A few weeks ago I received a message from Jennah asking if I would be able to make some Pandora style beads for her. She asked if I could incorporate some sand from a beach that her family had scattered a loved ones ashes. I love this idea, especially as Pandora bracelets contain lots of memories as often, the wearer collects them on special occasions. The beads are tactile, the wearer often touches them. This meant these beads would have to be extra special.
Working with ashes isn't quite as daunting as it seemed
This was my first time making any sort of resin memorial jewellery with ashes / sand. So when Jennah first brought the sand to me, I wasn't sure how I'd feel working with the. I knew that it was special and I treated it with the upmost care and respect. The sand was in a little pot and wow it was beautiful. It was golden with flecks of grey and white and I knew instantly how I was going to make the beads.
Getting the colours right
Jennah has asked if I could incorporate the colour purple into the beads. I have the most amazing transparent violet pigment from Resin8 and I knew that this would be what I was going to use. I make some test beads first of all just using the purple transparent pigment, to give me an idea of how much resin I would need per bead, as well as how much pigment was needed. It also gave me a chance to practise finishing the beads off to make sure the finished pieces were perfect.
The test beads worked wonderfully and I also presented these to Jennah to use on their Pandora bracelets alongside the memorial beads.
Making the Memorial Beads
I made the beads using Resin8 coat it resin. I mixed this with the transparent purple pigment and half filled each of the bead cavities in the silicone mould. After this had set for 12 hours I mixed a tiny amount of sand from Jennah with some more coat it resin and added this to the bead mould to complete the beads.
I had also ordered some .925 sterling silver bead cores. I could have used a cheaper version but as these were memorial beads I wanted to make sure I used the best quality findings I could get.
Once the beads had cured for another 12 hours I removed them from the mould. I sat them on a flat surface to cure for another 12 hours before finishing them.
The finishing process was very fiddly and time consuming on these beads as I have slightly overfilled the mould which meant the top of the bead was fully enclosed in resin (I'll learn for next time!). I had to drill and sand to open the hole back up. I then polished and cleaned each beads and glued the bead cores into each one.
Presentation is EVERYTHING
When presenting the finished product to a customer I always think about the packaging. Often this will be the first thing the client sees of their product. I chose to string the beads on baby blue cotton lace and present them on a kraft card stamped with my Earth Symbols logo. The beads were packaged inside a cardboard box with tissue paper. The looked really spectacular and I know Jennah was so happy with the finished product.
I was so happy that I was asked to make these beautiful memorial beads. They turned out so much more beautiful that I had expected them to.