Use a Little, Use a Lot: Just Use Some Crystal Beads In Your Next Beading Project!

May 3, 2012


Triangulations by Kathie Khaladkar

Crystal beads are everywhere these days! When I was at the Tucson bead shows earlier this year, you couldn't turn around without seeing some glitz and glam, and walls and walls of sparkling crystal beads. Truthfully, I was not a huge fan of crystal beads when I first started beading, preferring to use my favorite gemstones and freshwater pearls in my beading designs.

But one grey Sunday morning with my regular beading group changed all that when our project was a beautiful and delicate necklace made with several hundred sparkling crystal beads. After that, I started looking for ways to include a little bit of sparkle in most of my beading projects by using crystal beads here and there. Now, I've completely fallen for those huge 27mm crystal stones that I keep seeing in colors that look good enough to eat, and my collection of crystal beads has grown from just one large tackle box to two whole drawers in my bead cabinets!

Now that I'm a smitten kitten when it comes to using crystal beads, there are lots of reasons why I love to use them in my beading projects!

Crystal beads are fashion-forward. There's a reason why fashion designers like Coco Chanel, Elisa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Gianni Versace all used crystal beads in their fashion designs! Crystal beads have always been at the cutting edge of modern fashion design, and they continue to be a favorite with both designers and fashionistas alike. Check out any photos from red carpet arrivals, and you'll see famous actresses just dripping with sparkling crystal beads!



Band of Jewels by Melanie Potter

Crystal beads are instant classics. Just look at how popular vintage crystal beads are! Some of these beads were produced forty, fifty or even sixty years ago, but they fit in easily with today's modern jewelry and beading designs. Yes, crystal beads will always have a place in modern jewelry design, no matter what their shape, color, or size. One of my favorite thrift-shop finds was a small cardboard box filled with vintage Swarovski crystal beads from the 1920's. I strung them up with some modern pressed-glass beads for a necklace that I can wear anytime, anywhere.

Crystal beads can be used with any other kind of bead! It's true. You can mix crystal beads with seed beads, drop beads, cube beads, triangle beads, handmade ceramic beads, Lucite beads, or even gemstones and pearls. The crystal beads don't have to take center stage, either. I love using crystal beads as fringe and accent beads when I work up a piece of bead embroidery using my favorite gemstone cabochons. Crystal beads are so versatile, you can even use them with leather, silk cord, and metal stampings to create unique jewelry pieces with a vintage feel.

Crystal beads can be used with any beading or jewelry making technique. Crystals work well with simple stringing projects, wire work and wire wrapping projects, beadweaving projects, and even in bead embroidery. Crystal beads are such a versatile addition to any beading project that you want to make because they come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors and because they mix so well with other types of beads.


Crystal Connections by Daeng Weaver

Crystal beads are...well, fun! There's no denying it: it's just fun to use crystal beads in my beading projects. Adding those little sparkly bits to my beadweaving makes the whole project shine! Crystal beads make me glad to be a girl, because I can get away with wearing them pretty much any time I want. I can't say the same for my husband -- somehow, it just wouldn't look right if he showed up at work wearing a crystal bead bracelet.

Are you ready to see what adding a few crystal beads can do to your beading projects? Check out Beadwork magazine's special issue, Favorite Bead Stitches 2011. You'll find over fifty-five amazing projects, some of which include gorgeous crystal beads, using all of your favorite beadweaving stitches like peyote stitch, herringbone stitch, and right-angle weave! Plus you'll get expert advice on developing your own beadweaving skills and beaded jewelry designs from master beadweaving artists Carol Huber Cypher and Carol Wilcox Wells! Check out Favorite Bead Stitches 2011 on Zinio and start adding some sparkle to your beading table with some crystal beads!

Why do you love using crystal beads in your beading projects? Do you prefer to use large, splashy focal beads? Or are you happy to let the crystal beads take a backseat to some other focal bead? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts about using crystal beads!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

beaddesign wrote
on May 4, 2012 10:20 AM

Jennifer, I too love the different looks that can be created with the crystals - and I enjoyed today's article.  I wish it had contained some helpful hints - other than 'pull the thread out straight from a crystal' that is usually mentioned in all crystal projects.  I've just been working on a pendant and had the thread (Fireline) break 3 times.  Do you have some hints on working safely with the crystals? Jeanne

Linda@952 wrote
on May 4, 2012 3:40 PM

I love to use bicone crystals in just about every project I make, usually 4 mm. bicones, however lately I seem to have fallen, hard, for the 3 mm.  I started using them in beaded beads and it just took off from there.  I ordered, and received 25 gross (144 per colour), 3 mm's less than 2 weeks ago and have already made 3 pairs of earrings, 2 beaded beads and am now working on a bracelet.  I also plan on using them with a Pyrite Ammolite half that will become a brooch, just have to work out some of the fine details with that project.  But yes, I love my Swarovski crystals, my husband jokingly,( I think), calls me a Swarovski collector.  I see, therefore I want.

sedvalson wrote
on May 4, 2012 4:55 PM

Jennifer, I love some of the pieces of jewelry you show on the dailies, however, I rarely can find instructions for making them, such as the Triangulations.  Is there someplace a person can go to to purchase the instructions?

Suzanne

wendy hatton wrote
on May 5, 2012 2:45 AM

Gosh!!! I am at a loss here. I purchased a subscription of Beadwork magazine on this iste several weeks ago along with a request for several back issues but I cannot get anyone to reply to me from here................ or beadwork  or the subscription people.

I am getting a bit panicky here and wondering if I will even receive my Beadwork issues that I have paid for.

Help is hard to find . This whole issue is making me quite ill and I am so sorry that I have had to post here but I am sure you will all see that I am quite desperate.

Regards

wendy hatton wrote
on May 5, 2012 2:45 AM

Gosh!!! I am at a loss here. I purchased a subscription of Beadwork magazine on this iste several weeks ago along with a request for several back issues but I cannot get anyone to reply to me from here................ or beadwork  or the subscription people.

I am getting a bit panicky here and wondering if I will even receive my Beadwork issues that I have paid for.

Help is hard to find . This whole issue is making me quite ill and I am so sorry that I have had to post here but I am sure you will all see that I am quite desperate.

Regards

teariana wrote
on May 5, 2012 1:10 PM

I love using crystals to accent my crochet Jewelry, I rarely use anything bigger than a 6mm. Although on one necklace I used a large AB heart to unify the colors in the necklace which were teal, orange and bright yellow. I know it sounds like an odd combination, but it looks really pretty.

Mimz2 wrote
on May 6, 2012 12:42 AM

Crystal is nice, crystal is beautiful, crystal is shiny- guess what? So is glass! I am getting a bit annoyed about the focus on crystal beads. I think glass beads are just as beautiful, a fraction of the cost and will not break my wallet- not to mention the lead content in all of these. I can have fun, leave many unfinished projects without feeling guilty- all with fun and shiny glass beads. I would once love to see some projects without crystal beads.

lilli jordan wrote
on May 6, 2012 4:19 PM

I'm glad that you found the box of Swarovski crystals from the 1920's but are you aware that many of the crystals Swarovski made before the 1950's have so much lead in them that you cannot wear them if they are going to touch the skin in any way. Some of the older crystals have been proven to even have produced birth defects in the children of  pregnant women who wore them! Please have your crystals checked out by an experienced jeweler or a gemologist before you make them up. I had this situation happen to me and I ended up making them into necklaces that I could wear over turtleneck sweaters in the winter. FYI.