Want It, Love It: Tammy's Top 9 Holiday Gift Picks for Jewelry Makers

Tammy Jones editor Jewelry Making Daily  
Tammy Jones is the
editor of Jewelry Making  Daily.

Whew, what a weekend! The turkey was eaten, the tree was decorated, and I shopped 'til I dropped and then some. Now it's time to get serious about jewelry gifts for family and friends. Whether you're shopping for the jewelry maker on your list or you're the jewelry maker and the elves are begging for inspiration, here's a peek at some products I have and love as well as a few I'm going to be asking Santa to bring me. (Plus our free shipping offer in the Interweave store lasts until midnight tonight!) 



1. Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry
I'd never been a fan of wire-wrapping until I saw this book. I think it's all of the flourishes, spirals, and curlicues that I like; while wire-wrapping always seemed to produce jewelry that was more contemporary than I preferred, the designs in Weave Wrap Coil are contemporary while also being classic and pretty designs that I like.

The 25 projects are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels—but you'd never know it by looking at the designs, which are all special and produce advanced-looking wire-wrapped jewelry pieces. A jewelry maker could be proud to wear—or give—any project made from this book.


2. The Jewelry Architect: Techniques and Projects for Mixed-Media Jewelry + DVD
The Jewelry Architect
was the first book I received for review when I joined JewelryMakingDaily.com, and I loved it right away. The mixed-media "wearable art" projects fit my own jewelry-making style, and the instructions for customizing my own clasps, head pins, and other findings were an added bonus, as I was particularly interested in that kind of personalized metalwork for my current jewelry projects. The book's 16 projects are like playtime for a jewelry maker because they allow us to combine all the fun jewelry-making techniques we enjoy—including wirework, metal clay, beads, torch fusing, and metalsmithing–to create advanced-looking art jewelry pieces.

The bonus DVD adds even more project inspiration and skill tutorials. Plus, if you've ever tried to make rings using metal clay, you know how difficult it is to get the right size. The Jewelry Architect's tips for making metal-clay ring bands are alone worth the cost of the book.


3. Contemporary Copper Jewelry + DVD
I've always enjoyed working with copper and I became even more enamored with it during my recent metalsmithing weekend with Lexi Erickson. As much as I adore sterling silver, copper has a kind of warmth to it that really appeals to me—plus it's less expensive and generally easier to work with because it's softer.

Contemporary Copper Jewelry is an ideal resource for a new or experienced copper jewelry maker because in addition to 22 projects featuring copper alone or copper mixed with other metals, it also includes a bonus wire-working DVD that shows wire-working basics that are needed to complete the projects in the book. 


4. Stamped Metal Jewelry: Techniques and Designs for Making Custom Jewelry + DVD
As a writer and a jewelry maker, stamping words and phrases on metal jewelry is the best of both worlds for me. Stamped Metal Jewelry provides project inspiration and instruction for the most customizable of all jewelry techniques, including stamping words but also textures and other designs. Custom, personalized jewelry is more popular than ever, and Stamped Metal Jewelry includes 19 customizable jewelry projects, including unlimited possibilities for charms and earrings, making unique necklace and bracelet links, texturing, riveting, oxidizing, wire-wrapping, and more. (And what's not to love about all that hammering?)  


5. Create Jewelry: Pearls
A pearl girl like me can never have enough pearls. I buy strand after strand at gem shows and bead shops as well as old faux strands with interesting clasps and time-worn luster at antique stores. I can honestly say I've never seen a pearl I didn't like, so you can imagine how big my jewelry-making stash of pearls is! Naturally, that means I can always use a little inspiration.

Create Jewelry: Pearls is high on my Christmas wish list for that reason—there are 20 pearl-focused projects in the book—but also because of the chapters dedicated to pearl education, history, and science. Create Jewelry: Pearls is a full-circle pearl resource, complete from oyster to jewelry box. Plus I believe there are pearls that are perfect for every day, any day, or a special day, so I appreciate that the projects are divided into Classic, Special Occasion, and Fashion Forward.


6. Step by Step Jewelry: Gifts for the Holidays
If you haven't finished your holiday jewelry and gift making, you might want to download a copy of Step by Step Jewelry: Gifts for the Holidays. Because they're digital magazine downloads, they become yours instantly, allowing you to start working on holiday gifts and jewelry right away. There are 36 great projects between the two Step by Step Jewelry: Gifts for the Holidays issues, including jewelry projects ideal for gifting to anyone on your list or decorating yourself for special occasions, as well as holiday projects such as ornaments and a bookmark that allow you to repurpose your favorite jewelry-making techniques.


7. and 8. Cold Joins for Mixed-Media Jewelry
For me, jewelry designs need to have at least two of the three P's: personal, pretty, and precious (as in gemstones and metals). I recently helped a friend make fun earrings using two bottle caps from the Cokes she and her grandfather enjoyed during an afternoon together. They'll look like funky pop-art jewelry to everyone else, but to her, they are reminders of sweet family moments. I love incorporating personal treasures like that in my jewelry. It allows literally any old thing to become a component in a beloved piece of jewelry—as long as you know how to attach it. That's where my next pair of gift picks comes in . . . .

The book Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists and the DVD Mixed Media: Personalized Jewelry – Capturing Memories in Handmade Details are two resources absolutely packed full of tips and ideas for incorporating found objects and personal treasures into your jewelry, plus techniques for creating cold joins and other attachments that help you build your own personalized jewelry. You'll also learn how to incorporate other creative techniques and media (such as metal and rubber stamping, resin, and fibers) into your jewelry assemblages, as well as ways to give fragile materials such as fabric and paper a metal support, making them more suitable for jewelry. Fans of charm bracelets or steampunk jewelry will adore these resources.


9. Step by Step Wire Jewelry
Stockings are a big part of my family's Christmas traditions, and the current issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry would make a great treat for any jewelry maker's stocking. The chain-maille (chain mail) snowflake project is a great introduction to an often complicated jewelry technique and also a wonderful project for holiday gift making as well. The snowflakes can be pendants, brooches, ornaments, or earrings, and I love the idea of making them using different colors of wire. I'm going to give them a go myself and try adding gemstone or crystal beads to mine—snowflakes have to sparkle!

Product reviews are always a favorite part of magazines for me, kind of like the movie previews at the theatre. This issue has the editors' 2011 jewelry-making product reviews in it, featuring over 100 new swoon-worthy products sure to make next year's gift list even longer!  

So what's on your holiday wish list? Share your favorite products, gift recommendations, and wish-list items below and I'll make sure Santa hears about it.

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