Who couldn’t use a little extra sparkle right now? Whether you bead with vintage crystals or create vintage-inspired crystal jewelry (or both!), there are many ways to create sparkling jewelry that would be at home in any age. Crystals, pearls, and seed beads are wonderfully complementary.
ABOVE: Vintage rhinestone jewelry courtesy of Getty Images.
If you’ve been hoarding vintage Swarovski crystals like I have, read How to Date Your Vintage Crystal Beads by guest blogger Suzanne Branca. Finishes and packaging are two main keys to identifying a crystal’s age. Suzanne says, “The first thing to look at is whether or not the crystal has been finished with the glamorous Aurora Borealis crystal effect. This was invented in 1956 in cooperation with Christian Dior. With this simple fact you will know that all crystals that have the AB finish cannot be any older than 1956.” I love the idea of tying my crystal creations to this prestigious fashion lineage.
Are you daydreaming about your next beading treasure hunt? Read Vintage Jewelry Making and Beading Supplies Treasure Trove and be transported to one of NYC’s legendary shopping experiences. Boxes of vintage jewelry supplies from crystals to pearls and everything you dream of are stacked and stashed, ready for wholesale shoppers.
Cosmic Rings = Glamorous Gifts
Swarovski cosmic rings are some of my favorite crystal elements. These earrings use a ring as the foundation for a pair of lavish beaded earrings. Deco Disk Earrings use tubular peyote stich to embellish the outer surface of the rings. If you like cosmic rings, too, be sure to check out the Cosmic Chain Maille Bracelet. Cosmic rings mix with jump rings in this showstopping bracelet. These pieces would make beautiful, glamorous gifts.
Stitch Romantic Jewelry
Kelly Wiese is known for her romantic, vintage-inspired beadwork designs. She combines hand-beaded components in creative ways to make showstopping jewelry. You can learn the secrets to her signature style in Beadwork Designer of the Year Series: Bead Stitching Vintage-Inspired Jewelry. Use crystals, pearls, and seed beads to create beautiful beaded components and learn how to use them to make a variety of jewelry designs. Perfect you herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, square stitch, and netting techniques as you bead.
Easy Stringing Designs
Stringing magazine always featured stylish projects that made perfect last-minute gifts and quick updates to your wardrobe. In the Best of Stringing: Modern Vintage eBook, you’ll find 12 favorite vintage jewelry projects to inspire you to look at your beading stash in new ways. The cover design is a pretty linked crystal and filigree bracelet by Molly Schaller. You’ll find designs by other artists you recognize, including Anne Perry, Danielle Fox, Melinda Barta, and more. Techniques include stringing, knotting, and simple wirework.
Sweet Sangria Earrings
Bezel flatback crystal rhinestones using seed beads and bicones for vintage-inspired earrings that would dazzle even Audrey Hepburn in Hollywood’s Golden Age. Use tubular right-angle weave, tubular peyote stitch, and netting to make pretty little post or drop earrings. For a similar look, try Sunflower Earrings by Edwin Batres. These post earrings use circular netting and circular peyote stitch with crystal rivolis instead of flatbacks.
History of Jewelry
Want to learn more about historical eras and how they can influence your modern jewelry designs? Read Cameos 101: History of Cameo Jewelry, Value and More and Save the Pieces: Recycled, Upcycled Found-Object Jewelry. Let vintage jewelry elements and inspiration add style to your next project.
Have fun getting your sparkle on!
Katie Hacker, Editor of Beadwork and host of Jewelry Artist podcast