Today’s bracelet is the first design in the last quarter of this year long challenge. I can’t believe the end is nearly here! There are still twelve more weeks to go, and I think the challenge is going to be a success.
This week I got a head start on a design that I’ve been pondering for some time. I wanted to recreate some Egyptian jewelry that I have long admired in a vintage issue of National Geographic. The article from December 1982 reveals some of the treasures and artifacts uncovered at a lost Egyptian outpost in the Gaza Strip.
After following leads on some grave robbers, archaeologists discovered a burial ground near Deir el-Balah that was suspiciously Egyptian. Four years later, they were given permission to dig, and found previously unknown settlements spanning several centuries and cultures. The final reveal was a small fortress from the time of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, which explained why so many of their early discoveries included Egyptian style housewares, jewelry and personal effects.
Among some of the most intriguing original finds was a set of jewelry in the sarcophagus of a man and a woman - dubbed Romeo and Juliet by the team. In addition to several rings and pairs of gold earrings were a handful of simple single strand necklaces. One featured tiny carnelian beads and gold palmette spacers - beautiful tree or leaf shaped beads.
It was this necklace that I wanted to recreate. I had hoped to use Indian white heart beads for the job. Their color, size and irregular shape would be perfect. I’ve had my eye on some from a favorite shop for awhile, but I’m also eager to pick up a few other unique bead strands, and I’m waiting until my budget has room for a spree. I was starting to get a little impatient with myself, so I went ahead without the white hearts, with the notion that I can always do a later variation with different beads.
To replace the gold palmettes, I needed something that would give the same protruding, fringe-like shape to the necklace. I had planned to use a combination of daggers and drops, but when I found some coppery stick pearls in a bead grab bag, I knew it was meant to be. At first I considered using the pearls and daggers together, but the coppery brown was such a nice complement to the different shades of ruby red glass all by themselves.
I was so happy with the way this piece turned out, that I had to make a bracelet to match. I didn’t want to do the obvious thing and make a multistrand bracelet that copied the necklace exactly. Instead, I started with a brick stitch medallion. Adding some bead loops to either side made it easy to tie on strands of stick pearls and druks with just the right amount of beads for a lightweight bracelet.