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Crystal Brilliance: Making Designer Jewelry with Crystal Beads Paperback – May 11, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Kalmbach Books (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871162954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871162953
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am very passionate about crystals and have been stitching them into jewelry for many years, ever since I discovered beading in the early '90s. My many years of designing projects, teaching, and editing has given me a lead on what interests beaders at all levels of experience.

In 2009, I was named an ambassador for the CREATE YOUR STYLE with CRYSTALLIZEDtm - Swarovski Elements program, a handpicked network of 34 designers worldwide who are passionate about and prolific in using these Austrian crystal beauties in their projects and as they teach. I am also an associate editor for Bead&Button magazine and author of the "Ask Anna" column.

My first book, Crystal Brilliance, was published in 2010. I have also contributed projects to many publications including Creative Beading Volumes 1-4 and 6, Get Started Beading, Beaded Necklaces, Beadwoven Jewelry, Chic&Easy 2, Your Seed Bead Style, A Year in Earrings, Seed Bead Savvy, and Stitch Workshop: Peyote Stitch.

To learn more about my projects, events, and upcoming classes, please visit my Website at http://web.mac.com/beadbiz.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just received this book today after waiting six months since I pre-ordered it. It was a nice surprise that it was released a few days earlier than expected. This book is astonishingly wonderful. If you love beading with crystals and you love doing beadwork more intricate than simple stringing, I think you will love this book.

The book begins with a short introduction that addresses some issues about materials and techniques. It's nice to see a beadwork book that assumes the beader actually has some prior knowledge. You won't find an extensive review of needles, threads and beads cluttering up the front of this book. (Thank-you!) At the back of the book are brief (really brief-- 3 pages) beading basics instructions.

Then the projects begin on page 14. The projects feature mostly Swarovski bicone crystals and Swarovski fancy stone shapes, glass pearls, seedbeads in sizes 11 and 15, and cylinder beads (Delica, Aiko, etc) in sizes 11 and 8. The projects are beautiful. I found almost all of them to be projects I can see myself making. And several are just screaming at me to stop this writing nonsense and get out the beads!!! To find such a high proportion of projects I'd actually make in one book is extremely unusual. It's practically unheard of! As you can see using the "Look Inside" feature of this listing the projects are divided into several types: Classic, Romantic, Organic and Geometric. There are six or seven projects in each section, for a total of 26 gorgeous projects. I found the projects in all sections to be very attractive, although quite different in style. So if you like beading with crystals but you aren't the "romantic" style, you can probably find pieces to your liking in one of the other sections, such as Geometric.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just got this book today. It has absolutely beautiful jewelry designs, if you can dechiper the photos. All of the photos were done on a black glass like background, and it makes it almost impossible to see the detail of the design. Its a good thing the direction photos are clear because otherwise you would be lost looking at the actual design. Maybe it is just me, but I am a visual person, and I like to see how something will look before I make it. Some of the designs have an "alternate design" to them, and those are done on a plain white background so you CAN see what they look like. I like the designs, will make quite a few of them, but am very dissapointed in the photos. I don't know what "look" they were going for, but if it was meant to showcase the designs, they failed miserably.
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Format: Paperback
Crystal Brilliance by Anna Draeger is an excellent book using gorgeous sparkly crystals and projects that a even a beginner can do.

Draeger starts the book off by giving a brief history of how she picked up beading. It's always fun to hear how a talented artist stumbles upon that which makes their heart sing.

The next section explains color, crystal shapes, culling beads, findings, type of needles to use, beading thread and the various issues with using beading thread, using ergonomics to avoid damaging hands, wrists, neck, etc. Draeger also discusses the ideal work space, and creating new designs.

One of the best things about the first section are the crystals, lined up by color, marching across the bottom of the pages. So, if like me, you get frustrated trying to interpret colors online, these photos are high quality photos of each crystal. The color looks very accurate when I compared them to the pitifully small number of colors I have in my collection.

Following this information, the book is organized into four sections: Classic, Romantic, Geometric, and Organic and each project is assigned into the appropriate section. Each section starts out with the simplest project and works up to more complicated designs.

Each design includes a list of materials (size, number of beads, etc), and another list in a colored box off to the side with an inventory of the exact colors used in case you want to make an exact replica of the project. The directions are step by step and very clear. Illustrations are included for each step showing the line and direction of the thread with arrows and a clear, gorgeous photo of the finished product.
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I really struggled to decide how many stars to give this book.

For a little background, I am new to bead weaving and these are the first woven items I've tried with crystals. I love the two bracelets I've made so far and there are several more I hope to complete.

On the positive side, there are lots of lovely designs with varying degrees of difficulty. I also really like the manner in which the instructions are written and the figures drawn (when they are correct - see below!). The design options given for each project are great. These show you how to either create a matching piece or how to use the same stitch and change up the look with different colors, shapes and sizes of beads. I will keep this book and likely make several more of the projects.

Unfortunately, there are some pretty significant cons with this book as well. The photos of each project are terrible. Some of them look a little artsy, but almost none of them show the finished pieces well. They are all photographed on a dark background and many are at weird angles and/or only have a small area in focus. It is pretty much impossible to get any useful information while beading from the photos. I find this extremely frustrating, as I like to check my work against an actual [photographic image of the item I'm working on.

Another issue with the bad pictures is that in many cases you can't even tell what the finished product will look like. I found it totally infuriating to weave two inches worth of a bracelet only to discover the design looked nothing like I had imagined and I hated it.

My final complaint is about the steps and figures. As I mentioned above, I like the manner in which they are laid out, but it sure would be nice if they were all accurate.
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