altivo: 'Tivo as an inflatable toy (inflatable toy)
[personal profile] altivo
I have recently been seized with a new interest in jewelry. No, not the heavy loads of costume stuff some people wear, and definitely not "precious" diamonds and rubies. But I've always liked simple pieces in understated color, matched to the wearer's personality and mood. This applies to both men and women. A simple ring, a pendant, a bracelet, or even just one earring, properly chosen, can be a fantastic addition.

I have a small collection of such pieces that I wear occasionally. Last spring I bought two or three small items from Black Wolf Jewellery in the Netherlands, and have been very pleased with them. But this made me think once again about making some items for myself or for gifts. (No, I'm not planning to sell anything.)

Investigating sources for natural stone beads, I was pleased to find that very beautiful materials are available for small prices. Why use plastic or glass when you can get honest to goodness semi-precious jade or jasper for the same cost? I picked up some books, studied a bit, and then bought the basic tools and a boxful of materials. Total expenditure so far is relatively small, about $100. Sources include Amazon and EBay as well as dedicated jeweler's supply sites such as and Fire Mountain.

Looking for something simple to experiment with, I remembered a box of "love beads" pushed to the back of a drawer in my dresser. These were acquired and worn back in the late 1960s when I was a college student. I went and dug out the box, only to find that the original cord (probably hemp) on which the beads had been strung was so deteriorated that it had broken in multiple places. Well, at probably a dollar a string or so in 1969, what would you expect after 45 years? I restrung the beads in three graduated necklaces, this time using stranded stainless steel wire that should last well beyond the rest of my life.

"Love Beads" from 1969
Love Beads, ca. 1969. Made from seed pods dyed and enameled, probably of Asian origin.

Then as I sat and reminisced over them, it suddenly struck me that the colors I had selected when I was 20 years old were not much different from the ones that appealed to me this month as I scrolled through hundreds of strings of stone beads. Here is a sampling of what I just bought in November.

From left: "Wild Horse" picture jasper, Tiger eye, "Bird's Eye" rhyolite, Lapis lazuli (loose beads,) "Dragon Veins" agate, and Red Sea coral.

Asked for my "favorite color," I have always answered blues and greens. Confronted with a huge array of choices, though, I have selected greys, tans, dulled reds, and darkened or pale blue or green. Pale green jade and yellow sandstone also found their way into my new hoard of beads. Nothing sparkly, but many things that suggest earth and plant life. I also like natural wood beads.

I wouldn't have thought that something as insignificant as color preferences would be so consistent over an entire lifetime, yet apparently they are. I may get around to looking for actual statistics on that.
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August 2017


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