This was a fun project using 16 count tubular peyote stitch. I have never gone this wide using size 11 seed beads and decided to reinforce the interior with clear plastic tubing. This helps to keep its shape and avoid crinkling where the necklace naturally bends.
The necklace aquired its name from the little "heart in hand" charm attached at the clasp. I almost called it "hugs" for the XOX sewn into the pattern. Can you see it?
I love the look of crab agate beads. Most have a beautiful deep orangey red coloration, a crackly finish and are very affordable. They are also commonly called "crab fire agate", though they should not be confused with fire agate which is an entirely different type of stone, very expensive and found only in Mexico. Having done a little Internet research on this topic, there seems to be some controversy over use of the word "fire" in crab fire agate, hence I will stick with the more simple name. Crab agates are heat treated in order to achieve the crackly finish and the photo below provides a good example of the different kinds of crackly patterns you can see. -They almost look like cooked crab shell to me...
Crab agate stones can pick up the moisture and oils from your hands and the crackles will temporarily disappear. The next photo is a good example of what crab agate can look like after a lot of handling in a photo shoot. Still nice looking with a semi-translucent deep orange, don't you think? The little crackles will amazingly reappear after being wiped down with a soft cloth or dipped in a cup of water with a drop of mild dish detergent. So don't worry, the crackles are there to stay.