Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Victorian Suite

The last month and a half have been interesting. I have been sick most of the time getting back to back colds. Finally I am feeling healthier and trying to catch up on all of the things that I have fallen behind on. One of those was blogging and I have several things I need to blog about to catch everyone up on what I have been up to including traveling, gardening and some new creative projects.
Some of the pieces that were considered for the Victorian Suite
This blog is very overdue, once again contacted me to review more of their huge selection of beads and other products.  This time they wanted us to combine something new and something old.  This was perfect, when my Grandmother died at a mere 106 years of age a year and a half ago one of the things I got was any of her costume jewelry that no one else wanted.  Many of the pieces were broken or tarnished and I felt that I should include them in a new piece.  I also had pieces that I had gotten from other friends and family so I went through my collection of pieces to see if I could come with a cohesive idea for something that combined these reclaimed treasures with some new additions.

And then it happened,  I had a dream,  I don't often dream about my jewelry or a new art piece but when I do I know that it is meant to be and many things get figured out in this dream world.  The most interesting thing that came out of the dream is that this would not be just your typical piece of jewelry it would be a series of pieces that would fit together and would allow the wearer to choose which pieces to combine together.

Cameos, filigrees, pearls and beads from

I always find the biggest challenge figuring out what cool stuff I should try each time.  What will work with my idea best?  What sizes of beads, findings or other goodies will help flesh out my vision?  What colors and how many do I need?  With this piece I had a starting place of using the old jewelry pieces and except for the new items I got from I wanted to use stuff that I already had as much as possible.  The cameo earrings I already had helped set the color scheme.  I was thrilled when I saw that I could get additional cameos that although newer looking were somewhat similar to the ones in the earrings.  I also wanted to go with some filigree pieces since they would help with the more victorian lacy look I was after.

Pieces that can be used for the front of a chocker or as bracelets.
The first pieces I started working on for this Suite of jewelry was the cuff bracelets.  I made 3 of them which could be worn as a bracelet or combine together (2 of them) to be worn as a chocker.  I eventually made another one with no focal or beads for the back piece so that my hair didn't get caught when wearing the chocker.  I have had the piece of fabric, laces, and ribbons that I used for these for lots and lots of years so it was nice to finally use some of them.  

The top bracelet uses a filigree and cameo look face that I have had almost as long as the other pieces.  I used colored permanent markers to add a bit more age to them.  The small doily in the middle is one that I made years ago and then had never done anything with.

The middle cuff uses one of the filigrees and cameos that I got from  From the moment that I saw that filigree I knew that I HAD to have it for this suite of jewelry.  I glued the cameo onto it and also glued a opal heart earring that had lost it's mate that I got for being a bride's maid at a wedding.  I attached it using some of the beads that I had ordered. I also added a beaded picot border with beautiful Silver-lined Rosaline beads.

The bottom cuff has more layers of ribbon and a picot border with another doily that I had in my stash (not one I had made however.)   The center piece is a pin that my Grandmother had and I kept it as a pin in case I ever want to take it off and wear it alone.  One of the things I did end up having to buy was snaps,  for the life of me I couldn't find my snaps for these cuffs.

Single Spiral Rope piece to use as a bracelet or an accent in the necklace.
I found a strand of pearls that were perfect for suite of jewelry I was making.  These pearls are gorgeous and have a wonderful creamy peach color.  I used them with the 11/0 and 15/0 seed beads to make a single spiral rope piece that could be worn as either a bracelet or used with other pieces of the suite in the necklace.

3 pieces of the jewelry suite combined.
Above you can see 3 of the pieces combine to make a necklace.  I used lengths of the necklace from my grandmother that had a strand of links of fake pearls and a strand of gold colored chain for both of the top and the bottom pieces.  On the top piece I added a strand made with 3 lengths of ribbon.  The bottom piece I made links of 2 colors of imitation pearls from my stash as well as some tear drop shaped pearl links and added them to the chain strand.  The middle piece is the piece from above with the pearls.
Cuff chocker and necklace length put together.
Here the bottom necklace length is worn with the cuff chocker for a simple yet feminine look.
First of 2 wrapped wire focal pieces.
One of the things that was strongly in my dream for this piece were 2 focal pieces made with wire.  The two cameos here were also glued to their filigree back grounds before being wired to the wire shape.  The heart on the right was the necklace focal that goes with the opal earring used with the filigree on the cuff bracelet above.  I used both brass wire and silver craft wire for this since I was working with mixed metals and wanted to keep with that feel.  I used 11/0 Transparent Rosaline TOHO seed beads as well as 3 mm Rosaline Luster Fire Polished beads in the wire wrapping.
The other focal piece.
As you can probably already tell there are many ways to combine this suite of jewelry.  This one shows the other wrapped wire focal piece.  The center piece is a pin I had made many years ago and it seemed to be a good way to repurpose it since I no longer wear it.  In this piece I used all three colors/sizes of seed beads as well as the  3 mm fire polished beads and some more of the imitation pearls from my stash.
Here you can see one of the earrings that were an important inspiration for the suite of jewelry.  The earrings had nothing wrong with them except they were missing their backs so I quickly fixed that but wanted to make them a bit more interesting and in line with the other pieces so I made more pearl links and added them.
Which pieces should I wear?
More pieces make a more complex necklace.
One of my favorite combinations.
The three photos above show some of the more complex combinations that the suite can be used for.  I have always like jewelry that has versatility in how it can be worn so in a way this Victorian Suite of jewelry is an ultimate expression of that.  From pieces that can be worn together to wearing all of the pieces together the options are too numerous to count.  I am thinking I may have to make more suites in the future using more pieces from my collection of broken and forlorn jewelry and more of my seemingly endless stash of fabrics, ribbons, trims, jewelry goodies etc.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at, I receive the Pearls, Cameos, Filigrees and Seed Beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

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