Style Snapshot: Shark Week

Design Idea 587Z Necklace
by Leslie, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Jewelry is all about expression, displaying interests of all kinds. And honestly, who isn't interested in Discovery Channel's yearly Shark Week marathon? Nature, and therefore sea creatures, has been a continuous source of jewelry inspiration and design for ... well, forever. Popular ocean animal motifs include starfish, sand dollars, sea horses, jellyfish, dolphins, whales and octopus, though none are quite as awe-inspiring as the apex predator of the ocean: the shark.

Shark Teeth Sharks are a fish integral to oceanic ecosystems and are characterized by a cartilage skeleton, gill slits on the side of their heads and pectoral fins not attached to their head. Shark sizes range from only about 8 inches (the teeny dwarf lantern shark) to the record-holding whale shark at 41-1/2 feet long (which thankfully only eats plankton). Quite a few people grow up with a favorite animal or dinosaur and even a favorite shark or two--mine being the tiger shark and goblin shark. As for the appearance of sharks in jewelry, the most commonly depicted shark species tend to be the incredibly distinctive hammerhead and infamous great white. Some jewelry designs focus less on a specific species and instead are generic shark shapes, a mouth (including teeth) or the iconic fin sticking up out of the water.

Shark teeth are especially popular when wire-wrapped to create a pendant for necklaces. The bases of teeth are also known to be electroplated and given a loop for adding to jewelry as charms. Real teeth need not be used; simply use a skinny triangle shape if the idea of using real teeth gives you the heebie jeebies. Jewelry designers are also using wire or metal sheet to form the body outline of a shark or fear-inducing dorsal fins as a pendant, cuff bracelet or minimalist wire ring. Bangles in the form of top and bottom toothy jaws are great for stacking with other beach-themed bracelets. If polymer clay and metal clay is more up your alley, create shark bodies as rings, pendants, ear cuffs, front-and-back earrings or even earrings with posts in the mouth so it appears as if the shark is holding on by its mouth. The possibilities are as vast as the sea itself! Design Idea BB1W Necklace

Design Idea A93T Necklace Thanks to movies such as horror flick Jaws and the much-tamer kids film Shark Tale, educational documentaries and series such as Shark Week and even music's dancing Left Shark from the Katy Perry Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, sharks are never far from popular media. Add this interest to basic human nature's fascination with creatures of the deep and tendency to draw inspiration from nature and you'll see why sharks are a perfect jewelry motif--especially for summer design lines.

You may end up needing a bigger boat--err, we mean sales counter--when you get bit by the inspiration for shark jewelry.

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