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Show your Love with Handcrafted Jewelry

Show your Love with Handcrafted Jewelry

Human beings have been giving the gift of handcrafted jewelry since the urge to adorn our bodies with beautiful things first appeared. Lovers have gifted each other to seal their bonds. Families have exchanged beautiful trinkets to remind each other of home during travels. Friends have created works of wearable art that express appreciation each other’s individual spark. The meaning woven into these sparkling bits of loveliness is what makes them so perfect.
February 13, 2015 by SWCreations Jewelry
Give One of a Kind to Your One and Only

Give One of a Kind to Your One and Only

Every love is unique. Celebrate individuality with a hand crafted creation that compliments the one of a kind love, and beauty that is your significant other. Your love is one of a kind, and the gifts you give should be as well. With our handcrafted pieces of jewelry, you can tell your love that she is like that piece of jewelry: beautiful and one of a kind.
February 13, 2015 by SWCreations Jewelry
The Enlightening History of Valentines Jewelry

The Enlightening History of Valentines Jewelry

Approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the United States, according to estimates by the U.S. Greeting Card Association. If you include the exchange of valentines made by school children, that figure becomes one billion, with teachers receiving the most.
February 13, 2015 by Stephanie White

Jewelry, the Secret Language of Women

Throughout history, women have found ways to speak their minds in silent rebellion of their restricted status. The wave of a fan. The type of flower worn in the hair. The position of a ring on a finger. The history of jewelry design is rife with examples of women voicing their thoughts of love, anger, support or disfavor without ever moving their lips.

Love and Marriagejewelry secret language of women

The earliest wedding bands were more signs of property than love. Sometimes worn on wrists, ankles, or toes rather than fingers, they were made of pliable materials like hemp or bamboo. Not as enduring as vows, for sure. It wasn't long before some enterprising ancient person began to use bone and shells to make jewelry, and by Roman times, the gold ring was born.

Rings have long been used by women to display their love or availability to the world. An Irish Claddagh ring is a classic example. Worn upside down (heart out) is a woman's way to signal her heart has yet to be won, but when the heart is turned in, she's already taken. Rings have been used to hide locks of a forbidden lover's hair, or to boast about a husband's riches.

Secrets

There was a time when it was not only forbidden for a woman to voice her thoughts, but it was also dangerous. Even England's famed Queen Elizabeth I had to be cautious with her secrets. Not long after coming to power, she had a locket ring made that bore the images of herself and her mother, Anne Boleyn. She never spoke of the mother she tragically lost to execution when she was two years old, but she was rarely seen without this ring, holding her secret grief.

Women used locket jewelry to transport messages in wartime, to hide poison pills to help them gain power, or to carry devotional images so as to hide their true faith in times of persecution.

Memories

Charm bracelets are a more modern manifestation of the enduring tradition of infusing happy memories into wearable art. In days of old, necklaces and bracelets were formed of family heirlooms, or hung with bits of a woman's past, such as part of a silver baby spoon or polished stone from the land of her mother's birth. Sometimes worn for luck or protection, each charm meant something unique to the wearer. Today's charm jewelry can tell you where a woman has traveled, how many children she has, her favorite colors and her passions. Rife with meaning, handcrafted charm jewelry are each wearer's personal time capsule.

Opinions

History favors women for their subtle displays of disfavor, usually done with a wit that often goes unnoticed in a crowd except by those to which it is directed. A modern example of a woman wearing her thoughts upon her sleeve, or hat or lapel, is found in the collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's brooches.

In silent, if perhaps defiant, answer to Saddam Hussein's remark calling her "a serpent", she wore a snake pin for the remainder of that set of Iranian diplomatic talks. That sparked the rest of her "Read My Pins" style. She'd wear happy creatures when talks with other nations were optimistic, and plodding creatures when frustrated. The Russians claimed to be able to predict how a talk would go by what they saw pinned to Albright that day.

Unless you are a diplomat, today's women are much more free to speak their minds, but there's something to be said for walking into a crowded room wearing jewelry customized to your personal thoughts and memories. Want your own unique declaration of spirit? Contact us for a custom design. It'll be our little secret.

Sources:

 

February 13, 2015 by Stephanie White
4 Jewelry Designs You Are Going to Love

4 Jewelry Designs You Are Going to Love

No wardrobe is complete without some colorful, exotic jewelry. Whether your tastes are more simple and understated or flashy and fiery, these jewelry designs will peak your interest. These four types of jewelry are trending right now and they can be coordinated nicely with all different outfits.
January 15, 2015 by SWCreations Jewelry
​Harnessing Energy From Gemstones In Handmade Jewelry

​Harnessing Energy From Gemstones In Handmade Jewelry

For centuries gemstones of all types have been said to hold mythical powers and healing energies. In fact, entire businesses were founded upon the belief of these healing properties which people have observed since ancient times. Today, many people may not believe in the healing powers of stones and other minerals, but they do believe the stones contain a certain natural 'force.' Whatever you believe, check out these five gemstones that are said to have some amazing health and wellness benefits.

January 09, 2015 by Stephanie White
How to Choose a Handbag to Charm Your Look

How to Choose a Handbag to Charm Your Look

When you are shopping for a handbag, consider removing some options from your favorite handbag list, this can make your work easier when narrowing down your choices. There is a general rule when choosing handbags:
May 02, 2014 by Stephanie White

Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness with Pink Ribbon Jewelry

handmade breast cancer awareness braceletEvery year, over 200 000 women in the U.S are diagnosed with breast cancer. With these devastating numbers, it's no wonder why awareness initiatives have become a powerful agenda among health organizations and major corporations across North America. As donations are the key force in fueling breast cancer research and treatment facilities, we are seeing countless cosmetic companies, fashion labels and celebrities promoting awareness campaigns to support this movement. As these fundraising initiatives rise to the forefront of more fashion and cosmetic labels, women are encouraged to evoke solidarity in the fight against breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Jewelry

As a dedicated supporter of breast cancer awareness, SWCreations offers a special line of handmade jewelry featuring pink ribbon symbols. This line reveals a series of elegant rose beaded bracelets, representing a firm bond of philanthropy, fashion and unity. A charming piece in this line is the Pink Pearl Lampwork Beaded Bracelet. This delightful piece features soft pink pearls between sterling silver flowerets and glass beads revealing the breast cancer symbol. By wearing this piece, you are signaling your support for breast cancer awareness, while encouraging others to participate in the cause.

Another popular addition is the Crystal Pink Ribbon bracelet, a more lavish and glittery piece. Featuring white crystals and a sterling silver heart clasp, this charming bracelet is the perfect way to show your support. You can also match this piece with the breast cancer awareness earrings. Designed in the elegant drop style, these earrings make the ideal accessory for chic evenings out or formal occasions.

Women also appreciate that each piece is carefully hand-crafted, so there is genuine love and care infused into every individual piece. Ultimately, you are not just wearing beautiful jewelry, but you are joining a larger initiative, the fight to end breast cancer. 

Why Pink Ribbons?

The Pink Ribbon campaign began in 1991 when the Susan G.Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons for people who participated in the New York City race for breast cancer survivors. As the color pink traditionally signifies femininity, beauty, and cooperation, people have embraced it as the official trademark color for the breast cancer movement. Additionally, this symbol represents the generosity and goodness of people and businesses who openly support breast cancer initiatives. As a result, when wearing this color or pink ribbons, in particular, the wearer is promoting the cause, expressing their moral support for women with breast cancer.

Ultimately, wearing pink ribbon apparel or jewelry means you are representing a collective hope for the future. We should all continue to participate in this vital movement to evoke uniformity in the fight against Breast Cancer and encourage fundraising. You may know someone, an acquaintance, a friend or a family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. While we can offer our love and emotional support, we can also address this issue by offering donations or purchasing makeup and accessories from companies that support breast cancer research. As a result, we can work together as a firm female unit to put an end this plight. 

Other Support Resources

February 22, 2014 by Rachel Anderson
The History of Glassmaking in America: Lampwork Beads

The History of Glassmaking in America: Lampwork Beads

The lampwork technique consists of transforming molten glass into various artworks, including beads that are very popular in handmade jewelry. Lampwork was first done by the use of alcohol lamps in which the flame would be increased in temperature using bellows. This craft has been widely practiced since the 14th century in Murano, Italy, but it wasn't brought to the United States until much more recently.

history of glassmakingLampworking was brought to the United States a few decades ago when artists who visited Italy became interested in the Murano glass beads they discovered. These artists each returned to America and started experimenting on their own with glass to create beads. The torches they used were modified, as there was pretty much no lampwork tools available to them, and they chose American stain glass from development during the turn of the century to use. They developed their own lampwork bead making techniques as they experimented.

The techniques grew as these artists shared their knowledge among each other, then spread this information to anyone who showed interest. Now, lampworking techniques have spread greatly throughout the United States with lampwork being taught in classes at art studios and even colleges throughout the nation.

Lampwork torching is quite difficult to master, however, as you first must have an understanding of glass chemistry. The colors of glass are created by mixing different chemicals, and it takes years of experience to fully understand just how glass interacts chemically when held to a flame. The knowledge needed to master lampwork bead making is part of what makes this craft so intriguing.

Here are some of SWCreations first lampwork beads:

history of lampwork glassmaking

Here is a gorgeous rose filled heart lampwork bead by artist Patsy Evins:

patsy evins - lampwork beads

Here is a “House of Vettii” lampwork bead by artist Lydia Muell (Lampwork Treasures):

“House of Vettii” Lydia Muell


Other Articles

October 30, 2013 by Stephanie White

How to Care for Handmade Jewelry

FOLLOW THESE SUGGESTIONS TO KEEP YOUR TREASURES LOOKING LIKE NEW.

You’ve scoured the Internet, the local craft fair and the independent boutique downtown, and finally found the piece of handmade jewelry that was destined to be worn by you and you alone. The color matches your eyes, the dangle on the earring is precisely the length you prefer and that bracelet is the ideal accent to your favorite dress. In short: One of a kind perfection.

handmade jewelry boxesNow that you’ve found this oh-so-ideal soul mate accessory, how can you ensure that it lasts for years to come? Most women simply make the purchase and then give nary a thought to properly caring for an item to make sure it lasts. Though handmade jewelry can be delicate, a few extra precautions means you’ll be wearing it for years–or at least until you find your next soul mate.

STORING JEWELRY

That tangle of necklaces, bracelets and earrings on the top of your dresser isn’t doing anyone any good. It will only frustrate you when you’re trying to accessorize before dashing out the door and it will ruin your beautiful baubles. Do yourself a favor and get into the habit of properly storing jewelry, both handmade and otherwise.

Anything silver should be kept in a jewelry box or sealed container to prevent air and moisture induced tarnishing. Hang non-silver necklaces or bracelets on a hook to prevent tangling, a small earring stand or even the rim of a cute teacup can be used to hold and protect your earrings. Rings and broaches should be placed in a jewelry box or drawer; avoid piling them in a basket or bowl as this will only scratch and damage the items.

CLEANING JEWELRY:

handmade jewelry boxesYou may have never thought that the oil from your skin, the residue from your perfume or simply the dust in the air could be lurking on the beads and in the nooks and crannies of your favorite necklace or bracelet. But it is there and may be slowly damaging your treasured accessories. Avoid this scenario by lovingly and regularly cleaning items you wear the most.

A good rule of thumb is to always use a cleaner meant for the item you are cleaning. Gold cleaner for gold, silver cleaner for silver, etc. Be careful with gemstone and beaded jewelry, as harsh cleaners meant for metal can damage the shine and polish on delicate gemstones and beads. When in doubt, lukewarm soapy water and a gentle cloth will do the trick to ensure that your jewelry doesn’t slowly decay in your drawer when you least expect it.

PROTECTING JEWELRY:

Protecting your handmade jewelry before it gets damaged or dirty is the key to its longevity. Never wear handmade jewelry when swimming or sunbathing, when cleaning with harsh chemicals or when doing strenuous activities that produce excessive sweat. Also, be aware when lifting or pushing heavy items (even your suitcase!), wrists and fingers bend and flex which could wreak havoc on handmade rings or bracelets. If you’re unsure, take it off and save yourself the disappointment of a broken bauble. 

Sources:

  • The Handmade Jewelry Boxes on this page are designed & crafted by Jim Fiola of DC Wood Boxes.  what a beautiful way to store your handmade jewelry in beautiful handmade jewelry boxes made in New Jersey.  Thank you Jim for allowing us to use these pictures.  Your work is stunning!
October 17, 2013 by Leslie Patrick
Jade, The Essence of Heaven and Earth

Jade, The Essence of Heaven and Earth

Jade was considered more precious than diamonds in pre-Hispanic Mexico. This captivating green stone was valued with the same mystical properties in pre-historic Asian cultures. Named the “Stone from Heaven” jade has been prized in both Mesoamerica and China for thousands of years. The earliest jade object found by archeologists in China was a piece of a serpentine jade discovered in the Immortal Cave in Haicheng in the Liaoning Province.  This artifact dates back to the Stone Age, more than 12,000 years ago.

jade carved horseHow important was jade to the ancient Chinese civilization?  The Philosopher Confucius was recorded reflecting on the qualities of this powerful stone. “Soft, smooth and glossy, it appeared to them like benevolence; fine, compact and strong - like intelligence.”
Attributed to Confucius (about 551-479 BC).

Called “yu” in Chinese and “ya’ax chin hun” in Mayan, the term “jade” roughly refers to a variety of metamorphic green stones including jadeites and nephrite. It cannot be fully understood by today’s culture of the enormous value attributed to this stone by early civilizations.

jade carved statuePure white jade was rare and highly valued in ancient times, reserved in hina for Emperors and royalty. When green jade was introduced it then became the favored color by the elite.

Jade was often used as intricate ornaments for the very wealthy and symbolized the noble bearings of a gentleman. There is a Chinese saying: "The gentleman's morals are like jade." Meaning, his comportment is impeccable as jade was prized above silver and gold.

Myths and Lore:

In ancient Egypt and China, jade was used a talisman to promote good luck and strong bonds of friendship. It was also believed to protect the wearer from malevolent spirits and promote a long life.  Jade is said to protect the heart, kidneys, spleen and thyroid and in general to strengthen the body.

Symbolically jade was associated with human virtues because of its hardness, durability, and beauty.  It was also esteemed by the Chinese for its lovely musical qualities, its delicate, translucent colors, and its purported safeguarding powers.

Since ancient times, songs, poems and stories have been composed about the virtues of jade, playing upon its otherworldly and heavenly qualities.

Facts:

carved jade gemstone braceletThe most prized form of jade is known as imperial jade and comes from Myanmar. It is a rich emerald green color. Jade most commonly appears in mottled green and white.  The range of greens is light to dark, creamy, grayish, and varies according to location.  Jade can occasionally be found in the lovely but unusual colors of yellow, pink, purple, and black.  Jade is the mystical birthstone for March and for the zodiac sign Virgo.  As a wedding anniversary gift it is associated with the 12th, 30th and 35th years.

Although much is known of the multitude of uses of this elusive and beautiful stone over the past millennia, there are still many mysteries remaining which archeologists and historians have yet to solve.  While hundreds of carved jade “congs” have been found in numerous ancient sites, dating back many thousands of years, their exact religious significance remains unknown. The square carved on the outside, tubular and round on the inside artifacts are suggested to represent the connection of the earth, (square) and heavens, (round). We still, to this day, say, “the four corners of the earth,” so perhaps we are closer than we realize to solving the mystery of jade, the essence of heaven and earth.

We invite you to look over the vast assortment of beguiling jade handmade jewelry by Stephanie White and see if adding this celestial stone to your wardrobe will create a touch of heaven on earth for you. 

Article by: Diane Weisbeck

Winter Fashion Pallet—With Three Great Exceptions

Winter Fashion Pallet—With Three Great Exceptions

This fall and winter, fortune favors a muted pallet.  Those lucky few fashionistas that decide what everyone wears each season have given the new colors spunky names like the light tan “Nomad,” and “Iron” that is, by any other name, dark grey.  Mix these with a light rose pink, a Warm Olive, and a burnt salmon sienna, and this fall is less autumn leaves and winter cheer and more cozy gothic.  But for jewelry lovers this isn’t tragic, it’s lucky.  The muted pallet makes accessorizing with the season’s three more deeply hued colors a cinch.  They can rejoice in the gem colors American Beauty, Purple Heart, and Majolica Blue.
October 12, 2013 by Stephanie White
10 Reasons Why Your Wardrobe Needs Handmade Jewelry

10 Reasons Why Your Wardrobe Needs Handmade Jewelry

Walk through any mall in America and you’ll see a treasure trove of jewelry. A kaleidoscopic array of baubles, bling and accessories cascade from every shop window, their inanimate voices practically screaming “buy me”! Trouble is, that while these pieces may look nice and the price may even be appealing, there are various hidden factors involved when making a purchase from a chain or department store. Poor quality and unethical working conditions is just the tip of the mass production iceberg, yet are factors that pleasantly disappear when you choose to buy handmade, and domestically crafted beaded jewelry. Choosing handmade accessories is a fashionable decision you can feel good about–read on to find out why. 

October 08, 2013 by Leslie Patrick
Agate, the Force Field of Ancient Times

Agate, the Force Field of Ancient Times

Today, we have home security systems that set off an alarm if an intruder enters. In the future, we will be protected by a force field, like the one Scottie switches on when the Klingons are at the backdoor of the Enterprise and Captain Kirk starts getting nervous.

In ancient times, say roughly 20,000 B.C. the Stone Age people found comfort in agates, as a form of protection.

History:

In all of recorded history, agate is the first stone ever mentioned in an ancient document. Agate was highly prized as a talisman or amulet by primitive people. Mithridates, king of Pontus, had an enormous collection of thousands of agate bowls. This was one way of displaying one’s wealth and at the same time, protecting one’s kingdom from enemies.

September 27, 2013 by Stephanie White
Chalcedony: History, Healing & Spirituality

Chalcedony: History, Healing & Spirituality

Distant, milky, mysterious – Chalcedony is an enigmatic gem, with more than a hint of the magical about it. Though there are no myths or legends directly attributed to this gauzy stone, chalcedony is wrapped in rich folklore and is said to have a huge number of potent powers. But before we delve into the mysterious world of chalcedony, let’s take a look at a little of the science behind the stone…
September 23, 2013 by Stephanie White
10 Handmade Gifts Ideas for Any Occasion

10 Handmade Gifts Ideas for Any Occasion

You know the drill. Your friend’s birthday is next week, Mothers’ Day is coming up or Christmas is suddenly once again around the corner. Gift buying panic soon sets in as you ponder the perfect present. But instead of buying another obligatory gift certificate or hurriedly stuffing cash in a card, take a few minutes to consider a handmade gift.

When you gift something handmade, you are saying that you care. It gives a loud and clear message that the recipient is important to you and that you put thought and love into the giving of the gift, instead of simply rushing through the motions.

September 14, 2013 by Leslie Patrick

Attractive Jewelry Extenders Lengthen Beautiful Pieces Article

Jewelry exjewelry extenderstenders in the past have often been plain and without an attractive appeal. However, today’s extenders are perfect for fancy pieces of jewelry of all kinds.  The clasp style of these extenders varies greatly so that it will match any handcrafted jewelry you might own that is just not quite long enough to sit well on an outfit perfectly.  Sometimes when you receive beaded jewelry gifts, you might find that it’s not quite long enough, so adding a little extra length to the quality handcrafted jewelry makes it fit just right. Most extenders will fit any type of beaded and especially necklaces.




 


Today’s jewelry extenders are impressive and very highly attractive.  They are almost like beautiful beaded jewelry themselves and add a little something special to that too short necklace you own.  Whether for everyday wear or a special event, an extender that itself is a fine piece of quality handcrafted jewelry is best.  You can find them in a variety of beadwork, including freshwater pearls, glass beads, cubic zirconia, and Swarovski Austrian crystals.  These can make a fine addition to your beaded jewelry.  This is a very cost effective way to make your jewelry fit just right. 

There are a surprising number of jewelry extenders you can get as well.  Jewelry extenders are also available in custom designs to match the jewelry you already own.  You can buy extenders for bracelets, which is great because everyone has seen a tiny bracelet that is simply too small for some wrists.  Another good type of extender is anklet extenders.  Anklets are so attractive, so it is frustrating when you have one that’s too small. Gold anklet and necklace extenders are also available at a very reasonable price.  Of course, necklace extenders are the most popular form and are very helpful when you have a fine piece of quality handcrafted jewelry that isn’t quite long enough.

Jewelry extenders are a great option to lengthen just about any form of jewelry on a chain and using an extender of equally fine handcrafted jewelry quality is important.  Since you can get an extender for your necklace, anklet, or bracelet in just about any matching material, why wouldn’t you get that inexpensive extender and enhance your handcrafted jewelry and its appearance when you wear it?  Extenders are made of the same materials, whether it is beads, pearls, gold or even find items such as cubic zirconia or Swarovski crystals!  Extenders make your beaded jewelry and non-beaded jewelry work well for you!

September 12, 2013 by Stephanie White
Amethyst: The Myths, Legends & Magic

Amethyst: The Myths, Legends & Magic

According to the 16th Century French poet, Remy Bellau, Bacchu the Greek god of wine, revelry and debauchery was once captivated by a beautiful maiden by the name of Amethyste. Bacchus pursued the fair Amethyste relentlessly, chasing her for mile after mile. Desperate not to become the prey of the lustful god, Amethyste called out to the goddess of chastity, Diana, for help. To protect Amethyste’s treasured virginity, Diana turned the maiden into a stone of the purest white. Humbled by her sacrifice, Bacchus poured a libation of his symbolic wine onto the stone, staining Amethyste the most glorious purple.

Tips for Buying Handmade Jewelry

In an outcry against the monotony of mass production, the trend toward buying local, small batch and handmade is heating up. Handmade jewelry is no exception. Not only is a handmade necklace or bracelet a one of a kind piece that highlights your individual style, but the quality of the item is bound to be superb to those produced by the thousands in obscure and possibly questionable factories abroad.

tips for buying beaded jewelryBut buyer beware, all handmade jewelry is not created equal. Below, you’ll find the SWCreations guide to buying beautiful handmade jewelry that is also of highest quality.

1. We’ve all experienced that terrible moment when a piece of jewelry breaks, leaving you down on your knees searching for beads scattered across the floor. This unfortunate scenario may be avoided if the jewelry you choose is made with strong wire. As you can see, the wire used to string beads on your jewelry is very important. SWCreations uses only 49 strand beading wire because it is the best and has exceptional durability and strength. There are seven types of strands and the others are simply not as strong–avoid them if you can. 

2. Stretch jewelry is easy-to-wear, is easy to give as a gift and is a fun addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Trouble is, it can break easily or become too loose if the stretch cord is thin or of poor quality. At SWCreations, we do not string beads on anything less than a 1.0 mm cord, because it is the strongest and we have found it lasts the longest.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations. Unfortunately, this means we are not using our stretch cord for our smaller beads, such as; small Swarvoski crystals, freshwater pearls, and other beads with small holes.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations.

3. You may have never heard of a jump ring, but you probably have a few in your jewelry collection already. This small piece of metal is the circle that a clasp holds on to–on a necklace or bracelet for example–and if it stretches to wide, the clasp will fall out. Many years ago, jewelry suppliers create a split ring (like a miniature keychain), but every time that ring was caught on a thread it would pull apart. Unfortunately, in an inexpensive piece of jewelry, the jump ring is often the first to break. Fortunately, there are a few jump ring brands that can stand up to the test of time, and SWCreations uses only those. Our jump rings may not be the cheapest, but they are the strongest, ensuring that your jewelry will last for years to come.

4. The quality of the beads can often give away whether a handmade piece of jewelry is of high or low caliber. Some inexpensive beads are made with an outside coating that will wear off quickly as you wear the item–causing it to chip off if it rubs against other jewelry you have layered or onto your clothing. Some cheap beads even have a coating that is water soluble, meaning if you’re caught in one downpour, your piece is ruined. New beads enter the market every day and we usually create a piece to test out, some are obvious duds, but if you buy a piece from us and the bead looks nothing like when you purchased it, please let us know right away.  Avoid this situation entirely by choosing beads that are made from authentic gemstones, crystals and glass such as those we utilize at SWCreations.  

Tips for Buying Handmade Jewelry

In an outcry against the monotony of mass production, the trend toward buying local, small-batch and handmade is heating up. Handmade jewelry is no exception. Not only is a handmade necklace or bracelet a one of a kind piece that highlights your individual style, but the quality of the item is bound to be superb to those produced by the thousands in obscure and possibly questionable factories abroad.

crystal pearl bead art pendantBut buyer beware, all handmade jewelry is not created equal. Below, you’ll find the SWCreations guide to buying beautiful handmade jewelry that is also of highest quality.

1. We’ve all experienced that terrible moment when a piece of jewelry breaks, leaving you down on your knees searching for beads scattered across the floor. This unfortunate scenario may be avoided if the jewelry you choose is made with strong wire. As you can see, the wire used to string beads on your jewelry is very important. SWCreations uses only 49 strand beading wire because it is the best and has exceptional durability and strength. There are seven types of strands and the others are simply not as strong–avoid them if you can. 

2. Stretch jewelry is easy-to-wear, is easy to give as a gift and is a fun addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Trouble is, it can break easily or become too loose if the stretch cord is thin or of poor quality. At SWCreations, we do not string beads on anything less than a 1.0 mm cord, because it is the strongest and we have found it lasts the longest.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations. Unfortunately, this means we are not using our stretch cord for our smaller beads, such as; small Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, and other beads with small holes.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations.

3. You may have never heard of a jump ring, but you probably have a few in your jewelry collection already. This small piece of metal is the circle that a clasp holds on to–on a necklace or bracelet for example–and if it stretches to wide, the clasp will fall out. Many years ago, jewelry suppliers create a split ring (like a miniature keychain), but every time that ring was caught on a thread it would pull apart. Unfortunately, in an inexpensive piece of jewelry, the jump ring is often the first to break. Fortunately, there are a few jump ring brands that can stand up to the test of time, and SWCreations uses only those. Our jump rings may not be the cheapest, but they are the strongest, ensuring that your jewelry will last for years to come.

4. The quality of the beads can often give away whether a handmade piece of jewelry is of high or low caliber. Some inexpensive beads are made with an outside coating that will wear off quickly as you wear the item–causing it to chip off if it rubs against other jewelry you have layered or onto your clothing. Some cheap beads even have a coating that is water soluble, meaning if you’re caught in one downpour, your piece is ruined. New beads enter the market every day and we usually create a piece to test out, some are obvious duds, but if you buy a piece from us and the bead looks nothing like when you purchased it, please let us know right away.  Avoid this situation entirely by choosing beads that are made from authentic gemstones, crystals and glass such as those we utilize at SWCreations.  

September 05, 2013 by Leslie Patrick
Dazzling Drusy Crystal: A Hot Item in Today’s Jewelry Market

Dazzling Drusy Crystal: A Hot Item in Today’s Jewelry Market

One form of quartz crystal that is becoming more popular among jewelry designers today is known as the Drusy (pronounced DREW-zee) mineral. Oddly enough, there are many different spellings, including “druzy,” “drusie,” “druse,” and even “drusies.” The word itself originated from the German word, druse, and is defined as a beautiful grouping of very tiny crystals that grows on the surface of a stone. It is also not uncommon for drusy to form in the cavity of a geode or larger pocket of a mineral deposit.
August 26, 2013 by Lisa Vella

History of Murano Venetian Glass Beads

Avenetian beads - murano glassnyone who has ever worn a necklace created with Murano glass beads knows that they are some of the loveliest and highest quality beads in the world. In addition to their esthetic qualities, perhaps something else that makes these beads so unique and interesting is the history that they represent.

Originally, Venetian glass was made in the city of Venice, which was comprised of mostly wooden buildings. Toward the end of the 13th century, the Venetian Republic began to fear that the huge fires from the furnaces the artists used would eventually end up destroying the city. They forced the artists to move their foundries to the island of Murano, where the glassmakers quickly became noted as masters of their craft.

Glass making had been around for a long time, but had not been perfected. The artisans of Murano had unique skills that allowed them to create superior glass. They were able to develop or refine techniques to make milk glass, multicolored glass, and even imitation glass gemstones which were unheard of at the time. Venetian glass may be solidly colored or created using a smoky effect with one or multiple colors. What truly set it apart from other glass at the time was its incredible clarity and lack of imperfection.


venetian beadsThe secrets they used were guarded and carefully protected. Glassmakers weren't allowed to leave the Republic or take their trade elsewhere. Despite this, they were still given many special privileges. The government gave the island itself preferential protection, eventually annexing it to the city of Venice. Citizen glass-makers were allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution, and their daughters were allowed to marry into noble families.

Despite the many privileges, some eventually took the risk and left, setting up shop as far away as England and the Netherlands. The craft spread to other cities of Italy and to other countries. But their methods were so good that Murano artists were able to maintain control over the market until the 16th century.

Amazingly enough, the technique and technology used has not changed that much throughout the years. The furnaces they use remain relatively unaltered in design, and technology has changed only in minor detail. These master craftsmen have strong roots in the traditional way of doing things.

Making glass is a very complicated process, and a lot is involved to make it. This is what truly makes it the craft that it is. Murano glass beads, as with all glass begins by mixing silica with a flux and melting them together. The flux is an agent meant to slow the melted glass from solidifying too quickly. This enables the glass worker to manipulate it to the desired shape. Technique varies depending on what the intended result is. Just a few of the many different techniques include, millefiori (forming tiny beads by cutting thin glass into sections when cold and rounding them when hot), gold engraving, and enamel painted techniques.

Even today, artists from all over the world travel to Murano to learn the Venetian glassblowing techniques that made it so famous. Murano glass represents the history of glass and a quality product. Their gorgeous styles, colors and amazing clarity set them apart from all the rest. They make stunning beaded jewelry pieces and a great addition to any collection.
August 25, 2013 by Lisa Vella
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Amber Room

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Amber Room

In 1716, Prussia gave Peter the Great of Russia an extravagant gift honoring the peace between their nations - an entire room made of amber and encrusted with beaded jewelry. The panels were backed with gold leaf, which made the entire room glow with a topaz-like warmth.

The gorgeous Amber Room, made of real amber and beaded jewelry, glows like citrine or topaz. Image from Imaging-and-Art.com.

It was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Historians estimate that today it would be worth $146 million.

Handcrafted Lampwork Beads as Tiny Works of Art

Handcrafted Lampwork Beads as Tiny Works of Art

Creating beaded jewelry is so much fun to do. It allows for an opportunity to use all sorts of findings and a little creativity to design original pieces of art. But what’s something else that’s interesting is that many of the beads designers use in their jewelry are also tiny pieces of art themselves. In many cases, another individual using their own intricate creative processes created the beads designers use. This is definitely the case when it comes to jewelry designed with lampwork beads.
supporting local artists

Supporting Local Arts: Why You Should Buy Handcrafted Jewelry

If you are just now starting to get interested in handmade jewelry, you probably have a few questions. When you are searching for handcrafted pieces, you will be in a total different environment from your typical jewelry store and you’ll be looking at a completely new style. Why walk out of the department store and start looking at handmade beaded jewelry?
August 22, 2013 by SWCreations Jewelry
The Amazingly Long History of Earrings

The Amazingly Long History of Earrings

Earrings have been around for centuries. Some of the handcrafted earrings that have been found in the ancient graves of royal Egyptians and Babylonians are more than 5000 years old. They used to be seen as a sign of wealth. Only the richest people had enough gold or precious stones to wear fashion jewelry.

It’s thought that earrings first came out of the Middle East. Handmade jewelry and earrings were a way to show a person’s religion, political leaning, and heritage. There were also many superstitions that surrounded the idea of wearing them.

July 24, 2013 by SWCreations Jewelry
Beaded Anklets - Less Common Always Popular

Beaded Anklets - Less Common Always Popular

One very popular piece of jewelry that’s always popular and less common is the anklet.  It adds a little something special to the warm weather wardrobe that a necklace simply cannot do.  There are a lot of styles available to get when you are shopping for beaded anklets.  When choosing an anklet for purchase, you will need to consider several types, including designer anklets, beach anklets, and the various sizes of anklets.  These sizes are 8-9 inch, 9-10 inch, 10-11 inch, and 11-12 inch.  It not a bad idea to measure your ankle or the ankle of the person for whom you are buying the anklet prior to purchase.
July 15, 2013 by Stephanie White