Friday, March 4, 2011

Rock Collecting

The first day back from Kindergarten in 2005 and my son had both pockets filled with gravel.
Instead of running around for his precious 15 minutes of freedom, he got lost in picking out "special" rocks to bring home to his mama.
This gesture touched me deeply, I sat down with him and asked him to tell me what he liked about each rock. He said things like "It's brown like chocolate." or "It has a circle in it". 
I have kept these rocks he collected so carefully to this day.

It reminds me there is beauty in even the plainest of rocks. True, some of them you have to look at through the eyes of a child to see that but it is there, each rock has its special quality, just like us humans!

A few drilled rocks from Stone Me caught my eye, not for their rarity or their gem like quality but because they were plain. Plainly beautiful! Putting them into bracelets served 2 purposes; 1 - they brought back memories of rock collecting with my son and 2 - they look AWESOME with patina-ted chain.

The bracelets were simple to build; center the double drilled rock on the bead board at 6". 
Insert 8mm jump rings into both drilled holes.
Open the last link in a 4" piece of patina chain and close it over either side of the rock.
Bring the other side around to the opposite side of the rock and open, then close the last link onto the jump ring. You now have a closed bracelet that you can add beads and clasps too, alternating where you place them, either next to the drilled rock or at the back of the bracelet, in the middle of the 4" chain piece.
Double the chain with less expensive antiqued copper, or add a strand of pearls next to it.

As your piece grows longer, just take out the extra links or chain, adding them to the clasp as an extender or a charm dangle.
I used czech glass from artbellasurplus as embellishments, the Picasso finish complimented the rustic patina and the rock textures really well.
You can also use the left over chain bits to create complimenting earrings.

Half of this collection is at Jewelry Affaire, with hopes that it will be shown in their Summer issue. The other half sold out at a shop within 4 weeks so feel free to make as many rock bracelets as you can with this simple technique! Buyers seem to like them.
And for all of you who think my uber special spectacular patina chain is too expensive, the parts for each bracelet, including the chain come to under $20, with a low retail price of $45 for each bracelet and an average of $20 for each pair of earrings, you've made your money back and then some.


  1. Aw, my daughter collects shells and pebbles for me so I know exactly what you mean. I keep them all too!
    Beautiful bracelets x

  2. Sweet story and even sweeter inspiration for your beautiful bracelets! I have several sets of those stones from Stones Studio Too. Always trying to find ways to use them. These are beautiful and you are so giving to say sure go ahead and make them! I love them paired with your chains, and a simple strand of beads. Brilliant. And best, I like that you broke down the cost and the retail mark up. That in itself is a great lesson!
    Enjoy the day!

  3. I love your pieces, and what a sweet story!

  4. Brilliant and I love a good story. And that is a very good rock story about your boy. Does he still look for special rocks for his mama? Which reminds me that I was late for my very first day of kindy because I got distracted looking for special rocks in gravel while walking to school. It was a different time then and in small towns we got to wander pretty much anywhere without supervision. I had forgotten this!

  5. Aw Shannon I love this story. I am following a blog that lost her daughter at 4 month to sids and I need some happy stories. I used to collect rocks too so I should figure how to drill them soon!
    Shannon C

  6. All I can say is that you are a better Mother than I! I would have gotten upset that they brought home more "stuff" and thrown them in my garden out back! I officially feel unworthy!

  7. What a sweetie pie you have for a son! That is so sweet! Thanks for the tutorial.

  8. Your work looks even more bautiful now:), if possible. Have a good Sunday!

    I just got my exam results and life can begin again. SO happy!

  9. I really enjoyed hearing about your son collecting rocks for you. I have two sons that collect rocks, and have them all over my studio too. There is just something special about finding them on a hike or adventure.
    Love the stone bracelets. I have always liked plain old grey smooth stones in jewelry, or even beach slate.

  10. So sweet! My kids and I love collecting rocks and shells (but especially rocks). We always come home with a load from our family vacations. And all three of my kids spent many a school recess collecting rocks.

    Your bracelets are just beautiful!!!

  11. I have to check this place out and then come back for the matching chain (when the bead diet is over of course) What a great project. I actually have a rock my sweet daughter found years ago that is shaped like a manetee (which I collect) yes nature does make awesome treasures!

  12. Beautiful! Thank so much for sharing your design with us. The rocks are so unusual and work perfectly with your gorgeous chain. Of course! I have just blogged about your Easter SUnday links and used one of your photos to illustrate - hope that's ok!

  13. My little Chloe (3) and I were just walking through the garden yesterday and she stopped to pick us up some pebbles. We have many places where we've put river rock - in an assortment of sizes - of which, the teeny tiny are her favorites (she can fit a lot into her hands). She picked me out a small orange toned one, and I found her a "purple" one. I love these little moments…

    Also - just added your blog to my blog list (finally) so I could read up on your posts regularly. Will be getting myself some of your patinas very soon. I'm having issues trying to narrow down my colors to 6, and not just break down and buy one of every one (which is what I really want to do!)...

  14. Love this story ..bring backs memories of the same..and your insights..for the beauty found in stones is not only 'skin' deep.

  15. Lovely story. I used to collect sea shells, so I can relate

  16. Story time with Shannon. It makes me smiles the thought of you two sitting together sorting out the rock collection.

    I'm a grown up and I still collect rocks.

    I love the bracelets. There is something so fascinating about drilled rocks.

  17. I wonder what it is about kids and rocks, my daughters like your son still bring me all manner of pebbles and stones and yes they find them beautiful for a number of what may seem to us vague reasons. But how great is it to have your eyes truly open to the beauty around us by these little angels, especially when you weren't expecting it.

    Truth be told I still like to pick up the odd pebble/ stone, my hubby will be first to tell you that nothing else makes me happy than for him to bring me home a pretty pebble he has found during his day, (as it lets me know that I was on his mind) :)

  18. What a beautiful story and your jewelry is beautiful too. I wonder how did you drill the rocks? I wished I could do that. But they may also be wired wrap for sissy people like me.

  19. Click the Stone Me link and you will be taken to an artist who drills them. I have tried and shattered many a drill bit so I for one, am happy to support someone who has perfected the craft of drilling hard rock.


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