7 Exceptionally Cool Jewelry Designs and Ideas You Have to See!

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I pull out back issues of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and just admire what’s in there. When an issue is in the works, I don’t often have that luxury. But once it’s in print, I like to leaf through and see how it compares to what I imagined. And I am often impressed with the quality of the jewelry designs we present and the artists who created them.

Here are some standout jewelry designs, techniques, stories, and more that have appeared in a few recent issues of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

ABOVE: Michael Paone’s Blue Eye Pendant project appeared in the March/April 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Here’s Looking at You

Eyes are just compelling, and this pendant (above) makes me keep looking back. It has so many believable elements as an eye, but is always first off a jewel. The sparkling blue topaz iris draws you in. The silver eyelashes add a (not quite) realistic touch. The whites of the eye in deep blue lapis add another detail that also makes the eye seem more realistic and yet is obviously a bit of fantasy. Finally, falling from the corner of the eye, the teardrop topaz gives the eye context and mood, but also gives the piece movement and extra life.

Ridiculous to Sublime

This is one of my favorite kinds of pairings. Not just the exquisite daylily finely rendered in brass and copper shown here juxtaposed with a hilarious Lobster Platter bib necklace shown in a profile of the artist. But I really love the feature-story/step-by step-project combination. Reading the story makes you feel like it was you who just spent an afternoon with the artist, discovering his sense of humor as well as his passion for teaching. And then you get to imagine you’re sitting in on a class as you learn how to make one of those beautifully detailed flowers yourself.

jewelry designs: “Steelworks,” a profile of Brad Nichols, and his “Daylily” project appeared appeared in the March/April 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; Daylily photo: Jim Lawson.

“Steelworks,” a profile of Brad Nichols, and his “Daylily” project appeared appeared in the March/April 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; Daylily photo: Jim Lawson.

Here Kitty, Kitty

The interesting part of this wax-carving demo is that the wax was destined for varying castings. Once the model was scanned, it could easily be scaled so that a whole litter of kitten models in different sizes could be produced for jewelry designs using 3-D printing. But it was also a triumph of the often shaky business of acquiring a new hands-on skill, something I think everyone can identify with.

“Here Kitty, Kitty,” Besty Lehndorff coaxes in her lead. “I’m murmuring this to myself during a figurative wax-carving class with internationally famous Kate Wolf. . . . But I find myself floundering, wondering what the heck I’m doing. Here Kitty, Kitty. Where are yoooooou?”

The “Hep Cat” demo appeared with a related grant-writing feature by Betsy Lehndorff in the March/April 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson. Betsy also blogs regularly for Interweave Jewelry.

The “Hep Cat” demo appeared with a related grant-writing feature by Betsy Lehndorff in the March/April 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson. Betsy also blogs regularly for Interweave Jewelry.

One Hard Head

Some people have suggested I am hard-headed at times, but that’s not why I like this piece. What really appeals to me about this linked bracelet is how remarkably it suggests ancient life. Stamped onto the center medallion is the likeness of a fierce-looking dinosaur skull, which turns out to be that of an ancient battering ram. The pair of tapered bronze links is what really says fossil to me, though. Engraved with an irregular, all-over pattern, the links instantly bring to mind cracked earth. Exactly the once wet, since sun-baked environment that is key in preserving bits and impressions of ancient life forms for us to discover eons later.

Roger Halas’s “Prehistoric Winner” project appeared in the May/June 2018 of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Roger Halas’s “Prehistoric Winner” project appeared in the May/June 2018 of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Garden Under Glass

Who doesn’t like flowers? And these are not only beautiful, they don’t fade or wither, and no one is allergic to them. Plus, you can wear them around your neck. Pretty sweet. The focal piece is a glass cabochon made by Kevin O’Grady with all the depth, complexity, realism, and beauty that are the hallmarks of his work. The pendant is the creation of Lexi Erickson, who framed the flowers with leaves and little drops of morning dew.

jewelry designs: Lexi Erickson’s “Guenivere’s Lament” project and a Doer’s Profile of Kevin O’Grady appeared in the May/June 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Lexi Erickson’s “Guenivere’s Lament” project and a Doer’s Profile of Kevin O’Grady appeared in the May/June 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Take It for a Spin

Why would there be so many spinner rings around fingers and on the market, yet no spinner bangles? While the twirling inner bracelet idea is a natural extension of the ring, it turns out the larger scale presents some greater technical challenges—until recently. Now that Jeff Fulkerson has developed a tool specifically for creating spinner bangles, they are quite approachable and as much fun to fiddle with as you’d expect.

Jeff Fulkerson’s “Put a Spin on It” project appeared in the July/August 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Jeff Fulkerson’s “Put a Spin on It” project appeared in the July/August 2018 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

Stamp It Out There

These cuff bracelets rise to a peak along their centers because they’ve been made with triangle wire. The slope comes with the stock for ready-made depth. On the other wrist, so to speak, stamping the upper, most-visible-when-worn part of the wire has been impossible to stamp using a typical forming block, explains Jeff Fulkerson. But then popular stamp designer Danny Wade developed a stamping jig specifically for use with triangle wire so your stamping will be seen, and Jeff jumped right on using that jig.

The “Jig Stamped Silver Cuff” project by Jeff Fulkerson appeared in the November/December 2017 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

The “Jig Stamped Silver Cuff” project by Jeff Fulkerson appeared in the November/December 2017 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist; photo: Jim Lawson

–Merle White
Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

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