Make It Personal: Handmade Jewelry Gifts Are the Perfect Choice

The best gifts come from the heart–and the hand. There’s no better path to the perfect gift than making your own jewelry gifts for those dear to you. As a maker, you have access to so many designs, and you have the ability to customize them. Find the right design for each person on your list, then use her favorite colors and motifs to make the piece extra special. Every time she wears your jewelry, she’ll know you personalized and constructed the piece yourself, just for her (or him!).

From easy to challenging and subtle to bold, here are several stand-out designs from the latest issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist that you can use this holiday season. It’s not too late!

ABOVE: This striking ring appears as a project by Jeff Fulkerson in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist November/December 2018. Photo: Jim Lawson

Do It All or Tell All About It

Now this is what I call made by the artist’s own two hands. Not only did Jeff Fulkerson create the statement ring above, he also cut the cabochon that is its central feature. And not only did he cut it, he dug the rough out of the ground, too. You can hunt along with him as he tells the story of that field collecting trip, and find instructions for cutting the cab and making the ring. If you’re not a lapidary, don’t worry: buy whatever cab you like. You can still share the adventure with your friends and give them an idea of what’s involved in producing a finished gem from the ground up.

handmade jewelry gifts

Jeff Fulkerson digging for variscite at the Vista Grande mine in Nevada. Photo: courtesy Jeff Fulkerson

Simple Bracelet Sizing for Jewelry Gifts

If rock hunting, lapidary work, fabrication, and trying to get a ring size correct are more than you’re up for, here’s something much simpler. Michelle Brennan’s aluminum and rubber ring bracelet features a pretty wintry design in basic chain maille. The rubber gives this design enough flexibility to stretch, making any one size fit a range of wrists. It’s even flexible enough to be turned inside out, giving you a different blue-on-blue design when you do.

Wouldn’t a colorful, one-size-fits-most bracelet make the perfect jewelry gifts? Designer Michelle Brennan has also put together a conveniently packaged, complete supply kit for her Stretchy Chain Maille bracelet pattern, available now only from Interweave. Photo: Jim Lawson

Michelle Brennan’s one-size-fits-most Stretchy Chain Maille cuff project and supply kit. Photo: Jim Lawson


Hand Fabricated with Ready Made Help

This one’s made easier by taking advantage of more finished supplies than plain metal stock. Erica Stice shows you how to use a manufactured setting for the little faceted stone at the center of this pretty patterned sheet pendant. It takes just a few steps and basic skills to make, and offers you a variety of sheet patterns and stone colors for customization.

handmade jewelry gifts: Erica Stice’s Sweet Spot. Photo: Jim Lawson

Erica Stice’s Sweet Spot. Photo: Jim Lawson

Rivet Any Silhouette for Personalized Jewelry Gifts

Know how to draw and saw? You can turn Roger Halas’s shark pendant into the silhouette of your choice. Cut out a kitten or a whale, a tree or a star–whatever personalizes the pendant for its soon-to-be owner.

handmade jewelry gifts

The simplicity and strong contrast of silhouettes make them riveting to look at. This pendant consists of a silhouette riveted to a patinated back plate. Photo: Jim Lawson

Classic Agate and Chain Maille

Here’s a timeless necklace design in neutral colors that anyone could wear. You can also use this classic chain maille weave to make simpler pieces.

handmade jewelry gifts: For this necklace, Kylie Jones focused on the strong patterning in the Botswana agate beads. Photo: Jim Lawson

For this necklace, Kylie Jones focused on the strong patterning in the Botswana agate beads. Photo: Jim Lawson

As one alternative, Kylie Jones suggests a quicker and less expensive necklace using the same half byzantine weave with larger rings and a single large glass bead as a focal. The necklace is finished with 4mm PVC tubing and sterling silver findings.

handmade jewelry gifts

This version is simpler and less expensive to create than the full maille necklace. A small piece of chain maille teamed with leather or silk ribbons makes another quick and easy alternative. Photo: Kylie Jones

Chain maille is really versatile. Sometimes just adding a ring or two in a space can alter and enhance the original design.

handmade jewelry gifts

This design, says Kylie Jones, extends the pattern by using some rings purely as decoration. Photo: Kylie Jones

As Many Features as You Like

There’s a lot to consider in this pendant project by Kieu Pham Gray. If you want color, finish your silver rectangle with a patina. If you want more detail and texture, solder on a few jump rings, punched-out sheet circles, or a piece of wavy wire. Make it really get noticed by cutting out a curve in the rectangle and suspending a channeled bead from it with wire wrapping. Hang the whole piece from chain or, as shown, a double strand of beads to pick up the color of that bottom element.

handmade jewelry gifts: Kieu Pham Gray’s Turquoise Surprise pendant. Photo: Jim Lawson

Kieu Pham Gray’s Turquoise Surprise pendant. Photo: Jim Lawson


Or share your love of jewelry making with friends by making their gifts a reminder of who made them. This stamped jewelry tool charm bracelet is easy to make, festive to wear, and fun for everyone.

handmade jewelry gifts: Rita Pannulla’s Charming Jewelry Tools--the super easy charm bracelet project that spotlights a set of 10 exclusive stamps. Photo: Jim Lawson

Rita Pannulla’s Charming Jewelry Tools–the super easy charm bracelet project that spotlights a set of exclusive tool stamps. Photo: Jim Lawson

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist November/December 2018 is available now. Subscribe now and each new issue will come straight to you!

Discover these and more options for handmade jewelry gifts!

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