“Hitomi Gilliam’s inaugural floral design feature in Florists’ Review presents three options – basic, advanced and art – in the creative design of a floral necklace.” 


A perfect flower carcanet! A collar necklace bejewelled with botanicals; a fairy-tale garden on a collar. The base structure is created with etched wire and moss-green-colored chenille stems, to provide the best absorbent surface for gluing. The botanicals are glued with Oasis® Floral Adhesive (cold glue) to guarantee secure adhesion.


Dahlia (miniature), Begonia x hiemalis (Rieger/winter-flowering Begonia), Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Calandiva’, Viola cornuta (horned violet), Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Pink Kisses’ (carnation/clove pink), Dicentra spectabilis (bleeding-heart), Ceropegia woodii (string-of-hearts), Viburnum burkwoodii (Burkwood Viburnum), Sedum hispanicum (Spanish stonecrop)

Oasis™ Etched Wire (Silver), Oasis™ Metallic Wire (Silver), Oasis® Floral Adhesive, Oasis® UGlu™ Dashes and Atlantic Traditional Chenille Stems (Moss Green) from Smithers-Oasis North America.

This floral design feature, the first in a new monthly series by world-renowned floral artist, Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, EMC, and sponsored by Smithers-Oasis North America, presents three options in creative flower design – “Flower Basic,” “Flower Advanced” and “Flower Art.” In this column, Hitomi will share new ideas, product usage, mechanics and techniques to help you survive and succeed in the creative side of today’s flower business.

A carcanet (circa 1530) is a necklace, ornamental collar or headpiece typically made of gold and set with gemstones or pearls. In these modern floral versions of the collar-hugging necklaces, handcrafted bases are flowered with carefully selected botanicals chosen for their form, color, texture and pattern. In these types of designs, we can access beyond what’s available in the cut flower market – potted plants, nursery stock and foraged “roadsidia” – and stem length is not an issue.


Knowledge of care and handling of individual flowers is essential for the success of flower jewelry construction. Longevity of your designs will be impacted by how closely you follow these instructions.

  • Prepare a tray or box lined with plastic sheet, overlaid with a wet paper towel. Have waxed tissue paper on hand.
  • Cut the blooms off of well-hydrated stems or plants.
  • Seal the cuts with Oasis® Floral Adhesive immediately after cutting (technique: cauterizing), and place the blooms face up in the prepared tray or box.
  • Mist all blooms with water, and cover with waxed tissue.

paper, with waxed side up. Cover the entire layer with a lightweight plastic sheet.

  •  Add another layer of blooms, if needed, then mist and cover.
  •  Cover the tray or box with plastic to seal.
  •  Store in a floral refrigerator overnight.
  •  Flowers will be 100 percent hydrated, completely turgid and ready to glue into your jewelry structure.
  •  Store the completed design, misted with water, in a plastic bag until ready to pack for the customer.
  •  Spray the design with Floralife® Crowning Glory® Solution, to seal the blooms and slow transpiration, before the order goes out.

An asymmetrical flower carcanet – it hugs the collar. This garden-inspired Art Nouveau jewelry playfully combines beautiful living botanicals with a viny, tendril-like wire form, which provides a trellis for the floral materials. The art of seamless transition, from the handcrafted wire jewelry to the live materials, is an advanced process. MATERIALS Botanicals Dahlia (miniature), Viola cornuta (horned violet), Ceropegia woodii (string-of-hearts), Viburnum burkwoodii (Burkwood Viburnum), Xanthorrhoea johnsonii (steelgrass) Structure Oasis™ Diamond Wire (Silver), Oasis™ Bullion Wire (Silver), Oasis™ Metallic Wire (Silver), Oasis® Floral Adhesive and Oasis® UGlu™ Dashes from Smithers-Oasis North America.


Asymmetrical = Creative. It takes a little more thinking to balance asymmetry, and it takes more artistry to think uneven, unconventional and even a little off! Creating a composition that is architectural, angular and/or cubistic is, for the most part, a role of man. Nature can soften the edges with curvilinear flow, adding fluidity. The contrast of hard edges and soft lines is the story of man and nature, and the balance and harmony that can be created with opposites is art. It has emotion beyond just beauty.

The playful nature of the vivacious Gloriosa blooms repeats the whimsical quality of Tillandsia xerographica leaves. Adding the periodic punctuation of the floating Ornithogalum buds and blooms reminds me of Spanish artist Joan Miró’s abstract biomorphic imagery


Gloriosa superba (flame lily/glory lily), Tillandsia xerographica (air plant/ bromeliad), Ornithogalum arabicum (star-of-Bethlehem/Arabian starflower), Ceropegia woodii (string-of-hearts).

Oasis™ Etched Wire (Silver), Oasis™ Metallic Wire (Silver), Oasis™ Bullion Wire (Silver), Oasis® Floral Adhesive and Oasis® UGlu™ Dashes from Smithers-Oasis North America.