Jewelry Design Challenge: Elvish

Wire vine earrings

This week’s challenge on the Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design blog was to design jewelry inspired by The Lord of the Rings, or elvish-inspired jewelry in general.  We could also go with medieval-inspired.

I grew up loving the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. Actually, I first fell in love with Middle Earth and it’s inhabitants in The Hobbit. Recreating the Rings of Power is well beyond my jewelry-making abilities, or my magic, for that matter. Ditto the Evenstar pendant from the movies.

So, it was off to the internet for an image search to get ideas. What I found when looking for elvish jewelry were lots of silver scrolled or viny pieces, and some pieces that looked like celtic knots. My wire-working skills are not up to creating a celtic knot. So, I decided to go the viny scrolled route.

Silver vines wire earrings

Elvish-inspired earrings in a free-form wire vine pattern.

These earrings, made with twisted and plain round silver-plated wire, were my fourth attempt. I’ve never made anything like them, and while the design may look simple, it’s not so easy to get the “vines” to twist and turn the way you want when you’ve working without a net. It’s even less easy to make matching vines. They aren’t perfectly matched, which is pretty typical for my organic, rustic, I’m-too-impatient-to-keep-trying style.

If I were to do them over again (and again) I’d try to get the loops (or maybe they’re leaves?) spaced better. The way the two pieces – twisted and plain – align is not as visually pleasing as it could be.  I may come back to this some day. Or, more likely, I’ll get distracted by some other design, challenge, shiny object.

I also made a necklace, which is a little more medieval than elvish. The medallion is polymer clay, resin, and a secret ingredient. (You can learn the secret to the iridescent blue “jewel” inlays that change color as you move in this tutorial from The Blue Bottle Tree.)

Polymer clay medallion necklace

Medieval-ish medallion pendant necklace.

I made this pendant, and three others, earlier this year. They’re rather on the large side, but fairly light weight, being made of polymer clay. I’ve been wondering what to do with them. This challenge reminded me I had them. I’m still not sure how to pair them with other components. Stringing this one on a simple chain looked medieval to me. So, there you go.

That’s it for my elvish- or medieval-inspired jewelry designs. Next week’s challenge is to create futuristic minimalistic jewelry inspired by the movie THX 1138.  Minimalist is the opposite of my usual design style, but I love science-fiction. This should be interesting. I hope you’ll stop by next week to see how it goes.

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