian, betel seeds, turquoise, and off-white wooden beads. The pendant's lampwork glass bead is teardrop-shaped, with a dark sky-blue trailing through the middle, cobalt blue dots of various sizes, and black accenting. It's base color is a warm white (or ivory) with traces of light brown or beige that in places create a craquelure-type effect. It was handmade by Charlotte Hayes of CoverGirlBeads on ArtFire and is wonderfully imaginative in its imagery! I love its two shades of blue against the warm white and find its cobalt dots intriguing and very magical. To create a pendant of this bead, which is roughly one-inch in length, I used sterling silver wire and beads (4mm, 3mm) with a turquoise round (6mm, reconstituted). There is a carefully hand-hammered loop at the bottom and a wire wrap at the top.
All the other elements of this necklace were chosen to complement the lovely lampwork pendant. The African sand glass beads are short tubes (or drums) that have a rustic quality and a shine that varies across their textured surface. Their blue color is a nice echo of the blue trail in the lampwork focal. The black obsidian rounds (6mm, natural) bring out the black accenting in the focal, and the off-white wooden beads (6mm) provide a perfect contrast and add light to the necklace strand. They are also very light in weight. The betal seed beads (thick heishi or drums) lend an extra organic quality, with an earthy beige color and black veining. A small bead group of the turquoise beads is also added to these elements.
At the center of the necklace strand, two silver-filled beads (2mm) mark the spot where the pendant is attached. Then, on either side, the strand is designed with the following:
- A group of four African glass beads bordered with split pairs of betal seeds, sterling silver rounds (3mm), and obsidian;
- A trio of off-white wood beads;
- A repeat of the African glass, seed, sterling, and obsidian group;
- A bead group with three turquoise rounds separated by single silver-filled beads (2mm) and bordered by a split pair of wood beads;
- A third repeat of the African glass, seed, sterling, and obsidian group;
- Another trio of off-white wood beads:
- A final grouping of the African glass, seed, sterling, and obsidian;
- Six wood beads and a final obsidian round.
The strand is finished off on both sides with two sterling silver crimps under sterling crimp covers and sterling silver wire guards. The crimps hold secure the beading wire, which is high-quality 49-strand, and the wire guards help to protect it. There are also single TierraCast (made in the USA) bright silver-plated daisy spacers bordering the crimps. The clasp is a simple hook, handmade (by me) from 18-gauge sterling. The clasp is hammered for strength. Its connector loop is a closed (soldered) silver plate jump ring. There is a close-up photograph of the clasp in my listing pictures.
I enjoyed working on this necklace so much! The more I studied the lampwork focal, the more magical it seemed, bringing to mind desert rivers and landscapes. The cobalt dots seemed like blue suns or patches of sky or, more than anything, gently floating spirits of peace. I pondered for a long time what beads to use for a design, but suddenly the beads just seemed to present themselves as "right" choices. :) It was so meditative and peaceful working with all these elements to create a design, and I hope it brings feelings of peace to its destined wearer.
This necklace comes boxed and ready for gift giving! :)
Please note: I have a matching pair of earrings in my shop, sold separately, with the blue African sand glass beads, obsidian rounds, and betel seed beads.
A Word About Obsidian:
Obsidian is a product of volcanic activity, a natural glass produced from the cooling of lava. Its special qualities have been recognized since prehistoric times, during which it was used for spear tips, knives, jewelry, ritual implements, and many other things. Supposedly obsidian is highly protective and shields its wearer from negative forces, particularly depression. It is considered a help in self-perception and positive inner change. It is associated with the root chakra.