Monday, July 25, 2011

Crystals delight!

In the past, the crystals I worked with were the high quality synthetic or glass variety.  They are created and cut to provide sparkle and a gemstone look to jewelry. 

Recently, however, I received a special request for natural, raw, rough cut,  and pointed crystals.   

My first job to tackle was to locate the crystals themselves.   I shopped around locally, and only found two clear, large ones at first.  They were a bit larger and "rougher" than I had intended (see below), but since I had already shopped around without prior success, I bought them, and decided to keep looking further.   

An additional challenge awaited me, as the kind of wire designs I typically did wasn't going to work with these crystals.   

  • The two I had found did have holes drilled in them, but horizontally (more or less) rather than vertically.  
  • These quartz crystals were certainly rough in texture, not smooth. 
  • They were asymmetrical in form.   

    So I went to work researching how to wrap a natural crystal of this type.   After a couple of practice tries with cheap wire and a rock from my garden, I gave it a try with the crystals I had purchased.

    I blended more traditional crystal wrapping techniques with my own "looser" interpretation 
    in these first two pieces.

    In my continued search, I found a few smaller, smooth-cut rose quartz pieces at local bead shops, and decided to snatch those up.   Not quite what my customer had in mind, I suspected, but I knew I could make something from them.

    I made a small necklace from one of the beads (not shown), and the others were incorporated into these works:

    The rose quartz appears as an accent bead 
    to the larger work in each of these.

    Finally, I ordered several crystals online.   

    I liked the color of this pointed tangerine-colored quartz crystal.

    This large, smooth-cut, pointed rose quartz, 
    had no drilled holes, 
    so the wire wrapping had to be especially close 
    to the crystal.  
    In order to achieve that, 
    I used higher gauge (thinner) wire.

    The last was a small piece of 
    amethyst-colored crystal, 
    which now hangs from a wire design and dainty chain.

    I still have a few crystals left, but have set them aside for a while.   I admit, I still find them challenging to work with so will wait to see what demand there is for them.  I did enjoy incorporating the smaller, more affordable, crystals into pieces with other materials and will be likely to continue doing that in the future. 

    Working with these crystals was a learning experience for me.   If anyone reading has experience working with natural crystals in jewelry design, your comments, experiences, and expertise are always welcome here!   --Sharyl

    P.S.  I have a few of these crystals on the necklace page of my website, Sharyl's Jewelry, and will soon post more.   You can also find examples of wire-wrapped stones there. 

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