Fashion Jewelry Making: Popular Designs and Fun Techniques with Tamara Honaman

Welcome to our guest blogger and jewelry artist, Tamara Honaman! Get a primer on how to turn classic jewelry styles into fashionable designs with the addition of fresh colors and techniques easily adapted to fashion jewelry making.

Fashion and Jewelry Design
By Tamara Honaman

Fashion influences so many parts of our lives–whether we know it or not.

I think Meryl Streep, in The Devil Wears Prada, said it best in her rant about the color cerulean and the lumpy sweater Anne Hathaway’s character wore. The rant proved to Anne’s character that even though she chose not to embrace fashion (her character’s schtick), she had in fact purchased and worn something that was completely dictated by fashion: a cerulean sweater descended from an Oscar de la Renta gown.

When designing a new piece of jewelry, I often spend time flipping through current fashion magazines and websites to see what trends are being predicted. I also go back through tear-sheet folders and inspiration pages I’ve created, as many trends are classic in design and just include “the” hot color of the year, “the” hot metal color (like rose gold!), or some other trend that is easily transitioned to what is more current.

colorful torch-fired enamel jewelry componentsOnce I have a design sketched out and techniques determined, it’s time to gather materials. I “shop” my stash first, then hit the bead shops or jewelry suppliers for the other materials and tools needed to bring “the” look home. I then get to “work!”

Six trends I’ve noticed with staying power and ones I’ve definitely integrated into my wardrobe are:

  • Edgy, a sleek look that includes leather, spikes, wire, (a lot of) black, and (a little bit of) sparkle. For me, this is my grown-up ’80s look (minus the hairspray!).
  • Elegance and luxury, a very sophisticated and somewhat fancy look. This look can be accomplished using pearls (freshwater, Swarovski crystal, or glass); metal in the form of findings, chain and stone settings; and faceted gemstones or highly reflective crystals. Designs that exude luxe are great for a night at the theater, a special occasion, or even work with jeans and a crisp white blouse.leather and bead bracelets
  • Sporty and athletic, a fun and easy-to-wear-every-day style. This look is carried out using leather cording: thick and thin, round and flat. There are then two directions you can go: one includes metal along with a bright pop of color (neon and bright tones are still in, just used more as accents). The other direction has the leather paired with metal accents in the form of inspirational messages using words and symbols, such as metal stamped pieces. These two trends can be translated into any form of jewelry; when used to make bracelets, necklaces or rings, you will likely see them worn in layers.
  • Filigree and femininity is a trend I love, as so often we forget it’s okay to be feminine (or maybe that’s just me surrounded by all the men in my house!). This look brings lacy metal components, soft accents of color, and gentle curves to the forefront. Filigree is lightweight, comfortable, easily manipulated, and can be worked into fresh designs using cold connections. Filigree is very versatile; add patina to filigree and add filigree to leather for a feminine yet edgy look; add crystal and chain to filigree for a luxe look; add some neon and leather cording for a sporty style.forming filigree
  • Wire and pastels is a trend I might have made up on my own. It’s more a play off of the feminine vibe I get from filigree and pastels paired with wirework–a classic technique that is perpetually hot and fresh in our industry. For this look, think heavy wire base (like a bangle or cuff) embellished with vine-like wire embellishments accented with pastel colored beads that enhance the graceful curves of the wire formed base.

wire bead banglesNo matter which trend or fashion style you like, and whether you make a design for a special day to match a cerulean gown or if you decide to keep the elements classic so your designs have staying power, enjoy shopping for your materials, have fun designing and making your jewelry–and then wear your designs proudly. —Tamara torch firing metal clayNow that you know what’s fashionable and how to make even the trendiest trends your own style, brush up on your techniques and try some inspiring, fashion jewelry making projects with our new fashion jewelry video workshop, 6 Fun Fashion Jewelry Projects with Tamara Honaman. It includes six fresh, complete jewelry-making project tutorials covering popular techniques and materials like metal clay, torch-fired enamel, wire, leather, cold connections, and more, available on one DVD or in a digital download. You can also download each project individually if you prefer:

Riveted Leather Bracelet with Spike Fringe and Seed Beads with Tamara Honaman

Jig Formed Wire Bangle with Pearl and Crystal Accents with Tamara Honaman

Sporty Leather Bracelet with Metal Clay Charms with Tamara Honaman

How to Add Premade Filigree to Your Jewelry with Cold Connections by Tamara Honaman

Chunky Multistrand Pearl and Crystal Wire Necklace with Tamara Honaman

Make Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry Components with Tamara Honaman

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