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Dragons, Crystals and Chainmaille: Jewelry Designs to Inspire Your imagination

Dragons Crystals and Chainmaille
We are thrilled to welcome as our guest blogger Jane Danley Cruz, a former editor here at Kalmbach Publishing, a lover of all creatures mystical and otherwise, and the author of a brand-new book! Today Jane shares with us some of the inspiration behind Dragons, Crystals and Chainmaille, and gives us a sneak peek at some of the projects. 

Be it medieval, myth or magic, all roads lead to jewelry

I majored in music my freshman year in college and joined a troupe of Madrigal singers for extra credit. One look at those costumes and I could think of nothing but the jewelry needed to complete the ensemble.  Imagine small town Midwest in the early ‘80s, and the availability of medieval-inspired jewelry.  Right – nonexistent! That is, until one of the women in the troupe brought in a shoebox filled with cast off necklaces, broken brooches, clip-on earrings, pearls, lace, and ribbons. After embarking upon some research, I set about sewing, stringing, wiring and gluing bits and bobs together to make a jewelry wardrobe that was a fair representation of the historic period.

Over the years, my passion for jewelry has only grown and has included many wonderful years working on Bead&Button, Wirework and BeadStyle magazines.  When Kalmbach Books Editor, Dianne Wheeler, approached me about a book idea featuring medieval and fantasy jewelry, I was delighted.  I’ve always had a predilection for whimsical and fanciful baubles, bones and crystals and this was an opportunity to demonstrate a variety of techniques and encourage others to incorporate myth and magic in their jewelry. The end result is Dragons, Crystals & Chainmaille designed to inspire you to be bold and create that which you see in your mind’s eye.

Amethyst alchemy earrings
Amethyst Alchemy earrings

The Amethyst Alchemy earrings on page 89 of my book are a tribute to the first pendant I cobbled together many years ago for my Madrigal costume.  At that time, the components I had to work with were an old filigree brooch and a foiled backed glass stone that I found in my mother’s jewelry box. The foil was peeling off the back of the glass stone so I used some gold paint from a model car kit  to touch it up, and I sealed it with clear nail polish to keep it from flaking off.  As I recall, I glued the stone to the center of a filigree brooch and suspended it from a length of pearls.

The Amethyst Alchemy earrings in the book are much prettier, the supplies easier to obtain, and you don’t have to risk brain damage from the smell of that paint!

Fortune tellers necklace
Fortune Teller's necklace

The Fortune Teller’s necklace on page 52 is comprised of bits of interesting chain, beads and talismans embellished with coiled wire, other bits of chain, and jump rings. Sort through your bead stash, junk drawer, and even the bottom of your purse for inspiration and findings to use in an interesting compilation of your own. This project is a beaded journal and represents my life long jewelry-making journey. 

For example, I used to make macramé bracelets for my friends to trade and sell at music shows and the tiny silver bells in this necklace are left over from this phase, as is the braiding technique used for the Forever Entwined cuff on page 56 of Dragons, Crystals and Chainmaille. 

Regardless of what you’re “into”, you can use the projects and techniques in this book to make your own fantasy jewelry a reality.

Forever entwined cuff
Forever Entwined Cuff

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