DIY -Spikey Bracelet

newstudsI love the idea of punk meets classic; in this case, spikes meet seed beads! The construction of this pattern uses clamshell bead tips at each end. Since the thread used to make the bracelet is very fine, I use a seed bead as a stop-bead inside the bead tip. This technique allows one to anchor the thread at each end by feeding the thread through the bead tip, then the stop-bead, and then back through the bead tip positioning the thread for another pass through the bracelet. When adding a new length of thread to the project simply knot the old thread to the seed bead and knot the new one onto the same seed bead. In the end we will glue the knots and conceal it all by closing the bead tip shut!

Tools Neededmaterials300
Round Nose Pliers
Flush Wire Cutters or Sharp Scissors
Chain Nose Pliers

Materials Needed
Size 10 beading needles
Fireline thread
Japanese size 8/0 seed beads
Japanese size 11/0 seed beads
16 Glass Spike Beads 17mm x 7mm
2 clamshell bead tips
2 heavy gauge jump rings
1 clasp
Hypo-tube cement

String the Base Row

Step 1: Thread the needle with a double arm’s length of Fireline. Double over the tail of the thread so that one side is about 1 foot longer, this will make the length  easier to manage.

Tie a stop-bead onto the end of the thread and string on the clamshell.

Tie a stop-bead onto the end of the thread and string on the clamshell bead tip.

Step 2: Tie a size 11/0 seed bead (stop-bead) onto the end of the longer thread, leaving a 4 inch tail.

Step 3: String through a clamshell bead tip so that the stop-bead rests inside the bead tip. Leave the bead tip open.

text here

String the beads to make the desired bracelet length. Secure the end of the bracelet by adding a new clamshell bead tip, followed by a stop-bead, and then string back through the bead tip and 1st spike bead.

Step 4: String the beads onto the thread in the following pattern: 1 spike, 2 size 8/0 seed beads, 1 spike. Continue stringing the bead pattern of 2 size 8/0 seed beads and 1 spike until the desired length of the bracelet is achieved. 16 spikes will make a bracelet approximately 7.5” long depending on the size of clasp chosen.

Step 5: String through the back-end of the 2nd bead tip.

Step 6: String a size 11/0 seed bead (stop-bead) onto the thread and then go back through the bead tip toward the beads.

Step 7: For added strength of the base row, string the needle and thread back through all of the beads and into the 1st bead tip. Anchor the thread by feeding the thread through the seed bead inside the bead tip and finally back through the bead tip and the 1st spike bead.

Add Seed Bead Embellishment to the Sides of the Spikes

Addsadfsadfasdfs by

Add embellishment to both sides of the spike bead by stringing on six 11/0 seed beads and feeding the needle through the hole on the opposite end of the spike bead.

Step 8: With the thread coming out of a spike bead, string six size 11/0 seed beads. Feed the needle through the hole on the opposite end of the same spike bead. The seed beads will shape around the side of the spike bead. Repeat this step adding the same number of beads to the other side of the spike.

Step 9: Feed the needle through the two size 8/0 seed beads and the next spike.

Step 10: Repeat step 8 & 9 until each spike bead is embellished. When complete, anchor the thread by feeding the needle up through the bead tip, through the stop-bead, and then back through the bead tip.

Add Final Structure to the Base Row

Add structure by adding a size 8/0 seedbead in between each cluster of size 11/0 seedbeads. Repeat on the opposite side of the bracelet.

Add structure by adding a size 8/0 seed bead in between each cluster of size 11/0 seed beads. Repeat on the opposite side of the bracelet.

Step 11: Working on one side of the bracelet; feed the needle through the nearest six size 11/0 seed beads on one side of the spike bead. String on a new size 8/0 seed bead.

Step 12: Repeat step 11 for the length of the bracelet to add structure between the seed bead embellishment on the sides of the spike beads. Anchor the thread in the clamshell and repeat Step 11 on the opposite side of the bracelet.

Step 13: Knot the working thread to the stop-bead inside the clamshell.

Step 14: Secure the knots by dabbing them with GS Hypo-Tube Cement. Allow 5 minutes for the glue to dry then cut the thread ends with scissors or wire cutters.

Attach the Clasp

mn

Gently close the bead tips and use round nose pliers to round out and close the bead tips. Use chain nose pliers to attach the clasp to the bead tips with jump rings.

Step 15: Close the bead tips over the stop-bead and knots; first using your fingers and then giving the bead tips a final gentle squeeze with chain nose pliers.

Step 16: Using chain nose pliers, attach a jump ring to the loop of the bead tip and one side of the clasp. Repeat on the opposite side.

WE LOVE READING YOUR COMMENTS!! Comment on this post for your chance to win a kit of materials to make your own. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on May 1st!

DIY -Braided Hex Cut Bead Bracelet

hexcutbeadsbraidTools Needed
Scissors

Materials Neededmaterials
5 feet waxed linen cord
120(+or-) 2.25mm metal hex spacer beads
1 large hole bead

What fun!! This bracelet is made by incorporating beads into a braid of waxed linen cord. We have made a dozen of these using everything from size 8/0 seedbeads ( rounds, droplets, & even cubes) to 3mm faceted glass; really any small bead that will fit onto the cord will work.

Preparing the Cords

Step 1: Cut the waxed linen into two 30 inch lengths.

Step 2: Hold the two cords side-by-side and run your fingers along the two strands. The wax on the linen will make the two strands stick together as if they were a single strand.

Making the Clasp Loop05grouping

Step 3: String 17 hex beads onto the end of the two cords and position them in the middle of the cords. (If using a different bead to clasp the bracelet, adjust the number of beads used here to fit snugly over the bead.)

Step 4: Shape the beaded segment of cord into a loop. Secure the loop closed by tying both sides of the cord into an overhand knot. Make sure the knot is positioned against the beads before tightening.

Step 5: Separate the individual strands of cord and cut one strand off with scissors. Three strands will remain.

Braiding the Beads in Place06beads

Step 6: String about 30 hex beads onto one of the cords. Tie a loose knot around the final bead, near the end of the cord, to keep the beads from falling off the strand during braiding. Repeat this step on the remaining strands.

braid0

Step 7: Fan out the three strands. Beginning with the left hand strand, push a bead up against the overhand knot. Cross the cord over the front of the middle strand.

Step 8: Push a bead against the overhand knot of the right-hand strand. Cross the cord over the front of the middle strand.

Step 9: Continue braiding the beads in place by positioning a bead against the braid and crossing the cord over the front of the middle strand, alternating from left to right. Add (or subtract) beads as needed until the bracelet fits loosely around the wrist from the tip of the loop to the end of braid.

Finishing the Braceletfinishingthebraid

Step 10: Continue braiding the beads in place until the braided segment fits loosely around the wrist from the tip of the loop to the end of the braid.

Step 11: Secure the end of the cord by tying all three cords together into an overhand.

claspbeadending

Step 12: String a large hole bead onto the cords.

Step 13: Secure the bead in place by tying another overhand knot up against the bottom of the bead. Be sure to make certain that the knot is large enough to hold the bead in place. If not, tie an additional overhand knot on top of the one made in the previous step.

Step 14: Finish off each of the cords by stringing a single bead onto the individual cords and tying a single overhand knot to hold the bead in place. Cut off excess thread.  Vary the length of each of the threads for a tassel effect.

We love reading your comments! Drop us a line in the comment section and you qualify for a chance to win a kit of supplies used to make this bracelet. Winner will be chosen March 31st and notified via email. Good luck -BSG

DIY -Textured Swag Necklace

With so many new beads arriving in the bead store I was feeling the need to use them all, or at least as many as I could fit in one necklace! This necklace uses basic beading techniques to build a wonderfully scrumptious necklace that is surprisingly lightweight and ever so easy to wear. Mix and match your favorite colors and shapes to make a different design each time!finishednecklace

Supplies

Supplies

Tools Needed
Flush Wire Cutters
2 pairs of chain Nose Pliers
Crimp Tool
Ruler or tape measure

Materials Needed
5 1/2 inches 4mm rhinestone chain
1 pair rhinestone chain crimp ends
6 1/2 inches 3mm rolo chain
18 inches circle charm chain
16 heavy 6mm jump rings
2 end bars with 6 holes
1 large toggle clasp
1 strand (35pcs) 4mm firepolished glass beads
1 strand (42pcs)4mm Swarovski crystal pearls
3 packages (50pcs) 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones
1 yard Softflex wire, size .014″ cut into 1 foot lengths
Six tube shaped crimp beads, size 2mm x 2mm

Designer’s Tip: Each strand is strung or cut to length before attaching the individual strands to the end bars. The graduated appearance is achieved by adding 1/2 inch of length to each strand. Measurements must include any added length created by crimp ends or crimp beads but do not include the jump ring that the Softflex is attached to. This tutorial lists the exact number of beads used for each strand,  if you are using different beads use  following the measurement guidelines as follows:

1st strand: 5 1/2 inches rhinestone chain
2nd strand: 6 inches of strung 4mm firepolish beads
3rd strand: 6 1/2 inches 3mm rolo chain
4th strand: 7 inches 4mm Swarovski pearls
5th strand: 7 1/2 inches 4mm Swarovski bicones
6th strand: 8 inches circle charm chain

Preparing the Six Strands

Attach the crimp ends onto a 5 1/2" length of rhinestone chain.

Attach the crimp ends onto a 5 1/2″ length of rhinestone chain.

Strand 1:

  • Place one end of the rhinestone chain into the crimp end and secure it in place by using chain nose pliers to gently fold the prongs inward against the rhinestone.
  • Cut the chain so that there are a total of 20 links (or 5 1/2″).
  • Attach the second crimp end on the opposite end of the chain.
Close two jump rings. String the beads and secure a jump ring on each end with a crimp bead.

Close two jump rings, secure the Softflex to the jump ring with a crimp bead, string the beads and secure another jump ring on the opposite end with a second crimp bead.

Strand 2:

  • Using chain nose pliers, close two jump rings.
  • Feed a crimp bead onto one end of the wire. String through the closed jump ring and then back through the crimp bead so that the ring becomes “trapped” in the loop.
  • For a professional look, use a crimp tool to secure the crimp bead in place. (We made a great video on how to use this tool.) Alternatively one can secure the crimp bead in place by squeezing it with chain nose pliers.
  • String on 35 firepolish beads.
  • Feed a crimp bead and a closed jump ring onto the wire, then go back through the crimp bead so that the ring becomes “trapped” in the loop.
  • Position the crimp bead against the beads and secure it in place with a crimp tool.

    Prepare all six strands using the pattern described above.

    Prepare all six strands using the pattern described above.

Strand 3:

  • Cut the rolo chain so that it measures 6 1/2 inches in length.

Strand 4:

  • Use the same techniques outlined in Strand #2 only this time string 42 Swarovski pearls onto the wire.

Strand 5:

  • Use the same techniques outlined in Strand #2 only this time string 50 Swarovski bicones.

Strand 6:

  • Cut an 8 inch length of circle charm chain.

Assembling the Strands onto the End Bars

Attach each strand (in order of length) to one of the end bars with a jump ring.

Attach each strand (in order of length) to one of the end bars with a jump ring.

Each strand is attached to the end bars with jump rings starting with Strand #1, then Strand #2 and so on. The beaded strands use the jump ring already attached to the strand while the chains will require a new jump ring. This step is surprisingly difficult as the strands want to twist around each other and the jump rings seem to fly across the room. I prefer to assemble the strands on a flat surface in order to keep everything under control.

Connect the second side of each strand to the remaining end bar.

Connect the second side of each strand to the remaining end bar.

Finishing the Necklace & Adding the Clasp

  • Cut two lengths of circle charm chain that measure 5 inches each.
  • Use a new jump ring to attach one end of each chain to the top loop of the end bars.
  • Use a new jump ring to attach each side of the clasp to the opposite end of the chains.
Attach the remaining chain and clasp with jump rings. Wear & Repeat!

Attach the remaining chain and clasp with jump rings. Wear & Repeat!

WE LOVE READING YOUR COMMENTS!! When you make your version be sure to post a picture of it on our Facebook page for your chance to win the materials needed to make the brass version pictured above.

Winner will be chosen on February 27th so get beading!

DIY -Lattice Bracelet

latticebracelet

Beads & Supplies

Beads & Supplies

Tools Needed
Flush Wire Cutters
Crimp Tool or Chain Nose Pliers

Materials Needed
1 yard Softflex wire, size .014″
2 tube shaped crimp beads, size 2mm x 2mm
1 toggle clasp
11 Swarovski 6mm faceted round crystal beads
22 daisy spacer beads measuring 4mm across
5+ grams size 11/0 seedbeads

Designer’s Tip: This is a beginner level bracelet pattern.  The pattern is created by using a doubled length of Softflex wire and stringing through the beads in a figure 8 pattern. The 6mm beads can easily be replaced with any size or shape of bead. When using larger beads, the number of seedbeads strung between each lattice connection may need to be increased.

Attach the First Side of the Clasp

Step 1: Feed the Softflex wire through one end of the toggle clasp and position the clasp in the center of the stringing wire.

Step 2: Feed both ends of the wire through a crimp bead and position the crimp against the clasp. The resulting loop should be small but in no way constricting the movement of the clasp.

Step 3: For a professional look, use a crimp tool to secure the crimp bead in place.

Step 1 through Step 3

Secure one side of the clasp to a doubled length of Softflex wire with a crimp bead.

We have a great video on how to use this tool. (It’s a long video, jump to 2:59 for a quick review of how the crimp tool works.) Alternatively, the crimp bead can be secured in place by squeezing it with a pair of chain nose pliers.

String the Bead Pattern

Step 4: String 10 seedbeads onto each piece of wire.

Step 5: String 1 daisy spacer, 1 round crystal, and 1 daisy spacer onto one of the wire strands.

Step 6: Feed the other wire strand through the beads strung during the previous step in the opposite direction. This will create the figure-8 pattern.

Step 4 through Step 6

String 10 seedbeads on each wire. String onto one wire:1 spacer, 1 round bead, and 1 spacer bead. Feed the 2nd wire through the beads in the opposite direction making a figure-8 pattern.

Step 7: Repeat Step 4 through Step 6 ten more times or until the desired length is achieved.

Continue building the bracelet by repeating steps 4-6.

Continue building the bracelet by repeating steps 4-6.

Finishing the Bracelet

Step 8: String 10 seedbeads onto each piece of wire.

Step 9: Feed both ends of the wire through a crimp bead.

String 10 seedbeads on each wire. String both wires through the remaining crimp bead.

String 10 seedbeads on each wire. String both wires through the remaining crimp bead.

Step 10: Feed both ends of the wire through the loop of the second side of the clasp.

Step 11: Feed both ends of the wire back through the crimp bead so that the clasp becomes “trapped” in the loop and the wire ends are pointing toward the beads.

something here

String both wires through the clasp and then back through the crimp bead.

Step 12: For a professional look, use a crimp tool to secure the crimp bead in place. Alternatively, the crimp bead can be secured in place by squeezing it with a pair of chain nose pliers.

Step 13: Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire.

hrere

Use a crimp tool to secure the crimp and cut off any excess wire.

gh

The completed bracelet!

WE LOVE READING YOUR COMMENTS!! Comment on this post for your chance to win a kit of materials to make your own. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on January 30th!

Congrats lilisgems for winning the kit. Be sure to watch for our next DIY with another chance to win something new. Suggestions are always welcome, what do you want to learn?

January’s Birthstone -Garnet

January’s Birthstone: Garnet
Zodiac stone
Capricorn December 22-January 20: Garnet
Aquarius January 21- February 19: Amethyst
The 2nd Anniversary Stone

Almadine garnet beads

Almadine garnet beads

January is the only month with no alternate birthstone, but Garnet more than makes up for this with a wide color spectrum of stones. There are 7 main types of Garnet, almandine (deep red to purple), andradite (red, yellow, brown, green or black), demantoid (green to yellowish green or blue green), grossularite (green, brown, red, yellow), pyrope (deep red to black), spessarite (orange yellow), uvarovite (bright green). Garnets posses nearly identical physical properties despite all the differences in color, garnets are neosilicates, with a differing mineral producing each color. Relatively high on the Mohs scale, 6.5-7.5 garnets are well suited to faceting and setting in jewelry. The harder stones are also used as commercial abrasives, from sandpaper to use in highly compressed air that cuts steel. Widely mined around the world many locations are known for particular colors or types. Australia, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Italy, Iran, United States, are all current commercial producers. Russia, once a strong producer of demantoid garnets, a favorite of the designer Faberge now only produces a very small amount. Eastern Europe was an early source, with much of the cutting and shaping done in Bohemia. Garnets cut for gemstones are not usually treated, although it is common to see dyed garnet material used for beads.

Green grossularite garnets

Green grossularite garnets

Garnet gets its name from ‘granataum’ meaning seed, refers to the similarity to a pomegrante seed. Ancient Romans used garnet in inlay work. Garnets are reputed to be the stones of truth, friendship, faithfulness, commitment, and insight. Given as a friendship gift and worn into battle by soldiers, garnets are especially good for problems with the blood, lungs, preventing and curing infection. The red color garnet is a symbol of love and enhances sensuality.

Spessarite or Hessanite garnets in an orange yellow color.

Spessarite or Hessonite garnets in an orange yellow color.

Use these garnets in your designs-
Depending on the color chosen, garnets can be used in many different designs. Red garnets mixed with gold are an especially rich mixture, adding black garnets, spinel or onyx would increase the dramatic flare. Green garnets are also attractive mixed with gold or add a sparkly quality to other earthy green stones. Rich orange or yellow garnets would be accented with silver, or mixed with warm tones of pearls, amber or natural mother of pearl.

December’s Birthstone -Turquoise

December’s Birthstone: Turquoise
Alternate Stones: Tanzanite & Zircon
Zodiac stones
Sagittarius November 23- December 2: Turquoise
Capricorn December 22-January 20: Garnet
The 11th Anniversary stone

turkquoise

Turquoise Beads

Like many gemstones, turquoise comes in a variety of colors, from nearly white, through light blues, to deep sky or robin’s egg blue to earthy greens and yellow. Native Americans described it as ‘fallen sky stone’ and many domed roofs in Iran are sheathed in turquoise symbolizing ‘heaven on earth’. Bright sky blue with no inclusions, and consistent color is highly prized. Turquoise gets its name from a French translation of Pierre tourques meaning stone from Turkey.  Turquoise is a cryptocrystalline mineral that very rarely forms in a crystal shape. It is formed over time by the percolating of acidic solutions of weathered minerals and metals like copper, aluminum, and phosphorus. It measures a 6 on the Mohs’ scale, therefore turquoise is a softer stone so is often shaped into cabochons, beads and extensively used in inlay.

Turquoise was one of the first stones to be mined, Turkey and Persia (now Iran) were traditional sources of European turquoise. These sources are now depleted and only mined seasonally by small family ventures. The larger deposits of commercial turquoise are found in the southwest of the US, primarily, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Different colors and qualities are produced in each area, leading to distinct types of turquoise names, Kingman, Sleeping Beauty, or Bisbee. Arid regions are associated with turquoise deposits; mines exist in China, Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, and northern India.

Turquoise beads.

Turquoise beads.

Turquoise has long been associated with treatments applied to enhance the color and durability of the stone. In Egypt the desire for a more durable blue colored material lead to the development of faience, a glaze for pottery and a precursor to glass. Turquoise may be stabilized to enhance lower grade more fractured material and dyed to improve the color.  Simple oiled or waxed treatments are considered acceptable since it has a very low impact on the stone. Reconstituted material, ground fine then added to resin and re-cut after hardening is the lowest grade. Synthetic Gilson turquoise from the 1970’s is even collectible!

Reputed to take on the persona of the person who wears it, turquoise is often associated with truth and wisdom, in many cultures it is also a stone of success.Turquoise may help with symptoms of rheumatism gout, stomach issues, and viruses. Increases growth, anti-inflammatory and a detoxifier. Especially noted as a protection against falls.  It is a stone of protection, worn by warriors, kings and shamans.

Using Turquoise in your jewelry designs-

Depending on the color of turquoise chosen there are many stones that work well with the blue-green color stones. Native Americans mix turquoise with other opaque stones, like coral, malachite, onyx, sugilite, and lapis. The most common metal for mixing with turquoise is silver, both bright and oxidized. Bright blue stones would be striking wire wrapped on gold wire, or mixed with pyrite, golden pearls or amber. Olive green or heavily veined beads would lovely added to a darker brown stone like tiger’s eye.

November’s Birthstone -Topaz and Citrine

Alternate Birthstone: Citrine
Ancient birthstone: Topaz & pearl
Zodiac stones for Scorpio October 24-November 21: Beryl
Sagittarius November 22-December 21: Topaz
The 4th anniversary stone

London Blue Topaz Beads (top) Imperial Topaz Beads (bottom)

London Blue Topaz Beads (top)
Imperial Topaz Beads (bottom)

Topaz-

Topaz comes in a rich rainbow of colors: white, yellow, purple, blue, pink, and orange. The most desirable Imperial Topaz has an orange color with pink under tones. Topaz gets its name from the old French word, ‘topace’ and Latin, Topazus. The name is also related to the Sanskrit word, “tapas” meaning heat or fire and the Hebrew word, tapooz the orange fruit. Topaz measures 8 on the Moh’s hardness scale making topaz a hard stone. This hardness results in very crisp and sparkly facets in gem quality stones. Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine. Trace amounts of other minerals create the wide color varieties. Naturally occurring blue or pink topaz is quite rare, less colorful stones are heat-treated and irradiated to enhance or create darker blue stones. Mystic topaz is coated to give it a rainbow effect.  Topaz is found in many locations around the world, the Urals, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Western Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia and in the United States in Utah. Topaz is thought to aid in problems of the mind, mental issues, assist in mental acuity, as well as a talisman against sudden death. It has been used by royalty and in religious decorations from the Middle Ages.

citrinebeads

Citrine Beads

Citrine-

A golden variant of quartz, citrine ranges in color from pale yellows to brownish orange and can actually be amethyst that has been heat-treated! Like amethyst, citrine is rated a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. Citrine takes a fine polish and is readily cut into faceted stones for jewelry or beads. Natural citrine is quite rare, and can be expensive. Telling the difference between natural and heat-treated stones is difficult, assume most lower quality and price stones are heat-treated. Like all quartz family members, citrine can be found in South America, the United States and some high quality stones come from Norway. Citrine is known as the ‘shopkeepers stone’ and is said to attract wealth and success. It’s golden color is a sunny optimistic mood enhancer, drawing a flow of energy to improve digestion and physical endurance.

Using Topaz and Citrine in your jewelry

Depending on the color of topaz, matching it with gold or silver is a designers dilemma, the cool of blue topaz certainly lends itself to it bright silver beads or wire, the warm tones lean off towards gold, especially vermeil, as its rich gold tone will enhance the topaz. The clear and sparkly nature of topaz should perk up any design.

Citrine with its brighter yellow hue is a wonderful accompaniment to cool stones like grey moonstone, labradorite, and of course its cousin amethyst. Try knotting very pale citrine on yellow silk to enhance the color from within. Darker brown citrine is a good match for amber, adding a polished contrast to amber’s matte finish.

DIY -3 Strand Leather Bracelet

Leather Bracelet Smaple

Tools Needed
Flush Wire Cutters
Chain Nose Pliers

Materials Needed
One shank style button to be used as a clasp
Eighteen 4mm 6/0 metal beads or use Japanese 6/0 glass seedbeads for added color
Four gold-plated pewter distressed ovals
Two and a half feet (30″) 1.5mm leather cord

This three strand bracelet is made with one continuous length of leather. The leather is doubled through the oval beads to create a clasp and lattice pattern. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this posting for a chance to win one of two GIVEAWAYS!

clasp

Step 1: String one oval bead and the button clasp onto the leather.

Step 2: Feed the leather back through the oval bead to “trap” the button in place. Position the leather so that one side measures about 8 inches from the button. (The longer side of leather will be used to complete a loop and additional bracelet strand later on.)

Bead stringing pattern for the first two strands of leather.

Bead stringing pattern for the first two strands of leather.

Step 3: Onto the longer length of leather cord string the following beads: 2 6/0 seedbeads, 1 oval, 2 6/0 seedbeads, 1 oval, 2 6/0 seedbeads, 1 oval.

Step 4: Onto the shorter length of leather cord string the following beads: 2 6/0 seedbeads, string through the 2nd oval used on the longer leather strand, 4 6/0 seedbeads, string through the 4th oval used on the longer leather strand.

Make a loop with the longer leather by feeding it back through the last oval bead.

Make a loop with the longer leather by feeding it back through the last oval bead.

Step 5: Make a loop on the end of the second side of the bracelet by feeding the longer leather cord back through the last oval bead.

Step 6: Size the bracelet so that the overall length measures approximately 8 inches. Final sizing adjustments will be made after stringing the final row.

Bead stringing pattern for final row of leather.

Bead stringing pattern for final row of leather.

Step 7: String the following beads onto the final length of leather: 2 6/0 seedbeads, string through the 2nd oval bead of the middle strand, 4 6/0 seedbeads, string through the final oval bead shared with the other two strand of leather.

Step 8: Size the bracelet. Before crimping the leather in place it is important to properly size the bracelet. The loops at each end should measure approximately 3/4″ each. Adjust the strands until the length fits your wrist loosely. When each strand is the same length the bracelet should lie relatively flat.

Using chain nose pliers, cut off the excess leather.

Using chain nose pliers, gently squeeze the oval bead closed.

Step 9: Using chain nose pliers, gently crimp down the oval beads at each end to secure the leather in place.

Step 10: Position each of the remaining oval beads approximately 2″ away from the closest ending oval bead. Using chain nose pliers, gently crimp down the two oval beads in the body of the bracelet. Crimping down these two beads will help keep the beads evenly distributed on the leather strands.

Use cutters to remove excess leather at the ends.

Use cutters to remove excess leather at the ends.

Step 11: Use wire cutters to remove the excess leather at each end.

WE LOVE READING YOUR COMMENTS!! Comment on this post for your chance to win one of these bracelets or a kit of materials to make your own (yup, two winners will be chosen). Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on October 31st.

Student Exhibit -Opening October 1st, 2013

Student Exhibit

Showing at Baubles & Beads
through November 18th

It is amazing how so many of us begin our journey into jewelry making propelled by the idea that we just want to make a single piece. Somehow along the way it turns into an addiction and we feel compelled to learn more, make more, and of course collect more beads. Each of the following artists began the same way: with a single step. Although this exhibit features beginners and professionals alike there is a common thread amongst them all that binds them into the same show, a love for beads and metal and bringing forth something beautiful from them.

Visit the entire collection at the store in Berkeley, CA.

Here are a few highlights from the exhibit:

Seedbeads

Perhaps one of the most time consuming forms of beadwork, seedbead woven projects easily span many months, even years for larger pieces, of dedicated work.

Mary Staats has been beading for over a decade. Her love of seedbeads is beautifully displayed in this piece: Tidepool Beaded Bracelet

Tidepool Beaded Bracelet, an original design by Mary Staats

Pods, an original design by Judy Sinclair

Pods, an original design by Judy Sinclair

 

Metalwork & PMC

Rivets, flame, hammers, files and sweat go into making fabulous metalsmithed jewelry. We are proud to see so many of our students branching out to design and create their own works of wonder.

Spiral Ring with Beads and 5 Domes & A Feather, both original designs by Jennifer Magnusson

Spiral Ring with Beads and 5 Domes & A Feather, both original designs by Jennifer Magnusson

Punched & Pounded Bib, an original design by Sara Dinelli

Punched & Pounded Bib, an original design by Sara Dinelli

Textured Copper Earrings and Copper Laurel Teardrops, both original designs by Lorah Gross

Textured Copper Earrings and Copper Laurel Teardrops, both original designs by Lorah Gross

 

Wire Work & Stringing

A wrap here, a tuck there, wirework and stringing demonstrate the art of seamless beginnings and endings. Each art form focuses the attention toward beads and the use of color, texture and form.

Charleston Sunset, an original design by Storm Harvey

Charleston Sunset, an original design by Storm Harvey

Chrysoprase Jewel Necklace and Tourmaline Wire Wrapped Scroll Bracelet, both original designs by Lisa Spiegelman

Chrysoprase Jewel Necklace and Tourmaline Wire Wrapped Scroll Bracelet, both original designs by Lisa Spiegelman

Silver & Gold Elegance and Spinell Drop Necklace, original designs by Judith Greifenhagen

Silver & Gold Elegance and Spinell Drop Necklace, original designs by Judith Greifenhagen

1st Fused Glass Earrings, an original design, and Wire Wrapping Practice #2, both by Mary Gilles

1st Fused Glass Earrings, an original design, and Wire Wrapping Practice #2, both by Mary Gilles

An original design by Cheryl Rowe

An original design by Cheryl Rowe

October Birthstone: Opal and Tourmaline

October Birthstone: Tourmaline and Opal
Zodiac Stones
Libra September 23rd-October 23rd: Chrysolite
Scorpio October 24th-November 21st: Beryl

Opal Specimens

Opal Specimens

Opals are famous for their colors, which cover the entire rainbow spectrum in brilliant flashes. Opals have a unique non-crystalline structure of submicroscopic silica spheres that are held together with silica and water. The ‘play of colors’ develops in volcanic cavities and openings as the silica hardens into an opal. Colors are added with the presence of different materials, yellow and red opals have inclusions of iron oxides, black, green, blue and red opals contain carbon and magnesium. Opals measure low to medium on the Moh’s hardness scale, coming in between 5-6, and are best cut into cabochons or carved into beads. Opals have a reputation for drying out, or becoming dehydrated, but only some of the lower gem quality has this problem. To make the most of opal materials, thin slices are cut and mounted onto a black onyx backing making a doublet. Additionally, a magnifying glass layer can be added to the top making a triplet. These layers help stabilize and improve the look of the stone as well as extending the raw material. Other types of opal are Mexican fire opal and Peruvian blue and pink opal, these rarely display the ‘play of color’, instead they have a milky soft color play with inclusions of clear watery opal.

Opal rough, ready to be made into cabochons.

Rough opals, ready to be made into cabochons.

The brightest and largest amounts of gem quality opals are primarily mined in Australia.  Other sources of opal include Nevada and Idaho, the Czech Republic, South America, and Ethiopia.  In late 2008, NASA announced that it had discovered opal deposits on Mars. In 1974, Pierre Gilson created the first synthetic opals that rivaled the natural, with a very regular ‘play of color’. These synthetic opals are not opal imitations but material containing some of the silica as an opal would with the addition of resins to harden.

Mexican Fire Opal beads

Mexican Fire Opal beads

Opals have a long history of being in and out of fashion; sometimes they are associated with good fortune and considered lucky. Other eras see opals much in disfavor, discoloring if the wearer is in bad health, opals worn by sufferers of the Black Death would discolor as the wearer had extremely high fevers, and dull as they passed away. The origin of the name ‘opal’ is even up for debate, some point to a Roman connection to the word ‘opalus’ while others choose the link to the Sanskrit ‘upala’ or the Latin ‘opalis’ meaning lucky stone. Opals are the talisman of thieves and spies as opals may confirm invisibly on the wearer. Opals are regarded as the stone that symbolizes hope.

pinkperuvianopal

Pink Peruvian Opal beads.

Tourmaline is also a stone of many colors: pink, green, yellow, brown, and black are all within the color spectrum of tourmaline. Its makeup is a complex aluminous borosilicate material with other metals mixed in to create colors. Tourmaline is trigonal, meaning its crystals form in a triangle, unique among common minerals. High on the Moh’s hardness scale, 7-7.5, it is a stone well suited to faceting as well as carving into beads. Tourmaline is a name thought to come from Sri Lanka, ‘”tourmali” meaning something out of the earth, and is used to describe yellow, green or brown tourmaline. Bi-color or watermelon tourmaline is highly prized, green with a transition to pink, resembling the cross-section of a watermelon. Tourmaline is piezoelectric, meaning will build and hold static charge if rubbed firmly against fabric or heated. Irradiation is often applied to enhance pink and red stones.

tourmalinestrands

Tourmaline bead strands.

Tourmalines are mined around the world, Africa, South America and the US, in Maine and southern California.

Tourmalines are separated into their color groups when used to promote metaphysical qualities. Green and watermelon are used to promote peace and harmony, green is especially helpful for restful sleep. Pink is associated with grieving or loss of love, eases pain and promotes compassion. Yellow is for the academic, and helpful in business. Blue tourmaline is used for inner peace and self-expression.

Using Opal and Tourmaline in your designs

Opal beads of true gem quality can be very pricy.  Fire opal, pink, blue opals are much less expensive and widely available. The rich red-orange-brown of fire opal is a natural mix with gold.  As opals are quite lightweight (compared to some gemstones) make multiple strands to really push the color and texture forward.

Tourmalines offer so many colors! Many strands come with the colors graduated from one color to the next, try to keep them in order for the most sleek use of all the colors. Or break up the colors into separate piles so each group is more monochromatic. Tourmaline looks especially good with oxidized silver.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,645 other followers