Perles le Bonbon Necklace with Swarovski Crystal Pearls

PerleTitle copy

In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.  ~Coco Chanel 

Coco Chanel was a champion of affordable fashion and a pioneer when it came to costume jewelry.  She believed that jewelry was meant to adorn women, not to show off their wealth.  She worked endlessly to provide women with accessible fashion and was never without a strand or two of pearls. Inspired by the quote above, I set out to create a necklace that would make Coco proud!

After my last post, I wanted to try a more classic take on the new pastel crystal pearls by Swarovski and you just can’t go wrong with a classic string of pearls.  This elegant necklace pushes the envelope on the classics with a little something extra.  With a soft, velvety finish these pearls will look equally stunning with a cocktail dress or a t-shirt and pair of jeans.  Keep reading to find a full tutorial as well as product lists for the Moroccan Mint and Pink Lemonade Sorbet versions of the necklace.

26pc – Pastel Green (or Yellow) Swarovski Crystal Pearls
31pc – Pastel Grey (or Pink) Swarovski Crystal Pearls
2pc – TierraCast Bead Aligners (TC5720-RP)
1pc – Swarovski BeCharmed Midnight Skyline (or Vintage Rose Fuchsia Flower)
1pc – TierraCast Oval Toggle Clasp (TC6091-AR)
2pc – Crimp Beads (TC0030-BS)
2pc – Crimp Covers (TC0032-BS)
24in – SoftFlex Beading Wire (14SF212-10)

1) Pull about 24 inches of beading wire off the spool.  String 18pc pastel green pearls onto the wire. (Image 1)
2) String one bead aligner, one BeCharmed bead, and a second bead aligner.  Be sure to position the bead aligners to that the post is inserted into the hole of the BeCharmed bead. (Image 2)
3) String 31pc pastel grey pearls onto the beading wire.  (Image 3)
4) String 4pc pastel green pearls. (Image 4)
5) String on a crimp bead, pass the wire through the loop on the bar part of the clasp and back through the crimp bead, creating a loop.  Close crimp using a pair of crimp pliers to secure.  (Images 5-7)
6) Place a crimp cover over your secured crimp bead pinch to close. (Image 8-9)
7) Repeat steps 5 & 6 with the loop end of the clasp to complete the necklace. Finished necklace measures 19 inches.

Moroccan Mint Supply List: HERE

Pink Lemonade Sorbet Supply List: HERE


This project is easily created in under 30 minutes and with a price tag of under $50, it won’t break the bank.   Even better for your budget, get them ON SALE NOW.  Celebrating the first day of spring, today through March 25th, nearly everything on our website is on sale! Save 20-30% on your favorite brands like TierraCast, Swarovski Crystals, SoftFlex, Amoracast, Vintaj, and many, many more!

This inspiring take on the classic pearl necklace is the perfect complement to a spring outfit.  Whether you want to express yourself in the floral, feminine tones of Pink Lemonade Sorbet or if you prefer the understated elegance of Moroccan Mint, these pearls will help you enter spring in style.  And that’s something Coco Chanel herself would approve of!


Leather Charm Bracelet with NEW Swarovski Pearls


Little Bunny Foo Foo,
hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice
and bopping them on the head.

Along came the Good Fairy, and she said,
“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don’t want to see you,
Scooping up the field mice
and bopping them on the head.
I’ll give you three chances,
and if you don’t behave,
I’ll turn you into a Goon!” 

The inspiration for this bracelet came from, you guessed it, a popular children’s rhyme.  Swarovski recently launched their Innovations for Spring/Summer 2016.  My favorite part of the launch are the yummy candy-colored crystal pearls.  In velvety pastel shades, they evoke childhood memories of Easter egg hunts and toothache-inducing sweets.  I paired up the crystal pearls with some pearly leather cord and TierraCast components for a festive piece of spring jewelry.

3pc each – 6mm Swarovski Crystal Pearls (6CR601-P, 6CR621-P, 6CR671-P, 6CR681-P, 6CR691-P)
2pc each – 8mm Swarovski Crystal Pearls (8CR601-P, 8CR621-P, 8CR671-P, 8CR681-P, 8CR691-P)
10pc – TierraCast Bunny Bead
15pc – TierraCast Twisted Ring
6pc - TierraCast Clover Charm
5pc – Peruvian Ceramic Mouse Bead
2pc – TierraCast Taj Cord End
1pc – TierraCast Toggle Clasp
1mm Pearl Leather Cord
5mm Jump Rings
7mm Jump Rings
Ball Head Pin
E-6000 Adhesive
Scrap wire

1) Stack each of the 15 pearls and 10 bunny beads on head pins and make wrapped loops. Set aside. (Images 1-4)  Note: I didn’t add the ceramic mouse beads until after the bracelet was completed, so they are stacked on a head pin and attached to the leather with jump rings.  Instead, make beaded dangles with the rest of the beads in step 1.  The hole size on the ceramic beads is a little larger than the head pin, so you will need to place a small bead or spacer before stringing the mouse bead.
2) Connect 5mm jump rings to the clover charms.  Set aside. (Image 5)
3) Cut 20 pieces of leather, 12 inches each.  Randomly knot and add beads/charms to each of the strands until you have used them all. (Images 6-9)
4) Arrange the strands until you are satisfied with the placement of the beads.  (Image 10)
5) Using a piece of scrap wire, secure the ends of the leather and trim the cord so it is all the same length. (Image 11)
6) Fill the cord end with glue and place a little bit of glue on the end of the cord.  Allow it to become slightly tacky and place the cap on the cord.  Repeat on the opposite side of the bracelet.  Remove the scrap wire and set aside.  (Image 12) Note: I tried to use Super New Glue to secure the cord to the end of the bracelet because it had been recommended to me and I super new glued my fingers together.  I think I’ll stick to E-6000 as my adhesive of choice.
7) Attach a 7mm jump ring to the loop in the cord end and connect it to a twisted ring spacer.  Connect a second jump ring and attach the loop end of the clasp. (Image 13-14)
8) Repeat on the opposite side of the bracelet, adding extra jump rings and spacers as needed for length.




The result is a finished piece that resembles a charm bracelet ready with a fun new twist.   Wear it with your Easter best or just because for a fun, festive pop of color to your favorite spring outfit.  If you visit our website you can find these and all the rest of Swarovski’s latest product launch.  Also, from now until March 10th you can save 20-30% on nearly everything on our website! From TierraCast’s new You Collection to all the gorgeous gemstones recently added, you can save big now!  Spring forward with the latest styles to suit your creative needs!


2015 Oscar Jewelry

The 87th Annual Academy Awards was Sunday , February 22nd, and the celebrities were out in force.  This year, statement necklaces reigned supreme on the red carpet!  I have to say, this was the best year for Oscar fashion in a really long time.  Here are some photos of my favorite jewelry looks of the night.  Let me tell you, there were some show stoppers!!!

Viola Davis showed off her shoulders in a Zac Posen gown that was little too bridal looking for my tastes.  And while I wouldn’t have chosen this style of necklace for this dress, the jewelry itself, a pearl and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, is absolutely stunning.  This necklace also looks like it would be a fun DIY project as well.

Behati Prinsloo, model and wife of Adam Levine, paired her red and black gown with a darkly elegant jeweled necklace from Swiss jeweler, de Grisogono.  The large pave beaded necklace was a departure from the colorful and sparkly jewelry normally worn on the red carpet but it is beautiful none the less.

Past Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer wore a Tadashi Soji gown in the most lovely minty green shade.  Her diamond encrusted Lorraine Schwartz earrings matched her gown perfectly.  I love that she skipped the necklace because it really showcased her incredible earrings!

Contrary to popular believe, Scarlet Johnasson’s stunning Swarovski-encrusted necklace is actually part of her curve hugging Atelier Versace gown.  The new mom looked fantastic and the necklace was an absolute show stopper.  Can you believe she had a baby 6 months ago? She looks incredible!

America Ferrera wore an ethereal green ombre Jenny Packham gown.  She accessorized her look with a stunning pair of turquoise Irene Neuwirth earrings.  While I loved both her dress and her earrings, I’m not crazy about them paired together.  The colors seem to clash and distracted from her overall look.  Looking at the picture above however, you can see how lovely the turquoise earrings are with her skin tone.  Update: A commenter informed me that America’s earrings are actually black opal.  Knowing that, I’m sure that the earrings complimented the dress much better than I first assumed.  Opal’s fiery quality allows it to sparkle and change with movement.  

Country singer Faith Hill wore a long, boho-chic diamond encrusted Lorraine Schwartz necklace with her J. Mendel gown. It’s a lovely piece of jewelry but it blends in to her gown.  I tried to find a better picture that showcased the necklace, and this was the best I could come up with.  I think this necklace would be fun to recreate with a large sparkly pendant and a long strand of knotted keshi pearls.

Former Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson wore a sunny yellow column gown by Romona Keveza and a ginormous pair of emerald earrings.  I love that she kept her other accessories simple and let her earrings shine.

We saw a lot of simple diamond chokers on the red carpet this year but my favorite was Carmen Ejogo’s stunning Chopard necklace.  I love the way she styled her sequined Houghton gown and like that she didn’t wear earrings.  The whole look felt very flapper-esque with her pin curled bob and dark lips.

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the fabulousness that is Cate Blanchett’s 2015 Tiffany Blue Book necklace.  This is what makes her a style icon, folks.  She is able to take what would be a boring red carpet look, a simple black Margiela dress by John Galliano, and make it look like utter perfection.  I’m not crazy about the fuzzy looking armpits, but let’s be honest… I’m only looking at her necklace.  Can you tell I absolutely love it?  Because I absolutely love it.

My love for Cate’s necklace pales in comparison to the Van Cleef and Arpels necklace worn by Margot Robbie.  Worth 1.5 million dollars, this necklace, which features a fully functional 18k gold zipper, has a pretty epic back story to boot.  Created in the 1930′s for the Duchess of Windor, this diamond and sapphire piece also converts into a fabulous cuff bracelet too!  Read more about this amazing story on the InStyle site HERE.

I couldn’t do an Oscar jewelry  post without talking about Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o's incredible pearl dress.  Speaking of epic backstories, this custom Calvin Klein Collection gown has one that won’t disappoint!  The one of a kind dress was made using over 6,000 Akoya pearls and was reportedly worth $150,000.  After the awards show the dress was stolen from the actress’s unlocked hotel room.  Later in the week, the dress was returned by the thief with claims that the dress was worthless because the pearls were fake!  Fake or not, the dress is beautiful and she looked stunning.  Lupita’s dress has certainly been one of the most talked about gowns from the 2015 Oscars.

Who do you think wore the best Oscar jewelry on the red carpet this year?  Will you be DIY-ing any of the designer looks?  I know I will recreating a piece or two on the blog so keep an eye out!


Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Introducing: Amoracast!

Amoracast is just the latest new product to come through our doors at Shipwreck Beads.  Designer quality Amoracast charms and components are beautiful and affordable.  Always made with 92.5% sterling silver, these components are high quality, well made and exceptionally designed.  They only contract with factories that meet international standards for trade practices with regard to safe working conditions, equitable pay, and which never use child labour of any kind.  Not only does Amoracast create incredible products but they are conscious of their business practices as well.

As soon as I saw these beautiful, delicate designs, I knew I wanted to play with them.  They are so well made, you can just connect a pendant to chain and have a nice piece of jewelry.  While many of the things I design for the blog are big, statement pieces, I tend to wear delicate, simple jewelry most often so this line is right up my alley.  They are also extremely affordable so it won’t break the bank to pick up a few pieces.

Silk Orbit Necklace: Product List HERE (Silk fairy ribbon not yet available online, call 1-800-950-4232 to order, item #90RN109)

Pebble Beach Earrings: Product List HERE

Peacock Simplicity: Product List HERE

Ice Phoenix Necklace: Product List HERE

Fire Wing Necklace: Product List HERE
Elixir of Life Necklace: Product List HERE

Foxy Garden Bracelet: Product List HERE

Sunshine Garden Earrings: Product List HERE

Faerie Whispers Hand Chain:Product List HERE

Saltwater Daydream Charm Bracelet: Product List HERE

It’s easy to go bigger when creating and sometimes I find it hard to create simple, delicate pieces.  Working with these Amoracast components was a bit challenging but still a lot of fun.  Inspiration comes quite easily with such wonderfully made pieces.  Most of these pieces are pretty simple to create using basic beading techniques, but feel free to comment if you have any questions on how to make any of the items pictured here.

Be sure to visit our website and take a look at all Amoracast has to offer.  I hope you are as inspired by these components as I am!


Turquoise Lotus Flower Multi-Strand Bracelet

TierraCast has done it again with the debut of their new “You Collection.”  Consisting of  focal pieces, slides, charms and beautiful lobster claw clasps, the new line is so very usable and inspiring.  I especially love the alphabet and symbol charms.  With a large-hole bail, it will fit on your favorite cord or chain and they are situated in a way that a jump ring isn’t necessary.

I wanted to use the new TierraCast pieces with some of the new stones that have come in from Tucson.    Maybe it’s because it happens to be my birthstone, but I have always been drawn to turquoise.  I wanted to pair the creamy blue tones of the turquoise with copper components and the lotus flower charm seemed like a nice “zen” touch.

1st –  Sm Turquoise Chips
1st – Lg Turquoise Chips
1st –  Oval Turquoise
1pc - 3 Hole D-ring Clasp
6pc – Crimp Beads
30pc – 4mm Jump Ring
2pc – 6mm Jump Ring
5pc – Copper Charm Blank
6pc – Copper Lotus Flower Charm
10pc – Sm Copper Nugget Spacer
12pc – Lg Copper Nugget Spacer

1) Trim 12 inches of beading wire and string beads in this order: oval bead, lotus charm, oval bead, blank charm.  Repeat until you have strung all 11 charms and 12 oval beads. Set aside.  (Images 1-2)
2) Trim 12 inches of beading wire and string beads in this order: 5 small chips, 1 small spacer.  Repeat this pattern until you have used all 10 spacers or have beaded about 6.5 inches.  Because the chips are not a uniform size, you may need more or less beads to complete the length needed. Set aside. (Image 3)
3) Trim a 12 inch piece of beading wire and string beads in this order: 1 large chip, 1 large spacer, 3 large chips, 1 spacer, 1 chip, 1 spacer, 3 chips.  Repeat the pattern until you have used 12 spacers or have beaded about 6.5 inches.  (Image 4)
4) String on a crimp bead and connect the strand to one half of the clasp.  Repeat on the opposite side with the remaining half of the clasp. Connect each of the three beaded pieces.  I connected the lotus charm strand to the outside hole of the clasp.  (Images 5-9)
5) Instead of using a crimp cover to hide my crimp bead, I used 5 jump rings on each strand.  It gives the piece a wire wrapped look when complete.  Do this for each crimp bead used. (Images 10-11)
6) Using 2 of the larger jump rings, connect the toggle part of the clasp to one of the d-rings and your bracelet is ready to wear!

I really like the effect that is achieved when jump rings are used to cover the crimp bead instead of a traditional crimp cover.  It’s little details like this that can send your jewelry from amateur to professional looking in no time flat.  Turquoise-Square
I love a good bracelet and tend to layer them on in stacks.  By using a multi-strand clasp, you can create the look of stacked bracelets by only wearing one piece.  Turquoise is an extremely wearable and is said to provide protection from negativity and can help the wearer live life with more joy and happiness.  I don’t know if that is true, but this bracelet certainly makes me happy!

Check out the TierraCast’s NEW “You Collection” on our website NOW!


Mayan Horizon Wire-wrapped Vintaj Hoop Earrings

This week, our buyers have made their way down to Tucson, Arizona for the Bead & Gem show to pick up some amazing new goodies for the store.  If you are a fan of ours on Facebook, there is no doubt that you have been drooling over the pictures they have posted from on the road.  For those who have been following the blog for a while, you probably remember my series of Tucson Treasures (Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, & Six) featuring the yummy gemstone beads and pendants they brought back last year.

I thought that for this blog post, I would re-visit some old favorites from Tucson last year.  And good news! They are on sale until the 12th!  I love these little plated pyrite beads (see how I used them before HERE) and the Vintaj hoops have been just hanging out in my office waiting for inspiration to strike.  Actually, I’ll be honest; I was cleaning my workspace and happened upon these items and thought they would look great together.  So that’s really how these earrings came to be.  It just happened to work in my favor that the timing with our annual Tucson trip is prefect!

I combined simple wire wrapping and random bead stringing to make these old-world inspired hoop earrings.  Measuring nearly 2.5 inches across, these earrings are quite the statement piece.  They remind me of ancient ruins with equal parts aged and regal.  A timeless style that is ever-present, even in today’s South West culture.

2pc – Vintaj Brass Hoops
2pc – 6mm copper jump ring
1pr – Copper ear wires
150-200pc – Plated pyrite beads, asst. colors
26 Gauge copper wire

1) Cut about 20 inches of 26 gauge copper wire and wrap several times around the bottom of the brass hoop.  String on about 8 beads and anchor the wire to the opposite side of the hoop by wrapping it several times.  (Images 1-3)
2) Continue adding beads and wrapping the wire until you have completed 6 rows of beads.  (Images 4-6)
3) Trim the end of the wire and tuck the ends in so they will not snag. (Image 7)
4) Insert a jump ring into the holes on the ends of the hoop and add an ear wire to complete the earring.  (Images 8-9)
5) Repeat all steps to complete the pair!




Right now, you can save up to 20% on over 4,800 new items from 2014, including these colorful pyrite beads.  Be sure to keep an eye out on the blog and on our Facebook page over the next couple weeks.  We will be sharing all of the wonderful new items from this years Tucson Bead & Gem show!


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