The King and His Jewelry

The King and His Jewelry
Guest Post by Debbie Blair

The King:

Arguably one of the most popular, charismatic and electrifying entertainers in American history, Elvis Presley was born in poverty, yet his international stardom at a young age allowed him to go on to live a lavish lifestyle, complete with a jewelry collection befitting of the King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis started to develop his own sense of style as a teenager, influenced by the gospel singers and other musicians in Memphis, where his parents moved when he was eight years old. In the 1960s, his slicked-back hair and sideburns—a very different look from other teenagers of that era—received much criticism. Yet that famous pompadour set a national trend in men’s hair styles. During this phase of his life, Elvis made a total of 31 movies and became the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

In 1968, Elvis decided to return to his roots as a rock-and-roll singer and performed his televised “Comeback Special.” His famous black leather suit from that performance is now on display at Graceland.

In the 1970s, Elvis regularly performed sold-out shows in Las Vegas in his iconic white jumpsuits. Through the years, each jumpsuit became more elaborate, adorned with gemstones and semi-precious jewels and often incorporating a cape. You can find photos of several of his most elaborate jumpsuits online without having to travel.


Elvis’ Jewelry:

Elvis loved collecting and gifting fine jewelry, and even had a hand in designing his own jewelry. Upon Elvis’s engagement to Priscilla, he purchased a pair of matching horseshoe-shaped diamond engagement rings. Elvis’s platinum wedding band contained a row of eight baguette-cut white diamonds between two rows of eight brilliant-cut diamonds. It has been said that eight was Elvis’s lucky number. For Priscilla, he chose a large diamond surrounded by a detachable halo of smaller stones.

Photographs and footage of Elvis’s concerts during the 70s reveal his lavish diamond cross pendants, large gold chains and bracelets, huge gemstone-encrusted rings on every finger and enormous belts covered in jewels. The look, like the performer, was larger than life, and set the precedent for today’s blinged-out hip-hop and rap artists. In a fascinating Billboard magazine article you can learn about Elvis’s personal jewelry designer.

The most famous jewelry pieces designed by Elvis were the TLC (Tender Loving Care) necklaces, which he handed out to nearly every woman he met, and the TCB (Taking Care of Business) necklaces and rings, which featured a zigzag lightning bolt and inlaid with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. The TCB necklaces were designed from a sketch that Elvis and his wife, Priscilla, drew on a cocktail napkin and were given only to close members of his entourage, special friends and executives at RCA.

In Person Viewings of Elvis’ Collection:

Graceland has held a number of auctions in recent years as part of the annual festivities commemorating Elvis’ birthday and death, and jewelry that was either worn or gifted by Elvis is often a popular auction item. You can find out what was auctioned off this year. And, of course, replicas can be purchased at the Graceland store.

You can always see more of Elvis’s style through the years online or by taking a trip to Graceland yourself.

Join me at the Country Living Fair in Nashville

Country Living Fair 2017

At the end of April I will be attending the Country Living Fair to teach two classes. This will be my first time at the event and I can’t wait to get there and see all the artsy goodness! Be sure to head to check out the Country Living Fair website to get the details about the event. There is also a list of all of the classes that they will be offering on their site. I hope to see you there and have you in classes, registration is open now.


At the event I will be teaching two beginner classes. Both of my classes will be on Sunday the 23rd. This event is being sponsored by JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. What this means for you is that all of the workshop supplies will be provided for you in my classes. All you need to bring is yourself and your creativity! Special thanks to JoAnn for sponsoring this event.Country Living Fair Cutting a Concho Pin or Pendant

My first class is Floral Concho-Pin or Pendant. If you have been following me for a while you will have seen that I wear a similar pin on my jean jacket and in this class I will teach you how to make your own. In this class you will learn how to use a Sizzix machine to easily cut leather and fabric pieces and rivet them together to make a pin or pendant.  We will also play with Vintaj Patina paints, beads, chains and more.  It’s a good class for beginners or advanced jewelry makers.  If you love embellishing you will love this class!

The workshop will last approximately one hour and all the necessary supplies will be provided for your use at the workshop (just bring yourself). Country Living Fair Silk Knotting Made Simple

The second class that I will be teaching on April 23rd is Silk Knotting Made Simple. Are you ready to revive that vintage necklace? Or maybe grandma’s pearls? In this class, students will string a unique blend of beads from JoAnn’s then set to knotting.

You will learn how to decorate Vintaj pendants with paints, finish the silk ends, hang a sweet brass pendant and attach to a decorative chain to create a beautiful layering necklace. The knotting process can be a great stress reliever too, I’ve found. To make knotting with silk easier we will use the “Knot a Bead” tool from Beadalon. The workshop will last approximately one hour and all the necessary supplies will be provided for your use at the workshop.Country Living Fair Silk Knotting Made Simple Tool

Take A Class with Me in Tucson at To Bead True Blue

So excited to be teaching in Tucson in late January and early February!

Check out the below descriptions.  My classes specialize in mixed media techniques and unique connections and a lot of laughs.  To top it off all my classes are sponsored so your materials are FREE! Plus I give away a bunch of free stuff thanks to my sponsors.

All tools are provided by Beadalon, but you can bring your own if you like.

Class space is limited to 10 and cost $35 at the Doubletree Hotel.  There will be a registration table at the front to help you find the classroom.

Materials kit is free thanks to,, Sizzix and  Thank you to these generous, sponsors!

Leave your questions in the comments section.  Thanks for your interest in my classes!

Jan 28th 2-4PM Leather Macrame Fringe Benefits Necklace:  Let’s take an inexpensive part from the hardware store and knot luxurious leather around it. Candie Cooper will show you the ins and outs of this simple technique that you can use over and over. You’ll also have the opportunity to paint and add texture to your leather tassel and focal pendant. The pendant is surrounded by beautiful Jesse James Beads and Beadalon findings. Leather from LeatherCord USA. 

Jan 29th 2-4PM Knotting Made Simple:  One of Candie’s most favorite techniques comes to life in this class—knotted silk. Students will string a unique blend of signature Jesse James Beads then set to knotting with Beadalon’s Knot-A-Bead tool. You will learn how to finish the silk ends and attach to a decorative chain to create a beautiful layering necklace. If you’ve struggled with knotting, come give this class a try. Candie will hold your hand through the process. Silk knotted jewelry is luxurious—you’re going to love this finished necklace!

Sponsored by and Beadalon.

January 31 4-6PM How to Emboss Leather–Light As A Leather Feather Necklace  Curious about leather embossing, dying with pigment and more? This class was made for you! Candie Cooper will show you how easy it is to make this fun leather pendant and necklace from start to finish from cutting, to forming, to dying and embellishing this sweet leather feather. Truly an amazing process! You will have 3 color options to make your feather piece.  Candie will also show you how to attach findings to crystal cup chain. Class Kit will include beads, findings and chain so you can finish your necklace! Sponsored by Sizzix, Beadalon, and Jesse James Beads.

Feb. 1 4:30-5:30 BUSINESS Of BEADING:  Thinking about or have your own jewelry business?  In this class, Candie will share helpful tips for taking good photos, marketing online, selling at craft shows as well as online.   You’ll also learn ideas for branding and telling your story so your jewelry shines. This is one of Candie’s most popular classes-don’t miss it!
Each person will leave with a swag bag of jewelry making goodies. Sponsored by Sizzix, Beadalon, and Jesse James Beads.

Feb 3 11-1 Cutting A Concho: Riveted Leather Charm Pendant:
One of her most requested technique how-tos, Candie Cooper will show you how to use the Sizzix Jewelry Studio tool to create an amazing leather and tin concho pendant.  You will learn tips for cutting leather, vintage cookie tins and more.  Once the layers are cut, you will rive them together and add charms, beads and more. Participants will have the opportunity to string their unique pendant with beautiful beads and wire to create a stunning necklace.  Sponsored by Sizzix,, Beadalon, and Jesse James

Take a Beading Class in Philly!

Urban Cowgirl Necklace with Candie CooperIt’s been all hustle lately getting ready for the Bead Fest party in Philly next weekend!  Writing instructions, photographing, laundry, packing etc…  I’m ready to get this shindig started!  Ok, I still have some things to do (like a lot of things actually), but you know what I mean.  I can’t wait to hang with my fellow jewelry makers and crew.

If you’re in the area, may I invite you to a class?  This one is $26 and includes EVERYTHING thanks to the sponsors above.

Now, I better get back to it y’all!

My Craftsy Class is On Sale!

Craftsy Jewelry Classes SaleAll the jewelry making classes are on sale at Craftsy including mine, Beading with Wire, Chain, and Leather!

Check out the classes HERE!

Bead Fest Classes

bead fest classes with Candie Cooper and Jesse James BeadsI am in high gear getting ready to teach a ton of classes at Bead Fest next weekend with Jesse James Beads and Beadalon.  So much to pack, organize and prepare for.  My head spins!  Thank God for chocolate.Purple Boho Beader suppliesOne of the classes I’m most excited about is the Boho Beader!  Each student will get a goodie bag like this in your fave color (YES, you get to pick what colors you want to work with!) and then we will set to designing a unique statement piece of jewelry like this:Purple Boho BeaderOR THIS:Orange Spice Boho BeaderThe ribbon was the inspiration for this design mixed in with Jesse James Beads Elite Strands and Chain Reaction.  Remember that Calgon commercial?  “Calgon, take me away!”  That’s what happens to me when I design with ribbon and trim from India and beautiful beads like these.  I magically teleport myself to another place, thinking about all the sights, sounds and energy (and no dishes to do or laundry to fold).

For more pictures and versions, check out the class link page and look for BOHO BEADER!

Bead Fest is August 22-24th!

I hope I get to meet you in person at Bead Fest, but if you can’t make it, you can at least find these Elite JJB beads at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts stores.

Back to Bead Fest with Jesse James Beads

Candie Cooper and Sarah James at Bead FestIt’s time for round two of Bead Fest near Philadelphia!  I’ll be there teaching jewelry making classes, partnering with Jesse James Beads!Beading classes with Jesse JamesDoesn’t this look appetizing?!  Beadalon and Jesse James Classes with Candie CooperWe are also collaborating with Beadalon–makers of great findings and tools!  Jesse James Bead Fest ClassI taught two classes there in the Spring and the ladies were delightful.  The other thing I love about working with them is everyone’s jewelry project turns out differently because we bring lots of beads to choose from.Candie Cooper Chalkin' Up the Jesse James Bead BoothHere is a handy link so you can take a peek at the class offerings and if you can’t make a class, come say howdy at the Jesse James Beads booth! <3  It’s always a good time being around my fellow jewelry makers, playing in the piles of beads and talkin’ shop.  I really do love it!