Sunday, August 3, 2008

Found Objects - Dragon's Eggs

I'm not sure if I've ever discussed this before, but I really like jewelry made from found objects. There seem to be an increasing number of projects out there incorporating found materials, and they pretty much all make me drool. (Having said that, I have to admit that I do favor jangly bracelets made with Cracker Jack charms and other small plastic charms from vending machines, personally - I anticipate having a lot of these in the house to work with as the Short One grows older, yay!) With this in mind, I thought I'd show you some recently acquired "found" materials that are on my list to use.

I've borrowed the term dragon's eggs from Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios. She had a wonderful post last year on her blog describing how she and her sister used to collect dragon's eggs as children, cracked them and used them to decorate their forts (she may have used a different word for their private play space). I love the idea that geodes are actually dragon's eggs. I went back and looked at her archives today and, unfortunately, was not able to find that specific post. However, if you do not already read her blog, I highly recommend paying her a visit, as her writings are full of such wonderful stories.

My friend Carolyn gave me these geodes a while back. I believe her brother had collected a bunch of them downstate several years ago during a family trip and unearthed a few while cleaning his garage. Anyway, Carolyn, who is my beading buddy, generously shared them with me, with the idea that we might be able to make jewelry out of the pieces, if the geodes actually contained crystals. Like so many other projects, they've been malingering around the house, looking like innocuous ping pong balls (the smaller one, at least, is about the size of a ping pong ball). The Husband and I had carefully set aside some metal wedges that we thought would work to crack them open without pulverizing them - and then we promptly forgot where we put them (if you've been reading my blog recently, you'll know that this is becoming a bit of a theme at our house).

Anyway, happily, H. found them when he got out the power drill this weekend for a garden box project (who knows why we put them there at all), and we snuck out while the Short One was having this nap on Sunday to see if there was any treasure inside. (Carolyn had already informed me that hers contained nice blue crystals, so we were pretty optimistic about finding something.) Lo and behold, this is what we discovered when we cracked them:

Okay, I have to say, these are terrible photos. The geodes are actually full of very delicate and nicely sparkly white crystals (I'm presuming quartz), and I had a very hard time trying to capture the sparkliness here. If you click on the photos, you'll get a close-up of the images, which will give you a better sense of what they're like in person. The big, smooth pieces will probably end up in the SO's collection of shiny things, but I think that these three, small pieces will probably work for necklace pendants:

Here's a close up of the top piece, which is my favorite (in real life, it is a little over an inch across):

Now, the place where these geodes were collected is evidently just a few hours drive from where I live, so, when the SO is old enough, I anticipate that the family will toodle off there to do a little prospecting of our own. In the meantime, I have plans for my newly acquired crystal (thanks, Carolyn!). At least one of these pieces will be destined for use in a metal clay bezel (in some fashion - details are still a bit hazy), and I may create a wire-wrapped "cage" for another one of the pieces. Really, I feel that there is a lot that can be done with these small, shiny pieces. (For an example of a beautiful finished beaded necklace incorporating a cut geode, please visit Cyndi Lavin's Jewelry and Beading blog. She has a wonderful tutorial there on how to create a freeform beaded setting for a small geode.)

If you are interested in cracking your own dragon's eggs but do not live in or near an area of the country where they can be found, I recommend your local gem and rock shop, which will likely have geodes of various sizes for sale that you can crack yourself at home. If you'd prefer not to have to go through the whole hunt for crystals (not all geodes will contain crystals) or would prefer cleaner-looking pieces, your local rock shop will also likely have a nice selection of geode pieces for sale that have already been neatly sliced, cleaned, polished and, sometimes, drilled.

If anyone else has incorporated geodes in their jewelry design, I'd love to hear from you - please do leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting!


LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

What a great idea ... I think you may be breaking new ground - pun DEFINITELY intended :-)

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hee, hee - thanks, Lynn!