Trollbeads Inspiration: AV’s Golden Armadillo


Feast your eyes on this gorgeous, golden concoction.

av5This stunning composition was inspired by AV’s recent acquisition of a pair of Limited Edition Green Purple Armadillos.  It was a smart decision to purchase two of these dramatic beads, as they can be tricky to match in a design… I use mine in partnership with my retired Green Armadillo, and I’ve seen some uniques that have a rich pistachio

av3tone that could work… but it’s an unusual shade of green in the Trollbeads collection.  I like it all the more for that!  On most bracelets the two armadillos would steal the show… but here they have stiff competition.

av2Not only do they share a chain with a brilliantly sparkling pair of unique faceted ambers, but also a trio of warm, gleaming gold beads.  Simply spectacular….

av4I love this palette of acid green, gold, amber and warm red-based purple.  We’ve helped to build many compositions with this essential group of colours, but it never becomes ordinary.  It’s satisfyingly rich, and so vibrant…

Yet organic and absolutely wearable.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Silver Stopper”, “Green Purple Armadillo”, “Mesh, 18k Gold”, “Unique Amber”, “Third Eye Chakra”, “Forget Me Not, 18k gold”, “Purple Stripe” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Knot, 18k gold”, “Green Purple Armadillo”, “Silver Stopper”.

Thank you to AV for sharing her lovely bracelet with the readers of the blog…


Trollbeads Inspiration : Bloom & Bite (Or a Snake in the Grass…)


snake8I find the new photo campaign supporting the Spring X by Trollbeads to be so inspiring!  The verdant green, with the edgy imagery feels lush and just a little dangerous.

I reached for all the richest greens on the display, blending natural stones, uniques and a range of production beads to create a

snake9palette that ranges from aqua to emerald green.  I pulled together a grouping of silvers that all contained knotwork and spiral themes.  Three Siblings is a strong statement close to the heart of the bracelet.

snake10I love how well the new silver “Snake” from the Spring collection plays with the knotwork silver designs, with only a tiny, cheeky face peeing out on one side to show what he really is.  Like a real snake, he blends in, perfectly camouflaged in his environment.  It’s just that this particular snake’s natural environment is a Trollbeads bracelet.


snake6I decided to give this bracelet a generous dose of artisan tassels, made by our own Melanie of Tartooful.  She puts semiprecious stones such as Labradorite, Smoky Quartz, Carnelian and agate on sterling wire with a simple jump ring for easy attachment to whatever jewellery you choose.  Some of our customers use their tassels

snake5on their Pyrrha necklaces, others by themselves or on a silver chain, and of course, lots of us like to add them to our Trollbeads.  I put mine on the small side of the clasp, for a classic look that adds a decorative detail to the clasp, but doesn’t clutter and complicate the overall composition.  I’ve even put a whole group on a Fantasy necklace for a fun look.

snake4The sparkling new bead designs of the Spring collection blend seamlessly with some of those of the Autumn… look here at Aqua Edge Triangle, and Aqua edge Pumpkin – and see how gorgeous they are with the new design, “Oasis”.  The aqua leaps right out of the Fall designs as soon as it’s placed near similar blues and teals.

snake3Another favorite blue bead is “Traces”, which bears a hard-to-name blue.  It’s not quite turquoise, almost Tiffany and nearly bird’s egg… but not fully any of those shades.  At Tartooful we call that lovely shade “Beautiful Blue” and we pounce on it whenever we find it in a bead.  This production pattern truly sings on this bracelet, pulling the aqua and the earthy tones together perfectly.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Classic core unique”, “Silver Mountain”, “Moss Agate”, “Three in One”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Traces”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Oasis”, “Labradorite”, “Oasis”, “Three Siblings”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Aqua Edge Triangle”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Snake”, “Moss Agate”, “Light Blue Gold”, “Classic Core Unique”.

All stock from Tartooful… look for individually photographed uniques and stones online at Tartoofultoo online shop.


Fun and Games with Trollbeads… Cathy & Cristi’s Collections.

rack-closeNow that’s a nice rack.

azuresBad Troll jokes aside, we had some serious fun at Tartooful today.  Cristi and I both brought our collections to work today so we could lay them all out on play trays and do some hardcore designing.  It had been ages since we had taken the time to treat our own collections to the same design process as we offer our customers… In fact, I don’t think we have ever laid the two collections out side by side before!  Today, it was “fun and games with beads” at Tartooful.

racksCristi is on the left… Cathy is on the right.

blue-green-featherWe came up with a number of new combinations that we hadn’t tried before – many with beads that we’ve had for years.  We always find that starting from scratch with the beads laid out like a palette allows one to see the potential with fresh eyes.  We’ve shot a number of them and will share them with you over the next few days.


petalsNot surprisingly, our collections include a wide variety of diverse designs and colour groups, so we were able to make lots of very different compositions. What did shock us was that the first two bracelets we designed were very similar in look and feel.  They were so close that it prompted us to go go through our play trays and find all the twins…

labradoritesNot only were Cristi and I surprised at how many bead designs we have in common, but we were also shocked to realize how many of our bead stories carried common threads… and as everyone knows the stories behind the beads are at the very heart of the matter, and often even more important  than their appearance.

Where, when and how one comes to own a bead is a critical part of the collection acquisitions process.  Was it a gift?  A purchase on holiday?  Bought to celebrate a special occasion?  Or perhaps even to mark a difficulty overcome?  Those kids of associations add so much to the meaning of a bead, and transform it into an irreplaceable talisman.

The top row belongs to Cristi, the bottom one belongs to Cathy.


Left to right:

  • Rosa Pearl:  gifts to each of us from beloved Trollie friend, Nadine.
  • Mountain Crystal – Switzerland World Tour:  Couldn’t resist these lovelies, we bought them for ourselves.
  • Heart:  First Trollbeads bought for each of us as gifts by our then-sweeties, now-husbands.
  • Azure Bubbles:  Cristi found hers at Tartooful, Cathy found hers at Trollbeads NYC on a holiday.  What are the chances they would look so identical, and how did we not notice until now?
  • Carved Flowers:  Cristi’s was a gift taken from Cathy’s bracelet… Cathy bought hers for herself afterwards.
  • Blue Desert:  Cathy’s is a nice shade of grey bead that she fell for… Cristi’s very rosy version reminds her of her Dad’s Cinnamon toast.
  • Trollbeads at the Beach/Violet Petals: Gift from beloved Trollie friend, Lisa.
  • Pack of Cards:  Gifts given by Trollbeads Denmark at Las Vegas Academy, 2012.
  • Labradorite:  Cristi received hers as a Christmas gift from Tartooful, along with a fantasy necklace a few years ago.  Cathy has had her battered but beloved version for four years, and bought it for herself.
  • King and Queen:  Cathy bought hers on hearing of the bead’s retirement.  She also bought one for Cristi, and gave it to her when Cristi became engaged to her now-husband, Chris.
  • Blue-Green Feather:  Long time favorite beads of both of us – we bought these for ourselves individually.
  • Blue Desert:  These very-navy versions of this favorite bead are quite recent.  We bought em, and we love em.
  • Sparrow:  Cristi bought one for her and another for her Mom, as a gesture of Mother-Daughter love.  Cathy bought one in memory of her Mother who passed away in 2004.  We didn’t know that we shared this bead story until today.
  • Classic core unique:  Cathy’s version was a gift from Trollbeads when she visited Tivoli in Copenhagen.  Cristi’s was a gift from Cathy on the plane ride back from the Trollbeads Academy in Las Vegas 2012.
  • Happy Fish:  We both fell in love with this bead for the story ascribed to it by Trollbeads.  Cristi received hers as a gift from her parents when she moved to the West Coast.  Cathy’s is on loan to her from her eldest Son’s collection.
  • Grey Armadillo:  We each bought these for ourselves… a gorgeous retired design that makes its way onto so many compositions.
  • Peacock Pearl:  A nice little Christmas surprise for Cristi from Cathy. Cathy had a less pleasant surprise when she recently lost her original Peacock Pearl, so she just replaced it for herself.

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 9.10.56 PMUp next… a closer look at these two peacock toned bracelets!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Navy & Claret


If there’s one colour that is speaking to us at the moment at Tartooful it is navy…

oxblood4Fresh, crisp, bold, yet easy to blend with other everyday neutrals such as black and grey… it feels very much of the moment and yet completely classic.  A quick browse through popular style sites such as

oxblood7Pinterest show that we are not alone in this… In the constant cycle of style and fashion,  navy has shrugged off it’s stuffy image and is now cool and edgy.  However, as always it’s a new twist on the approach – fashion never replicates, but reinvents.  Where once Navy would have been paired with vibrant green or crisp white, today’s navy

oxblood5prefers the company of slinky black and bad-boy oxblood.  Rather than a pure white, reach for all shades of grey for softer contrast.  We were inspired to create this bracelet when we stumbled upon a grouping of lovely uniques that feature inky blue with a perfectly subtle,  pearl grey background.  It was a simple matter to add an array of

oxblood3blacks and oxblood tones to fill out the design.  We featured one newly designed unique that neatly tied together the entire design, including pearl grey, navy and claret all in one.

oxblood6At first glance oxblood might be a tricky colour to find in the collection, but in fact it all came together so easily.  Here, burgundy tones come from a rich, silver cored “Ruby”, a sparkling “Amber” with wonderful inclusions, the new “Ruby Falcon”, and a coveted, unique Armadillo.  There’s even a beautiful sheen of gold and oxblood in the “Black Silk”.  Recent retirees such as the “Eye Bead”, “Flowers” and a sparkling “Blue Goldstone” show here why they will be missed.  If you have not already picked up a “Blue Goldstone” be sure to track one down… with Navy on the rise it is bound to be one of our go-to beads!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sun Moon Stars Lock”, “Ruby Falcon”, “Black Armadillo”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Flowers”, “Ruby”, “Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Nomad”, “Blue Goldstone”, “Unique”, “Unique Armadillo”, “Harmony”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “The Eye Bead”.

Trollbeads Spring 2013 Collection Launches


We are delighted to unveil the much anticipated Spring 2014 collection from Trollbeads… and it is every bit as original and beautiful as the early images promised!  Trollbeads describes it as…

“..a collection that takes you to exotic places and gives you a taste of mystery.  Explore Arabian Nights and Hanging Gardens..

Arabian_Nights_Close_Up_01The dromedary elegantly placed on a shimmering pink glass bead.  The snake is also present as a powerful symbol in many cultures.  Above all, flies the falcon.  One is flying in sterling silver, sending a message of love.  The other, with beautiful eyes that see things that humans cannot, also in sterling silver and placed on a deep purple ruby.”

Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 9.08.00 AM

Inspired by the hot wind Scirocco that blows from Northern Africa carrying sand from the Sahara, these sparkling glass beads came to life.  A little magic by nature.

Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 9.10.33 AM

Hanging_Gardens_Close_Up_01The Hanging gardens of Babylon are considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and are surrounded by mystery and legends.  A luxuriant inspiration for our Spring Collection.

Hanging_Gardens_Close_Up_02Sparkles in delicate turquoise in the ancient palace, glitter in royal blue in the fountain of life, and shimmer in elusive, fresh green in the Oasis.  The new lock “Sun Moon Stars” reminds you that life goes on as a glimpse of time under the great elements of the universe.”

The dromedary elegantly placed on a shimmering pink glass bead. The snake is also present as a powerful symbol in many cultures.  Above all, flies the Falcon. One is flying in Sterling Silver, sending a message of love. The other with beautiful eyes that see things humans cannot, also in Sterling Silver and placed on a deep purple ruby. – See more at:
We are proud to announce the launch of a collection that takes you to exotic places and brings you a taste of mystery. Explore Arabian Nights and Hanging Gardens.  – See more at:
We are proud to announce the launch of a collection that takes you to exotic places and brings you a taste of mystery. Explore Arabian Nights and Hanging Gardens.  – See more at:


IMG_4254The Spring collection has only one set of soft and subtle glass, rather than the usual two, but in this case every single one of the glass is drop dead gorgeous!  With fascinating shimmers of rose gold that are reminiscent of our beloved Desert series beads, these designs are instant stars… The examples of “Desert Rose” that we have thus far received are very similar to the existing “Pink Desert”, but with just a little more interest in the texture.  We look forward to seeing how this bead varies…

IMG_4258The blue and teal elements in the series will be beautiful additions to so many of our ladies bracelets… Over the past few days we have been playing with various colour combinations for these designs, and have found that they are spectacular in combination with the Aurora series of glass – the periwinkle just sings!


IMG_4249It takes time to appreciate all the nuances of a new series, but two of my personal early favorites are “Magical Lamp”, the olive green toned glass, and the “Drops of Delight”, which looks wonderfully middle eastern and ancient.  It feels like a fairytale element

IMG_4252The new silver designs are truly “Trollbeads”, with lots of fascinating detail that takes time to see, savour, and fully appreciate.  The expression on the face of the patient yet wry Tortoise… the little heart hidden beneath the Swan, the tattered texture of the Nomad’s textiles…

IMG_4253These are the kinds of details that only the master silversmiths of Trollbeads could imagine, design and create.   The “Kaleidoscope” shown at left will be an excellent choice to balance a “Trollcoin” or “Dreamcatcher” in a composition.. it reminds me of the flat, whirling spools used by nomads as they spun their nubbly wool…


We look forward to sharing more images and inspiration from the new collection over the next few days… be sure to stop by Tartooful in the Village to play with all the new designs, or drop by Tartoofultoo Online Shop to see them all individually with descriptions and pricing.

Now.. must run up to the gallery and have a bit of a play myself!




Trollbeads Inspiration: The Unicorn Bracelet


unicorn3I made up this bracelet a couple of days ago, wanting to create a whisper-soft design with touches of cool grey, warm pink and white.  I wanted it to glow, with shimmering dichroic glass, sparkling natural stones and lots of transparent glass.  Not glamorous, or shiny – but that delicate and subtle beauty that in which Trollbeads excels.

unicorn5Naturally, one of the first beads that comes to mind for this type of design is “Dichroic Ice’, and we were happy to find two very different examples on our display, one very large and round, and the other decidedly petite.

unicorn7The large one found it’s place closer to the center of the bracelet, with larger silver and glass neighbours.  The tiny one fit perfectly at the end of the design, tapering it neatly to the lock.  I really couldn’t believe how tiny this dichroic ice was…

unicorn2I let one of our collectors who prefers small beads know that we had come across this unusual example, and she delightedly called it the “Unicorn Bead”: a magical something that one simply never expects to find.  I love this description!


Clockwise from clasp:  “small flower clasp”, “Pearl”, “Three Flowers”, “Blizzard”, “Pale Rose Flower” (retired), “Dichroic Ice”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Unique”, “White Steel”, “Rose Quartz”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Rose Quartz, round”, “White Paper Fold”, “Forget-me-not”, “Crown Chakra”, “Pastel Shadow” (retired), “Organic Hearts”, “Dichroic Ice” (sold).




Trollbeads Inspiration: Painterly in Vogue


This utterly delicious concoction of raspberry, parchment, orange, green and violet absolutely fascinates me.  What an amazing palette to inspire a Trollbeads composition.


richThe overall golden hue of the photograph informed my decision to capture these images in warm incandescent light, the better to recreate that painterly feel…. so you’ll see that some of the beads sparkle differently than in

IMG_4017natural light that I usually use.  This is particularly notable in the dichroic glass of the “Purple Flower Mosaic”.   I chose to build a fantasy necklace with pearl for this design, as it seemed appropriate for the impressionistic and romantic feel of the flowing dress in the photo.


With a field of wildflowers for inspiration, flower designs were a must for this composition.  Autumn 2013’s “Amber Violets” could not be more perfect, both in mood and palette.

retired-pink-prismThe last bead on the necklace was this little “Retired Pink Prism”, whose milky and iridescent tone is gently antique.  It’s smaller size makes it a good way to taper the design from wider at the bottom, to narrower at the top – I always like to make a bit of a pyramid shape for Fantasy Necklace designs.

I’m particularly fond of this combination of colours and patterns… I may just have to give this a try with my own collection!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Delightful Aurora


As always, when a new bead design comes out, we are eager to experiment with it; to play and see how it works with other items in the Trollbeads collection, and particularly how it blends with the beads in our own collections!


It’s like adding a new piece of furniture to one’s home – it makes one look over the rest of the house and experiment with new arrangements for the rest of one’s possessions.

joyful3On the weekend Cristi experimented with the newly released “Faceted Aurora”, and found that it enhances so many wonderful palettes.  With its fascinating mists of blue, red, amber, pink and purple, it has a chameleon ability take on nearly any appearance and mood, depending on its surroundings.

joyful4In this composition Cristi played with colours that many of you already have in your collections.  Clear golden ambers, soft warm pinks and pale greyed blues combine here to make a gentle and lovely palette that is wearable every day.  I find these colours delightful – it simply makes me happy to see them!


joyful6This design includes the limited Edition floral lock that is included with the “Stories of You” bracelet.  This lock is a very comfortable, functional design, and so pretty too… (Both Cristi and I have invested in this piece!… At $99.95 for the chain, clasp and bead it’s really a steal.)  Cristi also included lots of the new Peoples’ Bead designs on this bracelet, so it nicely displays the range of beads and allows us to compare their sizes.  Finally, she utilized some outstanding uniques that we currently have in our online shop… the cross shaped amber is a stunning example, so lovely, clear and enormous.  The faceted ambers are similarly generous in size, and I particularly like the little periwinkle unique, with its’ tiny fleurs de lys.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Limited Edition Stories of You”, “Amber Unique”, “This Too Shall Pass”, “Pink Desert”, “Small Core Unique”, “Will”, “Ivory Violets”, “Calendula of October”, “Amber Unique”, “Faceted Aurora Bead”, “Unique Amber”, “Snowdrop of January”, “Blue Desert”, “Amber violets”, “Thoughts”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “This Too Shall Pass”, “Amber Unique”.


Trollbeads Inpspiration: Beautiful Beach


“Beach” is an easy bead with which to fall in love… with a lovely liquid shade of blue, and shimmering gold in its depths it just begs to be held up to the light and admired…

DSCN6217Cristi’s Cuban honeymoon photos of a perfect white sand beach inspired us, so  we thought we’d create a bracelet showcasing this favorite bead design…

We added lots of appropriately ocean themed silvers, including this slender and graceful “Happy Fish”.

DSCN6220We love the “Mermaid” for her sunny disposition, as well as her curvy lines… She’s a sweet and sexy little bead!  Here she’s shown with a lovely “Wave of Dreams”.  The wave is one of those bead designs that shows a huge range of expression, varying from very light and sun bleached, to rich and jewel like in its palette.

DSCN6219Speaking of changes… “Cool Dusk” has changed dramatically over the past year or so.  Remember when this bead was first released?  It had almost equal parts of blue and yellow, and the outer blue layer was very deeply grooved.

DSCN6223Now this revised design has only a mere hint of blue over a thicker yellow band, so the overall effect is much more of a chartreuse green.  The ridges have been reduced, for a much smoother, more liquid appearance.  As much as I liked the original design, I find the new appearance quite lovely and am enjoying the change.

DSCN6218Of course, everyone’s favorite fish bead is “Pisces”.  This timely arrival shows two fish wrapped around each other, to form the round bead shape.  Similar to “Happy Fish” and the “Fish Clasp”, the scales are beautifully and finely detailed.  I personally love this design and like to feature it regardless of the  Zodiac month.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Beach”, “Coral Branch”, “Cool Dusk”, “Silver Urchin”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Mermaid”, “Sand Beach”, “Beach”, “Treasures”, “Beach”, “Sand Beach”, “Pisces”, “The Eye”, “Starfish”, “Cool Dusk”, “Happy Fish”, “Beach”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Blue Velvet


DSCN6111When I was a girl I had a traditional jewellery box that must have already been gently aged when I was given it.  Its parchment coloured, gilded exterior promised magic within, and when opened it revealed the most lovely, delicate shade of blue velvet lining.  It was soft, a little worn, and paler in some spots from the years, but I loved everything about it.  Can you imagine the places that jewellery box took me in my imagination?  I carefully stored my very best treasures in it.

DSCN6112The shade of blue that is featured in this bracelet reminds me of that soft velvet lining… it’s not a definite shade, it changes subtly from bead to bead and even within each piece, but as a whole it’s soft, subtle, and feels gently natural.

DSCN6110I’ve admired this type of blue before, I called it “Beautiful Blue“.  It’s a rich, medium tone that is sparse in the regular collection, so to design an entire bracelet takes patience and a generous does of Uniques.  I like it best paired with other very natural neutrals.

DSCN6115The new “Dendritic Agate” is a good companion in this composition, with its cool slate mood.  I particularly like the contrast of its flecked stone against the transparent and shimmering glass of “Trinity”.  Note the lovely Unique above, with its ivory background, touches of sage green and pops of “Beautiful Blue”… its a treat!

DSCN6112For metal beads I added several dichroic glass designs, including “Trinity”, “Carved Flowers” and a pair of “Three Flowers”.   I also decided to play off the delightful, lemon-yellow base of this unique bead, and added a couple of touches of 18k gold.  “Cells” 18k is at left, and at the very top photo one can see the dramatic “2+2 silver and gold”, which is just recently retired.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Sand Beach”, “White Paper Fold”, “Three Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Cells, 18k”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Universal Unique”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “2+2 silver and gold”, “Moon Ocean”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Three Flowers”, “Conch”, “Sand Beach”.

This is the type of composition that I love to wear everyday… soft, neutral, so pleasing to the eye, with lots of interesting little design treats…