I have been watching a significant usage of new types of leather by several designers on the collections of some high end jewelry brands for the last 4 years. The first items that caught my attention were bracelets made with stingray skin during one of the editions of JCK SHow in Vegas. High price range was the first indication that such material would came already stamped "luxury" goods.
After that, products made with snake leather became a must have among many accessories collections and the python snake leather became the symbol of this trend.
Last year at the Bead and Button Show, I was introduced by a new type of leather and this time the natual source was an animal that I was very familiar with - fish leather. I would never thought that something like that could be transformed onto an eco-friendly product. The main source for this kind of leather is tilapia and the company Nature Beads is the one that brought this leather into the American jewelry making market. The product comes in a wide range of colors and its texture adds an incredible look to anything is applied to.
During the last CHA - Winter Show, Katie Hacker invited myself and few other fellow designers to be part of a panel called "Beading Trends 2012 " where a group of designers presented their individual picks as the latest trends on jewelry making. Each one of us created inspirational pieces to represent those trends.
The picture below features my inspirational piece that spotlights fish leather as focal element juxtaposed with faux-suede, chain, vegetable ivory pendants and crystal flat backs.
Picture below shows some other colors fish leather can be found and as you can see Swarovski Elements were applied to it using different techniques. The leather absorbs glue easily but many of them changes the color and texture of the leather so you have to investigate wich glue works best for your design.
At this point you can only buy fish leather through Nature Beads.