Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm a rebel... in my own mind

I have some strict rules for myself when it comes to jewelry design. I keep a list of things/themes that I promise myself NEVER to use when making pieces. The title of my list is Avoid Cliches Like the Plague. Now don't get me wrong, just because something might be on the list doesn't mean that I don't like it. On the contrary, in most cases I like it very, very much... and so do a zillion other people. That's why everyone is using it in their own jewelry and precisely why I avoid using it in mine. Skeleton keys have been on my list from the get-go. Which is a shame, really, considering that I have about 500 of them (I've collected them for years) and love them to pieces. But something happened last week when I was browsing through my favorite antique shop, making myself yet another pile of antique keys. I suddenly had an idea, a way to use the key that would be different and unique and wouldn't make me feel like I was breaking my own self-imposed rules.

The idea was to turn the key into a hinge. I used two copper tube bails from Rings & Things - the same bails I use for my mixed media collage pendants. I patinated them and then put them around the key, drilled two holes at the other end of each one and voilà! A new component to build a bracelet from! The rest of the bracelet is comprised of my own porcelain bow tie connectors, some vintage copper links, and two of Cindy Gimbrone's gorgeous glass and silver beads.


Thankfully it is actually very comfortable (always a concern when making an odd-ball piece) and it looks pretty darn cool from all angles - so if it spins around on the wrist you can be assured of looking most awesome at all times (so very important!).

Just for kicks - I just put the words "skeleton key" into the jewelry search on Etsy. Guess how many pieces came up... over 2,000!!!!! See for yourself! Huh, I guess it is safe to say that skeleton keys are played. I still like them. I will still wear them. But dang, everyone and their uncle is using them in jewelry design. I wonder who the very first person was who used one? Or who made them popular? Any ideas? They should be getting royalties at this point...


In other news, I listed these two new designs in the shop today. I love them both.

16 comments:

EllaPhante said...

That's genius! The jewelry tuned out beautiful AND unique!I love keys too..but always feel a little conformist wearing them.
I'm hoping no one steals this idea from you!

Greer said...

Brilliant! ya gotta love lateral thinking

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

indeed genius and very cool bracelet.
love the first earrings, beautiful

stregata said...

A new twist on an alltime favorite! Cool idea! You do realize though, there is very little that is new under the sun (to use a wellworn cliché) - back in the 18th century, earrings with for example birds and nests were already popular...

Kella said...

what a different way to use them, loving it!.

Dani said...

BEA-U-TI-FUL!!!

Loqki said...

Great idea! I love seeing really creative ways of using components, stuff people wouldn't expect. Very fun and great job making something that looks good from every angle, that's one of the hardest parts of good bracelet design in my humble opinion!

Marcia DeCoster said...

Tiffany's has a new diamond studded key design, very pretty, got me to thinking about doing one with seed beads and crystals....love the way you used it.

Dave Robertson said...

Really original, I love it!

:) Dave
at Rings & Things

TesoriTrovati said...

Brilliant!
I will, of course, not stop using keys (as they have always been my logo and they show up in my work going back forever in my beading years). I love the ingenious way you used this key.
Thanks for sharing!
Enjoy the day!
Erin

kiwiken said...

Very creative, and I love the patina on the hinge!

maryharding said...

Wonderful, ingenious bracelet and non-cliched use of keys. You are so inventive and creative. I like this one almost as much as the one I have from you Giveaway.

jeweledrabbit said...

Absolutely brilliant.

Alice said...

What a clever idea! This bracelet would be difficult to part with....

The Noisy Plume: said...

LONG LIVE THE SKELETON KEY!!!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Nancy!

You addressed one of the things I demand of any bracelet - that it look good if it flops around to the "back." Many of the designs I see have a clear front and back and the back isn't usually as pretty as the front - your design addresses that - it's cool from all sides! That's why I love your work.

Thanks for the shout out and using my beads in such a stunning design! I'm honored.

Love your thinking outside the box with the tube bails.

Bravo!
Cindy