Monday, January 16, 2012

Choosing A Color Scheme: Tips & Ideas


One of the most challenging aspects of creating a beautiful piece of jewelry is choosing a color scheme that "works."  Whether you are going for a bold look, subtle, romantic, autumn inspired, or modern, it can be difficult to choose colors that convey the feeling you are trying to express and that work well together. We have all seen beautifully handmade jewelry pieces that would have been spectacular if the colors had not been a little "off."

Golem Studios Ceramic Pendant

So how do you go about deciding on a color palette? The easiest way is to take whatever your focal bead is, and coordinate around it. For instance, if you are making a necklace around a gorgeous Golem Studios pendant, then look at what colors are present in the pendant itself and use those colors in your design. You can use red Toho seed beads, blue Czech glass beads, etc. Even if your focal is a solid color, use that solid color as your starting point and build around it. 





Swarovski Color Carousel
If you are a fan of Swarovski Crystal, there is a great tool at your disposal: the Swarovski Color Carousel.  Choose your main color, and this color wheel will automatically generate harmonious colors, contrasting colors, even the appropriate pearl color.  As an example, I chose Siam as my main color and was then told that Ruby, Burgundy, and Garnet are harmonious colors. Erinite and Emerald are contrasting colors to Siam, and the appropriate pearl is Crystal Burgundy. Even if you are not using Swarovski Elements, you can use this tool to generate beautiful color stories. 



Sample Color Palette
Other websites to check out include Kuler.adobe.com and Colourlovers.com. Both of these sites are free and offer thousands of color palettes for you to look through. The palettes have been sorted by theme, popularity, etc. so you can quickly narrow down your selections. There are so many choices in just these two sites alone, you will surely be inspired by a color scheme. 

  
© Design Seeds
A third website to check out is Design Seeds. This site takes a photograph, picks out all the colors from it, and gives you a handy color swatch palette to work off of. Seeing the colors in the photograph is really inspiring and gives you a better idea of how they will work together.  Once you have chosen your colors, you can then purchase beads to match. When picking out the beads, I like to have a separate browser window open with the color palette displayed so that I can easily see if the beads I am considering match my color scheme. 


Another great way of arriving at a color scheme is to take a piece of fabric, scarf, shirt, or dress where you really like the colors and use those colors for your jewelry design. An added bonus is that if it is a piece of clothing you are working off of, and you know you look good in it, then you know your jewelry colors will look good on you too. 

Finally, a tip I learned from a fellow crafter was to go to the paint store and pick up some paint chips. You can then use these to develop your color schemes. You might also find the free booklets offered at paint stores helpful too. These usually have "designer" schemes pre-arranged and you can pick out the one that appeals to you. 

Hopefully these ideas and tips were helpful! We would love to hear how you arrive at a color scheme! 

- Julie 

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