Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bead Spotlight: Shell and Pearl

Shell and Pearl Beads

Summer is a wonderful time of year for the found object beader. The weather is perfect for spending hours combing beaches for beautiful sea glass, stones, driftwood and shells to use in jewelry. These little treasures are even more wonderful when found at a favorite vacation spot, and make for great keepsake designs.

The difference between beach shells and typical shell beads is that the latter is usually man made, and created from the inner layers of certain shells. Mother of pearl, or nacre, is a common material for jewelry, not just as beads, but also as inlay for elaborate luxury components.

Shell and pearl beads come in an amazing array of sizes, shapes and colors. Most natural and man made types of shell can be bleached and dyed to achieve any color, giving beaders an endless supply of inspiration and design freedom.

Charcoal and Turquoise Shell Bib Necklace by Leanne Designs
Shell Bib Necklace
by Leanne Designs

Because we can instantly recognize mother of pearl by it’s iridescent finish, shell jewelry in any color palette often has a summery feel to it. We see a strong emotional connection between shells, and beaches, and sunshine.

Here are a few fun projects to try using different types of shell beads and pearls:

Something Blue Bridal Hair Pin from The {NewNew}
Falling Water Necklace from paper n stitch
Pearl and Starfish Necklace by Irina Miech and Bead Style Magazine

Happy beading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Leanne Designs


  1. love to walk the beach and gather stuff !

  2. I love shell beads! They come in so many shapes and colours! I have to say they are probably my most favourite to work with.

    Thank you for featuring my shell necklace!

  3. I really love the instant boost of tranquility that they can add to a design, and they're so smooth!

  4. oh, I ♥ this post, thank you! mother of pearl, shells beads ~ anything iridescent & beachy, so beautiful ☺


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