Unexpected Findings: Clever & Inspiring Ways to Turn Humble Jewelry Findings Into Jewelry Stars
Here’s a riddle for you: What is made of metal (usually) and is used to connect jewelry parts (usually)? The answer is jewelry-making findings–but prepare to think of them in a whole new way!
In the beginning of her inspiring book Unexpected Findings: 50+ Clever Jewelry Designs Featuring Everyday Components, Michelle Mach writes, “Beads are the stars on the jewelry stage. They’re the ones twirling, singing, and shouting while the findings scuttle backstage, working the lights and opening and closing the red velvet curtains. Ever wonder what would happen if their roles were reversed?”
Common Jewelry Findings, Uncommon Uses
What if, indeed? Michelle and her team of designers found dozens of answers to that question in the more than 50 designs and variations they created using jewelry findings that were already in their own personal stashes–clasps, jump rings, spacers, bead caps, and more. Here are just six of their great tips for using common jewelry findings in unexpected ways:
1. End caps make great cone-shaped dangles to add to necklaces, earrings, or bracelets. To keep the design interesting when using dangles in necklaces, make the same number of dangles with each of three bead types to create balance, even if the dangles are worked into the design randomly.
2. Even clasps designed to hold multiple strands can be used for single-strand designs. Just because there are options for multiple strands, it doesn’t mean you need to use all the holes. The empty holes on a clasp can add a decorative touch that is intentional.
3. Slide-lock clasps with multiple links for attaching multiple strands can become bases for adding multiple beads in the middle of a long necklace design–which you can also take apart into a convertible necklace-and-bracelet set.
4. Filigree ring bands (or diamond-shaped filigree connectors formed into loops) become flower-filled earrings reminiscent of overflowing flower baskets.
5. A perforated toggle clasp does double duty as a multistrand connector or clasp.
6. Bead spacers and bead caps make perfectly adorable nests under bird beads in necklaces or earrings.
I could go on and on! I gathered these tips from just the first half of the book–there are still dozens of projects with dozens of tips waiting to be discovered in Michelle’s brilliant idea-packed book.
Whose Stash Is It, Anyway?
You might be thinking, “My stash of jewelry findings is completely different from these designers’ stashes. I can’t use these projects.” Not true! If jewelry findings identical to ones in a project you want to make are no longer available, take on the challenge and adventure to find similar ones. And if nothing similar can be found? That’s a trick question–something similar can always be found!
“While it might feel scary at first, deviating from a published design will help you discover your own artistic voice,” Michelle writes. “Start small. Substitute an 8mm navy round for an 8mm green round. Changing just one aspect, such as color, and keeping others, such as size and shape the same, minimizes the risk that you’ll be unhappy with the final result. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to zero in not only on the materials used in a design, but also on the structure, mood, and techniques, and you’ll be able to customize it even further.”
Be creative, be unique, be adventurous, and let these 50+ designs and variations from popular designers like Lorelei Eurto, Erin Siegel, Barb Switzer, Andrew Thornton, and Cindy Wimmer inspire you to see your jewelry findings in new ways. Turn the tables on your supplies and learn how to “use common findings such as jump rings, head pins, and clasps in unusual ways” when you get Michelle’s top-rated book, Unexpected Findings: 50+ Clever Jewelry Designs Featuring Everyday Components.
Whether you have jewelry findings you want to use in new ways or you’re looking for new ways to create findings, you can’t deny that findings are essential, hard-working elements in nearly all types of jewelry. Why shouldn’t they be special features instead of just utilitarian parts? You can learn to create your own unique findings and use them in brilliant ways with our Handcrafted Findings Collection, an exclusive selection of resources dedicated to these essential components.
The Handcrafted Findings Collection includes Michelle’s Unexpected Findings digital book featuring 50+ designs and variations from jewelry artists like Lorelei Eurto, Erin Siegel, Barb Switzer, Andrew Thornton, and Cindy Wimmer, plus Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson’s Handcrafted Metal Findings digital book, Lexi Erickson’s Artisan Bails video download, and the 10 Ingenious Wire Findings: Clasps, Cord Ends, and Ear Wires project compilation eBook with 10 more findings projects. That’s dozens of findings projects and an in-depth video for a very special value!
“Now pick a finding, any finding,” Michelle writes, “and repeat after me: What if . . . ?”
Find more unexpected treasures in the Interweave Shop!