A Bead Here, A Bead There, A Bead Everywhere!

I went to my first local bead show back in June and although I didn’t know what to expect, I certainly didn’t have any problems finding beads I liked. And it didn’t hurt that the show was held at a winery either!

For as much as I’ve read and heard from other artists about what to expect, and how to prepare for your first show, I didn’t set a budget or create a list of beads I wanted. I went with an open mind, mostly expecting to have more options for bead purchases than I can normally find locally. I was pleasantly surprised to not be overwhelmed with wall-to-wall beads. Tables were set up by type of bead, then by color and each group had a variety of shapes to choose from.

It goes without saying that I could have come up with a use for just about every bead I picked up, but after an initial scan of the beads available, I set to work finding beads that would work in a few partial creations I’ve had sitting around my studio for quite a while. Luckily, I was able to find just what I was looking for. I purchased a strand of Sardonyx and Blue Sandstone, as well as two strands of petite watermelon tourmaline nuggets.

Watermelon Tourmaline, Sardonxy and Blue Sandstone Gemstone Beads from Bead Show
Gemstone Beads from Bead Show
I’ve always loved Goldstone for its added “sparkle” but when I found the Blue Sandstone I was in heaven. These beads have thousands of tiny copper particles that glitter against a dark blue background. As soon as I picked up the strand I had an idea for using them as these beads are absolutely stunning. They are subtle enough to wear everyday to work against a business suit, but easily transition to a night on the town with the most elegant of evening wear.

It’s been some time since I purchased these beads that I have been able to begin working with them (so many beads, so little time in the day!). BUT, the wait was good because just recently I visited a local bead store and found a spectacular Blue Sandstone pendant. For me, it was akin to the find of the century. I can’t wait to begin working with these beads to get them into a finished design….if the end product is anything like what I’m picturing in my head -I may not be able to part with it!

Above is a glimpse of the beads I purchased and although the picture does not do the Blue Sandstone justice -stay tuned for the finished design and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

You find these lovely gemstone beads in many of my creations here at Crystal Allure!

Coming Soon: Fall 2007 Jewelry

Every effort is being made to roll out a few new Fall jewelry pieces by months’ end. Typically I am the type of person who does not like to see fall clothing or accessories arrive before September 1st anyway -not that I don’t welcome autumn. However, as a country we have gotten into the habit of pushing styles out way too early in the seasons. Life is too short -let’s enjoy what is here, while it is here.

Inspired by the richness of the season, these pieces will range from the classically chic to functionally trendy. As well, because we tend to don more clothing during this time of the season, some pieces will deviate ever so slightly from my typical minimalist approach to design.

I know you are going to FALL head over heals for this collection! Stay tuned…

Genuine Crystal By Daniel Swarovski

Swarovski Crystal is The World’s Finest.
Of the entire world’s crystal, Swarovski has the most sparkle and clarity.

Daniel Swarovski -Genuine Crystal by Daniel Swarovski -Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry Creations
Virtually all Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry uses genuine Daniel Swarovski crystal -either exclusively or in combination with other stones. Swarovski makes the world’s finest lead glass crystal and is a leader in jewelry component manufacturing as well as industrial glass and precision optics.

The Swarovski Company uses only high lead content crystal glass. Typically, a full thirty-two percent of the glass is lead and lead oxide. The presence of lead increases the glass’s refractive index, bringing it closer to the same sparkle that a diamond has.

By cutting the glass in just the right way, internal reflection from inside the shiny surfaces of the glass cause the light to reflect internally. This internal reflection results in sparkle as the glass is tilted, adding to its beauty and to the beauty of jewelry made with Crystals by Swarovski.

Aurora Borealis Effect (AB) on Swarovski Crystals

Aurora Borealis Swarovski Crystals | Genuine Crystals by Daniel Swarovski | Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry Blog
Jewelry made with aurora borealis (AB) crystals displays more colors. This shimmering prism effect is caused by the reflections of light from surrounding colors in the environment. Think of the extra sparkle your jewelry would have if it was coated in millions of microscopic mirrors. This is the jewelry effect you get with Austrian Swarovski crystals coated in Aurora Borealis.

During the 1950’s the Daniel Swarovski company made important advances in the development of its crystal production. It experimented with manufacturing processes in which the stones were coated with wafer thin metal particles in order to increase their sparkle. This process required the material to be steamed in a vacuum. In 1956 Manfred Swarovski, the grandson of the company’s founder, created the Aurora Borealis effect which shimmers in every color of the rainbow.

To this day, Swarovski continues to demand the highest possible quality of their products to distinguish themselves from the rest of the market. They are incredibly secretive about their processes. Even their workers in the factories do not see what other workers are doing so that they cannot share any secrets with others.

So when you are ordering crystal jewelry, and you want that extra shimmer, ask for the Austrian Swarovski Aurora Borealis crystal.

American Cancer Society Charity Auction

We were honored to participate again, this year, in the 2nd Annual American Cancer Society “Toast to Hope” charity event. This event celebrates breast cancer survivors, honors those who have lost the fight, and raises money for breast cancer awareness, research and support programs.

This year I donated the Sterling Southwestern Drop Crystal Necklace for the silent auction. The lucky winner of this necklace will truly love its delicate design and dazzling crystals.

An artisan custom handmade necklace featuring aquamarine and crystal copper Swarovski Crystals dangling from a delicate sterling silver chain and center station.

Although this necklace was a one of a kind, a similar design is the Fallen Leaf Swarovski Crystal Sterling Y Necklace N032.

Custom Rose Garden Necklace

A lovely lady, visiting Rochester from Tennessee, had visited my booth at the 2007 Chil-E Festival and purchased the Rose Garden bracelet and earrings. I included my business card with her purchase and the next day she called me to request a coordinating necklace. I was very happy to create this custom piece for her and immediately had a design in mind.

I very much appreciated her calling so soon after the show because she was only in Rochester until August 6th. So I quickly set off to the local bead store to be sure I could still obtain the special Rose Lampwork bead used in this design. Luck was on my side and soon I was in my studio working on the design.

The Rose Garden bracelet had been strung and the earrings were wire-wrapped to the french ear wires. But for the necklace I really wanted to give it an added elegance using a wire-wrapping technique for the entire necklace. I kept with the overall theme sequence of the bracelet but just jazzed it up a bit with some small bead sequence changes. I made sure to make it adjustable up to 18-1/2″ for the best fit and I had completed the design within a few nights.

My customer was so very happy I was able to get a necklace made and was very appreciative. As well, I was thankful she allowed me to create a custom design for her to treasure well into the future. I hope she had a wonderful time in Rochester and has a safe trip back home.

Custom Rose Garden Necklace

Free Jewelry & Fashion Article Submission

I am happy to say my readers are requesting more information related to jewelry and fashion. To accommodate, this is a new section of my blog that will provide you with news worthy articles on jewelry and fashion.

Interested in submitting a free article? Here’s how it works:

Submit an article that is written to target women ages 30-50 on the topics of jewelry and/or fashion. The article must “flow” in its topic, be easy to read and free of grammatical errors. Please minimize emphasis of words and do not write in all capital letters.

If accepted, a summary of your article will appear in Crystal Allure Jewelry’s monthly newsletter and will contain a direct link back to our blog to allow the reader to read the entire article. As well, a link to your bio and/or website will also be available.

Please submit the following:

~Article Title (75 characters or less)

~Article Author (50 characters or less)

~Article Summary (300 characters or less)

~Full Article Text (200-1500 characters)

~Website Title (75 characters or less)

~Website URL

~Website Description (250 characters or less)

~Author Bio (200 characters or less)

If you have photographs/images (maximum 350×350) for your article, please provide either a photograph/image URL (such as Photobucket) or send them via email (after prior approval).

RMSC Show Recap

Back in November 2007 I participated in the local Rochester Museum and Science Center Holiday Show. It was my first show at this event and it was quite a large show, held inside and hosted a variety of fantastic artists. I was very pleased with the select number of jewelry vendors there as well as the fact that they were disbursed around the building.

It was a great time and a terrific show for Crystal Allure. I was so busy that I was glad my husband with me (he’s so helpful and supportive!). He even made a sale while I was walking around the event. I found many benefits to this show: (1) it was held indoors -no battling the unknown elements; (2) it was near the holiday -great shopping times; (3) the vendors were spaced apart nicely and there was a limited number of jewelry vendors and; (4) the spaces were large enough to use three 6′ tables. Having all that space aloud me to put out quite a few of my pieces and really highlight them (using a small lamp). Sadly, I forgot my camera and didn’t get pictures of my set up.

It was a three day show and both Friday and Saturday the show was brimming with people. Busy, busy, busy. But it was such a fun and exciting show and it was so relieving to be around other artists who took their craft seriously (and was their bread-and-butter). I’m really looking forward to the show in 2008!

Although the whole event wasn’t “perfect”. I had an extremely rude woman actually study one of my pairs of earrings and then literally took them apart!!! When I saw her studying them (which are the classic signs of someone who is planning on copying your design) I went over to talk to her and explained the inspiration behind them. They were a dangly pair and she said she liked them but didn’t like the bottom dangle (and nonchalantly mentioned she had a friend who “might be able to fix them”). She then took them around a post (which separate two of my tables) to look at them in the mirror. While walking around the post, she actually had the gall to take the bottom dangle off them (they were assembled using a simple loop technique) so she could see them without the dangle. UGH! I was so peeved that someone actually took apart my creation and tried to hide it (and worse yet I honestly believe she felt it was within her right to disassemble my jewelry!). She then re-assembled them and put them back (now that she studied them long enough I’m sure she went and had her friend copy my design). Some people…ugh.

The only other “mishap” was a young woman paid for a bracelet and pair of earrings using her credit card. They were a gift to her mother for Christmas. Well, I took all the info, but when I processed the card, it failed. Unfortunately, we are rarely given the exact reason why a card fails so my only recourse was to send her a letter telling her of the problem and offering another method of payment. Well, she did email me and said the card should work. I explained it’s possible I wrote the card number incorrectly (which if she can just call me, we can verify the numbers) or she could send me a check. On into late December I had yet to hear from her (very disappointed I must say) so I send her an invoice and requested payment by check. Needless to say, the show was in November, it is now middle January 2008 and this woman never paid me! Can you believe it?! That is so rude. Here she gives her mother handmade jewelry that cost me supplies, labor and design time and never paid for it (I wonder what her mother would think of her for that). I guess it’s true some people just don’t have a conscience…

All things considered, it was a terrific show and I was so happy to be a part of it. I received fantastic comments on my jewelry designs, had an opportunity to find out what customers are looking for in their jewelry and did great in sales. Thank you to all who purchased one of my Crystal Allure designs and for those of you who signed up for the newsletter -stayed tuned to your emails…there will be an open house being announced in early 2008!

Chil-E Festival 2007 Re-Cap

My review of the annual Chil-E Festival, held this past July 20th, 21st & 22nd (2007), is over a week late this year. I’ve been busy preparing a few new fall season jewelry and I just put this on the side burner until now.

There were some changes this year for the vendors and one change was that vendors would be open for three days, as opposed to two days in years past. Once again, I doubt I could have gotten through the event without the help of my husband -many thanks to him!!!

It was actually kind of nice to set up on Friday and it was slow enough that it gave me the opportunity to choose a display set up. I always have at least 2-3 set up ideas in mind for every show, especially if it is being held outside, because Rochester weather can be so unpredictable. In any event, I had ordered a bunch of new necklace displays for this show but they did not arrive in time so I went with Plan B, which ended up working out just fine because once again (I swear the weather here knows when I’m doing a show!) it was windy and would have ruined my first display choice.

Sadly, again, there were a few too many jewelry booths. And I heard this sentiment echoed by attendees as well. In fact, I was a little perturbed as well to (again) in a show be placed right next to another booth selling jewelry. I realize those pulling together a show are doing the best they can, but they really must realize, regardless of how “different” they feel our craft may be it does not help to be placed next to, or across from, a booth in the same category. I can be rather adamant about this because although it might be true we are all artists in our craft, I run my business differently and I use different techniques and materials. To be placed next to someone who has made a dozen or more of one design and/or has used base metal in their designs, does not allow customers to see my work for what it truly is. In fact, my strong thoughts on this were somewhat soothed when the gentleman in the booth next to me came in to talk for a brief time, and he commented on how nice it is that someone knows their craft, the materials that go into it, and actually makes a unique piece based on an inspiration. These declarations to me were a result of a conversation with the booth artist on the other side of him (jewelry -surprise!) who stated, “Oh, I just threw those together last night” (referencing her dozen or more of bracelets made in the same design).

Now don’t get me wrong here. Everyone has their design ideas, preferences for materials and value of time. But when I have put alot of time, effort and thought into my business, materials, niche and marketing, it can get frustrating to be in shows where individuals have created jewelry, in masses, and is selling it at costume jewelry prices. I do get that, I really do. But, if that is what craft shows are suppose to be about then alot of artists would simply stop doing them. And to be fair, on the flip side, I’m sure I’m also in the wrong shows as well. But I admit, once again, due to time constraints I missed the early deadlines for all the quality artist shows. (Note to self: that won’t happen next year!). BUT, I have always felt partial to the Chil-E Festival because that is my home town, where I live.

Enough of the show-box opera! Although windy, the weather was good, the attendees were pleasant and the show was a success this year. Confession: I don’t really know why the show was a success. Sounds like a vague analysis for a business owner but it’s true. I don’t know if it was because the weather was better (which brought more people), or if people were in an open frame of mind (to buy quality jewelry) or if it was a result of the market testing changes I made that show. But, it was a good show and my faith in my craft was restored. In fact, there were two lovely ladies from Tennessee, visiting relatives in Rochester, who purchase jewelry from me. They were so pleasant to talk to and I respect the fact that they appreciated my craft for what it truly is -Unique Art. The success of this years show was rounded out when one of these lovely ladies contacted me to create a custom necklace to complete her bracelet and earring purchase. I was very happy to accommodate and was so glad to be able to get it to her before she left Rochester. I know she’ll enjoy it for years to come!

It was without doubt a long weekend. In fact, I (along with my dedicated husband) spent the whole week of the event running around in the evening for additional display items and such. With the show over, we get home Sunday, happy with the results of the show, tired and glad it’s over, only to find a box on our side porch of all my new necklace busts! I was so tweak, all weekend, with the vendor for not shipping it in time for the event that it never occurred to me that maybe it was a shipping problem. Again, not that I would have been able to use that idea anyway. For the most part, UPS and FedEx leave our packages on our front porch (we have a wrap around porch, front to side) and we can see them when we arrive home. Well, for whatever reason FedEx decided to put the box on the side of the porch but never left a note on our door telling us they did that. So we never found this box until Sunday evening when we arrived home and opened our side porch door. Would it have been that difficult to take a brief moment and leave a note on our front door?

But for all its ups and downs and for the number of other jewelry vendors there -it was a terrific show and I look forward to next year.

First Show Of The Season -Rained Out

The first show of the season was the Brockport Lions Club Classic Car Cruise-In held July 14, 2007. My husband and I arrived (surprisingly!) early and began setting up. Although no sooner had we set up the tent frame and top, the wind started to pick up. Within two hours of the event it started to rain and eventually the show was rained out.

The only downfall to outside shows is that you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. In my experience, I have found the worst enemy is wind. I think for the most part I could deal with rain or sun, but the wind just ruins your entire display. Unless of course you want your tent to look like it’s braced for a hurricane (with straps running the span of your side and back panels).

I did not get an accurate count of vendors but I’d say there was maybe a handful with no other jewelry vendors. We were told the DJ would be setting up next to us -wasn’t butt up next to us but close enough. At first we thought it was a great idea. Work our tent and listen to great music -wrong. We found out quickly that having the DJ next to us was not beneficial at all. For the VERY FEW customers who even came up to the tent to look from a distance, they couldn’t hear a word I said.

The classic cars that were being showcased by local owners were fantastic. Very well kept and the pride and joy of all who owned them. Although this was the first time they have ever introduced vendors at this event, either the vendor showcase was not advertised well or it just was not the venue for artistic vendors. As I said, we had VERY FEW people even approach our tent. In fact, some almost seemed to walk around it as if I was going to reach out and grab them and drag them in. As well, for the two hours we were there we also did not hear any mention of the vendors from the DJ.

So, all in all, it was a learning experience. We (my husband and I) still had a great time since it gives us an opportunity to spend time together. For those who own classic cars and put alot of time and sweat into their upkeep do not want their cars exposed to the elements (makes sense I guess). So, we knew if it started to rain the event would be over. And sure enough once the rain started just about every car and person cleared the area within minutes. So maybe the rain was a blessing in disguise…