The Jewelry that Worked

About three years ago, I went through a jewelry making phase. I wanted some new earrings and bracelets to add to my collection, but for the most part, didn’t like most of what I saw at stores. To make matters even trickier, I have tiny, tiny wrists, so I had to modify many of the bracelets I bought to be smaller. So, I browsed around some craft stores in the area and read up some tutorials on crafting.

The result was a series of disasters, which have long in the trash, and the occasional piece that I wanted to keep. To sum it all up, the pieces that worked were the simple pieces. Not only was everything else harder to make, it wasn’t even my style. My preferred style for jewelry is colorful, a little artsy, and not too bold.

So, here are the pieces that did work, with lists of materials used. I left out most descriptions of techniques because they are all pretty basic: pliers, jump rings, needles, and thread.

The Pandora Bracelets

I enjoy tying fancy knots. The four bracelets below are made with glass beads that look like they belong on Pandora charm bracelets and satin string that’s 1/8 inch in diameter. The beads all match beacuse they’re sold in sets such as this one.

Pandora Macrame Bracelets

The decorative knots are diamond knots and the adjustible clasp is tied with your basic square knots and oysterman knots. Since there are two strands going through each bead and diamond knot and only two (not four) strands total in the clasp, I burned off a strand out of the two diamond knots closest to the clasp. Because satin burns to a gooey sticky substance, you should not need any glue to make these bracelets.

Free Macrame Patterns has a tutorial for very similar bracelets that use a different clasp.

Borderline Hippie Stuff

The main concept here is stupidly simple: One strand of 1.5mm cotton thread going through a string of beads and another strand of the same thread tying square knots around the beads. Again, the clasp is just several square knots and oysterman knots. Unlike satin, cotton thread burns to a crisp when you light it on fire, so you’ll have to glue the ends together.

Hippie Macrame Bracelets

The stones are:

  1. Jadeite, 5/16” diameter
  2. Tiger’s eye, 5/8” diameter
  3. Red Howlite, 5/8” diameter

Linked Beads

Starting from the top and going counterclockwise:

Strung Beads

  1. Flat oval hessionite with gold glass seed beads. Dimensions of the hessionite beads are roughly 5/8” x 1/4” x 1/16”.
  2. Linked pearls. The pearls are about 3/8” in diameter. Their holes were tiny, so I looped some 26-gauge wire through the beads and attached the loops using jump rings. There is a clear, small plastic bead on each jump ring.
  3. Red river stone wrap bracelet. I used a smoke-colored thread and maroon leather. The leather is about 1/16” in diameter and the beads are roughly 3/16” in diameter. It wraps around my wrist three times.
  4. Two strands of garnet! The garnet beads vary in length, but the smaller ones are about 1/4” long and they’re all about 3/8” wide. The holes in the garnets were just big enough that I was able to attach them using pre-made eye pins instead of cutting super-thin wire.

Matching Pairs

I am an odd person in that on most days, I wear a family heirloom necklace. So instead of matching necklaces and earrings, I decided to match bracelets and earrings.

Earring and Bracelet Pairs

  1. Lapis rectangle set. The stones are roughly 11/16” x 1/2”. They are attached using jump rings and eye pins. I used the same little plastic clear beads on the top and bottom of each lapis rectangle as in the pearl earrings.
  2. Lumpy green jasper set. Stupid simple design - the bracelet is just jump rings and eye pings. The earring uses head pins with a big jump ring. Each stone is about 1/2” long and 1/4” thick.
  3. Howlite bracelet. Another stupid simple bracelet. I’m pretty sure the stones are dyed howlite, and roughly 5/16” in diameter.
  4. Lapis earrings with celtic heart findings. The lapis discs are roughly 5/16” in diameter. I saw the metal findings one day at a local bead shop (that is now permanently closed) and decided that they’d be good at the bottom of a pair of earrings.

Lapis is my favorite stone, so the lapis earrings and the lapis rectangle set are among the pieces that I wear most often. Of all the jewelry I wear, including the ones I didn’t make, the lapis earrings with the celtic heart findings receive the most complements. :)

A final note: I don’t have a soldering iron. I’ve lost a few bracelets and earrings here and there, so if you do, I’d strongly advise soldering your jump rings shut!