Bead Jewelry and Choosing Your Supplies

Bead jewelry - is it in your blood? If you're reading this blog, you probably love beads, in one form or another. Maybe you like making them, from glass or polymer or silver clay. Maybe you like making bead jewelry -- lampwork, seed beads, Swarovski, gemstones -- it's all fair game. Or perhaps you just love wearing one-of-a-kind original artwork?

Whatever your love of beads, there exists (somewhere) beads for you. And although I'll go into it in greater detail in a different post, there also exists the best beads for you project. But in a nutshell; you don't want to use expensive artisan-made lampwork and loads of Swarovski crystals for a bracelet for a young child; inexpensive lampwork and generic crystal glass work just fine.

Conversely, you don't want to use cheap lampwork and generic crystal in what I term "grown up jewelry". Nope, now is when you want to select the most wonderful lampwork, the real Swarovski and maybe some sterling silver and/or gemstone beads. (In a separate post I'll talk more about how to determine the quality of lampwork beads).

Lampwork Bead Necklace  (Click to Enlarge)

Lampwork Bead Necklace (Click to Enlarge)

What I'm really trying to say is make sure the quality of the beads and supplies match the intended purpose. Yes, one time I tried making a beautiful Swarovski bracelet and necklace for my young niece. It didn't last long before she grew out of the bracelet and lost the necklace. Now, I'm waiting til she gets a little older before I try that again!

I've also made inexpensive "fun" bracelets for some craft shows I attend, just so the little ones clutching tight to a dollar or two can proudly buy something. But I wouldn't use the beads from those bracelets for anything even moderately upscale. Once again; use the supplies appropriate for the intended purpose.

OK, I've gone on enough for one post! I'll close with another photo from Jennie. Once again, these are some of my very early beads (mid-2005 I'm guessing), but I think Jennie did a nice job with them.  I'm especially fond of the tassels hanging down from the focal; I just like some movement in my jewelry.  Thanks, Jennie, for sending me this photo to post -- I appreciate it!

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