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June 12, 2015

Rectangle Stone Beads - $6 Jewelry Design Challenge

They're here...

Yup, this month's bead order has arrived.  Mainly staples - more seed bead colors, some thread I'd like to try, an assortment or two.  There are always a few impulse buys - things that could go either way.  They could be really cool - or just flat out blah.

Of course, impulse buys are almost always on sale. 3 strands, $2 each makes this month's impulse a $6 investment - thus my $6 Jewelry Design Challenge in the title.

I've been intrigued for a while by some earrings I've seen at Anthropologie that use rectangle stone beads.  Here's example 1 and example 2 from my Pinterest boards. I'm not sure why they appeal to me so much.

A couple of possibilities spring to mind though: the combination of an earthy stone like leopardskin jasper with crystals, the use of ladder stitch with wire and larger beads, and obviously the rectangle stone beads drilled lengthwise.

That's when I decided getting these rectangular stone beads would be fun. They're on the smallish size at 12x4 mm and there are more blues than any other color but it's all good. They are mostly dyed howlite or shell with resin but the color variety is nice - even though there's not as much variation as I would have liked.

Although I could just reproduce the design I liked, I enjoy the way these beads stack so I have been playing with some design options. My goal is to come up with 3 designs that I like enough to make into jewelry. I guess that's really the challenge - not the $6 part in the title.

They have potential as dangles - or possibly brick stitched around a center similar to the daisy design I published last week.

A simple stack with bead dangle. Connected to chain on the sides?

Some longer stacks- not sure if this could be a necklace and earrings?

I was thinking these might be cool wired togeher as a bracelet rosary style - or macrame?

And then I found these 5 hole bead spacers in the assortment - and decided to play with them.  I like the way the beads look separated a little by the spacer bars. Would make an interesting pendant.  You can see the completed necklace here.

And another option made with the spacer bars - this time trying to simulate inlay.  It was a little hard to find beads that would fit just right, so I used an emory board nail file to make the beads sit more flush.  That was an advantage to the howlite/resin combination - it is pretty easy to file away a little bit.

This makes a nice bar pendant - but I think it would also look good as a bracelet focal.

Now that I've laid out a few possibilities, I'll go about making some actual jewelry.  Stay tuned - tutorials on anything I like will follow soon!


  1. AnonymousJune 12, 2015

    Lisa - great assortment. I LOVE turquoise! First thing that comes to my mind is to do those earrings you Pined with a "Southwestern" flair in copper. OR how about joining the beads on safety pins for earrings or a long necklace?

    Have fun and I'm anxious to see what you do with these.

  2. Lisa, both pendants you have designed are beautiful, in fact, the rectangle beads are gorgeous by themselves. My idea would be (no earrings, I'm sorry) to make a long or multi-strand necklace, just stringing the beads on waxed cotton cord, securing each one with a knot on each side of the side. It would be a predominantly turquoise necklace with hints of other colours. Enjoy your beading.

    1. Ana, I really like your idea! I'll have to see what colors I have in cord. I know I don't have any waxed cotton cord that will fit - but I've got lots of C-Lon, so that should work. Thanks!