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Do you remember candy necklaces and bracelets? I loved them when I was growing up. They weren’t the best tasting candy (Chick-O-Stick might have that honor, or some kind of chocolate) but they had fun colors, and I loved wearing them, even if they did leave a color streak on my arm if I wasn’t neat enough when I ate some of the “beads.” Conversation hearts were another sales job. I never thought they were delicious, but they came in a cute package, and it was fun seeing the different messages.

Allegory Gallery recently featured strands of polymer clay beads on one of their Live at Five videos. They are similar to the African vinyl record beads, but the mixed colorful strands really reminded me of the candy necklaces I loved as a kid. (I also got the black, grey, and white. Love that color combo!)

Strands of disc beads in multi-color brights and black, white and grey.

I thought they would look cool just in a long strand, but then I got to thinking how I’d like to intersperse them with conversation heart beads. I looked for beads based on conversation hearts, but I didn’t want the traditional messages. I wanted something a bit more progressive. Times have changed, and I want to keep moving toward a world that is more inclusive and just, even down to candy necklaces. I didn’t find any beads like that, and someone suggested contacting Gaea. I really loved this design idea, and I am a big fan of Gaea’s work. I admit to having a hoard of her beads. She went above and beyond working with me about what would be possible for some of the words I was thinking about, and we decided on pendants. Perfect.

Bright multi-color beads and peach heart pendant with red letters that say "inclusive" made into a necklace.

Gaea got the exact chalky look and red lettering of the heart. I can almost taste them right out of the little cardboard box. I finished the necklace with one of Gaea’s handmade copper clasps, which I find so perfect for many of my creations. The color here fits right in.

This is one of two hearts I got from Gaea. I couldn’t wait to use one in this design, but I think I’ll hoard the other one for a while. Maybe when I’m putting it away I’ll see some of my other Gaea treasures and make more creations.