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.

 

 

 

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:

Follow Jason on Instagram!

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

Need some business coaching? Check out our programs!

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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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#257 How To Makeover Your Home Office for More Productivity with Toby Fairley


Whether you’re working from home for the first time or trying to improve your established home office habits, this is the episode for you.

Finding your groove while working from home has been a creative challenge facing jewelerypreneurs (especially if you have kiddos running around!) on a massive scale.

But as a life coach and interior designer, Tobi Fairley has been helping creatives like you tackle this challenge long before stay-at-home orders were in place.

She’s one of those gifted entrepreneurs who know that your creativity is your greatest strength in business.

Tobi recognizes the connection between a well-designed space, a thriving business, and a fulfilling lifestyle that gives you space for all your dreams and passions.

With so many people working from home, she sat down with me to talk about how to makeover your home office (and your time-management habits) to maximize your productivity at home.

Click here to download the show notes

Show Up for Yourself

Time blocking and creating a schedule for yourself is crucial for working efficiently and effectively. 

Mapping out your schedule and creating a color-coded calendar feels great. Problem is… you usually don’t want to follow through when that time block rolls around. 

As Tobi puts it, we need to manage our expectations for ourselves, be realistic, and push through that natural resistance.

That also means being kind to yourself and remembering that working from home is going to be a learning process all in itself. It’s not fair to expect your schedule to be the same at home as it was in the office.

Redesign Your Day

Tobi invites you to tap into your designer intuition when planning your day.

What are your most pressing tasks? What is the optimal space for you to complete those tasks in? How can you coordinate your schedule with the other people in your house?

Think of it as a puzzle. These are all pieces that need to fit together for you to get the most done in one day.

Experiment With Your Workspace

Where are you most creative?

If your environment isn’t comfortable and appealing, you”re probably not going to want to work there for very long.

If you’ve been working somewhere for a while, remember to check in with yourself and see where you’re holding tension. 

Maybe your chair isn’t very comfortable, or you’ve been sitting too long. These are small things that when remedied can go a long way for your own productivity!

Working from home brings both challenges and freedoms and it’s up to you to decide how to utilize them. Try something and if it doesn’t work, try something else!

xo, Tracy

Links:

The Design You Blueprint Download

Tobi Fairley

Follow Tobi on Instagram!

Need Guidance? Check out our programs!

Participate in the State of the Jewelry Industry Report

Facebook

Instagram

Listen on Apple Podcasts!





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How to Work with Sheet Metal


Sheet metal is one of the most versatile materials in jewellery making. Whether you’re making bangles, forming your own rings or designing pendants, sheet metal is great for all of types of jewellery.

jeweller working with sheet metalBut with so many different options to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for your project? Do you get it fully annealed? And which thickness is best? Don’t worry. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about how to work with sheet metal for your jewellery making projects.

Essential Sheet Metal Tools

Let’s start simple. What sheet metal tools do you need to pick up ahead of your project?

We’ve listed all the essential pieces of equipment for working with metal sheets below:

How to work with Sheet Metal to Create Designs

Ways of working Sheet Metal

Cutting

To start, you’ll need to know how to cut sheet metal if you want to use it in your designs. And there are two methods – cutting with a jeweller’s saw or cutting with a Dremel tool. If you want to start by using a saw, make a mark where you want your first cut to be and map out the rest of the shape. Start slowly, and make your first cut by creating a small notch at first, and then gradually building up pressure to cut the rest of the shape. Blade keep getting stuck? Use some lubricant to ease it up again.

Or if you’re already a pro with a jeweller’s saw, why not use your Dremel tool? It speeds up the process so you can focus on finishing your designs to the highest possible standard. Learn how to cut metal with the Dremel 300 in our blog on how to use your Dremel 3000 rotary tool.

Bending 

There are a number of ways you can manipulate sheet metal. Whether that’s with a doming tool or simply a rawhide mallet. Let’s say you want to make a band ring: the two key sheet metal tools you’ll need for this are a rawhide mallet and a mandrel. Simply place the strip of sheet metal on the mandrel and hammer at each point where it isn’t touching the mandrel. Keeping the straight end horizontal, continue moving the metal forward across the mandrel until you have bent a third – then turn around and finish off the other end.

You can also use a metal forming tool like a doming dapping set. With this kit, you can quickly transform the shape of a pendant into a domed shape – although it does work best with softer metals.

Texturing

Someone who works with sheets of metal will know that one of the best ways you can use the material is by texturing it. For a real rustic, natural look, try creating a patina with liver of Sulphur. Or, you can create texture by making indentations in the metal and you can do this by already using the tools in your workshop. For example, repeatedly striking the metal with the flat edge of a jeweller’s hammer creates a linear effect, perfect for more rectangular or square designs. Another popular method is using the rounded edge of a repousse hammer to create a softer, hammered effect.

If you’re looking to add a specific shape or design to your jewellery piece, there are a variety of different stamps you can use. Find stamping sets with letters, numbers and shapes at Cooksongold – ideal if you want to add a personalised touch to your work.

And there you have it! Feeling more confident about how to work with sheet metal? Whether you’ve been inspired to pick up some new sheet metal tools or try out a different technique, be sure to pick up all the jewellery tools and sheet metal you need from Cooksongold.



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Selling Jewelry with Facebook Live


3Selling Jewelry On Facebook Live

Kerrville, a small town in Texas, caught my attention this week. A young inhabitant of this town near San Antonio, called Natalie Fitch-Peppitt talked about her innovative idea of selling jewelry during these trying times in the local newspaper.

According to this newspaper where I found her story, the Kerrville Daily Times, she was bored with the slow business during the Pandemic, in the Gold Cup Pawn Store owned by her family. She observed her mother, an avid buyer, and a salesperson at estate sales, specializing in jewelry and handbags. Also, the company owns a rather large collection of James Avery Jewelry. 

James Avery

I am not that familiar with James Avery, so I checked it out. A Texas-based company that goes back to the 1950s. Once they created hand-made jewelry, today as I swiftly went through the website, I imagine this is no longer the case, but the prices are interesting and the selection is vast. 

I did check out her live events on the Facebook page of her parent’s pawn shop and looked at some of the live sales she’s doing and indeed, there are about 1000 and often more people watching the streaming. Why I talk about this rather local event is that she quickly sold merchandise and people seemed to enjoy it. Here is a new way that could be improved massively and adopted by many more jewelers out there. 

Make jewelry shipping and sales administration easy

Before you jump into this, with gusto, I understood that selling live is one thing. The whole administration and shipping of the merchandise are another. You could be soon working more but earn not enough. Natalie’s success was a surprise to even herself and she risked becoming a victim of her own created success rather quickly. Making around 75 sales every time she hosted her Facebook Live session sales. 

Natalie tells the newspaper that she had to find a way to work more effectively and that she was recommended by her mentor to use a tool called Comments Sold, an interface for Facebook live events. Now, she works more relaxed and even hired her own assistants. Yes, all whilst a pandemic is sweeping through the United States. 

I wanted to share this with you today because what I loved about it is that we all talk about innovation and so on, but there are people that actually pick up their iPhones and start the innovation! 

Selling Jewelry on Facebook Live

Here are my observations of why this actually seems to work:

Why it works:

  1. She seems comfortable with the merchandise itself. She knows it, she doesn’t make it prettier or better, she goes swiftly through them.
  2. She seems to know the people who love this jewelry. Therefore, she doesn’t need to do much talking other than holding it up with tweezers (! ohhhh nooo) and holding it to the back of a piece of crumpled red paper. It’s an eye-sore, but it works! 
  3. She works with a company that very obviously has a fan base and a following. Read the comments, and you’ll understand why I say this.
  4. She makes it simple. She makes it real and authentic. What you see is what you get. 

It’s not the most elegant affair, watching these sales, but I am sure that many would love to be in her shoes right now. 

2Selling Jewelry on Facebook Live

If you are in the business of selling jewelry, it might be an idea to start a live session on Facebook. Here is what you need to think about:

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SELLING JEWELRY ON FACEBOOK LIVE YOURSELF

  1. How local is my business and how far I am willing to ship the merchandise?
  2. Price point. Obviously, this works far better for a lower price point. But who knows! 
  3. Try it with known brands. If you are a jewelry store, try it with brands such as James Avery, Pandora, Troll beads, and any other brand that is big on your market and you know people like to collect. 
  4. No brands? Are you a designer? Why not make a fun event and sell directly too! 
  5. Try to be personal and personalize what you offer. This can be done in many ways. Be creative!
  6. Do your homework, but don’t overthink it. She used Comments Sold, but I am sure there are more solutions out there. 
  7. Lights. I personally feel there isn’t enough lighting in her videos, but you might do better. Try to hold the camera still and use lots of lights, or sit near a window. 
  8. Deliver! Once you’re on, you get a chance to deliver. Be the best in your delivery, exceed the expectations, make an effort, and win more hearts by sheer word of mouth. 

Surely, there are more Facebook Live events selling jewelry. It’s worth observing what they do and how they do it. I even found one that sold fashion jewelry all at the fixed price of $5,- plus taxes and shipping, Incredible and surely hardly profitable. But I am sure you’ll do better! 🙂

You can find the live streams on the Facebook channel of the Gold Cup Pawn Store. 



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Summer Sale Favourites | The Bench


Our Summer Sale is jam packed full of bargains! We have offers across our product range with discounts galore, so why not check out some of our favourites before they sell out.

Tools

Workbench Toolkit (997 1003) and Durston Agile F130 Flat Rolling Mill (999 HACB)

Our workbench toolkit is great value for money at the best of times so when it goes into the sale it becomes an absolute steal! Containing 21 hand tools including a bench peg and anvil, it is the ideal set to get you started on your jewellery making journey.

Durston rolling mills need no introduction suffice to say, if you have been considering buying one and the F130 Flat fits the bill, do not delay! Precision engineering for a superb quality tool every time.

Left to right: Soldering Block (999 968), Sawblades (972 060S), Flat file (999 458) and Parallel Pliers (999 PR13)

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that our sale is only full of high price points. We also have plenty of best sellers and workshop staples to fill up your baskets. With discounts of between 10% – 20% it is a great time to replace and replenish where needed. Sawblades, files, soldering bocks and pliers; all those things that we use day in and day out, so if yours have seen better days, save yourself a few pennies and buy them now.

Stones and Beads

Left to right: Swarovski stone 1.25mm (6SZA 1AA), Swarovski 8mm Bicone (62SW 213X), Amethyst 4mm (61AM APMF), Beadalon Stackable Containers (999 098P) and Silver 5mm Faceted Bead (NVQ D63)

With so many to choose from, stone and bead choices often come down to a matter of personal preference. However, there are certain colours which are universally popular, those that you will come back to time and time again and Swarovski Crystal AB is one such colour – you could say a classic amongst beads! We have it on offer in an 8mm Bicone style which is a tried and tested favourite with customers the world over. Other popular options included in our sale include Amethyst, both cabochon and faceted, Swarovski Crystal faceted stones and our wonderful little 5mm ‘disco ball’ silver bead which quite honestly, you would be mad not to buy! We have also included a storage option in the mix, in the form of the ever practical Beadalon Stackable containers which are perfect for beads, findings or solder pieces. These are just sooooo practical for keeping the tiniest of things visible and safe but still easily accessible.

Finished Jewellery

Left to right: Flower studs (XSS 2043), Tree of Life Studs (XSS 2053), Heart Studs (XSS 2099) and Dachshund Studs (XSS 2173)

Whether you are filling up the present drawer at home, stocking up your shop or simply looking for a small gift, our finished jewellery range makes a great hunting ground for inexpensive and inoffensive perennial crowd pleasers which will keep everybody smiling. Beautifully modelled and highly polished, our silver studs are some of our best-selling earrings which have earnt some cracking customer reviews over the years. Read them for yourselves and take advantage of the discounts on offer whilst they are still in stock.

Findings

Left to right: 18K Halo Setting (NNJ 253), Silver Washers 3 Pack (NVJ 579X), Silver Daisy (NVJ 618), Silver/CZ Connector (NV3 107) and Gold-Filled Beaded Ring (F45E 002M)

Findings are really the unsung heroes of jewellery making and they form the glue that binds designs together to make them functional. It is so important to have a good stock of findings when you start a project, as running out mid-flow can be extremely frustrating. Our mid-season sale has a great selection on offer so you can boost your stocks without emptying your bank account. Highlights include stamping blanks, settings, connectors and stacking rings all with 10% – 15% discount.

Miscellaneous

Left to right: Sterling Silver PMC 28.5g (855 010), Wooden Ring Box (994 126) and Universal Postal Card Box (994 251)

Finally, I just wanted to mention a few items which are simply too good to miss. Firstly, PMC Sterling Silver. This pack (pictured above) is a substantial 28.5g (25g metal weight) which usually commands an equally substantial price tag. Being such a popular product discounts are few and far between so take advantage while you can. (Please note, PMC 925 Sterling requires a two stage, kiln firing process. It cannot be fired using a torch).

Now onto the boxes. These are both terrific items that you won’t want to run out of. The wooden, Mahogany look ring box is ideal for special gifts, particularly wedding and engagement rings, providing great protection whilst looking subtly stylish. The card box is the ever-useful universal size, so basically your ‘one size fits all’ item which is slim enough to go through a letterbox. Never was there a time more suited for this product! When we are all trying to send and receive items contact free whilst conducting our businesses predominantly online, this is a box you can’t afford to be without.

With so many products on offer, make sure to check out our sale asap to ensure you bag the best bargains before they disappear.

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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