Handmade jewelry can offer variety where factory pieces fall flat, especially when the typical offerings in brick and mortar, big box stores may not be the exact piece desired. From the earliest handmade jewelry of ancient times to today's artistic creations, the unique, one-of-a-kind pieces offered by jewelry artists can be a conversation piece that highlights any wardrobe.
Handmade jewelry makers use a wide variety of materials and techniques to create their pieces. The materials are only limited by the artist's imagination and creativity. If you purchase a machine-made piece of costume jewelry, you risk someone else wearing the exact same necklace, ring, earrings, or bracelet. If you purchase a piece of handmade jewelry, you are assured that there is no other jewelry like it. Many jewelry artists will create pieces on commission as well, allowing you to design your own look or choose the colors that will match an outfit to perfection.
Although it requires more training, working with metals can help the jewelry maker create elegant pieces and add gemstones for any occasion. Metalsmiths use processes such as forging, soldering, raising, and chasing to manipulate gold, silver, and other precious metal. The metal can also be colored and engraved for finer detail and originality. Special equipment, such as a soldering iron or engraver, is necessary and materials are not always readily available at the local craft supply.
Other jewelry makers use beads and wire to create pieces. Those who are experts in the field of jewelry making often utilize many different mediums and products to come up with their creations. Items used can include anything from plastic to glass. Many artists now use recycled or unused common household items as a way to benefit the environment by reducing waste. Also popular are handmade clay beads and glass beads. Many kits are available to help the beginner get started in producing their own beads and materials.
Quality of Handmade Jewelry
Because of the availability of jewelry making products through craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and online outlets such as Jewelry Supply, many people are able to make jewelry. Some are true craftsmen and take pride in the quality of their work. However, a few produce fast, shoddy creations trying to turn a quick buck. It is important to know what to look for when purchasing a handmade jewelry piece in order to avoid the few unscrupulous sellers. Here are a few things to look for in quality handmade jewelry:
- The clasp is firmly attached to the rest of the piece of jewelry
- For thick beads, the wire is thick enough to hold the beads together permanently
- If there is metalwork on the item, the solders are solid
- The level of experience of the jewelry maker, where they studied, and how long they've been making jewelry
Places to Buy Handmade Jewelry
Designers often sell their pieces at local craft fairs, resell stores, mall kiosks and specialty boutiques. You can also find designers online at:
Resources for Jewelry Makers
Perhaps you'd like to make your own jewelry or create the perfect piece that you've been unable to find elsewhere. There are many books available to help get you started, such as:
- Basic Jewelry Making: All the Skills And Tools You Need to Get Started (Stackpole Basics)
- Jewelry Making and Beading for Dummies
- Jewelry Making: Techniques for Metal
- The Complete Book of Jewelry Making: A Full-Color Introduction to the Jeweler's Art
You can also find articles about basic jewelry making on topics such as:
Handmade jewelry can enhance any woman's wardrobe and provide conversation starters at parties and get togethers.