3 Jewelry-Making Books I Love

Oh, I definitely love books. For jewelry-making books, as for most ideas in general, my feeling is the bigger, the better. My bookcases are overflowing, and there’s usually a stack or two on the floor.

ABOVE: Enameling with stencils, glass threads, and foil can all be done by sifting dry enamel powder into place; from Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop by Pauline Warg.

I want to know all around a topic: how one material relates to another; how one tool or technique relates to a design. Why? In part, that kind of 360-degree approach gives you a better understanding when you try to apply some new knowledge at your bench. Partly, looking at the big picture can spark new ideas that you might not have thought of if some of those connections hadn’t been made visible to you. And in part, browsing and reading around a subject in jewelry-making books just serves to satisfy my natural idle curiosity. Here are three jewelry-making books that I love because they are excellent resources that offer that kind of comprehensive investigation.

Jewelry-Making Books: Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop

By Pauline Warg

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Sifting dry enamel powder is an application technique used with multiple enameling techniques; from Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop

As Pauline says at the outset of this book, “Enameling is an amazingly expansive technical area. It would be nearly impossible to cover every aspect thoroughly in one book.” So, while this is a big book about enameling, it’s not everything there is to know on the subject. But it is loaded with solid information that is presented in a well-organized, clear, and helpful way.

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Champlevé is a classic enameling technique but it doesn’t have to be difficult; from Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop

She gives you the basics about enamels and enameling tools and equipment, and then she demonstrates a few techniques in several different projects. The result: a comprehensive look at a few of the more accessible enameling techniques including stenciling, cloisonné, and champlevé.

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Projects in Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop include metalsmithing directions and tips, while basics are also covered in the book.

She even includes basics about metalsmithing, so if you are new to working with sheet, you can still join the fun.

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Jewelry-Making Books: Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Metalsmiths & Jewelers

By Matthew Runfola

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

A sampler of color in context of other colors, surface texture, and more; from Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Metalsmiths & Jewelers

A self-described “painter with chemicals,” Matthew Runfola is also a teacher who is both enthusiastic and disciplined in his approach. His exploration of patina gives you a tremendous grounding in the processes involved, organized so that you can find what you want easily and return to it when you need to.

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

What your metal surface is like will very much affect the patina you create; from Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Metalsmiths & Jewelers

He puts patina in context with other forms of metal coloration and demonstrates how color can be used effectively in design. He explains how to preserve patinas. And of course, he walks you step by step through creating patinas, combining multiple techniques, metals, and formulas to show the mesmerizing 300+ patina effects noted in the book’s subtitle.

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

These are just a few of the patinas on copper described in Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Metalsmiths & Jewelers

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Jewelry-Making Books: The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide

by Helen I. Driggs

3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

Learning to use the jeweler’s saw: one of over 20 demos on basic tool use in The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide

I worked side by side with Helen for over a decade, and I can tell you that her devotion to jewelry making and her love of jewelry-making tools is as genuine as it gets. So is her determination to explain how and why tools and techniques work, as well as what to do with them. This is a great introduction to metalsmithing for jewelry making. Its organization walks you through the many different skills you will want to acquire, giving you a tour of what’s involved in building a piece of jewelry from start to finish, and setting you on a path of good work habits that you will thank her for later on.


3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

After you learn the basics of a tool and its technique in The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide, you’ll practice using that tool to accomplish a specific goal, such as changing the profile of a piece of stock through filing. That way, when you’re actually making a piece of jewelry, you’ll have the skill set to create what you want.


3 Jewelry Making Books I Love

You can cut, form, and finish a single piece of metal into, say, a cuff bracelet — but you can also create your own metal components for a more complex piece of jewelry with those skills; from The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide

Learn how each tool works, how you should take care of it, and about the materials you use with it. Then try each technique out with an illustrated demo, put that to use in some larger application by making a part, and finish off by learning how to combine your newfound skills in several carefully selected jewelry making projects. Whether you’re completely new to jewelry making or have been at it for years, this book will help you work better and bring you more satisfaction from your jewelry making.

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group.

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