Sep 29, 2014

Supernova Necklace

A prismatic array of full-specturm color.

I found this amazing Aurora Borealis Quartz Crystal at the Lizzadro Lapidary Museum and had to have it. The multicolored coating (read more below) is a statement on its own. 

I didn't know at first what I wanted to make out of it. I had some ideas but ultimately decided to go a simple route.

I wrapped in gold wire and attached to a 14K gold chain, finishing with 14K gold clasps and jump rings for a high-quality piece. The 14K findings were all part of Cousin's Elegance Metals line, which features affordable 14K gold, sterling silver, platinum and more supplies that add a total luxe touch to your jewelry. The dainty cable chain was perfect and held up to the high quality of the stone.

The tutorial below exhibits the steps I followed. If you have a quartz-type stone you could always do something similar!

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are round nose pliers and wire cutters, E6000 glue, Cousin Elegance Metals 14K gold cable chain, Cousin Elegance Metals 14K gold jump rings and clasps, and Cousin 26 gauge gold wire.

Step 2: Decide at what two points you want to wire-wrap your stone. My stone had two clear high points on either side, which made it easy. If you are buying a stone, make sure it's not too heavy and has good quartz "spears" to wrap with. I created a loop on a 5" piece of wire with my pliers, then started wrapping around the spear. Wrap VERY TIGHTLY. Wrap both around the spear then back up by that first loop you made, and wrap below it to finish. Cut flush.

--Some info on the stone--

Once you've wrapped both sides, use the 14K gold wire and attach to the loops on each side. You can use a small dot of E6000 glue on the back of the stone to hold the wire.

I finished the ends by attaching jump rings and a clasp.

I don't usually like to wire wrap like this, but because of the lightweight stone and easy wrapping points  it was better than gluing on a bail!

And those who don't know what "lapidary" means-- a quote from Wikipedia:

"A lapidary (lapidaristLatinlapidarius) is an artist or artisan who forms stoneminerals, or gemstones into decorative items such ascabochonsengraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs.[1][2] The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing.[2][3] Carving is an important, but specialised technique.[3]"

The Lizzadro Museum in Elhmurst, Illinois is super-cool, and anyone in the area should go. Carved jade, cameos, stones and other amazing sculptures, statues and jewelry pieces are on display. The shop at the bottom also houses stones/gems galore and they are so affordable. I would recommend it to anyone!

Delicate yet full of interesting texture and major color! I have a couple more stones I picked up the museum, so stay tuned for more pieces!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post or use without crediting and linking to me.

Sep 21, 2014

Spider Jewelry- Part IV Ephebopus Cyanognathus

Talk about a color pop!

Like my spider jewelry Part IV and Parts II and I, I've mixed science with jewelry to make a creepily-unique accessory.

This time around, I've chosen to use a glass vial charm, purple metallic leather and a simple metal bead to create a colorful yet chic piece.

And as always, my science-y cousin Eric is the one obtaining the molts for me. He works at a spider lab at college- just as snakes molt their skin, spiders molt too! And because these specimens are too beautiful and unique to just ignore, highlighting them in jewelry I think is a great way to use alternative materials!

Here is an explanation of the certain spider who shed these fangs, straight from Eric:

"Ephebopus cyanognathus (or the "blue fang skeleton tarantula") is a species of the Ephebopus genus (subfamily Aviculariinae) with simply majestic looking metallic blue fangs. Being terrestrial, they love to burrow deep underground in the fallen flora and will support their burrows with a thick layer of silk the will spin all the way out to the entrance. You'll find them in Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, and Brazil. They are pretty aggressive unfortunately, and as adults can grow to be 10 to 13 centimeters. Other cool things aside from the fangs is that babies have a super cool green abdomen, and with orange bands on their legs! Females remain pretty like this into adulthood, but sadly the males turn more plain brown and will lose a lot of their vibrancy"

I've been using resin in all other spider jewelry pieces, but I didn't use resin this time. Simply because I did a test-run with another blue fang and unfortunately the best part, the amazing color, faded and turned to brown after curing in the resin. So, encasing them in a airtight orb was the next best option! I love the look of the orbs, they appear more scientific in a way!

Also, the glass orbs allow you to see all the cool parts of these fangs better than resin would. 

I think the perfect match of the violet leather and violet-blue ombre fangs pulls the look together!

Don't you agree? Would you wear a necklace like this, or does this creep you out?!
And yet more spider jewelry to come, make sure you check back soon!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do NOT post/use images without linking and crediting to me!

Sep 17, 2014

Spider Jewelry Part III-Poecilotheria Bracelet

Stylishly scary, but chicly creepy. 

You probably saw my last Spider Jewelry posts- a hemp necklace and a leather wrap bracelet. These were my first endeavors into the world of creepy crawly art. I thought these were so cool so I asked my cousin (who gave me the last batch of spider molts) if he could get more from the spider lab at his school.

I got an entire lot of spider helmets, fangs, full molts and a couple spider legs. Spiders molt their "skin" just like snakes do, so making jewelry of their molts does not harm them at all!

I've asked Eric to give me a little background information on this specific helmet used in my bracelet. Here's what he had to say:

The cephalothorax molt from the bracelet is from Poecilotheria striata. Poecilotheria is a genus of the family Theraphosidae, made up of 14 species of arboreal (tree-dwelling) tarantula. They are native to Sri Lanka and India (this species specifically is found in India), and are most known for their speed, very colorful markings, and their rather potent venom...(which made me sticking my hand with tweezers down in there all the more stupid and dangerous haha). Depending on the species. Female adults (the molt came from a female) can have anywhere from 6-10" leg spans, with males being a little bit smaller. When roughly translated from Greek, the word Poecilotheria itself means "Colorful Beast"

Pretty awesome right? I loved the cool white stripes on the sides of the helmet which give it a desert-type look. I've decided to use this resin charm and transform into a simple macrame bracelet. I figured reflective and magnetic hematite beads from Cousin Corporation would be the perfect match for a unisex-type bracelet.

Contrasting with silver wire and elements gives a modern vibe.
Last time there were a lot of bubbles in my charm, because the natural material was slowly leaking air and creating bubbles throughout the curing process. This time, there were a lot less bubbles because I was able to catch most of them before it was too cured to mess with. There was one bubble caught right on the helmet, but it sort of blends into the white coloring. It will get better each time!

It all comes together to create a simple yet interesting piece! I've still got a lot more material to use; check back soon for more spidey items!

All images and text copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post/use without crediting me!

Sep 9, 2014

Five Minute Beginner Earrings

Simple and sophisticated with metal filigree accents and a mixed finish, these are some of the simplest earrings you will ever make.

All I've done here is take apart a Cousin charm pack and re-organize the charms, connecting them with jump rings. I've mixed the metal finish for a bohemian look, and used a cutout charm layered on top of another to create a 3D effect. This technique can really be used with any findings or charms you have laying around- play around with what you have to create different looks!

These are not heavy and are great for wearing to work. Plus, they took 5 MINUTES to finish. Amazing! 

Step 1: Gather Materials. You will need:
Metal Filigree Charms (I used Cousin brand)- their Metal Leaf Charms and Metal Charm pack, similar packs can be found at Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics and Walmart. 
Earring Fish Hooks
Pliers- flatnose

I first took the two silver filigree metal charms and attached the green crystal charm to the top (with a jumpring). For beginners, the proper way to open jump rings is by using two pliers (both flat nose for most control). Grab either side of the jumpring, with the opening at the top, and twist your right hand towards you and your left hand away from you. DO NOT EVER just pull both sides apart. This will drastically distort the ring shape and it will never look perfect again! Twisting allows for easy closing/opening without distortion of any kind.

Then, simply enough, I attached the bronze flower charm from the other pack to the same jumpring. The two charms laid on top of another. Then, I attached a silver fishhook to the top of the green crystal charm to complete. If you are using similar charm packs, try layering charms like I did here to achieve a multidimensional look! Always add a bit of sparkle with a crystal or shiny bead for that pop!

Seriously, these took you five minutes, right? That gives you extra time to play around with more beads and materials you have, to create more pairs of earrings. Love it!

Photos and text copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do NOT re-post or use without linking back to me.