Find Your Steampunk Style with Jean Campbell

Jean Campbell is the founding editor of Beading Daily.

From Jennifer: Steampunk is one jewelry-making trend that is not going away anytime soon! And for good reason, too – it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the romantic, funky findings and materials that are used to create steampunk jewelry. Getting started with steampunk jewelery is easier than you think, too. You probably have lots of steampunk supplies in your bead stash, but you just don't know it yet. Today on Beading Daily, I'm thrilled to have Jean Campbell blogging about steampunk jewelry making supplies. Take it away, Jean!

Steampunk is a combination of romantic Victorian styles combined with futuristic science fiction sensibilities. Above, Jean Campbell's grandfather and great-grandparents.

Maybe your closet is filled with bustles, top hats, and mourning wear. Or perhaps your style is more about dark eye-liner, black dred extensions, and a leather holster for your ray gun. Or maybe, just maybe, you're like me: Not very fashion conscious, but a big lover of jewelry that tells a story or carries a sentiment. In any of these cases, Steampunk-style jewelry might just be your next big thing.

Steampunk jewelry brings to life the fictional characters of this science-fiction genre based in Victorian England. Rather than nuclear-generated power, the Industrial Revoltion-era mad scientists and time-travelers that populate these novels run on steam power.  This world is filled with brass fittings, steel gizmos, coiled thingamabobs, and glowing orbs. Humming in the background is a rich taste of everything Victorian: Jet and other rich stones, cameos, silk and taffeta, and charms.

With this wildly imaginative genre as your playground, it's easy to make your own Steampunk-inspired jewelry. Here are a few appropriate Steampunk-style materials for you to choose from:

Metal findings and chain: Most jewelry-makers I know have these in abundance in their studios. These materials make a nod to the Industrial Revolution, where common Victorians were all of a sudden able to buy metal that was stamped, pressed, and rolled into chains or cut into delicate filigrees. Choose brass and copper for your Steampunk-style jewelry.

Charms and cameos: Queen Victoria was crazy for charms and a mad collector of cameos, so they show up a lot in Steampunk-style jewelry. Incorporate motifs like flowers, leaves, birds, insects, dragons, snakes, scarabs, sphinx, and religious symbols to be truly Steampunk.

Glass: Using any type of glass in your Steampunk-style jewelry evokes the Machine Age, which was rich with etched, faceted, and molded glass. It was the first time in history that common folk could afford such luxuries. To get the look, use glass beads, glass domes, and mirrors.

Stones: When you think about it, England during the Victorian era was a super power and had trade routes worldwide. This boosted their trading with Asia, and so materials like amethyst, opal, turquoise, freshwater pearls, agate, onyx, coral, carnelian, amber, jade, garnet, ruby, jet, sapphire, peridot, jasper, and diamonds were more plentiful in England than ever before.

Bits of sentiment: Lockets carrying hair from a loved one or a small painted portrait was popular during the Victorian era. It's easy to incorporate these bits of sentiment by using photographs or other remembrances.

Found objects: The most fun part of making Steampunk-style jewelry is working with found objects! This brings in the time-traveling, mad-scientist vibe I mentioned earlier. Choose small metallic watch parts, skeleton keys, machine parts, war medals, metal game pieces, and the like.


Have you been inspired to raid your stash and start making your own steampunk jewelry projects? You probably have lots of these jewelry making supplies handy right now! If you're looking for the perfect guide to getting started with steampunk jewelry, you'll want to check out Jean Campbell's Steampunk Style Jewelry. Jean takes you through each project with step-by-step instructions that will have you creating your own steampunk jewelry projects using stringing, gluing, stitching and bead stitching techniques. Get your copy of Steampunk Style Jewelry and find out just how easy it is to make gorgeous steampunk jewelry out of everyday jewelry supplies!

What's your favorite steampunk jewelry making supply? Do you have a favorite filigree or a special component that belonged to someone in your family? (I have a soft spot for vintage skeleton keys and tiny glass bottles!) Leave a comment on the blog and share your thoughts about steampunk jewelry making supplies with us!

Bead Happy,


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