Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Staples in Jewelry Making

My absolute fave way to show case links or hoops for earrings.

Many, many headpins!
I like the contrast of bright silver against the ancient look of patinas, I think it makes the piece modern and relevant to today's fashion. For whatever my opinion is worth. :)

Clasping a bracelet by yourself is right up there in difficulty with cutting the back of your own hair.
Which I still try to do.
This clasp is so easy to hold in one hand with the curve open slightly and slip it into the ending link, then press closed, I rarely use anything else for bracelets now. If you are in a pinch the swirl can be opened with pliers and a closed wire-wrap can be wound into the middle, the swirl can then be pressed closed.

When I checked in with my favorite jewelry designer Jes Maharry, I read in one of her descriptions that she used tenara cording. my curiosity was piqued and I started searching for what exactly tenara cording was and how I could also utilize it in my own jewelry designs. After several weeks of searching, I found a source but they only sold it in spools that cost $200. I couldn't find it anywhere else!
So after deliberating for a bit, I thought that if it was good enough for Jes then I wanted to offer it. Plus perhaps other jewelry designers would like to use it but NOT spend $200 bucks on a crazy amount of it.
I absolutely do not regret it.
Gore-Tex TENARA is a remarkable thread manufactured from 100% expanded PTFE fiber (commonly known as Teflon).
Gore-Tex Tenara cording is the same fiber used in Nasa space suits. You will not have to replace or restring your knotted designs ever again. UV resistant, mildew and rot proof in addition to being water proof, tenara cording is used in industrial applications such as awning and marina.
It is so easy to use and knowing my jewelry will last forever makes me feel good about using it. 
While I did use 24 gauge a lot, I find it fits through most pearls, 22 is a new favorite for connecting beaded links, attaching clasps, and wrapping silk. I have grown to love the rich warm color of copper so much that I often reach for copper even though I have ounces and ounces of sterling!

And finally we have chain.
Good sized links that open and close securely, adding weight and eye catching movement to your designs.
I always used to bead up a length of necklace or bracelet but after having viewed Chain Style by Jane Dickerson, it is a must in my own jewelry design.
So there you have it! My staples in jewelry design!


  1. Great information . . .thanks for sharing. Also, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who cuts her own hair. It's a good thing you can't see the back in the picture!

  2. You always have such great advice! Many of your favs are my favs too! Especially the copper.

  3. Such a great post! I too LOVE copper...I can not stop using it, as much as I try to change it up I always go back. I just love your earrings, the patina is awesome and they have a great organic earthy look.

  4. Wonderful ideas!! Didn't know about the nylon cord, have to check it out! Thanks so much. Hugs, Riki

  5. Great post Shannon-thanks for sharing all the great info:) I'm also a huge fan of Jes Maharry! And I was just looking at those earrings this morning. Hmmmm..might be sign...

  6. I am LOVING those little earring wires in the first picture! How totally cute are those! And I'm intrigued by the Tenara cording...

  7. Thanks for sharing your favs. Helps me expand my horizon. I love Copper but have stayed away from copper ear wires, wondering about allergy issues. any thoughts? Love the patina-ed necklace.

  8. these are all excellent staples, and i think i am going to wander over to your shop for some of that threading that jes uses (i love her too - she is the first designer that made me want to do more on my own over 10 yrs ago when i saw her in sundance catalogue)...

  9. Love those earrings! And the earwires added such a nice touch:)

  10. wow i love those earings too! The little dash of colour on the disk... lovely lovely lovely. Very enjoyable to see what you're working on :)

  11. I simply love your chains! regards Stefanie


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