Monday, June 29, 2009

Go Beadalon! Go Green!

From celebrities to soccer moms, these days it seems like everyone is "going green". At Beadalon, we're proud to say that we've been conscious of our impact on the environment since the beginning. As our website states, "Beadalon is the only flex wire company in the industry that actually manufacturers its own wire and micro cable products in-house.

Since our start in 1976, we have sent all scrap stainless steel from our USA manufacturing plant out for recycling, typically into new Stainless Steel products." You can read more about our efforts to minimize our environmental impact here. Remember, stainless steel is one of the most recycled products on the planet, so save those scraps! If you don't turn them into more jewelry, like the circles featured in Beadalon Design Team member Fernando Dasilva's Psychedelic Necklace, send them back to us for recycling:

440 Highlands Blvd.

Coatesville, PA 19320

Attn: Recycle

-Meredith Roddy for Beadalon

Thursday, June 25, 2009

JCK Las Vegas Show Review & Trends

Even in this year's challenging retail environment, manufacturers and designers brought a lot of optimism and innovation to the Jewelers Circular Key (JCK) Show. The days of a single, uniform look are over! I spotted a mélange of metal colors, gemstone cuts and fancy glass beads fighting for the attention of old and new customers, with many different elements, colors and textures together in one piece. From colored, braided leather to blackened gold findings, from pink rose gold to modern carved cameos, from tungsten chain to gigantic cocktail rings with white opal cabochons, the hottest trends are those that make people believe anything is possible. Here are the looks we'll be seeing more of in the coming year:

White was the big color story at JCK this year. The hottest stone of the season, white opal, looks fabulous and fresh when combined with new white Beadalon 7 and any opalescent Crystallized - Swarovski Elements.

Copper stays strong mixed with other metals or on its own, especially since it is an easy, affordable substitution for the higher end rose gold being used in the street wear jewelry segment. Large, colored wooden beads and glass elements can be used together to enhance the reddish copper shades.

Because of the economy, pearls are making a big return to many jewelry store windows. Retailers who do not want to increase their inventories in diamonds and precious metals feel more secure buying pearls because they are a jewelry staple and bring a feminine appeal without the price. Freshwater pearls look great when combined with chain and other inexpensive components.

Mixed metallics are hot, hot, hot and so are geometric links, connectors and chain. Chain maille will be a big presence in the coming year, with many high end designers showing Viking-inspired chain maille designs.

White may be the new black, but that doesn't mean it has to be simple. Organic shapes like keishi, sticks, baroque, pear, and disk-shaped pearls are IN. Carved bones and shells have lots of texture and natural coloration, taking their place among the biggest trends of the season.

Statement necklaces are IN again, so opt for a coral branch necklace mixed with split pea green seed beads and Crystallized briolettes (also known as rondelles). Briolette is the most popular shape of Crystallized components among high end designers, but, choose the big ones, honey! Forget about subtlety!

Ethnic inspiration comes from around the globe, with several dramatic colors making their way into a single piece. After an Indian-inspired design fever, Afghanistan is now the inspiration. The pieces are influenced by the Greek and Roman civilizations but have a touch of India and Thailand as well. Look for ornate yellow gold designs and a rich mixture of colors.

Venetian glass components have entered the world of fine jewelry! Mix these luscious components with 18k yellow gold chain and tassels for an Upper East side, Bohemian chic look.

As more designers get hip to the green movement, they're using more raw stones that are not irradiated.This necklace features aquamarine chips and big Venetian glass beads, mixing silver and gold tones together harmoniously.

Fernando's List of Hot Jewelry Trends:

Mixed metals
White, rose and yellow gold together
Blackened gold chain and chandelier earrings
Tungsten jewelry for men
Braided and dyed sterling silver micro wire
Hot stones: onyx, white opal, agates, drusy, tiger-eye, abalone, coral brunches, duo colored quartz, Royal Sahara jasper, rose diamonds, carved shells & cameos
Pave setting, cathedral cut, enameling
Top-drilled round gemstone beads
Sting ray leather
Beads made with half volcanic lava and half sterling silver
Feather charms mixed with real feathers
Long necklaces: braided silk, chain combined with 20mm round beads
A explosion of design accents inspired by the 70” and 80”s
Geometric necklaces featuring repetition of patterns on entire length
Design elements: butterflies, stars, hearts, lockets, ornate flowers in pavé settings
And, my favorite trend now is the big, white opal cocktail ring that's surrounded by diamonds or colored stones

Jewelry designs in this post ©Fernando Dasilva 2009. Please note that all jewelry pictures are for inspiration purposes only and are not to be duplicated for resale.

by Fernando Dasilva for Beadalon

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bead & Button Show 2009

Every year, the Beadalon team looks forward to exhibiting at the world's largest consumer bead show in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year, there were nearly 400 vendors and over 500 classes.

Our booth is primarily for show and tell at consumer events. We introduce new products, explain the differences between different styles of wire, demonstrate techniques, share design ideas and answer beading questions. Since we don't sell retail, we drive traffic to our distributors who sell Beadalon products at the show.

The Beadalon Bead & Button Show Team: Wyatt White, Product Manager; Mike Shields, VP of Sales & Marketing; Meredith Roddy, Sales Executive; Drew Potter, Sales Executive; Michael Hogan, Major Accounts Sales Executive.

The demonstration table is one of the hottest spots in the booth. We answer beading questions and show consumers how to use all of our tools and findings. This year, we also shared samples of WildFire™, our premium, thermally-bonded beading thread. People loved it!

Product Manager Wyatt White led a very popular seminar at The Show, where he introduced many of our newest products and showed people how to use them. This presentation was similar to the seminars that he has presented to a number of bead societies along the East Coast.

Beadalon Design Team member Katie Hacker (right) taught two workshops at The Show using BeadMaster animated tutorials. Student Toni (left) enjoyed class with Katie so much last year that she took both classes this year.

Beadalon Design Team member Fernando Dasilva showed consumers how to make a necklace from Bead & WIre Jewelry Exposed (F+W Pubs 2009), co-authored with Margot Potter and Katie Hacker and co-sponsored by Beadalon and Create Your Style with CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements.

We're already looking forward to next year's Bead & Button Show, June 6-13, 2010!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Peyote Cuff Bracelet Pattern

Gold Peyote Cuff

By Meredith Roddy for Beadalon


7 strand .015 Gold Color Beadalon wire (JW02G-0)

4 size 2 gold-filled crimp beads (JFC1G-1.5G)

1 gold plated medium lobster claw clasp (315A-005)

1 gold plated 6mm jump ring (314A-005)

1 gold plated 5mm split ring (320A-001)

1 package 4MM Matte Black Cube Beads (506-1710)

1 package 4MM Matte Gold Cube Beads (506-1728)


1. String 1 black cube and 4 gold cubes on a 5 foot length of wire. *String another black bead and pass back through the gold bead to begin the first row of peyote stitch. String another gold bead, skip one gold bead and go through the next gold bead on the foundation row. String one more gold bead and go through the black bead.* Repeat from * to * until your bracelet is the length you want it minus 2 inches.

2. After you’ve reached the desired length, string one crimp bead, 4 black beads, the split ring, 4 more black beads, and form a loop at the top of the bracelet by bringing your string around and back through the black bead on the opposite side. Weave back through the top row of peyote stitch and through the crimp bead. Crimp and trim your wire.

3. Take a piece of beading wire about 12 inches long. Create a loop on the opposite end by weaving through the last row of peyote. Add a crimp bead, four black beads, the clasp, four more black beads and another crimp bead. Thread your wire through the bracelet and through the crimp bead. Crimp both beads and trim the wire at the end.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tips for Working with Seed Beads

Seed beads are beading staples but they can be tricky little things! There are a lot of great products that make it easier to organize and work with them. Check out my Beading Lesson Video #905 for an overview of my favorites listed here.

Tacky Mat: The Beadalon Tacky Mat is a sticky mat that keeps beads and pieces in place while you're working. It does not leave a sticky residue when you remove items from the mat. If the mat gets dirty, simply "recharge" it by washing it under warm water. Let it dry and it will be sticky again. 

Bead Mat: Soft, comfortable Bead Mats keep small parts from rolling around, and cushion hands while stringing beads. When you pour seed beads onto the mat, they land with the hole facing up, which makes them easier to string because you can press the needle downward directly into the hole.

Needle Tubes: Store sharp and small beading stringing needles safely and securely with wooden Beadalon Needle Tubes. The square tube won't roll around on your work surface while the round tube makes a great surface for getting started with tubular peyote stitch. Mark the needle size on top of the cap for easy identification.

Flocked Tri-Trays: Flocked bead trays are great for working with small beads, findings, and other loose beading items. The triangular shape and lightweight design make them the perfect choice for quick organization. For a portable workstation, place a bead mat, tacky mat and flocked tri-trays inside a wooden tray or cookie sheet.

Stack Drawers & Storage Ring: Stack drawers slide together in a stack or in a row so you can customize your organization. The Storage Ring contains eight individual containers, which easily slide together side by side. To stack them, simply snap into place. Positive locking caps keep even the smallest items from escaping. One 10g tube of seed beads fits inside each compartment.

Bead Scoop & Shovel Tweezers: Access beads of all sizes from bins, storage containers, and mats with a compact metal scoop or shovel tweezers. Or, use the scoop or shovel to quickly clean seed beads off your workstation and return the beads to their containers.

Be sure to stop by on Thursday for a clever, free peyote cuff bracelet pattern by Meredith Roddy!

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bead & Wire Jewelry Exposed

In Bead&Wire Jewelry Exposed, authors Margot Potter, Fernando Dasilva and Katie Hacker offer over 50 high-fashion jewelry designs made using unique techniques that reveal typically hidden components like beading wire, cording, findings, tubing and chain as the central focus of the design. All of the projects use products from Beadalon® and Crystallized™ - Swarovski Elements.

While the designs look complex, the techniques are simple enough for beginners yet sophisticated enough for veteran jewelry crafters. Step-by-step photos illustrate each design and a comprehensive getting started section gives crafters information on the supplies, tools and techniques they’ll need to make all of the projects in the book. The broad range of styles guarantees appeal for all audiences, with designs from three different jewelry making experts.

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of Bead&Wire Jewelry Exposed! Include your email address so we can contact you if you win. We’ll collect comments for one week, then we’ll hold a random drawing.

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon

The winner of the Bead & Wire Jewelry Exposed book is Shelly from Lompoc, California! Congratulations and enjoy!!!!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mixed Media Tips & Techniques

“Mixed Media” is all the rage in the jewelry making world as of late.  It’s a catch-all term for designs created with a surprising mixture of techniques and materials.  Fibers play joyfully with inks and papers and beads to make unique, one of a kind jewelry creations. Traditional crafting is being turned on its ears and it’s resulting in some amazing new ideas. 

Designers are wandering the craft aisles, flea markets, thrift shops and hardware stores in search of interesting new materials. They’re re-imagining recyclables into gorgeous wearables. They’re making jewelry out of found objects and repurposed items. They’re breaking rules and making new ones in the process. It’s an exciting time for the burgeoning mixed media jewelry designer and Beadalon has a vast array of products the mixed media jewelry designer can integrate into their work. 

We’ve been updating our jewelry making projects on the newly redesigned Beadalon website and there are a plethora of great new mixed media ideas for your perusal. If you’re curious and want to try something new, check out the following mixed media project links for some fun ideas that will get your creative juices flowing in some exciting new directions: 

Queen Barksalot Doggie Collar

Furry Fall Necklace

Girly Twirly Bracelet

Sunburst Necklace 

Remember Me Necklace

Spiked Wire Necklace

Daisy Drops Necklace 

Orbital Necklace

My Little China Girl Cell Phone Charm

If you want to explore the idea of mixed media jewelry design a little further, you might enjoy my new book Beyond the Bead. It’s a great intro for the novice mixed media jewelry artist and it’s filled with fabulous Beadalon products.  

-Margot Potter for Beadalon

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hosting a Jewelry Party Part Two

I’m back with more ideas for hosting a jewelry party! This is one of my favorite topics, as you can tell. This time, I’ll share ideas for displaying your jewelry, pampering your guests with party favors, and tips for food & drinks. 

A successful home jewelry party is when you sell yourself as much as you sell your jewelry, so don’t be shy! People want to know about what inspires you and your jewelry designs. I want guests to buy my jewelry but the most important part is for people to get to know me as a person and a jewelry designer. Treat everyone the same no matter if they buy or not, they may call you up a few days later for that great pair of earrings they tried on. 

Displaying Your Jewelry

Remember that this is just like another party at your house. Less is always better on the decorations so the jewelry shines as the star attraction. Place it in a prominent location, add fresh flowers around the room, and create separate tables for the food and beverages. 

Arrange your jewelry on a big table in a central area so people can walk freely and access the jewelry. Use boxes under fabric to create different levels on the table surface. Invite guests to try on the jewelry, help them with the clasps and other features, all the while talking up how it looks, what it’s made from, and what inspired you to either buy the gemstones/beads or to make the piece. Place hand mirrors in different spots around the table so shopper can see how fabulous they look in your designs. 

Arrange your jewelry by color palette: ocean colors, earthy colors, fall colors, winter colors, summer colors. This type of organization makes it easier for them to spot their favorite items but I always have edgy pieces mixed in. Do the unexpected; it keeps your customers looking through your inventory. 

Pick a single color for your displays and arrange the jewelry on solid color place mats. I like to separate matching sets so people can discover them individually. It lets me help my guests find sets and allows them to see other possibilities while I am searching. 

Make sure to price all of your jewelry ahead of time, but be sharp enough to improvise if a customer runs into a non-priced piece. Don’t use the thread tags because they become tangled in the jewelry. Self-adhesive, fold-over tags are better. 

Party favors

Make a small jewelry item to give away as soon as your guests arrive. It can be a simple stretchy bracelet made from forgotten beads, a bling ring made with several beads attached to a single loop ring, a long illusion necklace made with beads and crimps or even a wine tag for each champagne glass made with memory wire. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but that little touch has helped me greatly in the past because it’s something special your guests receive just for showing up.  Once you’ve bestowed the party favor upon your guest, make sure she also receives a cocktail and knows where the food and jewelry are located. Reserve 5-minute for a conversation with each of your guests to make them feel welcome and beloved. 

Food & Drink

It’s my feeling that if a woman leaves her home to come to my home or to one of my hosted events, then she deserves to be pampered in the same way a friend would be pampered in my home. I serve interesting cocktails out of real glasses, and really tasty food items. A nice sparkling cocktail or glass of wine helps people loosen up and get comfortable. Offer sparkling apple juice or another interesting non-alcoholic drink for guests who prefer not to imbibe but serve it in a champagne glass. 

Food should be creative, easy to eat, and delicious. Go for non-greasy finger foods such as fancy chocolate, grapes, strawberries, wafers, cheeses or canapés. Don’t serve chips and dip! Your party should be more personal. Resist using disposable napkins, cups, paper plates or anything like this. Pampering clients is a much better way to go, they feel good and the jewelry looks great on them. 

If it’s within your budget, hire someone as a waiter to take care of the food and cocktails. This way you don’t have to worry about anything except spending more time with your customers. If this is not possible, have somebody helping you with all the food and cocktails. If you don’t have anybody to help, be fast, furious and graceful! 

-Fernando Dasilva for Beadalon

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hosting a Jewelry Party Part One

Influenced by well-known companies like Tupperware and Candle Light, in-home sales have seen an up-trend all over the country since the 90’s. The structure requires simple elements: an appealing product, a well-connected host, and a friendly shopping environment such as a cozy family room. I have done many jewelry parties for groups as small as 6 people to groups of 80. In this post, I’ll share some tips for selecting and selling your inventory. Join me in the next post for display tips, food & drink suggestions and more! 

Many independent artists from different fields have begun showing their products to small audiences in their own homes or those of their friends. Jewelry parties offer a personal shopping experience, where the shoppers can meet the artist and get more detailed information about the products. The artist benefits by being able to turn and refresh inventory quickly, since people look for new colors and styles each season. 

A successful jewelry party requires a lot of planning and setup but making it a memorable event will secure more parties. Each jewelry party has a rhythm that builds up during the event itself but there are certain things that you can take care of before you open the door to your first guest. 

Selecting Inventory

Make sure you have plenty of inventory. If you have old inventory, organize your time so you can create 10 new pieces and mix them in with the rest of the designs. Make sure these last minute pieces are in sync with current trends. When you begin running out of time, buy the latest issue of In Style magazine.  Check the trends and see how you can translate those into your artistic vision. Fresh and bold pieces are eye catchers! Even if you don’t sell them right way, people will notice that your jewelry is updated. Old pieces always sell at these events, too. Just because you think it’s old and tired does not mean your customers will. 

I like to offer a wide range of designs from subtle to extravagant, from monochromatic single strands to multi-layered-colored and loud pieces, from chokers to very long necklaces. I believe you get more sales if your inventory is varied because it’s impossible to know the tastes of all the people who come to your party. Think about the abundance and variety in places like the Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico or a street market in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You don’t need necessarily to have a cohesive collection if you are selling at home, unless that’s your style. 


If you have a hostess, offer her a special discount on her purchases. I usually choose a special gift for the hostess as well, something that she has had on a couple of times during the party. If she books another party with one of her friends, her discount will continue through that next party. You can also offer a commission on the sales to the hostess (usually the special discount is not added for the commission). If the hostess would rather choose a charitable organization, then you can make a donation in her honor. This is a win-win because the donation is tax-deductible and people may shop more because a portion of sales is going to a good cause. 

Be sure to have at least $100 in cash for change. To boost your sales, give a discount for cash, or offer a different level of discount for items paid with credit cards. Be creative! I created a Brazilian layaway, where the customer buys an item and makes payments. I request 20 or 30% down and we set up the payment dates. The difference with this layaway is that I allow the customer to take the piece of jewelry at the party. This way the person starts enjoying the piece immediately. Each and every time you have somebody wearing your jewelry is another chance for more marketing about you and your jewelry. 

- Fernando Dasilva for Beadalon