Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Cap and Round

Posted by Elizabeth Hamilton on May 28th 2013

It’s graduation season again. And horse racing season as well…and to me the highlight of both of those are the special hats. 

Afterall, a graduation without mortarboards is really just a really boring assembly! I want to stay far away from boring assemblies, so this month I decided to concentrate on some far more interesting assembly…playing with bead caps.

Mies Van der Rohe decreed that in architecture “Less is more.” As befits my architectural training, I believe in the power of form over frosting.

You may not know it from my beadwork, but I’m pretty ornament-free in daily life. I have to remember to wear jewelry, scarves and belts are not typically part of my wardrobe, and I wear far more solids than prints. So to me, these beads look just fine in their natural states.

But I also appreciate fine detail. A little ornament can push a concept from eh… to oh! Without beadcaps, this would be a perfectly serviceable faux pearl necklace. You may recognize these biggies from one of our boxes. I’ve had lots of fun buying up thesefaux pearls (I’ve gotten a couple of strands of #8177) and I love to pair them with clusters of crystals.

This time I wanted to pair them with white filigree beadcaps. They were flat, and silver, when I found them at the AGOS local show booth. I painted them first, so that they’d distress while I dapped them.

I also painted these bead caps, made from findings from our boxes. I suspect that the wee cups at the ends were meant for chatons, but I liked their mid-century cool shape unadorned. I over bent the prongs before stringing them so they’d be nice and snug around metallic biggies from the treasure boxes. I think the saucers were from our very first delivery!

Melon-shaped moonglow beads were also an early arrival. I wanted to really gussy up these thermoset beads. The design was inspired by many of the pieces I’ve been seeing on eBay, Etsy and Pinterest. By the way, have you noticed the Pinterest icon on the website? Now it’s easy for you to curate boards of your favorites, or you can check out the A Grain Of Sand boards to see staff picks and inspiration.

I’ve had my eye on these Hobe stampings (#21098) since they were in New Finds. Since then I’ve been cruising eBay looking at vintage costume jewelry and learning about manufacturers. Knowing their provenance makes them the purebreds of the Hoard. The copper metallic rounds are also from the Hoard. The patina on both pieces reminded me of wrought iron with bits of exposed rust. Some folks may think that a bad thing, but I like the worn-in feel they evoke.

As you probably know, I have a big softspot, if not much storage space, for vintage chain. But even with my stockpile, sometimes I find it difficult to find just the right shade. This chain was just right. I used stackable flowers (#21458) to form the bead caps. I wanted the petals to stay aligned, so the stacks are bonded- E6000 to the rescue.

As an aside, I welcome any tips you have for getting E6000 into tiny spaces and avoiding glue strings. Nothing ruins the look faster than a cobweb of glue strings.

The painted wood beads were in a show bag from the Hoard.

I am lucky that I can stalk the Hoard at local, and not-so-local bead shows. It gives me the chance to dig for more of my favorites and get inspired by the bounty of bags. Basic shapes and colors are great staples, and work on their own, or given extra pizzazz with a few simple touches.

And isn't that the point of jewelry? To take humans, with their basic shapes and colors, and give us extra pi