Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stones: Connemara Marble

Over Christmas we took a trip to Ireland. I posted some pictures a few blog posts back (Doors of Dublin, Castles and Gathering Moss). I promised I'd be back with a design that was Ireland inspired. And so I am. This piece uses a focal stone called Connemara MarbleIt is said to have 40 shades of green in it's wild pattern which perfectly represents the landscapes of the Emerald Isle. 

If any of you follow Karen over at Backstory Beads you will have seen her stunning design with this same focal I shared with her. It was amazingly designed and can be worn as a necklace or a pin. Seriously, it is very cool and you should click on over to her post. Liz from Bead Contagion also has one of these stones, so there is still one more stone to share with you all from Liz that will no doubt be a completely inspired design.

When I saw Karen's design I giggled to myself because I was half way done with my piece when she posted her's and I noticed that we had both looked at this stone and thought it needs fiber and knotted beads. Could not agree with you more Karen! Karen even went so far to include some beautiful macrame for her closure using a Sherri Stokey's technique.

I actually used a technique I saw in Erin and Lorelei's Bohemian Inspired Jewelry book (I never get tired of this book and come back to it again and again for inspiration). The knotting around the stone is called a lark's head knot. I included moss agate rounds to bring out all the shades of green in the focal. I added my own wire wrapped chain and then finished up with a bit of extra chain to make this a rather long necklace that slides over your head without a need for a closure.

Ok, and now for the history behind the stone. You know I can't resist a bit of that. Connemara Marble is over 900 million years old and is unique to Ireland. The name is tribal from Conmacne, a tribe with many branches from all over the Connacht region of Ireland which today is called Galway County. One branch of the tribe that lived on the Western coast was called the Conmacne Mara with mara meaning 'of the sea' in Gaelic.

The stone itself is a serpentine-rich rock, which has been used and traded since Neolithic period. Yeah, that's pretty old I'd say. During our trip we saw old ring forts that were from 6,000 years ago and weather-beaten stone huts that housed the people living along this wind-whipped part of the world. The rugged beauty is stunning as is their rich history. Absolutely a place worth visiting.

17 comments:

Janet Bocciardi said...

Gorgeous Cynthia! Are you keeping? I would - great souvenir and memory of your trip. We are kindred spirits - in love with all things beads, love to research, and are wanderlusters. (is that a word?!)

Linda Y said...

What a gorgeous piece Cynthia. I love the knotting technique you used with this and the large rings along the back. As always I love the sharing of information that you include in your work!

Bobbie said...

You and Karen are obviously design sisters -- how funny that you both came up with the fiber knotting. And if you should ever go back to Ireland, wear that necklace into every pub you visit, and you'll never have to buy your own refreshment!

BackstoryBeads said...

What an exciting design, Cynthia! Totally in love with the elemental color palette you chose - soothing and energizing at the same time. I'm sitting here, so inspired, taking in the beautiful harmony of this piece!

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Love the arrangement of knots and beads... what a great design for this dramatic focal, Cynthia :)

Mama Zen said...

I could almost swear that that has my name on it! Gorgeous!

Erin Siegel said...

Very nice piece, Cynthia. Of course, I love the cord and knotting. The way you knotted those beads along the multiple strands looks really nice. This is a great necklace and a wonderful example of how to successfully mix materials and textures for an appealing, modern bohemian design. I'd totally wear it. Thanks for the mention of the book, too! I always love, love, love to hear how you are using it for inspiration! Keep it coming. I will never ever get tired of that! LOL! :)

Christine Altmiller said...

Oh My Sweet Bohemian Elegance ~ what a gorgeous piece! You brought so many materials together beautifully and made them all flow. The history even makes it even more stunning. Wear this one!!! It goes well with the sweater :-)

Memories for Life said...

A beautiful stone and a beautiful piece! I love that it has so many shades of green :)

Shaiha said...

What a gorgeous necklace and such a wonderful way to showcase a memory.

Magic Love Crow said...

Amazing necklace! I love the style ;o) I really love Connemara Marble! My friend went to Ireland and brought me back a piece ;o) Take Care ;o)

Therese's Treasures said...

This is a beautiful necklace Cynthia I love how you used knotted fiber with the gem stones they compliment the marble beautifully. I always enjoy learning a little bit about the item you are blogging about, thank you for sharing the history of the marble.
Therese

Manuela Muratore said...

molto molto belle queste collane.
un bacio ti seguo.
unconventionalsecrets.blogspot.it

Liz E said...

That one is a keeper. It rises from the earth to embrace you and remind you of a wonderful adventure. Once I get my blasted A-Z letters done I'm working on my beautiful marble :-)

Marcela Gmd said...

Lovely!!!!

Shel said...

I love getting your blog posts in my email basket - especially when I get to see all the wonderful things you create AND get history lessons! Thanks for always feeding my interest (my nerdy side!) with such cool history and facts about your pieces - I totally love it! This stone and the piece is divine!

Miss Val's Creations said...

I love the way you strung this piece Cynthia! The links look fantastic with the overall look. In hindsight, I wish I brought some Connemara Marble home with me when I went to Ireland. It really is beautiful and such a perfect souvenir.

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