Saturday, February 12, 2011


While the winter of 2011 has been difficult for most of the United States, no one can deny the pristine beauty of fresh-fallen snow. It gleams in the sun, sparkling from stark tree limbs denuded of summer’s leaves.

Nowhere has it snowed quite as much as in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. Gazing out the windows of our house in the forest there, the sparkle of new snow was nearly blinding. It reminded me of Swarovski Elements crystals that are specifically faceted to flash brilliant light from each bead or stone.

When Artbeads issued a Winter Inspiration challenge, I knew immediately what to make – a lariat of Swarovski Elements. I began by choosing three types of Crystal Yarn ( cream mohair woven with 4mm bicone Elements in crystal; white cashmere with 3mm bicone Elements in crystal, and black cotton studded with 3mm crystal pearl Elements in the mystic black shade. To me, these represented the different shades of tree branches during the course of a day in their various coverings of snow -- sometimes bare and black, sometimes fluffily coated with new snow, and sometimes crystal hard with icy snow – but always with the crystalline sparkle of winter.

Then I selected a variety of Elements to embellish the lariat:

• A 14mm Ceramic Cosmic Ring in Marbled Black ( to collect the strands in the front; and a selection of crystal pearls and pendants to drip from the ends of the Crystal Yarn. The ring is cut with small facets angled to catch the light and create a soft reflection.

• The Elements that I felt were the most appropriate to grace the ends of the lariat are the 20mm Column Pendants in Crystal ( These beautifully faceted columns remind me of the huge icicles that hang from our eaves, shimmering in the light, as do the 18mm Aquiline Pendant in Crystal ( )

• My impression was that the 24mm Silver-Plated Graduated Drop in Crystal AB flashed the look of sunlight off new snow (

• For a contrast in color, finish and feel, I included some 10mm Baroque Pearls in Platinum. Swarovski Elements Crystal Pearls are designed to imitate the irregular shape found in naturally occurring baroque pearls. With their leaded crystal core, Swarovski Crystal Pearls have a heavier, more realistic feel than faux glass pearls and are resistant to perspiration, UV rays, perfumes, and scratches. (

• Lastly I chose several 6mm Silver-Plated Channel Drop in Jet and in Black Diamond to represent the end of the cycle, here in the Northeast: the old snow becoming sprinkled with dirt as it awaits either melting temperatures or a fresh coating of snow. (

What Elements would inspire you to design a necklace representing winter?