The doors of iconic local art store Shipwreck Beads may be closed due to COVID-19, but their online store,, is booming with over 43,000 different products. Their Facebook page is popping with live-stream and recorded project tutorials. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, there is no better time to learn to bead or start a new project with mom in mind. The seasoned crew at Shipwreck Beads is ready to help!

Gita brand chaton settings are specifically designed for use with Swarovski Pointed Back Stones. These beginner-friendly settings allow you to create a super sparkly piece of customized jewelry in as little as five minutes! Photo credit: Tara Swart/Shipwreck Beads

Tara Swart joined the Shipwreck Beads family in 2005. She is part of the purchasing and marketing teams. Although she’s not related by blood to the family that owns the business like some of her coworkers, she says she’s very much a part of the family. “Even though not all of us are blood, it’s still very family-oriented,” she explains.

What makes Mother’s Day so special for Shipwreck Beads? “Giving mom something handmade and customized specifically for her is really special,” Tara says. Part of the magic of jewelry making is that so many project ideas can be easily customized to the taste of the maker or the recipient. An avid jewelry maker herself, Tara is happy to share some of her Mother’s Day jewelry project ideas.

Shipwreck’s beloved showroom may be closed for Mother’s Day this year, but healthy online sales and gift card purchases mean they will open again as soon as they’re able! Photo credit: Tara Swart/Shipwreck Beads

Tara highlights several pieces made with Swarovski birthstones. These stones are especially appealing for Mother’s Day because they can be used to represent the birthdays of the maker and their siblings, for example, or the birthdays of multiple generations of mothers. Tara’s bird’s nest necklace includes her birthstone, her mother’s birthstone and her grandmother’s birthstone, all tucked into a handmade 22-gauge copper wire nest. This piece also features Vintaj Natural brass components. Tara recommends this project for a more experienced jewelry maker.

First time or beginning jewelry makers have plenty of options, too. Gita brand chaton settings hold the glittery stones of the “Mom” bracelet and flower necklace. Tara explains how easy these settings are to work with. Simply drop your Swarovski stone of choice into the setting, then use the tip of a screwdriver or even a pen to fold the clasps over the edge of the stone and lock it into place.

Another take on birthstone jewelry, the Mama Bird’s Nest Necklace features Vintaj Natural brass components and Swarovski Crystal beads wrapped with 22 gauge wire. The bird “eggs” in this piece are birthstones for February, October, and June. Photo credit: Tara Swart/Shipwreck Beads

Another great option for beginners is similar to a traditional charm bracelet but more understated. TierraCast pewter charms are a classy way to incorporate symbols and words that mean something special to Mom into her jewelry. With over 5,000 unique, lead-free pewter charms available on, you’re sure to find an emblem that resonates with your mother and her interests. Find sports, hobbies, nature, animals, astrological signs and more in this vast collection.

If you’re not feeling up to finishing a project in time for Mother’s Day, that’s okay! Shipwreck Beads is still offering gift cards that can be used online or for phone orders. Of course, a trip to the epic Shipwreck Beads showroom is an unforgettable activity in and of itself. Their doors will open again as soon as they are able. They also plan to schedule in-person classes again, so be on the lookout for those announcements in the future. A gift card for Mom with future plans to visit the showroom or attend a class is a gift that comes with something to look forward to!

More understated than a traditional charm bracelet, TierraCast charms are a great way to incorporate meaningful symbols into a super-special piece of custom jewelry for mom. Photo credit: Tara Swart/Shipwreck Beads

Shipwreck Beads also has a huge selection of project kits that make fantastic Mother’s Day gifts in a variety of circumstances. Children living with their Moms can give a gift card, then shop to pick out a kit or two to make together at home. Even if you don’t live with your Mom, why not order a kit for her and send the same one to yourself? Schedule a video chat to work on your projects at the same time.

Tara’s fellow buyer, Beth Simmons, is an inspiring example of a mom being creative at home with her little ones. Don’t miss this extra-special earring tutorial with a cameo from Beth’s newborn Lillian, or this kid-friendly crafting video featuring her son, 8-year-old Patric: Who doesn’t love a beaded gecko? Be sure to check out the children’s kits page on their website if you’re looking for ways to keep your family busy while school is closed.

Shipwrecked Beads has been a family-owned and operated business since 1969. They are advocates of creativity, self-expression and beautiful, wearable, handmade creations. “Beading is accessible for a young child as well as an adult to make something one-of-a-kind just for Mom,” Tara says. “It’s something she can wear proudly and get compliments on.”

Don’t let the COVID-19 closures get you down. Take advantage of and the fun, creative videos on their Facebook page to fend off boredom and spend some quality time with Mom, whether in person or virtually.  

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