A guest post by Roman Sharf
In these lean economic times, luxury may seem like the furthest thing from most peoples' minds, and yet luxury jewelry is still a trend for many sophisticates. However, the truth is that you don't need to spend large amounts of money to have elite-looking jewelry; on the contrary, with a bit of creativity and a good sense of style, you can make your own show-stopping jewelry pieces that would look right at home in many boutiques. Just follow these important tips:
Play With Varying Sizes and Shapes
While many think that beads do not go beyond the small white circles that carried initials that you used to spell out your name as a kid, there is in fact a huge diversity of beads available. String beads of varying sizes and shapes together to create an uber-chic and unique look that no one has. Be bold with beads!
Ribbons are no longer just for ballerinas. A metallic ribbon in a neutral/earthy color like grey can give your piece an extra shimmery effect. Place an assortment of beads (bugle beads compliment metallic ribbons very nicely), pearls, and semi-precious stones that you have around your home on the ribbon and create a dazzling bead and ribbon combo. This type of jewelry is also a great way to re-purpose any broken and unusable jewelry.
Dye Your Beads
Dye is to die for! Using beads made from wood is the easiest and creates the best results. A quick DIY dye job can give your string of beads a more earthy - and almost vintage - touch. Dye is a great luxury-building tool because it is so versatile; for instance, you can opt for a simple and elegant monochromatic piece, or you can alternate with all of the colors under the sun. There are infinite color combinations to implement , so get creative and pick tones that will complement your wardrobe. Best of all, if you feel like your creativity got a little too out of hand, no worries - you can always re-dye and repeat until you get it right!
A great way to make beads look like one-of-a-kind concoctions is to create crazy geometrical patterns that harken back to the art deco and vintage glamour of the early 20th century. Wooden beads are not only great for dye jobs, they are also easily manipulated and sturdy enough for eccentric patterns. For instance, with the right wire string you can use wooden beads to create basic interlocking loops. Looped wooden beads can create exotic patterns and add hints of tribal chicness to any piece; try this look because these days, tribal fashion is sashaying down the top catwalks from Milan to Paris.
Bring the Bling with Sequins
If you thought that sequin had stayed in the 80s, think again. Fashion is always cyclical, and sequin has definitely made its comeback. Choose your chunkiest beads and wrap them in any color of sequin that you like. Experiment with alternative sizes and see which combinations you like the best. The only potential pitfall to using sequin is that if you overuse it, it could look like you are wearing tacky Christmas ornaments. If done correctly, however, sequin is a very fun material that is perfect for adding a bit of shine to a light-hearted jewelry piece.
Play with Clay
Sculpting and creating jewelry pieces with clay can yield some very earthy and rustic pieces of jewelry - and best of all, you can customize them right down to the smallset detail! If you want to add touches of femininity, glue some sparkling beads to your piece or attach them with strings wrapped around the clay base. Class them up a bit by securing small diamonds or other precious stones into the clay itself.
The Art of Mixology
Celebrity fashionista Kim Kardashian is renowned for mixology. In essence, mixology is mixing and matching your expensive, inexpensive and homemade items into one distinct outfit. Perhaps you've got some LeVian or Tiffany & Co. pieces in your jewelry box, in which case consider mixing them in with your own homemade pieces to add that trendy "je ne sais quoi" vibe to any outfit.
Let's face it, with one necklace made of beads, you run the risk of looking old-school in a bad way (as in, more like your grandmother than like a fashionable 1950s starlet). One necklace is just so cavewoman chic. You can speed up to the 21st century by layering lots of your own beaded necklaces together at once. Also, you can play with varying lengths and shapes, customizing them to suit your wardrobe and body type.
The art of craft will never fade, but distinct designs certainly can take off and become the next big thing. Who knows, your designs might be such a hit that Kate Bosworth, Cher Coulter, and other jewelry trendsetters will come knocking at your door for more. If you've got a smart sense of style, your luxurious homemade jewelry can even end up making you a nice profit, despite the recession. After all, fashion can be taught, but your personal style is yours forever!