The sincerest form of flattery…

I most definitely get my jewelry-hound tendencies from my mother. Both of us can spot a way cool pair of earrings or an awesome necklace at 300 paces – and with peripheral vision….

We also tend to notice immediately if someone on the news or in our favorite tv shows is sporting some kind of fabulous ornamentation. In fact, I think we both have a pretty decent mental catalog of inspiring jewelry designs, and we’ll describe them to each other in detail, even weeks after we saw the original.

It’s this same insatiable curiosity for clever design that drives us to leaf hungrily through magazines and catalogs, drooling at the unique and unusual jewelry pieces therein. But, despite the ever-present attraction towards bejeweled, enameled, or faceted objects, we know we can’t have everything we like. And personally, I’m more than ok with a knock-off now and again…

In fact, if you’d like to hear about what I used to make the above necklace, which was inspired by a pendant that I saw in a Chico’s catalog, please click the link.

Thanks all and have a good week!

One  of my absolute favorite mediums for replicating jewelry I’ve seen in catalogs is polymer clay. It is extremely versatile, easy to manipulate into different shapes and textures, and it’s pretty economical too. If you watch the sales, you can usually get a block of it at the craft store for around 99 cents. And you can probably get a few projects out of just 1 block. Another helpful thing is that crafts companies keep coming out with more and more products that you can use with polymer clay to make some really cool visual effects. Polymer clay can be used to replicate metals, precious and semi-precious stones, ceramics, leather, wood, enamel, etc etc. The list is practically endless.

The above necklace, as I noted earlier,  was inspired by a metal pendant I saw in a Chico’s catalog a while back. The original was made of slightly oxidized silver and enamel, and was somewhat domed in shape. I have tried to find the catalog that inspired my version of this necklace, but I can’t seem to put my hands on it. I promise I’ll upload the original if I find it. It was from a year or so ago, and I’m pretty sure the necklace was on the cover.

To make this necklace, I started with silver-colored polymer clay. I used a cookie cutter to make the round backing shape, and to create the silver fan shape on top. I cut out the points of the silver fan shape with an Xacto knife, and made the lines on the fan with a long thin needle tool. The abstract, somewhat snakelike silver shape, and the bale of the pendant were cut freehand with the Xacto blade. In order to make the bale of the pendant mobile, I did the following: I cut out a 2nd round layer of silver polymer clay, the same size and shape as the round background layer, and sunk a silver jump ring into it, just at the edge. I left enough room to slip the polymer clay bale through the jump ring, and seal the bale closed. I then applied the round top layer, matching the round pieces of clay one on top of the other. Then I sealed the 2 round shapes together, using firm pressure to free any air bubbles that could be trapped between the layers. In this way, the jump ring would become permanently stuck between the layers of clay once the piece was baked. In order to keep the bale from collapsing in on itself while baking, I slipped a roll of polyester fiberfill (safe to bake in the oven at polymer clay temperatures) through the bale, making sure that it would hold the shape that I wanted.

Before I baked the piece, pearl-ex powders in silver and macropearl were brushed on to give more of a metallic glint to the bale, the silver fan shape, and the abstract silver shape. The round backing shape was textured with a long needle tool, and then brushed with a fabulous product called “Perfect Pearls.” Perfect Pearls are powders that can be applied to polymer clay (and other media) with a paintbrush. They contain a type of resin which is safe to bake in the oven (at least at polymer clay temperature), and they come in a few varieties. I used the “Jewels” and the “Aged Patina” color palettes, and blended them into the textured background shape with a paintbrush, using a touch of Aztec Gold PearlEx powder for a gold highlight on the right side of the pendant. Then, I baked the piece.

Once the pendant was baked and cooled, I used Delta Clear Gloss Glaze (which I love by the way), to seal the pendant. Once it was dry, I put the pendant on some black faux leather cord and added a clasp.  And now I have a Chico’s pendant of my very own, on a very small budget. And it has held up very well. I wouldn’t recommend wearing this and playing tackle football, but it has proved sturdy for a number of full days of wear without showing any signs of damage or weakening. Polymer clay does bake into a plastic after all.

If anyone would like more information about how this pendant was made, or about the materials used, I would be happy to chat about it with you. Just leave me a little note on this post and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks all!

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