Smithsonite Necklace

December 14, 2011

I finally finished a necklace to hold the smithsonite beads that I carved back in August.  My Pink Bead Necklace is so comfortable that I made this one in a similar style.  Forged from high-carbon steel and black steel wire, with bronze spacer beads cut from a broken Tibetan singing bowl.  The copper beads were cut from scrap tubing, then hammered flat and polished.  The bead at the back was carved from a piece of ore that I picked up at an abandoned copper mine.

I usually like to put reverse twists on this type of forgework.  But that doesn’t work with this thin high-carbon steel stock, since it can’t be quenched in water or it will shatter.  So I just tapered, rounded, and curled the ends.  Although it’s not apparent from the photo, the iron pieces have a “vertical” curve as well as a horizontal one, so the necklace doesn’t lay flat on the ground but it drapes nicely when worn.  The bronze and copper beads will eventually tarnish and will be subtle accents for the “screaming” turquoise color of the beads.

I have one small piece of smithsonite left.  It will probably become an earring.  Sometime this winter I’m hoping to go back to the mine where I collected it.  I’d like to find more of this unusual material, since it makes such beautiful beads.

Smithsonite and Forged Iron Necklace

Smithsonite and Forged Iron Necklace


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