My customers are mostly average Australians and wear a limited range of necklaces. I needed to branch out from beaded necklaces and did make a number of unusual necklaces - I called them neck pieces and they are usually attention getters. Many look at them but few buy. Those who do are excited by the unusual designs or colours!
The problem I faced with the traditional beaded necklace was that the size of typical beads - 5 mm to 16 mm resulted in a lack of display space to show off the great colours and patterns that polymer and resin can produce.
I recalled that Pandora and other main street jewelers were producing bracelets with charms and thought of a different scale - necklaces essentially with gigantic charm beads. Pandora had some necklaces with European charm beads but nothing like I wanted to do.
Interchangeability of charms was to be an essential feature of this new range of neck pieces.
If I was to make large charm beads I had to have a necklace of a suitable size. I began by handforming a 7 mm diameter metal round braid or cord using a lacey viking knit in white, copper and some green and even less brass. The white knit and the copper knit cords attract a lot of attention at the markets. But while viking knit is gorgeous and can be a necklace in itself so it can also compete with some fashion outfits.
To expand the range I purchased black rubber tubing in a number of sizes (about 2mm, and 4mm diameter). I chose tubing so I could strengthen the necklace by using a "tiger tail" insert.
The next non trivial stage was to design simple fittings that were strong but allowed the charms to be taken off and put back on easily (many of my customers have arthritic knuckles).
I made the viking knit and rubber tubing into necklaces in small (about 38 cm), standard (about 46 cm), long (about 52 cm) and extra long (about 60 cm) lengths. Part of the charm (forgive the pun) is that a customer can use their existing chains, wire rope or cord. Or a customer can contact me for a special lenth or multiple necklace.
Since then I have also make bracelets in the viking knit cord - small, standard and large.
Euro charm beads
The charms started out as very large hollow beads in polymer but since then I have added different sizes, resin charm beads and resin covered polymer charm beads.
A variety of shapes followed including the large slab pendants taught to me a USA polymer artist and teacher, Maggie Maggio. These aren't European beads but as large pieces require the larger necklace. Recently I have added assymetric slab pendant featuring human figures sculpted from my own life drawings. Very iconic. The photograph of the example above has a sterling silver bail threaded through the silver grommet. It is designed to be worn with the large rubber necklace.
The large holes allow more than one chain or cord to be threaded through the bead. A very nice effect! Works particularly well with smaller charm beads.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have enjoyed crafting