Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eyeglass Chain Inspired by Irish landscapes

One of my favourite, Irish American ladies asked me to make an eyeglass chain inspired by the Irish landscape. Now, I was not going to get away with anything so simple as our famous greens, but the hopes and wishes were to incorporate 'the colour of dirt'. We just call it earth, clay or soil over here on the old sod.  'Dirt' in Ireland only refers to something unclean or icky. But as always, I knew exactly what she meant and did my best to get it right. It turned out to be a really fun challenge that has opened my eyes to further possibilities in design.

Ireland is a hyper-hued country with a rich and varied scenery. A quick search through my own photos taken on my hikes turned up plenty of visual fodder for the imagination. Above is Lough Dan in Wicklow and the peaty brown hills of Tick Nock, Dublin. Below are shots of the Upper Cliff path and the Rhododendron forest, both in Howth. 

The trouble is, tones that work so well in nature, don't always harmonise in jewellery. The real challenge was picking beads to reflect our colourful landscape that didn't clash in miniature. 

I eventually narrowed it down to a combination of colder greens, earthy browns and a vibrant, pinky purple. A few dots of black would help unite the colours neutrally.

Please forgive the quality of the photos, taken on an overcast day a bit too late in the afternoon. The dark green tubes with patchy white veining are tree agate. This cold shade of forest green contrasts very well with the purple-lined, glass beads. The small brown stones are jasper and I used tiny black glass to soften the contrast between earth with heather.

At the ends of the beaded strings I introduced just a hint of mustard tigerseye that would have overpowered the design had I used any more. Next to these sandy stones I chose moss agate cubes to complete the scheme.

I opted for oxidised silver chain and dark metal to tie the look together. Anything shinier would simply have jarred. This choice has lent a vintage look to the finished piece that just feels right to me.


  1. That is so cute Anne Marie..I like so much I love the story of your walks..LOL
    I just come back now from Railway Walk, Tinahely(Co Wicklow) ...we enjoy some much Irish walk landscape indeed !

  2. I agree that it is hard to use the colours in nature in jewellery. I have attempted this a few times and not quite got it right. I also don't have a big enough bead collection to pick from - but I am working on that ;-) I really love the chain, it certainly does make me think of Ireland.