Crystals: Ways to Add Subtle Sparkle to Your Beaded Jewelry Projects

While there is definitely something magical about the look of crystals, my personal style means that I prefer to have crystals play a supporting role, instead of the lead, in most of my beading projects. The good news is that even when crystals take a backseat to other kinds of beads, they can still have maximum impact when it comes to adding sparkle and style to your favorite beaded jewelry designs!

Tiny Crystals = Subtle Sparkle

Above: Balance the sparkle of crystals with the glow of natural freshwater pearls in the Shiloh necklace.

Below: Just a single crystal drop on each earring adds a lot of glamor to the Can Can earrings.

Case in point: the first time I opened a copy of Rachel Nelson-Smith's Seed Bead Fusion, I was completely captivated by her Ootheca Cuff. Reading over the instructions, it's a miracle that I ever finished this beaded bracelet project — wirework AND hundreds of tiny 3mm crystals? If it hadn't been for the intriguing right-angle weave and peyote stitch structure, I might not have been motivated to make this project, and in doing so, fall in love with wire jewelry making and develop a new appreciation for using crystals in my beading projects.

Get Maximum Impact From Just a Couple of Crystals

Using just a couple of crystals in a beading project, like in Rachel's Cancan Earrings, is also a money-saver: just two beautiful, dramatic black crystal drops are enough to make these earrings into statement jewelry. When using larger crystal drops and pendants in your beading projects, you can play up the dramatic shine of the crystals by accenting them with equally brilliant seed beads and glass beads.

Above: A single O Bersten component makes a beautiful statement with a strand of natural freshwater pearls.

The Ootheca Cuff combines structural bead-weaving with wire work. Tiny 3mm crystals add a lovely, subtle sparkle.

Take a look at the O. Bersten Component in the book, too. It's a single crystal rivoli, surrounded by beautiful seed beads and glass drops, and not a single other crystal bead! Still don't believe me? My recent creation, Samudra Lakshmi, is one giant 35mm crystal stone surrounded by things like Czech glass gumdrops, seed beads, plain glass round druks, and even rudraksha beads. Sometimes you really only need one great crystal component to make a necklace spectacular!

Balance the Sparkle With a Glow

When the crystal beads do take center stage, they are well-balanced with other seed beads, and even natural pearls, like in the Shiloh necklace. Using complimentary colors of seed beads and natural freshwater pearls helps to tone down the crystals, turns the piece from something that you might only wear a few times each year to a special event into something that you can throw on with your favorite t-shirt when the weekend rolls around.

As far as innovative beading projects with crystals go, Seed Bead Fusion is my go-to beading book. If you're a beader who enjoys new ways and ideas to incorporate crystals in your beading projects, this is a book that you must add to your collection of favorite beading books. Get your copy of Rachel Nelson Smith's Seed Bead Fusion, on sale now during the Interweave Sidewalk Sale through June 26, 2013!

You can also save big when you get the digital version of Seed Bead Fusion — all the same great content as the print version, but downloaded directly onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and ready for viewing in just minutes!

As part of our fabulous Interweave Sidewalk Sale, you can get a FREE 3-day trial to our new online video service, Craft Daily! Just make any purchase through June 19, 2013, and activate your Craft Daily trial membership before June 23, 2013 to get access to over a hundred premium crafting videos, including beading, jewelry making, wire work, knitting, crochet, sewing, and mixed media art!

How do you like to use crystals in your beading projects? Do you use them sparingly, using just one or two for a subtle and sparkly accent, or do you go all out and create a blindingly beautiful piece of beaded jewelry? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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