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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gift of Thetis



The sea is the inspiration for this jewelry piece.  If you must know, I design artisan jewelry as a hobby.  My sister who runs an ebay store sells some of the pieces I create.  Well, the ones mostly sold in ebay are those with simple designs.  The more intricate pieces are made-to-order.  Some of my sister's clients would ask for a customized bracelet or necklace.  I would design and execute the requested piece.  From time to time, when I am in the mood, which is seldom nowadays, I would create a piece or two and just keep them for later posting in ebay.  Sometimes they don't get posted at all and end up as gifts for friends who need special jewelry for special occasions.  This one is still in the "vault".

I call this piece the "Gift of Thetis".  Thetis is a sea nymph and in some accounts a sea goddess.  The components of the necklace is from the waters.  I used Philippine freshwater cultured pearls and bamboo corals.

Freshwater cultured pearls are easy to source here in the Philippines and in some parts of Asia.  The same is true for bamboo corals.  The coral beads are pieces from actual branches of the bamboo coral.  Bamboo coral is one of the species of coral that grows quite rapidly. They are actually raised in coral farms specifically for its commercial value as jewelry component, and perhaps as medicine.  The natural blackish gray color of bamboo corals is unattractive.  This is the reason why bamboo corals are dyed in different attractive colors such as candy red.

Do not mistake the red-dyed bamboo coral as the precious red coral.  There are 2 species of coral that are considered precious in jewelry-making.  These are the black and red coral both of which are listed as critically endangered species.  Here in the Philippines, harvesting red and black corals are strictly prohibited.  You would know that the red-dyed bamboo coral is not the precious red coral because the precious variety has small and very thin branches.  The bamboo corals have big branches with unattractive black nodes most of the time.  You will have to use your imagination in designing a piece that would make this flaw into an attractive feature.

I designed and executed the piece as a "2-in-1" necklace.  One necklace is a strand of the freshwater cultured pearls combined with clear multifaceted Austrian crystals.  I used the "siopao" (dimsum-shaped) pearls because I like their puffiness that would perfectly contrast the baroque shape of the branch coral beads.  The other necklace is purely composed of the red-dyed bamboo coral disc-shaped beads and branch beads.  I used stainless steel for the metal findings.

The two strands are meant to be worn together but, of course,  the pearl strand can be worn separately from the coral strand.  The necklace is perfect for glamorous occasions as well as "white-shirt-blue-jeans" kind of day.

So, do you like it?





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