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I have some reviews below for several excellent Lark Crafts Jewelry books. I also wanted to let you know that Lark Jewelry & Beading has reached 10,000 fans on Facebook and to celebrate, they are giving away 33 of their most popular beading and jewelry how-to books. Plus, all the books are signed by their authors. To enter this giveaway on Facebook, click here and enter by Feb.21!

I have been seeing a lot of wire jewelry lately and I’ve really wanted to try my hand at it. I thought Making Wire & Bead Jewelry might be a good place to start and I wasn’t disappointed. The authors have a background in beading and eventually started their own website, wiredarts.net, where they teach classes about making beaded and wire jewelry.

I really enjoyed seeing all the creative pieces that are in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry. I noticed lots of coils and spirals as the basis for many of their pieces. Since I am still in the process of practicing with the pliers and wire, I appreciated the close up photos showing how to bend and shape wire. For my first project, I’m working on”caging” a pretty rock with the wire. I’ve also been learning how to not only shape the wire, but also forge and texture it with a hammer, which is very fun!

One of the things that stood out to me in A Bounty of Bead & Wire Necklaces is the range of styles. It was interesting how using these mediums of wire and beads can result in pieces that are thin and delicate to heavy and dramatic showstoppers!

The detailed photos and instructions in the front of the book are a big help to me and walk you through all the basic tools and techniques needed for using wire and beads. I’m working on the Bewitched project, which is a simple technique that bends beaded wires around simple shapes. It’s really fun and I thought I’d start off easy, but I’m looking forward to working up to some of the more complex and amazing creations (love the dangle necklace!).

A Bounty of Bead & Wire Bracelets has a lot of gorgeous varied styles for a budding wire jewelry artist, like I’m hoping to be. I first got interested in wire jewelry when I saw all the cute name jewelry made from wire and I just thought it would be so fun to learn how to do that, too. Plus, with the addition of beads, the wire pieces are even more complex and lovely.

I already have the necklace book from the same series, so I was familiar with a lot of the basic techniques when I got A Bounty of Bead & Wire Bracelets. I fell in love with the irridescent coin pearl bracelet and am excited about trying that out (still waiting on the pearls I had to order online). It is a simple design and I also cannot wait to try the Fairy Garden bracelet, I love the rainbow colored beads along with the tiny silver fairies and dragonflies!

Beading with Crystals includes twenty five designers with a total of thirty six designs for fabulous beading projects. If you are new to beading they have extensive information in the front of the book to teach the fundamentals of the craft, including stringing, knotting and different stitches.

My favorite piece is the Principessa, which they say would be perfect for an Italian princess with its clear crystal beads surrounding a peridot inset. My plan is to start with something a little easier, though, like the simple Contemporary earrings with their cube shaped beads hung from metal spirals. So many wonderful ideas in Beading with Crystals, I loved them all!

I’ve always been fascinated with gemstones and I have a secret goal to become a jewelry designer one day! Based on that idea, I really enjoyed Beading with Gemstones, which includes a section at the start about gemstones with interesting information on their features and classifications. The gemstone creations are made using wire or chains and full illustrated directions are included for each one.

Each piece in Beading with Gemstones is beautifully photographed and has a name that describes it, like City Nights, Fireworks, Snow, Twilight, Grapevine, and Sahara. I absolutely loved the ring called Sea Bundle, which combines pearls, tiny shells and gemstones into an amazing creation that evokes the beach perfectly!