Friday, August 27, 2010

And the Winner Is....

Thanks to everyone who entered our Facebook contest for renaming our blog!
And the results, are (drum-roll please):

First Place, with the winning suggestion of “Strung Out” is won by Sarah Stahl!  Sarah will be receiving a $100 e-gift certificate to beadaholique.com!

Runners Up, who will each receive a $25 e-gift certificate :

Kathryn Lane Ware Berkowitz for the suggestion “The Need To Bead”;
Karen Linhart for the suggestion “Beader’s Digest”;
and Kathy Kurke for the suggestion “The Bead Stringer.”

Honorable Mentions

Matt Diamond for “Beadtime Reading”
Andrew Thornton for “The Curious Bead”
Bridget Hodder for “The Venerable Bead”
Shantin Thigpen for “Hair of the Bead”

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you everyone for participating in our contest.

“Like” our Facebook Page and become follower of our blog to hear about more contests, giveaways and sales!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Take Ad-Vintaj of this exciting sale!


Yup, it's another one of our four-day sales, this time on all Vintaj™ Natural Brass products, and all Vintaj Arte Metal products!   Get 15% off when you use coupon code VINTAJ82 at checkout.   Sale ends Monday at midnight EDT.




Here are just a few of the wonderful projects we have made with Vintaj products.  
Click on the photo to get free instructions to make them yourself!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Designer Profile: Andrea Morici

Andrea is the senior designer at Beadaholique.com.  

She has designed most of the hundreds of free instructional projects you can find on our website.  We sat down with her to find out how she keeps coming up with design after unique design.

Andrea Morici senior designer
for Beadaholique.com
Beadaholique:  How did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

Andrea:  I have always been artistically inclined, and I really enjoy working with my hands. Beading is such a comprehensive art form because it contains elements of visual layout, color composition, textural juxtaposition, even a bit of math. Plus the finished product is utilitarian; you actually get to wear your art!


B:  What is your educational background in the arts?   What was your favorite art subject?

A:  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. My concentration was in painting, and I always thought it was such a shame that I had to whittle my interests down to such a fine point. Even though my focus was on painting, I absolutely adored my sculpture, printmaking, metal and wood shop, photography, and (of course) jewelry making classes.


B:  You have a distinct personal fashion sense, and a distinct design aesthetic.  How would you describe them?  

A:  Thank you... I think!  Once again it goes back to that artistic, right-brained curse. I am constantly thinking, "What can I do to make this piece unique?"  Perhaps there is a bead or a finding that has a traditional use, well, I try to visualize it in a non-traditional setting. It is the unexpected little details that make a piece interesting.


B:  What are your current favorite materials to use for making jewelry?  

A:  Oh, there are so many! Working at Beadaholique is like being a kid in a candy store. I have nearly limitless resources, which makes designing such a fun adventure. Lately, though, I have been having a great time playing with all of the amazing Steampunk items that we carry, and I'm loving the Patera collection.


B:  How do you arrive at your color palettes in your jewelry work?

A:  I am a self-proclaimed color addict, and I draw my inspiration from many different sources. Sometimes I am inspired by colors of the natural world, sometimes I like crazy, unnaturally vibrant color stories. I love odd color combinations that somehow work well together, or variations on a traditional color scheme. One of my favorite websites is colourlovers.com where you can create your own customized color palettes and patterns. It is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone in the design world.


B:  Is there a technique that you haven’t tried yet but plan to soon?

A:  I'm getting really excited about all of the resin molds we are getting in. I can't wait to try them out. Also, I love the idea of fine silver wire fusing and I can't wait to experiment with it as well!


B:  Do you work best in chaos or an orderly workspace?

A:  I have to say, I believe my workspace is a combination of both. It is organized chaos. I try to stay on top of everything, but as any beader knows, this is easier said than done. You may start one project, only to be distracted by something else. Beads and findings inevitably pile up, and as long as I can remember where and why I made said pile, I consider myself ahead of the game.


B:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own?

A:  Over the years I have collected mostly vintage pieces from resale stores. I love those pieces, although my favorite jewelry was given to me by loved ones. As a birthday gift one year, I received two stunning turquoise and silver necklaces. One of them, from my parents, was a large and interesting chunk of turquoise set in sterling silver, and hanging from a sterling snake chain. The other was a bizarre and enormous antique art deco era silver and turquoise piece, given to me by a friend.


B:  Is there someplace people can purchase jewelry or artwork that you have made?

A:  I am in the process of setting up my Etsy store. I'm really excited about it!  More details to come.


B:  What inspires your creativity?

Everything from music to fashion, the past, the future, magazines and websites... I am inspired to create by so many things!


B:  Who inspires you in your creativity?

A:  Once again, I have to be broad here, because I am surrounded by creative beings who make me want to create. These include my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and of course my coworkers!


B:  A little bird told me that you are also a musician, and that you’ve appeared on a number of records.  Care to elaborate?

A:  I find so often that people who are into the visual arts tend to be involved with music, as well. I'm no exception. It is the right-brained thing, I think. I began taking piano lessons at age seven, and by the time I was in my early twenties I was playing keyboard and writing songs for my first band. A few years ago I was asked to sing for a well-established band that I really admired. After many tours and several albums together, I am still so humbled and honored to be a part of this musical project.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's New Arrivals at Beadaholique!


We are constantly getting neat new 'stuff' in at Beadaholique. We used to just pop each item up on the website one by one, as the photos got done, as the descriptions got written, in between doing other things...the result was that our New Arrivals category, while large, was usually a jumble, and its size actually made it difficult for anyone to really get through it.

Lately, we've been sorting our New Arrivals into concise, exciting (well we think so) groupings. On our home page it is now easy to see the groups of arrivals from the last two weeks, and you can click through to see every new category of stuff for up to the last six months.

So feel free to check out the beads, findings or supplies that most interest you: New Pandora-Style Crystal and Birthstone Beads, Pandora Style Metal Beads, New Mixed Media Materials, including Lisa Pavelka Waterslides, New Craft Wire in Half Round and Square shapes, New Steampunk Buttons, new Batik Beauties and Sassy Silkies Fabric Beads by Kristal Wick, or some really cute antiqued Alphabet charms (which remind me of old typewriter keys).

Have fun!

-Sarah

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday's Special Coupon

Happy Friday everybody, and welcome to Friday's special coupon. We are having a four day only sale at beadaholique.com on all wire and wire tools! It seems like wire jewelry is more popular than ever. The beading magazines and etsy are full of wire-wrapped rings, bracelets, and pendants. Wire fusing is gaining new popularity. Just to show you how many kinds of wire we have in stock, and all of our wonderful tools, we are offering this 15% off coupon. We have sterling silver wire, fine silver wire, Artistic Wire, German- style wire, non-tarnish craft wire, aluminum wire and stainless steel wire, in dozens of gauges, hardnesses and shapes. We are particularly excited about some craft wire we have just received that comes in half round and square. 

What a great way to practice more advanced wire-wrapping techniques at a lower cost. And don't forget to check out our wire working tools, such as pliers, mandrels, jigs, files, and jump ring makers. Have fun!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Soft Flex Beading Contest Deadline

The Soft Flex Company is looking for entries for their Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest.  

All entries must be received by September 1, 2010.  The theme is Steampunk

All design entries must include exposed beading wire.  All beading wire must be one of the Soft Flex Company Brands – Soft Flex, Soft Touch, Soft Flex Extreme, Soft Flex Metallics or Soft Flex Econoflex.

Naturally, we encourage you to feature beads and findings from Beadaholique as well as to create your beads and findings from found materials – clock parts, gears, washers, screws, bolts, bottle caps etc.  Flex your creativity!   If you do use beads or findings from our website, Soft Flex wants to know when you submit your design so that they can credit your source too!

Prizes Include:
  • GRAND PRIZE: $500 Soft Flex Gift Certificate 
  • Runner Up: $250 Soft Flex Gift Certificate
  • Honorable Mention: $100 Soft Flex Gift Certificate
  • TOP 10 WINNERS: Free 30ft spool of their choice from Soft Flex
The names and designs of the top 10 winners will be heavily publicized and could be seen by hundreds of thousands of beading enthusiasts.

DETAILS HERE

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fall/Winter Color Trends Forecast

Swarovski has released its version of a Fall/Winter Color Trends Forecast. I like the fact that they have supplied suggestions for contrast colors. This handy guide will help you design jewelry for your own winter wear, and winter craft sales, that will have a better chance of (a) matching customer’s new outfits, and (b) fitting in to their perceptions of what is currently fashionable.

There are quite number of companies that offer color trend forecasts to the fashion and home design industries. One of the best-known is Pantone. These firms churn out reports several times a year, often charging big bucks for them. They employ fashion designers, magazine editors, photographers and artists. These experts watch fashion trends in Europe and the Americas carefully. Some companies even create trend reports specific to locales such as individual cities or countries. All are dedicated to creating condensed reports on what’s happening in diverse arenas, from haute couture runway shows to the homemade innovation of street kids’ fashions.

I have a friend who is a veteran of the garment industry, and I asked him about these reports, and whether he thought they weren’t creating self-fulfilling prophecies. After all, if everyone reads them, and follows them, then the trend predictions will come true, right?

My friend shrugged. “Who knows? I think they are an aid for the mass market fashion industry to show a cohesive vision. When you go to the mall, you will see similar color stories in a lot of different stores. This means you can buy separates from different designers and still coordinate them.

“But not everyone follows these reports. The great fashion houses and up and coming avante garde designers go their own way. They inspire future trends. When those trends finally filter down to popular fashion, the really original designers have moved on.”

So should you take this Swarovski color report seriously? I would look at it more as a possible guide. If the colors don’t excite you, go your own way. That’s what the best innovators do.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Beginners Guide To Chain

The use of chain in jewelry design has never been more popular.  A quick look at our Projects and Inspiration page will give you some idea of the many ways in which chain can become an integral part of your overall design.  Most folks naturally think of incorporating chain as part of a necklace or bracelet design but why not earrings?  Think creatively about the uses of chain in your designs and you may be surprised in the direction it may go. Knowing that many of our customers like to be in the know about all things jewelry, I put together this small guide that includes pictures and definitions of some of the more popular types of chain that you'll find on our site. Click on the name of each chain that you see in red to be taken to a search result for that type of chain found on our site.  The guide is by no means exhaustive but we've included the most popular styles.  Hope you find it useful! As always, we welcome your comments.
Bar Chain Bar Chain:  Just as the name implies each bar has eyes at either end that are each joined to the next with a link.  The bars themselves may be straight, curved, dapped etc.
Ball Chain Ball Chain: Also know as Bead Chain, has round beads fixed along the length of the chain.  You may at times see this chain interspersed by short lengths of chain.
Box Chain Box Chain: The links of a box chain are square, creating a smooth square chain.  Another common name for this type of chain is Venetian chain.
Cable Chain Cable Chain: A cable chain, also known as link chain, is made up of round or oval links of uniform sizes. This is the chain that most people think of when they think of "chains".
Curb Chain Curb Chain:  A chain with oval links that are twisted to lie flat.  You will often see these links diamond cut.
Figaro Chain Figaro Chain: The Figaro chain, like the curb chain has flattened links. Unlike the curb chain, it does not have one uniform size links alone. Instead, it usually has 2 or 3 shorter links alternating with a longer link.
Rolo Chain Rolo Chain:   The links of a rolo chain may be round or oval but are always symetrically joined together as pictured.  This chain is perfect for hanging charms or pendants.
Rope Chain Rope Chain:  The oval links of a rope chain are arranged so that the resulting pattern resembles a length of rope.  This is a very durable chain and quite popular for men's as well a womens jewelry.
Snake Chain Snake Chain:  Snake chains are not made of links but rather of round curved metal plates that are joined together to form a flexible tube.  This slinky tube resembles a snake's skin.  Omega chain is a variation on the Snake Chain but is distinguished by the fact that it's round plates are straight and not curved.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

         If you’ve seen pink popping up on billboards, ads and store windows you’ll know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A startling one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their life, so it’s no surprise the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign enjoys such widespread support.
Awareness CharmsThe idea of tying ribbons to causes has roots in American folklore, but the modern association of “the medium as the message” began in the 1970s. Penne Laingen, the wife of a hostage in Iran, tied yellow ribbons around trees to illustrate her desire to have her husband returned. Ribbons hit the big time in 1991 when actor Jeremy Irons was photographed wearing a red AIDS awareness ribbon at the Tony Awards. The photo unleashed a swell of popular support for the cause. Pink breast cancer ribbons became widespread the following year when used by Estee Lauder Cosmetics and Self Magazine to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The popularity of the AIDS and breast cancer ribbons energized other groups; today it’s possible to show your support for almost any cause. Here’s a list of many of the awareness ribbon colors and their meanings.
         While we focus on Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, it’s important to remember the sense of community and camaraderie we show with ribbons and charms need not end on the 31st. Because the struggles of survivors will continue, so will our support. See our project gallery for inspiring awareness earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

Tarnish Remedies, Do's and Dont's!

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” While it’s a rather sardonic truism, anyone who has worked with silver items knows Ben should have added one more thing: tarnish.
 The dark, grimy coating turns jewelry that once shined into dull junk. Tarnish is formed when the silver undergoes oxidation, which is caused, for the most part, by exposure to sulfur in the air. Oils from the human body are a close second.  Other big contributors are wool, felt, rubber, and latex. Storage environments, such as wood or painted containers can accelerate tarnish. Even food like eggs, onions, and mayonnaise can tarnish your silver (sorry deviled egg lovers).  Though it seems like everything under the sun damages silver, the cleaning process is simple.
 Early detection is the key to keeping your silver in tip-top condition. The lighter the tarnish, the easier it will be to maintain. Below are three easy-to-follow steps that will keep your silver looking great.
Gently wash your silver with a non-lemon scented, phosphate free soap (the citric acid and phosphate used in some soap is far too abrasive for silver)
·      Use a very soft cloth, something like 100% cotton, to thoroughly dry
·      Once the piece is totally dry, use a polishing cloth to return full luster.
Polishing Cloth
This is the least abrasive cleaning method; it’s even gentle enough to be used on silver plated items. If you’re really gung-ho about fighting tarnish, these steps can be taken each time you wear silver.  It might seem like a lot of work, but will keep your jewelry looking better, longer.
 However, not all tarnish is equal. If you find yourself with a tough job, there’s no need for worry! Simply follow the former procedure, and then apply a minimally abrasive cleaner like  Precious Liquid Jewelry Cleaner. Precious Liquid Jewelry CleanerThis is specially formulated to remove built-up tarnish without damaging metal, and can be a lifesaver when cleaning pieces with intricate designs. The liquid literally melts away the tarnish. Because the thought of anything but tarnish melting is unsettling, gloves are recommended for this procedure.
 It’s tempting to use commonly available home remedies to clean your silver, but that’s bad medicine. Things like toothpaste, a commonly found suggestion for silver cleaning, contain caustic chemicals that can actually damage silver. Another big no-no (this might be controversial) is the popular baking soda bath method. It’s a combination of baking soda, boiling water, and an aluminum foil tub that spells certain doom if used on a regular basis. The extreme abrasiveness of baking soda and boiling water will eventually turn silver an ugly non-reflective, dull grey.
 Once you’ve gone through the cleaning process, storing your jewelry properly will save headaches down the road. Most important is keeping the silver away from dust, grime, and grossness in general. Try not to store your silver in newspaper or other reactive papers. If you must, look for an acid-free paper.  Keeping pieces in plastic bags seems like a safe route, but regular zipper bags contain tarnishing elements. Look for specially designed anti-tarnish bags.  Anti Tarnish BagsIf you’d like an extra layer of protection, a wax polish, such as Renaissance Wax, can actually prevent tarnish. When applied, it creates a micro-thin, lustrous layer that enhances shine while preventing damage.Renaissance Wax
 While tarnish is relentless, use these tips to keep your silver looking like new, and hold off the inevitable for one more day.

 Products mentioned in this article:

Visit To A Stamping Company

Summer Greetings to All Our Friends~!
I just returned from a short break visiting family on the east coast. It was a great trip. I love Los Angeles but I miss seeing everyone from my little town. Plus I get to play the tourist, which generally involves dragging my sister all over the #*&%!! state while we explore the sites we have no excuse for never having visited when I lived there.
One of our excursions was to a vendor who happens to produce many of those lovely vintage stampings you see on our site. Now I know what you're going to say. Hey workaholic, what are you doing working while you should be vacationing?! Believe me when I tell you, sis and I had a ball as we were treated to the grand tour of this enormous plant.
I've captioned some photos and short video clips below to show off some of the neat things we saw. My apologies if the quality isn't the best. I shot these using my iphone as I walked through the plant.
Soft Etch Machine Dies
Three Samples Machine Shop
Here is a short clip of a die stamping machine in use. The machine is operated with a foot pedal and stamps a brass blank with 12 tons of force.

Here is a short clip of a tumbling machine in use.
This machine will clean and polish freshly stamped pieces before they're sent to the plating company.

Gemstones USA

One of the most common questions we receive at Beadaholique is, "Where the does this stone come from?"   We would love to imagine that they're all pulled from the Earth in some far-flung, exotic paradise straight out of a Rudyard Kipling story (and most are), but we were surprised to learn that there's a vibrant gemstone mining industry right here in the US of A. Gemstones USA
Gemstones have been used by humans in what is now the United States for thousands of years. Native Americans produced turquoise, flint, amber, shells, obsidian for use in jewelry, beads, carvings, and tools.  In the Southwest they mined turquoise and used it to make earrings and pendants. There were even some gem-happy dentists back in the day who did pretty amazing chomper customizing.  Take that Lil Wayne!  Along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts shells were used as gemstones and ornaments.
Today, gemstones including beryl, coral, garnet, feldspar, opal, quartz, sapphire, ruby, topaz, tourmaline, turquoise, shell and pearls, are mined or harvested from coast to coast.  Arizona is responsible for some of the best peridot and turquoise. Most turquoise is a by-product of copper extraction, produced as it is uncovered during the mining cycle, but some is produced as a continuous mining effort, though this type of production is labor intensive because careful hand extraction is required. Oregon has prime feldspar, and produces a small amount of sunstone; California lays claim to the tourmaline crown; Nevada boasts opals; and Idaho supplies small amounts of just about everything, but mostly agates and jaspers.
Arizona TurquoiseIf you would like to cut out the middle-man and pick your own fresh gems, pack your shovels and load up the kids for the most back-breaking vacation of all-time, because your destination is Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park. Visitors are welcome to scour the 37-acre park for anything from amethyst to quartz, but the real draw is diamonds. The park has a policy of "finders keepers", so one might be inclined to think the place is tapped out, but in late 2006 a Texas couple unearthed a 6.35-carat giant.
Have we missed any U.S. gems?  If you know of stones produced in your backyard, we'd love to hear about them!

Old Frames Make Great Jewelry Displays

Here's an idea we've used to display earrings for sale and thought it would be fun to share with everyone. Works great whether you have a shop or are selling at the local flea market.
I picked these old frames up at a yard sale for almost nothing.  They were in pretty bad shape, but nothing beyond some gluing and a little touch up paint to bring them back
Next I purchased some foam core, an inexpensive item easily found in any art supply store, and cut it to fit the area where a picture would go. Then I covered the foam core with black stretch velvet cloth which is held together by duct tape in the back. (It's not pretty in the back but I'm sure you could think of  an alternate method that would be!) It's important here to use stretch velvet because it's so forgiving to work with and your finished piece won't develop wrinkles.  Small nails around the back keep the velvet "picture" in place.
Frame 2Use our U-Pins, available in brass or silver, to hang your earrings on.  Ta-Dah! That's it.  Quick and easy and the results will make your jewelry appear like a work of art~!
Chris

"Ruling" the World

“Ruling” the WorldOne of the most common problems facing beaders-- not to mention international travelers, scientists, and home chefs --is one of converting measurements between different measurement systems. The conversion of metric to Imperial and vice versa is a source of constant frustration for jewelry makers.  It's not unusual to find a hodgepodge of measurements for a single bead or finding.  Take this example: A sixteen inch strand of eight millimeter beads could contain 50 to 51 beads, depending on the precision of their measurements. Each bead has a one millimeter hole that will easily accommodate a .019 to .024 inch beading wire or a 22 gauge precious metal wire (which itself measures 0.0253 inches or 0.6426 millimeters).  Hold on there Einstein! This can be a dizzying nightmare for those of us without the mathematical skills to recite pi to 385 digits.
The standardized measurement funny business began in ancient Egypt with the royal cubit. The arguments haven't stopped for five thousand years. Various "official" systems of measurement would rise and fall with their associated empires. We're most familiar with the English Imperial system and its fraternal twin, the US customary system.  Both have roots in the Roman empire and use simple, everyday natural observations to calculate measurements. Of course, the definition of what is simple and everyday has changed a great deal since 45 BC.  At different times throughout history, the length of a Roman soldier's stride, the distance between the English king's nose and his thumb, the length of an ox, and the width of three barley corns have each influenced the Imperial system of measurement.  This system did not became officially standardized until the mid 19th century!  The largest problem was and is that hardly anything in the Imperial system is equally divisible. Imagine trying to figure how many digits are in a nail, how many nails are in a palm, how many palms are in a shaftment, how many shaftments are in a span, and how many spans are in an ell.  Simple and everyday, it is not.

Luckily, we have the metric system. It's a straightforward system of measurement where every unit is divisible by ten. The history of its development is long, boring, and of little interest to those without my nerdy predilections.  However a fascinating overview can be found here. Because of the metric system's logical standards most major countries have officially converted. The lone holdouts are the US, the UK, Liberia, and Burma.

So what is a beader to do? It's unlikely that the rest of the world will revert to a system of approximate measurements based on the best guesses of farmers born two thousand years ago; and with no strong movement for the metric system in the United States, it's doubtful that we'll see the death of the inch anytime soon. At this point, the most reasonable course of action would be to add a calculator and ruler with both inches and centimeters to your beading arsenal. If you're not able to break out a ruler, we provide a convenient measurement conversion chart.  Just want to know how many beads are on a strand, or how many beads you need to use?  Use our quick-reference bead conversion chart.
Do you have your own tricks or rules of thumb that help you make quick beading calculations?  (And yes, "thumb" used to be an official measurement1) Are you a metric fanatic or an Imperialist? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.

Bracelet for a Special Mom

Mother's Day!  A chance for us to give a tiny bit back to the lady who gave so much to us.  A great excuse for a lovely brunch and a bouquet of flowers.   But wait, isn't that what we did last year?  And the year before?   Perhaps it's time for something a little different.
I'm certainly not advocating taking your mother bungee-jumping (I just thought of my own mother's face at this idea, and snorted tea through my nose),  but what's wrong with having a special little personalized present ready to hand your mother, or to slyly place on her brunch plate?
I had actually heard of Mother's Bracelets before, but not being a Mom myself, I just really wasn't sure what they were.   Apparently, the basic concept is a bracelet for a mother to wear, that would be made up of initials, names, birthstones and/or charms that symbolize her children (or grandchildren), their birthdates and their favorite activities.
Lifelines’sBraceletJust like mothers, no two Mother's bracelets are exactly alike; variations on the bracelet are nearly endless.   The simplest version would involve a clasp, some Swarovski Crystal 4mm or 6mm round or bicone beads in birthstone colors, silver spacer beads, and Pewter alphabet cube beads.  These beads commonly come in 4.5mm or 5.5mm width.  Sometimes you can find them in heart or oval shapes.
So for one child, you simply center beads spelling their name on the bracelet, and put equal numbers of crystal (or gemstone) beads to either side, using small silver spacers to put variation into your design.  If you have two or three children, you can simply make your bracelet a multi-strand bracelet, one strand for each child, with all strands reducing into one clasp, by means of a strand reducer or beading cone.     Or you could make a single bracelet, with the initial of each child, spaced out between crystal or stone beads, or between decorative silver beads.
Want to go beyond this simple design?   Hang a charm from the clasp, or two or three between beads, symboIizing the children and their interests.  A baseball, a ballet shoe, a baby's binky, all are cute reminders of your children.
There is a trend right now for making photo charms, so there is a wide selection of  little photo frames available from Beadaholique.   A tiny photo or color copy, some Art Glaze or UV resin and the frame of your choice will create a charm that will make the bracelet something Mom can't wait to show off.
Slightly less traditionally, charms can be used to make a Mother's Charm Bracelet (picture it, a beautiful chain, traditional charms, photo charms, and letters of the alphabet) or even a Mother's Necklace - framed photo a must, plus a Letter Pendant and a little colorful charm or bead.
If your mom is like mine, she'll love whatever we children put in front of her, but I'm hoping that this year she'll be secretly extra impressed when I present my lovingly crafted, homemade mother's bracelet. With any luck, she'll be too busy admiring the photos and figuring out which charm represents which kid to notice we've waited two hours for brunch.

Peace 101

Peace SymbolWe've had a busy couple of weeks around Beadaholique HQ, and I'm always looking for a way to relax, chill out, or kick back. I figured it was high time to set out on a journey toward transcendental enlightenment. Unfortunately, my idea of taking a six week yoga retreat to India didn't pass muster, so I've investigated a symbol known from Antarctica to Timbuktu, whose origins are little known among the legions who seek to create a world where its meaning is realized. Climb aboard the magic bus, put some flowers in your hair, and pass the wine skin; it's time to talk peace!
The peace symbol's roots lie not in the anti-war tumult of 1960s America, but in the British anti-nuclear  movement of the late 1950s. It was designed in early 1958 by Gerald Holtam, a professional designer and artist, for a protest against the construction and proliferation of atomic weapons led by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. When the letters N and D are represented in semaphore, a Naval sign language, and then imposed over each other, they form the easy to recognize symbol. Holtom later expanded on the idea, saying he drew inspiration from Goya's "The Third of May, 1808", with its exasperated subject throwing his hands in the air as his captors level their rifles.
The symbol crossed the pond in 1960 when Philip Altbach, an American student, brought a bag of peace symbol buttons to the campus of the University of Chicago. He convinced the Student Peace Union to adopt the symbol, and over the next decade its popularity would soar. Quickly, it became the ubiquitous badge of the anti-war movement. The humble emblem began appearing everywhere; if it wasn't dangling from a strand of hippie beads around the neck of a flower child during the summer of love, it was scrawled across the nose cone of a bomb in the sweaty jungles of Vietnam.Peace Sign Ring
Instantly, the peace symbol was implemented into the bohemian fashions of the 1960s. It didn't matter if you were in a halter top and drawstring skirt or a tie dyed t-shirt and patchwork bell bottoms, odds were there was a peace symbol in one place or another. Never before had a single design so defined a generation. However, the symbol didn't stop there; it kept on truckin' through the 70s, and into the 80s. Even now, the peace sign remains a steadfast reminder of what could be. Sure, a couple of lines inside a circle might not solve the world's problems, but it's nice to show the world there's at least one person who believes in the idea of peace. If you'd like to do your part, take the long, strange trip to our website for some groovy peace symbol jewelry components 
By Zachary

Hard Facts about Gemstones

Rock,Paper,ScissorsIn the game of rock, paper, scissors you almost always know where you stand. Paper always smothers rock, scissors always slice paper, and rock always crushes the shears, but what happens when rock meets rock? Well, that depends on the type of mineral your hand represents!
While settling playground disputes was probably not his inspiration, German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs created a scale to gauge the hardness of minerals. The process is simple-- if one mineral can scratch another, it is harder. Although the Mohs scale is very useful, it is not linear. The minerals chosen were only selected because of their popularity at the time. For example, number ten on the scale, diamond,  is 140 times harder than number nine, corundum, whereas number four, fluorite, is only 1.11 times harder than number three, calcite. A proportional measurement, called absolute hardness, was more recently devised, but is only used by scientists who need extremely accurate results. The Mohs scale satisfies the needs of almost all mineral enthusiasts.
Since most of us don't carry samples of each mineral on the scale, there is a simple test you can perform in your workspace, or deep within your backyard gypsum quarry if you don't have a material. It involves these convenient standards of hardness: soft (can be scratched with a fingernail), medium (can be scratched with a knife or glass but not by a fingernail) or hard (cannot be scratched by a knife).
Sure, you might have to wrestle your best friend if they don't accept that your hand is made of diamond and theirs is talc in a game of rock, paper, scissors, but you'll never have to grapple with worries that a gemstone in your collection is anything but the genuine article.
Here is a reference for the Mohs Hardness Scale:
↓ Mohs hardness               Absolute Hardness  ↓
1         Talc                             1
2         Gypsum                       3
3         Calcite                         9
4         Fluorite                        21
5         Apatite                        48
6         Feldspar                      72
7         Quartz                        100
8         Topaz                         200
9         Corundum                  400
10       Diamond                    1600
by Zachary Frazee

Fine Jewelry's Loss Is Craft Beaders Gain

ZacharyIf you were planning on starting your own retail jewelry mega-chain, it might be wise to reconsider. Sales of fine jewelry are off 34% compared to a year ago, and even diamond giant DeBeers is getting a little uneasy. The entire precious stone industry has taken a huge hit recently, but their loss is the independent crafters gain. Craft jewelry, once relegated to the jewelry boxes of girl scouts with crafts badges, is more popular than ever thanks to online sales at sites like Etsy, Amazon and eBay. According to a recent New York Times article about the craft boom, "On eBay, people bought 13,137 handmade crafts over the last 60 days for an average price of $8.21, and sales of handmade crafts climbed 34%, the company said."
Lydia’s Earrings
Jewelry crafters with a compulsion to stay on top of fashion trends and a dedication to thrift might feel more inclined to create their own versions of contemporary designs, others may use their crafting hobby as a means of supplementing their income. 
Cartoon "My friends see the earrings I'm wearing and place orders with me to create more for them" says Lydia Ramos, from the Beadaholique shipping department.  No matter what your reasons, odds are someone is out there looking to buy a piece of your imagination.
Who wouldn't want to make a few extra bucks doing something they love?
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