by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer and Instructor, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Nature has inspired every artist I've ever studied or known. It has also inspired me and most likely you!

Whether it's the flowers, leaves or wildlife, nature's beauty is breathtaking as well as surprising. I'm constantly amazed at the unimaginable color combinations I would never come up with myself; give Mother Nature a broad brush and look what she does with the sky! On my daily walks, I've learned to take my camera and click away. Many of these shots end up informing my jewelry color palettes and I have a few to share with you my beady peeps!

Fall in Colorado is a luscious combination of golds and yellows with a splash of green and brown. My design process for creating this necklace was to make 5 separate strands of different shades of this simple 4-color palette and twist them together. I added chain in the center of the 4 beaded strands as the stabilizing element, which is represented in the picture by the fence.

As for the colors, I love how the bronze of the pearls reflects the colors of the surrounding strands. I chose gold-colored metal cubes in two different sizes, for their reflective qualities. I was inspired to add in this element based on the dewdrops on the leaves (the picture was from early morning). The cubes also add a cool, shiny element to the necklace indicating the fall weather, as in the picture. The end cones are gold and the toggle is copper giving the overall look varying shades of nature's colors instead of a single gold color that can come across as a bit flat. I added a touch of Swarovski sunflower crystals but focused more on the ambers, coppers and golds. I threw in more green than the picture shows which is the beauty of being the designer; you can alter, add or subtract your preferences in your final design! I brought in a diversity of green rather than the monochromatic green of the grass in the image. To accomplish this, I used lemon seed beads, Swarovski erinite crystal bicones and Swarovski olivine crystals. A slight touch of the tree bark shows up in the metallic bronze seed beads.

Nature's Jewels

One of my fave shots of fall in Colorado was this fiery bush. Amber and copper leaves inside the bush that hadn't changed colors yet were surrounded by reddish-orange colored leaves on the outside. It was a stunning sight that didn't last long as we got snow that night and fall ended rather abruptly! I used antiqued copper earwires and copper headpins to accentuate the Swarovski crystal Indian pink and crystal copper. A touch of metallic rainbow bronze seed beads grounded the entire composition with a dash of earthiness. I wanted the earring design to reflect the branches of the fiery bush with a lot of movement when wearing them like leaves blowing in the wind.

Nature's Jewels

This was such a pretty color combination I had to make some jewelry reflective of the beauty shown here, all thanks to Mother Nature. The colors in the image and in person were much brighter than the selections I made for the bracelet, which was a choice I made as the designer. Each purple wire coil is connected with a copper jumpring. This was a choice made to help break up the monotony of one color and make the purple pop. This thought was carried further with the addition of copper headpins, antiqued copper spacers and toggle clasp.

A trade secret of designers from couture to shoes is to add an element of surprise that pushes the design over the top, invoking interest. A touch of Swarovski crystal erinite bicones is the "surprise" in this piece. Three shades of purple crystals; Swarovski crystal violet AB, Swarovski crystal Provence lavender and Swarovski crystal purple velvet give the palette depth and variety; add a heavy dose of Swarovski crystal air blue opal bicones to accent the purples and you've got the whole enchilada! If you break the colors apart, they may not seem to go well yet once pulled together, the outcome is stunning.

Nature's Jewels

The beauty of nature is full of unexpected surprises when you dissect different themes and color combos. So give it a try! Pull out some of your fave shots or take some new ones and select individual components from the catalog or website to duplicate each element in your photo.

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