I really wanted to keep my pieces closely resembling ancient Chamorro ornaments but my best friend said I should try experimenting with a few “not-so traditional pieces.” There are some people on Saipan that are big into making jewelry out of beads and they turn out real quality work that you can sell at high end stores on the island. But I really wanted an emphasis on a “traditional” flavor. As I see it, anyone can order bulk beading materials and get a book or video that gives you instructions on how to produce really good looking pieces. I am not knocking anyone who does this (in fact it’s a pretty neat hobby) but I think I will stick to utilizing things that I cut myself and not resort to store bought beads, etc.
This is the first bracelet that I attempted with a beautiful orange Spondylus centerpiece. The centerpiece reminds me of some Palauan money beads that are in the same shape and color. I then alternated two uncommon purple colored Spondylus salape’ disc beads, two orange ones, and closed the bracelet off with another purple salape’ bead. This was my first attempt on a bracelet form utilizing a square (flat) braid and a loop & toggle for the closure. I think I will rebind this another day, because the loop & toggle style on this bracelet makes it a little hard to put on by yourself. My best friend (who owns this piece now) struggles a few moments before she can get it on her wrist.
This next bracelet I call Cinnamon. It is made up of two orange Spondylus salape’ beads and the center bead is of an uncommon cinnamon colored Spondylus. This beauty is one of a kind!
My best friend saw some beads from a tiger cowry (Cypraea tigris) that were cut into squares in a gorgeous piece that was put together with some glass and plastic beads. She convinced me to experiment with this very non-traditional shape and I think the piece turned out attractively. I complained the whole time I was cutting it though saying things like, “This is not a traditional shape!” and telling her that the tiger cowry was probably over fished where it came from, and that if I wanted to be a “beader” then I should stop cutting my own pieces, and so on and so forth. So I ended up calling this piece Tigiri, the Chamorro word for tiger (from the Spanish word tigre, of course). Look closely and you’ll see Tigiri’s stripes.
Thank you again for allowing me to share.