Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry

Rustic Tribal Primitive

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Tejana Collection

The Tejana Collection

Tejana is a word used to describe Mexican folk art, clothing and jewelry. It is a style that embraces traditional Mexican dress and religious imagery. If you loved the movie, Frida, you recall that she chose this Tejana style of dress for most of her life, and used religious iconography often in her paintings. This collection of jewelry reflects the festive colors and mood of Mexican folk art in casual, fun and affordable designs.

Mexican Tejana Necklace
Choker length necklace design of graduated orange magnesite, knotted onto waxed Irish linen cord.

Artisan Ceramic Mexican Earrings
Colorful artisan striped ceramic earrings with red, orange and blue magnesite with pewter.

Multi-Strand Mexican Folk Art Bracelet
Red magnesite and red melon Czech glass beads with kambaba jasper, accented with pewter, and featuring a Frida Kahlo charm.

My first collection for 2017, all available now in my web store Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry!!!

Gloria Ewing

Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry
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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Urban Tribal Revisited

Urban Tribal Multi-Strand Bracelet

As I continue to revisit the most popular of my jewelry pieces by creating new variations, this tribal bracelet is a new spin on one of my most successful designs. In the brand new bracelet variation pictured above, I emphasize the orange and red reflecting the autumn season. Nine strands of gorgeous Picasso finished Czech beads in various sizes and shapes, blending into a pleasing boho tribal bracelet design.

In the original bracelet pictured below, I have emphasized the blue and still maintain a rich blending of colors. This bracelet sold several months ago, and I am still getting numerous requests for custom bracelets based on this design. So I finally relented and if it remains popular, perhaps I will make others in the future.

I have another favorite (sold) bracelet in mind to revisit with an updated variation. Coming soon, I hope!!!


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back By Popular Demand

I willingly admit to being among the introverts of the jewelry designing arena. One of the most difficult things to do if you're an introvert is promote yourself. I have tried to find a way to promote my jewelry without promoting myself but it just can't be done. People are curious about the person behind the designs. They ask me "How does a mature blonde haired woman (obviously of northern European decent) decide to design truly tribal jewelry? The only answer that I have is that I have always loved ethnic art and clothing, and this feels like a very natural extension of my early tribal infatuation. Tribal is the style that best expresses who I am on the inside.

Now add to being an introvert my reluctance to become a full fledged computer nerd. Rarely, am I able to sit down and read detailed instructions and then construct a digital something "by the numbers". It goes against my grain. This character flaw does however result in lots of trial and error, and occasionally in missed opportunities. A very good friend recently pointed out to me that some pieces that I pinned on Pinterest were still being re-pinned frequently. She was asking me if I noticed the numbers, and frankly I had to say "no". So this board on Pinterest, entitled "Sold, But Not Forgotten", is the start of my effort to keep on top of these cyber indicators and put them to good use. Thank you, Norbel, for giving me the heads up on this!

Blue Krobo Bead Bracelet

I have had so many requests to repeat many of these pieces. So, depending on response from customers, I will revisit some of these designs. My plan is to do variations on some of your favorites. You will notice that the above photo is a variation of the bracelet included in the collage. Slight differences, but the same basic components and the same tribal character. I would truly appreciate feedback from anyone with ideas or requests related to this post.

Gloria Ewing

Chrysalis Too on Etsy

Friday, March 25, 2016

Beauty in Imperfection

For those who don't follow the trends, who are always seeking to unearth something fascinating, I can relate to you. I look for the unusual. I like to find beads and findings, whether they are new or old that tell me a story. I find that the imperfections and the irregularities tell me much more than any shiny polished bauble could ever tell me. Each little chink or scratch is an experience of the past, or possibly a reflection of its creator, just waiting for the right person to appreciate its history. I feel much the same way about people. If you're not "running with the herd", it is more likely that you prefer to come to your own conclusions about life. That means you have the capability to reason rather than accepting a popular view because it sounds good. You go beyond the surface, and that makes you a much more interesting person to be around.

OK, back to jewelry. I spend countless hours finding old vintage African beads and artisan findings that fit that aesthetic, but it is really more like a treasure hunt. Sometimes it will be something with an appealing quality that I just happened to find first. Sometimes it will be something that everyone else has already seen and passed over because they could not see its potential.

The important thing to me is finding new (and old) beads with personality that will add to my work. Finding new people is equally as important to me. Two of the pieces pictured in this post are from a new friend and talented artisan, Laura Bailey Taskey, whose work with rustic copper speaks to me. She is an independent artist who reflects her life in her work.

It reminds me of a quote from the movie Frida when Lupe is explaining Diego's attractiveness to women: "He finds beauty in all your imperfections, it's irresistible."

Gloria Ewing

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Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Adventures in Polymer Clay

Let's face it, everything I do with polymer clay is an experiment! I have an idea in my head of the finished piece, and sometimes the results are close to my vision. Other times, I end up with something entirely different. That is part of the fun in working with a new material. One idea leads to another. One technique leads to another. One success leads to another, hopefully. Experiments lead to discovery and growth with the successes, and also with the failures.

My main objective in working with polymer clay is to create beads and components that look like artifacts, something curious that was recovered in an ancient excavation. Not to say that I don't venture off here and there. My clay surfaces are at times pitted or crusty. I like to use inclusions of broken gemstones, metal and glass. After baking the clay, I use a broad range of coloring agents, alcohol inks, Gilder's paste, shoe polish, old powder eye shadow and blush, acrylic paint, and pastels. The coloring is done in several layers until the piece has a pleasing range of color and depth.

The pieces pictured in the collage above are some of my most recent designs that illustrate my ever widening range in polymer clay in a variety of focal pieces.

In the photos on the right, some of my experiments with color. This one has a layer of acrylic paint and a layer of pastel.

This grouping is colored with more subtle pastels.

In this focal, I included a sort of copper mesh into the pendant design, and colored it with pigments from powdered eye shadows. After baking, I added layers of Swellegant copper metallic coating followed by a patina.

#polymerclaycoloring #polymerclaytechniques #agingpolymerclay #pigmentsinpolymerclay #tribalpolymerclay

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Rustic Gemstone Jewelry

Available at ChrysalisToo on Etsy!

Your first impression might be that "rustic gemstone" is sort of an oxymoron, that the terms are a bit contradictory? My gemstone jewelry uses cut stones in a rustic style of design, combining them with artisan copper or Sterling silver. The pieces are range from dressy to casual; there is something for every occasion. And by the way, any of the gemstone selections would make a great holiday gift for that someone special on your list this year!!!

Earlier this year, I began a collection of rustic gemstone jewelry, all using copper and gemstones entitled The Apostle Islands Collection. This piece features cube cut fluorite stones with apatite. I am in love with this concept and continue to add to this popular collection with new varieties of gems. Soon to come, chrysocolla and more sunstone pieces.

A simple earring design of hammered and heat patinated copper with cube cut fluorite gemstones.

This style lends itself well to customization. These pieces work well with copper, and also with Sterling silver. So if you have an idea for a personally customized piece with your choice of metals, I would love to hear from you. I have a good selection of chalcedony, labradorite and garnet, citrine, green amethyst and more.

This beauty is a combination of sunstone with labradorite with wonderful artisan copper focal piece. I just received a shipment of small faceted sunstone beads and briolettes, so if this is one of your favorites. contact me for a custom piece.

Contact me at:

Gloria Ewing

Chyrsalis Too on Etsy
Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry

Saturday, September 26, 2015

African Tribal Jewelry

The word "tribal" has become so common in jewelry that it has lost some of it's meaning, or at least changed its meaning. I think many jewelry designers use the word "tribal" in their descriptions because it is a good buzz word, more than because it is an accurate description of what they have created. The word has come to mean a free spirit, rather than a member of a tribe. Either way, I love tribal style jewelry and clothing and will never outgrow it. When I create a tribal jewelry design, I do it with my own contemporary spin while respecting the traditional approach of native Africans.

This collection happens to be African style tribal jewelry. With the recent availability of more authentic African beads, I cannot resist making chunky tribal jewelry pieces. Most of the beads I use are handmade in Mali, Kenya and Ghana. Selling these beads provides income for families in poor and war torn regions of Africa, another motivation for me to continue exploring new types of clay, metal and glass beads in the future.

The brass turtle pendant on the right, is an adinkra symbol used by the Asante people in Ghana. The Asante are accomplished weavers and the adrinka symbols are used in their hand woven textiles

The necklace on the left is dyed oxbone, with Masai white glass beads and large Mali clay spindles.

The next collection I have in the works features authentic Berber components from northern regions of Africa, particularly from Morocco. I spend numerous hours finding sources for the best quality, yet still affordable, beads and focal pieces. I can assure you that you won't be disappointed with the Tuareg pieces I am planning, and they will be ready in time for holiday gift buying too.

Gloria Ewing

Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry
Chrysalis Too on Etsy