Jewelry Projects, Tools & More: Editors’ Favorite Parts of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Inspiration, jewelry tutorials, gemstones, jewelry tools, and other sparkly stuff. You can find all of that and more inside each issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Who can pick ONE favorite part?

I love learning about new jewelry tools and supplies, and I learn a lot from seeing how different jewelry artists do things. Not everyone solders, sets stones, etc. the same way, and seeing multiple ways to do a metalsmithing task is helpful and wise. There’s also good jewelry business advice in each issue, and profiles of gemstones, which excites the gem geek in me! It’s nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite part of LJJA, so here are some of my coworkers’ favorite parts!

Lexi Erickson's jewelry-making projects from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Some of Lexi Erickson’s jewelry-making projects from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. L to R: Azurite-Malachite pendant from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, August 2014. Ammonite earrings from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, April 2013. Fordite and Silver pendant from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, April 2017.

Lexi Loves the Jewelry-Making Tutorials

As many of you know, I’ve been a Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist reader ALL my life, having gone to bed many a night with my dad’s copy of Lapidary Journal (as it was known then), reading about stones, artifacts, fossils, and exotic places in which to find all kinds of treasures. With these “sugarplums dancing in my head,” is there any doubt why I became an archaeologist and jeweler? Never doubt the power of the printed word.

As Richard Sweetman and I were saying to students recently, we both learned more techniques after we left university. We each earned a Master’s Degree in Jewelry, but have learned more since then than we learned in college. Remember, there is always more than one way to do a technique. I’ve learned so much from other teachers and students (sometimes by accident) than I learned 30+ years ago at the university.

Phoenix Barrette by Roger Halas, from July 2014 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Among the projects Lexi loves are those by Roger Halas, like this Phoenix Barrette from the July 2014 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

So I love the projects in the magazine. I read each project in LJJA and find them enlightening and informative. Sometimes I add that technique to my repertoire, sometimes find an easier way to do something, and sometimes I stick with what I know and have developed myself. Just always keep an open mind and use the technique that works for you.

When a teacher says there is only ONE way to do a technique, run from that teacher like a puppy on RedBull. Develop your own way! Of course there are specific rules to follow in casting, soldering, etc., to be successful. Each of those techniques has shortcuts and variables, too. But you must know the rules in order to successfully break them! Have fun, experiment, and always be safe. When you quit learning and experimenting, you quit growing as an artist.

Lexi Erickson
Contributing Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Interweave Jewelry


amethst gem and projects from December 2011 Ladpiary Journal Jewelry Artist

“Pretty in Pastel,” December 2011 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist’s Smokin’ Stone, featured light-colored, faceted quartzes such as this amethyst (above, left) a.k.a purple quartz; photo: Jim Lawson. The two silver arms of the pendant (above, right) create an unusual cross and a clever tension setting for the light-colored amethyst in the center; amethyst crystal cross pendant project by Nanz Aalund, photo: Jim Lawson.

Merle Loves Smokin’ Stones and Your Turn

Smokin’ Stones

Who doesn’t like a two-fer? As in, one, learn about some cool gem and, two, see how to use it, in Smokin’ Stones.

From Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, November 2016.

Grape Cluster chalcedony pendant project by Lexi Erickson and grape chalcedony stone. From Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, November 2016.

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist’s Smokin’ Stones is a regular part of every issue, featuring a different kind of gem. If it’s a stone I’m familiar with, I enjoy learning a little bit about its history or lore, discovering a tip on where to buy one or how to take care of it–or just being reminded that it exists.

ammonite and ammolite cab, from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Jan/Feb 2017

See that multicolored snail-like thing on the left? That’s a fossil ammonite, an ancient sea creature related to the Nautilus snail. That beautifully iridescent shell surface, when handled carefully, makes a fantastic gem (on right); photos: Jim Lawson. From the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.


If it’s a gem I’ve never heard of, even better: I love discovering something new.


coquina stone and pendant from January/February 2012 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

This earthy-colored, graphic-patterned stone is a sedimentary rock and includes bits of shell–coquina is Spanish for shell; stone courtesy of and coquina pendant project by Marilyn Mack, photos: Jim Lawson. From January/February 2012 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

What I also love about this column is that it’s always paired with a project, demo, or feature story that shows you more. Mostly that’s setting this material in jewelry, but it could be how to cut the stone, going on an armchair field trip to see where it’s mined, or exploring ways to use its colors and patterns in jewelry design.


mookaite cabochons and mookaite jewelry design from the September 2008 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Mookaite is a quartz with fabulous patterning in reds, golds, greens, purples . . . it’s all over the place. Michael Boyd uses mookaite in the September 2008 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist to demonstrate use of color in jewelry design.

You, Too!

My other favorite department? That would be Your Turn.

Your Turn from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Learning what interests you, what you like and don’t like, is always important to me. And seeing your design ideas based on gems and jewelry shown in a recent issue? That’s just pure fun. Thanks!

Merle White
Editor-in-Chief, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist


enamel pendant, December 2017 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Maddie Loves the Inspiring Jewelry Designs

As someone that is fairly new the jewelry-making world, I find Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist to be a fascinating resource full of tips, tricks, and some awesome projects (all of which I would love to try, someday!). One of my favorite ways to enjoy the magazine is to look through it and see what sparks my creative juices.

As a painter, many times the photos on the cover and projects inside cause me to see endless possibilities to play. Take the cover of the December 2017 issue (above) for instance. The enamel and silver clay pendant by Lara Ginzburg just dazzles me. I want to sit down with my paint brush and just go! Hopefully, given some time, I could even attempt to make that lovely pendant. 🙂

Maddie Orth
Marketing Specialist, Interweave Bead and Jewelry Group

Tammy Honaman Loves Cool Tools & Hip Tips

It’s likely no surprise that my favorite sections of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist are Cool Tools & Hip Tips and the projects. Today, I’ll share why I love Helen Driggs’ take on all the Cool Tools & Hip Tips out there.

In each issue, you can read about new tools and best tips for jewelry makers. Being a jewelry maker myself, I love all the details Helen packs into her latest finds. The information inevitably intrigues me, and then I find myself balancing the intrigue with adding each item to my wish list or purchasing right then and there!

Cool Tools & Hip Tips from December 2017 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Cool Tools & Hip Tips from December 2017 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

In the December 2017 issue, I fell in love with the Versa light magnetic flexible light. This light will attach anywhere a magnet can. The three LED settings make it ideal for providing light in any situation. As for the bench pin also found in this issue, well, this bench pin takes things to a new level. In Helen’s words: “The StudioFlux bench pin (BPN-200.00) designed by Thomas Mann provides maximum support for successful sawing, and unlike a standard bench pin, you can either mount this pin on top of the bench to create a flat, continuous surface, or use the C-clamp to mount it on the edge of the work top. Featuring round and oblong sawing slots, square and half-round filing supports, this bench pin comes already to go–no customizations needed.” You can learn more at

Be sure to check out the Cool Tools & Hip Tips section in each issue to keep up with the latest goings-on with new tools and jewelry making.

Tammy Honaman
Editor, Beadwork magazine and Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry Group


Subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, and check out these projects and individual magazine issues.

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