5 Jewelry Designs Inspired by Color
Color is a powerful tool and says so much without saying a word. And like a song, color can transport you to a particular time, place, or event; color can even make your mouth water! Take for instance, pastel shades. For me, this color palette brings to mind spring and spring holidays—and matching outfits my sister and I had to wear! Warm tones of orange, yellow, and red lead to feelings of coziness and generate images of a glowing bonfire. They also make me think of crisp air and the tart taste of a freshly picked apple. Color plays a big part in our lives from home décor to fashion, and it can be pivotal when designing a new piece of jewelry.
Inspiring Colorful Jewelry Designs
To follow are some of my favorite jewelry designs, which are my favorite largely due to the colors used. Each time I come across these projects, my heart skips a beat–maybe yours does too! These projects are expertly explained, step-by-step, and the experts who created them also share a behind-the-scenes take on the colors, the stones, and what inspired the design.
GREEN & YELLOW
I’m a yellow-green fan no matter the material–from fabric to glass, and paint to gemstones—I collect it all. BUT! It has to be the right shade of yellow-green to stop me in my tracks and get me to part with my dollars. It’s not a neon green or neon yellow and not a light green or a dark yellow, but just the right blend of them all; like the yellow-green in the Atlantisite Pendant by Marilyn Mack! Wowza! That serpentine really pops and the design takes my breath away.
In Marilyn’s words: “When I first saw this lovely serpentine marketed as “atlantisite” at the gem show in Tucson, I fell in love with the beautiful contrast of lime green and purple with splashes of orange-gold. I couldn’t believe that I had found a stone slab that displayed all of these lovely colors.
“To me it’s all about color, cut, and texture. I prefer straight-sided, flat-top, free-form cuts to give the setting a contemporary look. I really don’t like to cut too much away from a stone for the sake of having curved edges or a domed surface. The additional faceted and cabochon amethyst, citrine and peridot give the piece the balance of cuts needed, in ovals, rounds and domes, also reflecting the colors of this lovely serpentine. I always put a sparkling drusy stone in my designs to add texture. For this setting I chose a drusy rainbow pyrite from Russia in metallic greens and golds.”
The green in Lexi Erickson’s Wavellite Pendant, made as the final design in a 10-part soldering series, is a shade of green that I swoon over—this will top the shopping list for the next trip to Tucson!
In Lexi’s words: “The wavellite cabochon I started with has a slight curve, two partial radial patterns, and a lot of depth. For the piece, I wanted the elegance and repetition of curves as well as some depth in the metal, and a graceful, feminine sensibility. I also wanted to provide the challenge of some prongs. Because I’m known for my earthy colored, larger pieces, designing a dainty piece with this soft green color made this project a challenge for me, too.”
GREEN & PURPLE
I also LOVE the shade of green in these prasiolites. Oh, my! There’s just a tinge of blue in these that takes me to the ocean, so it’s no wonder it’s another green I could love forever. Pairing this color with purple, as seen in the earrings by Helen Driggs takes this gemstone over the top!
In Helen’s words: “These are interesting because they combine classic faceted ovals, flat backed stone beads, and freeform cabochons. The purple and green combo is something that reminds me of childhood — my favorite elementary school teacher used to wear a color blocked dress that was like a Mondrian painting of bright purple, white, and kelly green and I just loved it.” Make Helen’s three-stone earrings with this tutorial.
I’m not a pastel pink person–as in, it looks terrible on me! I like the color okay but really gravitate toward other versions of pink – like hot pink and fuchsia! I think that’s what gets me every time I see Connie Fox’s Riveted Mixed Media Bracelet. That and the graphic nature of the images used to create this project.
In Connie’s words: “The Homage to Frida bracelet focuses on the passion and pain in her life. The hues of red are intended to convey her passionate nature, the bilious yellow, the pain she endured. The crown (typewriter part) symbolizes the ribbons and flowers she frequently wore, and expresses the elevated status she has achieved in the minds and hearts of many people. A frame surrounds a stamped “spine,” a source of much of her pain. On the frame is stamped “PASSION,” and “PAIN” spelled upside down. The upside down spelling symbolizes what happens to our lives when we are forced to live with pain.”
Purple seems to work no matter the weather, the season, or the material. The combination of sagenite, sugilite, and garnets in Roger Halas’ design proves my point!
In Roger’s words: “Our ability to see color is by far one of the greatest tools we have at the bench. And stones, with their virtually endless symphony of hues and textures, are as critical to the jewelry arts as oils and acrylics are to masters of the brush.
“Besides being an exercise in lapidary and metal fabrication, this project focuses on one color in particular: purple. Coveted by the ancients, regaled by monarchs and championed by modern designers, it suggests royalty by virtue of its sole presence. So when we find it in a stone, the creative union of color and intent may produce results that are simply majestic.”
Create Colorful Jewelry Designs
Color isn’t needed in all jewelry designs, but these examples are only a few where color not only creates impact. It also stirs the soul.
Editor, Beadwork magazine; Group Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry