Diamonds in the Rough: ZnetShows Design Team Reveal

**Welcome! This is a picture-heavy post. As well, all photos can be clicked on for a better view.**

I was invited once again by ZnetShows to be part of their design team for another creative challenge. This one involved some of their wholesale beads and they're calling it a "Diamonds in the Rough" Challenge to showcase some of their older and overlooked stock. We were given the chance to select some items from a LONG list of options and then they threw in a few surprises as well. Let me start by showing you what I received.
Yup, they sent me OODLES of goodies!
Here's a better look at the pendants, both the ones I requested and a few surprises.
I requested the Bone Chinese knot (PDG215-04) and the Abalone square (PDG257-06). And. ZnetShows also included the Bamboo coral tube (CB25-17), Natural oval shell (PDG76-07), and the Synthetic amber dobut (PT17-03) as surprises.

These are the bead strands I requested
Left to right: Labradorite chips (SB2-06), Opalescent glass rounds (BDG58-44), Amazonite pebbles (BDS1413-06), Green-dyed fire agate rounds (BDS1591-06), Dyed-gray fire agate rondelles (BDS1595-05), Peridot rounds (BDS1461-01), and Black onyx glass rounds (BDG58-31)

Here are the beads they surprised me with (or what's left of them)
Left to right: Olive jade oval puffs (BDG65-01), Dyed-yellow fire agate rounds (BDS1593-02), Rose quartz cubes (SCBDG142-18B), and Olive jade rounds (BDG66-04)

Yeah, I felt totally spoiled! I included the product codes in the captions so that you can find them easier in the ZnetShows site, but I've also linked to them throughout this post.

Now for what I did with all that goodness.

I decided to start with the bits I thought would pose the hardest challenge (the surprises they threw at me). In this case, the rose quartz cubes and natural shell oval pendant boggled me. I don't usually work with much pink and haven't used cubes in a while. But, these items seemed to go well together so I started with that.
As I played around with the loose cubes on my desk, I liked the semi-triangular shape they made when I stacked two and then one of them. I contemplated how to make a chain of one-two-one-two, and ended up achieving that with some black waxed linen cord. I looped the ends of the cord through the hole in the natural shell pendant, added some black glass seed beads and small silver beads, and knotted the ends.
For the back of the necklace, I tied on some black leather cord and knotted the ends of those. The suede simply ties in a bow so that the whole necklace's length is adjustable.

From there, I moved onto another color I'm not usually fond of (but one that has been making more and more appearances in my wardrobe and bead box here lately); coral/orange. I knew I really wanted to do something interesting with that coral tube so I paired it with the knotted bone pendant.
I darkened the bone pendant a little with some watered-down black acrylic paint so that the details in the pendant are a little more visible. I then sealed it with some Renaissance Wax. The coral tube got turned on its side with some Vintaj Artisan Copper wire and was attached it to the bone pendant.
To add just a little more interest to the simple aged copper chain, I painted Vintaj Patina in rust on a few copper charms. I'll admit the patina came out a little more orange than I had hoped, but I still like the addition of it.

Next I moved onto two of my favorite strands of beads in the bunch, the amazonite pebbles and the labradorite chips. With some Vintaj Arte Metal wire, I made a chain out of wire wrapping an alternating pattern from these stone beads.
Since the chain was so striking, the addition of a few small bits (a key, a chippy vintage glass pearl, an altered circular charm, and a glass button) was all that was needed for the focal.
I really, really love this necklace!

I wanted to make sure I created something with each of the pendants, so I turned to the beautiful Abalone shell pendant next. There are so many colors that shine through on the shell that I had a hard time deciding which colors to accent. After a while, I realized that the green-dyed fire agate rounds and the labradorite chips included in my package were perfect compliments.
In addition to the stones, I took a few oval links from a chain and wire wrapped just one side of them with some seed beads. The necklace was finished off with a short length of chain. The shininess of it all works so well.

There was only one focal left, the synthetic amber donut. I don't usually work well with donuts, but I realized that this one had a small hole on either side of it for stringing. That made a whole world of design possibilities open up for me.

As you can see, I finally settled on using it as the focal in a bracelet with some more black waxed linen cord, some amber-colored glass beads I had on hand, and the black onyx glass beads from ZnetShows. As a closure, I pulled out a vintage shank button from my stash.

After using all the focals, I felt like I could play with the beads a little more. I loved the tiny peridot beads, but their size made them kinda intimidating. I knew I didn't want to hide them in a piece, but was puzzled as how to make them front and center. Flipping through my sketchbook, I found a design that would suit those little gems perfectly.
I hole punched, textured, and colored (with more Vintaj Patinas) a Vintaj copper blank then strung the peridot beads onto two lengths of beading wire. A medium length of chain finished off the focal.
For the rest of the (very long) necklace, I wire wrapped some frosted green glass beads and copper beads intermittently between the same chain. Even though this necklace fits easily over the head, I added a clasp so that it can be wrapped twice.

I really wanted to work with those yellow-dyed fire agates next but was clueless as to what I should do with them. Since they have little bits of green in them, I knew it needed to be included in the design. After some thought, I turned to Design Seeds for color inspiration. {I thought I had saved a link to the palette I ended up using, but cannot find it anywhere (isn't that always the way?).} I ended up going through my beads and just tossing ones in that palette into a bowl and stirring it around for a while before this beauty emerged.
This lovely, long necklace not only includes the yellow fire agate from ZnetShows but also the rose quartz cubes, olive jade oval puffs, and olive jade rounds from there . . .along with a variety of beads from my existing stash. I strung all the beads onto some 20 gauge dark annealed steel wire that I sealed with Renaissance Wax and just made simple loops to connect them.
The necklace will even wrap a few times (3-4) to make a pretty bracelet.

The opalescent glass beads were some of the first ones I chose when Bill at ZnetShows gave us a choice, but then I was stumped as how to best display them. After some thought, this simple but elegant bracelet came together.
Strand one is made up of the opalescent glass and some small silver beads, strand two is seed beads, and strand three is a silver chain. A chandelier crystal and a glass pearl hang from the bracelet.

I finished out my designs with a few pairs of earrings.
The soothing color of the gray-dyed fire agate rondelles reminded me of some shells I had gathered at the beach the week before. With that in mind, I combined the two for a unique pair of dangly earrings. They're even topped off with levered ear wires that have a shell design on them.

I tried my hand at wire wrapping the olive jade oval puff beads with some Vintaj brass wire. From those, I hung one of the olive jade rounds. Simple, but pretty.

For my last pair of earrings, I used more of the yellow-dyed fire agate rounds. With some scrap green leather, I cutout a pair of leaf shapes and added an eyelet/grommet in gold to prevent them from tearing. I think they're kinda fun.

So. . .that's it. I hope you made it through this whole post. I'm pretty proud of what I designed and even a little surprised at how well it all came together. I'd like to thank Bill and the whole team at ZnetShows for selecting me to be on the Design Team for these awesome wholesale beads and making me push my limits with their 'surprises'. It was GREAT!

You should be able to find a complete list of the Design Team members and links to their reveals on the ZnetShows Blog.
Thanks y'all for hanging in until the end!


  1. Really, with every partial scroll down the page, I declared "Ooooo, my favorite of this post!" So I guess I said it 11 times :-) You make it all look effortless and I know it is not, but you make it look that way! How do you do that?!? ZNet really was generous and you did them justice!

  2. HOLY COW!! that is one seriously fabulous collection you got going on here! And I don't see any 'boggling'! ha! just the opposite ... much inspiration going on here! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE how you did that coral tube - that is fantastic. And those squares ... so very cool! I would not have thought of that, but that is such a great design! and then those simple shell dangle earrings - I have BIG LOVE for! Just so much amazing work here!

  3. Cynthia- You are too sweet! There was definitely some boggling, but I had time to get over it and get these pieces made. I'm so, so happy you like my designs. I felt really good about them (not to be too proud or anything, but I felt like they are more 'ME' than some other designs I've completed before.) It's a sigh of relief to know that others like them too. THANK YOU!

  4. Wow, you were such a busy and inspired lady with this one! Wasn't it fun to open the box from Bill and find the unexpected bits that really added spark to what you could create? I especially like how you combined the coral and the knot pendant -- very cool, and very pretty!

  5. You had some really great beads and surprises. Love the yellow dyed fire agate. I haven't had a chance to make anything with my fire agates yet. But you turned out some fantastic designs. Great choices and pieces. It was a blast wasn't it?

  6. Beautiful beads and wonderful designs. Every piece is inspiring.

  7. Fabulous! Love the creations you came up with. This was a fun challenge with lots of "things" to play with. I especially liked the necklace with the labradorite chips & fire agate. I like the asymmetry of it! Great job!

  8. Just as I expected - all of your designs are terrific!
    Those rose quartz cubes are really cool - love your necklace with them.
    Love what you did with the coral tube - great idea!
    Love everything!

  9. I like what you did with your designs. I would never have thought of highlighting the white bone focal the way you did. I am going to blatantly steal that idea for future use (just so's y'know! ~hee~) Of all your pieces (and they're all terrific designs) I really like the piece with the tiny peridot you hung from the piece of patinated metal. Maybe because it's so rustic and elegant at once, a terrific mix. Thanks for sharing some wonderful pieces.

  10. I agree with Christine, each piece became my new favorite!! All of your pieces are amazing and gorgeous! I love what you did with your bamboo coral - very creative necklace! Your leather leaves are a great addition to the fire agates!!

  11. Hope your designs are great. As I came to each piece I thought they seem to get better with each new pic. My favorite is the shell dangled earrings but the amber bracelet is a very close second.

  12. Wonderful designs! My favorites are the last two pair of earrings. Also, you do such as nice job creating asymmetrical designs.

  13. Wow...All of your pieces are amazing...I love the last pair of earrings with the leather leaves... Best of luck to you on the challenge!

  14. I can tell you had so much fun with all of your creations! Lovely wire work and construction in your pieces, too!

  15. Wonderful job on your reveal post, Hope, your pictures are gorgeous! Labradorite has always been one of my favorites, and I love the necklace pairing it with the Amazonite and key. All beautiful designs!

  16. Mimi- Thank you! I'm glad you like the pictures, I've bee working on upping my skills some. I love the labradorite too and am so happy you like that necklace too (it's my favorite of the bunch.) Thanks again!

  17. EVERY SINGLE piece is fabulous! Even the simple designs are FABULOUS!


Thanks for stopping by! It means so very much to me. I love to hear what you have to say.

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