Use a Little, Use a Lot: Just Use Some Crystal Beads In Your Next Beading Project!

Triangulations by Kathie Khaladkar

Crystal beads are everywhere these days! When I was at the Tucson bead shows earlier this year, you couldn't turn around without seeing some glitz and glam, and walls and walls of sparkling crystal beads. Truthfully, I was not a huge fan of crystal beads when I first started beading, preferring to use my favorite gemstones and freshwater pearls in my beading designs.

But one grey Sunday morning with my regular beading group changed all that when our project was a beautiful and delicate necklace made with several hundred sparkling crystal beads. After that, I started looking for ways to include a little bit of sparkle in most of my beading projects by using crystal beads here and there. Now, I've completely fallen for those huge 27mm crystal stones that I keep seeing in colors that look good enough to eat, and my collection of crystal beads has grown from just one large tackle box to two whole drawers in my bead cabinets!

Now that I'm a smitten kitten when it comes to using crystal beads, there are lots of reasons why I love to use them in my beading projects!

Crystal beads are fashion-forward. There's a reason why fashion designers like Coco Chanel, Elisa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Gianni Versace all used crystal beads in their fashion designs! Crystal beads have always been at the cutting edge of modern fashion design, and they continue to be a favorite with both designers and fashionistas alike. Check out any photos from red carpet arrivals, and you'll see famous actresses just dripping with sparkling crystal beads!

Band of Jewels by Melanie Potter

Crystal beads are instant classics. Just look at how popular vintage crystal beads are! Some of these beads were produced forty, fifty or even sixty years ago, but they fit in easily with today's modern jewelry and beading designs. Yes, crystal beads will always have a place in modern jewelry design, no matter what their shape, color, or size. One of my favorite thrift-shop finds was a small cardboard box filled with vintage Swarovski crystal beads from the 1920's. I strung them up with some modern pressed-glass beads for a necklace that I can wear anytime, anywhere.

Crystal beads can be used with any other kind of bead! It's true. You can mix crystal beads with seed beads, drop beads, cube beads, triangle beads, handmade ceramic beads, Lucite beads, or even gemstones and pearls. The crystal beads don't have to take center stage, either. I love using crystal beads as fringe and accent beads when I work up a piece of bead embroidery using my favorite gemstone cabochons. Crystal beads are so versatile, you can even use them with leather, silk cord, and metal stampings to create unique jewelry pieces with a vintage feel.

Crystal beads can be used with any beading or jewelry making technique. Crystals work well with simple stringing projects, wire work and wire wrapping projects, beadweaving projects, and even in bead embroidery. Crystal beads are such a versatile addition to any beading project that you want to make because they come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors and because they mix so well with other types of beads.

Crystal Connections by Daeng Weaver

Crystal beads are…well, fun! There's no denying it: it's just fun to use crystal beads in my beading projects. Adding those little sparkly bits to my beadweaving makes the whole project shine! Crystal beads make me glad to be a girl, because I can get away with wearing them pretty much any time I want. I can't say the same for my husband — somehow, it just wouldn't look right if he showed up at work wearing a crystal bead bracelet.

Are you ready to see what adding a few crystal beads can do to your beading projects? Check out Beadwork magazine's special issue, Favorite Bead Stitches 2011. You'll find over fifty-five amazing projects, some of which include gorgeous crystal beads, using all of your favorite beadweaving stitches like peyote stitch, herringbone stitch, and right-angle weave! Plus you'll get expert advice on developing your own beadweaving skills and beaded jewelry designs from master beadweaving artists Carol Huber Cypher and Carol Wilcox Wells! Check out Favorite Bead Stitches 2011 on Zinio and start adding some sparkle to your beading table with some crystal beads!

Why do you love using crystal beads in your beading projects? Do you prefer to use large, splashy focal beads? Or are you happy to let the crystal beads take a backseat to some other focal bead? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts about using crystal beads!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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