Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review -- Create Jewelry: Stones

Create Jewelry: Stones is part of a four-book series from Interweave Press, with each book focusing on jewelry featuring beads created from a certain material. The series is written by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett, two prolific designer/author/editors.

This is the sort of book which is ideal for a beginner beader. It features relatively simple (but impressive-looking) jewelry designs, with a heavy emphasis on stringing but also with some basic beadweaving and wirework projects as well. Many of the projects rely solely on written directions, but the more complicated ones include clear diagrams. All of the basic techniques are also explained in the back, with more diagrams.

In addition to the projects, the book is full of information about gemstones. They say that the book includes a guide to the most common types of stones, but that's misleading. It's a guide to the stones that they use in the projects, and nothing more. Some of these are in fact very common. Some are unusual. Some relatively common stones, like malachite, don't get a mention at all because they're not used in the book. One other problem with this is that they use photographs of the beads used in the projects to illustrate the stone guide, and some of these beads are not very representative of the most common colors and styles of the stones in question.

However, there is a lot of fun stone trivia in this book. It ranges from useful, such as a description of the Mohs hardness guide, and the hardness rating of all the stones used in the projects, to just plain interesting, such as a paragraph on the historic importance of peridot, complete with a photo of a stunning peridot-encrusted throne. The book also includes a birthstone guide, and tidbits about the believed metaphysical properties of many of the stones.

I'm not sure I'd have paid full cover price for this book. The projects are mostly too simple and specific to be of any use to me. However, since it was deeply discounted in the hurt book sale, I feel like I got my money's worth. The gemstone info may prove useful, it's full of eye-candy, kept me entertained with trivia, and I used the directions in the back to make the wrapped loop bails for my upcycled Taxco necklace.

Speaking of stones, today's Daily Special is Celestial Celebration, which features beautiful fireworks jasper!

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