Blog for Beaders

A creative place to share jewelry making information, ideas, and inspiration! Hosted by Artbeads

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Whether you’re looking for how-to videos, places to find new jewelry trends or information on how to best sell your jewelry, this section is exactly what you need. We hope each post makes your life as a beader a little easier.


Dried Out Gilders Paste? No Problem!

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments

Gilders Paste is a great way to add new color to metal, wood, polymer clay, ceramic, wax and resin surfaces. It comes in lots colors and each container provides enough paste for many, many projects. We’ve used Gilders Paste in some of our Learning Center ideas and they all turned out fabulous!

A little Gilders Paste goes a long way in projects like these, so you’ll have your Gilders Paste on hand for a long time. After a while, you might notice it start to dry out. Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw it out! You can refresh dried out Gilders Paste so it is as good as new and ready to use on any project!

How to Refresh Dried Gilders Paste

Take a look at our How to Refresh Dried Out Gilders Paste Handy Tip to learn the techniques for rejuvenating this amazing paste. Or, if you’re new to using Gilders Paste, learn the basics with our How to Use Gilders Paste Handy Tip.

Now that you know all the tricks to using Gilders Paste, we want to know: What will you make? Leave us a comment below with your plans, or share a picture of your Gilders Paste creations on our Facebook Page!

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

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!

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 · 3 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

Gemstone Legends IV

April 30th, 2013 · 6 Comments

Gemstone Legends IV

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.

Blue Apatite

Blue Apatite

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.

Sardonyx

Sardonyx

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.

Carnelian

Carnelian

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

Dragons 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.

Gemstone Legends

More Gemstone Legends

Gemstone Legends III

Happy stone searching!

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource

Artbeads Artist Spotlight – Unicorne Beads

April 24th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Doug and Lyta

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.

Marine Diver LC Necklace Idea

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.

Team Picture

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.

Packing Purchases-FB
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!

New Growth LC Necklace Idea

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.

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Company News

Spring Break Fashion and Fun

March 27th, 2013 · No Comments

Be honest—when you think Spring Break, what do you think of? Is it bikini-clad coeds at the beach? When you read the title of this blog, did you think we were going to show you some beads gone wild? Have no fear! We’re actually here to go over fashion for the non-traditional spring breaks, and fun project ideas you can do while you’re away.

Fashion for a Getaway

1938 Waikiki Surf Ride
Photo Source: National Geographic.

If you’re lucky enough to sneak away for a tropical spring break, be sure to dress for the pleasant occasion! Pack the perfect accessories, like blinged-out sunglasses, to match your bathing suit and beach towel. Speaking of towels, add more sparkle by wrapping it up with a Swarovski snap fastener! When you’re ready to step onto the dance floor after a long day of sunbathing, keep things casual yet fashionable with a solid color wrap dress in your favorite Pantone spring color (Emerald is our favorite). Want some jewelry ideas to make before you go? These are some of the hottest bracelet ideas for this spring:

Sylvan Boho
Sylvan Boho Bracelet

Miss Magma
Miss Magma Bracelet

Monterey Pop
Monterey Pop Bracelet

Grade School Spring Breakers

Kids on Spring Break
Photo Source: Crazy Frankenstein.

Be ready to keep the kids busy during their time off with fun projects you can do outside (to enjoy the sweet smells of spring) or inside (when April showers won’t subside). Our Learning Center is full of fun kid-friendly projects that we call Mommy and Me. Give the kids a day to unwind and celebrate their time off from school, and then introduce them to these ideas to keep their minds engaged:

Country Fair
County Fair Bracelet.

Savanna and Sweet Fun
Savanna and Sweet Fun.

Friendship Bracelet
Herringbone Weave Friendship Bracelet.

Road Trip Heaven

Road Trip
Photo Sourece: 8Tracks.com.

Whether you have an extended spring break or want to start planning for your summer vacation, be prepared for long trips with projects to keep you busy! Have you tried your hands at kumihimo yet? It’s a braiding technique that makes for colorful and durable designs. Bling it out while the wheels turn with crystal clay kits. Or, try a new design idea with one of our printable PDF files. Find these fun projects and more in our Bead it on Down the Road section!

What are your plans for spring break?

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Artisan Glass

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments

Paper weight by Akihiro Ohkama

Our lampwork beads are some of our favorite pieces, not only because of their beauty but because each one is made by hand. In a sense, these beads are small works of art! Each lampwork artist trains to master their craft, and having to work on such a small canvas takes a lot of dedication. Because each piece is handmade, these artists’ works are typically not mass produced—meaning that owning one is even more special. Lampwork artisans can use their skills to create everything from beads to paperweights to intricate decorations.

Akihiro Ohkama-profile pic

One of Artbeads owners’ Devin and Cynthia’s favorite artists is Akihiro Ohkama. His journey to becoming a lampwork artist is quite unique. Akihiro lives in Nara, Japan, where he first picked up beadmaking in 1996. After an unfortunate soccer injury forced him to leave his corporate job, he searched for something to occupy his free time. His father, Yashuhiro Ohkama, had been making lampwork glass and offered to teach Akihiro.

Cynthia's own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama

Cynthia’s own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama

It only took about a year for him to start selling his designs with his father at gallery exhibitions! After Akihiro healed from his injury, he decided that lampwork was what he wanted to pursue full time. He enjoyed working for himself rather than a company and just liked the whole process, and now teaches bead making classes regularly. He was also selected to be published in 2000′s Contemporary Glass Beads by 20 Japanese Artists. When you see Akihiro’s pieces, it’s no wonder why Devin and Cynthia love collecting his work.

Lotus Pod Bead-Terri Caspary

Take a look at the work of Terri Caspary, another incredible artist whom Cynthia got to chat with at the 2012 Tucson show, here!

Unicorne Beads

We’re also in love with Unicorne Beads and their amazing dichroic glass components. These bright and colorful beads are also made using the lampworking process, but also incorporate dichroic chips in the glass for an extra element of shimmer. Dichroic glass was originally created for the aerospace industry, but many lampwork artists have discovered that it’s perfect for adding brilliant shine in their pieces as well. The wild colors associated with Unicorne Beads are actually custom mixed so they produce the perfect shade needed. Their characteristic shapes often come from customer suggestions—another reason why we love this company! From owls to seahorses, their exquisite collection is full of wonderful shapes.

Of course, there are so many more artists that we adore here at Artbeads. The dedication it takes to produce delicate perfection consistently is a talent in of itself, which is why we choose to only provide the highest quality pieces to our customers. Don’t miss any of our favorite artists by visiting the Brands and Collections page on our site!

-Marissa

Information sources:
Kervin, Jim. Akihiro Ohkama: Introduction to Japanese Beadmaking Techniques. Livermore: GlassWear Studios, 2005. Print.
Akihiro Ohkama.
Unicorne Beads.

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Lampwork Bead Gallery

Our Designers’ Favorite Jump Rings

March 25th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Designers Favorite Jump Rings

The Artbeads jewelry designers are experts in using the best components and techniques, and love sharing their knowledge with our readers so anyone can create professional jewelry. One of the most overlooked (but very important) parts of a design is the jump ring. Using the correct size, shape and even finish can impact the overall look of a piece. We asked a couple of our experts which jump rings were their favorites and why. Scroll down to discover which ones they prefer for their projects!

Cynthia Kimura

Nouveau Necklace

I use the 19 gauge 0.90×4.60mm sterling silver open jump rings a lot. They are thin and go easily into every clasp and charm loop. Sometimes those loops have very small openings, and the 19 gauge of this jump ring is perfect.

Christmas Tableau Bracelet

For a stronger jump ring I love the 18 gauge sterling silver 1.00×6.10mm open jump rings. These jump rings go with a lot of chains, and they close so well that I know my thread won’t go through the opening if my jump ring isn’t closed perfectly. When I work with some heavy beads on a necklace I like to use the sterling silver 1.27×5.0mm open jump ring or the 1.27×8.0mm jump ring. I also like to use them between the clasp and the crimp tube.

Teri McCamish

Freedom Form Bracelet

I love oval jump rings and the reason why is: they have the opening on the long side of the oval, meaning the link is less apt to fail than a round where the crimped wire could find that opening and slip out. Don’t think that it won’t! Even if they were tugged it’s not likely to find that gap on the side. The sterling silver oval jump ring in 20 gauge is nice and sturdy.

Renesmees Locket

My other two favorites are base metal ovals in copper plated and gunmetal finish…these are a staple in my work. They are TierraCast and the quality is superior.

If you ever feel stumped on which findings would be a perfect fit, always know that our designers are here to help! You can leave a question here on our blog, on our Facebook page or email us at support@artbeads.com.

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

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