How Marlene’s Necklace Affected My Jewelry Making

Marlene-necklaceI belong to a group of ladies who meet once a month for brunch and to exchange the books we have read and pass them around. We originally began meeting to discuss our yearly trips to the library for family research in Salt Lake City. Four of us, Pam, Ruth, Kay and I were avid genealogists and made the trips each winter along with a few other friends. Kay has since passed away, too soon, and the three of us no longer make the trip to Utah although Pam is still involved in finding her ancestors.
It’s been a long time since those days, and as our small group grew in numbers the book exchange was the next step giving us a reason to meet and compare our activities. There are now up to 9 of us who meet, but often there might be 7 or less each month. I am, no doubt, the oldest of the group. One lady who was older recently passed away in her sleep. But I have a story to tell about her and her necklace, and how it affected the necklaces I now make.
All the ladies know that I make jewelry and I wear a different necklace to each brunch gathering. One day Marlene asked me if would make her a black necklace and I said, “I’d love to.”
Marlene couldn’t describe exactly what she wanted, but knowing her, I thought I could create something she would like. I had some beads in mind and I put together three different short length bead patterns with alternating black and silver beads. She chose one and I made the necklace and gave it to her. Needless to say, she was delighted and wore it many times. However, it broke. Beads fell all over the floor. She and her daughters collected as many as they could find and gave them to me. I made a new necklace for her at no charge. I don’t remember what she paid for the original necklace. I had offered it to her as a gift, but she insisted on paying me.
That experience made me think that if that happened to one of my necklaces, it could happen again. And indeed it did. One necklace broke while a friend was looking at it. That is not good.As any necklace is worn there is friction on the clasp as the necklace is put on and taken off. The friction rubs the small wire and wears it away. I finally found what I think will help to keep that from happening to the necklaces I now make.
I use a very tiny metal guard that holds the wire and keeps the clasp away from direct contact with the wire. The horseshoe shape guard prevents that friction so the movement of the clasp doesn’t erode the wire. All necklaces are susceptible to wear and tear, but this guard makes it less fragile.
The guard is very, very tiny and it is a bitch to put the ends of the strung beads together. My hands often shake, making it a tedious process, but I do it now for every necklace I make. Some of my necklaces are long enough to easily pass over the head, but not all. So the guard is used on those.
I think that what I do is a reflection of how I feel about the jewelry I make.

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