Dazzle Them with Crystals!

In a recent survey, 44% of Beading Daily readers named crystals one of their favorite types of beads. Most crystal fanatics are fascinated by the sparkle and shine of crystals, but I find the names of the crystal colors intoxicating: rose alabaster, padparadscha, olivine, Montana, indicolite, silk . . . Just typing that brief list made me want to dig out my crystals and look at them!

So how many different shapes and colors of crystals are there?

According to the new book, Create Jewelry: Crystals, "Today's premier crystal manufacturer, Swarovski, produces more than 100,000 different shapes, colors, sizes, and facets of crystals."

That is a lot of bling!

When I first started shopping for crystals, I found it confusing (particularly in catalogs or online) to see that "AB" next to some crystals, but not others. If you've been beading for awhile, you know that "AB" stands for Aurora Borealis, which is a special Swarovski coating that gives the crystals an opalescent glow. What I didn't know (and learned from Create Jewelry: Crystals) is that the coating was developed in concert with fashion designer Christian Dior in the mid-1950s. Wow!

To get the inside scoop on crystals, I talked briefly with Jamie Hogsett, one of the co-authors of Create Jewelry: Crystals.

Michelle: Do you have a favorite project in the book?

Jamie: As with Create Jewelry: Pearls, I have many favorites, but Cosmic Jewels is at the top of the list. I love the blending of colors and all the sparkle!

Michelle: What's your design process like?

Cosmic Jewels
Jamie: I only sketch if an editor requires it, otherwise, I develop designs all in my mind.

Michelle: Do you have any special tips for stitching with crystals?

Jamie: One of the most important things to remember when stitching with crystals is crystals are sharp! When I stitch with crystals, I anchor each crystal with a seed bead on either side so that the thread rubs against the seed beads, rather than the sharp edges of the crystals.

Michelle: Where do you find inspiration?

Jamie: I find inspiration in many places: fashion, nature, even video games!

Michelle: Hmmm . . . I've never thought about video games in that way. Maybe there will be an Xbox in my future! Thanks, Jamie!  

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. Today she is back from BeadFest Philadelphia and trying to remember what time it really is (besides "time to bead!").

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