Pearls, Pearls, Pearls!

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Hello Again Friends!

Long time no post.  My brain fog regarding a big possible move around the world has cleared.  I have done what I can for now to prepare still not knowing for sure whether we are going to stay-or-go.   For now, life goes on here in Virginia and I am back to full steam ahead!

 

I am making my blogging re-entry with a post about pearls and a design challenge that inspired me from Mishel Designs.  Michelle Buettner loves pearls so much that she has a diploma in pearls from the Gemological Institute of America.  She is the perfect designer to issue a jewelry making challenge using pearls, pearls, pearls!

 

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Pearls also happen to be one of my favorite gems to use when I am making jewelry and I have quite a collection of cultured freshwater pearls in different colors, shapes and sizes.  I like to use them in ways that makes them look modern and fresh. Not that pearls ever have or ever will go out of style!   I like to combine them with leather and use them in slightly unexpected ways.

 

double leather pearl link

I was playing around with a double leather link and wire wrapped it with pearls and a few tiny bead caps as an accent.  The double leather link makes an interesting bracelet focal.

I knotted smaller 6mm, large hole pearls on brown C-lon bead cord along with faceted, sterling silver nuggets and faceted clear quartz.  It could be a necklace or a wrap bracelet.  I have been wearing it as a bracelet that wraps around my wrist 4 times.

 

Asymmetric Pearl Earrings
Asymmetric Pearl Earrings2

For my second design, I created a pair of asymmetrical earrings strung on 26g sterling silver wire.  There are three different kinds of pearls in these earrings.  The smallest are teeny tiny, 1mm rice pearls.  It amazes me that a hole can be drilled in such a small pearl!  I also used peacock biwa pearls as the base of the triangular shape that have an amazing luster and color and a single large hole 6mm pearl that is the same pearl used in my wrap bracelet above.  I used a faceted iolite bead to play off the color of the peacock pearls.

 

 

Buying Advice For Pearls:

I tend to buy most of my pearls in person from a variety of vendors at bead shows I attend.  Many of the vendors at these shows don’t have good retail websites you can visit to see their inventory.

I like to see and touch the pearls because the luster, color and texture of the nacre, the outside coating of the pearl, can make a pearl amazing or just completely flat and so, so.   It is hard to completely judge those qualities online.

However, I have purchased pearls from many of the popular online bead stores and if you do, make sure they give the pearl a grade.   I like to spend a little more for an “A” or at the least an “AB”  grading if buying online becasue they should have better luster.  When I go below that, often I find I am disappointed.

I have had some luck with JBC Beads in the past buying large hole pearls online.  They show the pearl grading.  Lately it seems I am only buying large hole pearls to use on all sorts of cording and leather.  You can also search Etsy suppliers.  There are tons of shops these days selling large hole pearls and often you can purchase just a few pearls to test the quality.

 

 

Head over to Mishel’s blog for more buying resources and to learn about the history and the vast variety of pearls that exist.  Spend a few minutes to hop around and take a look at the other participants blogs to see many gorgeous pearls used in interesting ways!   There is some swoon worthy jewelry.  Thanks for hosting this wonderful, pearl filled blog hop Michelle!

 

Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop Participant List:

 

MiShel Designs – Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Host 

Sadafulee,…Always in Bloom 

Antiquity Travelers

Jewelry By Jasvanti

Bead Contagion

 Back Story Beads

Sharyl’s Jewelry and Reflections

Silver Niknats

Fresh Baked Designs

Lisa Yang Jewelry

Designed by Vera

Serena Trent

Amy Bright

Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

Agape Creations Jewelry

Klassy Joolz

Beautifully Broken Me

One Kiss Creations

Stories from the City of  Brass

** Make Bracelets! ** You are Here

Carolyn’s Creations

Raindrop Creations Jewelry

Freestyle Elements

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

20 Comments

  1. Missed your wonderful website…. Welcome back.. You are very appreciated.

  2. Tracy welcome back! LOVE LOVE LOVE your pearl/leather bracelet and would love to see a clear picture showing more of the bracelet’s detail – can’t quite make most of it out. Looks gorgeous from what I can tell.

  3. glad to see ya back … and so creative … love pearls and leather. and thanks for the link to large hole pearls … they are not easy to find.

  4. Oh wow! I am in love with your necklace/wrap bracelet – this is right up my alley don’t you know?! Of course you do! LOL!! :-) And those earrings – so pretty and such a cool and unique design – just perfect! I love all the pearls you have used – just beautiful! Thanks so much for joining the blog hop and for sharing your wealth of information on pearls and supplies here Tracy – it’s invaluable. And I agree with you completely – it’s so hard to find pearls online. They’re one of those things you just gotta touch and see for yourself most of the time! Remind me to tell you the funny story of my experience at GIA in Carlsbad when I went in for my Pearls exam and then to my Pearl Grading Lab the next day. ;-)

  5. So glad to hear from you Tracy!! We have missed you! I love pearls as well and use them in a lot of my designs. I thank you also for large hole bead link! Have been looking a long time for some. Keep us posted on your travel plans and am glad you are back in creative mode!! You inspire us all!! :)

  6. Ooooo that bracelet is lovely. Leather cord and pearls are becoming a favorite of mine in part because of beautiful work like yours!

  7. I love your necklace/bracelet and especially the earrings! I too have a passion for pearls and I love to see how others design with them.

  8. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I really like the necklace/wrap bracelet it is gorgeous!
    Therese

  9. Tracy, your necklace/bracelet is just gorgeous, and so are the earrings. Love the earring design especially! Thank you for the large-holed pearl link! Gina H

  10. love that pearl and leather look! awesome …. and that connector with wrapped pearls – LOVE

  11. Welcome back, Tracy! We’ve all missed you and your wonderful design work. Love the infinity link bracelet/necklace design with the wired pearls. The leather with pearls, quartz, and touches of silver is a very fresh modern look.

    Lynda

  12. Lovely pearl jewelry! Thank you for all the buying tips ;)

  13. Oh That Wrap!!! GORGEOUS!!! I am really loving the pearl/leather combination. I need to explore this further. And the earrings are so pretty~very unique and dainty. I like the name of your blog…I much prefer making bracelets more than any other type of jewelry too :-)

  14. That bracelet is yummy! Thanks for all the tips!

  15. Your leather wrap with the leather connector and pearls is unique…I love it! The earrings are feminine and different, too. Pearls are a Girls Best Friend aren’t they!

  16. Love your pearls, Tracy! I’ve been wondering about you and if you’re going or not. It’s hard to have that major thing up in the air for so long. So I understand you not blogging with that hanging over your head. But welcome back to blogland. Love your new work!

  17. So happy to check in and find a post from you. I’m not alone in missing your updates and beautiful jewelry! This really was the perfect blog hop for you – pearls!! I’m crazy about pearls too. Your words of wisdom are really helpful… and the jewelry! Just love your wrap bracelet/necklace. I know it must look spectacular when worn. The earrings are so gorgeous. The colors and arrangement are just perfect. So good to hear from you again!

  18. I love leather piece. And the closure it awesome! Hope all works out for you and your move. Welcome back. Great Job. Thanks for sharing

  19. I wish I could see the leather bracelet a little better. It looks so interesting. I really admire the double leather link you featured in the front.

    The pearl earrings are also very unique. I love that they are asymmetrical, but still very comfortably balanced. I struggle with asymmetrical designs. I’ll have to remember how well iolite and peacock pearls work together.

    I enjoy your blog too!

    Lisa
    http://www.lisayangjewelry.com

  20. Thank you so much for mentioning a good source for large hole pearls, as I’ve not been able to find them locally at all. There are so many times I want to put them on something larger than 26 or 28 gauge sterling wire.

    I love the look of the wrap bracelet/necklace!

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