Jewelry making materials usually come from jewelry supply companies, don’t they? Well, not necessarily – especially as offbeat components for creating jewelry are becoming more popular.
As the prices of silver, gold, and other traditional jewelry metals have risen, jewelry artists have begun using unusual and totally non-traditional jewelry making materials for their creations. Although this trend started because of the soaring cost of metal, its popularity has grown quickly as jewelry artists and their customers have discovered the fabulous possibilities of jewelry created from odds and ends.
When money is tight, jewelry customers want colorful, cheery ways to perk up their wardrobe without breaking the bank. So some of the most popular new bracelet, necklace, and earring designs are made from jewelry making materials such as:
* Cloth, fiber, cord, or rope – especially in bracelets that wrap, knot, tie, or cinch.
* Paper products / ephemera – often in tiny frames, mixed media, or collage.
* Wood jewelry components – either natural or colored.
* Buttons – of every size, shape, and vintage.
* Parts from older jewelry, combined with other elements and remade into new pieces.
* Seashells of all types, colors, and sizes – especially in earrings and necklaces.
* Colorful metals – especially colored or patinaed brass and copper.
* Repurposed items of all sorts – cut down, stripped, cleaned up, and turned into jewelry components.
How to Find Unusual Jewelry Making Materials
Instead of going out in search of a specific item, go with an open mind and be ready for serendipity to show you some crafty possibilities. Look at things with your creative eye, see past any accumulated dust and grime, and imagine what you can do with various items you come across.
Be prepared to sort through things. Bags, boxes, and drawers of miscellaneous objects are often where you’ll find some of the best jewelry making materials.
Go through the clearance aisles and bins of craft stores, hardware stores, and home improvement stores.
Tell your friends and family about the types of “junk” you’re looking to use for making jewelry. They’ll think it’s fun to keep an out for these things for you. Our loved ones often enjoy participating in the treasure hunt, and they may come across some fantastic finds we’d never see otherwise!
Bring a flashlight and magnifying glass on your treasure hunts. Look closely at the condition of older or secondhand items before you buy them.
While you’re hunting for jewelry making materials, also keep an eye out for things you can use to display your jewelry. Boxes, trunks, baskets, fabrics, gloves, dolls, racks, wig stands, picture frames, etc. can be cleaned up, repainted or refinished into interesting jewelry displays.
Look at everything in yard sales, tag sales, estate sales, etc. The “merchandise” at these events isn’t always organized, so you never know where a stash of potential jewelry making materials may turn up. The best deals are when the event is winding down, when the owners just want to quickly unload their remaining stuff.
Visit antique, resale, and thrift shops and ask whether they have a newsletter or an announcements mailing list for their events, sales, and new arrivals. If they do, have them add your name and address (or email) to the list. It’s a good way to be one of the first people to see their new inventory – and any possible jewelry making materials. Owners of these shops are usually helpful, and will likely keep an eye out for anything in particular if you let them know about your interests.