I've been making jewelry for as long as I can remember, helping out at Rings & Things over the years since I was old enough to see over the counter (Russ Nobbs was my father; he started Rings & Things when I was 4, and growing up with Rings & Things has been wonderful!). I enjoy stringing when I get a chance (and even bead weaving when I have time again some year). I don't get along well with glue or resin, but I love connecting items by riveting, whether it's traditional hammer, wire and block, or the fun new tools that make it so much easier. Torch enameling is fun too, but I haven't managed to clear out a workspace for it so I have to take a workshop every time I want to enamel something.
Below are tidbits about why these are some of my favorite jewelry-making things.
#04-439-30-30 I love pretty much all the Swarovski opal crystal colors (White Opal has the most items/shapes, but I also really love the Air Blue Opal, Pacific Opal, Cyclamen Opal, Rose Water Opal, and Chrysolite Opal). And I really like this geometrci shape - it's very durable, and it's on my wish list at the moment, along with the next item, TierraCast's antique silver leather strip. I'm going to rivet the silvery leather onto this white opal crystal to make a bracelet, as soon as I figure out which clasp I want. I made a jet black version years ago but gave it away and I miss it.
#01-695-10-03 Swarovski 1695 Sea Urchin Stone, 10mm - Crystal Bermuda Blue: Click into the product details to see how pretty this Bermuda Blue "Sea Urchin" stone is from a different angle! I love that we have settings for these that don't require my nemesis: glue.
#21-533-325 Electroplated Hematine Gemstone Bead, Triangle Heishi, 3mm - Bronze I love this whole product line of electroplated hematite beads! They are so shiny and precise, like Japanese seed beads. Online some of the colors look a little weird, but they are awesome and shiny in your hands or a display case.
#22-111 Little White Heart beads: have a wonderful glow. I made a simple necklace out of red white hearts, turquoise white hearts, and a few brass spacers, and whenever I wear it, I get tons of compliments.
#21-888-125 8mm Round African Turquoise Beads African turquoise is a descriptive name: although it looks a lot like turquoise, it's actually a form of jasper, and the patterning is a little different than the matrix you'd find in true turquoise. I love the color; it goes well with a lot of the things I make, and looks great with copper.
#22-541-1050 Trade Bead, Amazonite: I absolutely love this strand. The holes look hand carved (not drilled), and I wonder what stories these beads could tell?
#26-813-115 Handmade Copper Beads, Spacer, Flower These beads are excellent spacers not only for traditional stringing, and cute earring additions, but also they are excellent enhancers and spacers for 1/16" rivets. I use them in a lot of my riveted designs.
#34-003: Niobium ear wires come in some awesome colors, and are a very non-reactive metal. Very few people are allergic to Niobium and it is nickel-free and lead-free so is an excellent material to use for earrings sold in California, the EU or anyplace that has stringent guidelines about jewelry-making materials.
#34-840: Titanium is another excellent non-reactive metal for ear wires, and it is available in a basic gray-silver, the one color the Niobium ear wires are not available in. It is nickel-free and lead-free just like Niobium, and is available with 3 different loop sizes.
#34-586 Sterling Lever-back Hoop Ear Wires: These are my "go-to" hoops. I have a few pairs, so I can always find a pair. They are nice to wear plain, like a pair of plain hoops. Or slip different charms on them to fit the theme of the day. Or different colors of beaded dangles, to match every outfit variation.
#37-100 The assorted size jump rings are excellent for when you start a new batch of projects and don't know which sizes of jump rings will work best for each part. Later you can re-order just the sizes that worked best.
#40-099-28 Beading Chainis excellent for chokers and short necklaces. Many beads fit well on the 0.8mm chain, and you can string on just a single handmade bead, or cover the chain just like stringing cable. The ends are easy to finish by just flattening the matching color of crimp end. Then add your favorite necklace clasp.
#49-947-22 Spiral Heart Charm: This has been my favorite charm for years. The copper is such a warm color for a heart, and this is a great size to hang off the back of a necklace. It is double-sided and comes in silver too!
#49-958-63 The hashtag charm is one of my new favorites, once again in copper, but it comes in a variety of platings and is easy to hang of ball chain or leather cord. It's part of a fun line of alphabet and lifestyle charms from TierraCast.
#88-850-03 - It's a cyclist! And I ride my bike (or walk) EVERYWHERE. We try to drive as little as possible. Unlike my brother Skylar, who you might know from our old road shows, I do not run or jog, or I would like this whole (new) product line of sterling Iron Woman charms from Nina Designs.
#63-543 This storage box is a great size for "in progress" projects and traveling. And it's inexpensive so you can afford quite a stack of them as you work out the details of a new batch of projects. Plus it closes securely enough that you won't be losing your little parts out the edges if a pile falls over.
#65-150 + #65-151: I haven't gotten to use these as much as I'd like to, with how crazy the last couple years have been, but I love the precision hole sizes and the jig for keeping holes all the exact same distance from the edge of your piece(s).
#69-205-41: This Fretz hammer feels great in my hand. Such a nice weight, feel and balance.
#44-722-10-0: Paisley blank: This is a great canvas for embellishing. Click into the details for one of my favorite projects, that was actually very fast and easy to make ... with a few of the tools below.
#69-235 EURO Tool 2-hole metal punch. This thing is a workhorse. It cuts precision holes like butter, with no distortion. It punches through all types of materials that it's not recommended for ... but sometimes that abuse takes its toll. Good thing the replacement punches are only about $3!!! Which is why "if in doubt" I use this punch instead of my more expensive Crafted Findings riveting tool's punch when I'm unsure of what my metal is. "Found" steel washers can look deceptively like aluminum sometimes. And yes, I regularly pick up "shinies" from the ground when walking places!
#69-281 Tumbler: I really don't enjoy the tedium of extensively filing, sanding and polishing. So I LOVE this tumbler. Many metal blanks require finishing to remove minor scratches. And disk cutters and other cutting tools often leave rough edges. So after punching or cutting items, I often drop them in the tumbler (with steel shot and ShineBrite) for 30 minutes to 3 hours to shine them up. Then I might finish with an "Ultra" polishing pad followed by a bit of Ren Wax.
#69-610 9-shape Disk cutter: I love this quite a bit too, and I plan on writing a blog about the fun eyelet-holed beads I made with it.
Crafted Findings riveting tools -- Here is what I consider to be the essentials:
Original (or long reach) 1/16" riveting tool (which includes a cutter on one end).
1/16" Domed piercing base (for cutting a hole in curved object like bracelets, without flattening a section of the bracelet)
1/16" Reverse Rivet Flaring set: You only need this if you try to rivet a ring, bracelet or other curved item. It's hard to explain why it's useful, until you try riveting a curved item without it.
I prefer the 1/16" rivets, because I like the look of the smaller head, and they fit more of the items that I try to rivet together. But I prefer the 3/32" eyelet because they have a more usable size hole than the tiny hole in the 1/16" eyelets. So here are my favorite supplies for the eyelet portion:
The original or long reach (empty) body + a 3/32" piercing set and a 3/32" eyelet setter set.
A few colors of assorted rivet sample packs, so you have plenty of sizes to pick from for your new projects.
#86-915 Renaissance Wax -- it's a nice sealant to keep your items looking nice while they are in the display case. I use a lot of brass and copper and a bit of sterling, and all 3 like to tarnish once they get some finger oils on them. Seal them with Ren Wax to help prevent this. For extra durability, read the instructions, and add another layer periodically. Then it will be longer lasting when you sell or wear it.
#05-328-04-900 Swarovski 5328 Jams Assortment Faceted XILION Bicone 4mm - Walking on Sunshine: I love having this bright color mix to pick from. And it's such a cheerful song - It makes me feel GOOD!
#05-328-04-943 Swarovski 5328 Jams Assortment Faceted XILION Bicone 4mm - Firework: The AB 2x colors in this mix are intense. Just a little goes a long way. And I learned to love the song too, because it was frequently playing when I was going roller skating with my kids.
#04-470-12-70 Chrysolite Cushion Square: Chrysolite and Chrysolite AB are such pretty colors of green -- Not too bright, not too pale; they go well with most other shades of green. And this stones is soooooooooooo sparkly in the ring setting below!
#51-000-62-12-3 Adjustable Bezel Ring Setting for 12mm Square Stone My list of "favorite Rings & Things" wouldn't be complete without a ring!
#50-101-25-22 Adjustable Sterling Silver Cable Chain Necklace - I love being able to have just one chain that fits the necklines of all my favorite shirts! And the end ring is small enough that I can trade pendants and large-hole beads to match my outfits too.
#54-622 1/20, 12kt Gold-Filled Plain Hoop Earring Finding, 12mm Sometimes I have a tough time latching these in my ear, but aside from that, I love the versatility of these hoops. (And the fact that they don't make me itch.) It's easy to slip a Swarovski crystal pendant onto the hoop, for fast no-tool earrings to match any outfit.
#63-175 Tin, Metal, 1.25x.75", Set of 20 It's a tin ... filled with colorful little tins ... what's not to love? These little tins are perfect for storing and organizing Crafted Findings rivets and eyelets.
#63-140 Alcohol Ink Storage Tin It's a tin ... that perfectly holds all my colorful Alcohol Inks and Vintaj Patinas! Well... it holds most of them (I had to get 2 to hold the overflow, but #2 has plenty of spare room!).