Have you ever been to an old-fashioned afternoon tea, the kind with floral teapots and tiered glass trays of treats? Traditional teas offer foods like scones with Devonshire cream or cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver offers a "chocolate tea" which is just what you would think: all chocolate treats! That's the inspiration behind this Chocolate Tea necklace I made for the "What's Old is New" challenge hosted by Artbeads.com. The idea of the challenge was to combine old and new pieces together.
- The vintage carved glass cabochon is from Beyond Beadery. I love this piece! It's ivory and the brown on top almost looks like a penciled drawing (albeit, a 3-D one.)
- Stringing and knotting beads (especially pearls) on silk cord is an old technique. I've been itching to use something other than stringing wire or chain lately, so I used silk cord rather than beading wire to string the beads.
- The brass hook clasp, the bail, knot cups, and the pendant frame (found in the base metal section) have a vintage look, but are actually new pieces.
- The beads (a mix of size 11 seed beads, Swarovski crystals, faceted glass rondelles, and Swarovski pearls) are all new. While it's traditional to knot with pearls, knotting with crystal pearls is much easier, since you don't have to worry about uneven hole sizes, as you would with natural pearls. (You can find crystal pearls in the Swarovksi crystal beads section.)
- Instead of knotting after every bead, which is the traditional method, I knotted only occasionally in between beads. I used seed beads to replace many of the knots, which can give a similar look.
- Bail & Pendant Frame Combo: I love the way this bail works with this pendant frame. You could simply attach the frame to the beaded strand with a jump ring, but the bail adds a nice touch. (In fact, they match so nicely that if I didn't tell you they were two separate pieces, would you even know?)
- Pendant Frame Size: I was nervous about how the cabochon would fit into the frame. On the artbeads.com website, the frame is listed as measuring 45mm (height) x 34mm (width). That is the measurement of the frame, not the inside oval where the cabochon fits. (That's about 18mm wide x 25mm high.) That's why I ordered the seed beads originally—I planned to bead around the cabochon to fill up any extra space if the oval turned out to be too large. It turned out to be a perfect fit and I didn't need the beading. I kept it anyway because I liked the way it looked.
- Bead Selection: For easy stringing, I chose beads that were all 6mm and in the same color range, but that had different textures and shapes to add variety.
- Seed Beads: Seed beads are really a great way to stretch your stringing budget. I still have seed beads left from the one package I used.
- Color: I liked the color of the "rich brown" crystal pearls, more than the "brown" ones. I think Swarovski could sell many more of the rich brown crystal pearls if they renamed them "chocolate brown" pearls. Yummy!