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.
If you’re new to bead weaving, a great place to start is with the spiral stitch. This simple stitch comes together quickly and looks great. You don’t have to be a beginner to enjoy it, either! Anyone can have fun making spiral stitch jewelry. Just ask Artbeads Chief Jewelry Designer Cynthia Kimura. Cynthia is a pro when it comes to bead weaving and she has fallen in love with this stitch. Just look at some of the creations she’s made!
Cynthia used seed beads and Swarovski pearls in the spiral stitch to create these Berry Bunches bracelets. The larger pearls stand out among the colorful seed beads. Of course, Artbeads Designer Seed Bead Blends are a great option for this stitch. They give you the perfect color palettes to work with, so you can focus on the fun stitch.
These Corsica bracelets feature the same spiral stitch with smaller seed beads. That’s the cool part about this stitch: changing up the beads completely transforms the look of your designs! No wonder Cynthia is having a blast with this technique. Here’s what the stitch looks like with crystal bicones in her Grape Trellis bracelet:
Cynthia used an Artbeads Designer Blend featuring Swarovski bicones in the perfect colors to match her seed beads. The beads and look may change, but the stitch stays the same and it couldn’t be easier. Check out our Artbeads Mini Tutorial video and Cynthia will teach you the technique:
Now that you’ve learned this fun and simple stitch, it’s time to check out the variation on this technique: the flat spiral stitch.
This stitch is quick to complete and looks stunning! As with the spiral stitch, switching up the beads really changes the look. These three Marceline bracelets are so distinct thanks to the different colors and beads used. You can create two rows of flat spiral stitch for an even more astounding look. Cynthia shows off this technique in her Cora bracelet:
The seed beads framing the pearls create a regal look we love. You can see the flat spiral stitch technique in action in the Mini Tutorial video below:
After Cynthia made all of these fantastic jewelry pieces, she was ready to teach a bunch of us here at Artbeads just how easy it is to make spiral stitch designs!
We gathered in the craft room and Cynthia helped us out with our own spiral stitch creations. We all had fun choosing different combinations of beads. Check out how the double flat spiral stitch changes when you use Miyuki baroque pearl beads:
You can also use fire-polished beads to great effect in this stitch, as well. These economical options are available in a variety of colors, so you’re sure to find something to suit your style. We used golden fire-polished beads with coppery seed beads for a modern look:
We had fun learning this technique from Cynthia and with the Mini Tutorials above, you will too! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced beader, you’re sure to fall in love with this addicting stitch. We haven’t stopped making new designs. Make sure to share your spiral stitch creations with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Swarovski rivoli crystals are beautiful stones that make a sparkling impact on any design. Their unique facets refract light in a dazzling display. These stones don’t have stringing holes, so they work best as embellishments in bead embroidery or even in beaded bezels. Artbeader Linda made some very cool bezels for her rivolis.
Linda made a black cat bezel and a peppermint candy bezel for her rivoli components. By modifying the same technique to suit different styles, she created two very different looks!
You can learn to make an open back bezel for your rivolis with this Handy Tip. Tubular peyote stitch helps seed beads fit snugly around these circular stones. The completed bezels are easy to incorporate into designs, too.
Artbeads.com’s chief jewelry designer Cynthia Kimura embellished her beaded bezels with bicones in her Blooming Stars necklace. Then, she attached them to each other using links she made with an Artbeads Designer Wire Blend in perfectly coordinated colors.
If you’re pressed for time when designing, there are quick ways to use rivolis, too!
These Ring Around the Rivoli rings come together in minutes! All you have to do is glue the rivoli into the ring setting and allow to dry. The result is a fabulous ring with professional style.
TierraCast also offers rivoli settings you can use to display some sparkle in your projects! Earring chandeliers, like the ones featured in this Luminous Gypsy design, charms and links are all available in a variety of finishes. Once again, just glue the rivoli in place and allow to dry.
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate the magic of rivoli crystals into your designs. What are some ways you have used them in your projects? We would love to see your designs. Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Remember, you can also add pictures of your designs when leaving product reviews on our website, like Linda did. You just might be featured on a future blog post, Facebook or Pinterest!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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!