Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Something Simple - Wire Drop Earrings

We know that designs don't need to be complicated to be beautiful, sometimes we just like to do something simple to showcase a single gemstone bead.

We used:
...and we've also shown you how they look using Rose Quartz Puffed Cube Beads.


Thread the Puffed Cube Bead onto the wire and bend the wire up on each side of the bead flush to the sides. Make one side just slightly longer than the length you would like your finished earring and the other end longer still. Our tip is to hold each end of each long end of wire with Snipe Nose Pliers and twist in opposite directions, this will ensure a strong, straight wire on each side.

Form a loop in the shorter end at the top using your Round Nose Pliers and use the long end to wrap around the base of the loop for several turns. Trim the end and squeeze secure. Your earring is now ready to hang from your Earwire.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration for your designs can come from anywhere – current fashion trends, classic design, visits to museums and galleries, architecture, nature, photographs or travel. Sometimes you will find that inspiration will come from happy accidents and unexpected combinations. But if you need and injection of new inspiration to breathe new life into your creative process, consider the following:

Social Media - Pinterest

Pinterest gives you the ability to make online pin boards of things you like or are interested in. You can also follow fellow Pinners or boards that have a similar interest to you. Pinterest is a huge resource that has grown in popularity and you’ll find people have pinned great links to excellent instructions, words, pictures and products that other people have made or available in online shops – think of it like an online magazine where you can store cuttings. Follow Kernowcraft on Pinterest here.

Exploration of a new technique

Have a look in books such as TheWorkbench Guide to Jewellery Techniques or Complete Metalsmith and choose a new technique to learn. You’ll find that armed with some new skills, this will open up a wealth of ideas and possibilities.

Something old

Perhaps take inspiration from a piece of family jewellery or re-work old something depending on your level of skill. This could be using elements from broken jewellery, old beaded jewellery that needs re-stringing and you add a new element or perhaps you take design elements from something that you admire – this could be the most personal tribute to that person or piece of jewellery.


Choosing colour combinations is very personal and you shouldn't feel that there are certain colours that do or don’t go together, it is really down to personal taste. A good place to start is to select a colour or gemstone which you are drawn to and then select other stones that complement it and enhance its natural beauty. If designing for yourself or a gift you might like to start by looking at birth stones.


Whether it is using different finishes on beads, texture on metal, or different textured threads or cords you will discover that using different textures in your designs can add an interesting element. Texture features heavily in all modern design and jewellery is no exception with hammered and satin finishes currently popular, often with contrasting smooth, mirror finishes in the same piece. To get you started, try our Metals Texturing Kit which includes The Jeweller's Directory of Decorative Finishes - an excellent resource for inspiration!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Top Tips For Soldering

These tips come from one of our favourite authors, Tim McCreight. We think his book, Complete Metalsmith with its lovely hand drawn illustrations, accessible writing and common problem solving should be on every jewellery maker's book shelf.

Here is an excerpt from Complete Metalsmith to whet your appetite:

Rules for Soldering:

  • The pieces must be a tight fit.
  • The joint and solder must be clean: no grease, pickle, buffing compound, etc.
  • Use flux to protect the metal from oxidation. Each reheating usually requires refluxing.
  • All the pieces being soldered should reach soldering temperature simultaneously. Heat the adjacent areas to reduce the flow of heat away from the joint. Take into account heat sinks such as binding wire, steel mesh, and locking tweezers.
  • When possible, position the torch so as to draw solder through a joint. Generally, avoid directing the flame at solder.
  • Use just enough solder to fill the joint.
  • When soldering an enclosed area, provide an escape for the steam trapped inside. If not vented, this will expand and cause the piece to explode.
  • Metal temperatures are judged by colour changes which can be seen best in a dimly lit area. Whatever your lighting. Keep it consistent.