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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tuesday's table {crystal}

There are various companies who create crystal beads, but I prefer Swarovski. I have never tried anything other than this brand simply because I consider it to be the best. Why settle for less?

I'm often asked where I get my crystals, and for the hobbyist the best company is ART BEADS. They have a wide variety and you don't have to buy in multiple packs, you can buy one of every color if you'd like. When I was just starting out I used them constantly. Not only are they fantastic for their fast shipping, but they really have a massive selection of shapes, styles and colors.

Should I use crystal that has a finish on it?

Typically my answer to this is no. Why? Because in my opinion you'll notice that the finish will fade and scratch over time, even with the best of care. I know this from my own experience. Yes, there are times where I feel like using a finish (say, Satin or Aurora Borealis -known as AB- for example) will just make the piece I'm designing, but it's rare.The finish is applied to the crystal by a steam method. One of my only pieces where I use a crystal finish is my Edward's Lullaby bracelet. It's one of my most popular sets.


In this set I'm using both a Satin and AB finish. The small crystal rounds are AB and the Satin beads are the large 10mm rounds next to the focal bead. They're Smoky Topaz in Satin. It's truly one of the ONLY times I've used finishes but it warrants it. If you're not familiar with the Twilight Series, then you might not understand the need for 'sparkle'. ::winks to those who're in the know::  :)

So when you're deciding on what crystal to choose with your design, always ask the question, "how much will this piece be worn?" You always want your work to be top notch and sometimes that means going with something that might not have as much flair to it but that will have a long and lasting life. Sure, the finish-type beads cost more, but are they worth it if your customer will end up having a piece that looks dingy and old after one season of wear? Yeah. Not so good.

I also felt that most likely due to the cost and the love of all things Twilight, that this set would be well taken care of and worrying about the finish wasn't as necessary. It's not going to be an 'every day' set. It will be put away and only worn for those wonderful events in which you want to shine {or sparkle}. So it wasn't a huge worry when I decided to use them. It makes this set and I love it.


Another wonderful supplier for crystal {with a massive selection} is FUSION BEADS. What I love about their site is its fantastic color chart of crystals. It's the best I've seen that has a true-to-color chart. Have you ever purchased crystals that weren't exactly what you thought? Yeah. I've been there too. When that happens, just set those beads aside and use them for your random sets...sometimes those turn out the best anyway. I did an entire series of Jamboree bracelets and used all sorts of random colors, they turned out beautifully and were a big hit. Who knew!? Really. The trick is not to be afraid.

But I digress, back to buying the wrong color...

What happens if the color I pick looks different online than it does in person?

Ok, so when that happens do what I do. Buy ONE of every single color and have them on hand. Put each small bead in a tiny zippie (remember, you can find these for 50% off at Hobby Lobby) and then make a board to tag them to, or just keep them in a box for easy reference. That way you'll never be wrong again. This really happens to the best of us and honestly, Swarovski is constantly coming out with new colors so it's always good to order at least one small pack of whatever the newest thing is... and it's a fun surprise too!


I tend to be a creature of habit.

This is {one of} my worst traits. I love to use a small handful of colors over and over. Indicolite, Light Colorado Topaz, Tanzanite, Rose, Topaz... just to name a few. lol But sometimes I really need to break from my mold. How can you do this? Buy a few packs of the color you're not using very often and force yourself to find a new color to enjoy for a little while. It's worth a shot!

While gemstones are constantly on the rise with popularity, crystals will never lose their sparkle because they just look so clean with their sleek edges and beautiful cut. Sometimes you need a specific look to complete your piece and gemstones might just not have what you're after. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a great strand of gems (!!!) but I have about ten or twelve trays of crystals that make me giddy every single day. lol

What is your favorite shape and sizes?

I have two. Rounds and Rondelles. I love rounds because they give a lot of wow to a piece, but I love rondelles because they throw a good punch. You can pack several colors in with rondelles where you couldn't with rounds simply due to their size.


Take these Caramel Swirls earrings... I used large, 10mm rounds and they just look fantastic. Had I used rondelles, they would have looked smashed and no where near as delicious. The large rounds pack a huge wow, especially when the sun hit them. So sometimes 10mm is the best choice! I'm always using them in bracelets, but don't be afraid to use them in earrings...just be careful that your beads aren't too large or they'll be annoying to wear all day long.


In these Sedona Sky earrings, I used rondelles. If I'd used an 8mm round they would have looked top-heavy and lost their charm. I wanted the topaz rondelles to make you think of the Sun, but I certainly didn't want them taking over. That's the nice thing about the rondelle size, you can add sparkle and fun to a pair of earrings without making them look too obnoxious.

When it comes to size I tend to think the bigger the better. lol My rounds are typically 8 and 10mm, and rondelles are always 8 and 12mm. It really depends on the look I'm going for, but usually it's the 10mm round and 8mm rondelle. Years ago I thought it was "proper" to use 8mm but once I ordered a 10, I was completely hooked. lol :)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked today's lesson. :) Have a great day! I'm still working on custom pieces. I've had an issue with purple glass (shocky shocky!) and am torching again today to get it right. Wish me luck! Also, I have new things on the way and a huge, crazy, wild, massive sale is coming next week.

Happy Tuesday!

1 comment:

Zondra Art said...

Beautiful work and a sweet little puppy! I enjoyed in your pictures dear Laura.
Have a nice Tuesday.