Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Relax and make jewellery at La Vidalerie

If you are planning a break this year, how about a jewellery making holiday?

Situated in the beautiful Aveyron in South West France, La Vidalerie is celebrating their 6th year of jewellery making short break holidays. Suitable for beginners and those wishing to expand their existing skills, classes are kept very small making sure you learn more and make lots of fabulous jewellery. 

With courses in silversmithing, stone setting, wirework, fold forming and riveting and an Introduction to Jewellery Making you'll be sure to find a course in an area of jewellery making you are most interested in. 

Prices for a 2 day / 3 night break start at £295 and includes tuition, project materials, accommodation  in a beautiful 300 year old cottage and pickup from Rodez Aiport. 

For more information visit or contact Karen: 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

What will you make your mum this Mother’s Day?

Don't panic, there is still time to make your mum a gift for Mother’s Day. We know how special a handmade gift is and no one likes a handmade gift more than your mum! We can help you whatever your skill level, from complete beginner to advanced silversmith looking for precious gems.

To help you on your way, here are a few suggestions for the perfect Mother's Day gift:

Design a piece of jewellery using birthstones, choose her birthstone or those of her children.

Gallery Wire Earrings are really easy, choose from drops or studs and choose some cabochons that are the right size in her favourite colour – don’t worry, we will choose the nicest stones and make sure you have a matching pair. Then all you need to do is pop the stone into the setting and use a Bezel Rocker to push the prongs over the stone and hold it in place!

Alternatively, if you like faceted stones you can make a gleaming pendant or earrings with Snaptite settings. Just choose your setting size and a faceted stone to match and read our guide on how to set your jewellery.

Fingerprint jewellery allows you to wear little impressions of real fingerprints! It is a really personal gift and not as hard as you think, see our Pinterest board for inspiration and read our short guide, Learn How to Make Fingerprint Jewellery.

Choose a strand of gemstone beads which are beautiful simply re-strung with your choice of findings.

A pair of pearl earrings is a classic gift - give a Pearl Earring Kit. Choose from Blush Pink, White or Peacock in Sterling Silver or 9ct Gold. Make them up yourself or give them to be made.

Or how about letting us make a gift for you instead? Use our Setting Service to have a piece of jewellery made with their favourite gemstone (or birthstone). You can choose from our large range of rings, pendant and earring settings. Simply choose your stone and add Setting Service to your basket.

If you would prefer to encourage your mum to make jewellery, then don’t shy away from a Gift Voucher as they will love to do some guilt free shopping for the hobby they love!

...and wrap it up in a Presentation Box or pretty Organza Gift Bag.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

A brief history of briolettes

A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with facets across its entire surface reflecting light from any angle. Usually briolettes are cross-drilled near the tip allowing them to be wire wrapped or threaded onto a wire or pin.

Popular during Victorian times, briolettes however were fashioned in India as early as the 17th century when they were favoured by royalty and aristocrats. Briolettes became popular in Europe when the famous French traveller Jean-Baptiste brought them back from India.

In Victorian and Edwardian times briolettes were enjoyed by Art Deco designers but fell un-popular due to the prohibitive cost of cutting them from precious material. Briolettes are now cut from a wide range of gemstones including Rutile Quartz,  Turquoise, Carnelian, Amethyst, Labradorite, Lapis Lazuli, and Chalcendony to suit all budgets.

Briolettes are one of our most popular types of bead, with many makers choosing to wrap them with wire which gives a decorative flourish to the bead and allows it to be hung as an earring or pendant.

For design inspiration using briolettes visit and follow us on Pinterest.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Happy St Pirans Day!

Today is a day for celebration in Cornwall (Kernow) as we celebrate St Piran's day!
St Piran's Day (Cornish: Gool Peran) is held on 5 March every year and is named after one of the patron saints of Cornwall, Saint Piran, who is also the patron saint of tin miners.

Piran is the most famous Saint to have come to Cornwall from Ireland. Legend has it that he was tied to a mill-stone in Ireland which was rolled over the edge of a cliff into a stormy sea. The sea became calm and he floated safely over the water and landed on the beach at Perranporth.

It has been said that Saint Piran rediscovered tin-smelting when he lit a fire on his black hearthstone and the tin smelted out of it and rising to the top in the form of a white cross. This became the image of St Piran's flag - now regarded as the Cornish flag, black with a white cross although there are several accounts of the flags origin!

There are events all over Cornwall to celebrate St Pirans day, the main event is a march across the dunes near Kernowcraft to St Piran's cross with participants flying the Cornish flag followed by celebrations in Perranporth with live Cornish music, ale and pasties!