Designing for my sister-in-law Janice was the most interesting challenge of the season. She collects unusual one-of-a-kind hand-crafted items she finds at art fairs and boutiques on her world travels. She looks for pieces with personality and narrative, and enjoys strong colors and sparkle. Janice likes bling!
As a financial planner, she is in the professional world, but is in touch daily, in person, with her clients in the real world. She and her husband Bob volunteer annually to chair the Cincinnati Shakespeare competition. Her fashion sense blends the business and artistic worlds she straddles.
Black and ivory are basic to Janice's wardrobe, but are never unaccompanied. She'd told me that turquoise was one of her best colors, so I thought I could pick up that color range from the pendant. From my stash I selected turquoise colored round and drop pearls, and some faceted crystals.
What next? Back at Beads and Beyond I found four large black and ivory beads. I thought they'd lend drama, scale and a touch of the exotic to the finished piece. I didn't know what they were and asked the proprietor, Wendy. She thought they might be bone or wood. I used them on both the necklace and the earrings.
Six ivory-colored stone beads were found to create a sequence to frame the pendant bail. Large faceted iridescent beads lent a dark sparkle that mirrored the mother-of-pearl. I selected a strand of clear faceted crystals with a turquoise cast to glitz things up. Wendy spotted spiral shells like the one in the center of the pendant, but they were part of a strand that was pretty expensive. She broke the strand, saying I could just buy what I needed, and told me they were totem beads from the Near East or Africa, to ward off the evil eye. The middle photo below shows the detail of the spiral piece in the 3 o'clock position on the necklace. In the left photo, near the bottom, in the 9 o'clock position, you can see the back side of the shell's "evil eye."
Janice had specified a length of about 16" to fit under a jacket and over a turtleneck. For security, I chose a sturdy lobster claw closure in silver metal to match the bail, bezel and spacers.
And there it is. You can bet there won't be another like it!