Xirius Stone, Serious Sparkle

Well, they’ve done it again.  Always on the verge of something groundbreaking, Swarovski has created the most brilliant crystal flat back to date: Xirius 2088 flat back.

2088 Xirius introSounds like something from space, right?  A telescope, a landing probe, a character from Star Wars…  Well, you’re not too far off, my friend.  With its rich coloring, enhanced foiling and amazingly intricate cuts, it’s named after Sirus, the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy.  The Xirius 2088 has more faceting than ever before, which means exponentially more ways to sparkle.

Swarovski is considered by most to be the gold standard in crystal.  (Or, should I say, the Aurum standard?  See what I did, there?)  Despite their worldwide reputation, they’re never content to just sit on their laurels and rake in the praise- the company is constantly developing products beyond the imagination of possibility.  Take Advanced Crystal, for instance.  For centuries, the key element in crystal has been the addition of lead to break up the light and create a prism.  Without the lead, you just have transparent glass.  Even the original stones on the Rhine River, rhinestones’ namesake, sparkled on the banks due to the high lead content in the quartz.  In worldwide standards today, your crystal is still valued higher the more lead it has, sometimes up to 30 percent.  But, the word lead freaks people out.  So, what did Swarovski do?  They created a whole new recipe for crystal, one 99.9% lead free, still exceeding standards of clarity and brilliance, still creating the reflective play of light within its facets.  What?  That’s crazy.   Oh, and did I mention they do it all while being certifiably green?  The company, in fact, belongs to a worldwide organization established to meet accountability standards for social and environmentally friendly practices.

So, next time you think about which rhinestone company to support, go ahead and weigh your socioeconomic options…or, just think about wearing the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy around your neck.  Either way, you’ll land on the best.

-xo- Jemm

See them here: http://www.rhinestonesu.com/introducing-swarovski-xirius-rhinestones.aspx

2088 Xirius crystals

Nail Art “for Art’s Sake”

Ahh, nails.  Self-expression is all in the details, right?  Well, nails are definitely a detail.  Shellacking the tiniest tips of your paws in color is just as ridiculous as any beauty routine (who thought it necessary to brush gunk on eye hairs to gain points?) but a beloved custom just the same.

Who knows why it stuck.  Maybe because it’s a pampering act that shows visual results- ones you can actually see in your day to day life.  You can shave your legs, spread avocado through your hair, blend a luminous flush into your highest of high cheekbones- but who’s left to reap the rewards of your efforts?  Everybody else, that’s who.  Unless you work 40 hours in front of a looking glass, the only time you’re reminded of your goddess appeal is when you wash your hands in front of the bathroom mirror or catch a glimpse while passing a shiny city skyscraper (and pretending that you’re not looking at yourself).  But, give yourself a little manicure, live life with your hands in front of your eyes and every 12.8 seconds (I just made up that statistic) you have a subconscious memo that you’re a fox.  Text your buddy?  You’re a fox.  Type an email?  Ooo, hey, you’re a fox.  Hands on 10 and 2?  Face it, lady.  You’re a stone fox.

Back in high school, leaving a painting class, I’d proudly remind myself that I was une artiste by leaving the smears and flecks of oil color over my hands.  I could see it all day long, and remind myself that I was awesome.  (Or, so I liked to think in the days of youth.)  I had hard proof!  Others could see it all day long, and remind themselves that I was awesome.  (Or, so I liked to think in the days of youth.)

Colorful artificial nails

Pop culture blog writer Tracie Egan Morrissey nailed it when she said, “Nail art isn’t anything except art for art’s sake.”

In my easily entertained days of grade school, I remember frequently tracing my hand on a piece of paper and very carefully adding nails to the silhouette, drawing in a few rings and, if I was feeling ultra pink, I’d toss some glamorous compacts and lipstick tubes into the corners.  I wouldn’t just color the nails in with markers or colored pencils- oh no, my friend.  I’d put the whole page in my Trapper Keeper (no Lisa Frank for me), bring it home and use real nail polish to color my traced fingertips.  Even on paper a manicure was a treat and a creative expression.  Imagine if I had access to crystals then!

Nail polish has been around since 3000 BC, and our special shout-out to China on that one.  So, why all the hullaballoo these days?  My guess is the viral spread of great ideas through visual-themed collectives like Pinterest are just generating worldwide inspiration like a petri dish growing penicillin.  Elaborate nail art has boomed the last few years in part to celebrity style and social media sharing; now, new ideas can be imitated by the public as soon as they’ve seen the light of day.

Note here that, like all trends, the novelties will appear and disappear and another extreme will jump in their place, like the flip of a coin.  2016 could bring a trend of matte nude nails to counter the wacky 2012 excess (wait, is this the ‘80s?) or a black painted underneath the nail tip will suddenly become hot; they’ll call it a sexy mechanic look.  But, according to trend forecasters behind the scenes, make no mistake- the art of the mani-pedi will not be anything but present in generations to come.  What will remain is a reminder that we’re not limited to merely the basics of beauty.  Our creativity can extend to the very edges of our being (ahem, toenails) and beyond, because we will it to be so.

“Nail art…might be the only form of primping and grooming that isn’t rooted in making oneself more appealing to men or exploiting women’s insecurities.  It transcends skin color and hair texture and face symmetry and body type.”

Hearts, cherries

When trying something new, such as bringing in a wild new color- like Tangerine, Emerald or Radiant Orchid (wink wink)- into a mostly beige closet, your nails are a great place to introduce the trend.  Dip your toe in, as one might say.  If anyone out there is a regular reader of my rants and raves, you know I can go on about color and how our entire being responds to it.  It’s a mood changer.  If a tiny part of you is feeling like busting out of your beige world but you’re uncomfortable standing out, saturate the itty bitty part of your body that you will constantly see, and thus become more familiar with the shade.  Once you’ve accepted it as being appropriate for you on your nails, you’ll find it easier to add it into your life in other ways.

So, if you’re letting your own creativity run wild with DIY paint jobs, try integrating some of the crystals left over from your latest project.  You may find they make you happy just to see them in front of your face throughout the day.  Using a toothpick to dot a tiny bit of nail glue on top of dry nail polish, set your stone on the glue, and use a fine detail brush to apply a clear top coat just around the base of the stone to secure it.  Don’t bother painting the top coat over the entire stone- it will just diminish the sparkle.  When working with gel nail color, the stones can be set into the wet top coat before curing under the UV light.  Add another seal of topcoat around the base of the stone and cure under the UV light again for added security.  And have fun with the details!  This self-expression is something special just for you, to see and remind yourself with every move how killer you really are.

-xo- Jemm


10 Ways to Sparkle Your Wedding

Unless you ride a gossamer parade float crowned Miss Butter Queen at the state fair or are voted to the homecoming court, your queenly days are numbered.  For most, there are maybe only 7 times in your life you will feel like royalty, if you’re lucky: the quiet hours playing dress-up in your bedroom; Easter Sunday wearing the first dress you were allowed to pick out; confirmation day; quinceanera; prom; and the first day of your retirement when you realize you’re free!  Don’t have to take no orders from nobody!  Likely, the biggest of them all will be your wedding.  So make it count- add sparkle!  Here’s ten ways to make a big impact with a little bit- or a lot- of crystal rhinestones.

  1. Your dress. White brideThe obvious option for sparkle is in the gown.  Oo, just saying it makes you feel like the British regency: gown.  Find a dress that makes you feel good, whether a couture designer number, a simple slip dress or a secondhand vintage frock.  When it fits well and highlights your best features, you’ll be comfortable.  From there, it’s easy to add a million dollar look with a relatively small amount of rhinestones.  You can do an all-over scatter for shimmer from every angle, or concentrate the crystals to bring attention to a specific area, say a face-framing neckline or a waist cinching sash.  Cluster rhinestone brooches, sew on a crystal appliqué or create your design with flat back stones.  You can glue them on, purchase hot fix elements or get sew on stones, pre-drilled with tiny holes just large enough for a needle and thread to pass through.  By nature, design presents infinite possibilities; gather patterns or finished looks you like to help narrow down a design- then, just go with your instinct.  Queens must make executive decisions every day- don’t look back.
  2. Your invitations.  XXL envelope with card and a love themeJust one or two crystals in the right spot can class up invites, thank you cards and other royal decrees.  Stick with flat backs with a low table height, say Preciosa Viva 12 crystals, and a smaller size, 12ss through 20ss, so they can slip through automated mail machines with ease.  If you’re making it official with a wax seal, press a pointed back stone in before the wax hardens.  If you’re giving gifts to your handmaidens and ladies-in-waiting, use the leftover stones on the wrapping or bow.  After the event has taken place, you could also decorate your marriage license a little before framing it for display.  Maybe make a photocopy first…
  3. Your accessories. 
    Shoes- Glorious shoes

    Special thanks to Lindsey at Maid to Sparkle for these gorgeous crystallized shoes!

    Every regent needs a crown, right?  Modernize your tiara by substituting a crystal headband, blinged veil or wearing a unique necklace in your hair.  But, beyond jewelry, consider your bag and shoes.  Unless your gown has pockets, and let’s pray that they become a standard in dresses from now on, you’ll want to keep your camera phone and lipstick somewhere close.  Update a great wristlet clutch and a pair of flats with glue and flat back stones, and you’ll be stylish and comfortable.  Don’t forget the ring!  Oh, wait.  Your partner probably has that one covered.  Never mind.

  4. Your flowers.
    Brooch bouquet- cropped

    Special thanks to Carol at Rhinestones Unlimited for this crystal brooch bouquet!

    If you’re serious about sparkle, collect crystal brooches at your bridal shower and carry a brooch “bouquet” down the aisle.  Or, let your florist add bling to the fresh flowers.  Bouquets can get rhinestone wraps around the stem or dewy crystal drops worked in between the petals; table centerpieces can incorporate large cushion stones or decorate a blah bottle for an insta-vase.  Boutonnieres, kissing balls, sparkling ribbon in green garlands- if you want sparkle, queen, your florist can guildthe lily.

  5. Your skin and nails.  
    White pearl

    Special thanks to Swarovski and Eriko Kurosaki for this crystal and pearl nail art design!

    Did you know that rhinestones can be applied to your skin with a high-quality eyelash glue?  Add a few stones at the corners of your eyes for an ethereal day glamour, or add drama to your black tie affair with a full masquerade application.  Love, honor and cherish an exposed tattoo by dressing it up for the event.  (After all, it truly will be with you ‘til death do you part.)  On nails, DIY mani-pedi parties can drop tiny flat backs into wet topcoat.  Once dried, seal the perimeter for reinforcement, using a detail brush dipped in the topcoat.  For the pro nail job, purchase the stones with your technician or bring your own to match your bridesmaids; between Swarovski and Preciosa alone, you have over 230 shades to choose from.

  6. Your cake. 
    Cake- Crystal wedding cake topper

    Special thanks to Unique at Enchanting Moment Boutique for sharing this crystal cake monogram!

    Creative cake toppers, like crystal-encrusted monograms, look fantastic atop a tasty tiered dessert.  Banding- rhinestones preset into strips- is an easy way to decorate frosted layers for show and then remove for eating.  Got cupcakes?  Plate them on a glass pedestal edged in colored flat back stones.  Pleasing to the eye and the palate!

  7. Your altar.  Crystal diamonds hanging glassYour dearly beloved will be staring at you for an hour.  Some are far away in the last row, some are just old with astigmatism.  Make sure they can see you (and have something to look at besides the back of your heads) by glamming up the altar.  Chessboard squares give off a lively- but not overpowering- shimmer for a large stone.  Attach them along lengths of ribbon to hang as a backdrop.  A chuppah cloth, table runner or ceremonial wrap can get the royal treatment with a crystal border design.  Make a mobile of vintage crystal ornaments; jazz up candelabra with stone size (ss) 16; glue 30ss and 40ss rounds onto the edge of the garden arch you stand under.
  8. Your table settings.  Luxury MicrophoneTable numbers and name placards, disposable cameras and favor boxes can all get some sparkle.  If you want the attendants table to shine, tuck crystals into the swags, decorate the bouquet vases, crystallize the speech microphone or bling up a large frame and hang it behind the smiling faces of the couple.
  9. Your getaway car. 
    Moto helmet, Carol's

    Special thanks to Carol at Rhinestones Unlimited for sharing this getaway helmet!

    If your pumpkin carriage footmen called in sick (sigh. Bachelor parties.) whip out a pair of rhinestoned driving gloves and drive yourselves into the sunset.  A “Just Married” sign at the tail can be filled in with colored stones, and a loopy bow can get a dangling crystal pin in the center.  Your matching Vespa helmets can say “bride” or “groom” in contrasting crystal script, or get a sparkling saddle blanket and some crystal-riveted tack for your horse.  Or, glue some stones on the lacquered hooves!  There’s always a way, my friends.

  10. Your honeymoon!  Golden birds and strass flip flop sandalsSunglasses, luggage tags, passport covers, bikini, your Nook, your scepter.  Oh, by the way, did I mention vajazzling in number 5?

Have fun!

-xo- Jemm

Don’t Miss Out On All Things Bling!

As new blog articles are published, we announce them first on Facebook, so don’t forget to become a fan of Rhinestones Unlimited!  When you join the crystal community you get a support network of fellow rhinestone users around the world, plus news briefs and new posts, giveaways and plain old fun sparkly stuff.  So, go ahead, like us on Facebook next time you’re on your computer.  Or your phone.  Or iPad.  It’s so easy.

-xo- Jemm


Showing Swarovski Style at Dry Creek Designs

If you’ve not been in our showroom in the past year, you’ve missed out on the show-stopping show jacket garnering so much attention. Designed by Liz Workland from Idaho’s Dry Creek Designs, the custom made piece features nearly 54 gross of Swarovski ELEMENTS crystals, pearls and ceramics, all hand-applied.3-4 Front in studio

As we welcomed new products to our shelves at the request of our Western wear customers, we asked Liz- one of our long-time friends- to create a piece showcasing them, exclusively for display at Rhinestones Unlimited. When I asked Liz what her inspiration was in coming up with the design, the first thing she pointed out was the colors. Thanks to Swarovski, we sent her a box filled with gorgeous neutrals to pick and choose from: silky nudes, smoky shades of translucent greys, bronzes and metallics. She came up with a swirling motif of hand cut ultrasuedes, set on a charcoal woven suiting fabric and a coordinating inner lining of graphic squares. It blazes in faceted crystals, soft charcoal and golden pearls, funky metallics, and artsy ceramic mosaic stones. This jacket is classic and edgy all at the same time, can suit any horse’s coloring and will complement any rider’s skin tone.

Front tail detail

TJ- an American Quarter Horse- and Austin B. rock the jacket on the streets

Because you’re not looking at it in person, let me assure you that this piece is stunning. Anyone who sees it is drawn in by the precision level of detail. I’ve personally witnessed it hold teenagers’ attention for minutes. Minutes! Now, I’m not going to lie to you- I don’t know horses. I love horses. But, I don’t know their world. My background is in fashion and theater costume. I can tell you what looks good on an individual, and if you’re willing to listen, why it looks good. The rest of the information I have to get via phone interview from Liz, a long-time veteran in the Western and equestrian world.

Q: Liz, what would you like people to know about Dry Creek Designs?

A: We are professional tailors first, designers second. I’m in my 22nd year of [creating custom show apparel]. Our fit in the industry is probably the best as far as jackets and pants. I went to school to learn this- you don’t learn this from your mom! From toddlers to 70-year olds- you have to know how to [fit everybody] and make a pattern specific to their intent. We always put care labels inside – the only custom show company doing that. And they last! Our clothes last forever. I’ve seen pieces of mine that are 10 years old on clients and they still look great- all lined, beautiful on the inside and outside- and the resale value is phenomenal.

Unlike the majority of show clothing out there sold at pop-up arena booths or in a catch-all store, Dry Creek Designs creates pieces that are made especially for the wearer. Liz uses woven fabrics and fits them through intentionally flattering seams- not a standard one-size-fits-all stretch polyester that pulls here and sags there. She assesses each person’s figure and personality, shades that look best with their skin and hair, how they ride, the horses’ breed. The most important factors? “The person’s age and what they show.”

CB detail, ceramics

Liz on Rhinestones

Riding horses since she was 8 years old and in business for over two decades, you better believe that this woman knows her craft. She graciously shared her trade secrets with me, as I must have appeared charming and trustworthy.

Q: You’re showcasing some product that is new to our shelves- did any specific embellishment strike you?

A: I loved the rectangles [Cosmic #2520] in Golden Shadow. Anything we can glue on we love! We’re putting out an average of one garment a day, so we like speed.

Q: RU is a Swarovski distributor- if they make it, we can get it for you.  What are your top three Swarovski products?

A: Crystal and Crystal AB are number one. Jet Hematite number two, Light Colorado Topaz number three. The latest one we’re really liking is Comet Argent Light- or as we started calling it in the shop, the “shiny diamonds.”

Q: Any tips & tricks you’re willing to share?

A: Too many to name. I’d say know how your product is going to respond- test it. Prototype it. We test every product we might use, every fabric for shrinkage and colorfastness. Leather bleeds like crazy, so we use pig suede and synthetic ultrasuede instead. Also, I only use Gem-Tac [adhesive]. I bought it from you at your beginning.  Best glue on the market.

Q: Do you have a rhinestone routine?

A: We don’t put stones on until after a coat is completely finished, because we line our coats, and there’s a chance for the stones to get damaged [during the construction process]. We put any spikes, big domes, metals or hot fix stones on first, and we start on the back, working around to the front…I don’t know why. Generally, as priority, there’s a lot [of rhinestones applied] by the face; we can shortcut on the sleeves.

Horse love front with bougainvillea big

Liz On Horses

For those outside of the equestrian world, like myself, you may not realize that competitive showmanship is serious business. “It’s incredibly expensive. Horses are like children that require round the clock care, day in and day out. You’ll need a confident trainer and coach to compete at any level. But, it’s a lifelong passion, an addiction. What we do is all we do. It’s hard work at the shows. There’s long days, early mornings. Late nights.   Home is easier. And, you better know how to drive a truck and fix a flat tire if you’re going to travel! But, it’s so beautiful. It’s so rewarding. When people have horses, they are passionate about them. You’re born with that passion. It’s not acquired.”

Q: When I’m on a horse I feel…

A: …Fabulous.  Special.  Connected, like I belong there.  It’s hard to put words to that, really.  It’s kind of like riding a giant dog sometimes: similar personalities, just bigger. It feels very natural.

Q: Barbie has ridden more than a few (dozen) horses in her world.  Any prize winners in your book?

A: Not a Barbie girl.

3-4 back with bougainvilleaLiz on Leather

“Horse showing is stinky. It’s dirty. Everything we make is washable.” You can launder every piece they make- and that includes the Swarovski display jacket.

Q: In your business, what is the most recent mistake you have learned from?

A: Hmmm. I don’t know… Well, we had a quality control issue on a couple substandard pig suedes recently. I guess it reinforced the habit of double checking hides.

Q: With PETA and bondage and bike gangs and Prince in peekaboo chaps, leather can be scary.  How have you taken the fear out working with it?

A: Working with leather is something you have to experience. Learn to look past what it is and treat it like fabric; it takes the fear away. I have so many years of experience with ultrasuede, pig suede, lambskin, leather, that I have no fear. Recently, we had a design for twisted fringe and we just did a prototype and doggone it if we didn’t nail it on the head! I’m big on prototyping- that’s how we started painting. Now fifty percent of what we create is hand painted. And for that, you have to know your products.

Full back in studio

Liz on Style

Shockingly, when asked whose country star style Liz most related to, all of my prompts were rejected. Granted, they could all be considered retirees today. And one of them is a horse. (Dolly Parton? Hank Williams, Jr.? Loretta Lynn, Mister Ed, Patsy Cline?) “I don’t do country music, so I’m going to have to guess…can I say Trisha Yearwood?” Sure you can, Liz.

And what does her Trisha Yearwood eye for style predict for the future trends? “There’s more texture lately: lace accents, eclectic embellishments, found objects, a lot of shiny things, of course.” With the recent rock and roll boom in Western wear, Liz was quick to interpret the attitude into a more timeless composition for the Swarovski display coat: the groupings of assertive Jet Hematite and acutely angled Rose Gold metallics are edgy but not hard. Use as accents, they don’t define the design.

Q: Do you see any big differences in show clothing from coast to coast?

A: In the past, yes: the East coast was generally more conservative in color- typically all black- and the West coast was more flamboyant . But, the East coast is catching up.

Q: Any stand-out show outfits you’ve never forgotten?

A: This display coat is number one for me. There’s also a little leather jacket with feathers, fringes, a powder blue buffalo coat my daughter wears. It’s all hand painted and covered in crystals and absolutely magnificent.

3-4 Front horse

Liz on Liz

Though she doesn’t have a cowboy name (because I asked), she was quick to supply her American Indian name: “Runs with Scissors!” After an enjoyable conversation on a grey Minnesota day, I figured I better let the Dry Creek Designs ringleader get back to her Idaho life (“It was 60 degrees yesterday! I gave the horse a bath.” In contrast, the February forecast on my end of the telephone was technically -8 degrees Fahrenheit – though the official “feels like” temp was -23). With reluctance, I hit her with my final barrage of investigative journalism.

Q: Liz, describe your personality as a Swarovski color:

A: Fireopal.

Q: And as a horse color:

A: Oooo. That one’s harder. I’ll say black. It’s a strong color, and I have a very strong personality.

Q: What is your favorite movie with horses?

A: [thinks about it] The Black Stallion. There are a lot of poorly done horse movies. Horse people can be critical of handlers and horses, just like a dancer would be watching a dance movie; but I’d say The Black Stallion.

Q: After a job well done, you gotta treat yourself.  Are there any classic recipes suitable for the stable, arena or a picnic in the pasture that you’d like to share?  They may or may not involve whiskey, as you see fit.

A: A bottle of red wine and always a couple of friends. We take off on Fridays to enjoy some flatbreads, food, friends, wine. And we breathe! It had to be done with the display coat. First, we had to get Jamie wearing the coat in some photos, but when we were okay to ship it off to you, the first thing we did was take a breath!

Full front walking with legs

Want a jacket just like it? Well, this one is not for sale. But you’re not alone! She gets many requests for so fine a piece. If duplicated- after 66 hours of work and nearly three pounds of crystal embellishments- it would retail at $4,995. And by the way, did I mention that this jacket features Swarovski crystals coated in 18 carat rose gold? Gold!

“I get at least one hit a week [asking after the coat]. You make a great design and people want it. They just don’t want to pay for it!” [She laughs] But not to worry, dear reader. Dry Creek Designs will definitely work with you to modify the design for your budget. That’s the advantage of custom show clothing- YOU become the central element in the piece. Not the other way around.

-xo- Jemm


Looking for a genuine Dry Creek Designs show piece? Keep your eyes peeled for the miniature L she’s tucked in to every garment since 1998. You can find Liz Workland in Meridian, Idaho or by visiting www.DryCreekDesigns.com.

Special thanks to Swarovski ELEMENTS for sponsoring the creation of the Rhinestones Unlimited Swarovski display jacket.

Secret L closeup

Swarovski New Colors Spring Summer 2015

Swarovski has announced their two new colors, Tangerine and Iridescent Green!  These beautiful shades are available now, ready in time for you to plan your Spring/Summer 2015 collections.

Swarovski Spring/Summer 2015 colors, Tangerine and Iridescent Green, available now at Rhinestones UnlimitedTangerine (Standard Color)  “A strong warm orange tone, Tangerine provides a vibrant addition to the color range.”

Chosen as the worldwide color of the year in 2012 and still holding its own, this vibrant, saturated orange is alive with energy and optimism.  Any Harry Potter fans out there?  Attribute citrusy Tangerine to the likes of Felix Felicis- liquid luck.  It makes you feel good, like you’re on top of the world, like everything will align to help you succeed.  It inspires adventure, movement, new beginnings.   It’s a spring cleaning in a swatch of color. And infused in Swarovski crystal, the end result looks good enough to eat.  I realize it’s hip to be down with raw foods and dark green diets, and I’m behind the healthy food-healthy body-healthy mind train, but sometimes I just want some junk food.  Lest I lose some cool points for admitting it, I love Jell-O.  Tangerine-steeped crystal reminds me of eating Jigglers, cutting shapes out of a shallow pan of colorful gelatin.  Resonate with anyone else?  No?  Oh.  Well, let’s hear what the Swarovski folks have to say, then.  From their official publications:

“Tangerine is as romantic as the sunset and as joyful as the sunrise.  As a very cheerful color it lifts the spirit of classic tones and pastels and adds bright flashes to contemporary looks.”

“Inspired by the sun, this color will lead the way to brighter moods and happiness.  Its sunrise/sunset tones awaken primal feelings and nourish the soul.”  Wow.  There it all is.  Hooray for color! (That last part was me, Jemm.  Non-official.)

“Combine Tangerine with warm, saturated colors such as browns and golds for a modern, elegant look.  Create expressive styles with the contrast of soft greens and blues, or marry Tangerine with darker hues for edgy effects.”

Ready for a dramatic reading?  “Like the joy of a summer sunrise, richly aromatic ripe fruit, or the shimmering plumage of an exotic bird, new Tangerine recalls the inspiration that gave birth to it: the mandarin garnet.  Balancing a fresh, vibrant energy with a sophisticated and seductive allure, it’s the color of happiness, a Tangerine dream.”

Iridescent Green (Crystal Coated Color)  “This mysterious dual-tone effect shines in a combination of blue and green, crowned with a metallic touch.”

Oooo, magical.  The need for green is still prevalent in 21st century designs.  Iridescent Green expands on the recent addition of Dark Moss Green (Standard Color, released this past September for Fall/Winter 2015) and comes on the heels of Pantone’s color of the year for 2013, Emerald.  But this green is earthy, shrouded under a dreamy, mystic veil.  It’s opulent, enigmatic, phantasmagorical…  (eh?  Impressed?) …it’s strange, reminiscent of murky lagoons and Art Nouveau Absinthe posters.

The official statements from Swarovski:

“Thanks to its timeless quality and metallic glow, Crystal Iridescent Green is an asset to any design.  Its shifting, shimmering effects create a mysterious aura and awaken curiosity and attraction.”

“Reminiscent of Arabian nights, the irresistible color play of Crystal Iridescent Green gives a spirited and sensual edge to heritage-inspired and heavy glam styles.  The look is mysterious, deep and enchanting.”

“For a mysterious shine add it to dark and metallic hues.  Create sophisticated looks by combining it with opals or tone-on-tone colors.  Crystal Iridescent Green is a perfect companion for beige and nude tones, expressing refinement and class.”

Clearly “mysterious” is the adjective of the day.  And here’s a collection of more words found in Swarovski’s product publications:  luminescence, lustrous, magnetic, blue-green sheen, sparkling dragonflies, fathomless depths below shimmering waves, powerful, irresistible.  Ooooo.  (That last one is mine.  Quote Jemm on, ”Ooooo.”)

See how both new shades pair with some of your favorites, below.  Watch how your mood changes with each color story.  Then give us a call- you can request a sample stone of the new colors to add to your color chart.  Don’t have a color chart?  It will be one of the best design investments you will make, as color needs to be experienced through your own eyes in order to make the biggest impact.  These new colors are available now, so take a look and let your imagination run wild…

-xo- Jemm


Wondering how to pair these colors?  You can expand on a theme in whatever mood suits you, but here are some base suggestions, thanks to the color wheel.

Monochromatic themes use shades within the same color family. 

Tangerine monochromatic color themeSwarovski Iridescent Green monochromatic color theme

Analogous themes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Swarovski Tangerine analagous color theme from Rhinestones UnlimitedSwarovski Iridescent Green analagous color theme from Rhinestones Unlimited

Complementary themes use colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.

Swarovski Tangerine complementary color theme from Rhinestones UnlimitedSwarovski Iridescent Green complementary color theme from Rhinestones Unlimited

Neutrals- think business suits.  Blacks, grays, creams, beiges, browns.  Neutral themes play it safe, but have an appeal all their own.

Swarovski Tangerine neutral color theme from Rhinestones UnlimitedSwarovski Iridescent Green neutral color theme from Rhinestones Unlimi

P.S.  I didn’t really mean that about the junk food.  I was just kidding, you know?  It was a joke.  I mean, who still eats junk food?  What’s cool is carrots.  Pumpkins.  Persimmons.   Yams.  Squeezed through a really expensive juicer with some whole oranges, and drinking it for lunch.  Right guys?  High five…

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

If the color Radiant Orchid was a tangible object, I imagine it would be an infinity pool tucked inside a colorful garden, overlooking a calm valley.  I imagine that when I stepped in and sunk to my shoulders- in the morning hour when everything is still quiet: the rush is past, the sunlight is present and what’s left is the breath that lingers in optimism for the day ahead- that the lilac-tinted liquid I am moving in (for it’s a Wonka-inspired infinity pool) tastes sweet, feels creamy and warm…

Pantone Color of the Year 2014- Radiant OrchidHuh.  I just wrote that introduction based on my initial reaction to seeing the color for the first time on my computer, but delving further into my research, I’m seeing a lot of similar ideas coming from the mouths of the color experts themselves…either I’m a genius or the global mood (which Pantone is paid to analyze) really is as they say.  I noted a lot of anticipation, mystery, intrigue, creativity associated with purples, and this rosy-cheeked medium version is flush with enthusiasm.

“Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.”

“…a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple…”

“An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality…”

“Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette and provides a unifying element…”

“A modern and surprisingly versatile shade…”

“…flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones.”

Swarovski Cyclamen Opal, Amethyst and Light Amethyst

Swarovski Cyclamen Opal, Amethyst and Light Amethyst

Lots of fancy and inspiring words from the critics.  The bottom line?  Radiant Orchid is a welcoming and approachable color, and you’ll see a lot of it this year, so it’s worth getting to know.  When Pantone appoints the Color of the Year, it’s like announcing the winner from the list of Golden Globe nominees.  The contenders are shades that have made an impression all over the world, transcending cultures, ages and spaces- but the winner is the one whose dramatic display has awakened the collective heart.  Then, suddenly, you see them splashed all over the magazine covers, in celebrity weddings, department stores, perfume ads, greeting cards, your living room couch… oh, wouldn’t that be something…  Pantone’s elected color of the year will appear in fashion fabrics, decorative papers, interior paints, graphic designs, product labels and more, as it has been designated by the company specializing in color as the most desired around the world- even before people realize their desire for it.  This is called trend forecasting, my friend, and it is a definition of our times.  Remember Harvest Gold and Avocado?  No, half of you don’t.  Those were the colors that reflected the tastes and interests of consumers worldwide back in the early 1970s, warm earth tones to connect back to nature following the eye-popping age of drug-induced psychedelics and overproduced synthetics.

Returning home to the 21st century, images of green carpeting and wheat-hued appliances are immediately identified as out-of-date.   Bins of records, whose photos of acoustic guitars in green fields are steeped in a hazy yellow sunlight on the faded covers – you know to which era they belong.  Same goes for the all-black cover with bolts of aqua and hot pink lightning in the text: awesomely 80s, baby.   90’s: crimson, sunflower yellow, and black & white gingham; the millennium:  minimalist charcoals with pops of berries.  You’ll find the eras’ popular shades splashed all over movie posters, prom dresses, expensive cars- Tupperware!   If there was a game called Name That Decade in which color swatches were drawn from a stack and shown around the room, I bet a majority of your drunken party guests would be shouting the same year.  Why?  With sight being our dominant sense, we identify with color, whether or not we’ve registered that fact in the moment.

Radiant Orchid swatch range

Though recent years may still be sifting through the sieve of our subconscious, visual designs affect, represent, define our decade.  It may not be obvious for another 30 years, but the colors we are living amongst today are the shades of our generation.  So, start with Radiant Orchid this time, and see where it takes you.

-xo- Jemm

P.S.  Read more Radiant Orchid quotes, suggestions for use and a bit about Pantone itself here: https://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/pantone.aspx?pg=21128&ca=10