Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Trends in Jewelry

In the world of jewelry making, as in any art, trends come and go. I think most people remember the macrame jewlry trend, and the tiny seed bead trend. Here are a few trends I'm seeing now that you might find interesting. I found these examples on Etsy, where you can search by type of handmade item you're looking for, such as jewelry (or specifically necklaces, bracelets, etc.), or paintings, or handmade books. For each photo, I'll give you a link to the artist's shop so you can see more examples.

Sea Glass

You'll find lots of jewelry using sea glass as a component, in a variety of colors. I don't know if it's real sea glass, like found on a beach, because I know some artists are just breaking bottles and putting the pieces through a rock tumbler. You must admit, though, that the artists make gorgeous pieces. You can find this artist here.

Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a substance that you can shape then bake to a hardened state. You can use colored clays, and you can add color after it's baked. I've seen artists make pieces that look just like precious metals, gemstones, or rocks. The good part is, they're gorgeous, much less expensive, and lightweight to wear. Laurel Steven makes amazing polymer clay pendants and jewelry.

Steampunk Jewelry

Steampunk is a style where you use old watch parts and odd metal pieces that might be glued, wired, or riveted together. When done well, they can be really cool pieces. You can see this artist here.

Dichroic Glass

It seems everyone has a little mini-kiln nowadays. To make dichroic glass, you layer bits of glass and melt them together in a kiln. They make tabletop kilns now that are perfect for this. I haven't gotten into this since I have young children in the house and don't want a hot appliance around. Some of these artists do amazing things. The problem is, tons of cheap pendants are being shipped over from China and are sold at craft booths for $5 a pop. I know artists who hand make every glass piece, and there's no way they can sell one for $5. It's tough to compete with that. Here's an artist who makes some beautiful pieces.

Wire and Metal
Now this is the trend that I like to do. Cut a piece of metal, shape it, hammer it, add some wire, twist and turn it. I can tell that this piece has also been given an aged look, using Liver of Sulphur. You make a solution and dip the piece in it, and it darkens it, especially in the deep parts. It's a nice look. This artist can be found here.

Stamped Letters

This is an easy technique, and I see a lot of it. You can custom make name tags or stamp inspiring messages. You can also finish it with the Liver of Sulphur, so the interior of the letters darken and stand out more. You can see this artist here.

Art Jewelry and Resin

This is a nice example of two trends. Painters and collage artists are realizing in this economy that they won't be making as many $300 sales of paintings as they did in the past. They need to expand their product line, and the smart ones are selling prints and licensing their art. Others are taking a reduced size of their art and making jewelry with it. I think that's genius. This artist has taken a bit of a map to make a pendant. Others might use just a piece of their art. The other trend here is using resin to finish a piece. It seals and protects paper or small pieces in a pendant. Resin is huge now, and you can try different brands or mixes to get a resin that works great for you. Resin has come a long way, and there are products that dry clear, not cloudy, and bubble-free. You can see this artist here.

Have you noticed any trends in jewelry making? I love trying something new.


Jeffrey Pierce said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Coming from a "non-jewelry" person (I only wear my wedding band, not even a watch) this was really interesting. :)

nutschell said...

I love that steampunk and art resin jewelry! Like jeffrey, I'm not much into jewelry but these are definitely amazing pieces to look at.

Donna Heart said...

I love the sea glass idea. I live on the beach and am always finding heaps of it! Now you've given me an idea as to what do actually do with it!!!