Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Chain Gang

While on vacation, I couldn't resist a stop at Heartsong Beads in Seal Rock, Oregon. (Honestly, I did TRY to pass by, but the temptation got the better of me. I mean, really, I had just made a haul at three other bead shops in California, and I already have tons of beads languishing in my studio already, unused and forgotten. I tell you, this bead addiction is a bugger to kick.)

Beautiful lampwork beads, sterling silver findings, art beads, enamel beauties . . . stop me, someone! Well, there were deals - her gorgeous lampwork beads were 40% off and this antiqued brass chain was cheap. Because the links are unsoldered, I wouldn't use this chain in heavy necklaces, but the oval links could be useful. In my shopping bag it went. 

When I arrived home, it was this brass chain that inspired me to experiment. Now I had thousands of brass connecting links to use, so I decided to explore all possible configurations of earring designs using them.

Earring Designs From Simple to Complicated

Often, my earring designs are complicated and time-consuming, so it was refreshing to just make a simple and casual pair at a lower price point. A wrapped glass briolette and a beaded earwire. 

A wrapped magnesite coin bead

A sparkly glass and brass dangle (I don't often do bling, but I love these purply faceted beads.)

A periwinkle glass briolette

A Vintaj-patinated copper shell charm and brass jump ring

An apatite and brass dangle and a blue quartz beaded and wire-wrapped earwire

A Picasso Czech glass dangle with Indonesian glass beaded and wire-wrapped earwire

Oh, and how about double links with acryllic flowers
Getting more complicated now . . .  a triple dangle of glass and beaded earwire
A triple dangle of gemstones - magnesite and coral - and brass

Dreaming of Designs

Often, jewelry ideas float around in my head before I fall asleep. (I've lost a lot of sleep this way. I just have to get up and follow through with the idea.) Since the links were on my mind,  it occurred to me that I could use these them as frames backed with pieces of tin. A little E-6000 did the trick. I'm glad I remembered to punch the hole before I glued the link to the tin. I don't usually create designs in a single color, but I didn't want to detract from the cool tin pattern. Now that I look at this, a light blue accent would have been nice. 

Gotta Love Leather

Another one of those trying-to-get-to-sleep moments when link earring ideas flooded my brain. Use leather! I made a suede leather loop to hold the link. Not liking the exposed hole, I added a brass spacer to hide the hole. (These earrings were difficult to photograph, so I'll include one on an earring card to show how the hole is hidden.)

Recycled glass, carnelian, and brass.
Recycled glass, carved bone, and brass
Czech glass, carved bone, brass

Recycled glass, carved bone, brass
For now, I have satiated my obsession with these links and am ready to move on to another material. I do like the idea of having a ton of oval shaped jump rings at my whim. Great purchase!


  1. These are all so fabulous. That was a great purchase! Love the addition of tin and leather.

    1. Thank you, Ann. $1 for a yard of chain was a deal I couldn't pass up. :) It was fun to just stay focused on all the possibilities using just one specific material like those links. Great way to stretch my thinking and creativity. It was fun to have the tin and leather pop into my thoughts and come out in an actual design. By the way, I think you are the only person who reads my blog, and I really appreciate that you take time to comment on my posts. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. omg LOVE. the colours really compliment the oval chain things.

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