About Our Jewelry Designs

Beads are fascinating. They can help to create wonderful wearable collectable art. Beads come in a large variety of shapes and colors from many different parts of the world. Some examples of glass beads are Czech Republic faceted beads, American furnace beads and Venetian millefiore beads. And of course, Austrian crystal glass beads and pearls made by the famous Swarovski company. Ceramic beads come from places like Peru, India and Greece. They come in different shapes and have delicate painted designs. Semi-precious beads have been worn for their beauty and used for trading throughout our history. Turquoise, lapis lazuli, malachite, and many more. Organic beads made from pearls, wood, shell, bone, nuts and seeds are the oldest beads around. Beaded jewellery is one of the oldest forms of wearable art.

Since the beginning of mankind, our basic human instincts have prompted us to decorate the human body. Primitive man adorned himself with bones, teeth and feathers. The earliest known jewellery of beads made from teeth and bones was discovered at La Quina in France. In the Middle Ages brooches were worn depecting pilgrimages with the faces of saints or a holy shrine. In the 11th century Venice was the centre for the making of glass and jewellery and the elegant Venetian designs influenced the other parts of Europe. European jewellery made from precious and semi-precious materials was worn by Royal families and their courtiers. The 17th century saw a transition from excessive jewellery wearing to a more subtle sophisticated taste. The 18th century brought in an era of glittering costume jewellery which is still present today. In the 20th century the fashion designer was born. These designers often used non-precious materials to create works of art that were inspired not by fashion trends but by personal artistic ability. In this category of artistic jewellers is the famous Coco Chanel who in the 1920s and 1930s encouraged women to wear costume jewellery with confidence and pride. By the 1950s Christian Dior dominated the fashion jewellery scene with his radical use of coloured glass. By the 1960s Paco Rabanne brought in a new look with big brightly coloured geometirc shapes. During the 1970s fashion and fashion jewellery became nostalgic with an interest in things ethnic and remains so to today.

About Our Jewellery Designs

Beading is an art form. At Blithe Designs the design of the piece is of far greater value than the cost of the materials although care is taken to ensure that the beading materials used are of high quality and will bring the wearer years of enjoyment. A beautifully made piece brings achievement and satisfaction and invites reactive comments and appreciation. Blithe’s collection of carefree and relaxed unique handmade jewellery is inspired by the colours of the ocean, scenes in nature, all things Victorian and the moods of people around. The use of Swarovski crystals which are used abundantly throughout the collection create a dazzle somewhat reminiscent of a starry night on the open sea and gives the collection a distinctive style.

The design, colour and pattern of each individually designed one of a kind piece in the collection is carefully thought out. Blithe’s unique handmade jewellery of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and jewellery sets made from gemstones such as aquamarine, amazonite, citrine, jasper, blue calcite, jade, lapis lazuli, Swarovski crystals and pearls, Venetian glass, and more can be worn with a relaxed elegance from day to night.

We hope you enjoy shopping the collection of unique wearable art and that you will treasure your selection for many years.

Beading and Jewelry Making

I love working with beads. It’s meditative and relaxing and gives me creative satisfaction. Beading materials can be bought from specialist suppliers in stores and from shops on the internet. You can also shop by catalogue. For me, one of the best ways to buy beads is on the internet as you can really take your time shopping around at any time of day or night from the comfort of your home, plus it’s fun receiving packages. Of course, I also enjoy shopping for beads and supplies in stores where I can go through trays of treasure picking them up by the handful and imagining what I could make. When I travel I always keep an eye out for special beads and jewellery to add to my collection. I love having a well stocked supply of beads, it gives me creative freedom.

I think that it’s important to have a workspace specially designated for my projects. My beading table is very large and I’ve placed it under a window where there’s lots of light and a wonderful view. It’s good to invest in a bead design board but I’ve found that I like to string beads at random, although I do colour group my beads for accessibility. I can be focused on an idea and suddenly I would remember, seemingly from nowhere, a bead I once saw, and that bead would become the focus of my attention drawing the whole idea together. It’s fascinating to see how a piece develops. The right bead combination could really make a statement. I like to keep some of my finished pieces around my beading area as they inspire me, but nothing inspires me more than when I see my handcrafted jewellery worn by someone else. It brings such pleasure to know that someone enjoys it as every piece I make is special to me.

It’s important to have good quality stringing materials as it’s upsetting to have your jewelry stretch and sag and fall apart. I always use beading wire with brand names such as Accuflex and Beadalon. I also use natural fiber cords and sterling silver wire.

Handmade beaded jewellery can be made from many things. Some of my favourite beads are glass and crystal beads. India glass beads are made of molten glass and although machine made they look handmade. Lampworked beads are handmade created with hot glass. Czech glass fire-polished beads are hand or machine-faceted. I often find myself leaning towards Swarovski crystals. Their precision cut facets and brilliant sparkle are simply alluring. I also keep a good stock of natural stone and gemstone beads on hand.

When selecting a piece of handmade jewellery, think about where you will wear it. Would the length of this necklace be perfect for the occasion, will it work for me from day to night, or is this bracelette too dressy for work? And these earrings, are they overpowering my look? I like to design casual yet elegant styles, versatile flapper-style necklaces, opera necklaces that are long enough to slide easily over the head, pretty bib and matinee length necklaces, single strand bracelettes that can be paired up as well as multi-strands that can be worn anywhere. Earrings that are simple and easy to wear. The main thing is to wear something that pleases you and that you will enjoy for many years.

Daily Gemstone Guide

Amber Sunday

The dominating celestial body for Sunday is the Sun which is the brightest star in the sky. The gemstone Amber is our choice for this day. Like the Sun the colour of Amber generates a sense of strength and energy. Try wearing an Amber necklace or bracelet or even an Amber pendant or pair of Amber earrings on this day.

Moonstone Monday

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The only natural satellite of Earth is the Moon. We can sometimes feel it´s effects on our moods as it moves through its four phases. Pearls and of course Moonstone are the recommended gemstones for Mondays. Happily, Pearls and Moonstone come in different colors so your choices of necklaces, bracelets and earrings are quite varied. Moonstone is said to be the mystical birthstone for the month of June, so if it´s Monday and your birthday is in June then we wish double luck to you.

Coral Tuesday

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The planet Mars is sometimes referred to as the Red Planet. Garnets and Coral are our choices for this day. Garnet is a naturally occurring gemstone and Coral is an organic gemstone. Garnets and Swarovski crystals go really well together in jewelery pieces. Try wearing a Coral necklace or Coral and Garnet double bracelet for an exotic look.

Turquoise Wednesday

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Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. This planet is often mentioned in Roman and Greek mythology. Lapis Lazuli and Turquoise are our choices for this day. Try adding a Turquoise necklace or dark blue Lapis Lazuli bracelet to your collection today.

Amethyst Thursday

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Beautiful Jupiter is the largest planet around the Sun. We recommend the quartz Amethyst for this day. Amethyst is sometimes given as gifts for the 6th anniversary. If it´s Thursday and it´s your anniversary maybe you will treat yourself to a lovely amethyst necklace, bracelet or ring.

Malachite Friday

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Venus often known as the goddess of Beauty and Love is the second planet from the Sun. Try this beautifully colored green gemstone on Fridays. Green Malachite pairs really well with white Swarovski pearls in a necklace or bracelet.

Rose Quartz Saturday

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Saturn is the second largest planet of the Sun. Rose Quartz and Opal are our recommendations for today. Opals are the mystical birthstone for the month of April so go ahead and treat yourself to that special Opal necklace or a dainty pair of Rose Quartz earrings. You deserve it!

Classic Necklace Lengths

The length of a handmade beaded necklace is a personal choice and handmade necklaces are of varying lengths and styles. Here are some popular traditional necklace lengths but remember a necklace should be chosen to compliment the wearer's style.

Bib Necklaces
Bib necklaces are multi-strand necklaces that fit just below the neckline in a tearing effect with the uppermost strand being the shortest.

Choker Necklaces – 15-16 inches
Choker necklaces are necklaces that fit snugly around the middle of the neck. A handmade beaded choker necklace is a perfect complement for off-the-shoulder styles and low neck tops and dresses.

Lariats – 48 inches
Classic lariat necklaces do not have clasps and slide on over the head. These necklaces are long and can be worn knotted or wrapped. A fashionable handmade lariat necklace is a must have accessory.

Matinee Necklaces – 20-24 inches
Matinee Necklaces fall mid-chest. A handmade beaded Matinee necklace looks great with casual or business dress.

Opera Necklaces - 28-34 inches
Opera necklaces are long and can be worn as a single or double strand necklace. A handmade beaded opera necklace is a perfect complement for high neck fashions.

Princess Necklaces – 18 inches
Princess Necklaces fall just below the collar bone. A handmade beaded Princess Necklace is very versatile and looks good with both high and low neck line fashions.

A Bit About Beads

Beads are fascinating. They can help to create wonderful wearable collectable art. Handmade beaded jewellery come in a large variety of fashionable designs featuring beads from many different parts of the world. Some examples of glass beads are Czech Republic faceted beads, American furnace beads and Venetian millefiore beads. And of course, Austrian crystal glass beads and pearls made by the famous Swarovski company. Handmade ceramic beads come from places like Peru, India and Greece. They come in different shapes and have delicate painted designs.  Handmade beaded jewellery have been worn for their beauty and used for trading throughout our history.  Some examples of gemstone beads that are used in handmade beaded jewellery making are agate, amethyst, aquamarine, coral, turquoise, iolite, jade, jasper, jet, labordite, marble, moonstone, peridot, ruby, sapphire, topaz, quartz, amber, lapis lazuli, malachite, tourmaline, tanzanite, and many more. Organic handmade beaded jewellery made from pearls, wood, shell, bone, nuts and seeds are the oldest beads around. Handmade beaded jewellery is one of the oldest forms of wearable art.

   

Since the beginning of mankind, our basic human instincts have prompted us to decorate the human body. Primitive man adorned himself with bones, teeth and feathers. The earliest known handmade beaded jewellery made from teeth and bones was discovered at La Quina in France. In the Middle Ages brooches were worn depicting pilgrimages with the faces of saints or a holy shrine. In the 11th century Venice was the centre for the making of glass and jewellery and the elegant Venetian designs influenced other parts of Europe. European jewellery made from precious and semi-precious materials was worn by Royal families and their courtiers. The 17th century saw a transition from excessive jewellery wearing to a more subtle sophisticated taste. The 18th century brought in an era of glittering costume jewellery which is still present today.

In the 20th century the fashion designer was born. These designers often used non-precious materials to create works of art that were inspired not by fashion trends but by personal artistic ability.  In this category of artistic jewellers is the famous Coco Chanel who in the 1920s and 1930s encouraged women to wear costume jewellery with confidence and pride. By the 1950s Christian Dior dominated the fashion jewellery scene with his radical use of coloured glass. By the 1960s Paco Rabanne brought in a new look with big brightly coloured geometirc shapes. During the 1970s fashion and handmade beaded jewellery became nostalgic with an interest in things ethnic and remains so to today.

Below you will find a bit about some of the beads that are known to us which we hope you will enjoy reading.

 

                 
 Bone beads are handmade and can be dyed any colour and carved into interesting shapes and designs. They usually come from Indonesia and the Phillipines.
   
CeramicBeads.jpg Ceramic beads are handmade from clay and come in many different shapes and colours. If left natural they have a matte brown finish. Some sources of ceramic beads are Peru, Kenya and Greece.
   
CzechGlassBeads.jpg Czech pressed-glass beads are colourful beads that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from rounds, squares and ovals to leaves, flowers and animals. In the mid-nineteenth century the former Czechoslovakia was the largest manufacturer of glass beads.
   

Kashmiri beads.jpg

Kashmiri clay beads are handmade Indian beads decorated with different metals, glass, sequins and small brass components. Because Kashmiri beads are handmade each bead is a work of art. Kashmiri beads are used in the making of beaded necklaces and bracelettes.
   
Magatamas.jpg Magatamas are little glass teardrop-shaped beads.
   
Millefiori beads are handmade from glass canes fused together and cut into cross sections. Venetian millefiore beads were made during the nineteenth century but some date back earlier. These collectible beads come in lovely shapes and colours with interesting patterns of flowers and other scenes.
   
PolymerClayBeads.jpg Polymer clay beads are colourful handmade beads made from plasticine which is a synthetic material.
   
Shell beads are often used in handcrafted one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry to give necklaces, bracelets and earrings an ethnic look.
Venetian beads.jpg Venetian glass foil beads often have a central layer of glass wrapped in silver, gold or platinum. They are handmade in Venice. A mixture of metal is added to the glass to give it its sparkle.