My first project as a member of the Prima Bead Blog Team was to create a piece of jewelry using Prima Bead’s newest product, Stainless Steel Elegance. And of course, they sent me lots of other goodies to inspire me, but I honestly really wanted to keep this one simple. Most of the jewelry I design is created using sterling silver and 14K Gold Fill. So the challenge of working with such a different metal was pretty exciting!
I have a couple goals as a PBBT member, and that is to focus on using Prima Bead’s products, supplies and tools. There will be times that I will veer from that, but I really want to be able to showcase their product and be able to detail my experience with it.
My first impression was that I like the weight and feel of the Stainless Steel Elegance. The metal, if you’ve never used Stainless Steel before, is smooth & cool & has a slightly industrial look to it. My intro package included the following SSE items:
As a die-hard fidgeter, I love the feel and movement of charm bracelets, so I decided to go that route for this design. First I considered fabricating a bracelet using the split rings they sent, but I LOVED the look and feel of the rolo chain and decided to work with that instead. But all they included in my package was an 18 inch necklace, so it looked like some modifications were going to be needed….
After I cut the length of chain and secured it to the clasp & closure, I was pleased to see that I had enough left over for a pair of dangly earrings – Woo Hoo!
I used the Crystazzi Purple Passion bicone mix and the Black Satin Oval package. I thought these lent an urban, sophisticated feel to the SSE chain, but were still feminine and sparkly; two things that appeal to me.
The headpins provided were just fine for the Black Satin Oval beads, but I wanted to do something to give the little 4mm bicones some oomph. So I snipped the ends of the headpin and used my round nose pliers to create a nice loop, which I then hammered lightly to catch the light.
After securing three Black Satin Oval bead to one strand and two to the other, I then added three Purple Passion bicones to frame each oval bead. I think the modified headpins were a good choice – they added a bit of a length to the bicones and continue with the goal of showcasing what can be done with the SSE product line. And, ta-da, here is the finished piece:
Overall, the effect was what I was trying to achieve, although I had a couple things I had to work around. First, the headpins were heavy enough that they did not fit through the loops in the chain, so I found that creating my loops a little bigger allowed me to slip them over the chain, rather than through it. This actually was sort of a nice surprise, because the charms now slide freely along the length of the chain rather than remaining stationed at a particular link. This is a fun and different effect that I think I quite like. I believe that the headpins are probably a 22 gauge (or possibly even 20 gauge) wire, which is quite a bit larger than I typically use. My suggestion to Prima Bead would be to mark their packaging to reflect the diameter of the headpin, which would help to ensure that crafters purchase exactly the size they need.
Never having work with SS before, I definitely have to say there is a learning curve that goes along with it. It was somehow both stiffer and more malleable than sterling, and took some getting used to. I think it would be the perfect metal for designers working with mixed metals (wouldn’t it look fabulous with copper?!), or for anyone creating Steampunk style jewelry. I think the look is definitely urban and a little edgy.
I am curious to hear about your experiences (not to mention, TIPS!) working with Stainless Steel. What did you think of it? How do you think it’s best used in jewelry design?