Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box

"The most important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them." – Sir William Bragg

Recently, one of our designers said to me, "Today I made a new design... I have never done one like this before, but I was trying to think outside the box!". That, along with the above quote, is so closely related to making jewelry that I thought I would share some thoughts with you.

The saying "think outside the box" originated in the 60's, and since then has been used as a successful marketing catch phrase for a variety of merchandising campaigns, almost to the point of becoming cliché. But when you relate it to your own personal creative instincts, it may very well be a beneficial reminder of just how important your imagination is to you.

It's often a constant challenge to create new and exciting pieces when you are designing your own jewelry. If you're in business, you know that the competition can be overwhelming, so it’s imperative to stand out from the crowd, possibly by spotlighting an original, one-of-a-kind item to catch the eye of a potential customer.

As referenced in the quote by Sir William Bragg, there are seldom new elements, as with facts, to use to make your design unique. A wide variety of chain, leather, fabric, sliders, pendants and closures is available, but not much that isn't being used by every other jewelry designer on the face of the earth. So what do you do?

Say, for example, you want to make a necklace to add to your online inventory. The first basic step is to look for inspiration anywhere you can find it. Once you have an idea in mind, then analyze it a while. Look with your mind's eye at all angles, in reverse, changing colors and maybe even twisting elements into new shapes. Is a necklace always a necklace, or can it morph into a bracelet like our Eucalyptus Etude Convertible Necklace/Bracelet?
Check out how to make this beauty here: Eucalyptus Etude Convertible Necklace/Bracelet
And remember that you can always use different styles and colors of chain, findings and beads that will fit better into your or your gift recipient’s lifestyle.

Believe in yourself! Never be afraid to let your imagination out of the box.

Find fresh, innovative and trending ideas on our Facebook page...and while you’re there, please like it.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Incredible Chain

Chain! Long and chunky, short and delicate in a menagerie of sizes, textures and colors, chain is unimaginably versatile and incredibly timeless. Antelope Beads has just added a huge new inventory of chain styles and finishes, and you’re going to love all the creative possibilities it offers!

Chain always has been and will be in the forefront of the jewelry fashion world. Here are some takeaways from the 2017- 2018 jewelry trends we’ve reviewed:

Vogue’s report on jewelry runway trends shows, among other styles, a focus on bold, statement designs. Our new multi-circle chain is a perfect way to achieve this look, worn by itself or doubled or even tripled, and, of course, embellished in any number of ways. The Lavish Links necklace shows just one of endless possibilities!

Chandelier and chain/metal based focal earrings are also on trend. Making statement earrings can be as simple as attaching an interesting chain to an ear wire. Take a look at our Rotating Rings Earrings or Chain Cascade Earrings for some inspiration! Tassels are still very much in style, and chain is a great way to create instant tassels for both earrings and necklaces. For instance, these On the Fringe Earrings make use of our Figaro Triple Strand Chain. This basic design is so flexible! Try mixing chain with different finishes, adding additional chain sections, or trimming the chain to different lengths!

Of course, leather and chain always work wonderfully together! Our Mix It Up Bracelet makes use of a variety of leather sizes and colors as well as different chain styles to achieve a unisex design. With just a little thought you can conceive any number of combinations, each of which renders a completely different look!

Chain is perfect for delicate and minimalist designs as well. Just couple a delicate chain, like our 2mm Rolo Chain or Oval Link Chain, with one of our designer components or your favorite charm and you have a minimalist creation.  Our Dorabeth Mixed Metal Trio is an example of endless possibilities.

 Feeling romantic? Check out our Golden Garden Necklace – perfect for a special occasion and easy to modify to incorporate a variety of colors.

Check out our amazing collection of chain, in a myriad of finishes at and create your own style!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Is Jewelry Making Right For You?

Making jewelry is a fun hobby for many and for others, both women and men, it is a profitable business venture. With the right tools and an assortment of supplies, people make pieces inspired by what they see in the fashion magazines, design and create from their own ideas and imagination or look to sites like Antelope Beads to get ideas and instructions.

Jewelry has been a form of self expression almost since the beginning of time. Early humans wrapped themselves with plants or in animal skins and then picked up one of the bones, a rock, a shell, or a flower and added it to their 'outfit', either as a closure or an adornment. As people learned to use tools, jewelry became more elaborate, made from whatever element, metal, gem or compound that was popular at the time. 

When you make a piece of jewelry to give as a gift, I personally feel you are giving a piece of yourself to that person. You created something, even if you use a pattern, with your time and effort, and embellished it from your own creativity, making it special for someone special in your life. It is unique and one-of-a-kind, just like the person you're giving it to. 

Jewelry making can be good for your mind and body...therapeutic in a manner of speaking. It is an exercise in concentration, which can clear the mind and relieve stress. Using your hands in conjunction with your mind and imagination can lower tension levels and work out anxieties. If you form or join a group or a class to make jewelry, you reap the benefits of support from like-minded people.

And finally, making jewelry is an excellent way to create an extra stream of income. If you are serious about your craft and work to get good at it, there are numerous ways to sell your jewelry pieces.
  • Find local craft fairs or jewelry shows and rent a booth for a small fee. 
  • Your local jewelry store or jewelry making supplier might consider selling your items on consignment. 
  • Sell you creations on eBay or Etsy. 
  • You may also want to consider making custom pieces for people with their own creative ideas, but who don't want to actually make it.
Whatever you decide, make sure you have a variety of pieces made and ready to go because people love handmade and unique jewelry. 

Jewelry making can be fun, healthy and profitable. Here are links to some ideas that may inspire and motivate you:

  1. All Angles Swarovski Designer Component Necklace

  2. Chrysanthemum Claycult Ceramic Earrings

  3. Butterfly Garden Regaliz Cotton Cord Bracelet 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Inspiration for Your Jewelry Making Designs

If you are creating jewelry for yourself or as gifts, where do you get inspiration for your designs? If you make jewelry to sell, where do you get new ideas for your designs? I thought we could talk about some ways to uncover fresh concepts for new jewelry. 

When you look at the natural beauty around you, does the sun sparkling through raindrops or flashes of sunlight dancing across the dew drops on the blooms in your garden remind you of colored crystals strung in different positions on a chain for a necklace? When you see the trees burst open with patches of color that mix with the greenery, do you picture colorful strands of round leather or wire with sliders or beads bound together in a clasp to form a bracelet?

If you have children, look into their toy box and see what you find there. Building blocks, crayons, marbles, colorful piles of paper - all of these can give you ideas for a piece of jewelry that is truly creative. If these elements alone don't inspire you, give them to your children and watch what they do with them.

Go online and research the current trends for jewelry. See what the stars are wearing or what the fashion designers are pairing with their styles and pick out the designs you like. Of course, you can't copy them exactly, but you can use them as models for the kinds of pieces you and your friends like, or for pieces you make to sell. 

You can get inspiration from anywhere. Have you ever taken a piece of wire and bent it into the shape of a heart or an animal? Why not take that wire and bend it into someone's name to form a bracelet?What's in a name? A new design perhaps?   Here is a video that shows you some basic techniques in wireworking: Wirework 101 Basics Techniques

If you're making a piece for a specific person, think about that person's personality, hobbies or career and make it a gift they will treasure for a lifetime. Do you live in a place where there are seasons? Someone may not wear an anklet in the winter but would love custom made full-foot jewelry that is so fashionable for summer wear.

There are countless ways to get your creative juices flowing when you train your eyes and your mind to really see what you are looking at. Trust your imagination and have fun doing what you love to do.

For more inspiration, see our new products here: Antelope Beads/New Products and develop your own new designs.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Do Men Have a Relationship with Jewelry?

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. 
They've experienced pain and bought jewelry." ~ Rita Radner

I've noticed more men than ever before browsing the shows, so when I came across the above quote, I thought...Do men have a true personal interest in jewelry?

As with almost everything down through history, there seems to be uncommon ground between the sexes when talking about jewelry. That holds true today as much as ever when it comes to the kinds and styles of jewelry men are wearing. Cultural, religious and social differences around the world determine how and what men choose to wear. Jewelry sends signals of both men and women about who we are, the commitments we have made, our belief system and our level in society. However, especially in the world of business, there are some definite guidelines for accessories that are acceptable men's wear and those they are better off to avoid.

Acceptable accessories for well-dressed professional men in today's business world are of simple design and, for the most part, made from elements of metal and natural leather. A functional piece, such as a gold or silver watch with a matching or a soft leather band is a perfect accompaniment. A wedding ring has been accepted without question for as long as they have existed; but other types of rings, in general, are kept to a minimum. Large precious stones seem to be avoided, although a small stone in a ring or ear stud might be all right, if the dress code allows.

Some other ways to adorn business attire would be:

  • Upgrading simple brass blazer buttons to gold, silver or mother of pearl buttons is a subtle way to express individuality.
  • Cufflinks for French or double cuffs made of precious metals and of simple design are more formal, while novelty designs and silk knots can be considered informal office wear and have become popular with younger men.
  • Tie accents are both functional and ornamental and are widely accepted, using some restraint.
  • Lapel pins of a variety of designs can be strictly ornamental or can attach a commitment to a group or affiliation.

These are some of the basics practiced by the professional in a structured corporate setting. However, through the years, trends have changed drastically for more informal business environments and casual accessories. Here are a few:

  • Watches, functional and worn by many, are acceptable in almost all circumstances, depending on the style. In the current fashion world, they are made of metal, leather, cloth, plastic and other synthetics and come in an array of subtle and outrageous colors and designs.
  • Rings are symbols of commitment and affiliation - wedding and friendship rings, class rings, championship rings - and can usually be worn in any combination a man is comfortable with.
  • Bracelets are widely acceptable men's wear today and are decorative, functional, cause-related or are worn for medical awareness.
  • Belt buckles can be monogrammed, trophies for contest winners or heirlooms.
  • Necklaces are mainly personal preference in materials, lengths and combinations. They are favored among many men because they can be proudly sported outside or hidden when necessary under a shirt.
  • Earrings have become almost as acceptable for men as for women these days, and can easily be removed if required for work.

And there you have it. In answer to my original question, I guess that men do have a personal interest in wearing jewelry, in one form or another in both social and business environments. As our social boundaries become more accepting and tolerating, I think men are finding jewelry a way to express themselves as never before. I am excited to welcome our male counterparts into the world of modern jewelry making.

If you or a man you know, are interested in finding inspiration or instructions, we have a whole gallery of designs for men's bracelets that I would love to share with you. Click here to either get ideas for your own designs or for how-to's to duplicate ours.

And as always, I would love to hear about your creations. Comment below, email us or post your pictures and descriptions on our page at (Don't forget to like us while you're there!)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to Start a Jewelry Making Business

I have had several people approach me with questions about how to start a jewelry making business. Although my current business interest is supplying jewelry-making components, I do have a lot of experience and history in starting businesses in general. So I have adapted that knowledge into a guideline that might help you, if you are interested in starting your own.

The first issues facing any prospective business owner are, of course, the initial decision and finding the drive to follow through with it. Owning and running a successful business is hard work, so your major challenge is to understand the commitment needed to make it happen.

My next question is, what kind of jewelry do you make? Do you specialize? Do you make necklaces and chokers, or bracelets and anklets, or do you create sets that coordinate with each other or that make fashion statements?

Decision #2 - What do you want to make to sell? Will you concentrate on a type and style, or do you plan to make a variety of pieces?

Decision #3 - Will this be part time for some extra money or are you planning to build a business that will be a source of income? Either way, where will you work and how much time can you invest? Do you have money for start up expenses, supplies, for help and for advertising? Where will you sell your creations and do you have a marketing plan?

Before you can actually set your decisions into motion, you'll need to research the legal requirements for the type of business you create. The government will have its hand out for income tax and you will need to collect sales tax required by each state on things you sell. Your local authorities also may require licenses and insurance, especially if you have a store where people will visit.

This list of basics is far from complete, but at least it will give you something to think about.

If you need some guidance with design ideas go here.

I would love to hear about your process and your progress. What you share with me will also help your contemporaries. You're not in this alone. If you have questions or comments, you are always welcome to contact me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Swarovski Designer Components - Great For Leather Jewelry Projects

Antelope Beads is proud to offer select Genuine Swarovski Pendants and Beads that we feel work exceptionally well with our leather cord and other designer component offerings. They can add eye-catching sparkle to your designs, that will never become dark, dull or hazy. Please explore our selection and let your imagination run wild! Click here to see 9 on trend Swarovski jewelry design ideas.

Genuine Swarovski Beads and Pendants are made with the highest standards available on the market. The high-quality precision cutting and the clear through-hole achieve high brilliance and clarity. Rounded hole edges reduce the wear on stringing materials and increase the durability of designs. The AB coatings are incredibly durable, even when used on a daily basis. Click here to Shop the beautiful crystals now.

California Prop 65 Warning: Consuming foods or beverages that have been kept or served in leaded crystal products, or handling products made of leaded crystal, will expose you to lead - a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Power Of The Mission - Women Helping Women

For over 10 years Antelope Bead's Mission of Women Helping Women has supported talented artisans around the world. Camille & Co's clothing line shares the same Mission and fell in love with the Claycult Cambodia Ceramic Beads. Camille & Co created a Boho Jewelry Collection which debuted this January at one of the the worlds largest apparel trade shows. discovered the designs at the show and loved the story about Claycult and our Mission and has launched the Boho Jewelry Collection in their World Jewelry area. 

 We would love to share your story of spreading the shared Mission.
Email us and we will delighted to highlight your Mission!