4 Tips for Crystal Jewelry Projects
Make your jewelry special with sparkle
‘Tis (almost) the season to be glam! Even I, ever the industrial chic, seed-beads-4-ever chick, totally love the look of crystal jewelry at this time of the year. There is a magnificent brilliance that only comes from crystals. Whether I spotlight one bedazzler as a focal or mass a galaxy for maximum voltage, crystals are a surefire way to light up the darkness of winter
What makes crystals shine?
Did you know that the cleaner the faceted edges, the brighter the crystal appears? When crystals are made, the more precisely the faceted edges meet, the more dazzling the crystal—this exact faceting is partly why some crystals may be more highly considered than others. Whether large as a crown jewel or tiny as a twinkling star, nothing says, “you are special” like wearing or giving a piece of crystal jewelry that you created yourself.
Tips for stitching with crystals
Here are a few things to keep in mind when stringing, wiring, or stitching crystal beads:
| 1: Check the bead holes. The holes in crystal beads can have sharp edges. Be careful when thread paths pull against the edges of the holes, to avoid cutting your thread. I find thermally bonded .08 lb beading thread most durable and threadable through the eye of a size 12 beading needle.
Crystal cubes’ corners are smooth enough for a nice ladder stitch, such as this Glitter Cubed bracelet by Bonnie Clewans. Their parallel facets make a fun side edge to embellish, too.
| 2: Choose the right stringing wire. Vary beading-wire size according to the size of the bead hole and weight of your planned finished piece. For stringing, use a wire with the most strands bound into it for strength but is as flexible as you need. Use between 15 and 19mm, 19 to 49 strands.
The striking 22 x 50mm polygon crystal in Nancy Cain’s Crystal Drop herringbone lariat is supported by .014 braided beading wire, strung through the beadwork rope.
| 3: Choose the right wire gauge. Crystals are outstanding beads for wire jewelry. Test the gauge to fit the bead holes but use a wire that will support the weight and size of your crystals.
In Linda “Sorcie” Smith’s Crystal Swirl Cluster Ring, 14-gauge, half-hard wire is the right choice for these bicones.
| 4: Choose the best beading thread. Translucent crystal colors reveal thread or wire inside the bead. Be very neat with your stitching and knots. Keep multiple passes of thread pulled evenly, or loops of excess thread may show. Use the transparency to your design advantage with dramatically contrasting thread or bright wire finishes.
In these easy-to-make Crystal Bracelet variations by Linda Gettings, a matching color thread blends in with the crystals strung between sections of square-stitched cubes.
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I love using bicones in cubic RAW, and making rings with 2mm round crystals. How about you? Share your favorite crystal flavors and techniques with us here on Beading Daily.