Tassels in jewelry have been trendy for at least a year, maybe two. I hadn't paid too much attention until last week when I flipped through the spring 2014 issue of Jewelry Stringing (Beadwork's sister magazine). The magazine features four ways to make tassels with chain, leather, embroidery floss, and seed beads. Now I've become a little obsessed. What are some options for making jewelry with tassels? Here's a few ideas:
1. Hang a Tassel Below a Large Focal
While the trend seems to be for
simple necklace with a single tassel, it's possible to integrate a
tassel into a more elaborate design. I love the tassel on the beautiful sunflower necklace that Iryna Hamilton made and
posted to the Beading Daily gallery. I especially like the beaded cap or cone that is holding the strands of the tassel together.
2. Add a Tassel to a Bracelet
Tassels are most often seen on necklaces or earrings, but why stop there? Tassels make playful embellishments for bangles or charm style bracelets.
3. Mix Seed Beads with Gemstones and Crystals
A tassel does not need to use only a single bead type or color. The bright Lovely Lariat Tassel by Viki Lareau combines amethyst, indicolite, fuchsia, teal, gold, and ruby beads for a rich, colorful look.
4. Use Looped Fringe
This idea for a No Hassle Tassel comes from Dustin Wedekind. The loops make the tassel a little fuller, so you don't have to create quite as many strands as you would for a normal tassel made with straight strands.
5. Make Multiple Tassels
Why stop at just one? The three tassels on Diane Fitzgerald's Bedouin Amulet balance a large focal.
6. Place Chunky Beads on the Ends
Add a little interest to a monochromatic tassel by changing the shape or texture of the beads at the end. The Tasseled Turquoise necklace by Kim Otterbein uses irregularly shaped turquoise discs.
7. Add Bold Bands of Color
Tassels are often monochromatic, but it can be fun to add some blocks of color or stripes as shown by Sakura Tassel by Jamie Hogsett.
8. Change Up Your Bead Shape
Many tassels use a single type of seed bead (typically round Japanese seed beads) for a uniform look and drape. It would be fun to see some of the new shaped seed beads used in a tassel. I can imagine drops at the ends of the tassel strands. What would a tassel made with triangle beads or peanut beads look like? How could 2-hole flat square beads be used?
9. Play with Bead Size
Your tassel will get a totally different look depending upon the bead size. Tiny 15s have an elegant look, while larger size 8s may have a more casual, playful vibe. You could play with several bead sizes in a single tassel, perhaps starting with size 15s and gradually ending with size 6s.
10. Pull Out the Gold and Diamonds
Okay, I'm just kidding about this one. But I was surprised when looking at tassel jewelry online that there's a gold and diamond tassel necklace being sold for $4,455. It's beautiful, but all I could think was That would buy a lot of seed beads!
Contributing Editor, Beadwork