Saturday, October 31, 2009

Candy Inspired Jewelry

By on Saturday, October 31, 2009 7 Comments

Trick or Treat Part 6 of 6
For those of you who aren't fond of Halloween, this is the last in the series! I am pretty sure many elementary school teachers are also grateful Halloween falls on a Saturday this year as it will be all over by Monday. They won't be dealing with the sugar highs this weekend! So in celebration for all the sweet delights, let's enjoy some of our favorite candies in calorie-free jewelry by some pretty amazing artisans!

Friday, October 30, 2009

How to make Halloween Jewelry with DG3 Art Gel

By on Friday, October 30, 2009 4 Comments

Trick or Treat Part 5 of 6
If you like the look of resin jewelry but are turned off with having to work with toxic material, there is a solution!

Digital artist, John Golden who produced a great set of resin jewelry tutorials I wrote about before, has come up with another video tutorial where he uses the less toxic DG3 Art Gel. He uses his Halloween graphics available from his Etsy store Golden Supply Company but this type of project is obviously not limited to the trick and treat season.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bone up on Skull and Skeletal Jewelry !

By on Thursday, October 29, 2009 2 Comments

Trick or Treat Part 4 of 6
There is plenty of skull and skeleton jewelry out there especially with Halloween coming up, making it hard to choose. But here are a couple of truly innovative designers who do something unique.

Zipper Skulls and Bones Jewelry
First up is Toniandtree on Etsy who make a whole range of awesome handmade vintage zipper brooches in their original colors.
 Shown here are their Halloween heart pins decorated with skulls, Swarovski crystals and charms.Although the basic shape is a heart, every one has been embellished in a different way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creepy Vampire Jewelry Photo Shoot

By on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 2 Comments

Trick or Treat Part 3 of 6
One of the best Victorian Gothic novels was Bram Stoker's Dracula, a fast paced, highly readable and downright scary tale published in 1897. Whilst not the first vampire novel, his book is the most influential as is evident by the countless books, movies and other creative works that followed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Make Wire and Bead Spider Tutorials

By on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10 Comments

Trick or Treat Part 2 of 6
I've covered how to make witch earrings before. They are perfect for Halloween. How about spiders instead? The sort that don't send you running and screaming? Shown here are my copper version of the wire and bead variety you can easily do. Mine is a variation of the classic wire and bead spider without beads on the legs. For the basic instructions check out the first free tutorial link below.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Frankenstein Stitch and Zombie Bloody Chokers for Halloween

By on Monday, October 26, 2009 7 Comments

Trick or Treat
Part 1 of 6
Did you know that the novel Frankenstein was written by a woman? The authoress was Mary Shelley, wife of the tragic English poet, Percy Shelley.She wrote it in 1818 in an era when the Gothic novel - a mixture of horror and a dash of romance - was popular. In the book, Frankenstein is not made from body parts but so many films have shown him to be a stitched together creation that it has become ingrained in our popular culture.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to make PVC bracelets

By on Sunday, October 25, 2009 7 Comments

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. The material is extensively used in construction because it is cheap, easy to use and is very durable. Softer and more flexible types are produced by adding plasticizers in order to make many things including upholstery, flexible tubing, electrical insulation, waterbeds, clothing and - thanks to creative artisans - even jewelry.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

$3,000,000 Bra : Victoria Secret's Fantasy Diamond Bra

By on Saturday, October 24, 2009 8 Comments

I don't get underwear bling. Nobody else is going to see it unless you count the large male audience tuning into CBS's Victoria Secret's Fashion Show airing on December 1!

This year's star attraction at the show and in their Christmas catalog is the Victoria's Secret Fantasy Harlequin bra, a $3 million dollar creation by Diamani with 150 carats worth of over 2,350 white, champagne and cognac-colored diamonds. They adorn the convertible bra in the distinctive harlequin pattern which took 15 artisans at Valenza workshop 800 hours to complete. In the Entertainment Tonight video, model Marisa Miller shows off the rare heart-shaped 16-carat champagne diamond dangling in the front during a photo shoot.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Review : 2009 Fall/Winter Color Report for Beaders

By on Friday, October 23, 2009 5 Comments

We often hear this question at our workshops - "What color goes with these beads?". It's not hard to match a couple of colors together. What is trickier is working with more than two. There are some help guides such as the Pantone seasonal palette. Margie Deeb, whom I had written about (see Spring Report review) takes the current Pantone set and applies it to beading and jewelry making.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wire Wrapped Copper Pendant with Long Bugles

By on Thursday, October 22, 2009 4 Comments

This was Sabrina's first proper attempt at wire wrapping at a workshop. As you can see she did a fabulous job with the fine, tight and controlled wire wrapping around the main handmade copper pendant. She put her very own stamp on this design as she used extra long royal blue bugle beads. Her design was accented with tiny red seed beads, heart beads and antiqued copper leaves. You can't get more one of a kind than this!

Virtual Lockets for Facebook Fun

By on Thursday, October 22, 2009 4 Comments

Facebook Fun
Part 2 of 2
Calling all Facebook fans! If you like to give virtual presents to your friends and family,and are tired of the usual birthday cakes and cutsey gifts, try out this latest app from the locket manufacturer, Heartsmith. It was launched on Facebook last month.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beading Gem on Facebook

By on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 7 Comments

Facebook fun
Part 1 of 2
I finally caved and set up The Beading Gem's Facebook page! It's really difficult to dabble with too much social media as there is only so much time. However, Facebook is wildly popular and I wanted to join in the fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PaperMode and Harrison Hollow Designs Giveaway winners

By on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 2 Comments

Time to reveal a couple of lucky winners. Papermode certainly garnered new admirers for the paper folded earrings were sweetness themselves. picked number 7 so counting in the extra entries by people who signed up for Camille's newsletter, the lucky winner is Michelle of Evie's Tool Emporium. Michelle actually said  " Wow! I have never seen any jewelry like this before."  Well, she'll be seeing AND wearing them for real pretty soon.

How to make a Swarovski Bejeweled Button Neckwire

By on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 7 Comments

Keeping clasps to the back
Part 2 of 2
Neck wires are inexpensive. They make great gifts if you know several budding fashionistas or need something quick and easy to make for your craft table. What I didn't realize until I had made several pendants for them was that the clasps tends to migrate to the front.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Stop Clasps from Moving to the Front of Necklaces

By on Monday, October 19, 2009 9 Comments

Keeping clasps at the back
Part 1 of 2 
Don't you just hate it when your necklace clasp moves to the front? Virtually all necklaces do that unless it is a claspless necklace.
There is not a whole lot you can do to stop it from happening as your daily movements will shift the necklace. The clasp ends up near your pendant because it can't get past it once it works its way down.

I've always thought that a counterweight on the clasp in the form of a charm will help keep it to the back provided the pendant is on the light side and the charm is hefty. This works to some degree but if you are like the energizer bunny, forget it.

A proven solution is to move the clasp to the front. Shown here is a toggle and bar clasp at the front of a necklace with a pendant hanging down from it.

Then I came across Domestic - divaonline's multi-clasp necklace tutorial and thought it is yet another solution to that pesky problem. This is likely the best one for chains without pendants. It is actually a design to make an adaptable length necklace.  The identical "links" are several short chain lengths each with a decorative clasp. You add as many links as needed for the right length necklace for a particular outfit.

With so many clasps, it really doesn't matter if the necklace moves around your neck because they are part of the necklace design. Brilliant!
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Regretsy : Hilarious Unfavorites from Etsy

By on Sunday, October 18, 2009 6 Comments

Ouch. Part 2 of 2
I adore arts and crafts and thoroughly enjoy browsing through the gorgeous handmade items offered for sale on Etsy. But as the new Regretsy website points out, buried in the tens of thousands of craft items are some awful doozies which make you go "Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet." After seeing the real moose poop necklace on the right, I get what they are about!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2010 Ugly Necklace Competition

By on Saturday, October 17, 2009 3 Comments

Ouch. Part 1 of 2
One thing's for sure. There is plenty of time to send in your entry to the 8th Annual Ugly Necklace Contest sponsored by Land of Odds.You're going to need until March 3, 2010 to come up with a design that goes against every grain of pretty jewelry creativity you've got. As they say, "It ain't easy doing ugly." The prizes, $992 and $399 are for shopping sprees on the online store.  Pictured here are some of the past winners.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weather Inspired Jewelry

By on Friday, October 16, 2009 5 Comments

Weather and Climate Part 2 of 2
1.Rain and rainbows
It made me feel a little chirpier when I came across this delightful rainbow necklace by Mixko on Etsy called Here comes the sun cleverly made with ribbon and a plastic dove.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day : Melting Glaciers Reveal Nirvana Quartz

By on Thursday, October 15, 2009 2 Comments

Weather and Climate Part 1 of 2
Today is Blog Action Day. One day a year, thousands bloggers from around the world choose to blog about a single theme to millions of readers. Alone we can't make a difference but together, we can bring attention to climate change, a pressing problem for our planet.

Not only is the polar ice melting like crazy, glaciers everywhere are in rapid retreat. As they melt, new gemstones are revealed like the rubies in Greenland I wrote about before. A new type of rose quartz called  Nirvana quartz or Himalayan ice quartz was discovered a few years ago at high altitudes in the Kullu region of India when the ice there thawed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mother of pearl and tiger eye gold jewelry set

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 3 Comments

The actual construction of these memory wire bracelet and the chandelier earrings designs is not unusual or difficult. However Carol's clever choice of the colors and shapes of the beads to compliment the triangular bluish-green mother of pearl beads made this jewelry set really stand out. The overall earth tone effect was achieved with pearlised seed beads and tiger eye cube beads with the mother of pearl beads giving just the right touch of color accenting.

Writing Inspired Jewelry

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 4 Comments

Pen to Paper
Part 3 of 3
For a long time, writing consisted of putting pen (or quills)to paper. Then typewriters were invented. Today many of us write on computers and indeed I would have difficulty reverting back to pen and paper. But the act of writing, be it pen and paper or keyboard produces the same results. It visualizes thoughts, gathers ideas together and sparks the imagination with stories. It is a creative process in itself. So it's not surprising some jewelry artisans particularly those who love books are inspired by writing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harrison Hollow Designs' Giveaway Polymer Clay Pen

By on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 12 Comments

Pen to Paper Part 2 of 3
This is the second special giveaway for this week - check yesterday's post for the first.

The word pen comes from Latin, pinna for feather. That's because feathers (and sticks) were the first writing implements used. The first recorded use of these pens was by ancient Indians in 5000 B.C. We've moved on since to more sophisticated pens!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Papermode's Folded Paper Jewelry Giveaway

By on Monday, October 12, 2009 27 Comments

Pen to paper Part 1 of 3
Woo-hoo! A double giveaway this week celebrating this special theme Pen to Paper.

Did you know for the longest time the best anyone could do was to  fold paper in half only 7-8 times? But in 2001, Britney Gallivan whilst still in high school, rose to the challenge in math class and figured out how to fold paper up to 12 times!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Wire Wrap Sea Glass Jewelry

By on Sunday, October 11, 2009 14 Comments

If you are lucky enough to have sea glass or are willing to purchase them, you can easily make them into jewelry. I found a number of tutorials on the web to get your creative juices going.

This simple pendant tutorial from the Sea Glass Journal involves making a wire wrapped bail and then scrolling the ends of both wires. One is longer than the other and is also wrapped around the glass. Add  wire "kinks" to tighten the wire if it is too loose by grabbing it with a flat nose pliers and turning it 90 degrees. 18, 20, 22 G round wire should work well.

How to Drill Sea Glass

By on Sunday, October 11, 2009 16 Comments

Sea Glass
Part 2 of 3
I'm easy to buy for. Instead of jewelry, my family now gives me books or tools. A couple of recent gifts were a dremel drill and a drill press. I also got some diamond tipped drill bits from eBay because I want to be able to drill glass, particularly sea glass.

2009 North American Sea Glass Festival

By on Sunday, October 11, 2009 10 Comments

Sea Glass Part 1 of 3
Some artisans make really lovely sea glass jewelry - see my past post History in the Sand about a Nova Scotian artisan's work. If you live anywhere near Erie, Pennsylvania, you're in luck. The 2009 North American Sea Glass Festival will be held  there on October 17-18 (next weekend).

Why Erie? That's because "sea" glass can also be found on the shores of inland lakes - courtesy of dumping by the heavy shipping traffic.They are known as beach glass there. Just as there are many beadaholics, sea glass enthusiasts abound. The Festival is expected to attract thousands of them.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vintage Fashion Jewelry Photo Shoots

By on Saturday, October 10, 2009 5 Comments

Vintage Jewelry Part 5 of 5
A reader asked in a comment on my last jewelry photo shoot post if she could see some vintage pictures from the past. Ask and ye shall get! Some of the pictures include publicity shots of celebrities and starlets who often, as they still do today, promoted jewelry and all kinds of products.

If you see a gallery bar across some of the pictures, just click on the triangle on the right of the bar to move it out of the way so you can see the entire photo.


Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Quickly Age Your Photos without Photoshop

By on Friday, October 09, 2009 2 Comments

I enjoy looking at old photos. Want to know how to age your pictures without Photoshop? Just check out this easy to use and free Japanese site which allows you to convert them almost instantly into 100- 150 year old looking photos! Just choose the English language at top left (unless you can read Japanese), upload from your computer and hit the convert button and viola!

What To Do With Your Vintage Jewelry Collections

By on Friday, October 09, 2009 6 Comments

Vintage Jewelry Part 4 of 5
So what are the options if you collect vintage jewelry? Let me count the ways...

1. Wear them
As a history lover, it was inevitable I would appreciate vintage jewelry. I do not have much of a collection but here are two of my favorite pieces. Both bracelets have hinged sections. The top elephant one is in stainless steel - on second thoughts, it might be some form of tin alloy like pewter. The bottom one has lovely mother of pearl inlays.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All About Bakelite Jewelry

By on Thursday, October 08, 2009 3 Comments

Vintage Inspirations Part 3 of 5
Plastic has been around since the 19th century. Arguably the most successful plastic for costume  jewelry was Bakelite. Like many inventions, it was accidentally discovered in 1907 by Belgian chemist, Dr Leo Baekeland (1863-1944)  when he was trying to develop a synthetic alternative to shellac, a resin which came from lac beetle cocoons.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Make Vintage Style Jewelry Tutorials

By on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 3 Comments

Vintage Inspirations Part 2 of 5
If you love the look of vintage brass and copper from yesterday's post, you can easily make your own using pre-patinaed findings or those you have antiqued yourself (see my past post on 8 ways to patina metal). Here are more inspirational ideas to get you going down this path.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

YoursTruli's Beautiful Vintage Style Jewelry

By on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 8 Comments

Vintage Inspirations
Part 1 of 5

Not everybody likes shiny silver or gold. There is also something to be said about the mellow tones of older design styles. Put them together and you have vintage jewelry! One outstanding vintage jewelry artisan I recently came across is Truli of She had followed me on Twitter and I naturally checked out her site. Her work is so good that I had a lot of difficulty picking a representative selection for this post!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Red, White and Black lamp work necklace

By on Monday, October 05, 2009 3 Comments

Some of the beaders who come to our workshops are already very accomplished. Johnette is a prime example. She loves making jewelry although her lessons in the past have been sporadic. One class she did was lamp working. Imagine our delight when she brought her own handmade focal bead to a workshop!

The red, white and black lamp work bead was a vibrant color combination. I like how she stayed true to the colors with

Awareness Jewelry To Aid Research and Help Families

By on Monday, October 05, 2009 6 Comments

It's bad enough to have a life threatening condition but it is just tragic when the person concerned is young and has a lifetime still ahead. I don't think anyone of us can truly imagine the anguish faced by the parents involved.

So this post is about some of the amazing people (and one company) who make and sell awareness jewelry in aid of research and to support those whose young lives have been so cruelly blighted. If you'd like to help raise funds too, there are a couple of awareness jewelry tutorial links at the bottom.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Wire Wrap Knot Rings

By on Sunday, October 04, 2009 7 Comments

If you are really up to the challenge, then try making knot rings in wire! Here are tutorials to help you get started.

1.Turk's Head Knot Ring
The ring version of the Turk's Head knot is just gorgeous. Someone uploaded a free tutorial here which shows you

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tequila Diamond wins the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry

By on Saturday, October 03, 2009 3 Comments

Synthetic diamonds can be made from many carbon sources ... even Michael Jackson's hair ! But did you know earlier this year some Mexican scientists published their method of creating diamonds from a liquid? Not just any liquid, they used tequila. The aim is to manufacture industrial diamond films. Really.

How to Make a Turk's Head Knot or Sailor Jewelry

By on Saturday, October 03, 2009 10 Comments

Turk's head knots go back centuries. They were and still are useful for numerous applications especially on sailing vessels. The knot could be used as foot or hand holds on ropes, in lifelines and on the up and down (king) spoke of the ship's steering wheel - when it is upright, it indicates the rudder is centrally located. Shown below is the knot in shipboard netting. Some racing crews wear a turk's head knot bracelet or anklet.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ring Sizer Coasters and Ring Sticky Notes

By on Friday, October 02, 2009 4 Comments

I came across these really clever jewelry related products and just had to share.

Ring Sizer Coasters
A couple of really innovative jewelry stores are using one of the cleverest marketing ideas I've come across in a while. They are interactive ring sizer coasters meant to be used in bars and restaurants to help bashful and clueless swains figure out what their lady love's ring sizes are.

The Canadian Jewelry Exchange not only has their store name and website on the coasters but they have this printed on: "Come on, he's not a mind reader. Let him know your ring size and leave the rest to us." Women are supposed to casually dangle the coaster on their ring finger in front of their boyfriends.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Embracing Hope is the new Hope Diamond setting

By on Thursday, October 01, 2009 4 Comments

Hat tip to Stephanie (Crystal Allure Designs) for giving me the boot to get going with this update! Remember the post I wrote about Harry Winston and the 50th anniversary of the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian? Well, the votes are in. Embracing Hope is the winning modern setting design to showcase the Hope. It garnered some 45,000 out of 110,000 votes cast.

Jewelry from Broken China

By on Thursday, October 01, 2009 5 Comments

Winning Comments
Part 2 of 2

Not only did I have fun going round the booths at the recent online fall expo, I won a pendant too! Not just any pendant but one made from broken china. Tanya of Broken China Treasures on Etsy made the gorgeous heart shaped blue willow pendant which is now on its way to Canada. I can't decide yet whether to wear it plain with a chain or make a special necklace for it. Thanks Tanya for giving me such a delightful dilemma.