Friday, October 27, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - October Reveal

This year's October Monthly Challenge was all about rocks. 

...Gems and minerals, that is!

That's right, my challenge this month was to make pieces of jewelry using only gems and minerals (well, and metal). I was inspired to do this challenge after my trip to the National Museum of Natural History last month... After all, it's hard not to get inspired when faced with such pretty things! :)

Now, as I predicted, this was actually a hard challenge for me. Apparently I really like mixing materials. I kept going, "oh, I have the perfect pearls to match this!" or "I think this needs some wood to help mellow it out." Hah!

Eventually, I decided to just go the purist route, and make necklaces entirely out of a single type of gemstone. (Well, except for the last necklace--but that one was cheating anyway.) Interestingly, as I worked, I realized that I was sticking to one main design. There were slight variations, of course, but the base design was the same. I think, given more time, I may have expanded my horizons a bit... But I guess, if something works, don't break it!

All told, I made four necklaces... As I show them, I think you'll start to see the similarities.

Necklace #1: Quartz

Quartz actually comes in many different hues--and many gemstones with their own names are actually varieties of quartz. For this necklace, I just focused on clear quartz, paired with silvertone metal:

All of the wire-work was done with fiddly 26 gauge wire... and, honestly, because the links are so small, this necklace took forever. It felt like forever, anyway! That being said, though, I really like how it turned out! It looks a little like cascading ice.

Necklace #2: Red Agate

Hah, I didn't actually get a picture of red agate while at the museum... this gorgeous orange opal will have to suffice as an intro picture. :)

For this necklace, I paired red agate with goldtone metal, and instead of three teardrops, I used one big one:

...You can probably see that base design emerging. :)

The wire-work in this one is done with slightly more substantial 24 gauge wire. The beads that make up the chain are slightly larger, too... 4mm rounds instead of 3mm rondelles. This gives it a lovely weight, and I'm really pleased by how it looks when worn.

Necklace #3: Amethyst

Now, technically amethyst is a type of quartz. However, that makes it no less gorgeous... And since my favorite color is purple, I happen to be pretty fond of it! :)

Again, with this necklace, you can see the same base construction: a beaded chain with a toggle clasp in the front, with a main pendant hanging down at the center. There are some slight differences, though... Instead of teardrops, there is an amethyst shard that I bought while on vacation and personally wire-wrapped. 

Also, there are two different varieties of amethyst used in the chain... I tried to echo the variegation of the pendant, so there are darker, larger rounds closer to the front which give way to smaller, lighter rounds in the back. (It doesn't photograph well, but trust me--it's there!)

Oh, and like the quartz necklace, the wire is 26 gauge and the beads average 3mm. This is another one that took quite some time to finish--and was definitely worth the effort!

Now, before I go on to the last necklace, I just quickly want to show you a side-by-side picture of the first three...

There is no denying that apparently I have a favorite necklace style when I'm using small, delicate gemstones!

Necklace #4: Imitation Malachite and Lapis Lazuli (I know, I cheated!)

Yes, this necklace is cheating. I really wanted to make something that was blue and/or green... However, all of my lapis is currently being used in other projects, and I cannot seem to find actual malachite anywhere (at least, in my price range).

So! I went with imitation stones. I realize that this might make a gemstone purist cringe, and I apologize. Still, I couldn't help myself... I absolutely love the way these colors look  together, and wanted to give them a fair showing here.

And so, here is my cheating imitation stone necklace:

The wire is all 24 gauge, and all of the stones are at least 6mm long. This makes the entire piece feel quite substantial... And it was a lovely change of pace from the delicate work I did on the prior necklaces! 

You'll notice that the design is fairly different, as well--the clasp is in the back, and there is a fair size stone as a focal instead. Never doubt that the weight and size of the materials govern my design choices. :)

My golly, I had so many ideas for this challenge. Those are the four necklaces that I actually had time for... Still, just for fun, I want to show you the other ideas that I have brewing on my bead table:

And so, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this month's challenge... and you even have a sneak peak into some other things I may make soon. (I really want to do something with that gorgeous Tiger Eye elephant... my first attempt didn't work, so I'm still figuring out my plan!)

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made... I really appreciate having such wonderful readers. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Happy end of October!


  1. These are so great! And, the ones you've got lined up to go are so cool as well. Can't wait to see what becomes of them! Enjoy the process. :D

    1. I'm so glad that you like them! Yay! Thanks for the comment... I'll try to remember to post pictures of the other projects when I finish them! :D


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! :)