Out of Africa
4 strands at rest and not twisted together.
Not too long ago I created this multi strand necklace and have debated about exactly what to do with it. It is a beautiful piece created around a precious strand of African tribal beads. These beads had been purchased by someone I knew who had lived a few years in Angola, Africa and it was there that she came across these lovely, handmade beads.
Lucky her, she managed to obtain several strands from the village chieftain.
This particular village was primitive and did not have resources such as fancy, electric kilns, or even work tables upon which the bead artisans could craft their beads. Instead of a well equipped studio, these crafters either sat outside on the ground or they sat on the earthen floors of their huts while they worked creating their beads. Their kilns were crude brick ovens fueled by wood fires.
Making beads or a number of other handcrafted items provided an income for the villagers and afforded them a standard of living that provided them with life's basics; food, clothing and shelter and perhaps not a whole lot more.
Holy - Moly there's a lot of 14 k gold filled saucers beads !
When my friend offered to sell me a strand or two of these marvelous beads, I jumped at the opportunity even though I had not the slightest idea just what I would do with them. It was months later that I happen to mix them up with some lovely ivory colored freshwater pearls and some 14 k gold filled beads that I realized it was a winning combination. So if one strand of this combination would be a winner, what would 4 strands be? A Jackpot !
Above photo shows the 4 strands twisted together.
Since the African beads are a lovely rusty red, I decided what better to compliment them than rich, Red Jasper. And so it was that I used red jasper to create links at the back of the necklace and fashioned an "S" hook clasp using a large Red Jasper bead and gold filled wire.
Photo above shows the 6 and 8 mm Red Jasper beads and my handmade "S" clasp.
Okay, so what's the problem? Well, I was more involved with creating a piece of art than something that would fit into my usual line of jewelry and went out of my ball park on price points.
The "Out of Africa" necklace contains:
· 2 strands freshwater ivory pearls
· 1 1/2 strands of those precious African beads
· 6 feet of 49 strand, super flexible, beading cable
· 2 gem grade, Red Jasper 6 mm beads
· 3 gem grade, Red Jasper 8mm beads
· 18 gauge 12 k gold filled wire
· 20 gauge 14 k gold filled wire
· 8 crimp tube beads in 14 k gold fill
· 8 jumprings in 14 k gold fill
And an incredible 162 , 14 k gold filled 4.7 mm saucer beads. !!! These beads cost a small fortune and if you look them up you'll find:
· Fire Mt. Gems' best price (the 200+ level) is 62 cents apiece (.62 x 162 = $100.44 without the $5 S and H fees)
· Artbead's best price (for 40+ beads) is 72 cents each (72 x 162 = $121.50)
And so there is my problem. With so much vested in materials I'm really hesitant to list it on etsy where many shoppers are looking for handcrafted bargains instead of handcrafted future heirlooms. A part of me says; "Forget it, you'll be wasting your time and 20 cents". However a big part of me says; "Hey, what the heck! For 20 cents go ahead and list it, the worse that can happen is that nobody buys it".
I really like the way the choker looks with the clasp worn at the side of the neck.
I would love to hear any experience that you may have had listing something that you thought might frighten a customer away from it. . . or perhaps having something sell that you thought would never stand a chance. . .or how about those things you thought were fantastic but for some reason just never attracted the right person. Or have you ever made something and then figured out the cost (like I did) and was floored by how much went into materials ?