Single-Strand Necklace and Earring Set
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer and Instructor, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

You know you're a blingaholic when any of the following occurs:
  • Your heart races when you see something shiny
  • You get butterflies inside when Swarovski crystals are on sale
  • You need to ponder the question "chocolate or crystals?"
  • You're delighted just sorting your crystals as you run your fingers through them (ALMOST better than George Clooney's hair)!
Fellow blingsters, we're a mighty bunch and wear our obsession proudly on our sleeves (and ears and necks and fingers and wrists and ... ), well, you get the picture. Whether you buy them in bulk or a few at a time, Swarovski crystal are as elegant as Godiva® chocolates or a silver Lamborghini, yet they are definitely more affordable and a pleasure to wear.

It's all in the Shape

The most popular crystal shape is the bicone and if this is your fave, maybe this is the year for you to broaden your sparkling design horizons and explore some different shapes. Try a design using the Artemis for a brand new adventure. Add some texture by using shapes like these fun snowflakes, waves (these look great on a jean jacket for a little "somethin'-somethin'!) or hotfix marbled ceramic rhinestones. Add some elegance and pizazz with styles such as fancy stone baguettes or pure leaf drops.
Swarovski crystal - Shop By Shape

Or is it the Color?

One of my fave Swarovski tools when designing is the sample chart. I find it much easier to have the actual colors in front of me when planning a new design. Computer monitor colors can be vastly different than the actual pieces so beware. I also add my own faves to my sample chart for the new colors that come out and the AB coatings by gluing one bicone on the back of the board and writing the name underneath it. It's amazing how different a regular colored bicone such as Montana is from Montana AB2X! And if you've never played with Bermuda blue, well prepare for a life change ... Of course I always seem to gravitate towards the AB2X colors whenever possible! Feeling adventurous? Be sure to check out the Swarovski crystals that have custom coatings. These are crystals that are coated by a 3rd party but the finish is durable, as well as will make you drool! Check out one of my faves the crystal peacock eye.

Don't Forget the Pearls

Although highly known for their sparkle, Swarovski also has some truly luscious pearl colors. And although these colors are found in traditional round shape in lots of sizes, check out the curved pearls and baroque pearls. Fabulous, no? Some new colors also worth looking into are the range of neons and gemcolors--talk about design potential!
Swarovski Pearls

Read All About It

Take a look at a great article on ''Everything You Need to Know about Swarovski Flat Backs''. Swarovski Trends and Articles have a wide variety of fun from flat back designs to puppy couture for you to explore.

Here are some of my fave books on the sparkly subject: Teach It

Did you know you can host your own Swarovski workshop? We have FREE, online tools to help. Tools such as project instructions and trends and articles you can use for reference for inspiration. Hook up with your local bead shop and offer to give a workshop. Even if you've not taught before, Swarovski makes it easy with project elements lists and handouts already done for you and your class (which in my humble opinion is always the hardest part of teaching)!

Win It

Memory Wire Bracelet Take a look at some past contest winners and be sure to have a tissue handy for drool marks! These beauties are the most innovative, over-the-top creations and major kudos go to the winners. I was lucky enough to attend my first Swarovski party in Tucson years ago. Their showroom at a fancy resort was filled with the contest winners' projects for that year. While most of the party attendees were dancing and mingling, you couldn't tear me away from staring at those pieces for hours. My artistic aesthetic was forever changed just by seeing such creativity and talent at a level I hadn't been that close to--EVER! So, I encourage you to take a look at any winning collection when you get the chance.

I hope your heart and head are now filled with the wonderful world of sparkle from my fave, Swarovski! Make it your year to shine, baby, shine!
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