Sunday, June 06, 2010

Crystal Brilliance by Anna Elizabeth Draeger

Crystal Brilliance is a new book from Kalmbach Publishing, written by Bead & Button associate editor Anna Elizabeth Draeger. As the title and cover photos suggest, it is entirely dedicated to projects using Crystallized Swarovski Elements, along with seed beads. Most of the projects primarily use the easy-to-find and relatively affordable bicone crystals, along with some pearls, rounds, and a few of the fancy cuts.

One thing very strongly in this book's favor is that it is perfect for a new beader, or someone who has primarily done bead stringing, who wants to give beadweaving a try. There is a lot of great basic information at the start of the book including a lot of really helpful tips that other books assume you know. Also, each chapter has the projects sorted in increasing difficulty levels, with several very simple ones for the easily daunted beader to cut their teeth on before moving on to larger, more complex projects.

A lot of the designs are very beautiful, and there are a few I'd like to try out, once I've collected the proper crystals (my selection is pretty much all 4mm bicones since those are what I use for my right-angle-weave bracelets).

My one complaint is that the interior photography is not very good. The primary photo for every project is focused on the front and center, with the rest of the project blurred behind it. That's very nice and artistic, but it makes it very difficult for the reader to get an idea of what the entire necklace/bracelet looks like! Many of the items have sharper photos for the "alternate version" picture than for the main one!

But if you can get past the less-than-stellar pictures, this seems like a nice book for anyone who loves to weave with crystals.


  1. Thanks for the helpful review, AJ! I took a class from Anna once for a crystal woven bracelet, and was curious about the book.

  2. Christina, I'd say it's probably worth getting if you have a handy coupon for B&N or Borders or JoAnn's. Not sure I'd pay full price for it given the photo issue.