Meet Diane Riihiluoma

Rhodochrosite and Sterling Silver Wrap Earrings.jpg

While at a show in Quartzite Arizona one winter, my husband and I went to a rock and gem show.  They had more beads, stones and raw rock than I had ever seen in my life.  I was attracted to a stone called a moldavite which I had never seen or heard of before.  They had booths with nothing but turquoise.  I believe that I became hooked on stones at that time.  This started my passion with wire-wrapping stones. 

I took hand-beading classes with my friend, mom, and aunt.  At first I was not very good.  After quite a few classes, I learned lots of techniques from a wonderful teacher and started beading without the classes. 

Rhodochrosite and Sterling Silver Wrap Cabochon.jpg

It all started about ten years ago.  Today I have a room full of beads, stone, wire and findings.  Every time I go out of town, I seek out a shop that has stones or beads, always searching for the perfect stones to wire-wrap. What I mean by wire-wrapping is that I use 12 or 14 gauge (heavy) sterling silver or copper wire to wrap stones with wire to create a pendant.  This is done with a hammer, anvil, wire cutters, pliers, file, and stones or cabochons.  When I pick a day to wrap stones, I start off by choosing the stones that I believe meet the following criteria:  I am attracted to the stone, the stone is competent, the stones have good edges for the wire to catch.  The first wraps of the day are usually done in copper in case I make a mistake, it is less expensive.  Wire is often not forgiving allowing to reuse for wire-wrapping.  After a few copper wraps, I move on to sterling silver wraps.  Not all wraps work out.  The trick is to get the stone to stay in the wire so it does not fall out.  I have been asked to wrap other people’s stones but usually hesitant because sometimes the stones are too fragile and break or they do not have good edges to catch the wire.  My daughter taught me how to wrap stones over 10 years ago.  The finished pendants are my works of art.  For the most part I love them all but I do have my favorites.  Some stones have a story and they are just part of the piece and the art. 

I also hand-bead jewelry pieces.  I do not use any kits.  All beads are hand selected by me.  I have been told I have a good eye for color.  One of my favorite bracelets is called a Peyote Freeform Bracelet.  I usually start with about 5 different color of beads and a couple of different size beads.  Using the peyote stitch, I hand-bead a base.  The clasps are hand-beaded as well.  The bracelet is embellished with larger focal beads that are randomly hand-beaded into the base.  When finished, they are a work of art.  All done in a freeform style with peyote stitch .  I learned how to bead through the local community education office classes over 10 years ago.