Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gypsy Jewels

People often ask me where and who I buy my stuff from.   love to scrounge old jewelry at the flea markets.  I have a favorite antique shop I go to where a dealer makes up custom jelly jars full of beads for me and charges me a flat price for the whole jar of pieces.  I find the more I shop at a place, the better the deals get.  I have my favorite dealers that I buy from all the time, and they know what I like, and save pieces for me.  They always give me a good deal, and I just buy it from them, no haggling.  That way they know I am a serious buyer, and I constantly get good prices from them.  The dealers always ask me what I do with it all.  Here is how I start. 

If the beads have a greasy feel to them, I wash them first with diluted dish detergent.  Let them soak in a container of it for a bit and then gently rub one of the beads with a finger, to insure the paint is not coming off.  Then I rinse them and lay them on paper towels to dry.  I take them apart and arrange them in little metal tins on a dollar store plastic tray lined with felt or a piece of a vellux blanket.  If the paint is flaking and I want to preserve it, I coat them with clear nail polish.  Often this will bring out the colors in the beads and make them more vibrant.

  I choose a focal piece, or make one like the two pictured below.  The first one is a silver flower earring stacked on a Maltese cross, stacked on a filigree oval.  I like the layered look of a stacked focal.  The second one is am antiqued filigree piece with a cool vintage earring with a fleur de lys motif.  I love how the focal compliments the beads. 
Sometimes, I just chain up the beads, pin to pin and hang long strand of bead chain on a hook in my studio to come back to and use later in something.  Like these aqua ones I got from French General.  They are plastic, but I fell in love with the color.  They look so pretty chained up with the crystal AB beads and make a lovely statement necklace.

I like to use my tabletop mannequin to hang pieces off of when I design.  I want to see the placement on the neckline and collarbone area.  I like to see the drape and swag of the piece. 
This is a piece I have been working on for a bit.  Smashing bead caps and turning them into a necklace base that I drape small 3 and 4 mm beads off of.  I am not quite finished with this one.  I ran out of beads and need to get more in San Diego next time I am down south.  I may have to redrape them in a different way so I can hang a focal from the middle of it.  I think it would give it more visual interest. 

I would love to hear what your favorite jewelry making tips are...  Please post here, or add a link to your blog if you feel inclined to share.

Thanks for popping in!


Joanne Huffman said...

Your jewelry is lovely. I may have to break out my beads and jewelry tools.

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

STUNNING jewelry !!!
Very piece a work of art. You are so talented. Keep it up!
XXOO Marie Antoinette

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

Hello Gypsy,
I thought I would drop by for a visit. Your work is awesome and I cannot wait to see your new pieces.
Take care Dear,
XXOO Marie Antoinette