Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review - Jewelry Projects from a Beading Insider

By on Thursday, June 20, 2013 4 Comments

Beginners sometimes ask me to recommend a basic book to refer to. I've always recommended The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry by Karin Buckingham.  Check here for my book review.   While it wasn't intended as such, I recently received for review a newly published book which could well be a sequel with some overlap.

Cathy Jakicic, the Editor of Bead Style Magazine is the author and designer of Jewelry Projects from a Beading Insider.  The book includes not just projects but tons of tips and tricks of the trade which she learned and picked as an "insider" in the business.

The book is geared for beginners and has very clear instructions and images.  One really stellar feature is the right hand column section where the author either shared tips or information to educate the reader.  For example, for her 4 Golden Facts column, she explained what vermeil is and why gold can be rose, yellow, white or even green.

On the negative side,  the materials and supply lists which typically appear on the same project page as in most books, had to be relegated to a section at the end of this book.  It was somewhat inconvenient to have to flip to that section every time I needed to find out more about a particular material or supply.

The book consisted of 3 major chapters. Skill Building covered basic techniques.  The first project in the book was not surprisingly the wrapped loops project shown below which introduces readers to that crucial first step with wire work.

One thing to note -  this book does not arrange the projects in the order of relative difficulty.   I expected the plain loop, crimping and multistrand projects to follow wrapped loops but they appear after wire crochet, gilding and buffing and beadweaving. It's not that important as many people tend to dip into books rather than read it from cover to cover.

One unusual project in this section was the Dyeing To Be Stylish - great tips on how to dye pearls yourself! DIY ombre designs are possible!

The Designing With... chapter is very helpful for beginners as the projects walk through the design process when working with either materials like gemstones, chain or copper or with design elements like asymmetry.  The Color Combination project in the first chapter could have been placed here too as designing with colors is something we all do.

One project I really liked was the patina one below where the author shows how easy it is to paint on Swellegant verdigris patina and seal it.

The Creativity Boost chapter was actually divided into two parts - in the middle of the book and at the end.  The projects here were a mixed bag but fun nonetheless like the updated classic pearl necklace below - a simple idea to add lots of chain effectively.  It is easy enough for any beginner as with virtually all the projects in the book.

While I found the order of some of the projects a little puzzling, the book does achieve its primary goal and that is to help and guide a relative beginner through this fascinating and addictive craft.


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. What an interesting book, if for no other reason than I had no idea it was possible to dye pearls at home.

  2. Yes, it also intrigued me because I too never thought it could be done.

  3. Sometimes even seasoned jewelry makers need a book that covers many aspects of basic jewelry construction.

    The ombre dying of the those pearls is very interesting. Though I've never dyed pearls myself, I have a friend that does. It became a necessity for her because she is a Kumihimo artist and sometimes could not find pearls to match her braided necklaces. Yellow pearls were the most challenging, she'd order yellow pearls and receive orange pearls, gold, peach, mango, marmalade but not light, lemony yellow pearls. But then she dyes her own silk that she uses in her Kumihimo braiding (and in her loom work silk scarves) so dying pearls was right up her alley.

  4. Your friend sounds like an amazing and meticulous artist!