Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Highend beaded creations

Hello there,

I could do with some good advice.

For years now I have been making highly intricate jewellery using
silver chain/ Pearls/Gemstones and Austrian Crystal and boy! has it
been a battle making a living in this country. Just recently while
face to face with the owner of a very salubrious high end store in
Bruges, Belgium the penny dropped and I learned the error of my
ways… I had been making beautifully detailed designs that really
appealed to individuals who moved in higher circles but I was making
them with inexpensive materials to appeal to the pockets of hard
earning ordinary folk (like myself) but the fact was they didn’t have
the taste for what I was doing. Had I got that backwards or what?

Forgive me if I sound snobbish, I am not trying to… I speak from my
experiences here in Ireland. In general Irish people do not like big
statement pieces, they like simple ones that do not draw too much
attention to them. Generally its the high profile professionals and
showbiz types that favour my kind of work and the awful thing is
these people all too often buy outside of the country.

It has been a very interesting lesson to learn… Instead of
catering to the corner of the market that found my work appealing I
was catering to the corner of the market that really didn’t. and its
taken me all this time to figure that one out… well at least I now
know, and realise its time to take my creative endeavours elsewhere
in Europe. I need to be where people appreciate the elaborate red
carpet pieces that I love to make. Its going to be pretty exciting
travelling around Europe finding just the right venues and the right
people to work with, but at least everything is so close here so its
not that difficult to do.

Nannyways I’m going a little off track here…“sorry” The lady I
approached in Belgium loved my work and asked me to make all that I
showed her in Gold, which is absolutely fabulous !!! I have never
worked with Gold and now realise that Silver has really let my work
down. It tarnishes too fast and its really hard to clean when your
using thousands of beads at one time. I have used Argentium too, but
its darker in colour and its kind of cold looking. I now realise that
I should have been using Gold all along, it suits my work sooo much
better. It will be v-expensive to get going with but with a few
sacrifices I will get there. Take a peak at what I do if your
curious, here’s my site

As mentioned above I have not worked with Gold before so I could
really do with some advice from those of you who do.

I will be using Gold Chain and findings, should I use 24 ct all the
way? headpins and all? What is acceptable? I will certainly use 24 ct
for the chain but the other itzee bitzee pieces I’m not to sure
about. Also, while I have your attention does anyone know where I
might find high quality faceted semi precious beads? A UK source
would be great but anywhere else will be just fine too! I would
really appreciate any replies, “thank you” in advance for your help.

Best wishes to all of you from Ireland

Tina – I lurk here but I wanted to say that I think your pieces are
simply breathtaking. I wish you continued success.

The link below will take you to a vendor that carries top-quality
faceted gemstone beads. I’m sure they will work with you should you
need something not currently in stock.

Paula R

Tina, I think you’ll want 14K. 24K will be too mushy for your little
head pins. Maybe 18K might work, but I’d go with 14 for sure.


Hi Tina

You don’t sound snobbish at all. I was in Ireland last year for my
10 year anniversary. It was a beautiful place to be. I thought the
young ladies of Ireland had this incredible “natural” beauty. They
barely wore make up, jewelry not at all. They had this simple,
straight forward fashion sense I commented to my husband “geez, did
you notice how beautiful, the women are? They don’t need any
adornment or make up at all” He said what all good husbands say
"Women? Oh, I hadn’t noticed"

Anyway, your work is very pretty. I use crystals myself and you made
a very good point about moving to higher end material. Your “fruit of
the forest” and "nectar of the vine " pieces are going to be stunning
with the materials you describe.

For gold, I don’t believe you want to use 24k. It’s soft and your
head pin loops are going to come undone. Also, I don’t think it’s
going to hold a shine very well. I believe 18k would be a better
choice (someone can correct me if I am wrong).

For beads, I go to a place called Wondersources in New York. I pick
the beads myself and I realize you are not able to do this…but
the reason I recommend them is I have been using them myself for a
few years now and I find them to be wonderful to deal with. I believe
they will treat you well and be understanding of your needs. Their
website is Not everything they have is on the
site, but you can call them…or email.

If I am off-base on the 24k issue, can someone speak up? There are
those out there on the market who use 24k exclusively and it very
well could be a good material choice…I’m just not sure.

Good Luck Tina!

Kim Starbard

I’d be really careful about choosing 24K. Not the strongest stuff to
hang a lot of weight from. Don’t mix karats. 18K would be the way to
go, imho.

asked me to make all that I showed her in Gold, which is absolutely

before you invest in materials, get a written purchase order with
deposit, since this is a special order. It’d be nice to see a real
commitment from her beyond a verbal remark. Nail down terms and
conditions. Also discuss with her real expectations of the retail
price of your pieces in gold and genuine stones in context of her
market. Depending what you choose for materials you might easily
exceed 5,000-10,000/piece. This is not a place to be speculative and
hopeful. You both need willing buyers who are comfortable in that

Don’t shoot from the hip. Price out your materials before you go

It’s good that you discovered that you can work hard for a hundred
dollars or work the same for a thousand. But don’t let the
intoxicating effect of big numbers cloud your good sense. Keep in
mind what will happen if the deal sours. Basically cover yourself.

Sorry if I sound doom and gloom. Its not intended as a downer. Just
call it contingency planning.

Hi Tina,

I am sure you are going the right way, sell to rich people, they
have more money.

It is a shame you didn’t ask this a couple of months ago, you have
just missed the International Jewellery London show at Earls Court.
It is the show with the most stone and bead dealers, better than the
NEC show in february. Have a look at their website for suppliers,
they get a lot of continental sellers over now, and it is easy to
compare quality and prices.

One to suggest is Marcia Lanyon, not really my area though.I would
have thought 24ct was overkill, and a bit soft for wear. Most people
I know unless they are Indian would only expect 18 ct, and you will
find a much better range of findings,

regards Tim.

Hello Tina; Iwanted to give you a source for beads, it is Zarlene in
Florida, the reason that I mention them is this; if you want
something special cut they will do it. I have a patented
Interchangeable bead ring and I wanted them to custom cut some CZ
cube beads and they would do it or anything else I wanted but I had
to order 100 pieces. But in beads 100 pieces isn’t too bad.

So if you have a special project that you want to make extra special
with one of a kind beads, you may want to have them cut you
something special, thay also have an extensive line of nice stones
and beads at reasonable prices.

You want to ask for Romeo (easy name to remember) and tell him That
Gregg in Albuquerque referred you (may not matter but can’t hurt)
Really fabulous stuff too buy the way; I know because I do alot of
Bead shows.

Good luck…Gregg

I would like to very respectfully reply to your posting. First, let
me say your creations are absolutely inspiring! I love the volume and
delicacy I see at the same time.

As for your question about which gold to use for the chain and
headpins, etc., since gold is so expensive, keep in mind that the
bulk of your materials that are actually seen and appreciated seems
to be the crystals and bead/pearls, etc., and not the chain so much.
In my very humble and sincere opinion, I wouldn’t use anything more
than 14k. It’s standard, doesn’t tarnish, and the amount of actual
metal that is seen doesn’t warrant anything higher than that to give
the appearance of glamor and richness. If you have more gold visible
on your finished pieces, then I would certainly opt for the color of
gold (usually meaning higher karat gold for a richer color)
preference for the piece I was making. I would love to work with 18k
gold or some of the colored golds. I’ve used 14k gold fill with
crystals and it’s beautiful. But if the major visual is the
additions to the gold, I would play those up and not the gold. Just
a thought.

I do understand the problem with using silver. It’s a pain. I’ve
done similar work with silver and crystals (by far not nearly as
wonderful as what you have accomplished) and have actually used the
liquid stuff that you dip flatware into. I’ve dipped my pieces,
crystals and all, and they come out beautiful. It’s just corrosive
enough to be a problem if it’s done often,but it doesn’t seem to
effect the crystals (even the AB) at all on very occasional use. I
don’t think it should be done as a regular cleaning, though, which
takes us back to how do you clean the silver in such intricate
pieces. It might be interesting to actually blacken all the silver
and use very bright crystals for a different look. Then you can use
silver and not have to worry about the cleaning or tarnishing. The
blue is exceptionally lovely with the blackened silver, especially
if the crystals have a silver AB finish.

My two cents.


have actually used the liquid stuff that you dip flatware into.
I've dipped my pieces, crystals and all, and they come out
beautiful. It's just corrosive enough to be a problem if it's done

I like the way an Ionic cleaner does the job. No damage to the stones
or crystals and cleans up the tarnish off silver. I cleaned a piece
set with Russian Rainbow Pyrite cab and it even cleaned the pyrite.
It came out sparkling and the customer was thrilled. Look for
SpeedBrite as the brand name.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hello Tina…beautiful and time consuming work! Just FYI There is a
high-end store here in Michigan that has an 18Kt beaded necklace with
rubies and sapphires (which of course increases the cost) and I
notice it has been in the store for over a year. I think 14kt gold
would be sufficient also, but you should check with your clients and
ask for their opinion. Cost out the various metals to see if you can
make enough for your efforts. 14 does have a mellower look that 18kt.
good luck!


Tina, I’m not really a bead person, but I mostly want to also
compliment your work - very nice and yes, it should be gold. I’ll
echo Neil’s thoughts: get it in writing for orders. If you want to
work on spec for yourself that’s different. As for gold, you are in
Europe, which means 18kt. 24k is much too soft for the weight of
your beads, plus the cost and physical weight of it will add up real


I know you are very aware that the “gold” standard in the UK of 9
Kt, is not considered gold in Europe, nor is the US 14K. No matter
what anyone suggests, 18K is the minimum you may consider.

Yes 24K is too soft for Head Pins, but buying Head Pins in high
karat gold is overkill. Buy the Wire, in whatever gauge you prefer to
work with, and then cut the length you need for a head pin. Secure
the wire in a solid plier with just a hair beyond the edge, and give
it a strong tap, creating your own head pin, or if you use a torch,
simply bead the end. Far less expensive in the long run, and you can
make each pin, exactly the length needed for the component.

I think stepping up in quality of stones and karat gold is a good
direction for you, and yes, get some firm orders before continuing.

I know of only one other person using such multiples of beads in a
design, and have not heard a word about him in years.

You have a secure niche market.



No matter what anyone suggests, 18K is the minimum you may

I forgot to mention yesterday that small gemstone beads like the
ones you will be using have teeny tiny holes. Please keep this in
mind as you decide what type and size wire you work with. Typically,
round beads and rondells are easier to deal with than briolettes.
This is because, in some beads if not all, the drilling process is
such that the hole is drilled to the midpoint from one side and then
to that same midpoint from the other side. It is all too often that
the result is not a straight hole…the beads look great all the
way until you try to insert the wire and the wire will not go all the
way through the bead (boy that stinks). The other thing is that when
this happens with beads, that midpoint is a point of greater
abrasion. All things to just consider and by no means let them stop
you in any way. Talk to your supplier about your needs and order the
beads and a little wire first (see if the wire works) and then order
the rest of your wire.

Best of luck!
Kim Starbard


Thanks a million for your advice, I really need every bit I can get.
Thanks also so much for your comments on my work, you made me feel
great!! I feel like I’m on the right track in changing from Silver
to Gold, but its great support to hear that you agree with me. For
the first time in a long time I feel like I know what I have to do
and how to go about it, its just a matter of sourcing the materials
(which will take a while) but I feel like I’m moving in the right
direction and that feels really good. Don’t worry I will get
everything in writing and make sure I get paid before I send on the
boodle " ha! ha!"

Thanks once again


Thanks so much for your advice, but I am not confident about being
able to give the pins a clean and polished finish it would take a
fair bit of practice and with that comes waste, so I think ill stick
to professionally finished pins.The problem will be finding 18kt
pins… do you happen to know of a source? Don’t worry I will firm up
orders before I move forward. Everything will have to be on paper and
payments will have to come before delivery, I cant afford the risk.
Thanks for your support !! and it is very interesting to hear of how
few are doing the kind of work I do, that does sound promising

Thank you so much Teresa you are very kind to have taken the time to
advise me, I really appreciate it.

Lots of Hugs back to you !


Thanks a million for your all essential advice, I will stick with
18kt and I wont mix Karats “thank you, you have been really
helpful”. Don’t worry, I am just pricing up at the moment and then
ill send on a rough estimate before I go ahead with any orders, and
even then I will get it all on paper. There will have to be a written
agreement between us and I will make sure I get paid before delivery.
She seems to really value unique and limited in addition pieces and
has assured me that her customers have no limited high disposable
incomes… sounds like heaven… mmmmm!! just what I’ve been
searching for, for the past ten years I’ve just been looking in the
wrong country…That said, I am not taking here word for it everything
will be firmed up before I move one toe forward, there will be no
funny handshakes closing this deal.

Thanks again for your support, best wishes to you.


Thanks Kim,

Yeah I know, it does stink when the pins wont go all the way
through… I have had that experience before. I will try talking to
supplier about it before I get in too deep. Thank you for you
detailed description, it is good to know the source of the problem. I
will be using headpins, so the chances are… I am going to have

Your previous mail was so lovely!! Congratulations on your 10th
Anniversary by the way! I am so glad that you enjoyed your trip to
Ireland its not a bad spot this little sod of turf I live on, and the
people well… you could find yourself in much worse company.We are
shy and gentle souls, and we find compliments hard to accept but I
will say “thank you for yours” you are so very nice.

Yeah I agree, Fruit of the Forrest and Nectar of the vine will look
stunning when I remake them in Gold, I cant wait !! its just a matter
of finding the right stones and 18kt headpins and chain, right now
I’m finding that difficult. Ohhh! just checked out the link you sent
me!!! Arrrrrrrragh !!! and the site has everything I need!! “Thank
you” sooooooo much!! I am really delighted!! now all I need to do is
source the headpins and chain, even Rio Grande only supply 14kt chain
and they don’t have Gold headpins at all, would you happen to know of
a source? I don’t know quite where to begin. Don’t worry if you don’t
have a source, you have already been incredibly kind and generous.

Thanks Kim
Best wishes


Thank you so much for your compliments on my work you are very kind
to write. My potential customer wants me to make the pieces in Gold,
and as I recall she did say 18kt so I had better run with that. But I
do get your point and it is a very good one. 14kts would be adequate
for the a non tarnishing Gold effect but unfortunately I cant use it.
I hadn’t been aware of it, but Teresa Masters saved my beacon by
telling me that 14kt Gold is not recognised in Europe as Gold…
interesting isn’t it? so its looking like 18kts is the only way to go
for me because 24 is much too soft. I have used Patina to blacken
silver before just out of curiosity and the effect although
interesting wasn’t for me, I love shine and lustre. Good idea though.
Yeah I’m tired of Silver, its been a constant embarrassment over the

Thanks for getting in touch Veronica, you have made some very good
points and been so very kind and supportive. Best wishes to you in
all that you do.


Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all your replies" all great advice which I fully
intend to follow.

  1. 18 kt all the way, do not mix with other Karats Such helpful
    advice I would have been lost without you all “thank you”, and
    Teresa thanks so much for filling me in on the standard of Karats
    required in Europe, I had no idea.

  2. Get everything on paper and have a “business agreement” I had
    planned going this route to protect myself. Sometimes a business
    relationship is only as good as the paper its written on and the
    words that define it therein.

  3. Only part with jewellery when purchase order has been placed “I
    don’t plan on parting with me jewels until I get paid”

Thanks so much for the links and leads. With your help I have found
a Gemstone bead supplier and I know exactly what karat is going to
work for me. I haven’t found a supplier for the chain or headpins
yet but I will get there, if anyone has any ideas I would be
incredibly grateful.

Thank you all for your wonderful compliments, support and warmth.

Best wishes and success to you in all that you do.



Your work alone speaks volumes for your abilities. Consider a bit of
18K Gold Metal Work. You may find making your own Gold chain as
fulfilling as your bead work. It takes similar concentration and
precision, but is very simple. You do not need a lot of fancy
equipment, just wire and fire, or even using a crochet method, wire

Let me assure you, not a bit of gold will be lost, either in making
head pins or chain. It is so easy to recover, either by refining, or
melting and reforming.

I have total faith in your abilities, and Orchid Archives are full
of great supportive