Photo Source: AP Big Story
Pearls bring to mind different images of elegance, like a bride on her wedding day or a classic Hollywood starlet. There’s a reason why these gems are a symbol of timeless beauty—they’ve been enchanting us for thousands of years. From ancient China to the Egyptians and Imperial Romans, pearls are one of the longest valued gems. Working with pearls in jewelry involves a number of things, such as knowing how to care for them, understanding color and being able to distinguish quality. Today, we’ll focus on the origins of the pearl.
How Pearls are Made
What exactly is a pearl? Well, first, there are freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls are formed inside mussels and other mollusks found in lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of fresh water. Most pearls you buy and the ones used in jewelry are tended by pearl farmers who use a cultivation process of placing mantle tissue (known as an irritant) inside the mollusk. The mollusk then begins to grow layers of nacre around it, forming the pearl over time. Freshwater pearls are more durable and most common in the jewelry market, which could be due to the fact that a mussel can produce up to 40 pearls. A saltwater pearl is produced in a similar way, except it occurs in tropical oceans and lagoons. These types of cultured pearls tend to be more round than their freshwater cousins because saltwater mollusks are rounded inside. The exception to this is a keishi pearl (free-form pearl). A Tahitian pearl is an example of a saltwater pearl.
Treat your pearls like little treasures because that’s essentially what they are! Each one begins as a tiny speck that slowly grows, patiently perfecting itself inside the safe haven of a mollusk.
Stay tuned for more exciting facts about pearls coming soon, like how freshwater pearls get their color! Check out our website to learn more about beading with pearls today!
Tags: Ask The Experts · Beader's Resource
So many ooey, gooey, delicious things come in brown, and today we want to celebrate the tasty power of this color in fashion. The perfect shade of chocolate brown is a cool complement to other shades and even looks good on its own. Learn how you can add a taste of brown to your jewelry box as either the backbone of a design or in a supporting role.
A Neutral Foundation
Neutrals are appropriate for any occasion, although most people immediately opt for black, grey or white. Brown is a fun twist on the traditional neutral hue, and it enriches any other color it’s paired with. Let it guide the feel of your design, helping build the overall look. This could be in the form of antique brass findings or an awesome chocolate focal. Next, layer on your colors! Beads in robin egg blue or pale pink are just a couple of ideas. In our Iris necklace design, we used a combination of brown and purple for a sweet and simple look. Mint green is another refreshing accent. Try a silk ribbon in this shade to complement a choco-pendant. Gold always looks nice with deep browns, too.
A Sugary Accessory
If your style is more colorful, use a soothing brown to help tie different elements together. Dangle some chocolate drops from your ears (like our chocolate glaze pavé beads) to complete a blue and white polka dot dress. Or, recreate the beauty in our Cosmopolitan Earrings for jewelry with just a lick of chocolate brown goodness. Wherever your imagination takes your fashion, add some tasteful brown tones for a truly sweet look!
Just for fun, we’ll leave you with some extreme chocolate fashion. These are from the NYC Chocolate Fashion Show, where models ruled the runway in chocolate couture…yes, it’s real chocolate. Enjoy!
Photo Source: nydailynews.com.
What’s your favorite way to wear chocolate?
Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!
The Tucson Ten jewelry designs are in and ready and waiting for your vote! We asked the winners of our Tucson Ten Giveaway to create designs with the beads they won and gave them a month to create. Now, their designs are done and you get to vote on them. Click here to vote for your favorite on Facebook! You have to ‘like’ Artbeads.com on Facebook in order to vote. You can also check out the designs on our Tucson Ten Pinterest board. Repin your favorite and spread the word. The winning design will receive a $50 gift certificate for Artbeads.com! Voters, you’ll be getting in on the prize action, as well! We will select ten random voters to win a prize package filled with fun beading goodies. Make sure all your friends and family come and vote so they can see all the divine designs and for their chance to win, too.
Voting is open from now, May 13 until Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:59pm PST. Check back on Facebook on Tuesday, May 21 to find out which design won and to see which voters will be taking home their own prize package. Click here for our official contest rules.
Tags: Company News · Customer Gallery of Designs
We’re excited that the American 1920s lavish fashion is sweeping the runways and fashion mags due to the release of the new Great Gatsby film, but this film isn’t creating the trend all on its own. We’re tickled that another on-screen powerhouse from across the pond has been making headway as well. The British television series Downton Abbey, set in the Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey during the Post-Edwardian era, is influencing fashion for 2013 too. This show follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, and depicts how historical events affect their lives and the British hierarchy. In fact, the show begins after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, and the tragic loss of the family heir aboard the fateful ship impacts the rest of the members.
Just like the popular flapper flair of Gatsby, the luxurious wardrobe from this show is captivating fashion designers, and has been this whole year. The vintage colors, cuts and accessories have just the right amount of excessiveness to be appealing for modern looks. Bold colors like regal red and rich finishes like gold are a reflection of the popular Art Deco style, but can be a nostalgic nod if worn in clothing or a trendy twist when used in jewelry designs.
Headpieces, floral accents and beaded embellishments are just a few of the ways the costumes of Downton Abbey have helped sway the runway—and we absolutely love it! To recreate some of these luxurious necklaces, check out our Swarovski cuplink chain and our fire-polished linked chain. Long, dangling earrings are a breeze to make using Swarovski Column Pendants or Ellipse Pendants.
If you want to replicate the richness of the era, simple touches like long pearls or feminine lace are a great way to get started. Filigree components in vintage finishes like antique brass would be perfect in jewelry designs as well. Here are some fun Learning Center ideas that showcase the decadence of Downton Abbey:
What are some of your ideas for bringing a little British charm to your designs?
Downton Abbey Photo Credits: IMDB.com, PBS.org and Booktalk and More Blog.
Fashion Photo Credits: style.com.
Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
This year’s hottest fashion craze is all about 1920s fashion, thanks in large part to the highly anticipated 2013 release of the film, The Great Gatsby. This variation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has been getting a lot of buzz since the start of its filming, which in turn has influenced the fashion world to go Gatsby. Although we expect the movie to have a modern twist on the fashion from the era, we wondered just how accurate the film was. And, moreover, was the 1974 film version just as accurate? Who nailed the flapper look the best? We’ll break down the flapper fashion first, and then move through each film.
Real Flapper Style
This shocking new look for the times evolved from the rise of the jazz age, music that required dancers to move freely. This meant that women needed to hem their skits and dress in lightweight material. The term Flapper originally referred to the mindset of these women, or young girls rather, who were just learning to make their way into the world—in a sense, first starting to “flap” their wings after leaving the home nest. Later, the term would associate with their fringe-style clothing. Flappers celebrated decadence and indulgence with flashy jewelry and short hairstyles. CoCo Chanel instigated the boyish look of the flapper by dropping the waistline to the hips and ditching the figure-defining corsets. Long strands of pearls allowed the women to sway to the jazzy rhythm, and vibrant colors reflected its exotic melodies. This type of jewelry also worked to accent the straight, defined lines of their dresses.
The Great Gatsby, 1974
It seems that the female characters in this movie wanted to live a lavish flapper lifestyle without leaving their femininity behind. Mia Farrow is delightful as Daisy Buchannan, with long layers of pearls, but that seemed to be where the 1920s nod stopped. The cut of her dresses didn’t angle sharply for the Art Deco feel, and their flowy fit didn’t reflect the curve-hugging, boyish trend of the time. Her large sun hat didn’t fit into the flapper look, either. Maybe if she had kept the haircut from Rosemary’s Baby, it would have helped. Overall, the 1974 rendition kept close to the book in terms of storyline (though critics feel this made it lose the spirit of the novel), but lacked in fully capturing the jazz-age feel in its wardrobe choices. It paid homage to the era, but chose to command with popular fashion of the current time.
The Great Gatsby, 2013
From the cut of Carey Mulligan’s dress to her pixie bob hair, the 2013 version appears to pay more attention at getting the style from the time right. The “new” Daisy Buchannan dresses in clothing cut to fit her thin frame. Her hair accessories kept it vintage with sharp, angled lines with bursts of color and sparkle as well. Though she wears her pearls tightly around her wrist rather than loosely around her neck, Carey’s version of Daisy is still immersed in an over-the-top lifestyle in true flapper fashion. We’ll have to wait and see what more is revealed when the film is released May 10th, 2013. From what we’ve seen so far, though, it seems like the 1920s fashion was not forgotten.
Flip through the pages of any fashion magazine for 2013 and you’ll spot some sort of 1920s influence. Whether it’s finger waves, drop waistlines or the addition of fringe, the Roaring Twenties era is one of the hottest trends. Things are heating up even more for summer, with the movie’s release sure to inspire more designers soon. You can get a head start on what to make by checking out our Platinum Flapper fashion trend here in the Learning Center or browsing through or Pinterest board by the same name. We’re crazy about this style!
Information Source: About.com.
Actual 1920s Photo Credit: TheFashionSpot.com.
1974 Film Photo Credit: imdb.com.
2013 Film Photo Credit: WarnerBrothers.
Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
It’s been a while since our last installment of gemstone legends, and with the addition of our gorgeous collection from Dakota Stones, we’re able to bring you new stories and new stones. Since ancient times, gemstones have been believed to hold mystic powers. Their beauty only adds to the mystery behind them, and the way some gemstones are created is a wonder in itself. Today, we’ll take a look at four colorful stones.
The luscious blue swirls that churn like crashing waves inside this stone give it a hypnotic effect. Made from a transparent blue phosphor material, this naturally occurring stone can be found in Brazil, Mexico, USA and other locations around the world. Apatite comes from the Greek word Apate, meaning “to deceive.” This is because the stone is often mistaken for other stones. This stone is believed to encourage inspiration and may be used to cure headaches.
With gleaming black streaked with sophisticated white, sardonyx is made up of layers of sard and quartz minerals. This elegant stone is believed to be a stone of strength and protection, and improve memory. This sleek-looking stone can be found all over the world and is a member of the chalcedony family.
One of the oldest known gemstones, carnelian features a fiery orange to honey yellow color. Its breathtaking color comes from the iron oxides found in this A-grade agate, often referred to as a natural agate. Ancient Egyptians carried carnelian on and about their bodies as a source of constant renewal and vitality. It’s still believed today to be one of the luckiest stones to wear and is associated with the zodiac sign Taurus.
Dragon Blood Jasper
Mined only in Western Australia, this speckled stone features a mysterious mix of earthy green and deep red. The local legend claims that it is the remains of ancient dragons long dead, with the green mottles representing the dragons’ scales and the red matrix representing spatters of blood. Dragon blood jasper is also believed to possess the power to give strength and courage, so use it when you need a heart as brave as a dragon’s.
Want more gemstone legends? Read more about some of your favorite stones in our previous posts.
More Gemstone Legends
Gemstone Legends III
Happy stone searching!
Tags: Beader's Resource
Some styles are simply timeless, while other styles were so bad we wish we could go back in time and erase. Nevertheless, both types of styles are legendary in their own right. Today, we’re paying tribute to three legendary style icons and three fashion faux pas trends that were truly legend—wait for it—dary.
Legendary Style Icon: Sophia Loren
Photo Source: HowRetro.com.
This Italian beauty stunned Hollywood by embracing her luscious curves and impeccable acting ability. With hip-hugging gowns and necklines that showcased her lovely décolletage, Sophia had success from her signature seductive look. Large statement necklaces were a favorite of hers, so you can capture the essence of Sophia Loren with a bold choker or bib-style design. Just make sure to pair your necklace with some sultry eyes, too.
Legendary Fashion Faux Pas: Shoulder Pads
Photo Source: Enemy of the Average Blog.
Although Lady GaGa is trying to bring this trend back to light (and to extreme measures), the shoulder pad is an unnecessary part of women’s attire. Designed to help define the silhouette, these foam pads were popular throughout the decades. However, women are more apt to embrace the body they’re given! The resurgence of the shoulder pad is due to an admiration for the retro fashion rather than because of a need to complete an outfit.
Legendary Style Icon: David Bowie
Photo Source: Newstalgia.com.
Overindulgence. Androgyny. Attitude. David Bowie was a true performer because he could control a stage with charisma, partially due to his eccentric style. He took on new personas with each new album and dedicated himself to immersing every aspect of his life into the new character. Try embracing David Bowie’s glitter rock style by adding bright colors and shimmering elements to your own style, but find a sense of balance and meaning behind how you pull it off. Swarovski AB crystals are a perfect example of how to blend sparkle and sophistication harmoniously.
Legendary Fashion Faux Pas: Trucker Hats
Photo Source: SheKnows.com.
If your daily driver has at least 18 wheels, then sure, go ahead and keep on truckin’ with this look. However, if your driver’s license is not CDL endorsed, please stop wearing trucker hats. Ashton Kutcher made them cool, but soon everyone hopped on and killed it. Plus, Ashton Kutcher doesn’t even wear them anymore. If you’re having a bad hair day, opt for a normal baseball cap (you can support your favorite team and not look like you’re trying too hard to be cool).
Legendary Style Icon: Twiggy
Photo Source: Vervejewelry.com.
AKA Lesley Lawson, Twiggy became famous for her mod hair cut and swinging style in the 1960s. Her thin frame helped elevate her to legendary style, along with big doe eyes and pouty lips. In her prime, Twiggy captivated the globe by gracing the cover of fashion magazines. She was able to pull off innocent femininity despite her boyish hairstyle and bold choices in apparel. Want to emulate Twiggy’s style? Just sprinkle in some mod –tacular touches to your wardrobe, like black and white earrings or large, floral accents.
Legendary Fashion Faux Pas: Fancy Tracksuits
Photo Source: MyDaily.
No matter how comfy they may look, matching sweat pants and a jacket (especially if they’re made of suede or terrycloth) is just a no-no anymore. If you’re going to work out, you don’t need to advertise for a high-end clothing company—or depict to the world that you’re “juicy.” Stick to cotton for your workout clothes. They’re more lightweight and breathe easier.
Yes, there are numerous other bad fashion trends, but we just couldn’t name them all today. And yes, we know that there are more timeless Hollywood style icons that we didn’t touch on. Who do you think has legendary style….or which fashion faux pas are you guilty of?
Tags: Just For Fun!
Once upon a time, mythical creatures roamed the land. In the days of unicorns, fairies and dragons, magic was easy to come by. Now all that exists of these creatures and others like them are legends and myth. You can bring them back to life on Pinterest with our Legendary Giveaway. Artbeads.com is currently featuring a fantastic sale on lampwork beads, including Unicorne Beads. Unicorne Beads offers spectacular beads, many of which are inspired by mythical creatures. We want you to create a Pinterest board for your favorite mythical being and pin pictures inspired by that creature. The things you pin can be fashion inspired by your favorite mythical being, color palettes or something else!
- Follow us on Pinterest
- Pin this image to the board you will use for your legendary creature inspirations
- Find one product from Unicorne Beads that inspires you and pin that item first.
- You must pin at least ten (10) products from Artbeads.com. The rest of your board is up to you. Fill it with fashion, colors, places – anything inspired by your legendary creature. Use the hashtag #legendaryinspiration in the description for each item you pin.
- Once you have created your board, email a link to your Pinterest board to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Legendary Style Giveaway” as the subject line in order to be entered into the contest.
The winner will receive magical Unicorne Beads including a strand of round beads and a colorful owl, along with a $25 gift certificate to Artbeads.com! Enter by Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 11:59pm PST for your chance to win! Check out our official contest rules for more details.
Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!
At Artbeads, we feel that individuality is important for expressing creativity. Thinking outside the box— choosing a different path— is what being an artist is all about. That’s why we’re always bringing you new and exciting products to play with in your designs! Unicorne Beads shares this belief with us by bringing innovation and creativity to every aspect of their company. In fact, their game changing started when new owners Doug and Lyta Ho bought the business in 1990. Co-Owner Doug was kind enough to tell the story of how Unicorne Beads became one of the most original lampwork bead manufacturers in the industry.
In 1967, the previous owners of Unicorne Beads specialized in designing wedding cake toppers and small collectable figurines. While these pieces were undoubtedly beautiful, Doug recognized that buying patterns had changed in the market. Buyers no longer wanted to collect figurines to place in their curio cabinet. Instead, they wanted to make something with their collectibles. So, about 10 years ago, Unicorne Beads attended the Costa Mesa Gem Fair with 10 colors of teardrop-shaped beads—and the magic of their lampwork beads began. Other artists and jewelry designers found their pieces at shows, used them in designs, and word quickly spread about their outstanding work.
A lot of their ideas for different shapes come from customer suggestions and from other artistic mediums. If Doug sees a beautiful design made from resin, for example, he visualizes how to replicate it with glass. One of his favorite shapes in the line, in fact, is the YoYo bead shape. “It’s one of the more interesting shapes…We like doing things that are different,” he explained. With so many different shapes being created (over 50 different styles), Unicorne Beads has about 15 to 20 lampwork artists who contribute to their production from home.
Source: Unicorne Beads.
So how does it all come together? First, it starts with an idea of what they want to create. The design is shaped using any variety of mediums, and then gets narrowed down with details to make it just as appealing in glass form. Their lampworking process is a little unconventional, too. Working with borosilicate glass colors mostly, Unicorne Beads imports their components to make glass from all over the world. Their components come from places like Germany, Italy and Australia, enabling them to create unique color palettes since each distributor renders different results. Doug also mentioned that they mix “incompatible” components together for cool results as well!
If you’re looking for something a little different, something that will get your design noticed and stand out from the crowd, then you’ll love using Unicorne Beads. “We try to be different and cutting edge,” Doug told us. “We make ‘working’ beads. They’re not individual focals, but they’re not cheap glass beads either.” Which is true—Unicorne Beads makes everything from large-hole donuts to cute bird accent pieces. You’ll appreciate their unique, handmade features and brilliant colors and sparkle. Check out their collection on our site here.
Tags: Beader's Resource · Company News
April 23rd, 2013 · 1 Comment
High school was a time when we believed friendships would last forever and prom was the most anticipated event of the year. If you have a graduate this year, remind them that one day they’ll be able to look back at their time in school and smile—even if they don’t enjoy it right now. They’ll be able to pull out old photos, relive the moment in their minds and smile. To celebrate the graduation (and prom) season coming soon, here are some Artbeads employee high school stories!
“This was my senior year; I was a homecoming “princess.” For seniors, there were princesses and princes and a king and queen. During the homecoming game we got to ride in convertibles around the track and wave to the crowd! It was the only day that it was acceptable for me to wear a sparkly tiara everywhere I went.” – Becky, Copywriter
Cortney, Vice President, wore this gorgeous, handmade green dress to her prom. Her husband was her date back then!
Sherri, our New Product Coordinator, was 17 when she graduated from high school…and is glad that the feathered hair style has passed.
Jewelry Designer Teri McCamish back in the day, sporting her “preppy LL Bean oxford cloth shirt and ribbon head band.”
Brittany, our Web Content Publisher on the right, kept it real with her besties in high school and even after graduation. All three still keep in touch and reminisce about when they were teens when they get together.
Read about my prom story in a previous post—Swarovski crystals make an appearance!
Help your graduate remember this year with a memorable jewelry design, or create a customizable memento. Here are a few ideas from our Learning Center to inspire you.
Dream First Grad Cap
Unlock Your Future Necklace
Wherever You Go Necklace
Tags: Employee Gallery of Designs · Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!