Tag Archives: glass

Memento Mori.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to make a jewelry design inspired by Victorian mourning jewelry. Mourning jewelry was worn both as a symbol of mourning and as a memorial to loved ones. It was usually made of black jet, and sometimes incorporated the hair of the deceased in intricate patterns. There are some fantastic surviving examples of rare pieces made entirely of hair.


Images from Flickr’s Creative Commons.

I love the intricacy of these pieces, and their simple, direct social significance. While the hair pieces were generally very intricate and delicate, jet pieces were frequently carved in a heavier, simpler chain pattern. They’re elegant, and eloquently symbolic.

My tribute piece doesn’t use hair, but I do have some beautiful old bone components for jewelry. When I set out to make my Memento Mori choker, I used those. For the jet component, I chose large vintage black glass rough cut beads. Rough cut (also sometimes called English cut) beads have smooth, irregular facets. They’re imperfectly shaped, but each facet is sharp and defined, and they catch the light so beautifully. They’re generally fairly small, so the larger ones in this piece are a bit rare. I love rough cuts for their imperfection, and their insistent personality. The ones I’ve used here seem both sedate and demanding, and I like the effect they create. The line of jet is broken on one side by a vintage bone infinity symbol, originally part of a clasp. The choker is finished with a vintage hand carved bone hook clasp, which is accented with an antique and very rare black tri-corner Czech pressed glass bead.

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I’m really pleased with how this piece turned out, and I hope to do a few more pieces with the same feel. If you’re interested in mourning jewelry, you can check out some other photos I’ve gathered on Pinterest.

dear glass: an open confession

Dear Glass,

I have something I’d like to talk to you about. First, I’d like to affirm that nothing has changed between us. I still love you. You know I love you, right? You’re the original muse, and you could never be replaced.

That being said, I’ve been having certain cravings lately that I can no longer deny. Cravings for lightness and playfulness and bold color that I feel are not fully satisfied by our relationship. I need to confess. I’ve been seeing plastic on the side. You probably noticed. I’ve been scattering plastic around the house in a quiet way. There have been certain charges on our credit card that, if you looked into them, have probably led you to suspect something was up between me and plastic.

I don’t want this to hurt you (you know I love you, right?), so in order to explore this playful side and still allow you to shine (you deserve that), I’m proposing to set plastic up in its own house. I’m planning to call this new house Urban Legend. It’s going to take a little time for plastic to move out completely. It needs time to grow, and to establish an identity of its own. You and I, glass, need time to bond and rejuvenate our love. You have needs, and I know I’ve been neglecting you. I’m planning to open plastic’s new home around the third week of March (as with all real estate deals, this date is a bit flexible).

Glass, I hope you can understand. I hope you can forgive me and that you and our loyal friends can embrace this new side of my life. I hope you can learn to love plastic as much as I do. To help you with that, over the next several weeks I’ll be showing you some pictures (a sneak peek, some boudoir shots, if you will) to show you what we’ve been missing. You should know that my core values have not changed at all, and that the plastic I love is all vintage. You’ll notice that in some cases, plastic is paired with brass instead of silver. The brass is handmade, and fair trade. I haven’t really changed so much. And to reaffirm my commitment to you, and to our eco-friendly life together, I’ve redesigned your packaging using 30% recycled kraftpaper cards to showcase your gritty, sparkling loveliness. Shine on, my first love!

So for now, glass, I remain, as always, your faithful

Kateri