Drawer 49: Aventurine, a semi-precious stone

“Seductive Lure”

My Chinese Apothecary Chest:   in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during my husband’s ex-pat assignment. Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers, mostly sorted by color.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 49/Drawer 49: December 6, 2017: “Seductive Lure”

It is fitting that the Aventurine drawer is next to the Jade drawer because I used to have a lot of green aventurine which can be close to jade in color, and was my reason for making those drawers neighbors, but there are many other aventurine colors—blue, yellow, orange, and a brownish called red—which I have collected over the years and now outnumber the green.

This necklace features red aventurine which I paired with a bug-eyed koi fish. At first, I chose white jade to fill in the Aventurine and it wasn’t working.  A closer look at the fish showed me its underside was the palest of lavenders.  I really had to suspend belief in color theory to go with Mother Nature’s combo of lavender and red aventurine.  The results charmed me.

Then my research told me why the colors worked: Aventurine is a form of quartz.  The koi fish is agate which is one of the most common materials used in the art of hardstone carving and agate is also a quartz.  If you are confused, it’s easier to say  aventurine and agate have the same parents.  Additionally, they both channel abundance in the world of crystal properties.

The Chinese are very fond of Koi or goldfish and keep them in bowls in their homes or in ponds in the temple gardens. The Chinese words “jin yu” meaning goldfish are phonetically identical with the two words meaning “gold in abundance”, thereby making the goldfish/koi symbol a traditional wedding gift.

The necklace measures 18” long plus 2.5” for the goldfish.  I just found two more Red Aventurine beads and can make earrings to match.  $69 plus $15 if earrings desired.

 

Guess what else I discovered about quartz? It accounts for 12% of the Earth’s crust.

I found my koi/goldfish cultural interpretations in the same book I referred to last week : A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols by Wolfram Eberhard, first published in 1983.

Drawer 17: Dark Green

 

“Fascinating Rhythm”

I’m challenging myself in 2017 to create one necklace a week using only the beads from one drawer of my 52 drawer Apothecary Chest.

Week 17/Drawer 17: April 26, 2017: “Fascinating Rhythm”

In the glass bead world, a hierarchy of three levels exists: American Art Glass (officially called “furnace beads”); lampwork glass which I use a lot; and blown glass (see Drawer #1).

These American Art Glass beads were designed by David Christensen, Rhode Island, and I used to buy them from him by the hundreds when I lived in California. This dark green color was attractive to me because when you look closely, it sparkles due to the silver foil with which he embellished the green.

To get wonky for a moment, “furnace glass” is an American adaptation of an Italian method called “latticinio” which uses glass canes—like all three levels do—and encases them in clear glass, then manufactures them in large scale furnaces. They are not individually made, like lampwork and blown glass.

The most predominant stone in this necklace is green aventurine, which is from the ubiquitous quartz family. Sometimes I have to look twice to identify these beads since jade comes in a similar shade of green.

Also featured are some lovely pressed glass beads made in West Germany. They were hand made from 1948 to the 70’s, when they switched to machines.  I bought these vintage beads from a CA vender in 1995, so there is a chance they were hand-made.  They are the distinctive bullet-shaped beads and the leaves with white stripes.

Green Aventurine has some interesting properties: they are the heart chakra; they comfort; they settle nausea; and they give courage to the wearer in social situations.

In my quest for an unusual clasp, I found a green glass circle and paired it with an oversize pewter lobster clasp.

This two-strand necklace measures 21” and earrings are included. It is $99.

Part of the fun of each week’s necklace challenge is journaling in my “Maker’s Notebook”. It starts on the right where I leave four spaces for data which can only be entered after I finish the necklace. The body of my scribbles are thoughts that emerge as I am designing, then stringing, then closing off the necklace and earrings. On the left, I then do a drawing and color it in. I draw after completion; my design process lets the beads percolate as I gather piles of them–a process too intuitive to draw in advance.

Drawer 13: Beige

“Find the Edge”

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment there. Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 13/Drawer 13: March 29, 2017: “Find the Edge”

 

I didn’t have to worry about beige being boring when I explored the Number 13 beige Drawer: the calcite reached out to me! It is a very textural stone:  faceted, sparkling yet soft and complex in its coloration (sounds like a fine wine, doesn’t it?) but there is something mysterious going on inside all those white markings.  I confess I knew nothing about this semi-precious stone, and was surprised to find it is related to chalk, limestone and marble!

The spacer beads are soft and rounded and called sunstone which gets its warm color from copper. This mineral is the official gemstone of the State of Oregon and is said to bring good luck as well as make you feel lively and enthusiastic.


The broach has some history with me: at a California outdoor Art Festival, I fell in love with its clean lines and the interesting wire wrap on the surface.  I enjoyed wearing it on my business suit throughout the Eighties.  Yes, we dressed for work in those days!  When I retired, I reinvented it as a centerpiece and it remained there until last week.  The crystal on top sure looked like calcite to me, so I selected it to make this necklace great.

This necklace is 21” long with a brass clasp. The broach is 2” x 2.5”.  Wear your gold earrings with it. $85.

 

Drawer 12: Carnelian

“legendary Heroes”

Week 12/Drawer 12: March 22, 2017: “Legendary Heroes”

I do love carnelian. It is a semi-precious stone that is found in all shades of brown, almost every one tinged with orange.  Now you know why I love it!

I probably say I love this or that bead in every blog. I suppose that’s why I’m still beading 23 years on!

Carnelian is a member of the Quartz family. It is considered the stone of creativity, individuality and courage.

This necklace started with the centerpiece, named a talhakimt. Over the years, I have purchased every interesting one I have seen and parcel them out into necklaces every few years.  They are always based on the triangle/circle design.  I have only one more truly interesting one left plus about 5 smaller ones that were originally men’s rings.  The design feels very graphic and crisp to me; contemporary rather than ethnic.

Talhakimts such as this one were carved of large banded agate in the nineteenth century in Idar-Oberstein, a famous stone cutting center in Germany, a location that means more to bead nuts than the less-obsessed. They were favored by the Tuareg people, pastoral nomads who controlled several Sahara trading routes, and are descendants of the true Berbers who predated the Romans in their settlements.  This rare talisman adorned Tuareg women’s hair.  I found it interesting to learn the Tuaregs are a matrilineal society.

It is always a design challenge to figure out how to attach the unusual centerpieces, which I love to collect, to my necklace. From the get-go I knew this necklace would be pure carnelian:  therein was the attachment answer.  I found a bag with some very old carnelian (see above photo) which was also small in size.  No two alike…all the better to see the varying colors of carnelian!  Also notice their patina (wear)…visualize them a century ago in a Tuareg’s bag in a camel caravan travelling across the Sahara to a trading bazaar at the next oasis!

It should be no surprise that beads were money in many sociieties, from the Tuaregs to American Indians who invented heishi [pronounced “he she”], which are the small brass spacers used in this necklace. Our forebears, however, used shell as their money.  Today heishi are any small round beads made by hand from natural materials.

The necklace itself is designed with highly polished carnelian nuggets separated by brass heishi.

This necklace is 23” long with a brass clasp. The talhakimt is 3”.  Wear with your gold earrings.  $99.

 

Eclectic Hull Artist, Priscilla Beadle Focuses on Four Categories of Neck Adornment

 

Frog Netsuke

Creating bead jewelry art since 1993, Priscilla Beadle first found inspiration for her bold, eclectic designs in the bazaars of Tibet and Nepal, in dusty shops in Beijing, on remote Indonesian islands reached by catamaran, in beautiful Bali, and in verdant Indochina—Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Today Priscilla has narrowed her focus to four categories of neck adornment including nature, whimsy, Venetian and other glass, and semi-precious stone. Each Beadleful design starts with a centerpiece bead—add whimsy, color excitement, texture, chunky beads, a fabulous clasp—a collectable necklace is born.

With environmental awareness, Priscilla selects sustainable materials from nature. Some of her pendants include petrified wood, beetle wings, paua shell, and mother of pearl (nacre). Beads may be made of amber, Philippine seashells, cork, apricot shells, carved wood, tagua nuts, cultured pearls, and seashells.

Whimsy and a sense of playfulness, joy in her craft, are present in all of Priscilla’s necklaces. In particular, some pendants feature animals such as a koi carved from resin to look like coral; an artisan-created glass cylinder adorned with a green glass gecko; a netsuke featuring tiny frogs. Some neck pieces feature amulets: an Italian red cornicello topped with a bit of rabbit’s fur; a carved bone Buddhist goddess of mercy; a lucky sterling silver star; turquoise, believed to protect the wearer from falling. Neck pieces in this unconventional group include materials such as vintage acrylic beads; dyed large teardrop pearls; handmade intricate beads of cardboard; resin combined with mother of pearl and carved into beads; polymer clay beads. Sometimes these necklaces feature an asymmetrical layout or an ornate clasp.

On several trips to Venice, Italy, Priscilla has collected an assortment of the finest glass beads in the world; those made on the island of Murano, home of the Venetian glass industry since the 1300’s. For centuries, Venetian artisans have been perfecting their decorative techniques, controlling the color and transparency of glass beads. A particular favorite of Priscilla’s are lamp-work beads where each bead is created individually. In this time consuming method, the artist uses a torch to melt together Murano glass rods and tubes and wrap them around a metal rod to fashion the desired shape. Special effects are achieved by layering different colors of glass in addition to gold or silver leaf. The hole left in the cooled bead from the metal rod is perfect for stringing. Priscilla has found a few local artists who have perfected this technique.

Semi-precious stones feature in Priscilla’s work; in particular, bluish green and sky blue turquoise; sacred iridescent moonstone; biblical carnelian, one of the “stones of fire” with their reddish orange hue; jade, “stone of heaven” for its unearthly shades of green; uncommon amazonite with its blue-green color; rutile quartz, also known as “Venus’ Hair” for its golden strands of crystal in a clear quartz; unakite, whorled with pistachio green and salmon pink; yellow to red sunstone with its glittering copper flecks; warm golden amber, fossilized tree resin between 5 to 50 million years old; crystal clear magnesite; and agate, also a biblical “stone of fire” valued since ancient times for the beautiful flowing patterns seen in its many colors.

Priscilla Beadle returned to her hometown, Hull, in 2011, after residing for — years in San Luis Obispo, CA. She brought her business, Beadleful, with her and crafted a comfortable studio for her work on the ground floor of her home. The spark of Beadleful ignited when, after 23 years in the corporate world, Priscilla retired in 1993 to accompany her husband on his job assignment in Hong Kong.  Southeast Asia became her handicraft fantasy world as she hunted for beads:  odd, large, ethnic, contrarian beads; antique or contemporary glass beads; rare and unusual colors; textures that lead to touching.  Whether traveling the world or stalking New England galleries, successful bead hunting inspires the bold eclectic designs that characterize Priscilla’s unique necklaces and bracelets.

For more information or to arrange a studio tour, please contact 781-925-0484.