Hello, Boho! Let Your Hair Down with Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry-Making Techniques and Materials

 
Jewelry Technique Tip from Lorelei's Queen Anne's Lace: Instead of cutting apart chain and wasting links, simply fold it for a mulistrand look.

A quick online search will turn up all kinds of interesting definitions of bohemian and bohemian style, from free-spirited people who live life with high ideals of liberty and beauty to a movement of artsy types in France in the late 19th century to "a person from the Kingdom of Bohemia." The closest definition, for my purposes, is the creative-spirited person whose unique style is a mixture of . . . whatever strikes their fancy. And that's the key to bohemian style–fanciful mixing.

 

Jewelry Technique Tip from Tracy Statler's Sonoran Sunset necklace: Eliminating the clasp from a long necklace makes it more affordable.

In their new book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel define bohemian-inspired jewelry as "an artistic, nature-inspired, and playful combination of materials and textures" that you might wear with "a floral-print dress, wood-soled sandals, a handmade leather bag, and a solid-color cardigan." I'm thinking Sundance Catalog, the Olsen twins, Sienna Miller. . . .

Bohemian Jewelry Elements and Techniques

 
Jewelry Technique Tip from Erin's Butterfly Song: Multiple jump rings make a secure and affordable bail for a wire-wrapped pendant.

According to Lorelei and Erin, key features of bohemian style include vibrant colors; organic materials such as wood, stone, or clay; and patterned or textured fibers such as leather, ribbon, or cord. 

Adding color with ribbon, fibers, or cords is a great way to both soften and romanticize as well as spice up a wardrobe of metal jewelry. Same goes with organic jewelry elements made from wood, stone, clay, leather or natural fibers like silk and hemp, which add a softening, textural quality to metal jewelry. Like the materials used in it, the jewelry techniques involved in making bohemian-inspired jewelry have a natural feel to them, too–knotting, weaving, and braiding leather or cords, molding clays with your hands, carving wood.

 

Jewelry Technique from Lorelei's Ocean Love necklace:  Securing silk cords with half-hitch knots is a clever alternative to using wire wrapping or crimp ends.

In terms of jewelry-making techniques, bohemian style closely relates to mixed media. It can be any variety of jewelry-making techniques–beading, stringing and knotting, stamping and texturing metals, wire wrapping–using a variety of supplies–leather, ribbon, fabric and fibers, beads, wood, paper–all in happy harmony. (That's another key element to bohemian style, I think–happy and carefree.)  

 

Ready for more? Get Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel's much-awaited new book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon, and Cords today! It's packed full of tips on making and caring for the unique properties of bohemian-style jewelry, including

  • how to care for jewelry made with silk and other natural fibers,
  • how to make the variety of knots used in dozens of projects,
  • how to identify and use the specialty findings that using ribbons and cords require,
  • how to use buttons as clasps,
  • and page after page of extensive bohemian-style, artisan, and handcrafted jewelry-making supplies.

It's the most fun jewelry-making book I've seen in awhile–so let your hair down and give it a try!

I love using ribbon, especially soft, natural fibers like silk, in jewelry. What's your favorite material to use in bohemian-style jewelry?

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