Mining for Herkimer Diamonds

Gemstone Mining

I recently returned from vacation and one thing that we did was “mine for diamonds.”  Really, it’s quartz crystal that we were mining for, but the folks around the area refer to them as Herkimer Diamonds.

Gemstone Mining

We pulled into the parking lot and were greeted with this pile.

As a little background, my husband’s superpower is putting together fun trips for us that include usually gorgeous nature, historical locations, quirky places and typically something haunted.  He does not usually tell me exactly what we’re doing because he likes to surprise me.

So even though I knew we were going mining that day, I had no idea what that meant.  I have been in coal mines before, so my best guess was that we were going underground and some tour guide would show us where to chisel and we’d get a crystal and it would all be very easy and commercial.

Gemstone Mining

That’s not at all how it worked.

As a jewelry designer, I am somewhat aware of how we get gemstone beads, but really only vaguely until now.

We went into the office and paid for admission.  We rented tools.  We rented:  hammers, chisel, small rake, trowel and a sifter.

Then we got a map of the property that included several spots.  It’s a little confusing and I was overwhelmed, but there are areas that basically people work at for weeks and then find an area filled with crystal called a pocket.  Then they have areas for people like my husband and I where you can find the quartz crystal more quickly.  We were planning to spend an hour or two there.

Gemstone Mining

To be completely honest, at first I was overwhelmed.  You first have to find the proper rock. Then you have to hammer it open to find the crystal.  Then you can chisel away the rock from the crystal.

It was difficult and not easy or fast.  I worry about falling and hurting myself, so I wasn’t too keen on climbing up a hill of rocks.

Gemstone Mining

But my hubby did climb up.

I stayed more toward the bottom (where that sifter is) and started digging through the dirt.

To be honest, at first before we got the hang of it I really wanted to just go into the gift shop, buy a bag of quartz crystals and go on with our day.

Then I found one!  It was super tiny, but I found one!  Then I was in.  So we dug through dirt and hammered open rocks and this is what we ended up with:

Gemstone Mining

They need cleaned up, obviously, but these are all the crystals we found.  My husband found the big one.  I plan to make a pendant with it.

Gemstone Mining

It was so fun and fascinating to be looking for my own gemstones since I use them all the time in my jewelry.  At one point I said to my husband, “How are gemstone beads so relatively inexpensive?  This is such hard work.”

We, of course, were doing it by hand.

It was a fun day and I will be cleaning up these quartz crystals and using them in jewelry.

Ever wonder where your gems come from?  Do a little research to find out.  It’s so inspiring to hear the back story of how your gemstones got from the earth to your necklace!

Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry

My Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse is full of creativity activities and tips about creativity.  You also learn jewelry skills and get 18 jewelry projects.
Learn more about this fun eCourse here.  (It’s only open for registration once or twice a year!)

Jewelry Inspired by Art Journal Page: Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom Where You Are Planted Art Journal Page and Jewelry

Last week I shared an art journal prompt and my page from it.  The prompt was to choose a quote and make an art journal page from it.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Art Journal Page and Jewelry

I used that art journal page as inspiration to make a necklace.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Art Journal Page and Jewelry

In Inspired eCourse we dig deeply into how to pull inspiration out of your art journal pages and use that inspiration for jewelry making.

This necklace didn’t turn out at all how I was planning to begin with, but I do love it just the same.

Originally I was envisioning the beads all cascading down from a central floral piece that would be the center piece of the necklace.  I didn’t have a floral piece for the center. I thought I did, but I didn’t.  I had used it on another piece of jewelry and forgot.  I tried some other options, but none of them really worked out.

Then I considered what I most wanted in this necklace and what I loved the most were the gemstone beads.  I loved the irregularity of them and I loved the colors.

So I chose to do a simpler concept.  Simple almost always works out better in the long run.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Art Journal Page and Jewelry

I got the original idea of the beads cascading down from the art journal page where the flowers are growing up the left side.  And you can see the obvious color inspiration from the art journal page in the color of the gemstone beads.

Often things change while we’re making jewelry.  Maybe you’re missing a component (like I was in this case) or maybe what it’s just not working out the way you envisioned it.  You often have to be flexible and willing to change your idea.  You will oftentimes end up with something you love even more!

I’ll keep the original idea in the back of my head for when I find the perfect center piece to use in the necklace. But for now, I love this necklace and it’s beautiful colors and gemstones.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Art Journal Page and Jewelry

To make this necklace:

I used the interlocking wire wrapped bead link technique found here.

The only other skill you need is opening and closing jump rings.

Choose your gemstones and have fun!  The only thing that takes a little trial and error is if you use gemstones that are not the same size (my purple stones were larger than the pink and green). If that’s the case you may have to experiment to get the strands to lay just perfectly.

Inspired eCourse

Love art journaling and jewelry making or want to explore them more?

Inspired eCourse gives you creativity activities and art journal prompts then I show you how to take the inspiration out of your art journal pages to design your own beautiful jewelry.

I share a step-by-step map of going from art journal to jewelry.

The next session starts on July 25, 2016.  Right now you can get a deal when you purchase Inspired eCourse with Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry in a bundle.

Learn more about Inspired eCourse here.

Learn more about Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry here.

Get the bundle here.

There are payment plan options for each including the bundle deal.

 

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace Tutorial

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

I think it’s no secret that Rose Quartz is one of my favorite gemstones.  For starters, I love pink.  I also love that Rose Quartz symbolizes friendship and love.

And have you seen the top 10 colors from Pantone for Spring?  Rose Quartz is the actual name of the first one!

So obviously, it’s time to use some Rose Quartz to make some jewelry.

Today’s tutorial comes to you thanks to my favorite online bead store, Happy Mango Beads.  And while I’m using Rose Quartz, you can substitute any of their other lovely gemstones if pink isn’t your thing!

There are a few different components in this necklace that you could actually use separately in different ways or even alone.  The big rose quartz pendant in the middle would be quite stunning alone on a chain, for example.

So grab your tools and get your rose quartz ready and here we go!

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Tools and Materials:

Step #1

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Before we get started, make a mark on your round nose pliers with a sharpie.  It doesn’t matter where exactly where you place the mark; just that you use the mark to make your wire wrapped loops throughout the project so they are uniform.

Step #2

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

First I’ll show you how to make the wire wrapped bead links with the big chunky rose quartz beads.

Cut approximately 10 inches of wire.

Step #3

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Hold the wire in round nose pliers about 2 1/2 inches from the top.

Step #4

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Wrap the short end around one barrel of round nose pliers.

Step #5

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Take the wire off your round nose pliers.  Hold the loop in chain nose pliers.

Step #6

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

The loop will be off-center at this point and we want to center it.  To do this I wrap the short end of the wire around the longer one and at the same time pull the longer wire out straight, which centers the loop.

Step #7

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Wrap the wire around two more times.  Keep your wraps straight and close together.

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Hint:  If your wraps are not close, use chain nose pliers to pull them close to each other.

Step #8

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Trim off the excess wire making a flush cut.

Step #9

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Using chain nose pliers, push in the end to make sure it’s not poking out.

Step #10

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Slide on a rose quartz large nugget gemstone bead.

Step #11

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Hold the wire just above the rose quartz with round nose pliers.

Step #12

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Like we did previously, wrap the wire around the pliers forming a loop.

Step #13

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Follow Step #6 to straighten the loop.

Step #14

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Wrap the wire around 2 more times.

Step #15

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Pull the wire down across the bead and then wrap the wire around the wire wraps you did previously a couple times.

Step #16

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Now pull the wire across the other side of the bead and wrap the wire a couple times.

Step #17

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Trim off the excess wire making a flush cut.

Step #18

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Use chain nose pliers to make sure the end is not poking out.

Step #19

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Repeat all the steps to create 4 wire wrapped bead links with the rose quartz large nugget gemstone beads.

Step #20

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Now we’ll make the pendant.  It’s very similar, but a little bit different because we only need one wire wrapped loop.

Cut a piece of wire approximately 10 inches long and follow Steps #2 – #10 to form a wire wrapped loop.  Slide a large quartz nugget gemstone onto the wire.

Step #21

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Pull the wire back up across the bead.

We’ll just have wire on one side of the bead, so choose which side you would like to have as the front.

Step #22

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Wrap the wire around the previous wraps you made a few times.

Step #23

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Trim off the excess wire making a flush cut and make sure the end is not poking out.

Step #24

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

The final component of this necklace are plain wire wrapped bead links with the smaller rose quartz nuggets.

These are very similar to the wire wrapped bead links we made previously, but these will not have the wire across them.

Cut a piece of wire about 6 inches long.

Step #25

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Follow Steps #3 through #10 to form a wire wrapped loop on one end of the wire.

Slide on a smaller rose quartz nugget gemstone bead.

Step #25

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Hold the wire in round nose pliers just above the bead.  Wrap around a barrel of round nose pliers forming a loop.

Step #26

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

The loop will be off-center at this point and we want to center it.  To do this I wrap the short end of the wire around the longer one and at the same time pull the longer wire out straight, which centers the loop.

Step #27

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Wrap the wire around two more times.

Step #28

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Cut off the excess wire making a flush cut.

Step #29

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Use chain nose pliers to make sure the end isn’t poking out.

Step #30

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

To make a 24 inch necklace you’ll need 18 plain wire wrapped bead links.

Step #31

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Lay out your design.

Note:  In this photo I have extra plain wire wrapped bead links.  I decided to make my necklace shorter, so I used less.

On one side line up the four large nugget gemstone bead links.  On the other side make 2 lines of 6 each of the smaller bead links.

At the end of the 2 sides add 3 plain wire wrapped bead links.  (Like I said, I have 6 on each side in the photo, but decided to make the necklace shorter.  You can, of course, make your necklace any length you like.)

Step #32

Open jump rings

Open 23 jump rings.

Need help opening and closing jump rings?  Click here.

Step #33

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Now we’ll put together all the pieces using jump rings.

Starting in the middle with the pendant, add 2 of the smaller wire wrapped bead links and the pendant to a jump ring and close it.

Step #34

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Attach the first large wire wrapped bead link with another jump ring to the first jump ring.

Then continue using jump rings to connect the bead links to each other.

Step #35

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

When you come to the end of the 2 strands of the smaller plain wire wrapped bead links, add a jump ring to attach the last beads together and then add the next plain wire wrapped bead link.

Then continue adding bead links.

Step #36

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Add the pewter toggle clasp to the ends.

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

Ways to customize this necklace:

  • Use any gemstone that you like!
  • Use any metal that you like for the wire.
  • Instead of asymmetry, use 4 of the large nugget gemstone beads on each side.
  • I used a very monochromatic color scheme here using all rose quartz, but you could mix up the gemstones.
  • Make just the pendant and hang it from a chain or cord.

Now it’s your turn!  Make your own Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace.  If you want to share what you made, you can upload a photo of what you made in the comments below!

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace