Jewelry is as familiar to us as bubble gum. In fact, the first jewelry we bought for ourselves probably came from a bubble gum machine. As adults, of course, we associate jewelry with precious metals and gemstones combined beautifully by experienced craftspeople. The truth is that jewelry making is accessible to everyone as a craft.
An Inexpensive Hobby
While we might consider even the simplest of gold or silver jewelry out of reach for an inexpensive hobby, simpler forms of jewelry making are easy to learn and fun to do. Most craft stores stock a large variety of beads and other jewelry making supplies. Earring and brooch forms come by the bagful just waiting for porcelain, wooden, metal, clay, glass or ceramic beads to be added. Chains and closers allow bracelets and necklaces to be made to match.
In addition to the inexpensive, by-the-bag beads, older jewelry can be taken apart to be remade into something more fashionable. Older jewelry is easily located in Grandma’s jewelry box or at flea markets and yard sales, just waiting for a jewelry making craftsperson to give them a new life. Whether in answer to the dictates of fashion or the whims of personal taste, making jewelry for yourself means always having the perfect way to dress up an outfit or add an unusual twist to jeans and a tee shirt.
A Fine Craft
For centuries, jewelry making has been assigned to dedicated craftsmen who devoted their lives to perfecting their abilities. Often, the metal experts confined themselves to specializing in a single type of metal. Goldsmiths and silversmiths began as young apprentices to study the melting and shaping of their chosen metals. They crafted jewelry as well as household utensils such as silver flatware and other decorative objects such as shoe buckles, pens, and family insignia.
Today an interest in jewelry making can be achieved on a part-time basis. With much of the mystery of working with rare metals now solved, any accountant or web writer can acquire the supplies and equipment to begin making jewelry as a hobby. As with anything else, the techniques and designs that were once passed down secretly from master craftsman to apprentice are now readily available to everyone on the Internet.
As for the precious stones, they can be purchased loose in the jewelry or art district of any large city or through dealers on the web. New jewelry technologies make the attachment of gems to metal simple and secure.
After tens of thousands of years, the reasons for wearing jewelry are the same. The need to display beauty, flaunt wealth, be fashionable and carry a love token is common to all of mankind. And, of course, there’s the fun of showing off the product of your jewelry making.