my semi-precious

Jewellery by Melanie von Pfetten-Arnbach


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my semi-precious showcases jewellery made by Melanie von Pfetten-Arnbach.


I've been making jewellery for nearly 20 years - and it is constantly evolving. I work exclusively with semi-precious and gemstone beads, precious metal beads, clasps, wires and chains. I use traditional beadwork stitches, mostly right angle weave, peyote and brick stitch. The irregularity and individuality, the lack of uniformity, of semi-precious stone beads (as opposed to glass beads traditionally used in beadwork) means they play in themselves an often decisive part in the formulation of my ideas. The precious metal beads, being perfectly regular, often serve to make up the basis and framework of a piece. As to those metal beads, and the clasps, wire and chains, I prefer using more expensive gold fill (rather than vermeil or plated). Gold fill or rolled gold, as it used to be known,  is a layer of at least 12 or 14 karat solid gold bonded onto a base metal such as brass. It is thus not only closer to gold itself but behaves more like it, and will last a lifetime if looked after.


The semi-precious bead remains the focus. For my ideas I also draw on fine jewellery of the past, vintage jewellery of the 19th and 20th century. My jewellery is designed with both beauty and wearability in mind. Delicate, striking in its own right, yet easy to combine with other pieces to glamorous effect.

my semi-precious jewellery is hand-made by me at my home in Herefordshire.

Semi-precious beads

I use a wide array of different semi-precious or gemstone beads. Listed below are those that I use most often and their predominant colour. I try to source the best semi-precious beads, so most of them will be AA or AAA quality beads with flawless facetting, excellent colour and shapes. The same lot of beads can often not be had again, which makes my semi-precious jewellery more individual and exclusive.

Agate a fine-grained variegated form of chalcedony, appears in a variety of colours often stripey, blended in clouds or moss-like.

Amazonite opaque baby blue with occasional flecks of white, green or black

Amethyst translucent deep purple

Apatite semi-translucent green, ocean to peacock blue

Chalcedony semi-translucent periwinkle blue (when properly undyed, but sometimes dyed various other colours)

Chrysoprase, a form of Chalcedony, undyed, semi-translucent apple green

Citrine translucent yellow to reddish-orange

Coral opaque deep shiny red or salmon pink

Emerald depending on its origin may be semi-translucent to opaque medium to darker green

Fluorite also Rainbow Amethyst has a variety of translucent colours: green, blue, purple, yellow, rose, colourless

Freshwater Pearl opaque shiny white to pink unless dyed

Garnet semi-translucent deep wine red

Green Goldstone opaque forest green with golden glittering particles

Green Tourmaline translucent to semi-opaque khaki to forest green

Iolite translucent inky blue

Labradorite semi-translucent grey or greyish green with rainbow iridescence

Lapis Lazuli opaque denim to deep blue with gold coloured or white flecks (pyrite and calcite)

Moonstone semi-opaque milky white with rainbow iridescence

Onyx semi-opaque black or deep green

Peridot translucent yellowish grass green

Rosequartz opaque milky pink

Ruby often with inclusions, opaque, raspberry to blood red

Smokey Quartz translucent light to dark brown

Topaz translucent appears in a variety of colours including skyblue, ocean blue and pink. These colours are produced by irradiation.

Tourmaline translucent to semi-translucent in a variety of colours pink, yellow, white, blue, green and black