Build A Line Challenge from B’sue Boutiques, Mary Craig of Jewelry Alchemy, Part One

Welcome to Jewelry Alchemy! My name is Mary Craig, and I’m thrilled to be here with you for the first part of the Build A Line Challenge from B’sue Boutiques.

This is Part One of the Build A Line series of blog hops, where I will tell you a bit about myself and my background, and why I decided to be part of this challenge.

The challenge is really a master class of sorts, and will span three months. There will be a total of three hops and we have 58 participants.   All of us will be working hard to create a cohesive line of jewelry and pull our look and thought process together.   At the end, we will reveal a complete line of jewelry with a minimum of five pieces all in our chosen style.

Trade Bead Necklace comprised of stylized turtle beads from Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand; antique red skunk trade beads and pale pink gooseberry trade beads; contemporary small striped red and blue beads, and satin glass barrel beads.

Although I’ve spent my career working as an instructional designer and program manager for a large corporation, I’ve always searched for ways to be more creative. This search was pretty hit-and-miss until about 5 years ago when a dear friend and I took a basic jewelry design class at a nearby bead store. An addiction was born! This bead store recently went out of business, but my drive to learn more about designing and creating jewelry has never been stronger.

I plunged into the world of beads and jewelry pretty indiscriminately, wanting to try my hand at everything. Bead stringing? YES! Wire wrapping? YES! Bead weaving, bead knotting, kumihimo? TRIPLE YES! I love it all.

But during this headlong plunge into all things jewelry, I began to develop a special love for the old beads. By old I mean not just early 20th century Art Deco and Art Nouveau, but also the really old stuff like carnelian faceted barrel beads made in the mid-1800s in Idar-Oberstein, Germany:


These tiny, exquisite black-and-white zebra stripe shell beads from Morocco:


Layered chevron beads, which first appeared in Murano, Italy, around 1500:


These beads are so special to me because they carry the stories of the ancient people who made them, wore them, and traded them.

“When one looks at a bead, it is hard not to think about who previously owned it and how far through time and distance it has traveled to reach its current destination.”
–Robert K. Liu, author of Collectible Beads

And Now for My Theme…

I plan to combine my love of antique and vintage beads with stampings and components from B’Sue Boutiques that suggest a connection to history. My goal will be to create a line of jewelry that has a definite ethnic feel and sense of history to it, yet is affordable and wearable with today’s styles.

Here are some of the B’Sue pieces that I’m playing with so far (and I’m waiting for some to arrive in the mail):

  • I love all scarab designs, since they bring to mind the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt (approximately 2000BCE):


  • This very cool moth pendant reminds me of motifs often seen in Arts and Crafts designs of the early 1900s. (I can’t wait for him to arrive in the mail!)

Mothra rb04589-2

  • These B’Sue components should work as links to tie the designs together, both figuratively and literally:


Thank you for stopping by Jewelry Alchemy. I’d love to read your comments, and I look forward to visiting my fellow participants’ blogs on January 23!

Please continue the hop by visiting my fellow participants listed in the post directly below.

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33 Responses to Build A Line Challenge from B’sue Boutiques, Mary Craig of Jewelry Alchemy, Part One

  1. I LOVE this concept. So cool.


  2. I love history too! Can’t wait to see what you make with these. 🙂 ~Elizabeth


  3. Renee Hong says:

    Yes! Somebody chose Egyptian and historical! I love seeing the old Roman glass, too. You will definitely set your self apart, and I can’t wait to see how your variety of skills is interpreted across times and cultures. Wonderful, Mary!


  4. Renee Hong says:

    I forgot to say how much I like your business name. It’s perfect, and catchy.


  5. Gina Hockett says:

    What an inspirational theme!! I can’t wait to see more, and hear about your journey. Glad to be on the journey with you. The chevron necklace is just devine!


  6. Looking forward to our journey together .. your beads are beautiful .. Jann


  7. lilisgems says:

    Can’t wait to see what you do with these. I too love vintage/antique and the stampings you have shown are some of my favorites!~ Ingrid


  8. I like the idea of a jewelry line with and old world feel, I have to say I realy wabt to see how you develop your line, I love the stampings you picked


  9. Janet Calardo says:

    Love the idea of your theme. Looks like it will be very interesting. Look forward to the big reveal.


  10. Great blog, wonderful idea! Can’t wait to see your line.


  11. Dana says:

    Looking forward to seeing your line develop!


  12. What a wonderful theme! Loving those B’sue components you chose to accompany your beads.


  13. Melida says:

    Sounds interesting. Can’t wait to see!


  14. Marvelous! Ancient trade beads are a special love of mine too. I lived & worked at an orphanage in Morocco in 1977 & that’s where I first fell in love w/ ancient millefiori and amber beads. I started collecting them then for the same reasons, but I can’t bear to part with them. You’re a stronger woman than I, I admire your work, it will be a joy to follow.


  15. DragonzWench says:

    When I was young I wanted to go to Egypt and search the pyramids, uncover and discover history but my parents wouldn’t allow it. I will follow your line with interest.


  16. Mama San says:

    Can’t wait to see your completed line! I love what your doing! Brava ~ Sandie B.


  17. MJ Casady Copper Works says:

    I could spend hours in a bead store! Can’t wait to see your finished work!


  18. apttowander says:

    LOVE this!!! Can’t wait to see your first piece.


  19. beadsophisticate says:

    That is a unique theme, always good to have your own niche. I’ll be interested to see how you interpret it.


  20. So sorry–I commented in the wrong place–replied to myself or something weird! Anyway, I was saying that I think your line will be unusually beautiful! 🙂


  21. makes me want to dig out my history of beads book by Lois Dubin!


  22. Lynda O'Mara says:

    Apparently I commented in the wrong place too. Combining old and new should make an eclectic and fascinating line with a story.


  23. Belinda says:

    I love history too, your blog was very informative, and your trade beads are beautiful, can’t wait to see what beautiful designs you come up with 😀


  24. amemedesigns says:

    Very nice blog post – great photos and writing. I love the connection to history angle – it seems we’ve been adorning ourselves since the very beginning – I look forward to your line and more blog posts from you!


  25. Great idea for a line, Mary … I’m excited to see what you develop! 😉


  26. Just wonderful! I love your theme and am looking forward to the coming adventure!


  27. Brenda Sue says:

    Thank you so much for joining us, Mary, and you did a great job on your first post for the trilogy!


  28. Wonderful post, I love your theme! I can’t wait to see all the pretty thing you are going to make! Have a Blessed Day!


  29. Nadine Edris says:

    An inspired theme. I can’t wait to see more!


  30. Coral says:

    I love old beads and Egyptian jewelry. So excited to see your ideas. Can’t wait to see you first creation.


  31. Linzi Alford says:

    I Love old beads too! I like your concept with Egyptian theme- love Mothra 🙂 Linzi


  32. gloria allen says:

    Nice blog, excellent post looking forward to your first piece.


  33. Hi Mary!
    What a FAB idea for a line! I am loving ALL your beads-B’Sue’s filigree beads are so fun and your other beads are very strong,and definitive they will really make your pieces pop!
    Looking forward to seeing your beautiful finished line!
    See You in the class room!

    Liked by 1 person

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