Archive | February, 2008

Bead for Life

29 Feb

Bead for Life
Eradicating Poverty One Bead at a Time
It's a pleasure to write about projects like the Bead for Life program. This organization has found a way for impoverished women in Uganda to generate an income, and to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Women are invited to join Bead for Life if they are living on less than two dollars a day.

The beaders make handcrafted paper beads and turn them into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The tailors make elegant jewelry bags from hand printed cotton fabrics.

bead jewelry
Paper Bead Bangle Bracelet

AIDS and War
More than two-thirds of these women are women living with HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS has wreaked havoc in Uganda and throughout Africa. In Uganda alone, over 1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. More than 1 million children have been orphaned. Every family has been affected.

Many of these women are from the Acholi tribe that were driven from their homes in Northern Uganda by a brutal warlord. They left their agricultural way of life to avoid the violence and to protect their children from kidnappings. Over 1 million Acholi are now living in refugee camps. The Acholi in Kampala have built a mud village on the outskirts of town.

Living Conditions
The members of Bead for Life live in rented mud rooms without electricity, windows, or running water. Most of the rooms are small, measuring 10 by 15 feet. They have large families, and six or more people live in one small room. Several generations of siblings, grandparents, and cousins often live in one household. They cook outside over charcoal.

jewelry designers
The Beaders and Their Village

Earning a Living
Before Bead for Life, the primary means of earning a living was at the rock quarry next to the Acholi Quarter. Sitting in the blistering sun, workers break rocks by hand to make gravel for about a dollar a day. Some earned a few shillings washing clothes or selling vegetables.

Many of the beaders have become entrepreneurs: they now hire others to help them cut paper and roll beads. Besides the 150 beaders and 15 tailors working with Bead for Life, another 300 people are earning a living from the beads. An average member makes about $100 a month.

In addition to buying and selling the beads made by these women, Bead for Life sponsors community development projects in health, education, vocational training, affordable housing, and savings programs.

Bead for Life Mission Statement:

Bead for Life creates sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone. Bead for Life is guided by the following principles:

  • Creating jobs through local partnerships is a more sustainable approach to poverty eradication than providing aid. Rather than become dependent on handouts from abroad, the beaders build their skills and long-term capacities through meaningful creative work.
  • Concerned citizens in resource-abundant countries care about the issues of extreme poverty and are willing to get involved.
  • Paying our beaders fair trade prices allows them to meet their daily economic needs. Investing 100% of our net profits in community development projects for impoverished Ugandans allows for a long-term sustainable future.
  • Partnerships formed between North Americans and Ugandan beaders enrich all of us.

Who knew beads could save lives?

Bead For Life

Jennifer Casady Jewelry Designer

28 Feb

Jennifer Casady Jewelry
Because understated elegance never goes out of style

Chainmaille was originally used in medieval times to make flexible armor that couldn't be penetrated by swords. It is made of interlocking metal rings. There are many different patterns or weaves, the most popular being 4-in-1. This means that every ring is connected to four other rings. It makes a lightweight covering that flows like cloth.

The 4-in-1 weave and it's variations (6-in-1 and 8-in-1), are generically classified as European weaves. The European family of weaves is the most commonly known, and the easiest to create. So most of the Chainmaille you'll see in the Lord of the Rings movies is made with European weaves.

Jennifer uses Chainmaille in a lot of her jewelry, and it gives her work that extra touch of elegance and style, like this necklace:

jewelry designer
Ocean's Away Necklace
These beautiful Lampwork beads by Caroline of Crafted Gems have me daydreaming about clear blue water, palm trees swaying in the breeze and white sandy beaches…oceans away from where I am.
8x10mm Lampwork Beads on sterling silver circles that have been delicately hand woven in the Jen's Pind Chainmaille pattern.

Lampwork Beads
are made by melting glass rods in the flame of a torch, and winding them around a metal mandrel to form a bead. There are many exceptionally talented Lampwork Bead artists. I don't think I've ever seen a Lampwork Bead used in a ring, and this one is gorgeous:

designer ring
Lampwork Bead Ring
A beautiful pink Lampwork Bead wrapped in Sterling Silver

Artist Statement

I began my jewelry fascination when I was a little girl while attending gem shows with my parents and grandparents. As I grew older, I enjoyed going through my Mom's jewelry and listening to her tell me stories of where and when she received each piece. My father traveled around the world with his job, and he bought strands of gemstones to bring home. He taught himself how to make knotted jewelry, and made beautiful necklaces and bracelets for my grandmother, my mother, and me. Several members of my extensive family make their own jewelry, some of them have done so for many years.

I use various techniques – stringing, wire wrapping, and most recently, the ancient art of Chainmaille. Every gemstone is unique, and I want to express that individuality and beauty in my designs. My style tends to be somewhat conservative, as that is who I am and what I prefer. I believe jewelry is an accessory, an adornment, something to highlight and frame a woman's face, not to distract.

Jewelry by Jennifer Casady

Heart Bead Art Glass

27 Feb

Kim Wertz and Greg Galardy "escaped" from the high-tech world, and opened one of California's premier bead stores in 1990. After five years of buying, selling, and admiring contemporary American Lampwork beads, they began lampworking in the spring of 1995.

After a few weeks of learning what they could do using a "hot head" and vermiculite, they purchased a Nortel minor burner, and fabricated a gas-fired annealer for their studio. Fully self-taught, they always strive to produce beads unlike any they have seen.

I love these Fritter Beads:
lampwork beads
jewelry beads
Inspired by wild rivers, these beads use the properties of reduction frit to achieve their look. The colors vary from neutral tans and beiges to deep vibrant blues, greens, and lavenders, and the colors go from transparent to opaque and even metallic.

Lampworking is a skill that requires a great deal of practice and patience. You have to learn how much heat it takes for the glass to flow, when to add decorative elements, and how different colors of glass interact with each other. And that's only the beginning. There are many other techniques involved.

To create glass beads, lampwork artists melt narrow rods of glass in the flame of a torch. Early lampworking was done in the flame of an oil lamp, hence the name. Most artists today use torches that burn either propane or natural gas.

The molten glass is wound around a mandrel, which is a thin rod of stainless steel. By turning the mandrel and holding it in different positions, gravity helps the bead take form, but there are also tools that can be used to push and pull the glass beads into shape.

bead jewelry
Lizard Eggs Necklace
Lizard egg beads, Chrysoprase, and Vermeil
Lizard eggs are the large round beads with tiny aqua dots.

Kim's and Greg's work has appeared in several publications, and is available in stores across the country. Taking their inspiration from their natural surroundings, their art has evolved to a point where the process is a pleasant step on the way to the desired end.

Heart Bead Art Glass

Jeaniloux Jewelry

26 Feb

Jeaniloux Jewelry offers three different collections: Essentials, Extravaganza, and Event. I have selected one piece of jewelry from each category:

The Essentials Collection
These are the pieces that every woman needs to begin building her jewelry wardrobe. The basics that you will wear time and time again, for all of your business and daytime activities.

jewelry techniques
cloisonne Bead Bracelet
Elongated Cloisonne beads with large white freshwater pearl center bead, round, peach pearls, Swarovski crystal disks, 14 karat gold-filled beads, Balinese silver and toggle clasp

The Extravaganza Collection
The jewelry in this collection defines your style. These are the pieces you'll be remembered for. To wear with your elegant new suit that needs just the right accessory. The color combinations are magical.

designer jewelry
Murano Glass Heart Pendant
Chocolate brown Chinese silk omega with Murano tri-colored glass heart pendant

The Event Collection
These are the most outstanding designs for your most stunning occasions. Deep rich colors and charming styles that will provide whatever you need to complete your own jewelry collection.

Pearl and Sunstone Necklace
Orange freshwater pearls and lampwork beads with diamond-shaped orange sunstone and Balinese silver toggle clasp

About Jeaniloux

Jeaniloux was born out of a love of beauty. The beauty of natural stones, of rare semiprecious gems, of exotic Balinese silver and gold. Each piece is handcrafted and unique. As such, our quantities are very limited.

Jeaniloux Jewelry began in a small town in Pennsylvania. Our customers have worn our jewelry on vacation to various destinations around the globe, for business, and at gala events. This created a demand for purchasing Jeaniloux jewelry domestically and abroad. is our way of assisting our customers in obtaining these unique pieces. We hope this site gives you a sense of the beauty, quality, and romance of this exquisite handcrafted jewelry.

It is our philosophy that the classics always trump the trends. We use only the highest quality materials including rarely seen exotic semi-precious stones. These materials are used in the creation of exquisite unique designs to bring years of enjoyment.

Jeaniloux Jewelry

Donna D’Aquino Jewelry Designer

25 Feb

Donna D'Aquino was born in Newburgh, New York. She received her BS in Design from The State University of New York at Buffalo in 1989; and her MFA from Kent State University in 2000.

After teaching at the University level for a few years, she decided to focus on her business. She is currently residing in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, in an Artspace building, as part of the Gateway Arts District. She is a full-time studio jeweler and metalsmith.

jewelry designer
Square Link Bracelets

jewelry techniques
Necklaces with Pearls
Styles shown left to right: Closed Spiral with Brown Pearl, Diamond Pattern with Green Pearl, Nine Square Pattern with Copper Pearl

Artist Statement
This line of jewelry, which is inspired by architecture, is hand-fabricated and cast using sterling silver, pearls, hematite, and epoxy resins. It was my goal to create an interesting, affordable line of jewelry with an overall appeal.

The pearls are freshwater cultured, and the color is obtained by heat-treatment. Pearl colors available are white, green, peacock, pink, silver/grey, peach, copper, red, navy blue, and a fuchsia tone.

Donna D'Aquino

Shiny Adornments

22 Feb

Jewelry for Work and Play
At Shiny Adornments, you will find a large selection of sterling silver and copper jewelry – earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. They use lampwork beads and wire-wrapping techniques in their jewelry, which only enhances the beauty of the designs.

glass bead earrings
Vintage Amethyst and Purple Glass Earrings
These earrings are made of sterling silver, vintage glass, and purple glass beads. They are approximately 1 3/4 inches long not including the surgical steel ear wires.

Shiny Adornments uses lots of Mykonos Metalized Ceramic Beads in their designs, particularly the bracelets. These natural ceramic beads are dipped in copper, kiln-fired again, then finished with 24 Karat Gold, Fine Silver, or Pure Copper. And they look like the real thing.

designer gemstone bracelet
Teal Blue Apatite Bracelet
Gorgeous deep teal rectangular pillow apatite beads connected to brushed sterling silver round beads. Sterling silver clasp is handmade and hammered. Fits a 6 3/4 to 7 1/2 inch wrist.

The Mykonos company also offers their ceramic beads in Antique Patinated Silver and Green Patinated Copper finishes. With the high costs of precious metals these days, these components must save time and money for jewelry designers.

Artist Statement

I like to create things in my Wichita, Kansas, studio. I find inspiration in the wildflowers I drove past this morning on the way to work, or the suit I just bought that needs the perfect accessory, or the strange dream I had last night. Sometimes, I just want to see if I can make the wire and components obey my commands. :-)

I make jewelry I would wear myself. I prefer sterling and gold filled wire, and I occasionally use copper and brass. The materials depend on my mood and inspiration. I tend to incorporate stone, lampwork, (usually made by a self-representing lampwork artist), glass, and polymer clay beads in my jewelry. But I also like the simplicity found in bare metals and maille. My goal is to create wearable items for work and play.

I belong to Self-Representing Artists and Jewelry Designers.

Fabric Jewelry

21 Feb

I ran across some fabric jewelry the other day. It's an interesting concept, so I looked for more, and I was amazed at how much I found. The attraction would be the infinite number of patterns and colors that fabric offers.

At Wilde Traditions, I couldn't figure out what they mount the fabric onto to make earrings, but the texture added by the weave of the fabric is quite attractive. They use textile patterns in combination with silver, gemstones, and glass beads to make jewelry.

They also roll the fabric around something – a knitting needle or something similar – to make tubular beads that they use in their necklaces:

bead jewelry
Blue and White Necklace with Fabric Beads
Tie-dyed blues and white with blue goldstone and glass beads
Goldstone is a type of glass made with copper or copper salts.

One-of-a-kind fabric jewelry for the wrist, using everything from buttons and pins to felt appliqués and embroidery in a variety of shapes and colors, crafted with handmade simplicity:

Fabric Cuff Bracelets

NOTE: It appears that this lady is no longer making these cuff bracelets. I think they're adorable. If you're a bit crafty, give it at try. I think girls would love them.

This bracelet is metallic fabric wrapped around a bangle. It looks like metal at first. but it must be so comfortable to wear:

bangle bracelet
Metallic Woven Bangle

Once again, very clever use of materials.

Ann Curciol

20 Feb

Jewelry Designer

There's so much jewelry available online, and most of it is so similar. As I've said before, anyone can hang a bead on a chain. So I spend hours and hours looking for unique jewelry to write about for my blogs. I look for unique designs, clever use of materials, and innovative color combinations.

I think I've found all three in Ann Curciol's jewelry. She uses lots of brass and copper in her designs, and earthy natural gemstones, which I love. I've included her descriptions, because she definitely has a way with words.

bead bracelet
Under the Boardwalk Down by the Sea Bracelet
This bracelet makes me think of hot sand under my feet, the sound of the waves rolling into shore, and all the interesting things that you find along a walk on the beach – driftwood, shells, beach stones, sand dollars. The bracelet is chock full of charms including Picture jasper that looks like sand, Freshwater Pearls, hand carved driftwood beads, vintage brass sand dollars, and shell beads all on a brass chain with a lobster claw clasp and the cutest little turtle charm at the end.

In this necklace, she uses the subtle orange stripe in the clay beads as the color of the accent beads.

bead necklace
Polymer Clay Swirl Bead Necklace
Ocean swirl Polymer Clay beads, Carnelian, Amazonite, and Orange Aventurine
These clay beads remind me on the waves of the ocean rolling into shore and swirling with the sandy beach. The large round orange Aventurine beads remind me of the setting sun – a big glowing orange ball. Accented with Amazonite rondelles and round beads, Carnelian rondelles, and decorative sterling silver beads. The small golden beads that finish off the ends are vintage glass beads from India.

This design uses copper wire. which I don't see very often, and a unique wrapping technique.

bead jewelry
Copper Wire Wrapped Ukanite Donut Pendant
A beautiful 40mm Ukanite gemstone donut is wrapped with copper wire and Ukanite and copper beads. The necklace is hand linked with Ukanite, red Jasper and copper beads. It is 18" long and closes with a copper toggle clasp. Very unique and original and part of my anniversary signature collection.

Artist Statement

Hi, my name is Ann. I am a highly energetic and creative person with a BFA degree and 20 years experience as a graphic designer and photographer. I also am a pilot, and I own and fly a 1947 antique classic Bonanza.

I call my design style creative randomness because I can't create repetitious patterns, in fact I can rarely make the same thing twice. I like to work with natural materials, especially natural gemstones. I guarantee that each piece of jewelry is 100% original and unique.

My inspiration comes from my many adventures around the world – in my airplane, scuba diving, hiking, and exploring this magnificent world in every way possible. If you look at my website, you will see that there is a story for every design, from trips to the Australian outback to romantic strolls down the Caribbean beaches at sunset.

Woman, when do you sleep?

Inside Out Beads

19 Feb

Great Design Idea: Silver-Core Focal Beads
These beads have been designed to be worn with the Silver Core prominently visible. The openings of the silver cores inside the beads come in small, medium, and large. Small for a simple chain, medium for a larger necklace, and large for a very heavy necklace.

The concept is simple, but not so easy to explain. So, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Candy Egg Bead Pendant
This Candy Egg focal bead has a large Silver-Core opening, and looks great as a slider pendant on a thicker chain.

Can't get much easier than that. Anybody can do this stuff!

Bracelet Beads
I think these are the best of the bunch! What easier way could there be to make a bold and colorful bracelet?

bead bracelet
Simple Silver-core Bead Bracelet
These beads are the smallest beads – approximately 14.5mm – 15.5mm in diameter. They have a silver core which is 4.3mm inside diameter. The beads can be added to the bracelet singly or in groups with sterling silver spacers.

I love this bracelet bead:

glass beads
Molucca Sunset Bracelet Bead

Then, he has Kaleidoscope Beads that would definitely make a stunning presentation:

glass bead jewelry
Five Ocean Paths
Five individual lampwork beads, six sterling silver disks, all joined together on a SilverCore tube. The beads rotate freely on a chain. Like a kaleidoscope you can spin the beads, and change the patterns. An absolute knockout on a thicker chain or cord.

Artist Statement

Hi, my name is David Palnick. I live in a small Atlantic seacoast town in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where I have a glass working and metalsmithing studio. My home is a short walk to four large sandy beaches, two parks, two yacht clubs, a wildlife sanctuary, conservation land for migrating birds, and a harbor with working fishing boats and ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. From an artist's perspective, this is an area extraordinarily rich in visual stimuli, which is a continuing source of inspiration.
After working in the corporate world for a couple decades, I decided to follow my muse and become a full-time artist. Initially, I began as a metalsmith in 1995, and my focus was on traditional jewelry work with silver, gold and gemstones.
A year later, I became entranced with melting glass through studying Cloisonné enameling, and created many complex pieces which were then set in gold or silver along with accent gemstones. In 2003, I started working with flame work glass, and almost as soon as I could make a presentable bead I began searching for a way to combine the glass with a silver component.
My initial work focused on a single bead and a single riveted silver core. Now I am creating pieces composed of multiple bead and silver components. I hope to continue pushing the envelope of my work, and have many ambitious projects planned that I can't wait to get started on.

How clever!

Venetian Glass Beads

18 Feb

Venetian Glass is so named because it is made by Old World artisans on the island of Murano near Venice, Italy. They make some of the most beautiful glass produced in the world, and have done so for centuries. Combining the Old-World charm of Venetian Glass and the Space-Age flash of dichroic glass produces stunning effects.

Dichroic Glass
NASA developed dichroic glass for use in satellite mirrors. This glass contains multiple micro-layers of metal oxides, such as gold, silver, titanium, chromium, aluminum, zirconium, magnesium, silicon. Certain wavelengths of light will either pass through or be reflected, displaying an array of colors.

Dichroic Venetian Heart Beads
These hearts are available in gold, aqua, opaque black, herb green, blue, dark aqua, aquamarine, and rubino. Rubino is the hot pink color. Each bead is handmade in Murano by layering Venetian Glass with chips of Dichroic Glass, then encased in transparent glass.

Dichroic glass can be fused with other glass in multiple firings in a kiln. Due to variations in the firing process, individual results can never be exactly reproduced. Each piece of fused dichroic glass is unique. It makes stunning pendants and cabochons for jewelry.

glass beads
Manuela Silver Foil Multi Bracelet
Venetian bead bracelet adorned with multi-colored silver foil disc beads and separated with .925 sterling silver sparkle beads.

Aventurina Glass
Aventurina is one of the most popular Murano glasses. It contains micro particles of copper filings or chromic oxide.

glass bead jewelry
Aventurina Floral Heart Beads
Venetian glass painstakingly decorated with floral designs of Aventurina in a delicate pattern. Available in blue, red, topaz, and black, these handmade Murano glass beads begin as a mass of colored glass, then they are shaped and worked under the torch, adding the white gold and Aventurina detail in floral motifs.

This stuff is absolutely stunning!