jewellery making supplies

Online Jewellery Making Supplies – Beads & Findings

Jewellery Mаkіng Supplies and Whеrе to Buу Thеm

Online іѕ a grеаt wау to ѕhор аѕ уоu can ѕіt іn the comfort оf your оwn home with a сuр of tеа аnd ѕhор tо your hеаrtѕ соntеnt аnd mаnу online jеwеllеrу suppliers ѕhір tо уоu nеxt dау аѕ long аѕ уоu оrdеr bеfоrе a сеrtаіn tіmе іn the day. A few I have оrdеrеd frоm in thе past іnсludе Australia Beads, Melworks Online Beads аnd some еBау shops.  Most findings, jewellery supplies & jewellery making tools are ideal candidates for buying them online.

Thе ѕеrvісе fоr me hаѕ been grеаt аlthоugh I do ѕоmеtіmеѕ get сlоbbеrеd wіth thе ѕhірріng costs bесаuѕе I lіvе in Australia and mоѕt оf the tіmе іt’ѕ wеll wоrth іt fоr thе unuѕuаl іtеmѕ thаt аrе available. For ѕіlvеr jewellery making supplies & findings  I use a couple оf thе аbоvе ѕtоrеѕ but I lіkе Cооkѕоn Prесіоuѕ Metals, they have a grеаt line іn silver аnd dоn’t juѕt ѕеll wire!

eBay is a gооd ѕоurсе fоr jewellery making supplies & findings tоо as there аrе ѕhорѕ now thаt are dеdісаtеd tо selling jеwеllеrу making items аnd bеаdѕ аnd аlthоugh a lоt of thе tіmе it’s thе price уоu wоuld pay in a shop, you hаvе thе same rights аѕ іf уоu bоught оnlіnе оr іn a physical store аnd you hаvе thе аddеd еxсіtеmеnt оf bеіng аblе tо bіd fоr аn іtеm аnd реrhарѕ not hаvіng tо pay full рrісе!

One of my mоѕt fаvоurіtе wау оf ѕhорріng thоugh is gоіng tо an actual ѕhор аnd being аblе to pick uр bеаdѕ, fееl thе tеxturе аnd soak uр thе аtmоѕрhеrе. Thеrе іѕ a lіttlе bead ѕhор opened rесеntlу in mу tоwn аnd another about 10 mіlеѕ away from whеrе I live which іnсоrроrаtеѕ jewellery making classes tоо. Mаnу tіmеѕ hаvе I dreamt оf ѕеttіng uр mу оwn lіttlе ѕtоrе соmрlеtе wіth coffee ѕtор аnd mаgаzіnеѕ.

My most favourite jеwеllеrу mаkіng ѕuррlіеѕ & findings ѕhор іn Australia is called Australia Beads . I livе in Melbourne and there are way too many wonderful beading shops.

Mаkіng ѕіlvеr jewellery

Nоw уоu can еіthеr go dоwn thе rоutе оf buуіng уоur sterling silver fіndіngѕ аlrеаdу mаdе, which іѕ a route I strongly rесоmmеnd for a nеwbіе tо jеwеllеrу mаkіng, оr уоu саn make уоur оwn sterling jеwеllеrу оut of ѕtеrlіng wire and sheet.

To mаkе ѕtеrlіng ѕіlvеr jеwеllеrу you wіll nееd уоur bаѕіс jewellery mаkіng tооlѕ аѕ wеll аѕ sterling ѕіlvеr wire. Sterling ѕіlvеr wire соmеѕ іn ‘gаugеѕ’ аnd ѕоmеtіmеѕ instead оf a gаugе, уоu wіll fіnd a numbеr like 0.03 which іѕ іnсhеѕ. Yоu can fіnd wire converters оnlіnе whісh are grеаt іf you’re аnуthіng lіkе mе аnd can never rеmеmbеr whаt 0.3 is іn a gauge!

If уоu wаnt to make уоur own аdjuѕtаblе ѕtеrlіng ѕіlvеr ring you nееd tо uѕе about ѕіx inches оf 18ga (0.04іnсhеѕ) wіrе and уоu wіll need еіthеr a mаndrеl or a ріесе of wооdеn dowel. In very bаѕіс terms, curl one еnd of the wіrе ѕо it fоrmѕ a ѕmаll ѕnаіlѕ ѕhеll shape аbоut 1/4іn dіаmеtеr thеn veer ѕо ѕlіghtlу bеnd the ѕtrаіght piece оf wire juѕt by thе еnd of thе ѕnаіlѕ ѕhеll уоu hаvе juѕt made.  Wrap thе wіrе аrоund the mandrel/dowel раѕѕіng thе mіddlе of thе wіrе, ѕо іt оvеrlарѕ slightly.  Onсе уоu’vе dоnе thіѕ, ѕlіghtlу bеnd the wіrе аgаіn and make аnоthеr ѕnаіl ѕhеll ѕhаре with thе оthеr end of the wіrе, forming іt inwards frоm the оutѕіdе of thе ѕріrаl (thіѕ саn bе a bіt tricky) аnd if there is аnу wire left, ѕnір іt off with уоur wіrе сuttеrѕ and smooth it wіth a ѕmаll fіlе ѕо thеrе аrе no ѕhаrр еndѕ.

 

 

 

How to use Mica Powder


Looking to add a little extra flare to your resin jewellery? Mica is designed to add a touch of glamour to a range of craft projects. So, whether you’re just starting out in jewellery making or are looking to add another trick up your sleeve, find out how to use mica powder to create unique, pearlescent and shimmering effects that everyone will love.mica powder uk

What is Mica Powder?

If you’re a beginner when it comes to enamelling, you may be wondering “what is mica pigment powder exactly?” – because there’s often some confusion around the differences between mica and pigment. Mica is a natural stone mineral that contains small, shiny flakes.

It is then ground down to form mica powder – a shimmer pigment that looks like a very fine glitter and is available in a vast range of colours. This mineral is used to add colour and shimmer to epoxy resin, soap, candles, cosmetics and even translucent polymer clay. Although mica differs to pigment powder, as its main purpose is to create a sparkling or shiny effect, whereas pigments are the colours themselves.

How to use Mica Powder at Home?

Mica powder is a versatile substance that can be used in a variety of different ways. You can fully mix it in with your epoxy resin, swirl in a small amount to create a galaxy effect or even just flick some onto your design to create a speckled finish. Check out our video below for a small demonstration on how to use mica powder:

Video

Wondering how to make mica powder and epoxy resin into a combined mixture? To mix your resin and mica together, take a mixing stick and stir gently to form the iridescent shimmer. You’ll find that just a small amount provides good cover and dispersion, with light-reflecting micro particles creating luminous effects. Here are some ideas for how to use mica powder at home:

  • Add a small amount to clear resin to form a shimmery, pearlescent effect.
  • Carefully swirl a small amount into coloured resin to form dreamy, space-like effects.
  • Mix into coloured resin to create shimmery shades.
  • Mix two or more powders together to form new colours and create unique colours and designs.
  • Take a cocktail stick with some mica on the end and flick it onto your resin artwork for a fun, unique effect.
  • Using a small, wet paintbrush, take a small amount of mica and swill it around on a palette to make it wet. Then simply paint it on to your chosen design! This method also works well with things like dried flowers as you can paint it almost anywhere.
  • Adding mica powder to acrylic paint is also a great way to add depth to your artwork.

When it comes to learning how to use mica powder, always remember that a little goes a long way.

How to use mica powder in jewellery making

Now you’ve got a grip on the different ways to use mica, incorporating it into your jewellery designs is easy. Need some ideas to help get you started? Here’s some inspiration on how to use mica powder in jewellery making:

  • Create moonstone effects by taking small amounts of the powder and mixing it into epoxy resin. This design works particularly well with a teardrop pendant bezel and a few flakes of gold leaf sheet.
  • Got some faulty gemstones that you can’t use? Mix your epoxy resin and powder and fill a round pendant bezel 1/3 of the way full (the deeper the better, or you may have to break up your gemstone a little more). Take your stones and break them up into smaller pieces. Using tweezers, place your crushed pieces into the resin and then pour over more resin until the bezel is full. Leave part of the gemstone pieces uncovered to create a fine druzy effect, and use different shades of the same colour gemstone to add an even more unique effect.
  • Create a pendant using sheet metal and jewellery stamps to form designs on the surface of the metal. Take some powder on a wet paint brush and lightly paint over the stamping. Use multiple colours to create a unique effect. This is a great way to brighten up your basic necklace designs – also ideal for drop earrings, too.
  • Making clay jewellery? Mix the powder in with raw clay to add colour or brush the pigment on to your moulded piece, sealing it with a finish over the top.

Learn how to use mica powder with Cooksongold

At Cooksongold, we sell a range of mica powders that are vegan friendly, cruelty-free and ethically sourced. From iridescent mica powder to brighter colours that will add a pop of colour to your designs. We also have a selection of epoxy resin and equipment to help you bring your designs to life – including bezels, mixing tools and the colours themselves. You’ll find everything you need at Cooksongold.



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19 Super Colorful Earrings you MUST check out!


COLOR EARRINGS TRESORO

TRESOR tourmaline, mandarin Garnet, Tsavorite garnet, tanzanite, diamond earrings

 

We all could use some good news after months of struggling with the current health crisis. It’s not to make light of it, but it’s such an interesting time too. We explore ourselves, our moods, our family. We see who we become when we are in lockdown. Were you in PJ’s all day too? Tell me the truth 😉

COLOR BACK IN OUR lives

Adding color to your wardrobe can give you a boost of confidence. I am not the most daring person with color in my wardrobe, but I love it in jewelry! Color is big this season, even though trends and fashion aren’t playing the big role as before the crisis yet, we do like to see and observe the current longing for color as a bit of a trend. 

I made a selection, just to get you inspired. Whether you search for these earrings or opt for something similar, I hope you feel the joy too when you try on a pair of colorful earrings!

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Alex Soldier

ALEX SOLDIER Carved Carnelian and rutilated quartz. They can be worn without the pendant.

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry BRUMANI

BRUMANI, Baobab Collection Earrings, cabochon aquamarine, rose tourmaline, brown diamonds, and rubies

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Charles Zuber

CHARLES ZUBER Purple Royal Rhodolite, garnet and hand-carved tsavorites

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry DanielaVillegas

DANIELA VILLEGAS Do-Re-Mi earrings with tourmalines

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Dior

DIOR Cher Dior, multi-gemstone earrings; pink, yellow, purple and blue sapphires, emeralds, rubies, demantoid garnet, spessartite garnet, Paraiba tourmaline, diamonds

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry DJAYA LEVY

DJAYA LEVY multi gemstones earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry ERINESS

ERINESS 14kt gold multi-colored earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Grainne Morton

GRAINNE MORTON Cameo drop earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Grainne Morton 1

GRAINNE MORTON multi-color, cameo drop earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Grainne Morton 2

GRAINNE MORTON earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Jane Taylor

JANE TAYLOR multi-colored hoops!

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry JJEWELS

J JEWELS freshwater pearls and gemstone earrings

COLOR EARRINGS JEWELRY VRAM

VRAM one-of-a-kind- chandelier earrings. Marquise shaped sapphires and diamonds

COLOR EARRINGS Jewelry Wendy Yue

WENDY YUE Jade earrings

COLOR EARRINGS MOUSSON ATELIER

MOUSSON ATELIER Magic Carpet Earrings

COLOR EARRINGS Noor Fares

NOOR FARES Amethyst earrings

COLOR EARRINGS RUFFIER

RUFFIER 8ct gold earrings with pink sapphires, yellow sapphires, and rubies

Page Sargisson

PAGE SARGISSON Sapphire earrings in gold

 


 

 

 



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#259 How to Crash Your Business to Reach Your Goals with Jason Ayers


Crashing your business is probably the last thing you want to think about right now, yeah?

But what if I told you that understanding how to tank your business could actually be your ticket to reaching your goals?

I thought it was crazy at first too, but stay with me…

This exercise is called inverse thinking, and it can be traced all the way back to ancient philosophers.

The idea is that you imagine the worst possible thing you could do in a given scenario, and then do the exact opposite of that.

It helps you clarify exactly how to achieve your desired outcome.

Still not sure about this thought experiment? That’s okay. Let’s walk through it together.

Click here to download the show notes

Pick One Area of Business to (Hypothetically) Crash

This doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Just pick one scenario to get started.

For example, imagine a customer emails you because the necklace they ordered arrived broken. They want to know if it can be fixed or exchanged.

Here are a few ways you could absolutely blow it:

  • Don’t respond for weeks.
  • When you do finally respond, be rude and unprofessional.
  • Tell them you won’t fix it and you won’t offer a refund.
  • Ignore any further emails.
  • Reach out a month later asking them to recommend your brand to a friend.

What are the chances that customer will be buying from you again?

Inversion: Do the Exact Opposite

That’s a pretty absurd way to treat a customer. It’s not a strategy I would recommend. 

But now that you know the worst way to handle the situation, it should be that much easier to identify the best way:

  • Respond within 24 hours.
  • Be optimistic and friendly. 
  • Apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Provide solutions for their problem.
  • Offer them something nice to make up for it.

A customer service scenario like this is pretty cut-and-dry, but this exercise can be applied to any area of your business to help you clarify the best path forward.

Don’t Overthink It

This exercise should not be used as an opportunity to indulge your fears and catastrophize about every little thing that could possibly go wrong.

It should be centered on what you can control – your behavior.

When I first heard of this concept I was like, “uh, no thanks.” But what surprised me the most was it actually made me less anxious about things going wrong.

So what do you think, are you gonna give it a try?

xo, Tracy

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A Guide To Engraving The Inside Of A Ring


 

Engraving the inside of a ring is a popular technique amongst newlyweds and jewellery makers. It’s a way of personalising the rings so that they aren’t just regular wedding rings, but they’re your wedding rings. Engraved rings are also popular amongst those who are celebrating the life of a loved one, by engraving a special message, date or symbol into a gifted ring. The benefit of engraving the inside of a ring (over the outside) is that the message will not fade away on any choice of metal – no matter how long you wear the ring on your finger.

engraving on inside of ring

But how much does it cost to have a ring engraved exactly? And how can you engrave the inside of a ring if you decide to do it yourself? We’re here to answer all of your questions – including a step-by-step process on how to engrave a ring by hand, using the Presidium mini engraving machine, plus some ideas for what to get engraved on wedding rings.

What to get engraved on wedding rings

Wondering what to engrave on a ring for him or her? Engraving a ring can mean anything from etching a couple’s wedding date and initials inside the shank, or opting for a special message or quote when celebrating the life of a loved one. Some people also like to engrave intricate, decorative designs onto the outside of the ring to add a personalised touch. Some ideas you may take inspiration from are:

  • Yours and your partner’s initials, including the date of your wedding
  • A memorable quote that you share(d) with a loved one
  • One simple word or phrase, such as “I love you”, “Always”, “To my soul mate”

How much does it cost to have a ring engraved?

First things first, as a newlywed you might be wondering how much engraving the inside of a ring costs. In a jewellers’ this will typically cost up to £25, often with a character limit – so if you go above that limit, you’re likely to be charged more. This is perfect for loving couples who are looking for a one-off piece. But if you’re a jewellery maker who designs rings for a living, it may be worth learning how to engrave a ring to add it to your repertoire.

How to engrave a ring

As a jewellery maker, you may be wondering how to start your own engraving business – so you can share special messages between loved ones. Depending on your level of skill or the design you wish to engrave, you can take different approaches. For example, laser engraving is a popular method amongst many jewellers, and involves burning the surface of the ring, rather than scratching it. But if you’re just starting out, you’re probably looking for something that’s a little simpler, and cheaper. Find out how to engrave a ring by hand below.

How to engrave a ring by hand

Looking for something more precise? The Presidium Inside Ring Mini Engraving Machine is a small, reliable manual engraving machine that offers consistent, single letter engraving. When engraving the inside of a ring with this machine, you will need a ring that’s around 2mm at its narrowest point.

To set up the Presidium engraving machine:

  1. Turn the knob anti-clockwise to expand the three jaws at the top of the machine.
  2. Place your chosen ring in the grooves of the three jaws and secure tightly by turning the knob clockwise. Looking from the side, make sure that the ring is lined up properly to ensure that your message is straight when engraving the inside of a ring.

Top tip: If you’re using a thicker band, release the jaws and turn them around to reveal larger grooves that are suitable for larger rings.

  1. To adjust your letter spacing, loosen the wing nut to turn the adjusting screw to reach your desired spacing – you can set your adjustment from a 3-6 teeth movements. Then, tighten the wing nut to lock the adjusting screw in place.
  2. To change the engraving dial, loosen the screw and then pull and hold the silver lever to its side. This will disengage the connection and allow you to lift and remove the dial. Replace or change your dial to the reverse side and then release the lever, re-engaging the connection and securing the engraving dial in place. Then re-tighten the screw.

Your machine is now set up, but what’s the process behind engraving the inside of a ring?

  1. When your machine is set up and your ring is secured, choose your first letter by pulling on the bottom lever and spinning the dial.
  2. Then, pull out the stylus from the middle of the machine, and press down on the top to reveal the tip. Press down until the stylus tip reaches the letter on the dial.
  3. Take the lever with the ball point and pull it down, lifting the ring so that it reaches the diamond engraving point.

Top tip: If you pull the ball point lever down too tightly, you’ll risk breaking the diamond tip. So make sure the connection isn’t too tight.

  1. Still pressing down the top of the stylus, trace out the letter on the engraving dial. The diamond tip will mimic its movements and engrave the letter onto your ring.
  2. Release the ball point lever and then push it upwards to move on to the next letter space. Do not take pressure off the top of the stylus until you have done this to avoid scratching the surface of your ring.
  3. Repeat the process from step one, choosing your next letter or symbol and engraving it onto the ring, until your message is complete.

If you’re looking to engrave at opposite sides of the ring, lift up the ball point lever to spin the ring round and start engraving in a new position.

And that’s how to engrave the inside of a ring using the Presidium ring engraving machine! It’s simple and creates precise, quality engravings – suitable for any wedding band. Who knew that engraving the inside of a ring could be so easy?

Looking to add some extra detail to the outside of your ring? Check out our range of GRS jewellery tools – designed to speed up the process of engraving by hand – including a wide range of gravers, clamps and vices. Pick up all the jewellery tools and supplies you need for Cooksongold today.



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Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers


Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers is a large format, paperback book produced by Search Press, the aficionados of art and craft publishing. It is spread across 192 pages and split into three separate sections covering; Tools and Materials, Settings and Techniques and Resources.

The first thing that grabs your attention when you pick up this book is the amazing gallery of images which is interspersed throughout the text as well as spread across the cover, giving you a real sense of what to expect; from standard to unusual, to out and out Avant- garde, it’s all in here!

The first section, Tools and Materials covers Equipment in chapter 1 and Choosing Stones in Chapter 2 and both are covered simply, whilst providing a good amount of information. The stone section in particular makes an invaluable resource as it assesses a selection of popular stones in terms of their suitability for setting and includes information such as; colour, cut and hardness but also other important considerations such as potential problems and complimentary metals. E.g.

Moonstone – Considerations: ‘Great for learning cabochon setting, it’s glass-like quality is complimented by silver, but be wary of horizontal cracking’ – from Tools and Materials section, Chapter 2

I found the explanation on Cabochon Cuts particularly interesting as it describes the different options encompassed by that broad title which are sometimes overlooked and can be tricky to deal with if you lack experience.

‘Select a cabochon carefully: check that the underside is truly flat, otherwise it could rock in its setting’ – from Selecting a Stone, Chapter 2

The bulk of the remaining text is devoted to Settings and Techniques and covers a range of both ready-made and hand-fabricated settings. Each style featured has an informative introduction, a step by step tutorial with images, followed by a gallery of examples to whet your appetite. The skill levels required for each technique are varied, but are clearly marked either beginner, intermediate or advanced so you can easily identify the level before you start. Techniques covered include; prong and snap setting, setting stones into PMC, bezel setting, collet setting, gypsy setting, tension setting, channel setting, claw setting, pave setting, bead wrapping and also the use of irregular shapes and unusual materials which looks at hinges, rivets and end caps.

The format for each tutorial is accessible and easy to follow and has a full equipment list along with useful pro tips which will help to iron out any problems you may have along the way.

‘Prevent a stone getting stuck in its setting before it is finished by lying a long piece of cotton or a strip of paper inside first’ – from Settings and Techniques, Chapter 6.

The remainder of the book contains invaluable Resources such as an imperial and metric conversion chart, a ring sizing chart and a fabulous collet template which is going to save you hours of frustration and wasted metal!

Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers is one of our bestselling books here at Cooksongold and rightly so; It is a well-rounded guide to stonesetting which will guide you on your way to many successful makes.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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#258 Birthday Episode – Change Your Story with Jason Ayers


Happy Birthday to Flourish & Thrive Academy!

8 years ago Robin and I committed to demystifying the jewelry industry and helping designers find their spark and build businesses that support their creativity.

Since then, F&TA has undergone a LOT of transformations, because we’re always staying on the cutting edge of the everchanging jewelry industry.

And we have even more big changes in store…

So, I wanted to do things a little differently this week, something that aligns with our goals to continuously improve as a brand.

I invited my man Jason Ayers back on to talk about how to shift your mindset to benefit your success.

Part of our transformative plans for F&TA means Jason will be joining our Momentum Mastermind Program (formerly SOS) as a Success Mindset Coach.

Because even if you’re doing everything else right in business, a negative headspace means you’ll always be getting in your own way.

Click here to download the show notes

Be Honest With Yourself

Humans are meaning-making machines. We’re designed to generalize and tell stories; it’s part of our survival.

Here’s the thing, the stories we tell ourselves, the generalizations we make, they’re not always true. But we often accept them as truth without checking the evidence.

The story you’re telling yourself, the generalizations you’re making, are you certain they’re 100% true? Most likely not.

Do The Thing That Scares You

It’s these untrue stories that create the fears holding us back.

Whether you’re afraid of getting rejected, what people will think, failing, etc… your brain is telling you these potential negative outcomes are worse than not doing anything at all. 

But here’s the beautiful part: you get to control the stories you tell yourself. Getting rejected just means that person wasn’t your Dream Client. Failure is just an opportunity to reevaluate and try again.

Upgrade Your Thinking

You’re in control of your stories.

That means there’s endless opportunity for you to change the stories that are holding you back and make this positive reframing process a part of your daily habits.

Easier said than done, I know. But we’re here to walk you through it.

Listen to the full episode above to go through an exercise with us that will help you let go of negative stories and push you closer to where you want to be.

xo, Tracy

Links:

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Participate in the State of the Jewelry Industry Report

What’s Your Jewelry Brand’s Brilliance Factor? Take the quiz!

Episode #255: From Burnout to Business Bliss with Jennifer Dawes

Jennifer Dawes

Marcia Newquist

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Designer of the Month – Lydia Taylor | The Bench


July’s Designer of the Month is Lydia Taylor. An artistic silversmith that enjoys working with copper and silver, as well as sculpting with metal clay. Learn more about her, her background, what inspires her and what she thinks will be the next trend to take off with jewellery makers in this month’s Designer of the Month.

Let us know a bit about yourself, detailing your background, study and training in the jewellery making industry.

I have always been artistic and had always made jewellery as a child; first it was sculpting polymer clay, then creating paper beads. It was something I kept coming back to. Then whilst on maternity leave from being a primary school teacher, I was looking for something to do as a night class and booked myself onto a silversmithing course. I loved every minute, working with Copper and Silver, with a group of like-minds.

It was 2 years later, after a family move to Wales, that I received a gift certificate for a metal clay workshop. After this, I signed up for some online learning with the Jewellers Academy, read every metal clay and silversmithing book the library had to offer and began making pieces for friends and family. I was totally hooked and knew I would have to start selling the pieces I was making. Out of this, The Creative Phoenix jewellery brand was born.

Tell us about your work – are there any particular materials or techniques that you favour?

I use traditional silversmithing techniques and combine these with metal clay. I really try to exploit the benefits of each technique to combine effects to make the most interesting pieces possible. Metal clay is easy to texture and is a fabulous material to sculpt with, but I like to use silver sheet and wire to give strength to some of my pieces, especially when making rings and chokers.

How would you best describe your design style?

Eclectic. I create many sculptural and lifelike pieces such as my red kite, and detailed landscape pieces. But also pieces with bold shapes, eye catching textures, and polished finishes. All of them can be traced back to be firmly rooted in nature somehow.

Where do you like to get your inspiration from for your pieces?

I now keep a little notebook by my bed as inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient moments, when my brain is quiet. Often thoughts around jewellery come from nature, the sound of the sea, patterns in the sand, flora and fauna and their many varied textures. I think part of this being drawn to nature, is that we can become very removed from it.

There is something pretty special about the feel of icy cold sea water and sand between your toes. Since having my own children, it has really re established that connection with nature and reminded me how great being closer to the natural world makes us feel.

Do you have a piece that you have made which you favour or are particularly proud of?

My favourite piece would have to be the piece I am most known for, my fine and sterling silver mistletoe choker with mother of pearl berries. In the words of one customer ‘I recognised the choker, before I recognised it was you.’ This was the piece I created on the Channel 4 craft show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’.

It is not the fact that I won the competition that this piece is so special, but what it represents. It reminds me of every failure, every redesign, every sleepless night on the journey to making that one perfect piece. (But winning the show, was most certainly icing on the cake)

What is the one item in your jewellery making workshop that you couldn’t live without?

Without a doubt, it would be my blow torch. It is used in some way for every piece of jewellery that I create. I don’t really have an expensive torch set up, using the Go System torch my husband bought in a hardware store after I managed to wear out my crème brulee torch.

The torch I use has carried me from hobbyist working out of my kitchen, torch firing the odd piece of silver metal clay, to transitioning into my home based workshop, torch firing, soldering and annealing metal, to create jewellery for customers. It is a real workhorse of a thing.

What upcoming trends do you see being popular soon?

I really see metal clay becoming more and more popular with British crafters and jewellers, because of the little amount of tools needed to produce some stunning pieces of jewellery. Before lockdown it was noticeable the increased number of metal clay workshops that were being advertised.

There are some incredible British jewellers using the material and teaching students and who are definitely raising the profile of it. It is still a surprise to many customers at present though, when I explain that the silver I use starts in a clay form, but that it is turned into assay quality pieces. Whereas, in the US metal clay has been around and popular for much much longer.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from your time in the jewellery making industry?

Two lessons really. The first, that you don’t need to fit the same profile as your customer. It has taken a while to realise that. The things that I like to wear are not necessarily the same as the things my target audience would buy. This has really made me consider my design choices much more carefully. The second is that learning in this field, like many others, is never finished.

There is always a new material, new tool, new technique to learn. So even though I would consider myself a jeweller, rather than hobbyist now, I know my learning journey will never be complete.  I think if the moment ever came where I began to think I knew it all, it would be time to hang up the hammers and torches.

Do you have any particular advice that you would give to up and coming jewellery designers, or someone interested in getting into jewellery making?

Really, just to do it. Throw yourself in. There are such a wide range of jewellery making techniques, from beading and soutache, through to wire wrapping, metal clay and silversmithing. There is a style and technique to suit everybody with an interest in jewellery. I would positively encourage booking on to some courses, have a go and see what you think. But be warned, it is a little addictive.

Finally, time for a bit of fun in our quick-fire round!

Tell us your favourite…

Colour – I should say silver…but no, at the moment it’s yellow
Biscuit – Pink wafers. They were always in the biscuit tin at my Grandparents’ house
Drink – A large mug of Earl Grey tea
Place – Isle of Anglesey, the beaches and the mountains nearby. It feels like home. There is nothing not to like.
Animal – Butterflies. The children and I looked after a group of caterpillars recently. It was an awe and wonder moment for us all, watching the transformation.
Gemstone – Lapis lazuli. My favourites change. There are ones I love to wear and then there are ones I love (or really dislike to work with)
Food – I love the delicate flavours of Thai food
Sport – I would probably have to say hockey. I was either drawing, or on the pitch through school years.
Film – I can only choose one?…that’s too hard. A different film for different moods. ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ with Rick Moranis, a quirky comedy musical and ‘Labyrinth’, an 80s children’s classic.
City – Venice. It is such an inspiring place, with so much art, culture and the atmosphere, which is unlike any other place I have visited.

Many thanks to Lydia Taylor for being our Designer of the Month this month and for sharing this information

Want to discover the work of other jewellery makers?

Take a look at our interviews with even more Designers of the Month to learn more about their designs, inspiration and more.



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What Are Huggie Earrings and Why They Are Great


huggie earrings

Huggie earrings save time, are comfortable and can be slept in. Basically that’s the blog post. But I’m a chatty gal and have more to say about them.

No More Earring Backing Problems

Hair can catch on your earring backs.

Do you have long hair? Has your hair ever gotten wrapped around the post of your earring? Knotted up around the ear backing? That’s a nightmare I’ve been told about for years. This is especially problematic if you have fine hair. It defies gravity and fixates on your earring backing and post and can result in a bit of hair-pulling before you get your earrings off.

Huggies Don’t Use Earring Backs

The original huggie earrings hugged the earlobe, hence the name

Some wonderful jewelry designer, knowing how much women love hoop earrings, came up with a brilliant idea. They made a hoop earring with a hinge at the bottom. The post of the hoop is locked to the back of the hoop, closing the circle when the earring is clicked shut. Because no backing is needed, and the earring itself holds onto the post, a unique earring was born.

The original huggie earrings were quite small and literally hugged the earlobe. These earrings were so beloved that the next step was to make larger ones.

Huggies Look More Seamless on Your Ear Then Most Hoop Earrings

Regular hoops on left, hinge on top. Huggies on right, hinge on the bottom

Most hoops have a visible hinge in front on top where your ear hole is, which can take away from the pretty and clean look of a hoop. Especially with smaller hoop earrings, the way the earring connects with your earlobe, affects the beauty of the overall look.

Since the hinging area is down below, a huggie offers a clean line from earring to lobe.

Huggies Offer Fancier Looks

earrings with square emeralds bezel set in Etruscan design

Huggie earrings in the Etruscan style with emeralds. I loved making these.

Once I realized how comfortable huggies were, I wore my post earrings less. The jewelers who make huggies got the message and started being very creative. They realized that what we really wanted was the hinge and not to mess with backings. But we still wanted choices, and happily we got them.

Telephone Friendly Huggies

Don’t get stabbed by your earrings when you talk on the phone

Do you wear post back earrings? Ever get poked in the neck by your post? I have, and once I even bled, when I got a very vigorous hug at a wedding. I believe drinking was involved. I now always wear my huggie earrings at weddings.

When you grab your phone and lean it into your shoulder as you multi-task, if you wear your huggies, it won’t hurt. Your chiropractor will still be your best friend if you do that, but at least you won’t get stabbed into the bargain.

Read about other telephone-friendly earring styles.

Sleeping in Huggies

I always recommend against wearing earrings to bed. But let’s be real. Some of us do it. Mmm, maybe I do it. Huggies will never jab you. So if you catch me sleeping in earrings, it’s always in my huggies.

Adjusting Your Huggie Posts

You may sometime find that one or the other of your huggies is not closing properly. If you’re in a rush and maybe push the back section of the huggie too vigorously onto the post, it may push it out of alignment. You should be able to feel or hear the click sound as your huggie snaps onto the post. I feel for it when I put them on. If you don’t feel it click shut, don’t wear them till you adjust them.

I’ve gotten calls to adjust huggies and thought it might be a good idea to share how to adjust them at home. Here’s my video on How To Adjust Your Huggie Earrings.

Steps to Adjust Your Huggie Posts

1) Pull out a pair of needle-nose pliers.

2) Note where your huggie post is notched. This tells you which direction it will lock into the back of the earring.

3) Slowly close your huggie in front of you, and see if the notch is too low to come in contact with the back of the earring.

4) Use your needle nose pliers to grasp the post. If you want to avoid leaving a tiny mark from the pliers, put a little strip of cloth on the post.

5) Grasp the front section of your huggie between your fingers.

6) Grasp the post with your needle-nose pliers.

7) Slowly and gently lift the post up a tiny bit.

8) Test the closure to see if it now clicks.

9)Repeat the process until the notch clicks properly into the back of the huggie earring.

It may take a number of tries to get the adjustment just right.

Always use slow and gentle movements so as not to snap off the post.

Getting Fancy and Custom Making Huggies

Custom made huggies

I just wanted an excuse to show you one more awesome huggie pair of earrings. My client wanted blue diamonds and loves hand engraving. Oh yeah, she loves huggies. I loved making these so much it was hard to deliver them!

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla

 

 



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How To Make Jewellery Display Stands For Less


You’ve got the jewellery, but what comes next? Whether you’re planning your next craft fair or upgrading your in-store display on a budget, we’ve got some DIY jewellery display stand ideas for you to try. From how to make a jewellery stand out of wood and dowels, to how to make cardboard necklace displays, find out how to make jewellery display stands today.

how-to-display-jewellery-at-a-craft-fair-to-boost-sales

How to make Jewellery Display Stand out of Wood

This design is simple and only requires three pieces of wood. Suitable for both necklaces and bracelets, you can choose your measurements to suit your needs. When learning how to make a necklace display stand out of wood, you will need:

  • One thick piece of dowel (dowel A)
  • One smaller piece dowel (dowel B)
  • A rectangular piece of wood for the base
  • Hand drill
  • A hole saw or Forstner bit (the size of your smaller dowel)
  • Wood glue
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Finishing tools

The size of your dowels and wood will depend on how big or small you need your jewellery stand to be. If you’re looking to hang necklaces, make sure that your dowel B is longer to make your structure stand taller.

This stand can be built in just a few simple steps:

  1. Lying dowel A on its side, take the ruler and pen and mark the centre. Then, mark the centre of the rectangular piece of wood.

Top tip: make sure that dowel A and the piece of wood are both wide enough to attach to dowel B and create a secure structure.

  1. Once you have your centre points, drill a hole around 1-2cm deep in both dowel A and the piece of wood. Make sure you don’t go too far through to the other side but make sure your hole is still deep enough to secure dowel B in place.
  2. Take the wood glue and secure dowel B into the two holes, creating a T-shaped structure with a stand on the bottom.
  3. Once the glue has dried, finish your DIY jewellery display stand by sanding down the edges, priming and then painting in your choice of colour. Or simply leave with the wood finish for a more rustic look!

With a little more time and money, this design can also be curated using metal rods and soldering equipment – the choice is yours.

How to make a Necklace Display Bust

Find out how to make cardboard necklace displays on a budget below. While this design may not be suited to continuous use, it’s cheap and easy to make so you can do so over and over again!

You’ll need:

  • Paper or a ready-made necklace display pattern
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • A pen
  • Hole punch
  • Hot glue gun
  • Elastic or string
  • Velvet sheet
  1. Take a homemade necklace display pattern, then trace it onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out – leaving the inner fold lines as you’ll need these later on.

Top tip: standard patterns are around 25cm high x 25cm wide, but you can make your DIY jewellery display stand taller or shorter than that by tracing the bottom of the pattern further down your board.

  1. Using the cardboard cutout, trace the same design onto your chosen fabric or velvet sheet.
  2. Align the fabric and cardboard pieces and then glue them together – with the top of the fabric facing outwards.
  3. With the hole punch, put a hole in the two bottom corners.
  4. Using the back of your scissors, score over the fold lines indicated on your display pattern – this will ensure a neater fold.
  5. Fold back the sides and top of your DIY jewellery display stand.
  6. Take your elastic or string and thread it through the two holes you punched and tie the ends together. This will help hold the sides back and make your stand stay upright.

Alternatively, cut around the fold lines, leaving you with the face of the bust and create your own stand to keep it upright using wire or an extra piece of card!

How to make a Necklace Display Board

Perfect for jewellery fairs and empty wall space in-store, learning how to make a necklace display board is one easy step towards upping your jewellery display game.

You’ll need:

  • Hardboard, or wallboard for something more robust
  • Your choice of fabric – use branded colours where possible for more consistency
  • E6000 glue
  • Wire cutters
  • A craft knife
  • Various pins and hooks – pick out some decorative pieces for more originality, too
  • Push pins
  • A stapler
  • Wire mesh – for earring displays

How to make a necklace display board in a few easy steps:

  1. Place the fabric on a flat surface with the pattern faced downwards, then place your hardboard on top.
  2. Fold the edges of the fabric over and staple them into the hardboard to secure them in place.

Top tip: make sure the fabric is tight and staple each edge in the middle first to ensure a smooth finish on the underneath. Then, staple the rest of the edges.

  1. Take the wire mesh and using the wire cutters, cut out a small section that will be used to hang your drop earrings. Make this piece as big or small as you require.
  2. Fold over or file down any sharp edges of cut wire and secure the wire mesh to your board using push pins. Make sure it isn’t too tight and that there is some give so you can hang your earrings safely and easily.
  3. Then, attach your chosen pins and hooks to the board in any formation – considering the lengths of any pieces that you will be hanging.

Feel free to use any additional decorative pieces that you wish to add your own personal twist – from ribbons and sequins to picture frames that form borders around your designs.

And that’s how to make jewellery display stands on a budget! Not sure which design to pick? Check out our blog on the top 5 jewellery stand display ideas to help you decide which one might be right for you.

Looking for something a little more permanent? At Cooksongold, we offer a wide selection of jewellery displays and sundries, suitable for a range of designs – so you can showcase your pieces in the way they deserve.



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Tutorial: Rainbow Necklace | The Bench


Inspired by my reading of ‘Beading for the Absolute Beginner’ by Liz Thornton and Jean Power (999 A160), this month I have decided to make a rainbow bead necklace in honour of our wonderful NHS. In true lockdown style, I used the materials I had to hand, so similarly tailor your design accordingly and adapt and change where necessary.

You will need:

silver wire approx.0.7 – 0.8mm (I used HSA 080, around 100cm)

jump rings 5mm and 6mm (I used NVH H50 and NVH H60)

strong silver clasp (I used NVF L11)

iridescent glass beads 6mm

plastic rainbow coloured beads 8mm

wire cutters

parallel pliers

flat nosed pliers

round nosed pliers

snipe nosed pliers if possible

small needle file

This project uses a series of double ended, wrapped loops which are joined together to create a necklace. Obviously, the necklace can be any length you choose, just add or takeaway components to achieve the look you want. My necklace is choker length and uses a total of 12 double wrapped loops, but remember the number of loops required will depend on the size of beads you use and the length of the components you create; mine were on average about 3cm in length.

To make:

  • Thread your chosen beads onto the wire and cut it to length, approximately 8cm longer than the beads. (I chose to cut the wire once the component was complete to create less waste, but this does make the whole process much more difficult).

 

  • Leaving around 4cm excess, using snipe or flat nosed pliers, bend the wire at a right angle.

  • Hold the wire in your round pliers and bend it round to form a loop. You can do this with your fingers or by pulling it with a pair of flat pliers. Pull the wire round until it crosses over fully.

 

  • Change hands so you are holding the round pliers in your less dominant hand and clamp the end of the wire in your flat pliers. Bring it round the shaft of the wire, wrapping it tightly at the base of the hoop you have just made. Continue to wrap and pull tightly until you reach the beads.

 

  • Cut off the wire, smooth with a file if needed and push the end in with flat pliers so it is neat and doesn’t stick out. I found parallel pliers better for this as I don’t have snipe nosed pliers but if you have crimping pliers, these are ideal.

  • Repeat the process using the opposite end of the wire to secure your beads and complete the finished double wrapped loop.

  • Once you have made a second wrapped loop component, join them together with a jump ring and you can begin to work out how many you will need to complete the necklace.

 

  • When the required length is reached, add the clasp to one end using a jump ring and stand back and admire your creation!

 Hints and tips:

  • Experiment with different sizes and types of beads, this will create a more interesting result. My glass beads are iridescent so they catch the light nicely, whilst the basic plastic examples provide the rainbow of colour I was after.
  • Heavy jump rings give much more strength to the finished piece and are less likely to be pulled open when the necklace is worn.
  • Always ensure your wire will go through the hole in your beads.(Sounds obvious but some internal holes are tiny). Check the details before you commit to any purchase.
  • Don’t worry if your wrapped loops are not perfect. Mine are not perfect but the finished result is still pretty and effective.
  • Enjoy the process. Chain making is extremely therapeutic and the perfect activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon. There is no need to rush as you can always pick up where you left off at a later time.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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