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Kazuko Inspired Pendants
By Carmi Cimicata for John Bead Corp.
When you admire a designer that has passed away you can’t help but wonder about their life and art. I would have loved and been honoured to meet Kazuko Oshima. Would she have taught classes? Would she still work at Barney’s? Would she have embraced Instagram? Did she have plans to write a book? These are questions I will never get answered because she died in 2007, before the social media boom, which would have probably given us all access to her creativity and life.
So, in my own small way I am attempting to put a spotlight on her work, her style and her memory.
Beloved designer Kazuko Oshima was not the first person to wrap stones and crystals but she was legendary for the simple style she created. She had a worldwide audience at Barney’s New York where she could be found designing pieces on the spot calibrated to the needs of the client. Owning a piece of her hand-wrapped jewelry was special because she was exclusive to one store and did not have her designs manufactured.
In Ms. Oshima’s most characteristic designs, crystals and semiprecious stones are wrapped in webs of gold wire and seem to float above the body as they encircle a wrist or neck. Ms. Oshima believed passionately that the materials that she worked with possessed great healing powers, something she often discussed in interviews. – Margalit Fox October. 4, 2007
I was very lucky to receive a piece of her jewelry and it is a prized possession. From the moment I received it, I was mesmerized. Afraid to lose it, I open and close the box it came in often, making sure it is still safe. Kazuko enclosed a handwritten description of the stones she used to make my pendant. Even that tiny card feels magical.
Kazuko holds court at Barneys, dressed, usually, in all white. She’s the unofficial soul of the Barneys staff, each of whom has a piece of Kazuko calibrated to his or her karmic needs. After 9/11, every single Barneys employee got a little piece of pyrite. “After that, they changed,” she says. -NY Mag
Working at John Bead Corp has given me the opportunity to explore the attributes of many gemstones and incorporating them into jewelry is a joy. It felt like the right time to put a spotlight on a designer who inspired me. I also wanted to credit her for the this style of wrapping. It makes her jewelry stand out for its simplicity.
I have written a step-by-step so you can create a simple wire-wrapped pendant. I have also demonstrated this technique dozens of times in the last two months and have learned that this simple and effective wire wrap makes people happy.
No skills required.
Virtually no tools needed.
Just wire, gemstones and good intention.
This is the beautiful Kazuko. If you create anything with this step-by-step, please remember to call your projects “Kazuko Inspired” so you can help me to honour her memory.
How to Make Your Own Kazuko Inspired Pendant
21 or 22 Gauge Wire (gold)
Earth’s Jewels Semi-Precious Stones
One or two small crystals (if you like them)
A small gold pin
Very few tools are needed:
A wire cutter and round nose pliers
Cut about 12 -14 inches of wire and add your stone leaving about three inches of a tail. Wrap the longer wire around the stone and back towards the tail.
Wrap the long wire once or twice around the tail wire.
Position the long wire up the opposite side of the first wire and tuck the longer wire under the first like the picture shows.
Then run some wire up another side of the stone and create a loop at the top of the bead around the tail.
Run wire again down the side of the pendant. You can also make loops in the wire as you go.
You can create loops and add a crystal at the bottom of the wrapped stone at this point. Then, you will need to get the longer wire back to the top of the bead.
Wrap the wire around the top tail again.
At this point you can stop wiring the pendant or add more wire along the sides.
Cut the wire and with round nose pliers create loops to hide the wire ends.
The “Kazuko style” includes adding a pin to create a bail or clasp feature.
Add a chain and write a short note explaining why you selected this particular stone and you have a wonderful and meaningful gift!
Our newest bead can be used to create a glass chain! We are excited to share with you the step-by-step!
It isn’t every day that a company can say they are launching a new bead, that is in fact almost 80 years old.
Mrs. Oldriska, a Czech pressed bead manufacturer, designed the LINKbead in the 1940’s and this mid-century masterpiece has finally been rediscovered and manufactured by her granddaughter.
3 x10mm – Two Holes
LINK is the perfect name to describe what it is and what it does.
It is both a component and a connection to the past.
A vintage design so contemporary you will wonder why this bead wasn’t mass marketed decades ago.
These beads look beautiful on their own,
but combined with the other beads, they offer designers
many new options for bead placement.
Joined together the LINK beads create a fabulous chain.
Our first project PDF (released later this week) will show you how to make the original chain as designed by our link inventor.
We are honoured to have been asked to launch this bead exclusively and world-wide.
200 piece bags are shipping now in over 70 colors.
Vials will be available shortly!
You can read about the history of the bead at
Designed by: Romana Tschunkova
We present the new two-hole PRECIOSA Karo™ Seed Bead. Like PRECIOSA Twin™, this new two-hole seed bead is also made from flat 5 mm wide glass tubes which have been cut into squares. The width of the basic tube and the length of the cut are therefore always the same. This flat, square seed bead is an ideal complement to the twin range. It is excellent when used to create geometric patterns. You can create both highly effective, yet simple, flat brick ornaments or three-dimensional, almost architectural accessories.
A quick search on Pinterest for leather cord jewelry will pull up hundreds of great images and inspiration for leather projects.
Leather cord can be tied together for fast no-clasp peices. You can also use a number of unique products to finish the edge of the cord to make wearable jewelry quickly too!
We have over a dozen options to share with you.
- Bend your leather cord and wrap with wire to make loops that can go over buttons and other clasps.
2. Use end caps that are attached by flattening the mid section with pliers. Finished jewelry looks high end and the end caps can be linked with jump rings to clasps, charms, tassels and more.
We have a small assortment of these end caps left in stock linked here.
We also sell a revolving version of these that are beautiful and linked here.
3. These end caps “pinch” into place. A little dab of glue keeps it more secure.
They are linked here.
4. Leather crimps are the most common way to finish a cord. We have a wide assortment of sizes so that more than one cord can be crimped too! Linked here.
5. Traditional glue on end caps in small sizing for leather is also very popular. Many people glue several cords into one end. We have end caps for one cord and more here.
6. The coil loop is visible on lots of leather cord designs. While you could make these yourself with wire, sometimes it is nice to have them finished and ready to attach with glue. Linked here.
7. We have some decorative crimps that act in the same way #2 on this list works. These caps have a mid section that you flatten with pliers. This grips and holds the leather cord in place. Their design are meant to be seen and featured.
These crimp ends are also available in sterling silver. Leafs linked here.
8. Glue-on magnetic clasps make your peice instantly wearable. The ends are finished and the clasp is easy to open and close. Our entire collection is linked here but you will need the caps you can glue-on.
9. The plug-in clasp tube is also a great option for finishing a cord. The link is here.
10. A knot is also acceptable for finished leather cord jewelry. No tools, no components!
11. A bead plus a knot is even better for a finish.
12. Of course, knotting more than one cord creates a fridge effective. Also, take a moment to google “sliding knot” for one of the most common additions to leather cord jewelry. There is a video explaining the knot right here.
13. Leather cord plus a bead also creates a button style clasp. Easy and no tools required.
Out of This World Tiered Necklace for Perles et Cetera Magazine
by Carmi Cimicata, John Bead Corp Marketing and Social Media Manager
Published Autumn Issue 2017 in French
I have been thinking a lot about our planet lately. Our connection to the sun and the other planets in our solar system are mysteries we have yet to truly unlock. With these thoughts in mind I attempted to create a necklace that would showcase our solar system in a necklace. I felt like I was back in high school as I tried to remember the order of our planets and what their most basic colours were.
The first step was to find beads that would resemble the planets. Happily, my company John Bead Corp has a rather large selection of semi-precious beads. Our solar system has eight “official” planets, which orbit the Sun. I reviewed the planet colours on “Ask an Astronomer” and selected the matching semi-precious beads that would work best on my necklace. Amazonite beads are usually in a mixed color strand. You will find beads that are pale blue to brown with this gemstone. I also used yellow jade for my gold Saturn, red jasper for Mars, agate for orange and white Jupiter and some sodalite for Earth’s white and blue.
The planets, in order of their distance from the Sun, are Mercury (Gray), Venus (pale Yellow), Earth (blue and white), Mars (reddish brown), Jupiter (orange and white bands), Saturn (pale gold), Uranus (pale blue) and Neptune (pale blue). This printed solar system became my template. I did not want too much empty space in the middle of my piece, so I went with five strands instead of eight.
I chose a pretty yellow jade pendant for my sun. I knew the first strand on this tiered necklace needed to be centered properly with a focal piece. I used a good beading wire to create all five unique tiers. Once the first tier was measured and the pendant was in place, I was able to set all the planets in locations similar to how they looked on my printed solar system map.
My rough measurements for strand lengths did not help. I quickly realized my strands were going to need tweaking and I had to “eyeball” each tier.
Since I needed to see where each “planet” would be set it was easier to set aside my ruler and use my own judgment for the right lengths. In order to ensure that each tier would hang properly I needed to cut slightly longer lengths of stringing wire so I could add or subtract wire depending on where my planets were. Taping my tiers was a very helpful part of the process.
When I figured out where a planet needed to be, I marked my wire, set a crimp in place and flattened it. Then I strung my bead and placed and flattened a second crimp to keep it secure on the wire. For tier two, I only had one bead to set.
I finished both ends of each wire with an Ez-Crimp. I taped each tier to my board to keep the strands sorted and the wire properly shaped.
I used jump rings to attach all my finished tiers to five-hole coupling bars. A lobster clasp and jump ring completed the necklace. It was fun and relaxing to get all the beads set. I started to get really good at flattening my crimp beads too!
I think my finished necklace does indeed resemble our solar system!
(P.S. I thought long and hard about adding Pluto, even though it isn’t considered a planet anymore. I might just attach a small dangling bead to represent it.)
Semi Precious Yellow Jade Pendant
Semi Precious Round Beads for the eight planets
Beadalon EZ-Crimp Ends, Gold
Beading Wire – Softflex Medium Flex Wire
5 strand coupling bars
Small Jump rings
Lobster Clasp and Large Jump Ring
Japanese Style Side Cutter Pliers
Econo Flat Nose Pliers to open and close jump rings
Crimping Plier to attach Easy Crimps to wire
Needle nose plier to flatten crimps