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Entries from May 2013

Magical Pearls

May 15th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Photo Source: AP Big Story

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!

-Marissa

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Tags: Ask The Experts · Beader's Resource

Hot Chocolate Fashion

May 14th, 2013 · 2 Comments

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

Iris Necklace

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

Cosmopolitan Earrings

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!

Chocolate Mermaid Fairy

Double Chocolate Couture

Bon Bon Necklace

Galactic Chocolate Skirt

Photo Source: nydailynews.com.

What’s your favorite way to wear chocolate?

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!

The Tucson Ten – Round Two…You Vote & You Could Win!

May 13th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Blog Image

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.

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Tags: Company News · Customer Gallery of Designs

Smashing Summer Jewelry Fashion from Downton Abbey

May 7th, 2013 · 7 Comments

Downton Abbey Regal Colors

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.

Rose MacClare

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.

Headpiece

Floral and Beaded Accents

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.

Downton Abbey Floral Lace and Pearls

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:

Syncopated Rhytm Necklace
Syncopated Rhythm

Chicago Loop Necklace
Chicago Loop

Vintage Romance Necklace
Vintage Romance

What are some of your ideas for bringing a little British charm to your designs?

-Marissa

Downton Abbey Photo Credits: IMDB.com, PBS.org and Booktalk and More Blog.

Fashion Photo Credits: style.com.

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Great Gatsby and the Real Flapper Girl

May 2nd, 2013 · 4 Comments

The Great Gtasby

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

1920s Flapper Fashion

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.

1920s Flapper Fashion

The Great Gatsby, 1974

1974 Great Gatsby

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.

1974 Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, 2013

2013 Great Gatsby

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.

2013 Great Gatsby

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!

-Marissa

Information Source: About.com.
Actual 1920s Photo Credit: TheFashionSpot.com.
1974 Film Photo Credit: imdb.com.
2013 Film Photo Credit: WarnerBrothers.

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

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