Tag Archives: beads

Who needs beads? The (w)hole of civilisation

It is National Beading Week so we have been taking a look at how beads have been used in contemporary jewellery designs

A bead can be anything threadable. The first pieces of jewellery were beads made from shells, while the trading of beads was one of the first forms of currency leading to the development of language. Oh yeah and they are pretty too.

It’s worth keeping your beady eye on the graduates spilling out of this year’s degree shows. They are fresh and dynamic and completely varied. Some of the bright young things of Central Saint Martins have favoured using beads this year and are creating some great examples of the potential for striking results that can be achieved. Rosanna Batt uses delicate threads of shimmering beads to trace the outlines of the body to create garments that challenge traditional ideas of function in clothing and jewellery as decoration.


Rosanna Batt

Bead counting toys have been a traditional sight in the doctor or dentist waiting room aiding the development of fine motor skills in children. Also used as the inspiration for Dani Lane’s Abacus Maximus rings, a delight for any kidult stuck in a dull meeting.


Dani Lane

Teri Howes takes simple bead threading to another level with her knitted and crochet fine jewellery pieces.


Terri Howes

The tiny beads on Just Rocks and Coral’s yellow waterfall necklace work as a team to make for a bold statement and a cool cascade of colour for the summer.


Just rocks and coral

Words can’t explain the staggering potential of the humble concept of these items of adornment, but it may be thanks to them that we can use language to attempt it.

Take a look at this video by our founder/director Jessica Rose explaining a simple and effective way of making a quartz crystal bead necklace that can be used for any type of bead.

Inspired? Take a look at our beading classes run at our London studios and our free online course with Jewellery School Online




Free Jewellery Tutorial: Make a Beaded French Knit Necklace with Anna Campbell

Here at the London Jewellery School, all of our tutors are highly trained in a wide number of jewellery making techniques.  And they all love sharing their knowledge, skills and passion with the next generation of jewellery makers and artists.  Tutor, Anna Campbell, has created a short video tutorial on how to make a beaded french knit necklace using a French Knit Dollie.  Anna usually recommends the Clover Wonder Knitter as it has a wider hole in the centre which is great for larger beads.


We hope you enjoy making this project!  Have a go and let us know how you get on by sharing pictures on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

If you want to learn more jewellery making techniques you can find our face to face classes here, online courses here and a selection of other videos on our YouTube channel.


Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

FREE Jewellery Making Workshop on 23rd & 24th July @Southbank Centre from 12-4pm!

FREE Jewellery Workshop - Fashion Uncovered 23rd & 24th July (2)


Fancy doing a spot of making this weekend?  We would love to you join our founder, Jessica Rose, for a FREE jewellery making workshop as part of Fashion Undressed Festival at the Southbank Centre on 23rd and 24th July from 12-4pm!

london jewellery school-free jewellery workshop - perspex bracelet 2

You will learn how to make a funky perspex charm bracelet which is yours to keep and there will be loads of other workshops celebrating style and creativity – from the street to the catwalk, along with art, culture and performance.  It is sure to be a great day out!

For more information about the event  click here!

We hope to see you there!

Video tutorial: Quartz necklaces

One of the latest jewellery trends are these fabulous Quartz Crystal Necklaces. They make beautiful additions to pretty much any outfit. Why not have a go at making your own…

DIY jewelry Quartz Crystal Necklace

I can’t decide whether my favourite is the clear or the blue – the great thing about making your own is that you don’t have to choose, you can have both.

If you would like to have a go at making them, pop over to the youtube channel to see our latest tutorial taking you through the process, step by step…

Jewelry Tutorial Make a Quartz Necklace Video

Have a go and let us know how you get on by sharing pictures on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

If you want to learn more jewellery making techniques you can find our face to face classes here, online courses here and a selection of other videos on our YouTube channel.

Step-by-step project: Wire wrapped bracelet

Practice your wire wrapping skills with this fun statement bracelet.

wire wrapped bracelet


1.5m of 1.25mm silver-plated copper wire

2m of 0.6mm silver-plated copper wire

Selection of glass beads

Masking tape

Chain nose pliers

Round nose pliers

Wire cutters

Steel block

Whammer or hammer

wire wrapped bracelet

Step 1

wire wrapped bracelet

Cut four 35cm lengths of the 1.25mm wire and make a spiral at one end of each one. You can find a tutorial on creating spirals and coils at jewelryfromhome.com

Step 2

wire wrapped bracelet

Use a Whammer or other jewellery hammer and a steel block to flatten the spirals and the wire for about 2cm below the spiral.

Step 3

wire wrapped bracelets

Arrange the four wires side by side so that the coiled ends are arranged nicely – you may want to take some time to get an arrangement you like. Tape the wires in place and cut a 40cm length of 0.6mm wire. Carefully wrap the larger wires for about 2cm flattening the wraps in place with your pliers as you go along.

Step 4

wire wrapped bracelet

Mark the wires 9cm and 18cm from the middle of the first wrap and tape wires in parallel again. Make 2cnm wraps over the two marks as in step 3. Once the wraps are in place you can start to shape the bracelet by pulling the large wire outwards in between the wraps to form diamond shapes.

Step 5

wire wrapped bracelet

Trim the wires at the unfinished end so that the outer wires measure approx 7cm from wrap and inner two wires 8cm. Make and hammer coils as before. Now press your bracelet round a cup, drink can or other cylindrical object to shape it.

Step 6

wire wrapped bracelet

Cut a 15cm length of 0.6mm wire. Make a few wraps round the centre of one side of the diamond section, trim and press ends in place. Then add a selection of beads and wrap your wire securely to the other side of the diamond section. Repeat for other diamond section. Then check and tidy up and wire ends before wearing. You could also think about wrapping a series of wires in each section to fill the whole space – if so use 0.4mm wire with small beads.


wire wrapped bracelet





Tutorial: Crystal Statement Necklace

Having discussed beaded statement necklaces at the Oscars in a recent post, we thought it was a good time to share this tutorial from our sister blog at Jewelry From Home.
 This necklace might look daunting at first glance to newish beaders but it is quite simple to put together especially if you have taken our Intro to Jewellery or Beginner’s Beading classes.

  • 13 oval faceted beads ours were 1.5cm long
  • 12 round faceted 8mm bead
  • 10 8mm plain round beads
  • 2 teardrop faceted beads
  • crimps
  • calottes
  • tiger tail
  • chunky chain
  • lobster clasp
  • connector chain
  • headpins
  • 5mm jump rings.

Jewelry_From_Home_Statement_Necklace_Steps1-4Step 1

Layout all your beads in a rough design, it helps to do this first rather than jump straight in as it gives you an idea of what you’ll need to prep.

Step 2

Starting with the largest beads, place one bead onto a headpin and create a wrapped loop. With larger heavier beads it’s always worth wrapping the loop because it makes them extra secure. Prepare 11 beads this way

Step 3

Take 11 faceted beads, add onto the headpin and create a simple loop and use this to attach one small bead to each wrapped loop of the larger beads. Now you can start  threading. Cut a piece of tiger tail approx 30cm long and then thread your first statement bead followed by a small round bead at either side. Repeat this step, add a statement bead then small bead, working outwards until all beads have been used up

Step 4

Place your finishing beads. It looks good if you gradually taper your beads off rather than just stop and add the calottes. We had a play around with our necklace and decided on a large oval bead followed by a teardrop shape bead to finish.

Jewelry_From_Home_Statement_Necklace_Steps5-8Step 5

Add a calotte and crimp to close and secure the tiger tail in place.

Step 6

Cut two lengths of chain. We made our necklaces 45cm long, to determine the length of the chain we measured the length of our beads, took that measurement from 45cm and divided the result by 2, as it happened each length was 15cm which made the maths much easier.

Step 7

Fix chain to beads with a 5mm jump ring

Step 8

Add a lobster clasp to the left side of the chain with a 5mm jumping and then a piece if connector chain 5cm long, with the last faceted bead attached, to the right side.


 So there up you have it, a super statement necklace. You can use any colour beads you like for this project, we love these bold colours but you can use soft and pretty or juicy tropical colours for an amazing result.


Meet Jessica Rose and see her new book at the Handmade Fair

London Jewellery School is busy preparing to run the jewellery workshops at September’s giant craft event, The Handmade Fair presented by Kirstie Allsopp. The fair takes place on 19-21 September at Hampton Court.

Full Creative A4

As well as the workshops there will be opportunities to meet Jessica Rose, London Jewellery School founder. Jess will be popping into the jewellery tent to help teach some of our workshops as well as signing her book Bead and Wire Fashion Jewelry and demonstrating projects from the book on the GMC Publications stand in the East Tent each afternoon.

beads wire fashion jewelry

In the jewellery skills tent LJS will be running workshops on creating wire cocktail rings, chandelier earrings and memory wire bracelets. We have a great selection of tutors taking part including Gail Florio, Mary Ann Nelson, Penny Akester, Hayley Kruger and Anna Campbell.


Joining us for some jewellery making fun is only part of the fun. Tickets include access to a grand make session – such as origami floristry and excitingly pompom making to beat the world record for the longest line of pompoms – and the talks in the Super Theatre which include an expert from the V&A, designers such as Cath Kidson, and sessions on using Pinterest and Etsy (follow the links to find out more).

We’re looking forward to sharing the love of jewellery making with 100s of new people and meeting lots of handmade fans – hopefully we’ll see you there.



Pack your holiday jewellery-making supplies

The sun is out, school is over for the summer (except for jewellery school)  and, if you are like several of the jewellery school team, you are beginning to think about packing for your holidays.

And with us that doesn’t just mean picking out shorts, sundresses or the perfect shoes for a holiday night out, we’ve also been planning what will go in our holiday jewellery making kit because holidays are the perfect time to fit in some quality making time without the usual cares of the world getting in the way.

Obviously big silver or resin projects aren’t exactly practical for a trip away but there are plenty fun projects to be made with a smallish selection of beads and tools that will still leave room for (some) clothes in your suitcase. And making jewellery on holiday means you can have new look every day (or night).

So here is the London Jewellery School team’s top choices for holiday jewellery making.

1. Pack a full set of pliers. Some people favour mini plier sets for travelling but they can be harder to grip so you may find it better to have a little extra weight and be more comfortable with your tools.

2. Beads in a variety of sizes. You can’t really get anywhere without them and they’ll fit in all those odd-shaped spaces in your case.

jewellery making

Bring a selection of beads to make striking necklaces and fun stretchy bracelets

3. A selection of stringing materials – a roll of tiger tail and one of elastic beading cord will come in handy. You can experiment with multi-strand necklaces and make fun stretchy bracelets to wear to the beach.

4. Gold and silver-plated wire. Experiment with making your own findings, charms and wrapping beads. Practice making coils and spirals and using them to wrap beads or as charms and spacers. You can find useful video tutorials here.

wire pendant

Mastering simple wire coils means you can make interesting pendants and earrings like this (follow tutorial link for details) and relaxing on holiday is the perfect time to perfect your technique.

5. Cords to make friendship bracelets. These are a great summer look and you can layer several at a time. Check out the tutorial here.

gemstone friendship bracelet

Friendship bracelets are both a great holiday make and holiday look.

6. Fine wire (0.3mm) and crochet hooks or a French knitting bobbin. If you enjoy knitting or crochet, why not try it with wire or tiger tail (a lot less sweaty than wool at this time of year).  Several coloured crocheted wire chains with beads twisted together make striking statement chokers or try French knitting with this tutorial.

jewellery making

French knit necklace

wire jewellery

Crocheted or knitted wire offers the opportunity to create flexible 3D effects


And finally don’t forget your bead mat – beads escaping onto the beach, off a balcony or into the pool is not what we wnat to see.



Jessica Rose takes us behind the scenes of her first jewellery making book

London Jewellery School founder Jessica Rose‘s first jewellery making book, Bead and Wire Fashion Jewelry , is about to hit the shops, so we decided to ask her about how it came about and what it is like to produce a book.


beads wire fashion jewelry

Tell us a little about the book and where the idea came from

Absolutely. The book is called Bead and Wire Fashion Jewelry and is all about making big, bold and beautiful statement pieces of jewellery using a range of techniques and easy to source materials that you can easily do from home.

The idea came to me when I was learning to make my own bead and wire based jewellery. I loved going on to Amazon and finding books to teach me techniques for using wire, pliers, beads and mixed materials. I stated to apply those techniques to making my own style of statement fashion jewellery – pieces that combined different materials like fabrics, buttons, charms, etc, with traditional beads and wire wrapping.

When I was teaching classes at London Jewellery School, students often asked for a book that taught my style of jewellery making and designing in. I would usually give them a list of bead, wire, fashion jewellery and mixed media books along with suggested magazines to look at. This made me think that it would be great to have one book that combined all of these with guidance on the design process too. The seed was sown and I added “write a fashion jewellery making book” to my bucket list.


Bead and Wire Fashion Jewellery

Jessica’s book is full of stunning statement pieces and plenty of advice on creating your own variations and designs

Why did you decide to do it?

It is something that I have wanted to do for a while, I think there is something very special about being able to hold a book that you have written in your hand.

I also knew the process would force me to take some time out from behind the desk and spreadsheets running LJS and give me time to get making and be creative again – I loved designing all the pieces.

Mostly I decided to do it as I could see a clear need and gap in the market for this kind of book. It is the book I would have loved to have brought when I started making jewellery and with all the 1000s of students we have coming to LJS each year, I wanted to be able to offer something that I thought would help them on their jewellery making journey.


bead wire fashion jewelry

All the projects have detailed step by step instructions with beautiful clear pictures


Was writing the book what you expected – how long did it take you to come up with the ideas?

The process was a little different to what I had expected, but then again, having never written a book before I didn’t really know what to expect.

Once all the contracts were signed there were quite tight timescales that publishers needed me to work to. They have lots to think about in terms of layout, imagery and promoting it once the writing is finished so you have a close working relationship with them over when and how it all needs to be provided.

Coming up with ideas was the really fun part. I already had quite a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted for the book. I think is really important to get your concept clear in your mind from the offset so that the projects have a common theme and there is continuity. I choose to do chapters covering; rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

When I was designing the main questions I would ask myself are; is it a statement piece? Do the colours look gorgeous together? And, most importantly, would I love to wear it? If the answer was yes to all three I knew I was on the right track.


The book features a range of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings such as this clever three stone wire wrapped piece


What is involved in writing/publishing a book – what surprised you about the process?

Firstly I wrote a proposal for the book idea and submitted it to the publishers. I didn’t hear back for a few months so assumed that they weren’t interested or that it wasn’t the right time. I realised later that it can take months (and even years) for a proposal to be looked at, considered and researched at the publishers end. I heard back nearly a year later and they provisionally wanted me to write the book. Yippee!

After getting over my excitement I wrote a few sample projects for them to see before they offered me a contract to write the full book.

After contracts were signed, which I carefully read and made sure I was happy with upfront, I met with some of the publishing team and agreed the initial structure, chapters and timescale for when they needed all the content.

The writing process took around eight months and we liaised backwards and forwards from time to time on projects, text and images for the book. On the whole I got on with it and just started making the pieces, taking the pictures and working my through the book.

It got a little more stressful toward the end of the process as I am awful at sticking to deadlines, and in book publishing it is crucial that you do fit in with the timings because a whole team of people work on getting the book layouts done and ready once all of your content is in. With a little help from the LJS team and the team at the Guild of Master Craftsmen we got it all done and dusted and that was that.

It was a lot of work but a relatively simple and straightforward process. Like most things it is just about getting on and doing it.


bead wire jewelry fashion

For each project Jessica shares her design process through a mood board

What would you advise other people to think about if they were thinking of publishing a book or a collection of projects?

I think the main question to ask yourself before starting any book or project is; who are your target readers? Who are you putting it together for and do they want to make what you are offering? These are effectively your customers (or readers) and every book needs an audience.

I spotted a gap in the market for a fashion-focused bead and wire book because this type of book hasn’t been done before and I saw a demand at the London Jewellery School from students (and myself), who would like a book like this.

If you are considering writing a jewellery making or craft-based book (which is a great thing to do), then you need to consider what you can offer and what will be different about your book compared to all the rest on the market. Are there enough people who would be interested in buying it and how will you reach them? The publishers will do a lot of the promotion work, however, they will only take on a book as a project if they believe they will sell enough copies.

Also think about the amount of time you need to commit. It can take up to two years to produce a book from idea to bookshelf and for about six to nine months of that time you may need to work on it nearly full-time. It is a big commitment, so make sure you can accommodate it before agreeing terms with publishers.

Other than that the main focus is on coming up with lovely, unique projects that can inspire budding jewellers or crafters. If you can put something together that can help others to learn, be creative and start or develop a rewarding hobby or career then I think that’s a great thing to be able to do. I know that was my focus when putting the pages of the book together and I hope it can do just that.

bead wire fashion jewellery

The book offers advice on choosing colours and adapting projects to fit your style

If you would like a copy, the book is out in early September 2014 and available to pre-order from Amazon now here.

Jessica would be very happy to sign any copies and would love to know what you think of it and see pictures of your versions of the projects inside – feel free to get in touch anytime at Jessica@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk


Book Review: 1000 Beads

Continuing our reviews of inspiring jewellery books, Anna Campbell takes a look a must for all bead lovers.

jewellery making

If you’re not familiar with publisher Lark Crafts500 series’ of books then you’re in for a treat. Each book features 500 gorgeous pieces of contemporary craft following a theme and with titles such as 500 rings and 500 pendants and lockets (among others) there are lots (and lots!) of gorgeous pieces to inspire.


beads jewellery making


The latest book gives us even more – 1000 beads. Beads have been made and worn for at least 40,000 years with many beautiful examples being found at archaeological digs. The importance of jewellery and adornment through the centuries has been demonstrated with beads being found in graves and featured in art including sculpture.

The latest offering from Lark Crafts is an enchanting book to flick through or pore over featuring beads made from artists from all over the world (including Lynne Glazzard from Yorkshire whose silver clay, enamel and glass lampwork beads feature on the front cover). This satisfyingly weighty book will appeal to all those with a love of jewellery and jewellery making. T

he beads are made by contemporary artists from many types of materials from the more traditional glass, silver, ceramic and enamel to metal clay, polymer clay, felt, paper, beadweaving and bone. Some of the images are of individual beads, some of a collection of beads or a piece like a necklace. All are worthy of inclusion in a book juried by Kristina Logan, international recognised for her glass bead artistry.

It is a lovely book to flick through and marvel at the artistry. Definitely a book (and a series) for the jewellery makers bookcase.

Anna Campbell is an experienced teacher and enjoys different types of jewellery making including beading and metal clay. She runs her own business, Light Boat Jewellery and has made jewellery for celebrities.

If you want to share a review of an inspirational jewellery book, drop an email to press@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk.