Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pearls of Life: For the Personal Spiritual Journey

My book finally arrived in the mail today.  I've been waiting for over three weeks.  This is the first time I've ever ordered a used book from Chapters and the experience has been relatively satisfying.  The book is in the condition they stated in their description: cover worn, edges dusty/dirty, clean interior.  What they did not tell me was that I would not be receiving the bracelet that originally came with the book, so I'm a little disappointed.

Not disappointed enough to return the book for a refund, but enough that I sent an e-mail to the vendor suggesting that they might want to include such details in further listings.  The contents of the book are more important to me than the bracelet, and I'm happy to have the book.  Considering it is out of print & classified as 'rare', I got it for a good price.

The Pearls of Life were created by a Lutheran Bishop, while he was stranded by a storm on a small Greek island, to help guide his prayer.  When he got back to civilization, he shared the idea with others.  He was amazed at their response and their stories of ever deepening prayer.  The book describes the meaning of each pearl (bead) and how it may be used in personal devotions.

While the bead strand was designed by a Christian, i think that the concept is very adaptable to any belief system.  Each of the eighteen beads has a specific meaning as explained in the book and can be easily modified to suit each individual person.  It is my aim to first create a bead set for myself than to share the idea others, hopefully, helping us all deepen the spiritual connection to our greater power and the universe at large.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mixed-Media Jewelry

More and more jewelry makers & designers are pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches to jewelry making.  Beyond the basic bead stringing and wire-work, they have started to explore other options in techniques and materials used. They are mixing, layering and utilizing aspects from other craft forms and joining them together to create some unique pieces....typically one-of-a-kind.  This form of exploratory jewelry has become known as 'mixed-media jewelry'.

Individual designers can incorporate elements to reflect their own personal style and personality.  That can include glass, fibers, paper, buttons, ribbon, bottle caps, shells and many other bits & pieces found on their travels.  The selection of materials or methods is limited only by the imagination of the artist.  The finished pieces are fun & whimsical, stand out in a crowd and are great conversation starters.

While browsing through some used books at the antique warehouse on the weekend, I came across a fabulous book that brought this jewelry making genre to the forefront of my attention.  Of course, I'd seen pieces that were made in this style before but did not know that the style had a name.  I purchased the book, a bargain at one third of the original retail price, and began reading it as soon as I got home.

I'm inspired now to gather together all the odds & ends I have around here and experimenting with my own version of mixed-media jewelry.  Hopefully, I will have some samples to share soon.  Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conducting a Survey: Cloak Clasps

I'm conducting a survey at the Mystic Roots Conference (April 8-10) to determine the top three, best liked designs among the cloak clasps.  There are several new designs this year, as well as some favourites from last year, to chose from.

Anyone who participates will have their name put in a draw.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 10th and will receive one set of cloak clasps of their choice.   If you cannot attend Mystic Roots but would still like to participate and get your name in the draw, please contact me by e-mail before April 5th (e-mail link below).  I will send the survey to you to complete.

I must receive your answers before April 7th in order for you to be included in the draw.   If your name is selected but you are not there personally, I will contact you for your mailing address and ship your prize via Canada Post.

Please note, only one entry per person so everyone has an equal opportunity to win the prize.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Product: Wire Wrapped Rings

One day, I came across a free tutorial online for making wire wrapped spiral rings.  I knew my friend Rose, of Country Rune, liked to work with wire, so I sent the website along to her.  At first she only planned to make a few rings for herself, but it has since blossomed into much more!  Here is a photo of the original ring in the tutorial.....

She purchased a ring mandrel on eBay and (im)patiently waited for it to arrive.  With her first attempt at making the spiral ring, she realized that she was unable to follow the instructions, in spite of the fact that they were very clear ones.  Never one to give up easily, she let her creative streak run wild and decided to try wire wrapping beads to make rings.  Doing some research online had shown her that there was no limit to what she could wrap.

The hunt began for some vintage buttons and old beads she could re-purpose into rings.  She loves to recycle things, turning something old into something new, so it was a logical next step.  Her husband has been quite the enabler, finding & selecting ones she should wrap.  When presented with so many options, Rose often has difficulty knowing where to begin so his support has been greatly appreciated.

She prefers to use 20 guage copper or brass wire.  While the tutorials and photos get her started, her creative nature takes over and branches out in all directions.  Her head keeps flooding with new style ideas to the point where she has trouble falling asleep some nights.  Her mind is too busy visualizing how she can execute that new design.  She even has ideas for making wire wrapped bracelets & necklaces too.  Some day she plans to go back and try to make the original spiral ring successfully....but not today.

At last count, over the last month, she's made over 100 wire wrapped rings and she has only kept five for herself!  You can see some of them above.  Her love for jewelry came from her Mom and Rose has found it difficult not to keep more of them.  She is currently selling her rings on Etsy, and I'd like to announce that Jasper Moon will be carrying a selection of her rings at events also.  Check out her Etsy shop to see more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ostara: The Life Force of Spring

Long ago, the Germanic goddess, Ostara, was celebrated each spring with festivals honouring re-birth and renewal.  Ostara is the living symbol for air and the life force of spring. East represents the element of air and our mental powers. Air is about new beginnings and allowing your spirit to soar. 

Easter, like most Pagan festivals, evolved into a Christian holiday focusing, not on the goddess, but on the biblical Jesus and his "rebirth" or "resurrection".  Even so, Easter somehow managed to retain all the fertility symbols, like the Easter Basket.  (I always wondered what the Easter Basket had to do with Christ's resurrection, didn't you?) 

Ostara is goddess of joy, new beginnings and fertility. That is where Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies come in. Eggs are an obvious symbol for fertility and the rabbit has a well known reputation of being quite prolific.  Eggs were, and still are by the Germanic people, dyed or painted bright colors as an offering to her....presented in a basket.  She is also goddess of the dawn.

Right now is the perfect time to build and dedicate a small shrine to Ostara so that you can begin to bring in the energy & vibration for new beginnings and fertility into your life. This is the time of year when we symbolically wake up from our winter slumber and become more alert and active. 

Here are some of the elements you can include in your shrine to Ostara:

- Brightly colored stones such as Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Calcite, Citrine and/or Aquamarine
- Hard boiled eggs, preferably coloured or brown
- Seeds or rice
- Feather (symbol for air)
- Incense
- Rabbit figurine
- Spring flowers

Ostara's shrine will help our minds become fertile once again with ideas, making it very easy to take advantage of the vibrations this season offers us. This is a good time for starting new projects of all kinds. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry: The Complete Guide to Turning Your Passion into Profit

This little 94-page book by Viki Lareau is packed full of useful information for anyone contemplating opening a jewelry business.  Viki is a jewelry-business mentor.  Her expert knowledge and wide experiences are invaluable for anyone looking to take their hobby to the next level.  From designing your own unique style and choosing a company name to creating effective marketing materials and selling at craft shows she will guide you along your journey.

There are numerous case studies and engaging personal stories about the success of others.  Viki starts with the basics and progresses through business licenses to the fine art of pricing for profit.  There are plenty of full-colour photographs to help you easier visualize the concepts she is introducing to you.  This is a must-have resource if you are starting a jewelry business.  It's making me think and develop a plan.  I'm learning a lot.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vendor Profile: Angelyques Trinkets

Josianne has been making jewelry as long as she can remember.  She began selling it on consignment on Queen Street in Toronto when she was 15 years old.  Her company, Angelyques Trinkets, has now become her living.  It all started with jewelry and has branched out into millnery and sewing.

She creates a great selection of goth, pagan, steampunk, pirate and rockabilly items from jewelry & hair accessories to hats & tiaras.  She offers custom orders of any sort.  Angelyques Trinkets is not a bricks & mortar shop.  Josianne sells her wares via her Etsy shop, as well as, at various craft shows, music festivals, pagan conferences, etc.  It was at this type of event where her and I first met.

I'd like to share one of her latest designs with you...

According to Josianne, a large number of feet of wire was wasted trying to figure out how to make a wire wrapped pentacle. She found that the shape doesn't lend itself to wire wrapping very well and ended up drawing it on paper, then marking where she could join the pieces.

The first one wasn't the prettiest of them all, she tells me, but a little practice got her there. She now makes them easily, even in a tiny size for earrings. The many colours of artistic wire that are available make the colour combinations nearly endless, but she leans toward a monochromatic look.  As the design evolves, she wants to find a way to add a few little tiny crystals to the piece.

To see more of Josianne's work, go to her Etsy shop.....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Selling Your Creations Online

A great photograph of your creation will attract the attention of a potential buyer and your description of it must grab & keep their interest, hopefully, to the completion of a purchase.  Since they cannot touch or feel what you are offering, you have to make it come alive for them.  They have to be able to visualize it displayed their home or wearing it on their body.

How do you do that?  First, you can tell them what inspired you to create the piece.  It reveals to the buyer that your work is an expression of your experience and a labour of love.  Share a bit about yourself, become a real person, a friend to them.  Help them understand what is so special about your creation.

Provide jazzy descriptions of the colours & materials used to help make your item pop off the screen.  If the buyer can imagine how it will look 'in person', you are one step closer to selling it to them.  Get them excited at the prospect of owning it.  Be sure to provide accurate dimensions, size or shape.  The buyer who recieves what they are expecting is more likely to purchase again and recommend your work to others.  Happy customers are your best advertisers.

And please, please, please....double check for spelling, grammar & punctuation errors.  Bad writing style & form might communicate to your potential buyers that you don't take pride in your work.  Any good word processing program can help you check for errors.  And don't forget, a (good) picture is worth a thousand words.  Good luck and happy selling!

Random Acts of Kindness

A friend from Australia shared this link on facebook yesterday and it gave me such warm fuzzy feelings that I want to share it with you.  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is the heart of the kindness movement whose aim is to help everyone create a better world by spreading awareness and increasing engagement in kind actions.  It was established in 1995 as a non-profit organization.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website is a resource for people committed to spreading kindness. They provide a wide variety of materials, including ideas for educators and schools, activities and lesson plans, inspirational quotations, videos and workplace resources—all free of charge.  As people from different cultures and from all walks of life join to spread kindness, they are creating a powerful, synergistic action throughout the world.

If you keep your eyes open, you’ll discover that kindness is all around us.  You can keep track of the kindness in your life in a journal or blog. Write about the ways you have been kind to people and about how others have been kind to you.  Writing about kindness will help you think in a more positive way in all facets of your life.

Commit to doing one kind thing for someone different every day for an entire year! Document your journey of kindness in a blog or journal, which will hopefully encourage other people to be kind too.  What a great idea!  The world could sure use a lot more kindness.  For more information about the foundation, to read inspiration stories or for kindness ideas, go to.....

And remember, "No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Forward Into The Past - April 2, 2011

Forward Into The Past is a one-day symposium that arranges speakers on a broad range of historical topics including the arts and crafts practiced by various cultures, history of particular regions, cultures, or times, and where feasible allows this learning to be conducted in a hands-on environment. An open-format day, Forward Into The Past is designed to allow academics, experimental archaeologists, members of the public, and members of various historical re-enactment and recreation groups to gather and explore history.

Both Jerry and I will be teaching workshops at this event.  Can you believe it?  We will be teaching at a university!  He will be doing a one hour  'Chain Mail For Beginners' class, as well as, a two hour 'Chain Mail - Beyond the Basics' class.  There is no charge for his classes but please bring along two pairs of pliers if you have them.  He will only have a few pairs available. 

I will be conducting a 'lecture' and workshop titled 'Tree of Life - Myth & Symbolism'.  During this session, you will discover the diverse cultural references to the tree of life throughout the ages, while creating your own unique pendant to take home with you.  There is a materials fee of $10.  Your kit will contain everything you need, including your choice of gemstone chips (peridot, citrine, amethyst, smoky quartz) and a colour printout of the instructions.

There are plenty of other sessions of interest to attend also, something for everyone.  FITP will be held in the Bricker Academic Building at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON on April 2, 2011.  Pre-registration is open now and classes are filling up fast.  You can find out more on this event on their website below... 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

De-Clutter the FlyLady Way

Since I was having difficulty developing & maintaining a systematic plan for de-cluttering my house on my own, I went looking for some sort of resource to help me with the process.  A friend introduced me to the FlyLady.

The FlyLady is a personal online coach who will help you gain control of your environment.  She has a no-nonsense approach to getting your house & your life in order.  Her unique way of weaving housecleaning tips with humour & daily reflections about life is engaging.

You can follow along with the daily & weekly tasks directly from the website or join the e-list to get the information via e-mail.  Let me warn you though, there are a lot of messages sent everyday containing reminders to keep you on task, along with some inspiring & hearwarming stories.  She injects a lot of fun into the whole process to keep you motivated.

One of my favourite tasks is the '27-Fling Boogie'.  The name itself makes me smile and want to do it.  As fast as you can, you walk through your house with a garbage bag in hand & throw in 27 things to send to the trash bin.  Don't stop until you have all 27 items in the bag, then tie it up and pitch it!

Next, take an empty box and go through your home collecting 27 items to give away.  As soon as you finish filling the box, take it directly to your car to drop off at your local Goodwill. You will be less tempted to rescue anything from the box if it is already out of your house.  It feels good every time I do this and my home is becoming de-cluttered bit by bit.  She suggests that you sing 'Please Release Me, Let Me Go' from the perspective of stuff you are tossing out as you go.  Your family may think you've gone crazy!  LOL

For more information or to sign up, go to.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Summer Holidays Chain Maille Pendant

Here's another project that I thought I would share with you this evening.  There are a lot of great tutorials, beading instructions and jewelry making techniques on the Fire Mountain Gems website.  Of course, the main objective is to sell product from their site and I'm sure it works a lot of the time....just not with me.  *smile"

I found the free instructions for this project from a link on their e-newsletter, something else to try to entice you to buy stuff from them.  They put a lot of effort into marketing, I'll give them that much.  I've just never found it to be cost effective to order from the US.  Besides, I'm very tactile by nature and like to touch & feel something before buying it.  I'm typically disappointed if I buy anything online.  It usually does not live up to my expectations.

This chain mail pendant is easy to make.  There are lots of diagrams to show you how to put it together.  And since I have a readily available source of rings, I thought I'd give it a shot.  I found that it would only 'hang' like in the photo when it was lying down.  As soon as I put any upward pressure on it, as when hanging it on a cord to wear, some of the lower rings flipped up.  Now, it could have been the type and size of rings I was using or the weight of the 'crystal' I used.

I'm sure that I'll go back and play with it again some day, try to get it right.  In the meantime, I thought that some of you might like to see how it turns out for you!  Look through some of the other tutorials on the Fire Mountain Gems website too.  Happy crafting!


I'm always on the look-out for cool new ideas, and this one really intrigued me so much that I purchased the tutorial.  If you are into astrology, you will really like it too.

Beadstrology™ combines astrology with the craft of beading in a very creative way.  The process of making this necklace will help you understand your birth chart better as your planets, signs and houses take shape in your hands.  The finished piece will be a representation or map of the heavens when you were born.

Once you've gathered together all the materials & tools you need, it should only take you and hour or two to complete.  The instructions are simple enough for a beginner beader to understand, yet the results will please any level of beading enthusiast.  There are plenty of photos to guide you and the instructions are clear & concise.

Included with your tutorial is a Gemstone Bead Suggestion chart to help you select the right beads for the sun, moon and all the planets.  There is also a page that will help you read your birth chart.  If you don't have a copy of your birth chart, you can purchase one from the Beadstrology™ website.

Never one to be heavy into astrology, this project is still on my 'TO DO' list because the concept of it appeals to me.  Beadstrology™ designs & tutorials were developed & written by Corrine Kenner, the author of 'Crystals for Beginners'.  For more information or to purchase the tutorial go to....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Story Can Sell a Product

You have an item you want to sell, let's say it's a necklace.  A necklace is a necklace.  It doesn't matter how long it took you to make it, it's just a necklace.  You think it's a nice necklace.  Something unique.  It may include some 'special' beads, maybe hand-made lampwork or semi-precious gemstone beads.  Perhaps you did some fancy wirework technique you learned at a recent workshop.  It's still just a necklace, something you can describe in words.

Sophisticated buyers don't want a 'necklace'.  They can get those at any discount store or flea market.  What they want is a unique, hand-made necklace but more than that, they want the story behind it.  They want to be able to tell people that it's a one-of-a-kind necklace, plus a lot more.  Was it made out of antique bits & bobbles and where did you find them?  Where did you learn how to do that?  What is the symbolic meaning of the gemstones you used?  Tell them a little about the glass bead maker or how lampwork beads are made.

It's true, you can describe your necklace in bland terms and people may still buy it. However, you are limiting yourself to a narrow market, as well as, limiting how much you can sell your necklace for.  You want to sell conversation pieces, something your buyer can talk about to their friends.  Add 'value' to your piece by telling an engaging tale about it.  Garner interest in your work through people who have purchased your necklace and share the story with others.  They can be your best advertisers!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Last Chance to Get 2010 Pricing

I work at a shipping supplies company and for the past six weeks, every single day, I've had to explain to customers why their prices for the same products are increasing.  Nobody wants to have to pay more for what they purchase.  I don't blame them, neither do I.  But we have received so many increase notice letters from our suppliers lately that I can't keep track of them all.  They arrive every day on the fax machine or by e-mail.  And the reason is always the same, 'due to the increased cost of raw materials' they must increase our cost, and we in turn, must raise customer prices.  That's the reality of it.

Unfortunately, I have to extend that same policy to many of the product lines that Jasper Moon carries.  So here I go, one more time....due to the increased cost of raw materials, some prices will have to increase in 2011.  I don't have a choice, I have to do it.  The remainder of my 2010 stock of cloak clasps will be selling for the same price of $20.00 per set for the month of March 2011.  As of April 1st, the price will raise to $25.00 per set.  Minimum wholesale quantity will change from 6 to 12, your choice of designs.

Speaking about designs, there will be four new designs availabe in April.  See teaser photo below....

The Celtic cross will be available with or without an acrylic gem in the centre.  I love the new Tree of Life design!  The round Celtic knot and the dragon clasps should be very popular too.  Several of the original designs from last year will still be available. Some designs are being retired to make room for the cool new ones.

Having to raise prices isn't something that any of us 'want', neither me as a vendor or you as a customer, but I hope all the fabulous new products that I will be bringing to you this year will more than make up for the increases.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creativity, Financial Gain & Modern Values

The urge to create and the need to make money are often in conflict with each other but, I ask you, how do you compete in the global marketplace?  Especially when there is someone, somewhere, willing to make it cheaper, typically substituting quantity for quality, and people who are willing to purchase it on the price point alone.  I've found that you need to compromise a lot and 'suffer for your art'.  Hand-made products are not valued as they once were.  How can they be when there are tons of cheap imitations and bargain basement buys imported from countries where the minimum wage is a few pennies a day?

And this stuff comes into the country by the container load!  Do you know how big one of those things is and how much will fit into them?  A large container is forty feet long and fits on the bed of a transport truck, a small one is half of that.  Let's take one item as an example...a beaded necklace, since I make beaded necklaces.  Can you imagine how many single beaded necklaces would fit into one container, even one of the small ones?  I can't.  It must be hundreds of thousands of them! 

Buying an item hand-crafted by a local Canadian artisan should mean something and it should be valued as such.  In the modern world though, it doesn't matter to most people that you've used the finest materials and poured your heart & soul into making this one-of-a-kind item with care & precision. If they can get something at the dollar store or other retail outlet for less that will do the same basic job, they will.

Let's discuss another scenario.  Jerry Penner, The Chain Mail Guy, makes and sells, among other things, chain mail shirts for medieval re-enactors.  He starts with raw wire, winds it into coils, cuts them into rings and knits them together with two pairs of pliers, one ring at a time.  He's developed a special method for cutting them that eliminates all the sharp bits that can poke into you & hurt, and for good measure, he tumbles each finished shirt to get any that may have been missed.  One of his chain mail shirts sells for approximately $600, depending on the metal used, size of the shirt, ring diameter, etc.

But anybody can go online and find a chain mail shirt that 'looks' the same, made in India, for $100.  A few clicks of the mouse and the shirt can be purchased & shipped directly to your home.  The problem only arises after that $100 shirt has been worn once or twice and it begins to fall apart.  The customer has no recourse.  There is no warranty on it.  There is no one to call about it.  Jerry, on the other hand, does guarantee his work and is a phone call away.  He takes pride in what he creates and stands behind it.  One of his chain mail shirts will last a lifetime. 

The majority of people only look at the bottom line though, not considering that the more 'expensive' item might end up being the best buy after all.  It's unfortunate that values have changed so dramatically in our modern world.  I, for one, don't like the shift.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prayer Beads For All Traditions

Various religious traditions use prayer beads, including Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicanism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.  Increasing numbers of pagans are now embracing prayer beads as an important tool in their spiritual practice too. However, the image that seems to come to mind first for most people when I mention that I make and sell prayer beads is the Catholic rosary.  And, unfortunately, many people have very negative associations with them.  That's made prayer beads a really 'hard to sell' item for me.

How can I encourage people to set aside their prejudices and perceptions?  How do I convey to people that prayer beads can have noticeable physical, metaphysical and psychological effects on their users? They can be used to count repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions. They may also be used for meditation, protection from negative energy, or for relaxation.  Since the beads are fingered in an automatic manner, they allow the user to keep track of how many prayers or chants have been uttered or breaths taken with a minimal amount of conscious effort.  That, in turn, allows greater attention to be paid to the prayers, chants or breaths themselves.

The number of beads varies depending on the different religions but I won't go into all of the traditions that I've researched here.  Suffice it to say that when I began my company, Jasper Moon, one of my main motivating forces was the desire to bring prayer beads to a wider audience.  I wanted to share the benefits that I was finding from my own use of them to anyone who would listen.  Using prayer beads helps release the stress brought about by our daily problems, concerns and apprehensions. It is effective for relaxation and useful for meditation purposes.  *Big sigh*  Not many would listen though and I got discouraged.

Typically not one to give up easily, I plan to change direction a bit this year and introduce some new prayer bead strands to my offerings in the hope of bringing them to more people.  I've already made some sets of the Komboloi (worry beads), that I wrote about in a previous blog entry (here), along with my 'signature' Tree of Life prayer beads.  I'm also working on a different interpretation of the contemporary 'Pearls of Life' prayer beads, invented by a Lutheran pastor in Sweden, into a more universal set that can be adapted to any traditon or practice.  Each of the eighteen beads will have its own basic significance that individual users will be able to attach their own specific meaning to.  In that way, the beads become very 'personal'. 

Stay tuned for updates on my progess!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Birthstone: Aquamarine

Aquamarine is one of the world’s most coveted gems. The ancient Greeks proclaimed its beauty highly prized, because it 'sparkles like the sea touched by the summer sun in purest tropical waters'. Its stunning color can range in tone from a light to medium blue, but many have a slight tint of green color.

Generally speaking, the darker shades are more valued but many people favour the lively brightness of lighter hues. It is not uncommon that aquamarines come in big sizes, many over 10 carats.  In some parts of the world, people have found aquamarine crystals weighing a few hundred pounds!  The most valuable aquamarines come from Brazil, but it is also mined in Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and the U.S.A.

Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and make one youthful. It is said to bring peace and calm to its owner, relieving stress and enhancing intuition. It has long been considered a lucky stone, especially by sailors, who carried it to keep them safe at sea and prevent seasickness.

As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and to harmonize diseased areas of the body.  In the Middle Ages, it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons.  Water in which this gemstone had been submerged was used in ancient times to heal a variety of illnesses of the heart, liver, stomach, mouth and throat.

Round, nugget & faceted aquamarine beads are readily available for your jewelry projects but they tend to be more expensive than other gemstones.  Teamed with black pearls or onyx beads these bright blue colored beads will make your design stand out in the crowd.