Creating a Personalized Gift
One of the best things about being able to design jewelry is to be able to create a personalized, unique gift especially for a specific person. When a good friend of mine adopted her second child from China, I created a pair of earrings for her that combined mahogany obsidian from Colorado and jade from China to symbolize her new family. She loved the simple earrings and so did I--it was probably one of the best gifts I've ever given.
I was reminded of that experience recently when I received a necklace design from Jennifer Judd. Her chain and gemstone necklace was beautiful, but I'll admit it was the story behind it that got me hooked.
"I happen to be an Air Force Officer for my 'real job' when I'm not sitting at my beading table, so I spend a lot of time with other military folks. One of my friends, who is currently dating an Army Officer, approached me about getting her a unique gift before her upcoming six month assignment in Baghdad. She is partly Cherokee Indian and relies heavily on her spiritual beliefs and the meaning of gemstones.
Since I'm not an expert on gemstones, I spent a little time researching gemstones and colors that symbolized protection and bravery. After much reading, I focused on a combination of orange and green: Canadian jade, ocean jasper, cherry agate, and carnelian. I added red seed beads as accents to each beaded section because the color red symbolizes success and triumph. It's also a typical component of Native American beadwork. To keep the necklace lighter, I divided it into seven sections of beads (seven is a powerful Cherokee number) connected with seven links of silver chain. To help the necklace drape properly, I added a simple pendant of coordinating stones in the center section.
Because she won't be able to wear the necklace while in uniform, I also made single-stone pendants that she can string on her dog tag chain that she'll have on all the time. It's not exactly regulation, but will give her some comfort and remind her of the man who gave them to her."
Free Project: Nan's Protective Necklace by Jennifer Judd
If you're curious about some common gemstone meanings, check out Jean Campbell's post, "Healing Beads: The Special Meaning Behind Gemstones."
I'd love to hear your stories about creating a personalized gift. What did you make? How did the recipient respond? Share your stories on the website.
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Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.
Filed under: Gemstones, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Native American beadwork, Bead-weaving, Necklace Making, metalsmithing, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Beading Daily