The Irish dance World Championships and All Ireland’s will soon be upon us, have you thought about how you’re going to bring the sparkle, elegance and innovative design to your dress? It is a well-known fact that in the Irish dance world, competitors are judged not only on the skill and choreography, but on the look of the costume too. So, the more eye-catching the dress, the higher the score.

Introducing Zodiac Pearls

For years, dressmakers, dance teachers, embellishers and dance Mum’s have been adding rhinestones to Irish dance dresses and using sew on stones to bring the sparkle needed. But now, a new trend is emerging and taking the Irish dance scene by storm – pearls! The addition of pearls to the design not only brings elegance and sophistication to the dress, but is also a unique way of highlighting focal points such as the neckline, shoulders and waist. And the best thing about this new trend? It’s cost effective AND flatback pearls in the Zodiac brand come in a huge variety of colours, making it easy to match with the fabric and other crystal embellishments.

One of the first big dance schools to start using pearls for Irish dance dresses is Kelly Hendry Designs. Kelly and her team went one step further in the art of rhinestone embellishment by using pearls to create feature pieces within her designs, enhancing the overall bespoke feel in each dress.

What is the most popular pearl to use for Irish Dance?

Without a doubt, neutral tones such as white, ivory and cream are the number 1 selling flatback pearl in the Zodiac range. They are manufactured in lots of large sizes, from 10mm up to 20mm, so are ideal for covering larger areas. The clean, bright pearlescent colours work perfectly with Clear and AB crystals, as you can see in the below examples, Kelly has combined the pearls with AB rhinestones and AB sew on peardrops which offers a stylish, almost bridal finish. The use of white pearls down the sleeves gives the impression of lace; a very unique style for Irish dance but one that really makes the dancer stand out in the crowd.

Our best-selling colours

Two very popular pearl colours for decorating Irish dance dresses are pink and green. The Zodiac range has a fantastic selection of these shades, all of which can be matched to Zodiac or Preciosa rhinestones, making them a popular choice. Green pearls work really well with gold fabric and rhinestones, below you can see that Kelly has teamed Olivine pearls with gold and AB crystals on this deep emerald green fabric. The olivine pearls finish off the back of the dress nicely and ties in with the Fern Green sew on crystals.

Pink pearls are another favourite among the dressmakers, there are six different pink shades, from bright neon, to hot pink, to pastel rose and everything in between. The lighter shades of pink work well with cream and white pearls or AB rhinestones, whereas the darker shades of pink look great with red or purple gems. Here Kelly has interspersed pearls with crystal gems to give the effect of full coverage.

Creating a design with pearls

When a dress is covered in sparkly rhinestones and sew on stones, it can be hard to pick out a feature or focal point, but adding some simple flatback pearls to the design can help with that. Something often seen in the dresses made by Kelly Hendry, is a pearl heavy focal point such as an intricate neck detail, outlining of the hem, shoulder detail or in the waistline. This is a clever way of making the crystals stand out even more, as they are set against the smooth, subtle tones of the pearls. Below are some examples of how you can create a bespoke feature with pearls.

More from the Zodiac range

The Zodiac Crystals collection have a wide range of rhinestones for Irish dance dresses including large sew on stones. More and more customers are switching to the Swarovski alternative brand, with 96% saying they would recommend Zodiac to a friend. Find out more about Zodiac Crystals here or contact us to request a free sample.

Take a look at our handy guide to the best crystals for Irish dance.

Irish dance