“Viperess” necklace with baroque pearl

“Viperess” necklace with baroque pearl

“Viperess” necklace. Sterling, 24 KYG, black star sapphires, Columbian emerald, and a baroque freshwater pearl. (Pearl is being replaced by a rubellite tourmaline and I’m adding a hinge to the back so it closes easier. This will leave a gap between the tail and the head.)

I know, I know, as a Navajo I’m supposed to avoid snakes. I’m also Maidu and Washo, however, and I liked to catch red racers, garter snakes, and king snakes as a child. Even in my Navajo grandmas backyard! I always liked snakes and no one ever said anything until I moved here. I also belly dance, and snake imagery is very important in Egypt. Some dancers even perform with live snakes. I doubt I’d go that far, my Navajo relatives and friends might freak out. I love the Victorian era and JAR snake necklaces, and I’ve  been designing and pondering on how I could make one. I made a paper pattern by tracing around a big yogurt lid and cut it out. I tweaked it for a few weeks before I cut it out of silver. There are 4 sizes of scale stamps that I made out of a center punch set. Each scale is individually stamped on before I hammered it to give it volume and shape.

The first Viperess necklace sold and it closed via a simple hook and eye in front. The back is hinged with two jump rings. Since I spent so many years repairing jewelry, I like to keep mechanisms as simple as possible for longevity’s sake. But this one keeps coming open and so I’m going to trim the back and put in a spring hinge, and the big gorgeous pearl is gone and will be replaced with a pear shaped faceted red tourmaline. Personally, I really liked the pearl, but no one else did. In the past year, I acquired a good stash of Columbian emeralds, which I hear are getting rare, and I set one on the head. I like to use fine, or 24 K, gold for bezels. Though I have to roll it out myself I like that rich yellow as an accent, and it makes a nice tight bezel. This type of necklace sells for $3,500. There’s a matching bracelet and earrings, too.

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