The sheer amount of different jewellery making techniques varies enormously and can range from straightforward to incredibly complex. Some can be attempted with little to no experience whereas others take years to fully accomplish. However, once you start making, at what ever level you quickly find that one working method will lead directly on to another, and before you know it, you have ventured down a new path discovering something entirely different.
For example, metal stamping, using ImpressArt letters and symbols, is something that can be attempted by someone completely new to jewellery making, with little outlay and just a small amount of trial and error.
Once you have a feel for stamping and texturing sheet metal, you may well want to explore the technique further with the use of gravers to attempt the age-old methods of repousse and chasing. This will certainly take things to another level and open up a whole new area of possibilities.
Another area that’s almost guaranteed to lead to a natural progression in jewellery making is enamelling. Renowned for its complexity, traditional enamelling is not for the faint hearted and an easier route into the technique is cold enamelling which uses resin-based compounds instead of the traditional ground glass. We offer a range of kits which will take you from beginner to expert without the stress of sourcing everything separately.
The Efcolor Kit is the perfect starting point for anyone curious about enamelling. It introduces the technique using a low temperature, resin based enamelling powder which can be fired in a conventional oven. You don’t need any specialist equipment and the products are non-hazardous so this can be attempted by both young and old crafters. This kit is just under £20 so makes a perfect present for a beginner.
If you feel ready to take the next step on your enamelling journey, then you might want to try cold enamelling, which involves using coloured resins. They can be combined with a hardening agent that cures the product into a hard, shiny surface. This is more of a considered purchase at just under £100 but again contains everything you need to produce great results without the need for additional equipment. This kit is easy to use and (like the Efcolor kit) can be applied to a range of surface materials including metal, wood, cardboard and glass so is extremely versatile.
If you have enjoyed using cold enamels and Efcolor resin enamels, you may well feel ready to attempt traditional enamelling. This will obviously require a more complex set up and you will need to do your research, so it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a book. ‘Enamelling’ by Ruth Ball will help you through each stage of the basic set-up as well as the techniques themselves, so makes an invaluable resource.
You will also need to invest in a kiln to fire your enamelled designs, which can be the cause of some financial trepidation, but having taken the plunge you will undoubtedly be interested to learn about other materials you can fire in it, thereby making it more cost effective.
An obvious contender for this is Precious Metal Clay, which is ideally suited to this type of kiln thereby opening up yet another avenue of possibilities.
For anyone not already familiar with it, Precious Metal Clay or PMC is a clay made up of pure metal particles suspended in an organic binder which is burnt away to reveal, solid, sintered metal. You work with it in a similar way to most other clays so it makes another great entry point into jewellery making. It is fired using either a handheld torch or a kiln, so if you already own the latter, it makes sense to give it a try. Kiln firing enables you to attempt bigger and more ambitious projects using PMC and many also have a drying setting which speeds up the whole process as well as alleviating any problems you might encounter with models not being fully dry.
If sculpting, moulding and shaping starts to become your forte, you might find yourself moving in yet another direction by considering wax carving as a next step. Used to make masters, which in turn are used to make rubber moulds for metal casting, wax has been utilised in the jewellery industry for hundreds of years to create intricate detailed models which otherwise would be virtually impossible. It is a skilled process that requires patience, but it is one which pays dividends once mastered as it allows multiple runs of designs once the initial model has been perfected.
I think it is very clear to see how one technique can naturally lead to another. Fortunately, our range is so vast we will be able to accommodate you every step of the way. We are also on hand with advice should you have any technical questions or queries, so there is no need to panic should you experience any moments of doubt.
As a company, we aim to stay with you on your jewellery making journey wherever it may take you. We provide entry points at a variety of skill levels across our product range, so you should never feel like you can’t try something new. Why not take the plunge and see where your journey takes you? Maybe even try out one of our projects?
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers