Category Archives: Jewellery making

Jewel Day-All that glitters

Often in life it’s the genuine article, the purest and most natural, which we value most. All gemstones have a special month to shine, see ‘Birthstones’. So it’s worth exploring the joys of the unreal, underappreciated or synthetic of the jewellery world on Jewel day.

 

Let’s first take a look at the useful, synthetic, Cubic Zirconia (aka CZ). CZ may not be the product of the forces of nature but it’s no fake and has much to recommend it for use in jewellery making. Low cost, durable and flawless, these faceted beauts can be made in many colours. And Cubic Zirconia is up there with diamond in strength, measuring 8 ½ to a diamond’s 10 on the Mohs* scale.

Next, let’s turn our starry-eyed attention to the Druzy. Druzy is a crystal coating on top of a colourful mineral. These crystals can vary in size and are commonly found on quartz, but also garnet, calcite, malachite and dolomite. Usually found where rocks have contact with water that can evaporate, the crystal finish is the last layer of growth. These are naturally occurring gems, but they have the tendency to look manufactured due to the overly glittery appearance of the crystals and that the stones can be coloured. London Jewellery School tutor Amy Keeper often utilises Druzy stones in her work.

Jeweller Nikki Couppee experiments with different combinations of synthetic materials and resins in the making of her flamboyant hologem pieces. She uses everyday materials like silver foil to replicate the appearance and lustre of gemstones with an astonishing variety of results.

Couppee’s work may be shiny and pretty on the surface but its meanings run deep and reflect on themes of jewellery’s role in society and the psychology behind adornment. Her early jewellery making experiments were products of a hurricane that destroyed the area of Florida where she lived in. Leaving a plethora of materials broken from the houses that were swept away, young Couppee would create jewellery from these pieces built up like mosaics. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it. Also (unrelated), some of her pieces glow in the dark!

Whether your gems be real or fake, we have a number of courses that can inspire you to shine with them.

*Moh’s scale is named after Frederick Moh who invented a scale for hardness based on the ability for minerals to scratch each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn wax carving for free

Join Jewellery School Online in the brand new, FREE online ‘wax carved ring’ class and learn how to use jeweller’s wax to make a unique ring, how to get it cast in the metal of your choice and much more.

This video course gives you step by step instructions and helpful hints to get to grips with this versatile medium, which is perfect for anyone making jewellery for fun or as part of a jewellery business. The course is all online so you can access it anytime and comes with a complete set of downloadable notes to support your learning.

If you are anything like us and love making jewellery, this is a great way to learn a new technique from the comfort of your own home.

So come join in the fun, enrol now and get started making your wax pieces in no time!

P.S. We also provide full info on what basic tools and materials you will need and how to get set up making at home.

Click here to join the class for free

 

beginners-wax-carving-rebecca-steiner-jewellery-school-onlineIf you enjoy that class or have already tried wax carving before why not pre-enrol on our online beginners wax carving course. This goes into depth about carving designs including pendants, sizing, filing and finishing your cast pieces and much more.

The course will be released on 26th March 2018 and will cost £79 but if you enrol now you can get the pre-sale price of £39.50, that’s 50% off!

Click here to find out more and to access the 50% off discount

 

At the London Jewellery School we are also selling wax carving toolkits which have everything you need to get started! The cost is £82.55 and includes UK postage (for postage outside the UK please email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk for a postage quote)

Click here to see what you get in the kit and to purchase

We also have a set of three wax ring blanks for sale for £12.99 plus postage, perfect if you want to get started with rings straight away!

 

Prefer coming to London for a class? We have lots of wax carving classes at the London Jewellery School for beginners and advanced learners including an evening taster class, a five-week evening class and day classes so do check out our courses and available dates on our website.

Pantone Colour of 2018-Ultra Violet-will purple reign again?

Said to communicate originality and visionary thinking towards the future, Ultra-Violet makes a welcome entrance to kick start 2018- a bit of forward thinking is just what we need. Take a look at how these jewellers have also taken to this shade to inspire your own creations this year.

Jewellers have many a purple shade of stone they can turn to in celebration of this announcement from Pantone, such as types of Sapphire, Tanzanite, Tourmaline and of course Amethyst. Though there are many who have favoured alternative materials to celebrate the colour purple too.

Tara Locklear uses materials away from their natural environment to create bright and beautiful pieces. Her work often exposes the colourful layers of recycled skateboard decks in her bold pieces, as with this cheeky pair of earrings.

Here we see a paler shade of concrete tinged with gold for a neckpiece of intriguing forms.

All colours seem to naturally resonate with Britta Boeckmann’s work in wood and resin including including this bold shade.

 

You might feel you want to go all out with Ultra Violet this year, change your world, paint a feature wall. Or you could take a splodge from Xenia Walschikow’s palette and put your paint to a portable decorative use.  These experiments in the colour of the moment are the makings of what will become statement neckpieces and bold gestural earrings.

Our pal purple pops up again to offset these strong, yet light and flexible neck art pieces by Walschikow.

There is always room to ‘kick it old skool’ with a twist when working with a strong colour. As we see with this pink topaz in its unusual contrasting yellow lozenge setting.

Whatever medium you favour in your making, maybe try letting in some purple tones to guide your future this year with Ultra Violet.

January Birthstones-Garnet-Give me strength

Weary or rested from celebrating or resting over the December break, January may feel like a rough month to have a birthday. But these January folks are not down-hearted. They are ambitious leaders, who love to learn new things and take living seriously. They also have a cracking birthstone in garnet to back them up, thought to bring strength, good health and prosperity.

This beautiful rock can be found in many colours but most commonly in the red of almandine and pyrope garnets. Iron and magnesium cause the colour differences in these stones.

Garnet has been used in digit decoration from Romans times, with these simple styles still holding their own in contemporary adornment as we see here in this mercury ring by Astley Clarke.

It is thought that the name garnet derives from the Latin for pomegranate ‘granatum’, due to the similarities of colour of the fruity innards. This is a possibility explored in detail by ‘Winged Lion‘ jeweller Sergey Zhiboedov with their garnet pomegranate pieces.

 

Another fruity offering comes from Alison Maclead with this ring that suggests a cluster of berries or grapes.

 

London Jewellery School tutor Helen Walls often illustrates the point that a single gem against silver is a winning combination and proves this again with a simple blood-red garnet droplet from a textured hoop.

So if it’s a little or a lot of your birthstone you wish to pin down to your crown. Have no fear to start the year, take the lead and get some inspiration in one of our classes.

International Men’s Day-A man that can wear bling is a wonderful thing

Men’s day is a funny thing. As a child if you asked on Mother’s or Father’s day when it would be children’s day, I am sure you got the same answer I did. It’s everyday dummy! (maybe minus the dummy-I’m sure you have lovely parents).

Ok, so I’m not saying that its men’s day every day and this is meant to be celebratory of 50% (rough and ever changing percentage) of the population after all. But this is by no means an equal world and one of those inequalities in my eyes is that men often get totally jipped in terms great jewellery. Very few can pull it off (or want to).

Please take this one with an extra pinch of salt as there are great jewellers out there making very wearable and desirable pieces for men, something rugged or simple will do the trick and a well-made wedding band is a glorious thing. Personally I like ‘man jewellery’ that doesn’t look like it’s made for a bloke, keeping the fun, colourful, bold or delicate possibilities that are available for women’s adornment. Surely all things should be fair in a love affair with bling.

No?! Well, when I make jewellery for a buddy, of either sex, I like to think about what they are into. This shell neckpiece by David Bielander featured in an exhibition at Gallery SO earlier this year appeals to me in that way:

db00004-football-gallery SO

Men like football, right?!

Johnny Depp often wears his jewellery like a human Buckaroo, wearing whatever he wants and a tonne of it and Yacine Challal, founder of Jewellery multi-brand Carre Y, is another dude who is wearing it all and having a ball.

 

Is he/are you into fishing? Well Miansai could get him/you hooked on jewellery too with this simple slightly abstracted cuffy bangle. Similarly lluukk have really nailed it with their mangles (man bangle) for DIY lovers.

Hook bangle

 

 

And we can’t forget the true king of bling on this on this day, here with a lovely message about remembering to appreciate your mother, ahhhh.

So boys, if you are still not convinced that jewellery is for you (but why?!), maybe its time to make your mother something special on one of our courses.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

 

Power of Flowers – flowers in jewellery design

By definition the flower power of the late sixties and seventies was about non-violent protest and the use of flowers in this way became a symbol of a peaceful approach.

Flowers are often seen in a whimsical light, not implying strength. However their omnipresence in fashion indicates that these natural beauties are a force to be reckoned with. They may appear small on their own but massed together they have real power.

This season there is no room for wallflowers or shrinking violets in our florals. Loewe models we’re sporting bold leather lily cuffs in a range of colours.

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Loewe-lily-cuff

Delpozo had literal armfuls of blooms on lightweight gloves (a big statement but still ‘armless fun for wearability).

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Delpozo-earrings

Delpozo model getting an earful from these artificial green blooms

Many of my most admired jewellers have a flowery muse. Christopher Thompson-Royds with his flattened, hand painted pieces on precious metals is enough to make you dust off your childhood flower pressing skills and practice some dainty watercolours. The kinetic delights of Victoria Walker are also inspired by natural forms and happily mirror the movements of plants and flowers.

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-christopher-thompson-roydlondon-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Lotus-Victoria-Walker

Floral themes are here to stay and are commanding our attention.

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Heng-Lee-Floral-Embroidery-Pixel

Heng Lee creates these pixelated embroidery in silver that appear like florals of the future.

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Rosa-Pietsch-necklace

Rosa Pietschs’ laser cut nouveau neckpiece has a chunky clout but keeps a delicate visual.

london-jewellery-school-blog-power-of-flowers-Slawa-Tchorzewska-ring

Slawa Tchorzewska  is here to take you on a walk on the wild side with these organic sproutings.

Five faves for finding flowers in the big smoke

St James’s Park-a trundle around the grounds of one of London’s free public garden can blow out the cobwebs and let in some colourful ideas this summer.

Kew– Kew has amazing architecture, plants, flowers and a high walk to recommend it.

Barbican conservatory-for the all-weather plant lover. These brutally beautiful surroundings never fail to disappoint. Open Sundays 12-5pm. Free.

Chelsea Physic Garden, opening times vary with some late hours in the summer. This often hidden treasure is ticketed treat.

Tell us what ideas and projects do you have blossoming right now?

And if you are looking for a class to help nip your ideas in the bud take a look at our website.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

Sac magique! – Bumbags to brighten your summer trading

So the summer is here and if you are thinking about taking the product of your jewellery making out and about to spread their joys to the punters at markets you had better get organised about it. Assuming that you have the nitty gritty sorted I have a top tip for a hands-free fun time as you vend.

Get yourself a great bumbag!

Earlier in the year I invested in a fabulous yellow number from Mika Bon Bon, with the excuse of travelling. Mr.Bum has the odd night out as well, and generally delights all that he meets. Others have found that these endearing characters deserve a name too, like jet setting jeweller Akiko Ban aka Mystic Forms. Her metallic companion Jeff Goldbum is often by her side as she models her own bold and bright jewels in various exotic locations.

london-jewellery-school-bumbags-Mika-Bon-Bon

Mika Bon Bon

london-jewellery-school-blog-mystic-forms

Mysticforms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Brighton based Beksie’s boutique is rustling up spangly, tassled, themed bum bags that equip you for wild festival times or brighten any hall or field you are setting up your stand in.

BAMBI-Leather-tassel-pompom-bumbag-fanny-pack-Bananas-sequins-festival-burningman

Beksies Boutique

And not to put the trusty market traders’ pouch in the shadows, these practical belts can be customised for your brand or adorned with your own patch plethora or simple brooch. Needless to say, once you go fanny pack you’ll never go back.

Do tell us your tips for trading at fairs and markets.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

Advanced Jewellery Diploma review – back to school again!

Back in September 2015, after a year of jewellery making in an evening class, I took the plunge and decided to use up a good chunk of annual leave on a two-week Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery Course at London Jewellery School.

Real school wasn’t easy peasy for me. As it turns out, I am a stealth dyslexic who muddled through, mildly stressed-out, until a lecturer found me out through the help of a particularly nonsensical essay. So I was slightly nervous rather than excited going into my two-week staycation learning holiday. I already knew I really enjoyed making jewellery, but had been making my first pieces in a very excited, thankful-it-was-going-well kind of way and was a little undisciplined when it came to perfecting techniques. I still work a little in this manner, cracking on with each new idea, as it’s what I enjoy about making. The structure of this course, with specific days for designing and the various methods of making (and focussing on the different techniques within this), really helped to control my natural inclination to work in a scattered way. Although this course was ideal to rein in and consolidate ideas, I feel it would be equally beneficial to students approaching these weeks looking for creative inspiration.

Having whole days devoted to making was such a treat, I felt like a proper jeweller. All the tutors are practising, exhibiting and selling their work, so the conversations in the classes were often helpful beyond the subject being covered and I felt genuinely encouraged by people who knew their onions.

Speaking of onions… One of the areas where I had little formal training and had practiced at home the least was wax carving and so in that way that it felt that it was stretching me to learn – these two days of designing and making were a little like going back to school. I love the products (or should I say produce) of these days. These bad boys are perfect for me, they are heavy, ridiculous and pun-tastic. The expertise of the tutors was there to make the heavy and ridiculous aspects non-essential qualities of this design. This advice always assumes that you may want to start your own business; these pieces could be made lighter and more wearable and it considers the cost of casting as well as the customer experience of the piece.  I also could not have managed to create such spheres without the patient help of an expert.

Onions

Another thing that attracted me to sign up for this particular course was the prospect of the work placement, usually a week long, that staff will help you to arrange within an area that is of interest to you. I did mine with JC (Just Castings in Hatton Garden) and it was an invaluable insight into the process of casting, CAD design, plating, 3D printing and finishing jewellery to professional standards –but this is another story in itself. I wear the silver ‘haribo’ ring I made there every day. Along with many other pieces from my happy little jewellery holiday.

I would recommend (and have recommended) treating yourself to this course, I signed up after a quick visit to the studios but there are taster classes and you can visit on an exhibition day (next one is 7th July 6.30-8pm, no need to book). Essentially I left the course feeling like I had achieved real goals I didn’t even realise I had at the beginning and with a certificate to prove it!  It also led to the potential to sell my work, something that I have mostly kept in my back pocket until the opportunity to sell through an immersive art show last December presented itself.

Polishing up your potential

The small class sizes at the London Jewellery School means that you get a lot of expert tuition in the classes, making it possible to cover a range of techniques in these weeks. The course description gives a really good idea of what you will learn but here is a quick run through of my experience on the course.

The course starts with a design day, a great chance to think about what you want to make and ways to go about making pieces for the projects ahead. As we were a very small group, we also had time to start experimenting with resin.

Day two was for learning cold connections, truly riveting stuff! This involves looking at ways to join materials without soldering, a great technique for moving pieces or mixed media. I made a decorative hinge that I later used for an oyster card holder, various animal shapes as testers to hold metal pieces together, a technique I later used on a Perspex and sea glass silver ring.

Fold forming was next, a really fun and loud technique for creating shapes and textures through excessive hammering. We made silver origami frogs amongst other experiments (I attempted my usual crane but a simpler design that another student knew was more effective), seen here with the squashed frog necklace. When fold forming goes wrong it can still be pretty interesting (I love this piece but would recommend a simple boat as a fail-safe alternative.)

2017-05-07 15.59.05_Edited (1)

The two days of mixed media jewellery making were a total dream of experimenting and resolving ideas through different techniques. Making a sea glass, silver and perspex ring with rivets, a wooden neckpiece with a tube of multi-coloured macramé and perspex fastenings to hang from, some ‘Banana handbag’ earrings and a spirit level cuff. So not a bad haul at all. This was so useful as a chance to explore different materials and how to work with them. Great for exploring colour, shape and using bits and pieces you may not have considered using before.

The two days of stone setting were honing specific techniques that could be employed in any piece after the course and also resulted in 3 wearable items. Each of these techniques was challenging in its own way and I felt that each was improving my making skills in a recognisable way. These were channel, collet and claw settings and pictures of these 3 pieces were posted on the Schools’ Instagram account, a small gesture that was really encouraging, as probably only friends would have seen my work before.

Bean

Bean ring (magic beans for growth)

The last day of the taught course was recycling silver. I had done a little bit of silver recycling before so didn’t expect that going through the process in a structured manner would shed that much light on a technique. However, melting my silver scraps in the crucible on this day produced a really fun ‘Bean’ ring, a product of the natural shape and texture that can be achieved with this technique. I had already made some cast vegetable jewellery so it fits into my little collection nicely and its smoothness makes it distinctly more wearable than my Romanesco Cauliflower ring. One of the tutors recently reminded me to follow up the ‘food jewellery’ and get selling my work. This really illustrated to me how much they genuinely care about nurturing any ambitions you might be trying to shy away from and keep you making jewellery! Magic beans indeed!

Interested in finding out more about the Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery? Our next intake is Monday 4th September 2017. Take a look at our website for more information. Have questions? Give us a call on 0203 176 0546

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Summer sale – 25% off day and evening classes!

The weather may be changeable but our hot hot hot summer sale is here! Get 25% off day and evening classes!

You can book any available class in 2017 and can book on as many eligible classes as you want! But hurry, places go quickly so make sure you book early to get the class and date you want.

Day classes

You can choose from any of these day classes with available places

Beading and wire

Glass and enamel

Metal clay

Silver jewellery

Resin and perspex

Fashion and design

Wax carving

Polymer clay

Jewellery business

 

Evening classes

Or any of these evening classes!

 

How to book

You can book online or over the phone (0203 176 0546) with discount code 04061701

 

Which class have you had your eye on? Now’s the perfect time to book your place!

 

The pesky terms and conditions

25% discount is available on day classes and evening classes

Discount available on eligible classes while places are available or until 30th June 2017

Discount can be used as many times as you like!

Discount cannot be used on taster classes, certification classes, diploma courses, products from our shop, online or distance courses

Please check class dates carefully before booking as we regret we cannot give refunds or transfers

 

Smog Diamonds – World Environment Day 5th June

How jewellery will save the planet!

What a relief. I was wondering who would do it. (All my hopes were on Leonardo Di Caprio)

Although jewellery is often inspired by the natural world there is often little opportunity to give back to mother earth. Last year Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde invented a way of creating jewellery whilst cleansing the skies. His towers in Beijing were designed to scoop up polluted air, filter out the filth and release it back into the city up to 75% cleaner. The carbon from the smog is then transformed by pressure into diamonds in under half an hour.

Roosegaarde doesn’t like waste, so fingers crossed for our portable diamond producing face masks to pound the London pavements in style, as I am fairly sure there might be some spare smog round these parts.

smog diamond

Ideas for saving the world with jewellery are always welcome. Or, for now, save your pocket in our Summer Sale with 25% off evening and day courses using code 04061701 when booking online or over the phone (0203 176 0546).

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.