Chunky Rainbow Gemstones

by Linda Tenney.
(Palm Harbor, Florida USA)

Transitioning color seamlessly within a beaded design is a fun challenge for me. My challenge for this piece was how to shift colors in a graceful manner in a medium as linear and rigid as a line of chunky beads.

My Chunky Rainbow Gemstone necklace from the Bead Style magazine July 2014 cover (Photo (c) James Forbes)

My Chunky Rainbow Gemstone necklace from the Bead Style magazine July 2014 cover (Photo (c) James Forbes)

Using seed beads (or any other small beads for that matter) and creating “bead soups”—as with bead stitching or weaving—eases the color transitions because they can be made in smaller incremental units.

But how do designers who love to use chunky beads move color across their designs gracefully (as opposed to color blocking) using the larger incremental unit of big beads? Whether you’re using beading wire or chain, it’s still a one-dimensional sequence.

My approach was to use chain instead of beading wire and to layer two strands, both of which gave me more options of where to place bead units. Gathering up almost 50 gemstone beads from my on-hand supplies, I attached the larger stones first and then filled in with the smaller ones. Working on a bust enabled me to see how it was draping and mingling, to aid in moving the color across the piece.

I am delighted to share that my original piece won Bead Style magazine’s cover photo design contest out of over 600 entries and graced the July 2014 issue!

My necklace on the July 2014 issue of Bead Style magazine

My necklace on the July 2014 issue of Bead Style magazine

I just completed a second version of this design as a custom order, and based on the focal pendant the client desired, yellow was now in the center, instead of green, as in the original. This slight “shift of the color wheel” presented new challenges, especially of which colors to end with on each side.

A 2nd version for a custom order with a yellow center focal instead of green

A 2nd version for a custom order with a yellow center focal instead of green

After two antiqued copper versions, a third sterling silver version is on order and in the works!

Linda Tenney
Heart of One Creations
Heart of One Creations at Etsy

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