Tell Me a Story: Top Designers Share the Creative Tales Behind Favorite Jewelry-Making Projects

Whenever I sell a piece of jewelry, the buyers (and browsers) often ask me the story behind a piece. Sometimes I can tell them where I found some unusual old metal found object I've used in it, or I'll describe the thing–art, other jewelry, flowers, etc.–that inspired the design. I can always talk about the gemstones used in it, being a big gem geek and so in love with gemstones.

Every time I find a design that I like, my first thought is always, "Wonder why . . . " this or that, and I love meeting jewelry artists so I can ask them. I've never met one who didn't like to talk about their work! Here are a few of my favorite eProjects from the Jewelry Making Daily Shop, along with some comments about each one from the designers.

 

Entangled Wire Bezel by Lisa Niven Kelly
Being a pearl lover and relatively new to wire, Lisa Niven Kelly's Entangled Wire Bezel really jumped out at me because of the gorgeous mabe pearl, of course, but also because it seems to me that the design is so freeform, it wouldn't intimidate a wire newbie. It would take a pretty big mistake to show up in that wild cluster of wire coils, spirals, and swirls!

Here's what Lisa wrote about this project when she first published it: "I have a large collection of gorgeous mabé pearls and gemstone cabochons. Recently I have been fascinated with finding ways to bezel set them in wire without having binding wires crossing in the back. This technique begins by setting the stone in a classic-looking woven bezel. This plain bezel looks great and would make a beautiful bezel on its own. I like the sculptural, crazy, wacky look. . . ." Me too!

 

Chinese Writing Stone Pendant by Lexi Erickson
My friend and metalsmith extraordinaire Lexi Erickson always has a good tale behind her pieces. Her background in archeology along with her many years of teaching and traveling makes for some good stories! Here's what she had to say about the Chinese Writing Stone Pendant: "It was love at first sight. I approached Gary B. Wilson's booth at the gem show, as always, with eager anticipation of what treasures I would find, and that stone just had me from 'hello.' In fact, one woman followed me around the gem show for a few hours asking me what I would do with it and would I sell it to her. Nope!

"So when I came to set the piece, the Beijing Olympics were just over a few months before. The idea was to combine the shape of the glorious Chinese mum (you know, like those football mums in Texas for homecoming games?) with the repetition of the white feldspar in basalt patterning of the stone, and maybe give the idea of fireworks.

"I still long for that stone since the piece has been sold. I hope the new owner loves it as much as I did. I'm tremendously humbled that it was a cover piece for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist."   

 

Renaissance Charm Bracelet by Danielle Fox
I think of charm bracelets as pretty, jingly little history or art exhibits (depending on the charms you choose) that you can wear. I'm always intrigued by the mix of charms, mementoes, beads, and found objects that find their way into these unusual little collections, curated by their owners and designers. Naturally Stringing Editor Danielle Fox's Renaissance Charm Bracelet caught my eye. Here's what she had to say about it: "I love making charm-style bracelets. They're easy to work up (only jump-ring and possibly wrapped-loop skills required!), and they can be created in endless style and theme variations, depending on your choice of chain, beads, and charms. This particular charm bracelet is one of my all-time favorites because it combines some of my most prized beading components: antique-like etched chain, white coin pearls, Swarovski crystal rondelles, and gorgeous artisan-made cast-silver rings and matching clasp."

 

Pattern Wire Earrings by Donna Zimmer
When I first saw these earrings, I couldn't quite connect the name with the design, but then I got a closer look and realized that the metal design in the center was scraps of patterned wire, use like a focal stone in Donna Zimmer's design. I love seeing clever uses of leftover bits, so I asked Donna to share the story behind her pretty wire-wrapped Pattern Wire Earrings.

"After making some wire wrapped bracelets using pattern wire, I looked at my wire supplies and noticed I had pieces left over that were not quite long enough for a bracelet," Donna said. "I couldn't bring myself to scrap such beautiful wire and knew there had to be something I could make with it. While sitting there looking at the shorter pieces of wire, it came to me–why not design earrings to go with the wire-wrapped bracelets? Now when I sell my pattern wire bracelets, I have earrings to sell that match." So clever! (And look at those unique ear wires!)

Looking for more inspiring jewelry-making projects? You're in luck–all the jewelry eProjects (and even some eBooks!) are now on sale for 30% off in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop.

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