The Remarkable Art of Jewelry Making

Did you realize that the art of jewelry making has been traced back for 100,000 years? As long as there have been people who have wanted to adorn themselves with items of beauty and meaning there has been jewelry. We will never know what exactly gave rise to the desire to create jewelry, but the oldest known beads are actually a small collection of Nassarius shells found in Israel, carefully drilled so they could be worn by an individual.

Jewelry has Many Uses

Of course, the most popular use of jewelry is as adornment, but it actually has been used for many purposes over the years. Jewelry can be used as a way to store wealth, for currency, for practical reasons, as a symbol, for protection, and more.

For example, a kilt pin is a very practical tool, but it can be much more if the designer has taken the time to fashion that same pin into the shape of a harp. Many people wear crosses, triskelions, stars, and a variety of other religious symbols indicating their participation in a particular group. Medicine bags, hair pins that turn into small daggers, and of course the ever popular sword in a cane are all examples of protective jewelry.

Materials

Jewelry can and has been made of just about every material imaginable. Fine metals and gems, beads, shells, seeds, tree sap, and glass have all been involved in the jewelry trade at one point or another. There are few items that haven’t been used to adorn the human body, temporarily or permanently.

The selection of materials that is popular with a culture is more often determined by what is available in the local environs than anything else. For example, sea side residents are more likely to have a history of making jewelry from shells while those who lived in an area that had a great deal of naturally forming amber would use that. Today, geography is no longer a prime determinant of which materials are used where.

Beads Reign Supreme

Beads are probably the most popular material used in making jewelry. Whether the beads are made from precious gemstones, expensive metals, or particularly attractive seeds, beads are flexible and easy to use. Colors, shapes, and textures can all be created by using a selection of beads, and the variety is nearly beyond comprehension. Beads are even embroidered onto articles of clothing, essentially creating wearable jewelry.

Jewelry Today

We are long past the days where sumptuary laws dictated who could wear what kind of jewelry. This means that anyone can wear anything their heart desires. The jewelry making field has taken full advantage of that freedom. You can find everything from cheap costume jewelry to handcrafted artisan jewelry, right up to diamond encrusted platinum showpieces that are only affordable by the richest people in the world.

It can take an artist many years to learn how to make the most of their jewelry making medium, but the best, most unique pieces you will ever find are those that are custom made and not mass produced. It is clear that jewelry will always be a part of the human experience, even as the trends change to accommodate changing tastes and norms.

Jewelry Making Kit Ideas for Kids

These jewelry making kit ideas include projects for both girls and boys. You might consider creating and selling kits like these as a business, or giving them as gifts, or using them to offer beading parties for kids.

Popular Projects for a Teen / Kids Jewelry Making Kit

Children and teens love to make and wear jewelry. And a trendy jewelry project with a cool name can make a lot of sales!

These are some popular jewelry projects for kids of all ages to make. They are great designs to teach at a jewelry workshop or beading party, or to offer as kits.

1) Friendship Bracelet – for boys or girls. This has been a hot jewelry item for the past several years, with no sign of declining. Nice made with either “natural” beads, or colorful glass / plastic ones, and strung on leather or hemp cord.

2) Friendship Anklet – similar to the bracelet above, except made ankle-size. (Less likely to be worn by boys.)

3) Surfer Dude / Surfer Chick Necklace – for boys or girls. A rustic choker-length necklace featuring a few beads and sometimes a small pendant. You can offer a variety of rugged, “natural” beads like clay, bone, horn, wood, recycled glass, etc. The beads and pendant are strung onto leather cord or rubber tubing, fastened with either sliding leather knots or a basemetal clasp. This is an especially popular teen / older kids jewelry making kit.

4) Princess Bracelet – an extremely popular jewelry making kit for girls. Possible components: large-hole beads to string on a pretty ribbon that ties onto the princess’ wrist with a bow; beads to string on heavy-duty stretch cord; beads to string on beading wire and fastened with a basemetal toggle clasp. Pink and purple are a must in these designs.

5) Dragon-Bone Necklace – a popular jewelry making kit for boys. Simply provide a variety of bone beads and a few interesting spacer beads to string on leather cord and fasten off with sliding, adjustable knots.

6) Magic Bracelet – for boys or girls. An assortment of small magnetic hematite beads in a variety of shapes makes an endlessly fascinating toy as well as a piece of jewelry.

Tips for Creating a Jewelry Making Kit

Many of the commercially-made jewelry kits are disappointingly junky. They have a skimpy assortment of cheap components, flimsy tools, and poorly written instructions – packaged in a deceptively large box. It’s very easy to create something that’s vastly better than these!

When I create a jewelry making kit for workshops or for sale, I put myself in the customer’s shoes – what would be exciting to find in the kit? Here’s an example of how I created some bead bracelet kits:

Each kit contained beads in a popular color scheme, with some nice contrasting accent beads and at least one cool focal bead. I included an inspiring mix of bead colors, shapes, etc., and used a beadboard to measure how many inches of beads I was putting into each kit.

Then I tossed in a few extra inches of beads, so the recipient would have a good selection to design with, plus some leftover beads for other projects. I added a coil of leather stringing cord (cut a few inches longer than even the largest wrist would need), and instructions for good design, a comfortable fit, and making sliding knots.