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…



Trollbeads Inspiration: The Tartooful Version of Blue Ombre


So often when we post an inspiration image belonging to one of Tartooful’s own we hear from our customers that they can’t create something similar, because they can’t get the retired or unique beads…

DSCN5311So we set ourselves the challenge of creating a new necklace composition that was inspired by Cristi’s “Bleu Ombre” design.  Her original necklace contained such hard-to-find beads as “Grey Armadillo”, “Chai Bud”, “King & Queen”, and “Turquoise Dot”…

DSCN5320However, in only a matter of minutes, Cristi was able to pull a wide selection of beads our of our stock that together created an absolutely beautiful blue dye dip effect.  She began at the bottom with this iridescent “Moon Ocean” and shimmering “Eye”.

DSCN5319This “Turquoise Ribbon” is such a treat.  Unusually large for this bead design, it adds a note of interest to this necklace.  Like all the stripes, “Light Blue Stripe” reflects the light, so it appears to glow from within.





As Cristi approached the middle of the design she reached for the softly glowing blues of “Blue Desert”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Blue Moonstone”, and “Silver Mountain”.  These are favorites among the collectors at Tartooful, and with good reason – aren’t they gorgeous all together?

DSCN5316Finally as she completed the design she added a series of interesting whites:  “Light Blue Dot”, “White Paper Fold”, “Dichroic Ice, and “Cream Armadillo”… These are all not-quite whites, which are so much more interesting than polyester pure, clinical whites.

DSCN5315This “Light Blue Dot” is an excellent stand in for Cristi’s “Turquoise Dot”, and some of the regular production beads that we have at the moment are outstanding:



However, if you’re still determined to obtain some of the rare and hard-to-finds, we do have a “King & Queen” in stock right now!

Have you seen a composition on the blog that set your creative energies flowing?  Come see us and let us play with your beads, let’s see what we can design!



Trollbeads Inspiration: Feeling the Teal


The last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit blue – actually, not so much blue as teal…

DSCN5206I’ve always loved teal. My favorite sweater as a kid was a comfy, teal cable knit pullover.  I remember a windowpane check, teal and white handkerchief linen dress that I adored, and when I moved out and bought my first sofa, it was a familiar shade of teal.

DSCN5207So it makes sense that some of the first beads I picked for myself are that distinctive shade of green-blue.  The beads in that colour family remain some of my favorites… “Silver Trace, Green Turquoise” is perhaps the richest of the collection, but

DSCN5209in my bracelet its’ brilliance is tempered with lots of grey, olive and softer teal notes.  The limited edition “Christmas in Australia” bead above combines a bright teal with olive, which allows me to introduce “Deep Bubbles” into the composition.

DSCN5205“Blooming Sakura” from the Japan World Tour series is a bit of a stretch, but it’s so pretty that I just had to make a spot for it on the bracelet.  Hopefully there are enough different shades of turquoise, teal and grey that it plays nicely and doesn’t stand out.

DSCN5210One of the beads that helps to settle it in is this “Turquoise Prism”.  It’s one of a few beads that are on loan to my bracelet from my sons… they each wear a necklace, but only with one bead at a time – so they’ve kindly let me play with the remainder of their beads!


Beads such as “Labradorite”, retired “Wildcat” and “Organic Bubbles” help to keep the overall feel of the bracelet earthy and warm… while personal favorite, retired “Blue Green Feather” and superstar “Green Lilac Armadillo” firmly mark this as my ode to teal.

What colour has been with you since childhood?


Trollbeads: BC Beach Inspired

On a recent visit to Pender Island, (one of my favorite spots on Earth!) I was fortunate enough to spend a few blissful hours on the above beach with my family… Afterwards, when daydreaming over the photos it occurred to me that most of the “Beach” themed beads in the Trollbeads collection are really based on a tropical palette.  What does a British Columbia Beach Bracelet look like?

Our beaches are much more subtle, with a wild beauty all their own.  The deep azure blue of the ocean, the soft cerulean of the sky, the warm grey stone, the cinnamon bark of the arbutus and cedar and the rich aromatic green of the new leaves all compose a lovely and familiar palette that breathes of Home.

The very first bead I reached for was “Azure Bubbles’.  To be fair, it’s almost always the first bead I think of – Cristi will back me up when I say that at Tartooful we are completely in love with this bead.  We’d like to order about 10 at a time!

The joy of this bead is the huge diversity of colour and form

…But really – doesn’t this stunning example just sing of our ocean and sky?  The touch of green hints at lichen and moss on rocks, or the leathery seaweed that decorates the tide pools.

Extraordinary colours and patterns of lichen inspired my choice of Black Flower Mosaic…

I wanted to include a bird image on the bracelet, as there’s always an eagle, heron, gull, goose, duck or one of countless other winged beauties on the coast… So I selected “Paradise Birds”.   I couldn’t resist including this “Urchin”, with it’s particularly rich dots, with vicuna and blue accents.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Clasp”, “Chalcedony”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Mermaid”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Urchin”, “Paradise Birds”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Goldstone”, “Labradorite”, “Transformation”, “Autumn”, “Cool Dusk”, “Silver Mountain”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Small”, “White Paper Fold”, “Wildcat”.

I can’t close this entry without a closer look at a couple of the outstanding beads… Have you ever looked at a “Cool Dusk” from the side, and seen the layers of colour?  Or seen an extraordinary “Autumn” tassel like this one?  It’s amazing, so perfectly divided into clear blue and the tumult of cinnamon and green swirl.


PS Don’t miss out on the Tartooful Sparkle Sale – now on!  15 – 40% off sparkles for two days only…

Trollbeads Inspiration: RT’s rare golds & greens

The second, remarkable bracelet designed by tartooful customer RT is  made up of a palette of unusual, warm greens and yellows.  It showcases a wonderful group of rare and one-of-a-kind beads that together form a powerful composition.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Mexico Lock” (retired), “Lotus”, “Three Monkeys”, “OOAK Amber”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Bead of Fortune”, “OOAK Glass”, “Heart Chakra”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Frog King, Limited Edition Germany”, “Crown Chakra”, “Lucky Dragon”…(sorry he slipped upside down!), “Banana” (retired), “OOAK Glass”, “The Midgard Serpent”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Earth”, “Power Chakra”, “King & Queen” (retired), “Happy Fish Gold & Silver”, “Lotus”.

In this composition I like the way the buttery yellows are artfully married with the more brilliant tones in the “Power Chakra” and in particular “Banana”, which can be very tricky to integrate into a design.  The range of greens, from the soft “Chinese Jade” to the intense “Earth” all work well together, in part because of the fun, dotty green glass OOAK, and also perhaps because of the range of greens and golds found in the dichroic glass.  It’s wonderful to watch RT as she selects a bead for one of her complex bracelets, as she makes it look so effortless, but her choices show such artistic flair.

Thank you again, RT for letting me photograph your collection, and share them on this forum…