Archive for December 10th, 2011
Jewelry making materials usually come from jewelry supply companies, don’t they? Well, not necessarily – especially as offbeat components for creating jewelry are becoming more popular.
As the prices of silver, gold, and other traditional jewelry metals have risen, jewelry artists have begun using unusual and totally non-traditional jewelry making materials for their creations. Although this trend started because of the soaring cost of metal, its popularity has grown quickly as jewelry artists and their customers have discovered the fabulous possibilities of jewelry created from odds and ends.
When money is tight, jewelry customers want colorful, cheery ways to perk up their wardrobe without breaking the bank. So some of the most popular new bracelet, necklace, and earring designs are made from jewelry making materials such as:
* Cloth, fiber, cord, or rope – especially in bracelets that wrap, knot, tie, or cinch.
* Paper products / ephemera – often in tiny frames, mixed media, or collage.
* Wood jewelry components – either natural or colored.
* Buttons – of every size, shape, and vintage.
* Parts from older jewelry, combined with other elements and remade into new pieces.
* Seashells of all types, colors, and sizes – especially in earrings and necklaces.
* Colorful metals – especially colored or patinaed brass and copper.
* Repurposed items of all sorts – cut down, stripped, cleaned up, and turned into jewelry components.
How to Find Unusual Jewelry Making Materials
Instead of going out in search of a specific item, go with an open mind and be ready for serendipity to show you some crafty possibilities. Look at things with your creative eye, see past any accumulated dust and grime, and imagine what you can do with various items you come across.
Be prepared to sort through things. Bags, boxes, and drawers of miscellaneous objects are often where you’ll find some of the best jewelry making materials.
Go through the clearance aisles and bins of craft stores, hardware stores, and home improvement stores.
Tell your friends and family about the types of “junk” you’re looking to use for making jewelry. They’ll think it’s fun to keep an out for these things for you. Our loved ones often enjoy participating in the treasure hunt, and they may come across some fantastic finds we’d never see otherwise!
Bring a flashlight and magnifying glass on your treasure hunts. Look closely at the condition of older or secondhand items before you buy them.
While you’re hunting for jewelry making materials, also keep an eye out for things you can use to display your jewelry. Boxes, trunks, baskets, fabrics, gloves, dolls, racks, wig stands, picture frames, etc. can be cleaned up, repainted or refinished into interesting jewelry displays.
Look at everything in yard sales, tag sales, estate sales, etc. The “merchandise” at these events isn’t always organized, so you never know where a stash of potential jewelry making materials may turn up. The best deals are when the event is winding down, when the owners just want to quickly unload their remaining stuff.
Visit antique, resale, and thrift shops and ask whether they have a newsletter or an announcements mailing list for their events, sales, and new arrivals. If they do, have them add your name and address (or email) to the list. It’s a good way to be one of the first people to see their new inventory – and any possible jewelry making materials. Owners of these shops are usually helpful, and will likely keep an eye out for anything in particular if you let them know about your interests.
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One important fact I’ve learned is that everyone has different taste in jewelry. Often, people want traditional jewelry for babies, but are prepared to try more contemporary jewelry for older girls and teenagers. Grandparents, in my experience, seem to prefer to buy traditional baby bracelets, baby bangles and baby brooches for their baby granddaughters. For older children, grandparents generally, might choose gold bracelets and earrings, gemset jewelry and pearls as in children’s earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Some Aunties, friends and Mothers often even buy boys’ jewelry for their baby boys, which is a new trend, taking off quite rapidly.
But as a baby and children’s jewelry retailer, it would be unwise to not include a range of quirky, contemporary, colourful and cute items for those who like it, as I certainly do. I call it baby bling and toddler trinkets. It photographs beautifully, with it’s colourful crystals and enamelling and looks gorgeous on little girls. Currently, the ultimate baby bling on the site would be the 9ct gold rabbit stud earrings. These have a high level of cuteness as baby earrings. We also have the 9ct gold baby stud earrings for the more traditional tastes – the gleam of gold on a tiny lobe is hard to beat. Alongside the rabbits, we have exquisite sterling silver butterfly earrings for babies and children, dragonfly earrings, bee earrings, ladybugs in bright enamelled red, stunning on little girls. We have sparkling crystal and sterling silver hearts, tiny enough for a baby but also the perfect children’s earrings.
The occasion of the gift-giving tends to have a bearing on our choices. A baby Christening gift or Baptism gift might be a pearl necklace with a pearl cross, a silver baby charm bracelet with a sterling silver cross, a pearl baby bracelet with attached angel charm, or our gorgeous Austrian crystal, pearl and rose quartz bracelet for older babies and little girls. For a birthday or Christmas gift, the choice is more contemporary such as our bright cupcake earrings for babies and little girls – they are sterling silver with enamelling and very cute. Then we have the black, white and yellow sterling silver penguin children’s earrings, the bright pink and blue flower earrings, tiny enough for the tiniest baby. Also in this category would be the striped bee earrings, the sterling silver bumble bee earrings, and the gold plated sterling silver honey bee earrings. And of course the butterfly earrings in gold, silver, pink crystals and blue crystals which look stunning on. All these earrings are made especially for children, with short rods and firm back-nuts. Also in this category are the hoop earrings, gold and silver sleeper earrings and the butterflies on hoops. All very high on the cuteness scale.
Baby bracelets and small children’s bracelets are also available in this category. The contemporary flower charm bracelets, hand enamelled in Italy, the ladybug bracelets, which match the ladybug earrings, the mauvey-enamelled bear charm bracelet and the flower/bear charm bracelet, all made in Italy on sterling silver rolo bracelets, are the ultimate in contemporary children’s jewelry. Other contemporary bracelets for babies and children are our zoo bracelet with nature’s critters as charms, our single pink flower bracelet, and our brilliant red and yellow flower charm bracelet, recently declared the ultimate in gorgeous children’s jewelry, by a friend who loves traditional baby and children’s jewelry. The popular children’s charm bracelet with a bounty of choice in charms would fall into this category though of course, charm bracelets have been popular for generations, but are currently popularly revived thanks to Thomas Sabo, Pandora, Links of London and Tiffany.
Anklets, gold, silver and pearl, also fall into this category.