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From the Rings & Things Showroom: What's Fresh with Freshwater Pearls

April 29, 2011

Blue and Green Freshwater Pearls

One of my favorite materials to make jewelry with is, hands down, freshwater pearls. I absolutely adore freshwater pearls! Why do I love them so much? Well first and foremost, they are beautiful! Also, they now come in so many shapes and colors, that the possibility for jewelry designs are endless. Freshwater pearls add a whimsical and organic feel to jewelry designs and plus they help me to get in touch with my inner “mermaid”!

Some of the pearls we have right now at our Spokane, Washington Showroom

That being said, here at our Rings & Things Showroom in Spokane, Washington, we just received a huge shipment of beautiful pastel and jewel tone freshwater pearls (just in time to help you with your Spring jewelry designs)! Though I was tempted to keep these pearls a secret all to myself, I realized they were just too pretty to not share with our fellow jewelry “bloggies”. So I have taken some pictures to show you the rainbow of pearls we currently have on display.

So what are Freshwater Pearls?

Freshwater pearls are cultured with the use of mollusks; in particular a species of freshwater mussels. The mussels are injected with a nucleus bead that is sometimes made from a small piece of shell or mantel tissue. The shape of the injected bead helps to determine the shape of the future pearl, as nacre will form around this bead. Nacre is the silky coating layered on pearls that make them so silky and beautiful. Over the years, pearl producers have become quite skilled at creating pearls in a variety of shapes. Below is a visual guide of the most common pearl shapes and a little info about each shape. Enjoy!

Coin Pearls: These are formed by using a disc-shaped bead as the nucleus. Sometimes they are almost perfect circles, while other times the shape is much more organic.

Keishi Pearls: These are actually formed when the mussel rejects the injected bead. The result is a very free-formed shape that kind of resembles Rice Krispies! They are by far my favorite shape of pearl!

Corn Pearls: This shape is like a round, but more flat. They resemble corn kernels and are center-drilled. Corn pearls can be used where you would typically use a rondelle shaped bead.

Potato Pearls: These pearls can vary from almost perfectly round, to fairly lumpy, like a potato. This is a very common pearl shape. Sometimes potato pearls have ridges in the nacre.

Blister Pearls: These pearls are irregular and occur when a pearl grows while still attached to the inside of the shell of the mollusk. They are also sometimes called bouton pearls.

Button Pearls: These are very similiar in shape to the corn pearls. They are side-drilled with one flat side and one rounded side. The picture shows the rounded side, but they are sitting flat on the surface.

Biwa Pearls: This name originally referred to all freshwater pearls grown in Biwa Lake, Japan. However, the name now refers to any stick-shaped or rectangular pearls. Usually they are drilled horizontally in the center or tip of the stick, but as you can see sometimes they are drilled through the center lengthwise.

Rice Pearls: These pearls are smooth and oblong in shape like an oval. They are usually center-drilled, though sometimes they can be found side-drilled.

Well, I hope I have gotten you inspired and excited about freshwater pearls! We have an ever-growing supply of freshwater pearls here at Rings & Things available as regular stock all the time. If you want to see some of the fantastic bright and springy pearls we just received, then head down and see us at our Rings & Things Showroom or check out our traveling Trunk Show, heading across the country right now! (Request an invitation!)


Spring BeadTour prevue

March 2, 2011

The first warm hints of springtime are dawning.
Once again comes the promise of new…beads!
Enjoy our spring BeadTour preview–
and we’ll see you at our bead shows, March 6 through June 30!

Manmade Red Rainbow Calsilica beads

Birdseye Rhyolite beads

Cubic zirconia (CZ) beads

Peridot beads and Black Silver Leaf beads

Rhodocrosite beads, Rose Snowflake Obsidian beads, and more manmade Red Rainbow Calsilica beads

Cape Amethyst beads, Lapis beads, and Aquamarine beads

Have you been to our popular BeadTour bead shows yet?
We come to dozens of cities across the USA, with thousands of strands of new beads at 15% off wholesale prices!

What's the special? Thru Sunday, up to 15% off

February 24, 2011

5-Day Sale!

What’s the special? Thru Sunday, February 27, 2011: Create trendy designs for less! This week’s sale items include resin supplies, versatile bezel-cup findings, shimmering Swarovski crystal prisms and craft adhesives that will really stick by you! Items are 10-15% off thru Sunday only!

Sale starts approx. 9 am Pacific Time Wednesday morning. Once the sale has started, your savings will be visible in your final Order Review, after entering payment info, below the “Place Order” button. See below for more sale details.

15% Off: Jewelry Resin & Resin Supplies
Stock up on resin jewelry-making supplies including EasyCast epoxy resin, disposable mixing supplies, dyes & pigments, molds & mold makers, sealants & finishes! Resin is perfect for making mixed-media jewelry! (SALE1B4-15)
15% Off: Brass & Sterling Silver Bezel Cups
Become a mixed media pro with brass bezel cups and sterling silver bezel cups, including no-loop, 1-loop and 2-loop rounds and ovals!
Expand your options more with sterling earring findings with bezel cup. (SALE1B4-15)
15% Off: Swarovski Crystal Prisms
Add sparkle to your world with Swarovski crystal prisms, perfect as jewelry focals, sun catchers and household ornaments. Choose from optically-pure 32% lead-oxide Strass® crystals and Spectra® lead-free crystals. (SALE1B4-15)
10% Off: Jewelry & Craft Adhesives
Choose craft glues that will stick by you when you need them! Epoxies, super glues, and specialty adhesives like Amazing Quick Hold®. Bead Fix™, E-6000, G-S Hypo Cement, EcoGlue™ & twin-stick adhesive dots are all on sale! (SALE1B4-10)

Click here for free projects that feature sale items!
Click here for free projects that feature sale items!

Alternatives with TierraCast®!

February 17, 2011
Alternatives with TierraCast®!
Expanded design options? Yes! with TierraCast’s new Alternatives Collection. Featured:
brass oxide (antiqued brass) components and
black (gunmetal) components. TierraCast Alternatives were created to fill the needs of current trends among bead stores & designers. Your favorite TierraCast beads and jewelry findings now come in these great new finishes!
Find your favorite TierraCast beads in antiqued brass (aka brass oxide).

TierraCast Brass Oxide Finish

Find your favorite TierraCast beads in black finish (aka gunmetal).

TierraCast Black Finish

Jewelry Inspirations:

Combine black finish beads and niobium findings for a smart look!
“Wisdom & Knowledge” Earrings
Make this black gunmetal necklace with glass focal for a look that's all the buzz!
“Bee Mine” Necklace
Discover how electrifying your design options are with TierraCast Alternatives and Swarovski crystals!
“Vitrail Voltage” Earrings

Warning: bad pens!

February 10, 2011

Another thing I love about working at Rings & Things:

The honesty! 🙂

Best of 2010

February 8, 2011

At Rings & Things, we like to save the year-end festivities till things calm down a bit 🙂 Let’s look back at our blog’s Best of 2010!

Bead soup / bead show party

Feb. 21: Bead soup / bead show party

Neither snow nor rain...

Mar. 25: Neither snow nor rain…

Only at R&T, only the best...

Apr. 15: Only at R&T, only the best…

For new ideas...

June 2: For new ideas…

No-solder bezels

June 18: No-solder bezels

Featured bead: metal-core

June 30: Featured bead: metal-core

Vaseline & uranium-salt beads

July 22: Vaseline & uranium-salt beads

Bead? What bead?

Oct. 25: Bead? What bead?

For a holiday gift...

Nov. 18: For a holiday gift…

Cheapskate booth ideas

Nov. 19: Cheapskate booth ideas

Misleading turquoise information

Dec. 13: Misleading turquoise information

Castings call!

Dec. 19: Castings call!

What’s your favorite?

Design contest: Early-Bird prize deadline!

February 2, 2011

Your Designs Rock Contest Early-Bird Drawing

Enter our annual contest by Monday, February 7, and we’ll add your name to our Early-Bird Drawing for a goodie bag!

Last year’s Early-Bird goodie bag included gemstone beads, wooden chain & gold-filled components.

Contestants are entered in the drawing 1 time for each of up to 3 complete entries submitted by February 7.

Don’t delay — that’s less than a week away! Contest details & entry form.

Tucson is ON!

January 31, 2011

Remember to visit Rings & Things at our booth in Tucson!

Holidome booth #631 — see you there 🙂

Sparkling in the Desert

January 27, 2011

Rings & Things sparkles in the desert, with Swarovski…

Heading to Tucson for the Gem and Mineral show? Rings & Things will see you there! And, for the first time, Swarovski is sponsoring Sparkling Make and Takes projects with their sales partners, at the Swarovski Create Your Style in Tucson 2011 event.

Join Rings and Things design team member Rita for about an hour on Wednesday, February 2, and pay $10 (proceeds are donated to the YWCA of Tucson) to create one of these projects. Pre-register to save your space at Sparkling Make and Takes!

Snow and Ice chain necklace:

When? Wednesday, February 2, 11:00am or 12:15pm
What? This clean-lined, extra-long chain necklace incorporates a variety of opalescent, white, and crystal coated Swarovski Beads, Crystal Pearls and Fancy Stones linked between lengths of silver-plated chain. Wear it long or double it up!

Fire and Flame chain necklace:
When? Wednesday, February 2, 2:00pm or 3:15pm
What? This warm-colored extra-long chain necklace incorporates a variety of burnt-red, deep-brown and coppery-colored SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS linked between lengths of antique-copper plated chain. The design is flexible enough to be worn several ways.