Things are gonna get colorful!
My newest tutorial is my Imperial Palace necklace. It was inspired by the colors and materials of China, including a lot of jade and carved coral beads. The red and green contrast each other, making the hues "pop". Blue was added for good measure, keeping the look very jewel-tone. Using the natural coral beads gave interesting texture and line variation within the necklace.
I went for an old-meets-new vibe with the traditional carved coral drops and jade against the modern clear glass beads. The mix of transparent, sparkly and opaque give the look more dimension.
For my Imperial Palace necklace, I am using entirely materials from Beadmixer. Beadmixer is a bead and supply company based out of the Netherlands. They have a huge selection of beads such as gemstone, glass, porcelain, acrylic, metal and pearls. Beadmixer has a lot of vintage-inspired materials that work well in both jewelry and mixed media.
However, my favorite of theirs is definitely their vintage rhinestones and chatons.
I never could find a good place to buy rhinestones and rhinestone settings: I had tried Etsy and such but they were very expensive. Also, the quality was not that great. However, when I received these, I was stunned. They were all perfectly cut, heavy glass, foil-backed and insanely sparkly.
I also got cool coral dagger beads, green jade rounds, carved coral focal beads and howlite rounds.
I just love the large selection of gemstone and natural beads that Beadmixer has. These are materials I don't usually work with but love, so I chose to feature them in this design.
Also, they have beautiful porcelain beads that I am kind of obsessed with. I didn't feature them in this design, but check back soon for a tutorial using those.
Be sure to check out the Beadmixer site, ESPECIALLY if you love to use vintage rhinestones.
You can also connect with Beadmixer through their:
I also made a pair of matching drop earrings from the coral focal beads and jade. These are easy to make; simply do a wrapped loop on either side of the jade bead. Place the coral on a headpin and make a wrapped loop to finish, catching the loop from the jade piece into it. Then, string it onto large kidney ear wires.
But let's start the tutorial already!
YOU WILL NEED:
8mm jade gemstone rounds
8mm blue glass rounds
Vintage rhinestones (explained below)
Waxed cotton cord, white
Coral carved drop beads (3 if making earrings)
Gold cable chain
4mm howlite red rounds
Small natural coral beads
Beading wire, crimps
Step 1: Get your rhinestones in order. Place your rhinestone gently in the frame, and bend the prongs down onto the stone to hold it in place. I used flat nose pliers wrapped in masking tape so that it wouldn't scratch the glass if I accidentally slipped. The prongs should be flush to the stone, as you see in the picture. If they are flapping up, it will catch onto clothing and more, :((
I bought different sizes: a focal stone at 25X18mm, 5 medium ones 18X13mm at and 6 little ones at 10X6mm. I chose all ruby red ones because I love red and gold.
The round blue and white ones you see were glued into their settings. I chose not to use them in this tutorial, but will post an upcoming tutorial featuring them---stay tuned!!
Step 2: Start beading.
Strand 1: I beaded on alternating red howlite beads and blue coral beads on beading wire, and finished off with jump rings on the ends. Don't add a clasp to the ends yet.
The strand was about 16.5" long.
Strand 2: I knotted on 39 8mm blue glass beads to waxed cotton cord (white). I then placed my rhinestones evenly between every three beads (attach to a jumpring, then attach the jumpring to the string/knotted part between the bead). Make sure there is a gemstone right in the center of the strand. I left 4 beads empty at the end as you can see in the picture.
This strand was about 14" long.
Strand 3: I knotted 54 8mm green jade beads onto waxed cotton cord. I grouped the 10 center beads together by tying a small piece of cotton between them, right where you see the arrow. I placed my biggest rhinestone in the center, and it fit snugly so that the beads "framed" the rhinestone. I added a coral drop (make a wrapped loop on a headpin) in-between the fifth and sixth bead in the frame.
I attached the top loop of the rhinestone to the tied string with a jumpring to secure it in place.
I added a bead of glue around the edge of the rhinestone frame and adhered the beads to it, so that the frame didn't pop out of place.
To finish, get a gold toggle clasp. Add jump rings between the last two beads of your knotted strands and attach them to the toggle with chain and more jump rings. I had to add some chain to play with the length of each strand, and make sure they laid nicely. As you can see, I added a little more chain to the coral/howlite strand so it ended up being a little longer, and laying nicer. You may have to play with these lengths yourself depending on how big you want your necklace, and your bead sizes.
Everything should lay nicely. Just play around with the lengths until find something that works!
Feel free to use other gemstones or colors for this design.
I hope you like it! Any questions, or if you noticed I missed something, just leave in the comments section. Half the time I don't even know what I wrote by the time I'm done!!
Also, be sure to like Beadmixer on Facebook!
All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post/use images without crediting me and linking to me!