Sky Blue Designs is a small, fashion jewelry studio founded in San Jose, California in 2003 and now is located in Newtown, Connecticut. Each piece of our fun and fashionable jewelry is handmade by Nicole Powers with love! Over the years we attended many art and wine festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area and hope to join festivals here in Connecticut in 2021. We specialize in jewelry made with Swarovski crystals, Czech glass, Peruvian ceramic, and Lampwork glass beads from the USA and around the world.
About the Artist
Sky Blue Designs began in 2003 when I worked as a waitress at Chili’s and wanted to wear chili pepper earrings. I couldn’t find any earrings but instead found pepper beads at a local bead store. The owner taught me how to make loops and wire wraps as well as how to finish necklaces. Soon after, my co-workers asked for custom earrings and suggested I sell my new jewelry at a farmer’s market. I took a break in 2008 but regrouped in 2014 when my husband encouraged me to exhibit at art and wine festivals. I specialize in earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made with Swarovski® Crystals, Peruvian ceramic, Czech glass, and lampwork beads from California and around the world.
💎 Jewelry made with Swarovski® Crystals feature orchids and plumeria, birthstone and awareness jewelry, and specialty shapes like grapes, hearts, snowflakes, and the new baroque shape.
💎 Earrings made with teeny tiny Peruvian ceramic figures are perfect for zoos, aquariums, and specialty gift shops that focus on animals, birds, dogs and cats, people, professions, transportation, and food.
💎 Jewelry made with lampwork glass and Czech glass beads focuses on fire polished, table cut, and pressed Czech glass beads either alone or as accents for intricately handmade lampwork glass beads to form statement pieces.
A portion of the sales from the Awareness and Love Bracelets made with Swarovski® Crystals benefits the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Our Awareness bracelets come in a rainbow of colors, each representing a multitude of causes, so I decided to focus on one organization. Researchers at the AFCRI transform scientific breakthroughs into innovative cancer treatments.
Additionally, a portion of the sales from the Birthstone series supports the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center in San Francisco, California. Doctors at the FTC pioneered fetal surgery and are able to correct some fetal anomalies in utero. In my son’s case they were not successful, so I hope to help fund new research to find a cure for his condition.
About the Jewelry
All Sky Blue Designs earrings are made with surgical steel, sterling silver, or gold filled ear wires as noted in each product description. All other components (jump rings, head pins, clasps, chain tabs, etc.) are base metal or gold/silver plated unless otherwise noted. All necklaces are strung with SoftFlex® beading wire. All bracelets are strung with Stretch Magic® stretchy jewelry cord.
About the Ceramic Beads
The ceramic beads featured in our Teeny Tiny line come from a family-owned company near Cusco, Peru. The Romeros employ over 40 people who have created these miniature works of art by hand for more than 10 years.
The following excerpt appeared in the April 2002 issue of Bead and Button Magazine: “Bead production starts in the hands of the designers, who sculpt the original animal shapes in clay. Factory workers make production molds from the originals, then press soft clay into the molds to make multiple copies of each piece. To remove an animal from its mold, workers use a metal rod that also creates the hole in the bead. The beads are bisque-fired (a relatively low temperature process) in the electric kilns that the Romeros built themselves, then partially glazed to give some areas of each animal a glossy finish. After another firing, artisans give the animals character and appeal with details added in matte-finish paints. Several thousand beads are produced in each batch, which takes about three days to complete.”
About the Czech Glass Beads
Czech glass beads are made in the Liberec region of the Czech Republic, formerly part of Czechoslovakia. Glass has been made in Bohemia and central Europe for centuries and gained widespread popularity after the fall of Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All Czech glass beads start as pressed beads where glass rods are melted and pressed between two halves of a mold. They are then tumbled to remove excess material, washed, and temporarily strung on cotton or plastic cord until they are ready to be used. Fire polished beads start as pressed beads that are placed in a machine with spinning wheels that grind down the bead in a faceted pattern. They exit the machine with a slightly matte finish, so they must travel through a kiln to slightly melt the glass and create the sparkly finish. Table cut beads also start as pressed beads but are then placed on a spinning table to grind the sides flat and then take an extra trip through a kiln for a smooth finish.
All beads may be finished with one of several coatings. The beads are placed in a kiln, and fumes from metals adhere to the bead producing a variety of shiny finishes. AB is an iridescent, bluish-pink color, marea is orange-yellow, and vitrail is a rainbow of pinks and greens. Luster is a transparent coating usually applied over clear or transparent beads that results in a glossy finish. The hematite color is achieved by coating a jet (black) bead with a clear luster finish. Picasso is a mottled luster finish that appears spotty and has a different color depending on the color of the original bead.
Swarovski®, SoftFlex®, and Stretch Magic® are registered trademarks of their respective companies.