Lately, I’ve been making special designs for a neighbor from Egypt. Nora loves chandelier style earrings, and she wants them to really stand out when she puts them on. Looking at my jewelry on Etsy, she kept saying it was just “too dainty” for her! It was very funny. I usually make a variety of designs, some using big stones, such as the carved Chinese turquoise bracelet, the pink opal necklace set in copper wire, and the green agate chandeliers that feature a 10mm bead. I thought these pieces were fairly large. But Nora wants them to be dazzling!
So, for the month of May I made her emerald earrings, and for the month of July, a pair of vermeil hoops with rubies all over. These took me about a week to make because they are quite intricate, and I had to create the framework to dangle the stones in varying lengths.
Here are the photos of the emerald earrings. They are heart shaped briolettes of raw emeralds, which have been dyed to enhance the green but are fairly good quality and won’t fade. I know, because I cleaned them first to make sure. You can see in the lighter part of the stones the original color– paler green but just as pretty.
For the connecting links, I used faceted briolettes that are not dyed, and much clearer. These are actually better quality and more expensive than the bigger stones. That’s because you can get a chunk of emerald that is large enough to cut into a drop (about 9x7mm) but this is what is known as raw: not transparent, gem quality that can be set in a ring, but good enough to use in handmade jewelry like this that will last for years and make the wearer very happy. Five years ago, when I bought these, the cost for a 16″ strand of the transparent rondelles was about $50, while the cost for the raw emerald briolettes can range between $35-$50.
The briolettes are a combination of round faceted that are dangling on the sides, and traditional pear (or teardrop) shaped, that are dangling in the middle three rows. I used faceted rondelles for the connecting links, the same as in the emerald earrings, but I also used lots of them to create spacing in between the rows because these hoops don’t have the machine-made links. But that’s the fun part of making chandelier designs– you have to figure out a way to dangle the stones in the triangular configuration. This is one way.
And incidentally, if you notice, the photos I took in bright sunlight also show the color of the stones as they look when the light hits them, which is a bright, rose red, and and in the shade when you can appreciate the deep red tones. These rubies are also dyed, and the cost is about the same as the emeralds. Enjoy! And do let me know what you think. If you have questions about precious gems or anything jewelry– leave a message. I love hearing from you.