How to Design Jewelry for a Wedding: The Mother of the Bride’s Dress

Earrings and a Ring

Jewelry to go with a mother of the bride’s dress

As a jewelry designer, being tasked with making jewelry for an entire wedding party is a daunting task.  So far this month we have tackled bridal jewelry and bridesmaid jewelry, as well as beaded gifts for groomsman and bridesmaids.  Today we will take on the challenge of designing for a mother of the bride’s dress.  Conveniently, one of our order fulfillment specialists, Dena, has a daughter who is wedding next month!  So we decided to use her dress as an example and you might say we almost bit off more than we could chew.  Dena’s dress was not easy one to design for.

 

Lace Dress

Dena’s dress on a store model

Dress Close Up

A close up of the fabric

Shanna:

Pearl Ring

Swarovski Pearls woven into a ring

I must admit: Dena’s dress was a challenge for me.  While I think it is a timeless classic and is absolutely beautiful, I struggled with what color metal to put with it.  Everything just seemed to be a little off to me.  Then I was going to do a simple woven bracelet – a right angle weave perhaps – but I couldn’t find just the right color combination that really spoke to the hues in the dress; plus, I didn’t want to create a piece that distracted too much from the simple beauty of the dress itself.  This is one of those times when I had to consult with my fellow designers to get some ideas.  Karla had already done her earrings and I really liked the dark indigo she used and thought the pearls were perfect for the dress.  While I was pulling the night blue pearls, I realized the platinum pearls looked really nice as well, so I sat staring at both colors in various sizes on my bead mat for a while to no avail.  Then I talked to Kelly, who suggested I do a cool woven cocktail style ring and it was as if she flipped a switch in my head!  I had done right angle weave rings before, but never where I graduated the size of the beads out from the center.  I tried it once and it wasn’t working, so I started over and, what do you know?  Second time was a charm!  If I do say so myself, this ring is pretty fabulous.  I decided to call it a “Mocktail” Ring because I associate Cocktail rings with metal and inset stones and this one contains no metal whatsoever and is made entirely of Swarovski pearls that appear to be floating.  Two very cool things about this ring: 1) You can create it in any color combination you want and 2) it makes a statement without distracting from a dress, which really should be the star of the show.  Just make sure your manicure is fresh because people WILL notice your hands when you wear this stunner!

To make this ring, click here.

Karla:

Pearl Woven Earrings

Swarovski pearl woven earrings

Finding a dress for the mother of the bride can be a daunting task, because her dress needs to be elegant and understated so as not to out shine the bride.  My dear friend and co-worker offered her dress that she purchased for her daughter’s up coming nuptials.  Dena’s daughter gave her a laundry list of what the dress should not be, which made it harder for Dena to find one she liked.  She did find one and it is a beautiful shade of Midnight Blue Lace overlay with a nude lining. Not only is the dress perfect for Dena but for the wedding, beautifully understated.  Now what to design for the dress?  Well it does not need a necklace and I really didn’t feel it needed a bracelet, so earrings it will be!  I first designed a pair of beautiful earrings using antique gold filigrees, to mimic the lace pattern and dropped Swarovski Night Blue Pearls, Dark Indigo and Sand Opal bicones!  Loved them! But not when I put them against the dress!  Oh the metal just did nothing for it!  So I talked to Shanna, she was struggling as well, so we put every metal finish we had to the dress and decided none of the finishes would work.  She declared I would need to make earrings with out any metal!  What will I do now…then it hit me, I haven’t made them in awhile but I have made them in the past multiple times, in many colors for about everybody I gift too!  Right Angle Weave Earrings!  I even made a KarlaKam of it!  I first found this pattern in Bead and Button years ago and it was always a favorite and easy one to customize in color!  So needless to say I made Dena’s with Night Blue Swarovski Pearls paired with Dark Indigo and Sand Opal bicones.  Finally, I added a blue shaded 11/0 Miyuki seed bead as an accent.  I made these just a row shorter than the video for Dena, but you could make them longer and in the Bridesmaids colors too!  Dena did mention they may work for her daughter’s bridesmaids, if so that will be my little gift to my friend, as I would love to make them for the wedding party!

To make these earrings, click here.

Kelly:

Rondelle Earrings

18mm Swarovski rondelles make simple, modern earrings

The two most important things to consider when designing jewelry for a dress are color and cut.  Dena’s dress is cut very high up against her neck.  If the dress was cut this high and was a solid color, maybe we could pull off a nice long necklace.  But because it has a lot of lace detail, a long necklace would be too much.  So that leaves us with the option of earrings, a bracelet or a ring.  As far as colors, the navy blue wasn’t terribly difficult to match, but the nude colored lining beneath it was a bear!  We found two Swarovski pearls that matched perfectly, but knowing that Shanna and Karla were both using them, I felt I needed to bring something different to the table.  So, I decided something neutral like crystal ab was the way to go.  These large 18mm rondelles do not need much embellishment because they are gorgeous all on their own.  All you need to make these earrings are two rondelles (you could use rounds too, if you want) and 24 inches of 18 gauge artistic wire.  Do you think the gold goes well with the dress, or would you have used silver?  Deciding what metal goes best with this dress was a bit of a hot debate among us the last couple of weeks.

To make these earrings, click here.

 

Kelly Henderson

Kelly Henderson is a jewelry designer and editor of the Auntie's Beads blog. When she's not beading, you might find her chasing her one-year-old son, Sawyer, watching bad reality TV or reading a good book.

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