Make Southwest Style Jewelry

Mar 1, 2010
Leslie Rogalski Spacer 5x5 pixels


Turquoise dreams

I love big saguaro cactus, the tall desert sentinels that look like they have arms at odd angles. They must be the most iconic cacti of all cacti. But I don’t want to use their image or shape, or coyotes or bucking broncos for that matter, cute as some may be, when I want to evoke a Southwest style in my jewelry. With Bead Fest Santa Fe coming up, I thought I’d share some inspiring examples that show other ways to design in a style of the Southwest, and leave the coyotes to howl at the moon.

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Stone and silver
Most of us associate a Southwest style with very specific materials. Turquoise and silver sure evoke Santa Fe to me. Natural indigenous elements including wood, leather, and feathers enhance the style, don't you agree?
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Cascading Leaves
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Cascading Leaves by Cheron Gelber has a Southwest flair with just touches of turquoise.

Turquoise Textures
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Turquoise Textures by Lisa Lampe uses wood, leather, and silver with turquoise.

Boho Earrings
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Linda Larsen’s Southwest Boho earrings show how turquoise brings a western feeling to modern silverwork.

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Native American tradition
Peyote stitch is derived from—and is believed to be the same as—a traditional weaving technique called gourd stitch. When used with evocative colors, peyote stitch is a strong visual connection to the Southwest. Bead embroidery and loom weaving also have roots in Native American art traditions.
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Peyote Stitch Tube NecklaceSpacer 5x5 pixels
In her Peyote-Stitched Tube necklace, Robin Renner stitches beads into a brilliant pattern.
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Carole Rodgers used fringes and bead embroidery on leather for her American Treasure pendant.
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Mary Thompson’s loom-woven Ojibwe pendant pays homage to one of the oldest of American Indian nations.

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Colors of the Southwest
Choose two colors that make you think of Santa Fe. Did you say turquoise and red, or browns and blues? Reflecting the colors of nature from the region is a great way to apply Southwestern flavor to your work.
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Painted Desert
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Painted Desert by Lisa Kan is aptly named, as she captures a desert in bloom in a multistrand necklace.

Copper Cowgirl
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Copper runs in veins through turquoise. In Copper Cowgirl, Michelle Mach makes good use of the two colors.

Native American Beading
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David Dean's book, Beading in the Native American Tradition, provides inspiring traditions from nations throughout North America.

Bead Fest Santa Fe is around the bend, but there's still time to plan to join us. And even if you can’t bring yourself to Santa Fe, at least  you can bring Santa Fe into your work.

Have you created Santa Fe style in your work? Tell us how you did it here on Beading Daily.

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Annster wrote
on Mar 1, 2010 11:47 AM

I'm a chainmail designer who uses beads with chainmail weaves.  I want to show off a bit! I made a lovely chainmail necklace that is VERY southwest in look and can't figure out how to post a photo.  Please assist.

on Mar 1, 2010 1:22 PM

Hi Annster--post your photo in our Gallery--it tells you how to upload there. :-)

Can't wait to see it!

Batik2 wrote
on Mar 2, 2010 8:35 AM

I am trying to order the pattern for Robin Renner's Peyote stitched tube necklace, but I get stuck when it asks me for a coupon number. Where do I find that???


tiffwarble wrote
on Mar 4, 2010 12:42 PM

Give this link a try Batik2.... It is where the pattern lives at the Interweave Store.


on Mar 5, 2010 12:53 PM

In Erratum, or perhaps just apologies: the Peyote Stitched Tube necklace does not offer an actual chart for the pattern. It will be removed from our store.

If you have already paid for this project download, please contact with a replacement project request to be sent.

Put peyote tube replacement in the subject line, please, so we can assist you as quickly as possible.