Trollbeads Inspiration: Honeycomb


honey7When I was little I remember going on a shopping trip to one of the food markets in Ulus, Ankara’s old town.  The steep, winding streets that follow the curve of the ancient hill are lined with different types of wares depending on the area.  In one it might might be mostly traditional copper wares, with men sitting

honey2outside, repairing and tinning copper vessels for a new lifespan.  On another block it might be mostly spices mounded high in bins.  Brightly coloured clothing, plastic household goods, carpets that are rolled and are fragrantly woolly… it’s all there in Ulus, you just have to know which street to wander down.

honey4This was not only on the other side of the world, but in another century… so I am a little fuzzy on the details of this particular Ulus adventure.  However, I do remember stepping away from my mother in an area filled with beautiful pyramids of fruit under sunlit umbrellas.  I knew just where she was, and wasn’t worried at all.

honey9Looking back on the incident with the clarity of years, I think she thought she had lost me, and when I reappeared she was exceptionally happy to see me again.  She didn’t scold me, at all… but in her relief she did let me pick out a piece of honeyfilled, waxy honeycomb from the jar she had just bought.  I must have been very sticky as I happily extracted all the honey from the soft beeswax, but she didn’t mind a bit.


Isn’t it funny the moments that stick in our memory?  It’s impossible to predict what minute incident will simply engrave itself and be there forever.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Happy Fish”, “Honey Dawn”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Mocha”, “Dew Drops”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Drifting Seeds”, “Harmony”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Unique Amber”, “Scirocco”, “Unique”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Clearly Brilliant

clarity9The Clarity Bracelet




noun: clarity

1.  the quality of being clear, in particular.


  • the quality of coherence and intelligibility.
  • the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.
  • the quality of being certain or definite.
  • the quality of transparency or purity.

clarity4Origin:  Middle English (in the sense ‘glory, divine splendor’): from Latin claritas, from clarus ‘clear.’ The current sense dates from the early 17th cent.

Clarus, Claritas…. Clarity.

clarity3Something about this bracelet just sang to me of clarity.  The decisive blue, the definite blacks, the clear and uncomplicated touches of white.  It’s not a blue that we play with often here at Tartooful – it’s too bold to play nicely with many of the other blues, and perhaps just a little predictable blended with purples?  (Aren’t we spoiled – I’m sure

clarity2it’s gorgeous but we do love to see unexpected combinations.)  This brilliant blue with crisp black and white feels very modern and… well, *clear*.  It’s worth noting that on this composition there are hardly any blue beads.  This strong of a blue doesn’t require very much to make its point.  One could create something similar with only

clarity6three, brightly coloured beads.  Imagine how clever to create a black and white, neutral envelope of a bracelet onto which one could add any three bright beads that caught one’s fancy!  The same silvers, blacks and whites, plus three flame orange.  Or remove the orange and add bright yellow instead.  Or perhaps lime green.  Oh – or hot pink!  The possibilities dazzle.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Jewel Fairy Basslet”, “Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Transformation’, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “Unique”, “Black Diamond”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Black Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Happy Fish”, “The Eye Bead”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Faberge


We were thrilled to welcome a new faceted stone to the Trollbeads collection this Spring…

faberge2The Dendritic Agate is proving to be a highly individual stone, with a huge range of expression and colour.  Essentially it’s a slate blue and creamy white stone with inclusions that look like tiny fern fronds.  We have had a few that had

faberge6lots of slate blue, with a only a few marblings of creamy white, but more of our recent arrivals have been primarily cream with only a few mysterious inclusions, peeking through the veil of the stone.  Of course, this is the fun of the natural stones, the vast range of

faberge7appearance makes them highly collectible and dangerously addictive!

Famed jeweller to the Belle Epoque Russian court, Peter Carl Faberge, used these subtle and beautiful stones in juxtaposition to the sparkle of cut diamonds.

faberge3Inspired by this idea, we decided to design a bracelet that did just that.  We chose the simplest, most sculptural silver beads as accents… this created more reflective surfaces, more facets, and more sparkle.  We added “The Diamond Bead, Black” both for stark black contrast, but also for it’s glittering stones floating in its clear depths.

faberge5“Blue Tigers Eye” is dark and sparkling…”Snowflake Obsidian” offers another organic touch of stone, and more black to create a rhythm of black and white.  The blossom in the heart of this “Desert Flower” feels like another touch of stone.


After assembling all the monochrome elements, I felt like something was still missing… it just didn’t feel rich enough to be inspired by Faberge.  We reached for shimmering gold to give it a punch of luxe.  The “Crown Chakra” and “Silver Trace Gold” were the perfect additions, instantly adding a warmth and richness.


The result is a simple bracelet design that feels classic, substantial, and highly wearable.  I could imagine reaching for this composition every day, whether wearing jeans & a white t-shirt, or the formality of a little black dress.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Plain Lock”, “Black Silk”, “Frames”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Love Within”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Dendritic Agate”, “House”, “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Double Heart”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Waves”, “Crown Chakra”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Desert Flower”.





Trollbeads Inspiration: A Fresh take on Black and White

The black and white bracelet is a classic that never goes out of style… but with a tiny addition of unexpected colour, this simple wardrobe staple feels freshly minted.

JR recently redesigned her tuxedo bracelet to include a touch of cobalt blue, a change that was inspired by the acquisition of this amazing unique, with it’s rich dots of metallic platinum.  With black, white, and blue also included in the design, its palette pulls together a new look for the whole composition.

We delved into JR’s collection to find one additional bead to balance out the touch of blue and found this retired “Blue White Armadillo”.  This bead was introduced in 2006 and retired in 2008.  Isn’t it perfect in this bracelet?  Again, just an unexpected hint of brilliant cobalt blue makes all the difference.

The most dramatic change to the bracelet comes from the addition of a coveted “Tourmalated Quartz”… this bead was recently introduced in extremely limited quantities, packaged with the Lovely Trollbeads Book, which features mouthwatering photographs as well as detailed information about the history of the company and the designers who have created all our favorite beads.  This natural stone bead displays dramatic inclusions that make it a perfect centerpiece on this tuxedo bracelet.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Heart Stopper” (retired), “Black Dot”, “Ying Yang”, “Unique”, “White Bubble”, “Donna” (retired), “Triple Pearl, White”, “Tourmalated Quartz”, “Triple Pearl, White”, “Donna” (retired), “Diamond Bead, white”, “Blue White Armadillo” (retired), “Plait”, “White Flower”, “Black Armadillo”, “Brown Dot”, “Silver Stopper”.

Doesn’t it make you want to take another look at your own tuxedo bracelet?

Thank you JR…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Tuxedo

Today we continue to take a peek at the extraordinary collection of JR.  Her “Tuxedo” bracelet is a crisp black and white design… classic, pure and timeless.

Like all of her bracelets, it contains fascinating rare and retired beads that are a treat to see.  Pictured here is “Cappuccino”, one of the original Tibetan Series.  The series was part of the collection only for a brief time, as it was introduced in 2006 and retired in 2007.  The beauty and originality, of these beads, along with the limited numbers produced have conspired to make these highly coveted and collectible designs.

The matte finished “Donna” stands out in any composition, and the pair of them in this design make a particularly strong graphic statement.  This unusual bead is part of a series inspired by legendary fashion designers.  “Donna” honours Donna Karan.  Others in the series include beads inspired by Alexander Julian, Issey Miyake, Vienne Westwood and Doce & Gabbana.  This series was introduced in 2005 and retired in 2008.

No black and white composition would be complete without the “Diamond Beads”… since their introduction they have consistently topped the list as the most popular and top selling designs in the collection… and with good reason!  With their 13 sparkling crystals, they are a dramatic centerpiece on any bracelet.  These designs are available in both the classic black and white, as well as raspberry  and royal blue.  In addition, the black and white diamond beads are available in both classic and universal core sizes.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Fish Lock”, “Silver Stopper”, “Angles, Tip” (retired), “Brew of the Moor”, Triple Pearl, White”, “Black Gold”, “The Midgard Serpent”, “Happy Fish”, “Milan”, “Donna” (retired), “Mocha”, “Diamond Bead, white”, “Cappuccino” (retired), “Lotus, “White Bubbles”, “Donna” (retired), “Ying Yang”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Triple Pearl, White”, “Plait”, “Sandi” (retired), “Silver Stopper”.

What would you design if you could play with JR’s remarkable collection?  Stay tuned for a peek at bracelets that Cristi & I made up when we were given free run in JR’s jewellery box!


Trollbeads Inspiration: CN’s collection part I

CN is a fabulous, smart, funny and beautiful trollie who we’re lucky enough to have as a Tartooful Patron.  She started with us, and we’ve seen her collection carefully grow, and seen her taste evolve along the way.  She recently visited us with her full collection in tow, and was kind enough to allow me to photograph it and share it here on the blog.

Here you’ll see her “Baby” bracelet.  She calls it that because it was the one she started first, and I think now she is more fond of her more recent compositions… but as you can see from the photos, her “Baby” is pretty gorgeous.  (Perhaps one day we’ll sit down to the Troll table and see if we can update it so that she falls in love again…)  I love the brilliant teal and blues…

Next up, her juicy green composition… this is an absolutely beautiful bracelet, with all the prettiest greens, softened by three “silver mountains”. (With all its shades of green, from emerald to softest jade, plus three mountains, this composition could easily be named the “North Shore” bracelet: moss, trees, ferns, Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain & Mount Seymour…)

I like the rhythm offered by the repeated bead designs – not only silver mountain, but also “Aventurine”, “Green Jade”, “Green Armadillo”, “Florence”, and “Earth”.  She has a lovely, retired “Green Dot” taking center stage, and features a perfect emerald-green retired “Mexico Lock” as her clasp.

I’ll finish for today with her ultra sophisticated and crisp black and white bracelet.  This design has lots of rich, gold accents… (which look especially amazing on her as she usually has a perfect tan!) Note the light and sparkling “Golden Quartz”, the “Black Gold” and pair of “Crown Chakras”, the golden “Honeydew Amber”, “Yellow Prism” and of course, the “Sun Bead”, with it’s sun motif in 18k gold.  We’ve noticed that the “Golden Quartz” were only available in this light, almost citrine colour for a short time, and that all subsequent examples of the design are quite a bit darker.  Added sparkle comes from the “Diamond Bead, black” and the faceted “Black Spinel”.

Next time:  CN’s collection part II.


PS. Only three sleeps until the Little Troll comes to Tartooful… we’re almost ready!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Citrine

This juicy bracelet features a simple citrus and black colour theme, where the brilliant yellow and orange beads can take centre stage.  For a touch of subtle interest I selected a very unusual unique as the feature bead – it has a rare combination of periwinkle and tangerine.  To settle the blue-grey into the bracelet nicely I used a “Khaki Stripe” with a very blue cast to it, and a “Milan”, where the blue is also very clear.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Milan”, “Universal Unique – orange stripe”, “Flowers”, “Black Gold”, “Honeydew Amber”, “Two sides to Everything”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Universal Unique – periwinkle & tangerine”, “Orange Steel”, “Transformation”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Power Chakra”, “Chick”, “Limited Edition Diamond Flower – black & white”, “Universal Unique – orange, yellow & lilac”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Sapphire

This bracelet features a deep, sapphire blue, paired with simple black and white elements that together make a dramatic statement.

I was eager to play with a gorgeous set of Universal Uniques that feature this particular colour, and I was delighted to find this “Dichroic Flower”, with the perfect complementary stone.

clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird”, “OOAK”, “Dichroic Flower”, “Grey Wolf”, “Throat Chakra”, “Treasures”, “Clear Blue Bubbles”, “Black & White Universal Unique”, “Blue Flower Universal Unique”, “Ocean”, “Black Gold”, “Blue & White Universal Unique”, “Dolphins”, “Black & White Diamond Flower Limited Edition”, “Neither Fish nor Bird”.

One tiny but happy detail is the pair of “Neither Fish Nor Bird” that frame the lock.  It’s an unexpected twist that catches the eye…


Trollbeads inspiration: Emerald

Inspiration works both ways:  sometimes the bracelets on our blog offer ideas to others, but just as often, we find inspiration in the bracelets that Trollbeads collectors bring into the gallery.

This bracelet was inspired by the word that one of our favorite collectors was starting a green bracelet.  Knowing that she has a real eye for colour, it will be amazing and we are looking forward to seeing how it develops.  It made me mull how I would build a brilliant green bracelet, and this is the result.

It’s really more of a black & white bracelet with green accents, and over the next few days I’ll show some images of other accent colours that could easily be substituted.

clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Initial N”, “Green Universal Unique”, “Black & white Diamond Flower Limited Edition”, “Transformation”, “White Universal Unique”, “Black Gold”, “Buttons”, “Earth”, “Two Sides to Everything”, “Black & White Universal Unique”, “Aventurine”, “Grey Wolf”, “Zanzibar”, “Green & White Universal Unique”, “Diamond Bead Black”, “Initial K”.

It’s fascinating to see the new, Uniques close up, through the lens of the camera.  The bead shown at left gives the impression of a crisp green and white bead in a detailed pattern.  Viewed closer, it is actually a yellow bead with white and teal detail applied.

It’s also very interesting to see how the new Uniques can be used with the designs of the regular collection.  This dramatic, black and white unique helped to shape and inspire this entire composition.