By Toni McCarthy

After being contacted by Shanti from Nirvana Beads in early November about designing jewelry using new spindle beads, I have finished my project.  It has been fun, challenging, and inspiring.  I appreciate the opportunity to work with Nirvana, and I hope it leads to further chances to create lovely jewelry that people enjoy looking at and wearing.

I chose four spindle beads to work with and was sent three strands of each (my own color descriptions follow):

I decided that earrings would be my style choice.  Each pair was constructed, auditioned, de-constructed at least once, and finalized.  Here are my final pieces:

Summer Fog

Grayish opal and amber spindles and gray Swarovski crystals swing from silver pewter fan findings.  Spiral design sterling silver ear wires complete the hazy look that would be beautiful with flowing layers of natural linen.

Ethereal Blue Leaves

Blue spindles and bronze crystals cascade from bronze chain like pods burst open in the summer.  Imagine wearing these with icy blue denim, a long white long-sleeve shirt, and knee-high brown leather boots.

Moroccan Marketplace

Gold findings make these amber spindles really sparkle.  And the square rhinestone spacers add to the shimmer.  What better with that little black dress?


Tribal striped beads, opal spindles, and creamy white freshwater pearls combine for simple shoulder-dusters at their most classic.  A winter look perhaps?

To the Casbah

Open archway findings with blue-green patina enhance the black and bronze spindles providing just enough movement.  These beg for something to wear that is colorful and flowing.

About Toni McCarthy:

Toni McCarthyI have been designing jewelry since 1995 when I started with a small box of glass beads, some inexpensive tools, and a spot to work in my sewing room that became, you guessed it, the beading room. I was still teaching high school English then, so I worked in my spare time. My first business name was "To Bead or Not to Bead" (clever, huh?), and I began doing small shows around the Portland OR/Vancouver WA area where I live. Well, things changed. I retired from teaching, converted the basement rec room into my studio, and chose a new business name ("BeadWares") which stuck till 2005 when my friend Liz Plam and decided to form "Beads & Threads" and do shows together. We teamed up on several shows through 2013,  but through 2018 I was solo on the show tour under that name. In the summer of 2019 I decided to design an on-line store website, and this is it: Toni McCarthy Designs www.tonimccarthy.com 

I still work at my home studio and make every single piece myself, take my own photographs, design my advertising materials, and manage my website. About my jewelry, each piece is OOAK--one of a kind, handmade by me, one bead and wire loop at a time. I pride myself on choosing only the most interesting materials to work with.

Visit my website! www.tonimccarthy.com