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The Beading Cycle

Disco ball beads
Disco ball beads – image by annca from Pixabay


Just as with any other trend, beading techniques enjoy a certain amount of popularity and then fade, only to re-emerge when fashion has gone full circle. One cycle period may see bead stringing very much in the spotlight. Then the market becomes saturated with every conceivable combination of strung beads in that season’s colours. Beaders then start to look around for new items to make.

Michael Shields, VP Sales and Marketing at Beadalon® also made this observation:

“In the 36 years that we have been manufacturing jewelry wire, we have witnessed a clear trend that we refer to as “The Seven Year Stringing Cycle.” For approximately seven years, the fashion jewelry industry embraces bead stringing techniques and materials. During this time, most designs are made with thread, elastic cord, nylon cord, beading wire, and memory wire and feature traditional findings like head pins, lobster clasps, and crimp beads. In the opposing seven years, the industry moves away from stringing and knotting and in to stitching, weaving, and heavy use of chains and metals. From our vantage point, this cycle is fairly predictable. We see the cycle begin when a popular jewelry design emerges that captures the industry’s attention.”

Current Trends

The current beaded jewellery fashion is cubic right angle weave. This is just starting to emerge as the technique that everyone wants to learn as it is the (relatively) new kid on the block. We are now seeing extraordinary pieces made using the cubic right angle weave technique. There are plenty of variations to the technique depending on the size and type of beads used. There is such a wonderful selection to choose from. Experimental beaders who take a new idea like this and run with it must be given credit. They inspire others to come up with more creations and avenues to explore.

Other beaders tend to shy away from the technique as they think it is difficult to learn, and in some ways it is. But then to someone who is new to a beading ‘stitch’, 2 and 3-drop peyote may also seem very tricky. Until you give it a go and learn from your mistakes you won’t know.

Personal choices

Personally, I have to say I have never really been into straightforward stringing. I prefer a bit more of a challenge, tending to use bead weaving or stitching techniques. Some of my favourite pieces have been triangular peyote pendants and square tapestries, loomed cuff bracelets, brick stitch earrings and charms. And I absolutely adore CRAW as many of my regular readers will already know. The more complicated the piece, the more I want to try and make it.

Every beader has their favourite technique of course and many stick with what they know. The beading cycle does not really feature in their world. The cycle becomes more apparent when bead suppliers introduce a new type of bead and a new trend is born. This is currently evident in the proliferation of new ‘two hole’ beads emerging. A whole new wave of patterns have been created for them.

There are still some enduring techniques that never really go out of fashion though, such as tubular peyote and beaded kumihimo. But for me, I like to see a well bezelled rivoli or cabachon and an ornate CRAW geometrically aesthetic necklace!!

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