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

Welcome back to Jewelry Alchemy! I’m excited to show you my progress over the past month, and to read about what my fellow participants have accomplished.


The month since our last blog hop has been a challenge. I like certainty. I like having a plan and working the plan. But creativity doesn’t want to work on my schedule, and I’ve spent more time than I care to imagine being frustrated over that reality.

I started the month with lots of concepts and design directions. By writing things out and talking with friends, it became apparent that, in fact, I had too many ideas. I needed to simplify, to streamline, to pick one direction and go for it. So that’s what I’ve done. My design brief (below) outlines my current approach to the B’Sue Build a Line challenge.


The name of my jewelry line is Cleopatra Reimagined. The inspiration is Cleopatra and the jewelry she might wear if she were suddenly transported to 2015.

My color palette is lapis blue and gold, with accents of carnelian red:

color palette

The components that I am using are a mixture of raw brass and antiqued brass. To add a sense of history, I’m mixing in antique African trade beads and accents of lapis lazuli.

trade beads

Lapis Lazuli was among the most highly prized tribute paid to Egypt, obtained from the oldest mines in the world, worked from around 4000 B.C. and still in use today. In the dry, barren land of the Egyptians, this deep cobalt blue color was a spiritual contrast to their arid desert hues. The gold flecks were like stars in their night-time sky and by meditating on these colors they felt supernatural forces would transform their lives. (

I have been experimenting with patina on raw brass with some fun results. Below is a picture of B’Sue’s large beetle in raw brass, and then the same beetle after his transformation. He’s been joined by a couple little brass frogs that have been tucked away in a drawer, but now have earned their freedom!

patina example 2

Below is a preliminary assembly on my first necklace. It features B’Sue’s beetle, circlets, and chain, in combination with African trade beads from the 1700s and contemporary lapis beads.


I’m currently experimenting with patinas on several other elements, as well as trying some etching. If all goes as planned, they will be combined with more African trade beads into two more necklaces as well as an assortment of earrings–all of which I’m hoping would do a modern-day Cleopatra proud!

Please visit my fellow participants (listed below). Happy Hopping!  ~Mary

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Love your color scheme Mary. Those frogs are just too cute 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing your finished jewelry line next month!


  2. Mary, those African trade beads are wonderful and the colors you’ve chosen really pop! Your line is going to be beautiful and I so enjoyed reading your blog! Well done!


  3. apttowander says:

    Oh, I LOVE this Mary!! I don’t use cobalt blue much in my jewelry, but I don’t know what I’ve been saving myself for!! This is gorgeous!!


  4. Mary, you had me at lapis! I’m excited to see your complete line. A month is too long….



  5. Erin Whitacre says:

    These colors are great!


  6. lilisgems says:

    Love the name of your line and the colors are fantastic. That beetle is one of my favorites! Can’t wait to see your completed line. ~Ingrid


  7. Love your color and design choices! Lapis is one of my favorite stones and colors.


  8. Dana says:

    Lapis is such a gorgeous blue. Really looking forward to seeing the rest of the line unveiled!


  9. That is a gorgeous blue! Beautiful! However did you get that color?


  10. Chi says:

    I really like your theme! The blue is outstanding. Can’t wait to see more.


  11. I just keep learning about the history of jewelry I love it when you all shared this part of your creative journey. I like the scarabs but the frogs are the unexpected and adorable. Can’t wait to see what you do with them frogs. I have those frogs and I don’t know what to do with yet. LOL!


  12. sweetwillowdesigns says:

    The patina you’ve achieved is quite striking. The addition of the trade beads really make for an interesting line.


  13. Renee Hong says:

    I love your idea! I saw the King Tut traveling exhibit a few years back; the jewelry was fantastic! I’m amazed you have beads from the 1700’s! I love the description of why the Egyptians prized Lapis Lazuli.


  14. Love the scarab beetle and can’t wait to see the rest!! I’m also a frog fan. I believe Nature belongs in Jewelry. But I guess that’s easy to tell since I’m building a line around it!! Lol. But can’t wait to see more from you. Such an original concept.


  15. MJ Casady Copper Works says:

    You’ve picked a great theme, lapis blue is one of my favorites. Can’t wait to see your finished line!


  16. Love your theme! Ancient Egypt has always been a favorite of mine. I can’t wait to see the whole line revealed. 🙂 ~Elizabeth


  17. Your line and color scheme are wonderful, Mary. Looking forward to next month’s reveal.


  18. I love were your going with your line and I love your colors too, great post!


  19. beadsophisticate says:

    Love the colors and the theme. Cleopatra was a feisty lady. I’m also impressed with your design brief. What a great idea for getting focused.


  20. Janet Calardo says:

    What a different design line concept that really works. love the look and colors.


  21. That’s a great design theme, Mary, and I love your colors and how you used them in your necklace. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your lovely pieces! 😉


  22. Brenda Sue says:

    Looks good and an excellent entry!


  23. I love the colors you chose and theme!


  24. DragonzWench says:

    Looking great. You’re on a winner


  25. Oh Mary, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to make with these. Lapis is one of my favorite stones & I’ve been collecting African trade beads, especially the millefioris like these since I worked at an orphanage in Morocco in 1977! I have several just like those in your pictures, but I can’t bear to part with a single one 🙂 I’ve never thought about combining them, but I will now! Can’t wait until I have time to make a new piece for myself!


  26. Love your theme Mary! I am doing one also, a little broader but similar! Like minds! Of course I cannot wait to see yours and would love to chat about both our loves of ancient style jewelry! My very best wishes on success of your line! I can hardly wait to see


    • Hi, Nike- Yes, great minds think alike! I’m so glad to know someone who loves old jewelry. I checked out your blog and really enjoyed your photos and story. I’m a corporate trainer myself, so there’s something else we have in common! It’s one of those Small World moments 🙂 ~mary


  27. Tammy Adams says:

    Your line is going to be stunning. Those colors are rich and luxurious and will complement quite a few other colors, not to mention really stand out against neutrals. Can’t wait to see the final designs.


  28. Bold use of color and I love the inclusion of African beads (which I adore.) Looking forward to seeing more!


  29. Nadine Edris says:

    I think this is a great idea for a line and will get a great response. Rich in color and history~I love it! Can’t wait to see more!!


  30. Awesome! Can’t wait to see your finished line!


  31. Wonderful theme and color choices! I love the bugs in combination with trade beads–very creative and evocative of Cleo’s time but it’s really trending now too. You’re doing great–looking forward to seeing your complete line! :):) (p.s. I found it hard to narrow down too, and many times kept thinking of changing my theme and bugging my family about all my worries!)


  32. gloria allen says:

    Love Lapis, coloring on the beetle is sooo pretty, looking forward to what you create.


  33. Linzi Alford says:

    great colour on the beetles, and a good theme, those African beads are stunning- looking forward to seeing your whole line in a month


  34. I just love the colorway you are using and the beads are outstanding!!! The patina on the the beetle and the frogs are adorable! Love your preliminary design! Can’t wait to see the final reveal! Be Blessed!


  35. Louise says:

    Mary I love your jewelry line concept way so much, talk about having fun while creating greatness, I love it! I love how you have incorporated the African beads and their history into the jewels of Cleopatra!! I’m thrilled about what you will create next! Warm Regards Louise


  36. Catherine says:

    Love your colors, Mary! Love cobalt blue, an eye popper for sure! ~ Catherine S.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Lynda O'Mara says:

    Mary–Your theme is very unique and imaginative! I love the color scheme. The dark blue beetle is very rich looking. And, I love Lapis, so what more can I say, other than I’m looking forward to seeing your complete line!


  38. amemedesigns says:

    Great work – I can’t wait to see the whole thing!


  39. Judy B says:

    I love the African trade beads and how you’ve incorporated them into your pieces. Also, the history lesson was great as well!


  40. Coral says:

    I like African trade beads as well. Love your combination.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s