It’s called ‘Georgian Jewels’ and is an attempt to recreate the style of an 18th century foil-backed gold necklace set with garnets – a style that was very popular in Georgian times. Each stone was set into an individual bezel with gold foil backing, which changed the colour of the garnet from a dark red to a more vibrant one. The bezels were linked to form a supple chain that draped elegantly around the neck.
I didn’t have gold and garnets to play with, but I experimented with tiny gold seed beads and some bigger seed beads that are a gloriously rich shade of red, and after much unpicking and cursing I found a construction that gave me the appearance I wanted. After more unpicking and cursing I figured out a thread path that could be reliably repeated and, what is more important, explained in simple words!
I submitted the design to Beadwork Magazine along with a batch of others – all of those were rejected, but this one caught the eye of the editor, who thought it would make an ideal ‘holiday project’ for their winter issue.
I had to wait over a year to see it in print… the hardest part of any published project is keeping it a secret, especially when it’s one you’re really pleased with!
Beadwork asked for an alternative colourway, so I picked emerald green and silver, another very traditional 18th century colour combination, and left out the extra picots between the units to give the piece a surprisingly clean and contemporary look.
I can’t wait to see what other beaders do with this. Maybe a multi-strand collar? An elegant bracelet? Dangly earrings? And I’d love to see it in gold and amethyst, or pale gold and aquamarine, or rainbow colours…
I did an experiment myself and found that the bezels can easily be attached to one another to make a self-supporting strip. This cross pendant is still in the Georgian style and can be removed from the chain if not required. It didn’t make it into the published version but all the same I’m very pleased with it!
If you make this or any of my other published projects (see my ‘Brag Page’ for a complete list), I’d love to see pictures and hear your comments, so do track me down on one of my social media accounts and let me know. I even have a Pinterest board for other beaders’ versions of my designs – I’m building up quite a collection!