Purple, pearls, cast silver:
a necklace using three media

I entered this piece for a Dairy Barn exhibit; and may very well have been inspired to make it for the same show. In any event, like the purple and green pmc necklace, it is made with a high proportion of semi-precious stone beads and silver.[1]

I began stringing this necklace sometime around the beginning of March 2004. This process shot is dated on the 5th 3rd[2] . Note how neatly I've arranged all the components for the picture:)[3]

Originally, as you can see, I had several focals modelling for the piece (one on the cream cordoroy, but several others in the jewelry tray, above: a glass floral focal, a found object [the coptic cross], a piece of scrimshaw on black horn, and a couple more textured silver ones, one fabricated, the other pmc). Ultimately, however, I couldn't figure out anything cool wasn't really happy with any of them.

It's difficult, at a distance of seven years, to recapture my thought processes exactly. I had already made a number of tassel necklaces (the lumpenfrost series, which started with the garnet buddha)[4] but I'd say this necklace ended up following pretty closely the design from the squid.

Meanwhile I cast this silver collar style bead for the piece. In the large version of the picture you can see tiny little balls of silver resting here and there—air bubbles that were trapped when I invested the piece, and never noticed still I started this page. (The car casting is left from the 1990s, when I took metalworking with Phillip Fike.)

Certainly I decided I wanted a large hole bead so the tassel strands could spread at the top, rather than at the bottom of the fringe. So in this case the stringing, not the focal[s] drove the design.

By 4Sep I had completed the piece, which I photographed:

The finished piece. Besides the cast silver, it incorporates lampworked mini-hollows, the ‘antique curliq’ focal, semiprecious stone beads (primarily amethyst but also some white moonstone), freshwater pearls, and sterling silver. Strung on beadalon. Opening is roughly 19", length about 17.5 from clasp to tasseltip.[5]

In fact the focal area is rather diffuse, consisting as it does of the main accent (the cast silver), a relatively simple lampworked bead, with a rose-cut amethyst bead between. (Which I'm pretty certain I drilled out to enlarge the hole—I can't imagine getting all those strands of tigertail through it otherwise.)

As a metalworker or beadmaker, I have to say neither of the focals, while nice enough, are particularly impressive; but as a stringer, I was more interested in getting the piece to work as a whole, rather than showcasing a spectacular bead. It's an ensemble piece, in other words. Playing those various tensions—focals/points of interest along the strand versus the piece as a whole—is what makes stringing—bead curtains, plant hangers, or jewelry like this—so very interesting.

Detail of the lampwork and cast focals.

This piece, then, was meant to be a tour de force of my stringing skills. (I'm still trying to persuade people that really good stringing is just as hard as, um, silversmithing or glass beadmaking.)

I entered the piece in a Dairy Barn competition, and it was accepted; there was supposed to be a traveling show, but it was cancelled for lack of support. —Someday I'd like to make a necklace incorporating metal-working, lampworking, string, and scrimshaw, or if we're really going all out, kumi as well.

Note (mostly to myself....) This was originally supposed to be a purple dichro sample page. I've recycled it for this necklace. Page created 29 and 30 mar 20014. minor edits (to date of 1st image) 16jan2020.

[1]Ah, the days of $5/oz silver.

[2]The directory is, however dated the 5th.

[3]And I played with gimp's rotate and perspective tools to clean it up.

[4]Until I make an effort to go through my old slides, I don't think I'm going to be able to date a lot of this stuff with precision: I do have a duplicate slide Page gave me of the buddha necklace dated 1999, so it's at least that old. The lumpens, by contrast, can be no newer than 1996, because that's when I started lampworking; however, I usually date the start of my lampworking career to 1998, because, yes, it took me that long to get my equipment issues straightened out.

[5]Nota bene: I combined two versions of this image at different exposures—one for the silver, the other for the rest; frankly the background is still kind of dark.