Jewelry Making Poll

Jewelry Making News, Tips, Tutorials, and Reviews

Archive for July, 2005

EtsyOne of the most difficult things for the beginning jewelry designer is figuring out how to sell items online. Sure, you could just open up an Ebay account and sell items on there and many jewelry makers have been successful at that.

However, there is a huge amount of undercutting competition on Ebay… people want bargains and unless you’ve already made a name for yourself it can be tough to attract buyers unless your prices are perilously cheap.

So maybe you are interested in doing some sort of consignment. This can be tough for pricing too, because many consigners take 30-40% of the sale price. Plus, many want to see some sort of track record already and of course there are the dreaded “returns” if your items don’t sell.

Enter which was launched just month or so ago but already has a pretty large following. You can think of Etsy as a sort of “mini-Ebay” that lets you have your own “shop” site. Everyone gets their own shop that is customizable, along with a subdomain url ( Here’s a screenshot of a sample shop:

Etsy Screenshot

They charge a $0.20 commission in order to list an item no matter the quantity or price. This is nice to be able to have the same item listed without getting hit with the listing fee again. For every sale they take a 3.5% commission fee which is pretty reasonable, in the range of a fee that is charged by credit card companies. Like Ebay they are merely a “connection” site between buyers and sellers. So it’s a buyer’s responsibility to pay and a seller’s responsibility to handle shipping, etc.

Continue reading “Selling Jewelry at Etsy” …

picture of Flower EarringsI’ve been meaning to put up an earrings article that used sterling silver chains in the design and finally got around to it. These Easy Flower Earrings are fast to make once you get the hang of them and use basic materials, but still look really nice. This technique is pretty versatile: you can change out flowers for beads or crystals, or use a different length and number of chains.

Because you buy the silver chain pre-made, it is considerably faster than wirewrapping. Here’s a picture of what the finished Flower Earrings will look like.

Tutorial on Flower Earrings

7/21/05 | Twigs and Heather

Twigs and Heather Handcrafted JewelryI surfed into the Twigs and Heather website completely by accident, but decided to post about their designs here because they were so unusual. I’ve said before that I dig unusual jewelry, in particular interesting metal cast jewelry. And the work here certainly fits the “unusual” tag!

This is also pretty cool: Heather and Kerry Collins, who run Twigs and Heather, are TWIN silversmiths who create mysterious but beautiful silver castings out of the natural items around their home in New England. Their casting methods mix a bit of old school (wax and natural burn out casting) with some newer innovations. Here’s some information from the about page of their site:

Based in Kittery, Maine, Twigs and Heather uses twigs and plant life native to Atlantic Northeast. Born and raised in Nahant, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Heather & Kerry’s profound love of the ocean, and the trees that grow around it, first fueled the inspirations for their work.

They are super imaginative in the type of materials they use. The resulting jewelry ranges from cuffs and rings cast from rolled Birch Bark to handcrafted Maple Seed necklaces that look almost like silver insect wings! They also make jewelry utilizing beach glass as well as more traditional looking silver charms.

Continue reading “Twigs and Heather” …

Jill Italiano DesignsI actually found Jill Italiano’s jewelry work through the Stylebakery Designers on the Rise section. I had seen the little blurb but had forgotten to click through earlier.

Using semi-precious stones and silver and gold, Jill creates playful yet elegant necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and brooches utilizing a wide palette of colors. I notice a good amount of pearls used in her bracelets and necklaces. One of her signature themes that appears in much of her work is a vibrant flower motif that uses faceted semi-precious stones. The effect is a delicate one rather than overly vibrant which is rather nice.

Continue reading “Jill Italiano Designs” …

picture of Spiral EarringsFlipping through a few bead magazines I noticed a couple of techniques on how to make Spirals out of wire for use with candle decorations. I thought about it some and decided to try an experiment on how hard it would be to make Spiral Earrings.

It turns out that it’s not hard at all, and more importantly it turned out looking halfway decent. The spirals take nearly less time than a simple wirewrap loop, so it’s definitely plausible as a feature in earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. To the left is a picture of what the finished earrings look like.

Tutorial on Spiral Earrings

7/11/05 | Peggy Li Creations

Peggy Li CreationsAmazingly enough, you will often find me (a guy) looking at women’s magazines in order to get ideas for jewelry making and to see what’s currently in fashion. I’ve come across Peggy Li Creations in Audrey Magazine no less than three times so it’s about time that she’s being mentioned here!

On her website you’ll find a large array of beautiful handmade jewelry including earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. (She even has a little section for the guys, which is much appreciated even though I’ve never found the occasion to wear jewelry myself!) What I like about her style is that it is a bit more reserved and understated in the color usage department which allows room for these clean, artistic pieces to really shine through. What is most interesting to me is that her color scheme is often elegant blues and browns, with hints of orange and yellow only an occasional splash of red. Almost no pink, which is a bit different than a lot of other DIY jewelry places.

Like many jewelry designers, she started off in a completely different field (Chemical Engineering major at Berkley!) before really getting into jewelry design as a profession. Over these past four years, she’s made quite a name for herself, and has had her work cross over into the world of television. In particular, I note that Alyson Hannigan has worn a few of her pieces which is very cool since I’m a pretty big fan of hers!

Here are a few words ‘o wisdom from her website:

“I truly enjoy designing jewelry, making things that make women feel beautiful. When women feel beautiful, they feel powerful, and I love empowering people to achieve a new outlook on themselves and on life. I hope my passion is reflected in my designs and is passed on to the wearer.”

Continue reading “Peggy Li Creations” …

7/7/05 | Bead Cruise?

Bead Cruise 2006 ShipHm… so you’re trying to plan out your vacation for next year. You’re thinking of going on a cruise maybe one of those local excursions down south to Mexico, perhaps Cozumel. Then you might be thinking, hey wouldn’t it be cool if I could go on a cruise and pursue my favorite hobbies - beading and making jewelry, of course - at the same time?

Well, you might be in luck then because some people have already thought of this cool scenario! I was tipped off to this by Heather Powers, one of the instructors behind Bead Cruise 2006.

This is a pretty interesting idea for a “themed” cruise, and the combination is sure to please quite a few people. The trip includes all of the normal accommodations that you’d expect, including spending the day in Cozumel snorkeling, swimming, or exploring but also throws beading classes into the mix. Here’s a description of the events, from their website:

You’ll get to take one day long class and one half-day workshop with 2 of our instructors. Along with an exclusive creativity workshop, open beading sessions with mini-lessons and a bead crochet clinic with Judith. There will be prize giveaways, a bead auction, our Bead Cruise Program that will include patterns, projects, hot tips and supplier information. And finally, gift bags with products from our great sponsors. All of this is included in the price of the cruise!

Bead Cruise 2006The Bead Cruise is scheduled for 4 days starting April 6, 2006 and will be departing from Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Mexico on the Royal Caribbean’s Splendor of the Seas. They have limited the registration to 50 students to keep things manageable. The instructors for the classes are Dona Anderson, Judith Bertoglio-Giffin, Beverly Herman and Heather Powers. For more information, you can visit: