Easy Ways to Create with Crystals

A few weeks ago while attending Bead Fest Philadelphia, I did something that I hardly ever, ever do: I treated myself to some crystal jewelry-making projects! I'll be the first to admit that my country lifestyle in upstate New York doesn't easily lend itself to wearing a lot of sparkly crystal jewelry, but shopping with Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine editor Denise Peck led me to discover a couple of really cool crystal jewelry-making projects.

Fun, customizable crystal bracelets from Sew On Crystals

My first fun crystal jewelry-making treat was a do-it-yourself bracelet kit from Sew On Crystals. I got to choose sixteen crystal chatons that fit nicely into the empty base, which resembles a big piece of crystal cup chain. For my first bracelet, I chose opaque crystal chatons that were vintage colors — they reminded me of similar jewelry I had seen my grandmother wearing when I was little. It looked so easy to bend down those little prongs over the chatons to secure them in the bracelet, so I figured I'd have this one done in no time.

I borrowed a pair of flat nose pliers from my roommate and set to work on customizing my crystal bracelet. Well, what do you know? It wasn't as easy as it looked! I was totally flummoxed: I didn't know if I was just that rusty with my jewelry-making skills, or if I was doing something totally wrong.

The next day, back on the show floor, I went back and asked what I was doing wrong. There was no way it should have taken me over an hour and so many bruised fingertips to make that bracelet! Amanda, the very helpful rep from Sew On Crystals, showed me the correct way to bend down the prongs, and sure enough, once I got home with my second bracelet kit and a pair of earrings, it worked like a charm! Easy peasy! So now I've got two gorgeous crystal bracelets, with a matching pair of crystal post earrings for the second bracelet.

I also had a chance to talk to the nice people at Beadalon while I was at Bead Fest, and left with a set of easy-to-use tube ends. These slide connectors are fantastic for making bracelets. I decided to use them with some crystal cup chain that has been sitting in my stash for quite some time now.

Almost-instant crystal bracelet made with cup chain and tube end findings from Beadalon

Crystal cup chain is a great way to add sparkle to bead embroidery projects, but I just couldn't make it work with my favorite gemstones and ceramic pieces. (I guess I'm just too "earthy" with my bead embroidery style!) But with the slide connector, it only took a few minutes to take my little stash of crystal cup chain and turn it into a very cool, very sparkly bracelet. I couldn't resist wearing it the day I made it, either. It took less than thirty minutes for me to measure and cut the cup chain to the right length, slide it into the tube ends, and then smash the tops of the tubes closed with my pliers.

And what do you know? I've been wearing my sparkly crystal jewelry all the time, lately! When I go to collect eggs from the chicken coop in the mornings for our breakfast, those birds don't know what hit them when I walk through the door with my dazzling armful of crystal bracelets!

One of my favorite resources for finding inspiration to make jewelry with crystals is the classic Create Jewelry: Crystals by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett. You'll find twenty dazzling crystal jewelry-making projects for any taste, style, or occasion, along with fascinating information about the history and uses of crystal beads. Download your copy of Create Jewelry: Crystals and add a little sparkle to your beading table this week.

Have you discovered an easy way to create jewelry with crystals? Leave a comment here and share your latest crystal beading project ideas with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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