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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An eyeful of a book, 23 May 2011
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This review is from: Creating Crystal Jewelry with Swarovski: 65 Sparkling Designs with Crystal Beads and Stones (Paperback)
This book deals primarily with jewellery made with Swarovski crystals. Laura McCabe has an enviable reputation in the beading world and her designs are often lush, unexpected and exotic. Her offerings here are no exception.

The book opens with a history of the Swarovski company and the crystals they produce. Seed beads, crystal and the various tools needed are dealt with over Chapters Two and Three. Ms McCabe gives instructions for four basic bead-threading/stitching techniques, shows how to make a bead bezel to support a cabochon or crystal and various ways of making beaded clasps or closures for necklaces and bracelets. She shows different ways one can embellish beaded chains or surrounds.

There are twenty projects to make: necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches and earrings, each with large, clear diagrams and full-colour photographs of the finished pieces. Many are spectacular. Ms McCabe suggests how long each project might take to complete, the average being between ten to twelve hours and offers us different colour combinations that give a different 'look' to the same pattern.

I liked the initial impact of the jewellery although some of the pieces look over-elaborate to me, almost using crystals for their own sake rather than as a means to an end. A bit, how many can I pack into this piece? I thought to try a necklace but when I looked more closely at the list of materials for the Crystal Burst Necklace I saw it calls for around ten gross of Swarovski crystals - that's almost fifteen hundred pieces - as well as eleven rivolis and various seed beads. Ten gross is a lot of crystals.

A glance at the other necklaces showed substantial numbers of crystals needed; the Crystal Dahlia necklace, lovely as it is, takes twelve gross pieces, which, if one adds the rivolis needed as well, is beyond my budget. I wonder about the weight of such crystal-heavy pieces. Having never held so many in my hand, I can't say how they would feel as a necklace. I made a beaded headdress many years ago, sumptuous and grand; it was too heavy to wear and gave me a blinding headache after half an hour. I would be nervous of a repeat performance with some of Ms McCabe's pieces. Maybe I'll have to content myself with a pair of earrings or a simple ring.

It is a lovely book to look at, beautifully produced and a fine example of what can be achieved when money and time are freely available.
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