The other day I received a package in the mail from Artbeads.com, which was a surprise since I wasn't expecting anything from them at the time. They sent me a copy of their lovely 2010 inspirations calendar, which will make a great addition to the wall right next to my bead desk, as well as a coupon code to share with my friends and blog followers! The coupon code is scf10p-artbeads-0424, and is good for 10% off an entire order! Since the code is valid until the end of the year, it's great for your holiday shopping needs!
Speaking of Artbeads, I just finished the last part of my series on using a sampling of their Swarovski crystals in my designs. For this project, I chose some jet 4 mm bicone crystals. Not exactly an original bead to work with, as bicone crystals are ubiquitous in the jewelry-making community. However, these crystals are cut in Swarovski's new XILION cut, which features a larger number facets on each side of the bead that also alternate between small and large facets. It's a subtle change, and it's worth noting that these XILION crystals (article #5328) are completely interchangeable with the old #5301 cut in beadweaving designs. However, since Swarovski is completely replacing the #5301 bicones with the #5328 line by the end of the year (since the new cut is much more difficult to imitate by competitors), I figured that now is the best time to get used to the new design.
Anyway, I wove some beaded beads out of these crystals and three different sizes of Japanese seed beads to create a pair of earrings. I've been tinkering with this design for a while, and I have some other versions of this design featuring different combinations of seed beads in my Etsy shop.
I also made two more pairs of earrings in purple velvet and silver, and in aquamarine champagne and purple. These two pairs feature the old #5301 bicone crystal cut. Can you spot the difference?
Now that I look at them, I think that using the 4 mm jet crystal is not the best way to show off the new cut. Next time I'll try using a larger size bicone, perhaps in an opaque opal shade.