My Fight with Mona Lisa


Mona Lisa caught my eye last year in Paris—not the one in the Louvre, but the one on these tiny cameo-type cabochons that I could only buy by the bag. (Expect a spate of Mona Lisa jewelry.)

Of course she needed to be the centerpiece of an embroidered cuff bracelet. I put some frames around her face: gold, red glass, a stripe of brown, and a parenthesis in ivory. I installed matching red glass ovals and framed then in gold also.

Then the mysterious Mona got difficult.

I filled in with the brown she likes. It was muddy. Ripped it up.

Started over with red. Ouch! Garish! Ripped it up again.

How about a lot of gold? No….too bright. Rip rip rip.

Then I looked at what Leonardo had done. He put the glowy light in the middle, the dark hair and clothes around her in an oval. Eventually, I surrounded my dark ovals with light.

A subtle bronze to bridge the gold and brown, a pale ivory bead with a shimmer, and then a very pale yellow just within the border to echo her flesh tones. (Face it. She’s yellowish.)

This laying down and tearing up lasted for six weeks, which is about twice as long as average. I could not get it right, and I would not abandon her. This kind of determination and patience is new to me, and I learned it from beading.

Now I’m happy. She just needs a mount, lining, and an edge. And after that, only 11 more Mona Lisa cabochons to go!


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