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Glass Beads, Gemstone Beads, Jewelry Beads, baltimore, maryland, virginia, va, md, dc

The Earring Style Book

Review by Dawn Pietrusko 

The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Less

40 Designs for Any Occasion by Stephanie A. Wells


If you're looking to take your wire-working skills to a new level, you'll find The Earring Style Book incredibly inspiring.StephanieWells' enthusiasm for jewelry is contagious. Her approach to her work is very logical and well organized the fruit of more than a decade of development. The four styles that she divides the book into (Everyday Chic, Bohemian Beauty, Glamour Girl, and Rock and Roll) are her points of departure. Then the way she defines each style makes it easy for the reader to picture the type of person who would wear these earrings and the fun events she would wear them to. The author's genius is her ability to create timeless yet trendy pieces.  

Although this book focuses only on earrings, it doesn't feel limited. And while it's designed for someone who is comfortable working with wire, it's nonetheless useful for a beginner. The author made sure to start with the basics.  Her voice is very reassuring and empathetic. The first chapter is titled "Make Friends with Your Materials," but it is also packed with valuable advice. These pages are filled with exactly what you need to know to make the projects that follow. The most original part of this book is the section on earring techniques, in which Ms. Wells breaks down a few of her repeated steps. It may seem unusual to present all this information separate from the later projects, but I found this to be a confidence-building feature of her book. Once you understand how to make her earring frames you may not need to turn back to this section.  

The designs constitute the main part of the book. Enchanting names, such as "Casablanca" and "Rio," help conjure up "who and where" for each design. Practical information, such as the time it may take, the techniques used, the tools needed, and the materials are all neatly listed. To keep you going, there are tidbits of advice that apply to each project. Once you've worked through all 40 designs and are inspired to make your own, there is a section at the end for you as well. Here Ms. Wells has given her readers real words of wisdom--the most important and encouraging words being, "just start!"


Perfect Match: Earring designs for every occasion

By Sara Schwittek. 2008. North Light Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. 160 pages. $19.99. Reviewed by Emma Moore.

This book is a guide to everything earrings. Sara Schwittek organizes her creative earring designs into several sections, depending on when and where you would wear them, for example, on a weekend escape or for Sunday brunch with friends. She breaks each project into a step-by-step guide with pictures that are clear and easy to follow. She also tells you how long it should take to complete each project and how difficult it is.

Whatever your level of skill, you'll find this book useful. The photos of the step-by-step process are great for the beginning beader. Schwittek's interesting designs and out-of-the-box earrings will inspire the advanced beader to move beyond the basic dangle-earring mode. The book also has a section on the tools and supplies you need to make earrings. And good how-to sections not only cover basic techniques but show you how to make your own ear wires and hoops.



Creative Bead Weaving: A contemporary guide to classic off-loom stitches

by Carol Wilcox Wells. 1996. Sterling Publishing Co., New York. 144 pages. $18.95. Reviewed by Rene Block.

Creative Bead Weaving is a book that I’ve loved for years, and one that I keep returning to over and over again. It’s a treasure trove of bead weaving techniques, based on seven fundamental techniques and their many variations. The directions and illustrations are some of the best I’ve ever seen. That clarity is why I recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about learning to bead weave, especially if they are going to try to learn directly from a book. This is the book that I used to teach myself to bead weave when I was a teenager, and the one I still consult when I need to brush up on a technique.

In addition to giving detailed instructions for each of the techniques, Ms.Wells includes practice projects for each stitch so you have a chance to try out your new knowledge and create a wearable piece. It’s a verysatisfying way to practice your new skills. You'll also find lots of other useful information, such as explanations of materials and tips on combining stitches. And I continue to be inspired by photos of the marvelous work that other artists have created! If there’s one book that I think every bead weaver should have, this is it.



The Beading Answer Book

by Karen Morris. 2008. Storey Publishing, North Adams, Massachusetts. 431 pages. $14.95. Reviewed by Dawn Pietrusko.

One of the most vexing problems we have as beaders is that we don't have a handy resource to answer all our questions. It would be a dream come true to have someone “on call” to give us guidance during a late night beading session. And as a beading teacher, I've also found that I need to be armed with all sorts of information for my students. “The Beading Answer Book” by Karen Morris is a great resource to turn to for help with these issues. An experienced teacher herself, she understands that the world of beads can seem overwhelming, so much so that one may not even know where to start, and on the book's cover she reassuringly promises that inside you'll find "solutions to every problem you'll ever face" and "answers to every question you'll ever ask."

Beginners will be pleased to find that no subject is too elementary, too silly, or too profound. The author has chosen questions that her students have asked her over the years, and among the very first are: What does the word "beading" actually mean? Why do people make such a big deal about beads? and Why is beading irresistible? Morris answers probing questions like these in a brief and informative way, alternating with more comprehensive coverage of technical subjects, such as: the materials beads are made of; their myriad sizes, shapes, and finishes; the many types of findings and their uses; stringing materials and stringing methods; and other jewelry-making techniques, including wire-working, off-loom and on-loom bead weaving, and bead crocheting… seemingly ad infinitum.

The Q & A format makes this book very accessible. Morris truly starts at the beginning in Chapter 1 with basics about buying beads, tying knots, working with color, planning a design, and more. Then, always the friendly mentor, she advances in an easy-to-understand way through eleven more chapters densely packed with information covering 432 pages. This book never grows stale. I still find myself turning to it to refresh my previous knowledge and pick up new professional tips. I constantly recommend “The Beading Answer Book” to beaders of all levels. There are no step-by-step projects to be found within its pages, just a wealth of practical information. Morris has focused on what we really need in a companion book for our creative inspirations. With each new work we may decide to tackle, new questions will naturally follow. But never fear, there are over 300 answers in this compact little book, and it is just the right size to keep beside you at your beading table.



Chain Style: 50 contemporary jewelry designs

by Jane Dickerson. 2009. Interweave Press LLC., Loveland, Colorado. 127 pages. $19.95. Reviewed by Amber Lee.

Greetings, fellow beaders! I'm so pleased to be reviewing the book “Chain Style: 50 Contemporary Jewelry Designs,” by Jane Dickerson. I enjoy working with chain, and I was delighted when Beadazzled decided to carry this book. First, it was something new, and any new product generates excitement among the staff, including me. Second, I liked the necklace on the cover, and I thought this book had potential. I immediately started flipping through the pages, and was happy to find that I wasn't wrong. There were several projects that caught my eye right away, and now I often turn to this book for inspiration if I'm stuck in a creative rut. 

Beyond its imaginative and funky jewelry projects, this book is also very informative.  Dickerson does an excellent job of explaining the different types of chain and the tools and techniques involved in making chain jewelry. In fact, her detailed and easy- to-read instructions for basic wire working are one of the principal reasons I recommend this book to customers. Also, none of the projects in this book are terribly complicated, which makes it ideal for beginners looking to do something different. 

Bottom line, I like this book. It is well thought out, and its layout makes sense. I especially like that each project is accompanied by an artist's statement describing what inspired it. I find this adds a nice, personal touch.  And the designs, while simple in construction, are far from it in appearance.  This is a book that I enjoy and want to share with others, which makes it really easy to recommend to my customers and fellow beaders. And now that I'm inspired, I’ll go off and make some jewelry!




Glass Beads, Gemstone Beads, Jewelry Beads, baltimore, maryland, virginia, va, md, dcThe Illustrated Bead Bible: terms, tips & techniques
by Theresa Flores Geary, Ph.D. 2008. Sterling Publishing Co., New York. 406 pages. $29.95

This book is the closest thing we have to a dictionary of beads in print. It starts with an Introduction to the history of beads and a discussion of bead shapes. Three hundred pages of this hefty book are devoted to bead terms from A to Z. It's weighted somewhat towards seed beads and beadwork, but does cover a broad range of topics from beading cords, tools, and techniques to gemstones, organic beads, glass beads, and metal beads. The short entries are mostly well researched and written with a good balance of information presented for the average reader.

Towards the end of the book are about 20 pages of tips and techniques presented in a question and answer format along with tables and charts of bead shapes, sizes, finishes, gemstone treatments, birthstones and zodiac stones, metals, stringing materials and beadwork stitches.

The volume is weak in the areas of ancient and ethnographic beads and the photos generally portray the more commonly available and less visually exciting items and a lot of beadwork. A good bibliography and thorough index round out the volume. Printing in China helped keep the price of this book extremely reasonable and we recommend as a valuable resource for beaders of all levels.

For those looking for more information on collectible beads we recommend Robert K. Liu's Collectible Beads, Lois Dubin's History of Beads, and our own online Bead Dictionary in the Reference Section of this site.



Stringing BeadsGetting Started Stringing Beads
by Jean Campbell. 2005. Interweave Press, Loveland, Colorado. 88 pages. $16.95.

This small format hardcover book is one of our favorite books for beginning beaders. Campbell, the founding editor of Beadwork magazine, brings plenty of experience and organization to the project.

The book begins with suggestions on how to shop for beads, a discussion of bead types and sizes and some basic definitions for the uninitiated. Next come stringing materials and tools. Each is pictured and briefly described with some pros, cons and suggested uses.

Diagrams and a few photos illustrate the section on basic techniques, which include crimping, knotting, using bead tips (which are called bead cups here) and very basic wire working. Findings come next. The basics are illustrated and described. This chapter finishes off with a complete project for a charm bracelet using some of the tools, findings and techniques covered in the previous pages.

Chapter Three covers design basics, while Chapter Four introduces the concept of the focal bead with further design ideas. Next come earring designs including simple drops, hoops, and chandelier styles. Simple bracelet and necklace projects, some design idea sketches, and tips round out the book.



Glass Beads, Gemstone Beads, Jewelry Beads, baltimore, maryland, virginia, va, md, dcCrystal Prescriptions: The A-Z guide to over 1,200 symptoms and their healing crystals
by Judy Hall. 2005. EW Media, Poole, England. Soft cover 171 pages. $15.95.

This is a quick guide to symptoms and the stones that might help. The author, who has written more extensive books such as the Crystal Bible, refers to this small book as a crystal “first aid guide rather than a course on crystal healing”. But the first 50 pages do cover basics such as how to choose and how to use crystals for healing, how to care for and store them, and the philosophy behind the age-old practices of crystal healing. The chapter on dowsing explains how to use crystals to get answers to your questions. A chapter on the relationship between charkas and crystals is followed by specifics on placing crystals for healing, and tips on using the book.

The bulk of the book is devoted to an alphabetical listing of symptoms including issues related to body mind and spirit. For example, under “Allergies” we find the following stones listed: apophyllite, danburite, iolite, and lepidolite. For “Anger, to ameliorate” Blue Lace Agate, Carnelian, and Amethyst are recommended among others. “Boundaries, weak” indicates Red Jasper and Quartz. The list is very extensive and in most cases several stones are listed.

There are no illustrations of any kind in this book. It’s simply a directory. A cross index of which stones treat which symptoms would have been helpful, but that information is contained in several other books we carry. This is the only one we know of that is strictly organized by symptom, so if that’s what you are looking for, this is the right book for you.



by Jennie Harding. 2007. Walking Stick Press, Cincinnati, OH. Soft cover 320 pages. $19.99.

Over 100 of the earth’s most beautiful and interesting minerals are profiled in this book. Organized by color into 20 color bands, the book can help you discover more about a particular stone even if you don’t know its name when you begin your search.

The introductory chapters explain how we see and absorb color, the effects colors have on us, and how crystals are used for color healing. A brief review of how crystals form, their classification, and history follow. Each of the 20 color rays gets a two page introduction and the stones within each ray are featured on two-page color spreads adorned with one or more photos of the crystal often in both rough and polished states.

Information presented about each featured stone includes: Its name; form and structure; color range; rarity and primary geographical sources; hardness on the Mohs scale; physical or emotional uses; healing effects; and personal uses.

For example the “Physical and Emotional Uses” for tiger’s eye are listed as “linked to the energy of solar plexus chakra, clearing mental blocks, and encouraging focus on current issues; supports healthy metabolism and prevents physical energy from becoming depleted; reputed to keep eyes healthy and increase clear vision.”

“Healing Effects” read more like healing prescriptions. For example, the instructions for chrysocholla include, “place over the breastbone or the throat to clear toxicity and rebuild energy after a period of illness; place over the heart chakra to ease breathing; place under the base of the skull to open psychic perception.”

“Personal Uses” include suggestions for environmental uses as well as effects of wearing or carrying the stones. For example with pink tourmaline we read “place in a bedroom or living space to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere; wear over the heart to soothe the emotions.”

Jennie Harding is a prolific author with 20 years experience as a healer working with various modalities. This book covers many of the stones frequently encountered as beads and some of the more esoteric ones as well. The organization by color with clear pictures can be helpful for those unfamiliar with stones names.



Gemstones of the WorldGemstones of the World: Newly revised and expanded third edition
by Walter Schumann. 2006. Sterling Publishing, New York. Hard cover 311 pages. $24.95.

This classic book has been a standard gemological reference for over 20 years. Targeted at more serious students of gemology, it contains a wealth of information--the origins and structures of gemstones; their physical and optical properties; deposits, mining, cutting and polishing--all presented with text, clear color photos of gems in their rough and polished states, and many charts and graphs. The classification of gemstones is explained before the author moves on to descriptions of individual stones, grouped by gem families such as garnets, quartz, opals, feldspar, etc. Lesser known gemstones, rocks as gemstones, and organic gemstones have their own chapters as do stones that are “New on the Market”.

Excellent information on imitation and synthetic gemstones, misleading gem names, and stones that can be confused with each other appears throughout the book making it useful even for beginners who might not be so interested in the more technical information. A good index, maps, lists of gems by color, and tables of birthstones and zodiac stones round out the offerings.

The information given for individual stones varies depending on the popularity and history of the stone. Lapis Lazuli, for example,  is given a two-page spread with several pictures and information on the origin of the name, the composition of this gem, history, and a list of stones that are commonly confused with lapis.
In contrast kyanite has only about one quarter of a page devoted to its name, sources, and stones that it could be confused with. In all cases, however, a table is included that provides the basic stats for each stone: color range, Mohs scale of hardness number, density, cleavage, crystal system, chemical composition, transparency, refractive index, dispersion, pleochrism, absorption spectrum and fluorescence! If you are serious about gems this book is for you.



All Wired UpAll Wired Up: Wire Techniques for the beadworker and jewelry makers
by Mark Lareau. 2000. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO. Soft cover, 128 pages. $21.95.

By far the best selling wire book of the dozens of wire books we sell in our stores, this book is a favorite among our wire teachers and students. As a part-owner of a bead store, author Mark Lareau understands where beaders are coming from when they get into wire work, and he offers accessible projects that can greatly expand the range of your designs.

This well-organized little volume starts off with a chapter on materials and tools that explains all about different kinds of wire, its finishes, hardness, sizing, and uses. Next comes a brief section on the few basic tools needed to get started with wire. Tips on good posture and hand positions for working with wire tools help you learn good habits from the start so that your wire working career will be strain- and injury-free.

Instruction begins with text and black-and-white diagrams detailing the making of simple shapes, while learning the basic techniques that can be combined in many ways to express your own creativity later. Chapter Four starts introducing projects with various options for embellishing stone donuts. Additional chapters cover wire earrings, custom earwires, clasps, and cages to turn items that don’t have holes into pendants. The last 20 pages of the book feature an inspiring gallery of bead-and-wire work in color.


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