Handmade jewelry makes a beautiful and unique present for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and other special occasions. Whether you choose to make the gift yourself or purchase a handmade item from a jewelry artisan, you'll love giving a piece that is truly special.
Handmade Amber and Jet Necklace
Popular in the Victorian era, jet is a beautiful black gemstone that is soft and light. It's easy to carve, so you can purchase a carved jet bead for the focal point of this necklace. It also pairs well with the warm golden color of amber to create a neutral-toned necklace that will go with any outfit. This is a versatile gift that any woman would love to receive.
The jet and amber in this necklace are lovely, but they can be costly. Expect to spend about $60 if you use genuine materials, which are available from Fire Mountain Gems. However, you can make a similar glass version using materials from your local craft store for around $25. Either way, making this pretty necklace takes about 30 minutes. If you're new to beading or haven't done it in a while, it helps to review the basic beading instructions before getting started.
Things You'll Need
Other than the specific beads mentioned, you'll find most of these items at your local craft store:
- 24mm carved jet bead or other black focal point bead
- 21mm jet teardrop bead or other black drop-style bead
- One strand 3mm round amber beads or similar glass beads
- Beading wire, such as SoftFlex
- Crimp beads
- About three inches of fine, half-hard sterling silver wire
- Sterling silver clasp and jump ring
- Two pairs of round-tipped jewelry pliers
- Crimping pliers
What to Do
- Begin by creating the drop for the bottom of the necklace. String the teardrop bead on the piece of wire. Wrap the wire so that it supports the bead with room for it to swing and provides a loop for stringing. Set the drop aside.
- Cut two pieces of beading wire, each about 14 inches long. On one end of one piece, use a crimp bead to attach a clasp. On the other piece of wire, use a crimp bead to attach a jump ring.
- Take the piece of wire with the jump ring and string about eight inches of amber beads on it. Do the same thing with the other piece of wire that has the clasp. Make sure that the beaded area is even for both pieces of wire.
- String a crimp bead on both strands together and adjust so that it firmly holds the amber beads in place on both strands. Crimp closed. Cut one of the remaining wires so that it is about 1/2 inch in length. Leave the other wire as is.
- String the carved jet focal bead on the remaining wire, tucking the 1/2-inch end inside the focal bead to hide it. String five amber beads below the focal bead.
- Add a crimp bead and use it to attach the drop you made in step 1. Crimp the bead closed and trim the end of the beading wire.
Upcycled Sterling Silver Spoon Ring
Spoon rings are lovely, and they are a great way to give new life to old souvenir spoons. These make great gifts for anyone who loves antiques since they provide a way to use ornate silver in a very modern way. Choosing the ring size for a gift can be tricky, but spoon rings are adjustable.
Making a spoon ring is easier if you have a little previous jewelry making experience, but you can do this as a beginner if your have the necessary tools. When choosing a spoon for the ring, make sure it is sterling silver and is fairly thin. This will ensure you can bend the spoon. You can buy antique sterling silver spoons on eBay for around $30. Expect to spend about two hours on this project.
Things You'll Need
Other than the spoon, you can purchase most of these items at your local hardware store, a jeweler supply store, or from Amazon.com.
- Sterling silver spoon
- Tape measure
- Black marker
- Work bench with vice
- Hack saw
- Ring mandrel
- Jeweler's hammer with rawhide head
What to Do
- Measure the finger on which you plan to wear the ring or use a ring size chart to find out the size in inches. Add about 1/2 inch to the measurement to allow for overlap. Measuring from the tip of the handle, find the appropriate length on the spoon. Use a black marker to mark this spot.
- Wrap the handle below the mark in soft cloth to protect it while in the vice. Tighten the vice to hold the spoon in place, leaving the marked area accessible.
- Saw through the marked area using a hack saw. Remove the spoon from the vice. Set the bowl portion of the spoon aside for another project.
- Use a file to smooth the edges of the area you cut.
- Place your ring mandrel on the work bench and lay the spoon handle on top of it. Use the hammer to begin rounding the spoon handle over the mandrel. When you have rounded a portion of it, wrap it with cloth and clamp it in the vice. Continue using the hammer to round the ring into the appropriate shape, turning it periodically in the vice to give yourself the correct angle to work with. You may also be able to bend it with your hands some of the way. Allow the decorative handle end to overlap the cut end as you work.
- Check the size periodically on your ring mandrel and adjust as needed. You'll be able to adjust the ring a bit after you give it as a gift.
More Great DIY Jewelry Gifts
If you're feeling creative, there's no limit to the beautiful gifts you can make for jewelry-loving friends and family. Try some of these other great projects.
Beaded earrings make a great gift for anyone who loves to wear jewelry. You can make them in the recipient's favorite color or to match an outfit the person wears frequently. You can adjust the length of the earring based on the recipient's preference as well.
If the person who will receive this gift does not have pierced ears, you can easily modify the project by adding clip earring findings. You can find these at any craft store.
Wire and Bead Watch
If you need a gift for a teacher, co-worker, or someone who loves practical things, consider making a wire and bead watch. This is a simple project using pre-made watch components, and you can customize it with beads that reflect the personality of the recipient.
Alternatively, if you want to create a handmade watch you know will fit anyone, you can use elastic beading cord. Beading a watch with a stretchy band is even easier than making a traditional wire version.
Button Charm Jewelry
Whether you choose vintage buttons or pick up some modern ones at the craft store, you can make some really cool and unique jewelry projects. Button charm jewelry makes a great gift for a friend who loves the boho look or who enjoys crafting. You can also use bright, kid-focused buttons to create a gift for a child.
You can customize this type of jewelry by choosing buttons with a theme, such as horses, or in a certain color. You can also use the basic techniques to make anything from necklaces to bracelets.
Chain Maille Jewelry
Chain maille jewelry is a great option if you need a gender-neutral or even a masculine jewelry gift. The basic technique involves wrapping wire to create tiny rings, and you can use it to make everything from a choker necklace to a simple bracelet.
You can add a unique touch to this type of project by using different colors of wire, available from the craft store. You can also thread various colors of ribbon through the chain maille designs to make the piece more feminine.
Crocheted Bead Bracelets
If you're a fan of crochet, you can try your hand at jewelry featuring beads. A crocheted bead bracelet makes a great gift for anyone who loves delicate, pretty jewelry with a handmade appearance.
This type of project is quick and easy, and you can customize it by choosing a specific color of embroidery thread or a favorite gemstone. Consider using the recipient's birthstone for a special touch.
Buying Handmade Jewelry
You can find gorgeous handmade jewelry items at craft fairs and in local galleries. However, the best selection for these pieces is sometimes online. Consider one of these lovely gift options.
Sundance is a great resource for finding handmade items to suit just about anyone. Many of the pieces have a cool, boho vibe, and a large number of the items are made in the USA by artisans.
If your order includes only jewelry, Sundance charges about $10 for ground shipping which takes about five to seven days. You can upgrade to rush delivery if you need your gift quickly. If you aren't happy with the gift, they allow you to return the items for any reason at any time.
Consider one of these lovely gifts:
- Copper Crescent Earrings - If you need a gift for a woman who loves simple jewelry, these earrings are a good choice. The 3/4-inch-long design features a copper crescent topped with a locking sterling silver hinged ear wire. They retail for just under $40.
- Initial Impression Cufflinks - These stunning handmade cufflinks would make a wonderful gift for a special guy. They are crafted from bronze and pewter, plated with silver, and stamped with his initial. The artisan-crafted cufflinks retail for about $120.
Operated by National Geographic, NOVICA pairs artisans from around the world with people who would like to buy their work. This is a great place to find beautiful handmade jewelry to give as presents.
NOVICA offers free gift wrapping on most jewelry items. Shipping costs vary depending on your location, but most orders ship for a few dollars and arrive in two to three weeks. If you aren't happy with your purchase, you can return it within 60 days.
One of these attractive options could make a perfect gift:
- Leather and Bone "Angel Wing" Necklace - Although this necklace is marketed toward men, it could work just as well as a casual accessory for women. It features a hand-carved bone angel wing suspended from a simple adjustable leather cord. It would make a touching gift and retails for about $20.
If you're looking for contemporary artisan jewelry to give as gifts, DARA Artisans is a great place to shop. You'll find items that feature fine gems and precious metals, all responsibly sourced from artisans around the world.
DARA Artisans offers free shipping on all US orders, and most orders arrive within five to seven days. If you need your gifts quickly you can pay for rush shipping as well. You can return an item you don't love within 14 days.
One of these gifts could be perfect:
- Chunky Turquoise Bracelet - This spectacular bracelet, which is made by hand in India, offers up a gleaming sparkle that will appeal to almost any woman who loves simple, modern jewelry. Turquoise beads in varying colors glitter beautifully on a simple golden silk cord. The bracelet is adjustable and retails for about $170.
- Quartz Silver Earrings - These unique teardrop earrings will appeal to adults and teens who love statement jewelry. Set in sterling silver, the quartz insets offer a lovely texture and design with a smoky hue that will match most outfits. They retail for about $380.
Itty Beady Creations
Finding a jewelry gift suitable for kids can sometimes be a challenge, however Itty Beady Creations offers some beautiful handmade options. You'll also find great gifts for mothers and grandmothers here, and many of the items are personalized with names and photographs. Most jewelry is crafted from sterling silver, crystals, freshwater pearls, and lead-free metals.
Itty Beady Creations offers free shipping on orders over $50. Most will arrive in three to five days, but custom orders sometimes take a bit longer. There is a money-back guarantee if you return your item within 10 days.
One of these sweet designs may be the perfect gift:
- Autumn Bracelet - This pretty, hand-crafted design features freshwater pearls, Czech glass beads, and sterling silver beads, and it is easy to customize for that special little girl in your life. You can choose the size of the bracelet, the color fo the glass beads, and whether to add a special charm. It retails for about $25.
- Vine Heart Necklace - The ideal gift for a special mother or grandmother, this sterling silver pendant has room for up to six birthstone crystals. You can choose the colors and months for your family. The delicate heart-shaped pendant hangs from a simple sterling silver chain. It is made by hand and retails for about $36.
Make Them Feel Special
Whether you choose to make your own jewelry gift for a special person or you support an artisan by purchasing a handmade item, the person who receives your gift is sure to feel special. Handmade jewelry is unique and lovely, and it makes a gift that will be treasured for years to come.