We all know about the classic round shape of a crystal rhinestone – you see them everywhere, from dance costumes and wedding gowns to crystallised coffee cups and Christian Louboutin heels. But how often do you see crystal shapes being used? Throwing in an unusaul rhinestone shape every so often completely changes the look of your design; it stands out against the sea of round stones. And with so many flatback shapes available from the Preciosa and Zodiac brands, you can use them for just about anything and make your project stand out from the crowd.

Shape styles and when to use them.

Geometric – If you want to create a geometric or art deco inspired design you will want to use straight edged shapes such as Square, Diamond, Rhombus, Baguette or Kite. These work really well together as they offer symmetry and a perfect neat finish. This style of shape is often used in Deco inspired fashion and jewellery design – particularly watches.Floral/Natural – Shapes with a curved edge such as Leaf, Flame, Paisley, Peardrop, Navette or Raindrop are great for creating natural, floral or art nouveau style designs. You can apply these shapes together to create an entirely new image such as petals on a flower, or use individually for a more subtle look. These types of shapes are often used in crystal make up and nail art.Novelty/Seasonal – Shapes that are themed or novelty such the Heart, Star, Butterfly, Bow Tie, Snowflake or Skull are great for creating a main feature within your design. These types of shapes are often used in the run up to an event or celebration for example Valentine’s Day, Christmas or Halloween and are most commonly used for themed nail art or greetings card embellishment.

Here are some great examples of different ways to incorporate flatback crystal shapes into your work:

Nail Art – Well known nail artists such as Scarlett Senter and Tino Vo are famous for using gem shapes in their designs, whether it’s full bling or subtle sparkle.Crystal Make Up – Nail art isn’t the only sector of the beauty industry using flatback crystal shapes, the art of applying face gems has become a huge trend recently. Celebrities are often seen at the Met Gala, Coachella and other festivals sporting crystal make up. Face gems also known as face jewels or body crystals can be applied using eyelash glue or you can buy the self adhesive version which are great for festivals.Burlesque & Drag – For a burlesque or drag performer, the outfit is what first draws the eye of the audience, so the more sparkle, the better! A huge trend in the burlesque world at the moment is crystallised pasties. Here, Charlotte Pacelli from ‘Primp My Costume’ has hand embellished these fabulous pasties with Preciosa Peardrops and Navettes and we think you’ll agree the results are stunning. Phone Cases – If you’re really into your bling, why not add some sparkle to your phone case? It’s easy to create a dazzling design using Gem Tac glue and some non hotfix shapes – there are so many shapes and colours in the Zodiac range, you’re spoilt for choice. See how Crystal Skins uses the navette shape in pretty opal colours to make this beautiful chic case.Costumes – While most theatre and dance costumes have larger stones to bring the sparkle, some smaller parts of the costume such as the headwear, shoes & accessories and make up require more intricate detailing from small rhinestone shapes. This tiara made for the Czech National Ballet is encrusted with Preciosa crystal shapes to ensure it really sparkles under the stage lights.Clothing & Accessories – Here, Preciosa have shown how to jazz up your basic accessories with fancy crystal shapes. Why not give your sunglasses, handbag, purse, water bottle or re-usable coffee cup a sparkly makeover.

Nail art & beauty