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red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.

 

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purple glass

One of my all-time favorite beads was a gift from my daughter after her return from Tokyo, Japan. It is in the style of ‘Tonbodama’, a Japanese lampwork bead. The name roughly translates to ‘dragonfly eyes’ in English. These gorgeous beads are made of Japanese Satake glass, which is very soft and has a low melting point – resulting in soft, subtle colors.

japanese green glassThe best of these beads are individually handmade, so no two are exactly alike. They can be used as focal beads in bracelets, necklaces and earrings. See examples shown here, especially this lovely one (at right) from Shirley Zhu of ShirleyLampworkBeads on Etsy.

Shirley’s creation is luminous, with purple roses frozen under crystal encasement. The flowers themselves are made with murrini which are slices of glass cane. Such wonderful color and highly-detailed precision!

There was a renaissance of glass-making in the Nara period of Japan (710-94). Many temples had their own glass construction bureaus. Large stores of beads and glass fragments have been found from this time. Glasswork was common--and an indication of the quantity of glass is shown by a monument to the emporer Somu (d. 756) which contained thousands of glass beads and glass pieces.

Other beautiful examples we found while perusing the web can be found at AyakoGlassGarden –- work from Ayako Hattori of Nagoya City, Japan (see this informative article on Ayako’s work in the Beading Times and view her work at Akihiro’s Japaneseglass’s Gallery.

 Byzantine

Here’s a new style to consider if you haven’t checked it out before. The mysterious and richly historical Byzantine and Chainmail (or Chainmaille) from ancient times. Authentic Byzantine jewelry was created during the Byzantine Empire, which was from the fourth century AD to approximately the mid-1400s. The jewelry was influenced by the art of this civilization, and made heavy use of the Christian cross and other early religious symbols. The Byzantine time period was full of wealth and riches, so there was an abundance of gold metal used during this time.

coinAuthentic Byzantine jewelry is usually made from weighty gold with generous amounts of gemstones. Common gemstones used include garnets, pearls, corundum, and beryls, which were traded from the Eastern countries such as India and areas of Persia.Typical types of jewelry that were made during the Byzantine time period include necklaces, neck pieces, head pieces along with bracelets, rings, earrings, and other ornamental jewelry. Bangles were very popular during this period, and people often wore more than one at a time on each arm.

Chainmail is a part of this tradition; the original art was the earliest form of metal armor and was probably invented before the 5th century by the ancient Celts. The name mail comes from the French word “maille” which is derived from the Latin “macula” meaning “mesh of a net”. The armor itself involved the linking of iron or steel rings, the ends of which were either pressed together, welded or riveted. Sometimes the rings were stamped out of a sheet of iron; these were then used in alternate rows with riveted links. There are many styles and methods within this category of art. One fairly simple tutorial is offered here by CreatingUnkamen on Etsy, (for only $1.00!) for creating a beaded chainmail bracelet -- . And I love this beautiful Byzantine coin necklace (to the right) desgined by AnewAgain

Chainmail can look extremely feminine when made in precious metals and delicate designs. It is also very durable and the only limitation an artist has is imagination. Today artists have utilized traditional ancient patterns but have modified them to create unique patterns of their own. New metals have been introduced, old metals resurrected. Glass, metal, pearls and precious stones can be used to embellish any piece. 

 

 

diamond

Minimalist: A style that uses pared-down design elements. The artist strips everything down to its essential quality, to achieve simplicity. The pursuit of the basic essence of a piece, by rediscovering the valuable qualities in simple and common materials.

When it comes to accessorizing, sometimes less is more. Minimalist jewelry happens to be trending right now, and you can design some killer pieces if you like this style. Leonardo da Vinci said "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication." It's the natural beauty of minimalism and the lack of clutter.

bead braceletDainty rings, necklaces, bracelets, and body chains have been all over lately. You can see them ‘modeled’ by popular bloggers and buy them in trendy and high-end department stores. And you can make them yourself with a little attention to design and a delicate and steady hand. 

For some serious inspiration from great minimalistic artisans we’ve found on Etsy, check out these items shown here -- from top to bottom.

A delicate diamond necklace from an artisan named Maya Rolc Majericic -- a jewelry designer and owner of the minimalvs, capucinne, threelayers, and bibicco shops on Etsy. All her items are handmade from start to finish, in a studio in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

From Kurafuchi (Sarah, who designs and handcrafts all her Etsy items in Paris, Ile-de-France), we have a delicate bracelet, simple rose gold with tiny multicolored beads.

dangleAnd finally from Tocco Di Lustro in Zagreb, Croatia, (another Etsy shop) we found these sweet gold-filled dangle earrings.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also some of our previous posts on 'style' issues --

Boho Style   &

Getting Noticed: A Guide for Jewelry Designers

Until Next Time!

Sheila

 

 

 

 

 

bat beadsAre you trying to figure out how to write a compelling ‘About Me’ page for your Etsy shop or web site? Are you unsure about how to present your bio or your shop story? Are you sure you and your brand are interesting, but you don’t know how to convey that in an effective way?
If so, you’re not alone. We’ve read many boring ‘About Me’ & Bio pages in our time. Sure, folks often list a series of facts about their background and work, but not necessarily anything their current and future clients could really relate to or connect with.

yemenYour personal story is more important than you may realize. Your goal is to captivate your dream client, in the same way a writer does in a novel to keep their audience engaged. Here are a few suggestions about how to write it in the best way possible.

1. Use the ‘First Person’ Voice

This is a great method for creating an immediate connection with your audience. Instead of saying: ‘Shannon Schreiber developed a passion for design when she was only five years old,’ say: ‘My passion for design started as a child.’

It’s not incorrect to write in the Third Person voice, but it is much more powerful to establish a personal connection by using the First Person approach.

2. Offer your audience something fascinating about you as an individual

One of my favorite Etsy artisans – Savanna Caravan - has a bio that starts like this:

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