The Sparkle of Silver (And Other Favorite Metals)

Oct 9, 2007

The Sparkle of Silver (And Other Favorite Metals)


Rectangle Bangle by Stephanie Everett features silver wire.

Who doesn't love silver?

Apparently, not many! More than 1,000 readers voted in the latest poll ("What's your favorite metal?"). As I expected, silver was the clear favorite with 61% of the vote. Copper came in second (22%) and gold in third (7%). Why do we love silver so much? Silver is striking, classic, and fits every occasion--it's the quintessential "little black dress" of the jewelry world.

While I love copper (see the first part of the post "Zulu Beadwork"), I was pleasantly surprised to find that other people felt the same way. Just a year or two ago, it was not unusual for me to walk into a bead store and not find any copper chain or findings. Copper is still difficult to find in the large craft stores. I wonder whether the use of copper will continue to rise, or whether it has already peaked in popularity?

Pewter, brass, and vermeil were all in the 1-3% range. Some of the answers in the "other" category included stainless steel, aluminum, niobium, gold-filled, gold-plate, gunmetal, bronze, and shibuichi. (Shibuichi is a mix of silver and copper. You can see some examples of it at Green Girl Studios.) Thanks to the reader who made me laugh by saying that that her favorite "other" metal was "anything I don't have to polish"!

At right: Elaine Ray's Cascading Tangle uses a mix of metal chains and findings.

 

New poll: Do you work on your beading at your kitchen or dining room table?
Poll ends October 17.

Thanks to Beading Daily reader Wendy H. for suggesting this poll question (see her comment on the "Beads for Dinner" post).


 A Simple Wirework Necklace with Lampwork Beads and Crystals

This week's featured project, Afternoon Tea, is by Sandi Wiseheart. Some of you may recognize Sandi's name as the editor of Knitting Daily. In addition to being A Knitter Extraordinaire, Sandi is also a talented beader. I literally stole this pretty necklace off her neck to share with you. (Don't worry--I gave it back!) Here are three reasons I like it:

  • It's colorful. Not sure how to combine colors? Choose a lampwork bead you like and then choose 2 or 3 crystals to match.
  • It's easy. If you can make a wrapped loop and use jump rings, you can make this necklace.
  • It's affordable. This necklace lets you showcase a few special beads and a handful of crystals and silver spacers and still have money left for more beads. (Or rent.)

Five More Wire Projects Coming Soon
Afternoon Tea by Sandi Wiseheart is the first of six free projects that are featured in Easy Wire magazine. (Only photos of the projects appeared in the magazine--the instructions are exclusively for you as Beading Daily members!)

Other projects coming soon: Lotus Blossom (necklace) by Sandi Wiseheart, Drops of Jupiter (bracelet) by Marcella Austenfeld, Purple Zig-Zags (earrings) by Michelle Mach, Spiraling Out of Control (necklace) by Michelle Mach, and Ballpoint Earrings by Karen Tihor.


2007 Bead Arts Award Winners

Step by Step Beads announced the winners of the 2007 Bead Arts Award Winners in the November/December 2007 issue. Pictured at right is the second place winner in the "beaded object" category. This bracelet uses peyote stitch and right-angle weave.

Look for a profile of Christine Marie Noguere and her "larger than life" beadwork in the January/February 2008 issue of Step by Step Beads.

Titania (Jewelry for Giants, No. 5) by Christine Marie Noguere. Size: 9". Photo: Phil Pope.

See the rest of the winners in the online gallery (PDF format). I'll pass along the information on entering the 2008 awards as soon as it's available. 


Coming Friday: Wireworking tips, how to create rubber stamped polymer clay beads, plus some adorable dog beads by Lori Peterson. (Lori designed the pretty floral lampworked beads in the featured Afternoon Tea necklace.)


Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. How could it be Wednesday already?



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Comments

Janet@211 wrote
on Oct 11, 2007 10:25 PM
Hi Michelle!

I used to be really fond of gold, but I found it to be too soft for some of my projects. Lower quality golds are stronger, but don't have the same color that I like. Now I use on silver for my metalwork. Even though silver tarnishes, I kind of like how the details take on a blackish patina.
SaraJ wrote
on Oct 13, 2007 2:27 AM
Okay, this post today is TRULY my cup of tea (even though I only occasionally drink herbal

teas that naturally don't have caffeine).

First, I LOVE silver (except the tarnishing part, although I hope to try argentium silver

and some of the other newer types or "brands" of silver wire/etc. that have little to no

copper in them, and so tarnish alot slower, supposedly!)

I love gold too, but that love has to be more abstract for me, as even gold-filled stuff is

alot spendier than it used to be (I splurged on some when I first started beading, which

was before the huge upward rise in gold prices, but when desperate for money 18 months

later I sold the gold-filled off, for a surprising (to me) amount of money.

I want to go gold-filled (and rarely, full solid-karat gold, say, a couple of stardust

beads as the centerpiece of a short necklace w/sterling chain (if I'm going full gold on a

couple beads fro the front, I'm not putting them on gold-filled chain, kinda defeats the

point . . .))

I like copper and vintagey looking chains and beads, too; I was at Michaels yesterday,

where they were just putting out a LOAD of new beady goodness; my husband had a hard time

dragging me out; I like that the vast new variety of chains say when they are

silver-plate, so you can easily tell, although I generally don't use plate.
SaraJ wrote
on Oct 13, 2007 2:30 AM
They had some new copper beads (antiqued, not bright) and FINDINGS, and not just clasps for

findings, either, but headpins and such! Woohoo! They also have vintagey gold-look, and

other vintagey beads, pendants, and findings in that same product line, arranged together.

Not that I'm an ad for Michael's or anything, but since you mentioned the big craft stores,

and I saw them just putting these out, well I thought I'd mention. I've also seen

copper(y?) ones by Blue Moon Beads at Ben Franklin, for areas with that craft store chain.

Here in Utah, Roberts (the retail arm of Provo Craft) has recently been increasing their

bead offerings, although nowhere near to the glorious extent when Michael's added their

huge cube-o'beads in sorted by color sections of beads of a host of materials and a couple

price ranges, a year or 18 months ago.

A local bead store closed, though, and while I understand they have to make money, I just

could. not. afford. to shop there.

I LOVE Sandi's Afternoon Tea necklace! It's pretty, and sometimes a balanced, simple or

semi-simple design seems like the hardest thing to come up with at times. I may try out

this design, as I've been stumped for how to use some coral & brown lampworked beads I've

had for awhile.

I picked up Easy Wire a couple days ago too, even though my wire-level is beyond beginner,

because even for the subjects I've had some (or a little) experience in, there's always

more inspiration to be had. I can't tell you how much I LOVE the way you've set this

magazine up as a progressive "class" or series of lessons.

Oh, Titania was the piece that most spoke to me when I saw these recently. I LOVE it!

(Sorry for the novel . . .)
SaraJ wrote
on Oct 13, 2007 2:31 AM
Woops. My Notepad inserted double spacing (making it look even LONGER . . .*eep*)
rakuspirit wrote
on Oct 17, 2007 11:37 AM
Thanks for the musings about silver, gold and copper. I go through stages where one looks better to me than another, but I have always loved copper above all, even before anyone else used it in anything. I had to go out and find cheap jewelry and pull it apart to make projects. I do have a question. When I was at my local bead shop (Garden of Beaden), the person there told me that for some people contact with copper turns their skin green or black. How do we avoid that? Is there a coating we can put on the ear wires or the beads?

Thanks and happy beading.
rakuspirit wrote
on Oct 17, 2007 11:37 AM
Thanks for the musings about silver, gold and copper. I go through stages where one looks better to me than another, but I have always loved copper above all, even before anyone else used it in anything. I had to go out and find cheap jewelry and pull it apart to make projects. I do have a question. When I was at my local bead shop (Garden of Beaden), the person there told me that for some people contact with copper turns their skin green or black. How do we avoid that? Is there a coating we can put on the ear wires or the beads?

Thanks and happy beading.
on Oct 17, 2007 12:49 PM
Hi Linda, Here's one article I found on the subject: Copper Beads Information. I'd be interested in hearing other people's experiences with this!
LoriP@3 wrote
on Oct 24, 2007 2:34 PM
Thank you Michelle and Sandi for including my beads in Beadingdaily.com!!! Love, Lori Peterson (loribeads)