Monday, May 26, 2008

Tribal Treasures Necklace Workshop

It doesn't have to be "tribal"... as you can see in this photo which I just took of the necklace I completed this morning. Yesterday I taught my new Tribal Treasures Necklace workshop at Brea Bead Works. I came home with a nice box of components that needed to be made into a piece of jewelry, so this morning I made a silver chain (a simple chain of easy links featured in my book, Bead on a Wire) for the back of the neck area, and then I put it all together.
Next I submerged the necklace in a hot solution of liver of sulfur, hoping that the solution wouldn't leak into the hand-blown glass beads I purchased years ago in Montreal (they are originally from Venice, Italy). Once the silver had darkened, I removed the necklace and rinsed it thoroughly, and after it had dried I polished it with 0000-steel wool from the hardware store.
At this point, usually I would tumble my jewelry in a Lorton tumbler with mixed stainless steel jewelry shot and Rio Grande's burnishing compound (I demonstrate this in detail on my DVD, Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop) to remove the last bits of 0000-steel wool from the jewelry and bring it to a high shine. But I was concerned about my beads, which are well made but might be fragile—I just didn't want to take the chance of breaking them in the tumbler.
So, instead I squirted Dawn dishwashing liquid on my jewelry and then ran some water over it. Then I scrubbed the necklace with a plastic mushroom brush, the type you buy in a kitchen store. I use this brush exclusively for jewelry, by the way! I demonstrate this alternative to using the tumbler on my brand-new DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop, which will be available to purchase next month.
It's pretty amazing how clean and shiny you can make your jewelry by using this technique. And after rinsing the soap away and allowing your pieces to dry, you can use a yellow Sunshine cloth to polish it even further. I enjoyed making this necklace using beads purchased in various countries: Canada (Montreal), the Czech Republic (Prague) and Italy (Florence). Some of the silver components came from Bali and Thailand, two countries I have not visited yet, but hope to someday. By using different beads, you can completely change the look of your jewelry—from ethnic to elegant—it's that easy.
Perhaps we'll meet in a workshop someday; I hope so!


Dina Cuomo said...

oh Sharilyn- it is absolutely gorgeous!

Jen Crossley said...

WOW stunning really stunning

farmgirl said...

What is a "mushroom brush"?
Thanks for the beautiful picture of your new necklace.
I am glad you explained about a second method to shine up the necklace as I have been concerned about tumbling certain beads that might break.

Sharilyn Miller said...

A mushroom cleaning brush is a small rectangular plastic brush with soft bristles; I guess it's about 1-1/2 by 3 inches. The bristles are used to gently clean mushrooms before using them in recipes. You can find them in kitchen supply stores like Williams-Sonoma or sometimes in dollar stores, etc. I have obviously found some new uses for mine! I never use it on food now that I'm cleaning my jewelry with it.

Lori said...

Wow! I Love this necklace and can't wait for the DVD to come out. I have every one of yours and am practicing real hard at them. I am going to send you some picts as soon as I find the time. I made 2 of everything on your DVD's and am very proud of them. Of course I did them in the less expensive wire and beads to practice with, but I am keeping them for myself.