Jet Black Necklace

Jet button necklace with carved facets

I've been posting a lot of earrings recently so I thought it was about time for a necklace! I bought these jet buttons when I was in London last summer. Their faceted surfaces are really bold and striking and add another dimension to these otherwise simple buttons. I love the way they catch and reflect the light around them.

Jet is a type of fossilised driftwood that has been formed over a long period of time after being trapped and compressed in mud. So jet is actually quite fragile and rare these days but it is easy to carve and has a brilliant lustre that it retains over time. It's also light and warm to the touch which makes it a lovely material for jewellery.

Here's a bit of background about jet jewellery. It became popular as mourning jewellery during the Victorian era when the trend was began by the Queen herself after the death of her husband, Prince Albert in 1861. Queen Victoria's grief was so great that she continued to wear only black jewellery, buttons and clothes until her death in 1901. 

To make this necklace, I threaded some gold coloured wire through the two buttons, closing them with loops on both ends. Then I added a geometric gold chain necklace and a small chain tassel to the base button. 

Whilst this necklace was made as a fun piece of jewellery, I can't help imagining where these antique buttons came from and who might have worn them. The untold stories of buttons like these ones continues to intrigue me. Like little windows into the past, they offer only partial glimpses of what might have been and leave me wondering...

Starlight Necklace

I made this necklace after a trip to Okinawa last summer. Wearing it always reminds me of the fun times I spent there. Of hanging out at the beach with good friends, the sand and the sea. The colours in this piece have a summery feel that makes me think of the beach at sunset and that first lone star that you glimpse at twilight, shinning brightly like a jewel in the sky.

The sea in Okinawa is incredibly blue and changes colour throughout the day like a chameleon. In the early morning, it's full of soft blues and pinks. During the day, it transforms into a gradient of aquamarine and cerulean that contrasts with the white sand. Then, as the sun sets, the water changes again into a mysterious mix of indigo, orange and purple.

I bought the parts for this necklace at Rollo in Kobe. (I'll be posting about this shop and my trip to Kobe soon!) The button is French antique and made of plastic that's been painted blue. I love it's colour and glossy finish! The gold star, which I glued to the button, is stamped in what I think is brass. The red-orange glass bead has subtle swirls of colour inside the bead that you can only see when you hold it up to the light. To connect the pieces, I attached two metal plates to the back of the blue button so I could hang the bead from one side and attach a gold chain to the other. And somehow, the contrasting colours in this necklace actually complement each other.

Do you have any summer jewellery that reminds you of a faraway place or a happy holiday? I'd love to hear from you!

The Blue Key

Square link details on the silver chain

When I was a kid, I learnt to play the piano. I wasn't a very good student because I didn't practice enough. But I did like to open the piano lid sometimes to look inside. I thought there was something really beautiful about the way the keys were nestled next to each other. It seemed kind of magical that a bunch of keys and wires, held together at just the right tension, could create all those different notes and sounds.

So I've called this necklace The Blue Key because it reminds me of piano keys sitting side by side, waiting to be played. I love the shape and 3D chunkiness of the button. It also feels lovely to hold! 

I think the button might be made of some kind of plastic like melamine. It looks like it could have been carved by hand and then finished with a glossy cerulean blue paint. I also love the small white details left on the edges of the button because they really enhance it's geometric shape.

The button is French antique from Rollo and I think it's one of those perfect pieces that doesn't need anything added or taken away to make it into jewellery. The pendant was very easy to make. I simply I glued a metal plate onto the back of the button so that it would hang diagonally. Then, I added some silver squares along the length of the silver chain so that when you wear the necklace, they catch the light and reflect the shape of the button.

I think this button would also make a lovely ring too! What do you think?

Black and Gold Rose

The necklace

The two buttons that make up this pendant fit together so well, it's almost like they were made for each other! They're both French antique but despite their difference in style, they really complement each other. The base, gold button is acrylic with (what looks like) a piece of metallic fabric pressed inside. This gives the button a subtle weave and shine that catches the light beautifully. The black and gold rose button is also acrylic with a matte black finish. The gold details looks like some foil has been applied to the surface by hand as they're all a little different. Their shininess contrasts nicely with the matte black of the button.

In order to stack the buttons on top of each other, I filed away the rounded base of the flower until it was flat and then glued them together. The rose rests neatly in a small depression in the gold button. After that, I added a tear shaped black bead and some cream coloured pearls to the pendant. I finished the piece by hanging it from a double strand of sparkly gold chain.

Close up of the rose buttons

I really like the possibilities of combining different buttons to make an entirely unique piece! Sometimes, like this pendant, the buttons really complement each other. At other times, their differences brings about something completely unexpected.