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Silk Flower Jewelry

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When I read the fashion forecasts for an upcoming season, I get a little feisty. Magazine articles prophesying that “Monstrous Minnie Mouse Hairbows will be the Must-Have Accessory of the Season” make me say, “I’d rather die than put that stupid *#$@&! thing on my head.”

Certainly some fashion trends open my eyes to design concepts I hadn’t dreamt. Fascinators? Crazy-chunky knitwear? Sarah Jessica Parker’s Victorian chandelier earrings that followed a decade of understated jewelry? Thank you, Fashion! But can we agree that following the stupider fashion trends makes us just . . . followers (or worse – stupid?).

So five seasons ago, when fashion prophets forecasted a trend of bold floral accessories, I (of course) was suspicious. (Big, bold florals? I’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors – it doesn’t end well!) But the more I see florals as a design statement, not some Jane Austen-Regency notion, the more I LIKE it. Interpreting this trend into my own aesthetic, I’ve started using silk flowers in my jewelry designs. I love how feminine and romantic silk flowers look in bracelets and earrings, but their design is bold and slightly over-stated, so the effect is also fashion-forward.

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Silk flowers are an inexpensive element to give some trendy style to your usual jewelry. When choosing silk flowers I pay a lot of attention to quality and scale. I want flowers that can hold their own next to metal components for daily wear. And I want blossoms that look correct for the piece: too small and the flowers get lost, too large and you’ll look like a walking garage sale.

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If you want to use silk flowers in your jewelry designs, I’ve found that it help to approach your piece with an engineer’s eye. Silk flowers are textile and “malleable.” So I use rigid elements – beads, bead caps, headpins, etc. – to give the whole piece a structure that allows for fabric elements.

For us artists, silk flowers are a very easy way to take the floral trend and incorporate it into our own pieces. Just don’t sell out: your own designs will always be better than some fad that shouldn’t have ever been.