7 Tips for Designing Romantic Beaded Jewelry

I’ve just started watching the PBS series about the epic life of Queen Victoria. I must say I’m already smitten with this beautifully crafted period drama, with its intriguing storyline, gorgeous costuming, and spectacular scenery! Oh, and the jewelry of course! And I’ve picked up such a great tip when thinking about designing my own jewelry. Take a look at what was worn during various historical periods. What a great springboard for incredible elegant yet wearable beaded jewelry designs!

As we enter into the month of February, it’s natural to think of feminine, romantic jewelry, and the first thing that comes to mind is the collection of projects designed by the extraordinary Lisa Kan in her book Bead Romantique. To help you in your own quest for romantic jewelry, here we present seven tips to guide you in your own designs.

Beaded Lariats

1. When in Doubt, Add a Little Lace!

Take a look at the lacy medallions that make up the neck strap on the Black Lace Lariat. Lisa looked to the Victorian lacework and Whitby jet mourning necklaces from the time of Queen Victoria’s reign when she designed this stunning piece. The smaller ringlets that lead down to the tassels carry the lace theme throughout the piece as well.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Black Lace Lariat

Black Lace Lariat

Flapper Inspired Beaded Jewelry

2. Use Chain to Create a Sense of Fluidity and Movement

Lisa designed this to be reminiscent of the hems on the flapper-style dresses of the 1920s. Picture the fringe on their skirts swaying to and fro as the flappers danced the Charleston.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs.

Scalloped Chain Necklace

Consider adding chain to your own necklace or earring designs—as you walk, the jewelry moves with you, conveying a sense of liveliness.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs.

Lustrous Beaded Layers

3. Add Textural Interest with a Mix of Shapes and Sizes

An easy way to add interest to your design is to mix up the sizes, colors, shapes, and finishes of the beads you choose. By using different shapes of pearls and graduated mother-of-pearl flower clusters in the Pearl Cascade Necklace, Lisa has added textural and dimensional interest to this classic design!

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Pearl Cascade

Pearl Cascade

Find Your Muse

4. Look for Inspiration Everywhere!

Lisa is quick to point out that there are ideas all around! If you haven’t yet started collecting photos of things that inspire you, whether clippings from a magazine or catalog, or your own snapshots of things you come across in your daily life, I suggest you do what Lisa and a host of others in our field do: collect them in a binder. I think it’s so clever that Lisa’s inspiration for the Ndebele Twist Band came while she was browsing through a fashion magazine and discovered an open-toe summer shoe with a twisted wrap on the front.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Ndebele Twist Band

Ndebele Twist Band

Informed by the Foundation

5. Let the Components Inspire the Design

Sometimes you’ll pick up a clasp, a bead cap, or other finding that evokes a certain feel. Let that be the foundation, then add various beads to your bead board, moving them around until something clicks. The filigree squares and bead caps in the Bohemian Drop Earrings conjured up impressions of a bygone era for Lisa, which blossomed into the earring design shown here.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Bohemian Drop Earrings

Bohemian Drop Earrings

The filigree also became a building block for Lisa’s Quatrefoil Nouveau Festoon Necklace.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Quatrefoil Nouveau Festoon Necklace

Quatrefoil Nouveau Festoon Necklace

Beauty and Elegance

6. Give Tribute to Historical Designs

Lisa’s ornate design style is often inspired by various historical periods, proof that it’s quite possible to create jewelry that is beautiful and elegant while giving a nod to historical jewelry designs. One such example is the Medici Rhinestone Necklace, which was inspired by Renaissance paintings of aristocratic ladies adorned with elaborate jewelry.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Medici Rhinestone Necklace

Medici Rhinestone Necklace

And the Deco Collar exemplifies the transition of Art Nouveau, with its stylized and flowing lines, to the Art Deco movement, with its structural, linear motifs.

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Deco Collar

Deco Collar

Love What you Do

7. And finally, create from your heart

I absolutely love this quote from Lisa: “If you create from your heart and design what you love, it will show in the finished work.” I imagine that’s true whether you’re a bead artist, a culinary artist, a musician, or a painter! If it comes from your heart, and truly resonates with you, your finished work will truly shine! In her book, Lisa mentions that she loves wearing and making lariats, and it shows in her Triple Spiral Garden Lariat, with its luscious triple spiral rope and delicate lacy leaves! Très jolis!

Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan - a book filled with romantic beaded jewelry designs. Triple Spiral Garden Lariat

Triple Spiral Garden Lariat

Have I whet your appetite for romantic beaded jewelry? Then dig in! Lisa’s Bead Romantique is available in eBook form, just in case you have your eye on a piece (or three!) shown here, or are curious about any of the seven more stunning designs featured in her book!

Cheers!

Debbie

Debbie Blair, Beadwork editor

Find out more about Lisa in this interview.


Other beaded jewelry products by Lisa Kan!

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