Introduction to Jewelry 101: A Guide for the Clueless Newbie Jewelry Maker

I started making jewelry several years ago and recently got back into it. In doing so, I realized I wanted to create a blog series to cover the jewelry-making basics that I learned as I got started, and this post is kicking it off! This series will be VERY basic and intended for total newbies to jewelry making. Think of me as a child teaching babies to walk, and by walk, I mean toddle around.

I know what it’s like to go into jewelry making being completely clueless about the different tools, materials, and terminology (seriously – it’s like the jewelry making world made up its own language by using English words and assigning them different meanings), so the intent of this series is to save you the time and effort that I spent figuring all of that out through trial and error. A ‘what I wish I knew’, if you will.

To get the most value out of this series, I recommend first deciding what kind of jewelry you want to make and what materials you want to use, and I’ll get into those in this post to kick the series off! I also want to note that my jewelry making experience is all with beaded jewelry, so while this content stems from that experience, I think you will still pick up some tips and tricks and info if you’re not planning to use beads.

What kind of jewelry do you want to make?

First, have an idea of what you want to make. Think in specifics – statement necklaces, hoop earrings, charm bracelets, etc. You can have multiple answers, but if you want to make multiple kinds of jewelry, I highly recommend using the same materials for them all to start out.

What materials do you want to use?

This is where the fun starts! Do you want to use seed beads? Precious stones? Acrylic? Metal? Do you want the ‘base’ of your jewelry to be chain, wire, or stretch cord? Some types of jewelry will dictate materials more than others – for instance, you’ll want to use a chain and charms to make a charm bracelet, and for a statement necklace, you’ll want to take durability and weight into account.

If you don’t have concrete answers to these right now, that’s okay, but start to form your opinion and ideas! As you read the other posts, keep these questions in the back of your mind. It’s good to go in with an idea of what you think you want to do, and you’re allowed to change it. 😉

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