Beading Supplies

Anyone for Rivolis?

I absolutely love the look of rivolis, and judging from what I have seen, a lot of others do too!  I thought I would share some rivoli pendants I’ve made, and talk a little about them.

What Are Rivolis?

Just a quick overview on what a rivoli is.  Most commonly they are made by Swarovski, and they come in diameters from 8mm through really huge (28mm is the largest I have seen to date).  The most commonly used sizes are 12mm, 14mm and 16mm.

What makes a rivoli different is that it has both a pointed top and a pointed bottom, with the bottom being a shallower depth.  This provides for more facets in the crystal, which of course means more sparkle!

The challenge is that because the back isn’t flat, it takes a little more maneuvering to incorporate these gorgeous hunks of bling into your jewelry.

A Class in Glass

And by glass, I mean working with rivoli stones.  I am lucky enough to live within an hour of a bead store that often has nationally-known teachers.  I signed up for two classes with Amy Katz, and am I ever glad that I did!  Not only is Amy a fabulous teacher, but she is a wonderful person.  If you get a chance to take a class with her, do it!!!

The two rivoli pendants at the top of this post are part of one of Amy’s projects.  She has a unique style of cradling the rivolis so that they are secure.  Then you can have lots of fun embellishing them!  The project in the class used small 3mm pearls as part of the embellishment, which made the rivoli stand out.  These pendants use 14mm rivolis.

(I am not doing to discuss how to do the backing out of courtesy to Amy, since she teaches the method.)

And Now to Explore

My style of jewelry-making means that I make the project once (or maybe twice) the way the teacher explains, then I go off and make my own versions.  I probably seemed like a “loose cannon” to poor Amy!

For the two pendants on the right, I used a more “bling-y” approach.  For the red pendant, I used 3mm Swarovski bicones as part of a swirl around the rivoli.

For the aqua stone, I used the same basic steps.  However, instead of using a bicone as part of the swirl, I used more seed beads.  It’s kind of hard to tell, but this pendant is larger overall than the red one.

As is usual for me, I made some of these pendants to give as gifts.  And as even more usual, I neglected to take photos of the pendants before I gave them to their (I hope happy) owners.  One of the pendants was made using an 18mm rivoli, which took a little more experimentation to get the back the way Amy taught (but I did it!).  The other was done in another Glacier Blue 14mm rivoli.

Rivoli Hunting

I split my rivoli purchases between the bead store and ebay.  And on ebay I recently ran across some really cool stones — they are sew-ons!

Naturally, I had to scoop up some.  Do I know what I will do with them yet?  Of course not, LOL!  Well, actually I will probably use them in a bead embroidery project I am contemplating.

(Off to get some more, seeing as I will want to make my project-to-be in at least one other color.)

There are plenty of places, both physical stores and online, that sell these wonderful crystals. Shop for them where you like best!  But do get some and experiment with these glorious crystals!

Beading Threads

There are a lot of beading threads out on the market; plenty of options, depending on what you need.  Let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of each of the three main types of threads used in bead weaving stitches.

The three main types I will talk about today are Nymo, Silamide and Fireline.

Nymo Thread

Silamide, Nymo and Fireline Beading Threads

Nymo thread was the first beading thread I used, and I used it for many years.  The pros are that it comes in various diameters, depending on what size beads you are using, and quite a few different colors.   It’s fairly strong (the name Nymo comes from nylon monofiliament), and easy to tie off.  It’s also the least expensive of the three threads (around $2 for about 120 yards).

The cons are that is frays easily and tangles badly (although using beeswax or thread heaven helps a great deal with the tangles).

Silamide Thread

Silamide is a multi-ply thread, unlike Nymo.  I mostly see it in 2-ply, which is 2 threads tightly twisted together.  It comes pre-waxed, so it’s not quite as tangly as Nymo.

If thread color is something important to your project, Silamide has more colors available than Nymo; you’re far more likely to find just the shade you need.

The downside of using this thread is that there is little variety for thread diameter, although it seems to work fine with Delicas and up.  I wouldn’t try it if I had a project where I had multiple passes through a size 15 seed bead, though.  It also is difficult (for me anyway) to thread onto the needle, due to it being multi-ply.  And it does fray, although not quite as badly as Nymo.

The cost is more than Nymo, as Silamide is around $2 for 40 yards.

Fireline Thread

Fireline isn’t really a thread so much as fishing line!  Or at least that’s how it started out.  Then beaders discovered it and now it’s usually the thread of choice for many.

The upside is that it doesn’t fray, is very strong and comes in plenty of diameters.  It does tangle if you’re using long lengths of thread, but the tangles are easy to undo.

The biggest downside is that it comes in only two colors – a light gray called “smoke” and a white called “crystal”.  If thread color is important to your project, you’ll probably have to choose another thread type.  But honestly, the thread is so fine that it shows very little, so two colors should suit the majority of projects. (Actually, there may be a green out on the market now, too.)

When you see Fireline offered for sale, you’ll see it marked in pounds.  It starts at 1-lb and moves up through 80-lb (maybe more).  The sizes for bead weaving are mostly 4-lb and 6-lb.  I mostly use 6-lb, but I also have both 4-lb and 8-lb that I use, depending on my project needs.  If I wanted to use a double thread on my project, I’d pick 2-lb or 3-lb for size 11 and larger beads.

Fireline is the most expensive of the threads, although it pays for itself in peace-of-mind (like I said, it’s very strong).  The cost is about $10 for 50 yards.  I buy it only on ebay, on account of the fact that it’s the best price there.  I’ve also snagged great auction prices, where I got multiple spools for the price of a single spool – my best so far was 4 spools, 125 yards per spool, for $20 total (including shipping)!

Beading Threads (UPDATE)

So which beading thread should you use?  It all depends on your project and how much you have in your beading budget to spend on thread.  I have a list of quite a few of the beading threads and for what projects you may want to use them for — here’s the video.