February 24, 2010

My Talking Beads ...

Here’s a fact my jewelry making friends know all too well:  Beads can talk. 

Yes, they can. And when they do, you’d just better attende vous, because 99 times out of 100 the beads know best.

I’ve learned over the years to listen to my beads when they start muttering and chuckling. “No silly, I belong with the carnelian.” Or “Keep those darn pearls away from me.” And I listen, because if I don’t, the jewelry making session is sure to end with a dozen or more sulking beads scattered around the floor and me taking to my bed in tears.

But this time I was right, and I knew it. I had my design all planned in my head and also on paper – a pretty bracelet of gemstones and copper. It would be symmetrical, with a single faceted rectangle of ocean jasper (that forest green stone I’ve been hoarding for months) as the centerpiece, with matching rondelles of blue green Peruvian opal in pairs, alternating with deep green faceted coins of moss agate. I’d incorporate hematite rounds and copper flower spacers. I would name my new bracelet “Balsam Forest.”

As soon as I opened my box of green gemstones I knew there was trouble afoot. I could tell by the glint in those little beady eyes. But they were wrong, and I knew it. So when one of them said “Not me!” I ignored it and got down to the business of stringing. Then I picked up a piece of moss agate and heard a small voice whispering something that sounded a lot like “My way or the highway.” 

I forged ahead. Then another voice, an opal this time, chimed in … and another and another until I felt like I was audience to some ill-tempered little Greek chorus.

Even the usually complacent jasper got into the act, and pretty soon I had five inches of hostile beads strung together in total revolt. Meanwhile, my copper flower spacers had rolled off to places unknown, and now the agate was going the distance with the opal. Before I could get the lid back on the box, the tourmaline and rhyolite had jumped into the fray and were throwing punches at the perfect symmetry of my design.

Time for a few deep breaths, with a bit of assistance from a couple of my trusty bead stoppers.

 A sip of wine, a bite of chocolate … Om, om, om …

Okay, refreshed and determined, forward march, onward and upward, etc. 

And yes, I prevailed. My “Balsam Forest” bracelet is complete!

Behold my symmetrical bracelet with its single centerpiece of forest green jasper. Observe the perfectly matched opal rondelles and likewise the agate coins. Take note of the evenly spaced hematite beads throughout.

I’m calling it “Daybreak.” That’s what the beads told me to name it.


Click here to see more views of "Daybreak" in my Etsy Shop.


  1. Oh Mollie... you are such a treasure. How 'bout comin' over for a cup of tea? Or a glass of wine? I'll make you some blueberry cobbler and we can chat about those unruly beads!

  2. Ooooh, did you say blueberry cobbler???? On my way right now!!!

  3. Hi, Mollie!

    It is such a great pleasure reading you! You write with such wit and in such a charming way... It's brilliant!
    By the way, very nice bracelet! I was sure the beads would win the argument, but you showed them who's the boss! And you were absolutely right! Those beads look beautiful together!