Peyote stitch, especially with cylinder beads such as Delicas, forms structural pieces with clean lines. Adding gemstones is one of my favorite ways to dress up these pieces that become Shaped Peyote Stitch Jewelry. For more casual pieces, I let the shape formed by the seed beads tell the story.
Which comes first, the gemstones or the seed beads? When I make jewelry that combines gemstones and seed beads, I let the gemstones take the lead. Even stones from the same strand have subtle variations that make each one unique. Glass seed beads, on the other hand, are extremely consistent from bead to bead, but the color and finish choices are endless within that uniformity. So I choose the gemstones that appeal to me, then find the seed beads that I think will play nicely with them.
Gemstones can be matte, glossy, smooth or faceted. Seed beads offer matte, shiny and iridescent (AB for aurora borealis) finishes, in addition to size and shape variations. Choosing a seed bead coated with precious metal adds a luxurious element that fancies up a pair of earrings with or without gemstones. The earrings pictured below (from left to right) feature Lapis Lazuli, Yellow Jade, 24-karat gold-plated seed beads and turquoise. Surgical steel ear wires are easy for anyone to wear.
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Shaped Peyote Stitch Earrings
How do I make my design decisions for Shaped Peyote Earrings? Stay tuned to the stories below.
Design Play – Clouds and Ice
A trip to Alaska provided days of observing glaciers under gray skies. The matte gray of the clouds juxtaposed against the almost luminescent cold blue of glacial ice was intriguing to look at, especially when the ice was calving and splashing into the sea. These earrings evoke those contrasts.
Each diamond shape is woven as a single piece. The cylindrical shape of the beads and the strong nylon thread provide enough structure to maintain the straight lines and sharp corners without an armature. Peyote stitch locks the beads together like tiny bricks, with the thread acting as mortar. These are great to wear on a blue jeans day and can easily transition to office wear or an evening out. They are unique enough to attract some attention, but subtle enough to let the wearer have center stage. Clouds and Ice earrings make a personal statement through wearable art.
Design Play – Copper and Amazonite Teardrop Earrings
The teardrop shape has a lengthening visual effect on its own. When you add a gemstone to top the design, you benefit from a bit more length without oversizing the focal shape.
The color of the main beads is a cross between light copper and rose gold. Their highly polished shine reflects light as the earrings move on the wearer. The color is on the warm side, but not overpoweringly so. Amazonite’s natural light blue color adds a bit of that “opposites attract” vibe. The contrast is subtle, but effective. Size 15 seed beads in the palest of blues embellishes the perimeter of each teardrop shape. The hypoallergenic ear wires have an antiqued copper color and a bright copper accent – a perfect match for these earrings.
Design Play – Diamond-Shaped Beaded Earrings with Rose Quartz
Turning the diamond shape in different orientations gives a different look. I layed out both horizontal and vertical options, and liked vertical better. The pale rose quartz gemstone picks up the pink tones in the accent beads without letting pink take over as a color. Each diamond is woven as an integrated dimensional piece – they are not stitched separately and then pieced together. That can make construction a challenge, but the result is rewarding when it works. Diamond-Shaped Beaded Earrings with Rose Quartz have a little bit of swing and are fun to wear when you feel “in the pink”.
Design Play – Jade Points the Way
Playing the “what if” game keeps design ideas lively. Turning the triangle in different orientations gives a different look. The inverted triangle seemed right for this piece. Just like the diamond shapes above, each triangle is woven as an integrated dimensional piece – they are not stitched separately and then pieced together. The jade gemstone centered on top of the inverted beaded triangle gives each earring a bit of movement and swing. Jade Points the Way Earrings are fun to wear and provide a shiny, earthy accent to a neutral outfit.
Design Play – Purple Hex In the Round Earrings
These little beaded sculptures have enough form and substance to be their own main event in the design. Hinting at both circular and angular lines, hexagons flatter most face shapes. They are just different enough to draw attention, but not so different that they steal the limelight from the wearer.
To gemstone or not to gemstone? The symmetrical shape and rich colors seem perfectly happy on their own.
Color is one of the most fun design elements to play with. Just about anything can inspire a color direction. In the case of Purple Hex In the Round Earrings, I remembered the lovely purples and greens of a vineyard in southern Oregon where we spent a beautiful sunny October day picking grapes and crushing our harvest.
Design Play – Forest-Inspired Offset Square Earrings
Forest-Inspired Offset Square Earrings use off-loom beadweaving techniques to form the design with Peyote stitch. The Japanese glass cylinder beads build upon each other stitch by stitch to form squares set on point. Hypoallergenic ear wires make these earrings comfortable for all. The simple geometric design is flattering and easy to wear.
To let the beads tell the whole story without overpowering the wearer, the earrings needed a simple, classic shape in rich colors. I live on a wooded lot in the Pacific Northwest, so the year-round colors of the conifers inspire me constantly. There are more shades of green here than I can count! While there are just enough seasonal blooms and deciduous trees to provide a change in color, the constant of the green comforts me. I want my jewelry construction to be constant and reliable, too, so I keep tension and bead count just right to maintain structural integrity and make a piece of wearable art that is strong while appearing delicate.
Shaped Peyote Stitch Necklaces
With shaped peyote stitch, 3D forms with structural integrity are perfect for pendant elements that become necklace focals.
Gemstone Capture Shaped Peyote Necklaces
Using Beaded Gemstone Capture Jewelry techniques, I made pendants to match or coordinate with shaped peyote stitch earrings. Purchased chain or cord works well, but I decided to string one-of-a-kind chains to customize the necklaces.
Shaped Peyote Beaded Necklace on a RAW Chain
Shaped Peyote Beaded Necklace on a RAW Chain combines two of my favorite beadweaving stitches. Peyote stitch provides a firm, architectural framework for shaped beadwork, while Right Angle Weave creates fluid beadwork with a soft drape for a comfy chain.
Three elements of this necklace use Peyote stitch: the teardrop dangles, the triangle bail and the tube toggle.
Each teardrop dangle begins with a row of Delica cylinder beads joined into a circle. A specific pattern of increases at the corners produces the distinctive teardrop shape. When properly fitted with firm thread tension, the beads become a single strong unit.
The triangle begins with three beads drawn together at the center with regular increases forming the shape. Then I stitched two flat triangles together around the chain to form the bail.
The toggle part of the clasp is a section of even Peyote stitch, joined together to form a tube. A beaded loop forms the other portion of the clasp.
Tubular right angle weave forms the chain. The chain grows row by row while the soft drape takes shape. Personal preference dictates the length, either short or long. A shorter chain places the dangles at the collarbone. Keep stitching if you like longer necklaces. Combining two different beads creates an interesting pattern that accents both bead colors used in the Peyote components.
Shaped Peyote Pyramid Pendant
Another option for shaped peyote necklaces is to repeat the same shape, then weave the pieces together to form a three-dimensional structure. That’s how I created the Shaped Peyote Pyramid Pendant.
The pyramid consists of four identical triangles. Fit together, they form three sides and the base of a three-sided pyramid. I embellished each corner with a freshwater pearl secured with a picot bead. A simple loop formed the bail where the pendant hangs from a purchased chain. It’s easy to switch to a different chain if I want to wear the necklace at a different length.
Peyote and Labradorite Beaded Bracelet
Inspired by bead artist and instructor Met Innmon’s design, small Peyote stitched rectangles form the foundation of this Peyote and Labradorite Beaded Bracelet. If you get a chance to take a class with Met, take it. She is an excellent instructor who is generous about sharing her tips and techniques. If you can’t take a class, Met’s kits have excellent instructions – I learned the structure of this bracelet while making one of her kits.
Peyote is probably my favorite off-loom beadweaving stitch. The diamond shaped openings in each component gave me a challenge while working with a familiar stitch. And the repetition of components gave me practice; as a result, I felt more and more comfortable with my skills as I went along. Another advantage of working with components – easier sizing. Add a rectangle for larger wrists; take one away for smaller.
Met uses a lot of Swarovski crystals in her work, and their uniform size give consistent results. But I had a strand of faceted labradorite rondelles that called to me. So I decided to use them in this piece. Working from the gemstones, I selected creamy Delica beads for the Peyote components. I embellished the edges with size 15 silver seed beads and joined the components with
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