Humming my own tune

I finished my hummingbird bead last year just as the final hummingbirds migrated south for the winter. I was sad to see them go, but at least it gave me seven months to think about what to do for the rest of my hummingbird bracelet!

My first task was finding just the right shade of dark green – with a helping of white and a touch of ruby red thrown in – to represent the hummingbirds’ colouring. Of course, with such a specific requirement, it was next to impossible to find what I was looking for. I came close with a ruby zoisite bead from Anne Meiborg on Etsy, but I waffled and it sold. I think that it was probably too big for my delicate little hummingbird anyway, but at least it confirmed that there should be something out there that should work!

I finally found a string of these rich green beads, which I assume are also ruby zoisite, at a local beading store. They had a tiny hole, but I took the chance on them and hoped that I could drill them the same way that I drilled my pearls. Of course, I didn’t think to check the Mohs hardness before I bought them. Pearls have a hardness of 2.5-4.5. Ruby zoisite is 6.5-7 (diamonds are 10). After a lengthy amount of drilling, I managed to make the hole large enough to fit on a Trollbeads bangle. But, the bead still looked out of place and I couldn’t quite figure out why. I added the redbalifrog White Coral, thinking that it was because there wasn’t much white in the bead. That helped a bit, but it still looked off. I finally realized that it was the spherical shape; I guess I’m used to the donut shape of other beads. So I started grinding the sides of the stone to make it narrower. I also realized that the White Coral was really too big in comparison and started looking around for other ideas for the white belly of the hummingbirds. I remembered seeing white lava beads at the beading store where I picked up the ruby zoisite, so back I went. Although other colours of the lava stone came in a variety of sizes, the white only came in the comparatively large 14mm size. At least it already had a larger hole! I spent some more time with the Dremel, making the bead narrower in width and diameter. The white lava is noticeably softer than the green stone so, even though I needed to take off more of the bead, it went faster than grinding the green stone. I didn’t get it perfectly round, but it isn’t noticeable when it’s on the bracelet, so I didn’t worry about it.

Around the same time, I was trying different glass beads to represent the bright flowers that draw in hummingbirds. Our yard is heavily shaded – not ideal for most flowers – so I rely primarily on my feeders, but I still felt it wouldn’t be right without something to represent the colourful flowers that they love. I know that they are attracted to most bright colours, but since red is the one that they are associated with the most, I was stuck on it. Yet, every time I tried the combination came out looking Christmasy. I finally realized that there’s more than one way to represent a flower; rather than a glass bead, I could use a silver bead! Unfortunately, the only silver flower beads that I have are the tiny Pandora Floral Elegance spacers and even doubling them up didn’t give the omph that I wanted.

I love the styling of the Troll Anemone Pendant, but knew that it would overwhelm my little hummer. So, I decided to make my own flower bead. I read that hummingbirds favoured flowers with elongated, cup-like shapes so I tried to make Spotted Jewelweed flowers, but it’s really hard to make shapes that small! Mine ended up looking more like calla lilies, but I know that hummingbirds do like lilies so at least I’m in the right ballpark. It was hard to take a picture of it on the bracelet, but I really like how the veining on the leaves turned out and how it hugs the stoppers.

The hummingbirds returned two weeks ago, so I’ve been wearing this quite a bit since then. And, a first for me, I made or altered all of the beads in the final combination. It’s truly a BlackBoots original! :D


    1. Thank you Susan, I am also quite pleased with how it turned out! The flowers only take up half of the circumference of the bead, so it sits nicely on my wrist. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *