Essential Jewelry Making Supplies

If you are planning on making jewelry, it is very important that you have the correct jewelry making supplies on hand before you begin, or else you could find that your projects get held up, whilst you wait for new supplies to arrive. Here is a list of some of the essential jewelry making supplies that you need before you begin any major jewelry project:

Jewelry Making Wire
This wire is one of the most versatile jewelry making supplies. This wire can be used to thread things onto, to create certain types of jewelry findings, and to create special pendants or decorations which are part of your jewelry. There are lots of different types of the making wire, so it is always useful to keep a few different types in stock, so that you have something which would be suitable for your needs. As well as different metals and colors, jewelry making wire is also available in a wide range of different thicknesses.

Jewelry Findings
Whilst they may be some of the least impressive looking jewelry making supplies, jewelry findings should be considered as some of the most important. Jewelry findings are the items which help to ensure that your jewelry is held together properly, and helps to keep it sitting like it should when it is being worn. The term jewelry findings even include the wide array of catches, clasps and fastenings which help you to take jewelry on and off without breaking it.

Pendants and Charms
Pendants and charms are the centerpiece of most jewelry items. They help the jewelry to look more appealing and help to draw the eye to the jewelry. There is an almost endless range of charms and pendants available to buy, so you will usually be able to find exactly what you want. However, if you cannot find the design of charm or pendant which you are looking for, then you may be able to make your own with your other jewelry making supplies.

Beads
There are thousands and thousands of different types of beads that are available to buy. They are available in a huge range of different colors, shapes and sizes. Beads can be made from a lot of different types of material, including glass, wood, stone, plastic and rubber. You can use just one type of bead in a project, or you can vary the beads which you use, in order to make your piece more interesting. You can even make your own!

Tools
One of the most important categories of jewelry making supplies is your tools. You should always try to ensure that you have the correct tools at hand, because these tools will allow you to work quickly and easily. Not only could using the wrong supplies result in your finished product looking substandard, it could also pose a health risk to you as well. If you are using the wrong tools, you could easily slip and hurt yourself, or an unwanted by-product could cause you injury.

Jewelry-Making DIY Basics – What is a Pearl Clasp?

New jewelry designers will come up to speed faster when they earn the terminology of different jewelry-making components. Find the right components quicker, project professionalism to potential customers, and enhance your jewelry making credibility by using correct terminology.

Definition of Jewelry Findings

In the jewelry industry, “findings” are components of jewelry less than a finished piece.

Definition of Clasp

A jewelry clasp is a jewelry finding of two or more pieces designed to connect the free ends of a necklace, bracelet or anklet. Clasps differ from S-hooks, hook-and-eye closures and toggles in that there is a lock established between the two ends of the jewelry piece that is more positive than pinching an S-hook and hook-and-eye closed or putting a safety chain on a toggle closure.

What is a Pearl Clasp?

A pearl clasp originated as a finding for strands of pearls, although now they may connect a single strand or multiple strands of pearls, beads, or jewelry chain.

A pearl clasp has at least two parts – a body or “box”, plus an insert that locks into the body, sometimes called a “bracelet tongue”. The body may be simple – a polished rectangle with at least one jump ring on the end opposite the bracelet tongue – or it may be very fancy with filigree patterns or corrugation. The clasp’s insert may be a hook that needs to fit around a pin before locking into the body or it may be a folded insert pushed directly into the clasp. The number of jump rings on the bracelet tongue should match the number of jump rings on the body.

Some pearl clasps also have additional safety provided by a figure eight and a pin. The figure eight, which looks more like a pop bottle, attached to one side of the clasp will click over a pin fastened to the second side of the clasp.

Pearl Clasp Materials

Pearl clasps of the noble metals – gold, silver and platinum – have traditionally been used. In recent years, pearl clasps have become available to the DIY Jewelry market in brass plated with silver, gold, antique copper, antique brass, gunmetal, imitation rhodium and nickel.

Conclusion

Pearl clasps come in a wide variety of shapes, designs and prices. One who learns what pearl clasps are and how they are used will project a professional knowledge and attitude when making jewelry.

Jewelry – Making DIY Basics – What is a Headpin?

Find the right jewelry findings quicker and talk with other industrial professionals intelligently and enhance your jewelry making credibility by using correct terminology for the jewelry making supplies you need.

Definition of Jewelry Findings
In jewelry making, “jewelry findings” are components of jewelry less than a finished piece.

Definition of Headpin
A headpin is a long, thin piece of wire with a “head” – a flattened piece of metal bigger than the diameter of the wire that acts as a stop to beads on the wire. The opposite end of the headpin is flush cut, not sharp as with straight pins used in sewing. Fancy headpins may have round beads, granulated silver patterns, crystals or other embellishment instead of a simple flattened head.

How are Headpins Used?
Designers use headpins to create links or dangles with charms or beads wire wrapped onto the pin. Beads will usually rest against the head on a dangle. The jewelry maker twists and wraps the top of the pin into a loop which can be strung on stranded beading wire, silk or another jewelry fiber or attached to a clasp with a jump ring or split ring.

To create a link, the jewelry maker will wrap a loop with the head end of the pin, put beads and charms in the middle of the pin (above the first loop), then wire wrap a second loop. These links can be used “in line” – between two sections of chains or strung beads.

Headpin Materials

Headpins are available in many metals:

gold,
silver and
platinum
sterling
gold-filled
silver-plated brass
gold-plated brass,
bright copper or antique copper plated brass
antique brass
gunmetal plated brass
imitation rhodium plated brass
nickel plated brass

Occasionally, one may find copper-based headpins. However, since copper prices usually exceed brass prices, brass headpins are much more common. Other exotic headpin materials include titanium, which can be anodized into many different colors.

A serious jewelry designer needs an awareness of different headpin wire diameters and the hole sizes of beads she may use in jewelry designs. Freshwater pearls and gemstones sourced in India often require very thin headpins for small holes. Thick headpins may match a bold jewelry design better than a thin headpin. One may need a small stop bead on a headpin to keep a bead with a large hole from falling off the headpin.

Conclusion

Headpins come in a wide variety of shapes, designs and prices. After mastering simple jewelry construction using stringing methods, learning to use headpins and wire wraps will dramatically extend the possibilities in jewelry design. Dangles and in-line links take jewelry styles to another level over jewelry made from stringing techniques alone.

The History and Tradition of Jewelry Making in Nepal

Oversized jewelry is often worn by women from Tibet and Nepal. This jewelry, while beautiful, is often rustic, with uneven edges. A closer look will reveal that this jewelry is made, not by a machine, but by hand.

To appreciate the workmanship of Nepalese jewelry, it is important to understand the history of the craft. Many of the jewelry craftsmen in Nepal are actually from Tibet. They fled from Tibet to Nepal when the Chinese took over Tibet in the 1950s. Descendants of these craftsmen continue the Tibetan jewelry-making tradition in Nepal today. Furthermore, many who make this traditional jewelry are women, not men. In both Tibet and Nepal, jewelry is important in dress, spirituality, and life. Tibetan and Nepalese jewelry also protects the wearer like an amulet, and most of the metals and stones are believed to have unique properties.

Nepalese jewelry is commonly made from copper or silver, but it can also be made from gold. Most pieces of Nepal jewelry are quite heavy, due to the quantities of metal used to make each piece. This jewelry is often sold by the gram.

Turquoise and coral are the most common stones used in Nepalese jewelry. Turquoise stands for the sky and the sea. Other stones common in Nepal jewelry include lapis lazuli, tiger eye, garnet, and agate. Many bracelets and necklaces are also made from yak bone.

Many piece of Nepalese jewelry are actually representations of Sanskrit words. These words carry particular meaning for the wearer of the jewelry. The symbol for Om is often incorporated into jewelry. Om is the sound the universe makes as the planets travel through space. This sound has relaxing and healing properties. Wearing this symbol reminds the wearer of the peace that can be found by keeping harmony with Om.

The most common mantra on Tibetan and Nepalese jewelry is the mantra, om mani padme hum. This mantra literally means, hail to the jewel in the lotus. The eight auspicious symbols are also popular symbols in Buddhist jewelry from Nepal. The ten-fold powerful mantra symbol (the Kalachakra mantra symbol) is also popular. Bracelets carved from three metals are said to have healing properties.

Dzi beads, or God beads are a very important part of Buddhist jewelry. Use of these beads can be traced back to 1000 B.C. These beads come in different shapes and sizes, each one capable of serving a different spiritual function. Dzi beads have the power of amulet, which means they carry sacred powers. Some are used to protect the wearer from evil spirits. Others protect against natural disaster, or increase energy levels. Some will bring good reputation and some promote decency.

This culture of jewelry making has been around for centuries, and has a long an rich history among the people of Nepal and Tibet. In both Nepal and Tibet, jewelry stops being something ‘fashionable’ and is also spiritual.

Jewelry-Making DIY Basics – What is a Toggle?

To work effectively with friends, customers and suppliers, jewelry makers should learn the terminology of jewelry-making supplies. The right terminology will help define a need for the right jewelry closure when images are not available.

Jewelry toggles make up a second category of jewelry closures, along with lobster claw clasps, for handmade artisan jewelry, mass-market costume jewelry and fine jewelry. You will see toggle closures on jewelry pieces from Tiffany and David Yurman down to special Mothers Day gifts that only a mother would wear. Toggle clasps can fasten jewelry and enhance jewelry appearance. Many jewelry-makers use toggles as closures for their necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

What is a jewelry toggle? (Jewellery toggle for you Brits!)

A jewelry toggle is a set of two pieces: a jewelry loop and a jewelry stick. The jewelry loop is attached to one end of your jewelry chain, strung beads, seed bead weave, wire crochet, etc. The jewelry stick is attached to the other end. To hold the jewelry together around the neck, wrist or ankle, one inserts the jewelry stick through the jewelry loop; the stick then rests against the jewelry loop by gravity to hold the jewelry together. If the jewelry piece does not have some slack, then the size is most likely too tight for long lasting jewelry.

Mechanics of Toggles

The shortest distance from your anchor point (often a ring soldered on or cast midway a metal toggle stick) to the end of the stick must be longer than the widest opening of your toggle loop. Otherwise, the toggle stick will easily slip through the loop and the jewelry will drop off. The toggle loop must be big enough to accommodate the smallest beads on the end attached to the toggle stick. The stick must be pulled through the loop before it can be turned to rest against the toggle loop. For that reason, many designers who use toggles will graduate end beads down in size. A toggle that is heavy with respect to the beads and other components will help a bracelet to hang comfortably, with the toggle loop underneath the wrist. Lighter weight toggles will let a bracelet rotate around the wrist as gravity drags on the heaviest parts of the bracelet.

Your “stick” may be as simple as a button with a shank used with a loop of seed beads on bead wire. Your loop may be quite fancy, with “expandable” toggles of several rings attached together. The rings on both the toggle loop and toggle stick should be firmly attached. Cheaply manufactured toggles will often have rings that will twist off or deform or sticks that have no rigidity and bend under tension.

Fastening Toggles

When using chain, toggles will usually be fastened with open jump rings, split rings or link locks. If one wishes to have soldered connections, then chain end caps will be used. Jewelry designers will usually fasten toggles to bead wire projects using crimps. The wire is strung through the toggle or stick loop, then doubled through the crimp before it is flattened into place. Bead wire projects and fiber projects such as knotted silk jewelry pieces will often use clam shells or bead tips to make the transition from the knotted fiber to the toggle. Inexpensive leather or fiber pieces may be knotted directly onto the toggle pieces with overhand knots.

Toggle Materials

Most toggles used in the United States will be made of cast or assembled metal alloys. High end jewelry will use Platinum, Gold, Palladium and Sterling Silver toggles. One will often see Stainless Steel, Surgical Steel and Titanium for edgy, contemporary jewelry. Middle-market products will most likely use Gold-filled toggles and Sterling Silver toggles. Plated toggles will feature brass, surgical steel or copper with plates of gold, silver. copper, gunmetal/”blackened nickel”, imitation rhodium, imitation silver and imitation gold. Gold, silver, copper and brass may be oxidized or antiqued for the look of aged jewelry components. Solid copper toggles have their enthusiasts for the alleged medical benefits. Raw brass and lacquered brass toggles have their fans, too. One may also find toggle sets of wood or stone. Some toggles are decorated with crystals, cubic zirconia or gemstones. Pot metal toggles will appear on only the very cheapest of jewelry.

Fashionistas usually regard jewelry toggles as more fashionable than lobster claw clasps. However, toggle clasps come with a bit more risk than lobster claw clasps. Even well-sized jewelry using toggles may fall off the body in the wrong situation. These “wrong situations” may be as simple as resting the wrist on a desktop or otherwise relaxing the tension on the piece.

Fancy toggles will often be used at the front of a necklace as a visual centerpiece — especially fancy shaped toggles or toggles with addition decorations.

Jewelry toggles come in a wide array of designs: plain round toggles, oval toggles, square toggles, diamond toggles, heart-shaped toggles, floral toggles, stirrup toggles, etc. Jewelry aesthetics and individual taste will usually define the possible toggles to match a jewelry piece. Fortunately, toggles are available in a wide range of materials, shapes and prices.