Jewelry Books You NEED: 5 Techniques for Your Jewelry Toolbox
We all know I have a soft spot for jewelry books; I just can’t get enough.
When someone mentions they want to learn a new technique, I’m quick to recommend a book that will teach them. When someone tells me about a new artist they’re digging, I rattle off authors who can feed their inspiration. And when someone asks me if they should get a book that I don’t think is the best, I’m the first to point it out as something to avoid.
So when I put together a list of jewelry books that I say you need to own, I mean it. These are the books you’ll find on my personal jewelry bench. They’re dog-eared and smudged by my dirty, polish-covered hands. They are loved.
5 Jewelry Books You Need To Own
If there is one jewelry book that no jeweler should be without it’s Matthew Runfola’s Patina.
When you’re ready to go beyond adding a simple liver of sulfur patina to your metal work, this book includes over 300 unique formulas for creating beautiful, colorful effects. From deep black patina to playful shades of green, so many colors can be achieved.
I love flipping through the pages of this book. Each time I do, I stumble on a new patina I missed previously. Anytime I’m looking to achieve a particular color on a specific metal, I know I can turn to this book and it will have more than one option.
Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop
I’m fascinated by beautiful chain maille jewelry. Simple jump rings can be transformed into woven sheets that are just jaw dropping in their complexity, or they can shine in the humblest of bracelets.
Karen Karon’s book Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop is a comprehensive introduction to chain maille weaves and projects. Whether I’m looking for a refresher on how to weave Byzantine chain or I need to whip up a quick pair of earrings for a special event, this book has exactly what I need.
Some of the things I love most about this book are the detailed, color-coded illustrations. It can be difficult to keep track of which ring is passing through which when viewing an image. The illustrations clear that up easily and make more complex patterns much more achievable.
While I know that setting gemstones is something that’s super easy for many jewelers, it’s always been a bit intimidating for me. So I appreciate a detailed, step-by-step process guide. There is no better guide for learning stone setting techniques than Gemstone Settings.
Essentially an encyclopedic overview, this book features extensive information on setting stones, plus extra information about the stones and metals used themselves. The photography is drool worthy and always gives a big dose of inspiration to studio time. I may never get to the point of setting diamonds in platinum, but if I ever want to give it a shot, it’s going to be achievable with this book.
The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques
If you’re looking for a general how-to guide for everything jewelry related, The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques is the book to pick up. When I say “everything jewelry related,” I mean everything. Anastasia Young has included a brief overview of every single tool that belongs on your workbench–from pliers, drills, bits, and files to abrasives, chemicals, machinery, and formers. For the techniques, with over 100 different skills listed, there are too many to name! There is even a section devoted to photographing, displaying, promoting, and selling your work. You really can’t ask for more.
Woven in Wire
I always love to put one aspirational book on my best-of lists. Sarah Thompson’s sophomore title Woven in Wire is that book for me. I may be biased towards wire-working books, having written a couple myself, but when you see the breathtaking designs that Sarah has created, I know you’ll agree. This book is simply spectacular!
From three essential wire weaves, Sarah creates award-winning designs that range from sophisticated earrings to over-the-top pendants. More than one project had me scratching my head and thinking, “How did she do that?” Once you start following the step-by-step illustrations, the light bulbs click on. Sarah’s amazing ability to break the complex down to basics is illuminated, and I start thinking, “I can’t wait to make this.”
Did your favorite book make my top five list? If not, I’d love to hear what jewelry books you find essential to your workshop. Please share in the comments below.
Editorial Director, Books