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This technique, from Make It With Me, makes small cupped flowers in groups, like little bouquets of tulips. Albert (click here to see the work) taught me a very valuable lesson: the bigger the sculpture is, the more difficult and expensive it is to make. Millefiori (meaning a thousand flowers) is a glass-working technique that arose in 7th century Europe where it was artfully used in Anglo-Saxon jewellery. I don't think that it can replace stone, but there are some very amazing 3D effects that can be achieved only with polymer clay. With a slightly different edge and colour on the flowers you could make other cluster flowers such as hydrangea or lilac. This amazing process allows artisans to create colourful floral patterns by repeatedly dipping and layering different colours of molten glass.

The subtle rainbow of colours and velvety sheen of pearls, mother of pearl and abalone shell gives jewellery a sense of style and elegance. Whether a gemstone is as rare as benitoite (found only in San Benito County, California) or as plentiful as quartz (found in sandstone and shale deposits around the world), each is as unique as the person wearing it and will last a lifetime. Since precious metal alloys are kind of expensive, I also use base metals such as copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel and titanium for components that require strength but may not be as noticable.
I use various old paintbrush ends for my own flower sculpting although I tend to not use cornstarch or other release agent since most clay will twist off the surfaces easily enough. This is the reason I began working with lighter and smaller materials like polymer clay and semi precious stones. These are some of the mineral gemstones that I've used in my sculptural jewellery: aventurine, agate, alexandrite, amethyst, aquamarine, black onyx, bloodstone, carnelian, citrine, garnet, hematite, jade, jasper, lapis lazuli, peridot, quartz, rhodonite, serpentine, topaz.

More importantly, I've learned to NEVER use nickel or lead because of their negative health effects. If you use cornstarch to your clay it makes the tool come away easily but it also makes it difficult for other items to stick to the spot if you need to add to it later.
These materials lend themselves very nicely to jewellery–making and so that's what I did. I gave a pair of earrings (with Millefiori and mother of pearl) as a Christmas gift to my daughter who was less than impressed.

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