Monday, January 17, 2011

Mother of Pearl Brooch [Jewelry Monday]

I have always loved wearing pearls, it makes me feel classic and elegant. Today, I will share with you how to make a brooch using mother of pearl chips.

A pearl is defined as "A hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable." More about pearls HERE

On the otherhand, Nacre pronounced "NAY-kər", also known as mother of pearl (MOP), is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up pearls. It is very strong, resilient, and iridescent.  More about nacre HEREThere are many jewelry accessories that make use of MOP.  In my recent visit to some jewelry shops in the city, I saw a lot of brooches made of MOP so i decided to give it a try.
     Materials needed to make 1 brooch:
          5 mother of pearl
          1 round pearl
          small beads / rice pearls / crystals
          gauge 22 or 24 gold or silver wire
          pin back
wire cutter, flat and round nose pliers, nylon pliers (optional)

Mother of Pearl Brooch
1.  You may either use the flat or embossed part of the MOP chip.  Insert the wire on 1 MOP chip and twist 2 or 3 times around the base.  Be careful not to twist too much as it will break the wire.  Repeat until the 5th chip is attached. 
2.  Make sure that the flower pattern is snug by looping the wire around the chips in a "star" pattern.
3.  To make the center accent, you may use crystals, freshwater pearls or seed beads.  For the example above, I used a pearl and glass beads.  Insert the pearl on the wire and secure by looping the wire a couple of times around the flower pattern.
4.  Insert the glass beads to form a base for the pearl to sit on.  Secure beads.  Make sure that the wires end on the back part of the brooch.
5.  Attach the pinback by looping the wire around it.  Make sure it is snug.
Tadaaaaa!   Your brooch is now ready.  
Let your imagination run wild and be creative.  Have fun! 
Oh, if you're not in the mood to make one yourself, I would be more than happy to make one for you.


Beadwright said...

This is a great tut thanks so much for sharing.

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