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The Design Gallery

Follow along with step-by-step beading projects and share your designs with beaders around the world—it’s quick & easy!


Gemstone Cowgirl

About this design:

I really wanted to make a lariat necklace with feathers that had something unique about it. As I was putting it together, it turned into something I wasn’t expecting, but I really like it! First I chose a metallic leather cord, then selected some earthy colored feathers in rusts, blacks and reds. I used the druzy agate slices because they are very natural looking with beautiful sparkle and they work well with the leather. This necklace quickly turned into a bird’s nest theme as I looked at the feathers and began looking for other beads I could string on the cord. (Tip: artist beads such as Green Girl Studios, Kylie Parry, and Gaea fit easily over the leather cord). I used the GG shibuichi organic round as the nest for the ceramic bird.

Tip: knots work great as decorative details but also function to keep your beads and pieces in place.

My finished length- to tip of feathers is 30” and from the end to end, the leather cord is 24.”

For more detail on how I did certain parts on the necklace, see the instructions below.

What you’ll need: (buy products below)

  • 3’ length of 2.0 mm leather cord
  • 1 Kylie Parry ceramic goldenrod bird
  • 3 pieces of druzy agate sliced pendants
  • 10.5”-11” of handmade gunmetal brushed large and small ring chain
  • 1 Green Girl shibuichi organic link
  • 1 Green Girl shibuichi wagon wheel link
  • 1 Green Girl barn swallow ball
  • 1 pair of matching feathers from Mother Nature’s Palette
  • 2 feathers of different patterns from Mother Nature’s Palette
  • 1 chestnut turkey marabou feather
  • 3 antique silver crimp cord ends
  • 4 antique silver jump rings
  • 1 antique silver (plated) small dimpled cone 17x6mm
  • 1 2” 21 gauge gunmetal headpin with random 3mm or 4mm bead found around house
  • 4 TierraCast gunmetal twisted spacer 2x8mm
  • 2 TierraCast gunmetal twisted spacer 2x12mm

Additional Images:

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1:
Attach the small pair of matching feathers by using a crimp cord end linked to a jump ring, which will connect to your crimp cord end that is attached to the leather (whew….)
Step 2:
String your leather cord through the first hole in a hollow druzy, then weave it through a hole in the wheel, stringing across to the other side of the wheel and back up through a hole on the opposite side. This is kind of like stringing a 2-hole button. Then take the leather cord and string through the other hole in the hollow druzy. I knotted on either side of the druzy to keep it in place.
Step 3:
Stringing leather cord through chain is easy! Just knot the leather to the first end of chain, then “sew” the leather through the links until you are done then knotting the leather the last like. Make sure your leather is not any tighter or looser than the length of chain before your final tightening of the knot.
Step 4:
This is where I made the nest described above. I strung the druzy slice, then the goldenrod ceramic bird, then the shibuichi organic link to fasten the bird in. Make sure to knot tight under the link so that the bird stays in place.
Step 5:
Before you are finished, make sure you leave enough room between the bird’s nest and the end of your leather cord to tie the lariat – I left 3.5”. This will depend on where/how you want your necklace to hang.
Step 6:
Use a cone to hold your feathers. Attach to the jump ring that is attached to crimp cord end at the end of necklace. I added 2 jump rings to the one that the feathers are attached to and connected another shibuichi wagon wheel.

Buy Products from this Design

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. CAS
    CAS says:

    I LOVE this … love … love … LOVE!!! Ali, you’ve outdone yourself with this … it … is … UTTERLY UNIQUE AND GORGEOUS to boot!!! It’s a triple oooooohhhhh … aaaaahhhh without a doubt.

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    Judith Ann Boyer says:

    OMG!! I just bought a bunch of feathers to work with!! This is adorable Ali!! My niece makes headbands and has been using the feathers. Your design is super cute and very southwestern!! :)

  3. No Photo
    Chicky Zee aka Alice says:


  4. Bettys Beads
    Bettys Beads says:

    Good to see you back in the Design Gallery Ali. So like you to design a very special, unusual necklace. I love it.

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    Janet Miriam says:

    Wow!! This is totally amazing! I love the combination of all the componets you used! LOVE IT!! Thank you for the inspiration!

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    Mary - Sweet Chick says:

    Holy cow!! This design is so amazing!
    I need to get out more, my creative brain is stuck in a rut! This is just the kind of thing I’d love to be able to come up with AND wear! Thanks for sharing Ali!!!

  7. Lynn g
    Lynn g says:

    This is so cool, love the feathers and the leather. You made a great necklace :)

  8. Orchid Betty
    Orchid Betty says:

    Wonderful necklace with beautiful components, I love the asymmetry in the design and the hollow druzy with the wheel looks fabulous! Love it!

  9. Linda Talbott
    Linda Talbott says:

    Your Cowgirl Lariate is incredible, stunning. I love the feathers, and the other components look wonderful with the leather cord.

  10. Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
    Cuban Queen Crazy Chick says:

    What a cool design, Ali! Very unique combination of stones and textures, I love it! :D

  11. MoonBell
    MoonBell says:

    Very cool! Do you have any tips on how to store feather jewelry? I made some feather earrings I loved last summer, but had to take the feathers off and throw them out after a while.

  12. sunny chick
    sunny chick says:

    Gorgeous! 8O

  13. K bjorvig
    K bjorvig says:

    I Loooove it

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    Reet says:


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    J C says:

    this is really beautiful and unique! a true piece of art!

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    Sandie A says:

    Ali~~~When I was enjoying Thanksgiving holidays with my two granddaughters, I took them to a bead shop and let them choose things they wanted me to make jewelry out of for them. One chose a red feather and some tiny beads handmade in Kenya—all dif. colors. Now I have an idea for using the feather as a focal feature. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful design.

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    beebop754 says:

    I love the earthiness of both these pieces. It takes me back to when I was very daring and made halter tops out of shammies, feathers and stones. Your projects here have woken me up to the good old days. Somewhere, along the way I became scared and complacent. These beautiful pieces have really inspired me, to play and have fun again. Beebop Artisan jewelry,or Beebop on line, is about to have a new line of earthy, nature inspired jewelry!!! I am excited Thank You a million times over.

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