The big brown UPS truck came up the drive yesterday with a box from one of our suppliers. Lee was happy—like a kid with a new toy. I was told the order contained what he needs to create a great design that’s been bouncing around in his head for a while.

Lee opened the box, the goodies inside were quickly checked against the packing slip, and Lee, the box and its contents made a speedy exit to his jewelry workroom.

Knowing that our favorite recorded music and an occasional “meow” was all I’d hear for the rest of the afternoon, I took the packing slip and headed for my desk to enter the items into the inventory database. The afternoon passed quickly, with the cats finding a favorite spot to snooze either with Lee or in my office. They do have a good life!

After supper, I asked about the design, and his process for this special piece. I was curious, and also in need of a good blog post!

Lee began—”I first need a design, sometimes it’s in great detail and I sketch a drawing listing stones and colors to use. Other times it’s just a general design of colors and shapes. I pick stones and beads from our inventory and lay them out under good lighting on my worktable and see how they look together. With luck (he’s modest), it doesn’t take too long switching out stones and getting them to work together.

Then I lay them out on a bead board exactly as they will be strung and see if things still work. Sometimes I get to this point and decide to scrap the project because I’m just not satisfied. If things look OK to me, I’ll study the design on the bead board for a bit, then walk away and come back later to be sure I’m still satisfied.

If the design is for a jewelry set, I usually start with the necklace and use Accu-Flex Beading Wire with 49 strands for a very soft feel and drape. I love the way this wire lies over the shoulders, plus it is very strong and will not brake. I use Accu-Guard wire protectors, also known as cable thimbles, and finish with a crimp cover. Then I string the beads, stones and findings, and finish off the other end using wire protectors and crimp covers.

I like to work on the bracelet next using the same findings as in the necklace and make the earrings last.

Some of my designs come from my past like the set below. It was something my mother had worn when I was young. My version isn’t an exact copy (I don’t copy jewelry) but the colors and general design reminds me of that memory.

Black Onyx and The Rainbow Silver Jewelry Set

I seem to get ideas in the middle of the night in great detail and I have to get up and sketch it out with notes before going back to sleep or I’ll forget it by the morning! Here’s one of those middle-of-the-night designs—Aventurine, Moss Agate, Carnelian and Pearls Silver Jewelry Set.

Aventurine, Moss Agate, Carnelian and Pearls Silver Jewelry Set

Lee took a deep breath, and the cats, realizing that he had stopped speaking, began their evening romp—playing with their collection of balls and toys in the hallway.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about the design process. I gained info for a blog post, and we’d love hearing your thoughts!

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