Sunday, October 12, 2014

Loving Geology

Supply gathering visits to the annual beads shows typically results in my purchasing strands of faceted gemstones....aquamarine, citrine, amethyst, topaz, iolite and others.
It's hard not to love these incredible gems from the earth.
The rich colors and the alluring way light is reflected speak of luxury and refinement.
Those are the things that I've wanted my jewelry to communicate to whoever might listen.
Until recently.
A few weeks ago, I went to a bead show at the Oaks Expo Center, and it was jasper that caught my attention.
Jasper is a dense and opaque variety of quartz that can be found all over the world, in nearly every color. 
Oxides of iron create deep earthy tones of red, yellow, brown and green, sometimes in shades of blue or purple, often with beautiful contrasts in banding, inclusions and whirls of color.
I bought several strands of jasper, including this variety from Australia.
What I most responded to was the 'earthiness' of the beads.
Some of the offered strands were polished to a high gloss, an effect that I found plastic and unappealing.
I like the matte finish of these beads, the irregular shapes and the beautiful range of colors.
Each time I look at these beads, I'm reminded of the Geology class that I had my freshman year at Cook College of Rutgers University.
A new world opened up to me as I learned about the formation of bedrock.
Time and pressure and an interesting blend of minerals often yields beautiful results.

Even though I purchased jasper beads that are pre-drilled, I decided to treat the selected one like a cabochon.
To create a bezel, I cut a narrow strip of copper which was soldered and formed to the shape of the jasper bead.
The bezel was then soldered on to a piece of etched silver nickel.
Thinking that a 2 piece pendant with some movement might be the way to go, I drilled holes allowing me to make a jump ring connection to another piece of etched silver nickel.
As usual, I like to have design interest on the 'back'.
Links were made with heavy gauge, recycled copper wire, and I finally found a reason to use some brass beads that I've had hanging at my workbench for several years.
A handmade clasp...
fastens this Love-of-Geology necklace.