Tag Archives: Beaded Jewellery

Beaders’ battles push the boundaries of jewellery making

If you really want to see what can be achieved with beads, take a look at BeadSmith’s annual Battle of the BeadSmith.

Each year the company invites bead artists to participate in a single elimination beading “tournament”. The artists have approximately eight weeks to design, create, photograph, and present an original piece off wearable beadwork , which is randomly paired against designs of talented peers in a “battle” which is then opened to public vote. The winners of each battle progress and are then paired against another participant in in the next round and so on until just one artist is “left standing”.

“There is no prize for winning the Battle Of The BeadSmith, participating artists are creating simply because it’s what they love to do.”

The first round of this year’s battle is now open to voting. You can see all the entries and vote by clicking here, but we’ve picked out a few that caught our eyes.

battle of the beadsmth, beaded jewellery

Kris Empting Obenland: Self Portrait


beading, battle of the beadsmith

Zuzana Hampelova Valesova: Catarina


battle of beadsmith, beaded jewellery

Zsuzsanna Lazar: Shiva


battle of the beadsmith, beaded jewellery

Jolanda Violante: Rondò


battle of the beadsmith, beaded jewellery

Camelia Oszlanszky: Winged Flowers


beaded jewellery, battle of the beadsmith

Charina Qvarfordt: Carpe Diem


battle of the beadsmith

Meg Thompson: Laced Up In Magic

Thanks to former student Steph of Absolute Beads  for alerting us to this year’s battle.


Essential additions to your jewellery library

At London Jewellery School we have been lucky enough to receive review copies of the first two books in a new series of jewellery books put together by the editor of Making Jewellery magazine editor Sian HamiltonStringing and Linking Jewelry Workshop and Wirework Jewelry Workshop.


Each book brings together clear and comprehensive technique sections with a wide range of projects previously published in the magazine.


The result is two clearly laid out books with plenty of attractive photography showing all the stages of the various common techniques and the projects. This clean look make the book very attractive as well as useful.

The projects have been chosen to give plenty of variety in techniques and styles – so there is something for everyone and plenty of inspirations for your jewellery making.


These books are a great addition to any beader or wireworker’s bookshelf. For beginners they will help develop technical skills and provide interesting jewellery making challenges. For more experienced makers, they will act as a useful resouce on various skills and a source of ideas.

Please note that Sian will be speaking at our evening of jewellery sector talks on 28 May 2015. Click here for details.


Tutor profile: Helen Walls

We’ve had a few new tutors join us in recent months, so we thought it was about time you met some of them, starting with Helen Walls who teaches beading and fashion jewellery.

What sort of jewellery do you make and teach?

I like to use a wide range of materials in my work, from traditional sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones mixed with Ox horn and deer antler as well as delicate beaded jewellery with tiny pearls and rough diamonds – through to more summery and colourful beaded jewellery using leather, glass, wood etc.

All of my jewellery is influenced by my love of the natural world, ethnic/tribal costume from all over the world and vintage fashion – so people seeking unusual,  one-off pieces with a bohemian twist would be my ideal wearer. I enjoy teaching beading techniques and fashion jewellery.

helen walls cuff


What got you started in jewellery?

I used to sew and embroider when I was little under the teachings of grandmothers, aunties and my mum and originally thought I would study fashion but somehow, all of my work used to concentrate more on little details and accessories so my 3-D skills developed in jewellery and silversmithing, which I studied at university and have been passionate about ever since.

Can we see your jewellery online?  

Yes, I have a website at www.boutiqueboheme.com and an etsy shop under the same name.

What is your favourite medium and favourite types of jewellery?  

I love silver and natural materials – at the moment I am developing my antler and ox horn collection further – and would like to concentrate on a range for men.

I always feel lost without rings but don’t often make them unless for a special commission. So if there was one thing I’d always make, it would be necklaces. I love making necklaces – the larger and bolder the better.

Helen Walls jewellery

If you had unlimited budget/time, what would you make?  

I would love to have an extravagant / outlandish commission for a pair of silver shoes or a crown!

Do you have a favourite jewellery tool?

For usefulness my pendant motor and a set of Swiss diamond cut needle files, but for sentimental value anything that my dad finds for me.

And finally, what’s your favourite biscuit or other jewellery making snack?

Favourite biscuit has to be homemade gingerbread.


Jewellery Making Project: Make a Bead and Chain Necklace

Follow our 9-step project to making you own stunning bead and chain necklace…

You will need:  
  • Beads; Large faceted onyx drops (1 strand), round micro-faceted fuchsia/purple agate 8mm (1 Strand), Matte Metallic Gold Multifaceted Round Firepolished Glass Beads, 4 mm (approx. 10 beads).
  • Tigertail Wire
  • Selection of three different sized gold plated chains (approx 50cm of each)
  • 1mm gold plated wire
  • Small gold plated crimps x 4
  • Medium Sized gold plated lobster clasp
  • 6mm Gold plated jumprings x 4
  • Chain nosed pliers
  • Side cutters
  • Round nosed pliers

Step 1: Cut a piece of tigertail approx 50cm long. Thread your beads onto the strand alternating the black onyx drops with the round pink agate. Until it has reached the desired length for the front of your necklace, approx. 25cm-30cm.

Step 2: Repeat the process with a second strand of tigertail, this time using just the round pink agate beads, for a slightly different look you could use different coloured beads the most important thing to maintain the style of the necklace is the shape of the beads i.e. round and drop shaped.

Step 3: Crimp both ends of each strand individually to secure the beads in place using a total of four small gold plated crimp beads. Be sure to leave a small loop, big enough to fit 1mm wire through at each crimped end. Also allow the beads a bit of breathing space as they will be curved when on the neck. Finally, make sure the strand containing only the round beads is slightly shorter than the other as it will be placed higher up on the necklace.

Step 4: Cut 4 strands of gold plated chain, using two slightly different types. They will need to be approximately the same size as the beaded strands but make them slightly larger at this stage and you can cut them down later. Thread the chain and beaded wires on to a piece of 1mm gold plated wire, using the small golden beads to create a space between each strand.

Step 5: Using your chain nosed pliers, bend each end of the gold plated wire to create a triangular shape where the two ends of the wire cross at the top. Once you have done this on one side, thread all the strands and chain on to a new piece of 1mm gold plated wire, placing the small gold beads in-between as spacers. At this stage you will need to do some measuring by eye and cut the gold plated chain down so that all of the wires/ chain sit nicely in place.

Step 6: Wrap one end of the gold-plated wire around the other 2-3 times and cut the end off with your side cutters. Be sure to tuck the sharp end in with your chain nosed pliers to finish and leave the remaining, longer end of wire out straight in front ready to make a loop with.

Step 7: Using round nosed pliers, create a secure loop with the remaining piece of wire. Be sure to wrap the end around the base of the loop a few times before cutting and tucking the wire end in as before. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the other end so that is it symmetrical.

Step 8: Using a gold plated jumpring, attache three strands of gold plated chain to the loop at one end of the necklace; the chain strands will need to be approx. 15cm long depending on where you want to the necklace to sit. Hold it up to your neck to test the length before cutting them. Repeat the same process on the other side of the necklace.

Step 9: At either end of the necklace, join the three chains together using a gold-plated jumpring. On one side, attach your gold plated lobster clasp and on the other side attach a short piece of thicker, gold plated chain to provide an adjustable length. Ensure that the chain is thin enough to fit in the clasp.
If you like this project and would like to learn more fashion jewellery techniques take a look at our bead and wire jewellery making classes
Until next time,
Happy making LJS x