Sunday, March 27, 2011

Preciosa Crystals

Nancy is one of the newest Red Panda customers.  She was having computer issues and was not able to get on my site, so she called me and placed her first order over the phone.  

We had a nice conversation and talked about our bead projects and preferences.  She asked if I could carry Preciosa 4mm Bicone Crystals.  She was having a hard time finding them.  I did some research and found a source for 135 colors.  Preciosa Crystals are from the Czech Republic and are considerably cheaper than Swarovski Crystals.  So far I've only added the four colors that Nancy wanted.  One of these colors is Aquamarine.  Since that is also my birthstone, and I wanted to work with the crystals to see how I liked them in comparison to Swarovski, I decided to make a bracelet using the Aquamarine crystals. 

I wanted to make the bracelet using crystals only, so I searched online and found instructions to do a Right-Angle Weave Crystal Bracelet by Katherine Kelly, an eHow Contributor.

This was my first attempt at RAW - I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

I chose to use a new product in the Red Panda store to string the bracelet.  Spiderwire has patented translucency technology that makes this line the nearest thing to clear and is invisible.  Since the crystals are so light, I did not want any thread to show through.  Also, Spiderwire is stronger, smoother and much more durable than other braided line, while still amazingly thin!  It is excellent for use with sharp edged beads which would normally damage other types of stringing material.  The bracelet is incredibly fluid having used the Spiderwire.  

I chose one of the newer Anti-Tarnish Clasps in the Red Panda store too.  I love the simple elegance to this hook and eye clasp.

I modified the clasp attachment a little, by choosing to use "french wire" to cover the Spiderwire when I attached the clasp.

French Wire protects the line as it wraps around the end of the clasp.  It also gives a much nicer finish to the clasp.

I also used my Thread Zap to do away with the extra ends after tying the knots - and since it melted the excess line, it helps to seal the knots.

Here is the finished bracelet.

Since I started out with a gross (144) of these crystals, I had plenty left over to make some earrings to match.

I used these 18mm Gold Filled Ear Wires to make the earrings.

I also took head pins and trimmed them to various lengths to get the desired effect.

Here you can see the earrings next to the hook end of the clasp of the bracelet.

The whole project took less than two hours and I'm very pleased with my new bracelet and earrings!  I am also very satisfied with the Preciosa Crystals and plan to start adding them to the Red Panda Beads inventory.

Happy Beading!