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Beads, Baubles And Beginnings For Jewelry Makers

Updated on December 21, 2016

A Look At Beads And Baubles Used To Catch The Center Of Interest In Your Jewelry Making Projects

Since Jewelry is made to adorn the individual who wears it, there is a certain relationship between the wearer and the material that the jewelry is made out of. I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the elements used to create a center of interest when making your own hand crafted jewelry items. There are a lot of things on the market you can use and then there is the idea of taking individual materials and mixing them together to create those one of a kind adornments that are the basis for a continuing enthusiasm in this craft. Beads and baubles, metals and plastics, acrylics and wires, threads and strings and more beads and bobbles. It is all out there for the picking. Lets take a closer look at some of the wonderful things available in the way of beads and baubles to create that eyecatching appeal in hand crafted jewelry.

the attraction is so magnetic it pulls at your very spirit
the attraction is so magnetic it pulls at your very spirit
so many beads to choose from
so many beads to choose from

Glass Beads

I am going to start with glass beads because it seems like this could be one of the first adornments created to make jewelry and may very well be one of the very first art forms throughout history. I do not want to go into the history itself but would rather take a look at how they are made. I must say that I did not realize the glass bead has been around for such a long time. It really makes one realize just how magical these tiny little works of art can be.

Beads were used in prayer and had great symbolic significance in relation between man and God throughout almost every culture. This infactuation is still in practice today. The very first beads were fashioned from stone, bone, shell and metal but glass beads date back to 3200BC so it is easy to see just how much impression beads have on humans.

For me it is all about the color and the shine of the glass. It has a way of bringing out the inner child in everyone. This seemed to be a major attraction to the Native American Indians as much of the trade that went on between American Settlers and Native Indians was centered around beads. Much needed furs could be purchased from the Indians using beads that were being manufactured in Europe. The beads were a very desirable commodity from the Indians standpoint.

The word bead is derived from an English word, "bedu" meaning prayer. That in itself lends value to the magical quality associated to the characteristics of beads. Glass beads are manufactured in three ways. The original process is called "winding" and is the process that "blown glass" and "drawn glass" beads were later derived from. "Winding" glass beads is a slow process and the later "blown" glass and "drawn" glass beads were manufactured in order to speed the manufacturing process to keep up with supply and demand.

Making Basic Glass Beads

fashion from the past
fashion from the past
sea glass is popular with many jewelry makers
sea glass is popular with many jewelry makers
the prong like wire addition to the front of this piece is a perfect example of hand crafted BOBBLES
the prong like wire addition to the front of this piece is a perfect example of hand crafted BOBBLES

Instructional Videos

I included a few videos here because they are interesting but, also because they show in detail the process for making beads and ways to make metal into baubles. There are some artists who would much rather create their own materials to fashion their jewelry creations. Take a look at the videos and it will give you a good idea of what it entails to make your own items for your jewelry making craft.

The videos will add a perspective into the idea of how much time is involved for jewelry makers to design and develop individual pieces of jewelry. This, I feel, adds depth to understanding this art form. You will see just how complicated it use to be before many of these items were mass produced. Beads made one by one, and baubles crafted from raw metals, meant that the magic of each piece of jewelry crafted was painstakingly fashioned. That might also be something you would like to try yourself.

For those who would rather create their works from scratch this is the direction you will want to head. That does not mean that you can not make good quality jewelry without going this extra mile. Most mass produced items are reasonably priced and available in an array of colors, styles and materials. For those who do not have time to spend hand crafting material components, purchasing your jewelry materials is very convienent. Either way you go the sky is the limit when it comes to making choices. 

Metal Beads And Baubles

Beads are also made from metals not only precious metals but also common metal that are relatively inexpensive such as pewter. There is a large variety of styles and types to suit almost any taste, texture and size.This company, Fire Mountain Gems seems to have the largest selection of beads made from metal for your crafting needs. They also carry other jewelry making items but it is the metal bead selection that is so impressive.

Baubles In Jewelry Making

Items I would classify as Baubles are the dangling little attachments that are often used to adorn jewelry. They add motion to your jewelry with slight movement of the person wearing them. The motion brings life to the adornment creating attraction to the jewelry as it moves.These can be made of groupings or clusters of beads that are bunched together or they can be made from metal, wire, plastic, glass and, mixed medias. This is not something you are going to find listed under the word Baubles but, it is the best descriptive word I could come up with for that bouncy looking thing that attracts your eyes. Stunning jewelry creations are often adorned with baubles. Take a look at this fantastic example of handcrafted work in the adjacent photo, including some baubles made from metal.

this is a great example of jewelry with motion by adding some mixed media baubles
this is a great example of jewelry with motion by adding some mixed media baubles
charmed by the score on this bracelet that must surely have sound as well as motion
charmed by the score on this bracelet that must surely have sound as well as motion

Baubles Can Be Made Or Purchased

You can add motion to your jewelry pieces by making your own baubles or you can purchase items that are easily added to get this affect. Charms are a sort of bauble that is some sort of symbol you suspend from a choice of other materials such as chains or cords. Charms and pendants are similar in that they hang from something but charms tend to be smaller versions of pendants.

The way you design and fashion your crafts is a matter of individual taste. One thing for sure, "The Sky Is The Limit" when it comes to creative choices in jewelry making. You can find charms and pendants made from every sort of material imaginable. The adjoining photo of a very charming bracelet shows just how varied your choices can be.

Some of the oldest known baubles were carved from bones and shells. There are also wooden, stone and glass pieces that have been discovered from ancient ruins. These sorts of jewelry items have been in the making since a time before Christ. Crosses suspended from leather and chain have been around for centuries. The thing is there is never a lack of interest or material to keep this craft in existence.

You might want to consider making your own materials from recycled items. There are a lot of people using plastics and metals that were otherwise headed for the city dump. If you think outside the box you might come up with your own innovations for using recycled materials.

Making Bone Beads
Making Bone Beads

Natural Materials Used In Crafting Jewelry

Shells, bones, wood and seeds are all things that have been used to craft jewelry over the years. Different craftsmen used what was available in the region they lived to fashion their adornments and most of these items are still available today. Regional use of the teeth from animals as well as things like pearls are also materials that have been utilized throughout the history of jewelry making.

I have tried to touch on some of the items that are frequently used for craftsman in this art form. I have by no means been able to cover all of the material because there is just too much diversity in items that can be fashioned in to some sort of adornment. The potential here is only limited to the creativity of the individual designer and their ability as far as skill is concerned.

This wooden sun is a great example
This wooden sun is a great example

Expanding Your Skill In Jewelry Making With An Endless Variety Of Materials

I believe that the more time you spend at anything the more skillful you will become at your craft. Making jewelry is fun and rewarding and the unlimited materials available to work with will keep your interest. This alone is enough to help you learn different applications, techniques and designs for a continued variety of production.

Your subject matter can reflect simple feelings, tastes and fashions that are as individual as the people who enjoy wearing these creative adornments. This is the thing that seems to keep handcrafted jewelry in the limelight when it comes to artistic endeavors. I like to always suggest experimentation and lots of it to all crafters. I hope that the information provided has stimulated your creative, internal forces and you prosper from the material I have provided. Happy crafting and don't forget to color outside of the lines.


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    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      7 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Wow awesome hub. One thing I want to do, but have not tried it too much. I know I need to learn how to tie off and do the finishing part right. I will come back to watch all the videos.

    • talfonso profile image


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Jewelry making isn't new to me - I had been making jewelry when I was a kid. I made pony-bead-and-string bracelets, necklaces, and such. Now that I'm an adult, I'm into making handmade jewelry with a personal touch. This Hub is so informative that I'm sharing this!

    • sonnynoregon profile image


      8 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035

      Very good info, a lot of great information, thank you.

    • viveresperando profile image


      8 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      loved reading this!

    • profile image

      Virtual Careers 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful! Great read! Love your work!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      Thanks for commenting. When you say you love using dichroic do you refer to beads?

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      10 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      A most informative and interesting hub! I would have to say I agree with you about the colours and forms of glass using dichroic :D or hand blown...beautiful stuff!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      The research is fun and I enjoyed this one. Thanks for reading and thanks again for the links!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Amazing research on your topic for sure.

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      Your knitting and incorporation of the beads sounds interesting, thank you for commenting and maybe you will write a hub about your craft to share, that would be cool. C.S.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've never tried jewelry making - but I am always fascinated by beads and have spent many a happy hour browing in bead shops and at such stalls on markets. I have even bough a few beads now and then. I do knit and have incorporated some small beads into garmens by threading them onto the wool before knitting. Interesting hub - I especially enjoyed the bead making parts.


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