Posts Tagged ‘Murano glass beads’


My friend Ellen came out for a visit last month. We’ve known each other since the age of 11…. we grew up together. I miss seeing her since she lives far away, in Chicago. In anticipation of her trip West, I made her a gift for her birthday: a necklace of green Murano glass beads strung on green Soft Flex wire.


This style is called “illusion” because of the way the thin wire seems to disappear inbetween the beads. Often illusion necklaces use translucent wire or plastic fishing line. Then the beads truly “float.” In this piece, I liked the many shades of green, including the wire itself.

I used tiny 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter crimp beads to secure the beads in place. Each crimp required a micro-crimper. Some of these beads have even more gold than green, so I decided to use a gold-tone toggle as the clasp.

Green called to me for this project for a few reasons. First, I knew that Ellen wears green – I wouldn’t want to pick a color she hates. Second, it was a favorite color of a close mutual friend we both miss, Marion, who died a couple years ago. And what’s more, Ellen and I traveled together to Big Sur, down the Pacific coast, and saw a lot of very green beauty there in the cliffside hills. We hiked up the Ewoldsen Trail, getting an awesome view of the ocean.

The trail:




The views:


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Ever since I returned from Italy this summer, I’ve been inspired to create jewelry with Italian glass beads. I’ve been drawn into these beads, mesmerized by them. They are as beautiful as any modern art, in my opinion. They are also more durable and jewel-like than most non-precious materials out there. (My daughters have dropped these tough glass beads–and I admit I have too–without any damage.)

The highlight of my Italian journey was a short trip to Capri, the fabled isle that attracted everyone from Roman emperors to modern movie stars. I’m calling the necklace pictured here “Memories of Capri,” and here are a few images to whet your appetite for a trip to that Mediterranean paradise. The Blue Grotto… the Faraglioni (huge stone formations off the coast)… the views, oh the views of the Bay of Naples… and, mainly, the nearness of the ocean itself, a unique and deep blue.


The beauty just goes on and on there. My stay was short, but no matter how long I looked, I’m sure I’d never tire of those views. The image above is a sphinx at the Axel Munthe home (now a museum) on the very top of Capri, in the town of Anacapri. That ancient stone is probably the world’s luckily statue. And unlike on the Pacific where I live, it’s not whipped by strong, exhausting winds. There’s a peace to the place that’s magical.

I chose some gorgeous authentic Murano glass beads from the Venetian Bead Shop to create my necklace. I began with a few dual-toned rounds and some deep sapphire blue squares and small rounds. I then began to think of making a longer piece–but not too heavy–using seed beads to connect my bigger items, and adding a handful of Swarovski crystals for variety, additional color, and sparkle, and just a few crystal blue pearls. The crystals also help to vary and balance the shapes here.

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I used a .14 Soft Flex silver “extreme” wire to make a very flexible and light piece. And last, I used a silver jump ring and a lobster clasp to finish it up, with some silver crimp beads sealing off the edges. I wore this necklace to my office without doubling it–and it was fashionably long. Flapper length. And that’s fitting. I believe it was in the 1910s and 1920s that vacationers started flocking to Capri, though it was a destination long before–and long after.


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I am still making gradual progress on small quilts, but I confess that I’ve become distracted by…beads!

I returned earlier this month from a trip to Italy, where I found myself fascinated with the glass beads from Murano, an island off Venice. I stopped there very briefly and toured a glass maker. I even acquired some lovely necklaces… But I wanted to relive the experience back home with a few beautiful imports, trying my hand at creating jewelry combining large Venetian glass beads and tiny seed beads (also Murano glass). I like the mix of the dramatic and the delicate.

Here’s my first experiment, which was inspired by a design found on the website Venetian Bead Shop. I call it my Sea Earth Sky Bracelet:



The big round bead reminds me of the Earth…. It contains some gold foil inside a bed of aqua; the gold is land, the aqua the sea. I really love the square beads surrounding it. The shape fascinates me. Plus they are fun to play with if you get bored. Just turn them over and around a few times, admiring all the shades of blue…

I also visited a local bead shop, Natural Expressions in Los Gatos, CA. That inspired me to create this Evil Eye Bracelet:



This one I made using a handy bead design board:


Very fun. And much quicker than my fabric art. I see more beads in my future!

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