Ode to Patinas: How to Create Emotion and Lasting Style in New Metal and Wire Jewelry

I love patina. On metal, on wood, on leather, I love it, but I especially love patina on metal and wire jewelry (where it's sometimes referred to as "bloom").


Merriam-Webster defines patina primarily as such:

a : a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids) and often valued aesthetically for its color
b : a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use

. . . and shows it used this way in speech: "Although the winery is brand-new, it has been constructed and decorated to give it a patina of old-world quaintness."


I love the green film (verdi gris) on copper, I love the look of an old thing "grown beautiful," and I love it when things are built to have "a patina of old-world quaintness." Love it all.

Even the synonyms and related words the dictionary lists for patina are enticing: ambience, aroma, flavor, mood, aura, atmosphere, mystique, romance, sensation, spirit, illusion. If someone said my home had any of those qualities, I'd be happy. If someone suggested I go to an inn or restaurant by using any of those words, I'd want to go! If someone described my jewelry using some of those terms . . . oh friends, wouldn't that be lovely?


Patina on metal and wire jewelry is a wonderful way to add emotion and meaningful color to something that might not otherwise express it. Whenever I see copper with that pretty layer of verdi gris green patina on it, I think of the summer I spent in England after college and dreamy photos of places I hope to someday see in Italy and France. Domed rooftops, scrolled iron gates, peaceful old cemeteries, ancient doorknobs. . . . I think of classic, beautiful old things that are so lovely, so respected, and so well made that they remain. They're time weathered, time tested, and have only grown more beautiful in the process. Wouldn't you like your jewelry designs to be thought of that way? As if each piece has been passed down and shared through generations–or to look as if it's worthy of being shared so?


When creating worthy metal and wire jewelry designs, a sure way to achieve that look of value and evoke that kind of emotion is by adding patina to your metal. In her new book Rustic Wrappings, Kerry Bogert has her own emotional terms for jewelry. "Carefree and fanciful; organic and natural; timeless and possible; passionate and sensible-evoking a romantic rendezvous set against a backdrop of a western sunset . . . in this book we will be exploring a more settled, earthly, organic, and wistful style of design that takes inspiration from life, love, nature and the elements, times gone by, and the hope of things to come." Is there anything not to love about all that?


In addition to teaching you how to be "a studio color scientist" with Kerry's patina recipes–both traditional ones and some new unique ones, using purchased solutions or everyday household items–Rustic Wrappings also includes:

  • wire embroidery techniques for creating a running stitch, backstitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, and whipstitch with wire on metal sheet
  • a great primer on wire and sheet metal, metal gauges, hardness, malleability, and annealing
  • a comparative look at various metals, including copper, silver, brass, and steel
  • basic and beyond basic jewelry-making tools for wirework and more
  • tutorials for exploring rustic new color palettes and exactly what "rustic" means in that sense
  • visual step-by-step tutorials for making basic wire findings and elements such as wrapped loops, wire spirals and coils, a variety of wire head pins, wire clasps, and more

If you're ready to take your metal and wire jewelry designs to the next level using patinas and thoughtful pops of color, pre-order or instantly download Rustic Wrappings from the Jewelry Making Daily Shop.

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