Top 4 Beading Trends for 2011

Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a
contributing editor to Beading Daily

It's always fun to look at the "Best Of" lists at this time of year: our favorite movies, music, fashions. Heck, there's a Best Of every year for just about anything, from restaurants to hedge-fund managers!

Being so immersed in the jewelry-making world, I'm always looking out for the Best Of in our little community. What's in, what's out, what's coming up. We don't have an Oscars night for beading, so I just do my best at sniffing out trends all year long. I act like a hound dog while on my travels to bead shops, bead societies, and bead shows, looking out for what folks are interested in, what they're wearing, what they're making. Overwhelmingly I've seen these four trends that I know will continue into 2011:


In the last few years, I've seen beadworkers show a ravenous interest in working with metals. Chain, filigree, and sheet metal. In previous years, metals seemed to be relegated to findings and specialty beads, but now I see it creeping into beadwork in more structural ways. As a result, beaders have been learning how to wirework, fuse, solder, and rivet in order to incorporate metals into their designs. I see this trend continuing into the next decade as beaders continue to pick up new traditional jewelry-making skills and figure out unique ways to marry needle-and-thread techniques with traditional metalsmithing ones.


What's not to like about flowers? It's an easy motif to replicate with beadwork, and floral colors inspire even the most sophisticated designers. This universal symbol of beauty seems to always be in style, but I think flower power will remain strong and continue to grow in the new year.


The trend for jewelry shapes is going minimal. I'm seeing large, bold, streamlined designs without too much fussing. This doesn't mean we beadworkers can't get fancy with our beloved fringe and frippery, but overall I feel the shapes we design will stay on trend if we keep them clean and simple.


The resurgence in popularity of styles from the 1950s and 1960s will continue through the next few years. If you look at the jewelry from that era, you'll see that many of those designs also capture some of the other trends I've described above: metals; florals; minimalism. Take a peek at pieces by Miriam Haskell, Chanel, and Dior of that time to see what I'm talking about and for loads of inspiration for your own designs.

Want to stay trendy into the new year with your jewelry designs and keep a little dough in your pocket? I'd check out With tons of products you can find new techniques and design inspiration for the year to come.

Happy beading-

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