How to Make Jewelry

I'm Making Jewelry in my Jam Jams (the newsletter)

Sept 21, 2008

Hey- What up homey?

I'm so glad to be reconnecting with you!  It has been a busy month hasn't it?  I hope you are well and unaffected by crazy hurricanes and floods, and any other wild weather.

In my quiet world the small things are keeping me busy. Zoe and Edgar are in school now (ages 5 and 3), I have some actual free time.  Not much, granted, with preschool only being 3 mornings a week, but 2 hours 3 days a week is better than nothing.  It's amazing what you can get accomplished when no one says, "Mommmeeeee!  I need some juice!  You come with me? Now!"

So precious.

I do love my kids though.  Thank goodness I can stay home with them! It's all worth in the end, right?

Enough about me.  I've got the goods for you!  I've been slaving away on this newsletter this afternoon, and I have the updates I promised.  Note to self - don't leave this newsletter for so long next time.  Or write less.  Or something.  

But before I get to the updates, did you get a chance to ask your wire working questions?  If you haven't yet, please do it now.  For me please?  Pretty please
Just click here to go to the questions

In this Issue:

New Tutorials
Tutorials, tutorials, everywhere!  I'm on a tutorial kick lately. 

From the Mailbag
I've received a TON of email lately and I am so sorry if I haven't answered you personally!  Here are some of the recent email questions and answers.

Questions and Answers on the Website
Lots and lots as usual!

Jewelry Business Chit Chat :
What's an Autoresponder?

About this Newsletter...

I'm Making Jewelry in My Jam-Jams is a weekly (or so) newsletter written for jewelry makers, jewelry sellers, and other crafty type people by Christine Gierer of

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New Tutorials

I've had a lot of requests for friendship bracelet tutorials lately so I made up a bunch of them. Five brand-spanking new ones.  A little late for summer camp, but who says you can't relive summer in the fall?
See all of the friendship bracelet tutorials:

More tutorials - Free ones on the internet hooray!

If you're like me, you collect tutorials like crazy - almost as obsessively as beads. I keep meaning to make a big 'ol list but i never get around to it. So I started blogging about other peoples tutorials this past week or two and i'll be posting new ones as i find the time - every few days or so. So keep checking back. If you follow me on Twitter, you know i always give a quick heads up there too whenever i post or upload a webpage.

So here are the tutorialsIi've posted on the blog recently:

TREE OF LIFE PENDANT Tutorial (intermediate wire work)

Dancing Chips Cluster Ring (basic wire work)

Garden Necklace Tutorial (beading)

Rag Jewelry Tutorial (easy - no skills necessary)


From the Mailbag

How to strengthen the wire of wire sculptured jewelry & protect them from tarnishing?

I'll start with the easier answer first.  You can protect silver from tarnishing by keeping it in a ziploc bag.  A piece of chalk in the bag helps too.  Keeps the moisture away and the oxidization at bay! (Like that rhyme? I got a million of 'em).

Strengthening wire: That's a complicated question. Wire is subject to something called "work hardening" and then there's the laws of physics around the gauge and temper of the wire.  But the quick answer is to hammer to strengthen, use the appropriate gauge (thick enough to be strong), and don't overwork the wire because it will snap.

How to prevent scratching when working with colored wire?

The best way to prevent scratching is to make sure your pliers and tools have no rough edges. 


  • Make sure you're using non-serrated pliers (jeweler's pliers are smooth), and use a file to smooth the edges on your flat nose and chain nose pliers.  If you have the financial wherewithal, you could get specialty pliers with nylon jaws. 
  • You can get special nylon jawed pliers in lots of shapes, including the basic round nose, flat nose, and chain nosed.  You won't find these at a beading store.  You have to get these from a jeweler's supply vendor like Gesswein or Rio Grande.
  • There's also a product called "tool magic".  It's a rubber liquid that you can dip your plier jaws into to make 'em rubbery.  You lose precision, but it helps cushion the edges and is removable - you just peel it off when you're done.

I'm also searching for info on how to make those pendants quite similar to collaged slide pendants but without the slides?

I'm not sure if this answers your question, but there are a bunch of options for making collage style pendants. You could glue a collage onto a domino and top it with a product called "Diamond Glaze".  This is a one part resin-type product that will leave a raised clear coating that looks like resin.  Or you could use a two-part resin on top.  You could also use those formica chips from the hardware store (in the countertop section - they usually have samples) and use those as a base.   There are companies that sell pre-fab pendant frames too that are meant to be photo pendants.  They are another option.

AND I posted a fun video on making a collage pendant on the blog awhile back.  Maybe this will give you more info?

Are you aware of a dealer online that you can get the glue on bails cheaply they look like a loop attached to a leaf?

I did a quick search at some of the "usual suspects" In the U.S., and FireMountainGems and FineDings were my first choices, but they don't have them. I did find them at Auntie's Beads and I'm pretty sure I've seen them before on Ebay

*I know there are lots more questions - I'll try to answer a few more each issue of the newsletter. If you'd like you can ask your question here too


More Questions and Answers: From the Ask and Answer Page

As usual, many many questions. So many I can't keep up!   Some of these I've answered, and some of these others have answered (if you are one of the priceless ones who've contributed questions or helped out others with answers - you are so awesome!) And If you can, help me out with some answers.

Questions with Answers

Ceramic Beads with Large Holes 
I have a bunch of very pretty hand painted ceramic beads from India, all with pretty large holes, ~1/8". I am trying to figure out what to do with them. What does one use as string and is it a good idea to string a bunch of heavy beads in the first place? Read more...

How Do I Put a Hole in a Jewel? Read more...

Average Bracelet Sizes   I would like to start selling my bracelets. I also want to make many at one time. What size should I make them?  I need average sizes for bracelets with clasps and just stretchy elastic  bracelets.  I would like to know so that I don't waste my time custom making everything!!!  Read more...


Questions That Need Answers

Ideas for stringing Tear Drop beads  I have some tear drop beads and am having trouble stringing them where they look good and professional.  Would welcome any help and suggestions. Read more...

Connectors - Square Wire  Where can I find instructions on how to make square wire connectors/links?  Read more...

Sterling silver chains on display a short time showing black marks
Why are sterling chains showing black marks here and there(on display a short time)?  And why when cleaning with a steam or ultra sonic cleaner or even a good jewelers cloth they will not come off.  Read more...

Turquoise 45mm disc necklace
I am making a necklace using 18 45mm turquoise discs. The necklace lays flat on the neck with the hole in the disc and the cord linking them together showing. The necklace is closed with a toggle clasp. Read more...

Jewelry Business Chit Chat

What's an Autoresponder?

If you've been following previous mailings, you know that I am a huge fan of building relationships with your customers.  Let's have a quick chat about autoresponders.

What's an autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a email mailing service or software program that delivers email to your mailing list.

Autoresponders perform lots of tasks.  Here are the main ones.

  1. Keep a database of your mailing list
    Store all the email addresses and names (and any other info you wish to ask for)
  2. Usually offer pre-formatted code you can drop into your website or blog to capture email addresses
    Why would you want to send out automatic messages? Automatic messages are great for building a relationship on autopilot.  You might have already experienced this yourself.  Do you get any "daily tips" or Have you ever signed up for a free 5 day e-course?  Those are sent out by autoresponders.
  3. Send out a series of messages automatically
    Remember that database of names and emails?  Your messages are sent to them automatically at the click of a button.
  4. Manually broadcasts to your list. 
    What's a broadcast?  A broadcast is any one-time mailout - like this newsletter. 
  5. Automatically confirms that a inbound message has been received and opened
    I love this!   You get to see how many people opened your email so you have an idea if anyone is reading your emails.   Many autoresponders will also track click-through rates of any links you have in your mail-out too.  Great for tracking how successful an email campaign is. 

So we've talked previously about the importance of a newsletter, what kinds of mailings to send out to your customers, and a brief overview of autoresponders. 

In the next newsletter I'll talk a bit more about autoresponders vs. mailing out from your email software (like outlook) or web email (like yahoo).

A quick caution: If you're anxious to start up your newsletter email marketing campaign now, I'll give you a quick tip- never ever, ever! do this from your email account. There are legal issues around sending out unsolicited emails, mass mailings, and it's just plain a bad idea from a relationship standpoint to send people stuff without asking.  

Another caution: If you do send out from your own web address, how you can be labelled forever and blackballed from sending anything to anybody.

Want to get started on your newsletter campaign now?  If you want to start using an autoresponder service, I heartily recommend the one I use.  I've tried a bunch of different ones including Icontact, mailchimp, getresponse, and my built-in from my webhost, and Aweber has been hands down the best one.  I actually used Aweber in the past, stopped with them (a mistake!) and tried others, then went back to them. The reason?  They were the only ones that got me through the spam filters. 

To check them out, just click the I heart Aweber icon below.

That's it for this week (or so, we'll see how it goes)

Rock on ,

P.S. Do you have any friends who'd be interested in this newsletter? Forward this email to them!

Want to ask a question, share a cool jewelry-related link, or tell me whether you liked this week's newsletter?

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