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Good Jewellery Making Books

Updated on April 15, 2013

When it comes to making jewellery, there are thousands of books out there, so I've started to make a list of the ones that I want - and thought I'd share it with you. When it comes to buying jewellery making books, I look for the following essential ingredients:

Step by Step

For me, I like to see step-by-step instructions and for a book to cover mostly just the things I am interested in, this can be a hard criteria to meet as once you start making jewellery you'll discover you love bits and pieces from many skillsets!

Photos

Good jewellery making books should have good clear photos as a photo can often describe something better than words can.

Ideas, Inspiration and a Twist

It's good to look through dozens of jewellery books for fresh ideas, unusual twists on older ideas, tips and tricks and getting another person's view on how things should be done. Every jewellery maker will have different experiences and sometimes they have just the perfect "new way" of looking at things that makes your life easier.

Projects

If a jewellery making book contains projects that's the final cherry on the cake. If you're learning a new technique, then it's essential to be able to use it immediately - and books with jewellery projects in give me that opportunity to practice the skill and to end up with a great new piece of jewellery.

Teach Yourself Visually Jewelry Making & Beading

What's not to like about this book? It's well laid out with a good sized font and lots of very clear colour photos.

With 307 pages there's lots to learn and as it's a visual book it's just like having your own personal tutor whenever you want.

Published: June 2011

Teach Yourself Visually Jewely Making and Beadmakng covers:

  • Tools and supplies
  • Bead stringing and weaving
  • Wire wrapping, and more.

Although weaving isn't on my radar yet, bead stringing, wire wrapping and tools are all great skills for making the basics - and especially for quickly making saleable items for craft fairs and selling online.

Practical Jewelry Making Techniques

Since I added this book to my list, I've not only bought it, but I've even been on a week-long course run by the author Stephen O'Keeffe and made some of the items in the book.

If you get a chance to go on any of Stephen O'Keeffe's courses then it's worthwhile buying and reading this book before you go, as you'll see every item in his samples case and you'll get to pick what you want to make. If you're like me and very indecisive then you'll need more warning and thought about what you want to make, so buy the book and make a list of what you want to make!

Stephen O'Keeffe differs from a lot of jewellery makers because his approach to making jewellery is very functional. It's about cutting, joining and forming metal into beautiful pieces of jewellery - and along the way you'll discover some nifty gadgets you can make that perform neat functions. Stephen O'Keeffe has a lifetime of teaching experience and has done a lot of problem-solving over those years, coming up with some unique solutions to common problems!

Published: April 2011


New Encyclopedia of Jewelry-Making Techniques: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques

Jinks McGrath is probably one of the most respected metalsmiths and jewellery makers in the world. Originally published in 1995, the original Encyclopedia of Jewelry-Making Techniques: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques has probably been read by every serious jewellery maker and hobbyist in the past 15 years. Adding the word "New" to the title, this colourful and informative Encyclopaedia was republished in October 2010.

If you are going to build any personal library of jewellery making books, then it has to include at least one from Jinks McGrath - and so this needs to be the one!

If you are only ever going to buy one book, or want to give the best jewellery making book as a gift, then this is the one.

The subjects that Jinks McGrath covers in this Encyclopaedia include:

  • Acrylics
  • Etching
  • Inlaying
  • Enameling
  • Polishing
  • Repoussé
  • ...in fact, the full list of chapters is Basic Tools, Acrylics, Annealing, Anodizing, Bending, Casting, Catches and Joints, Chain Making, Chasing and Repousse, Doming and Swaging, Drilling, Enamelling, Engraving, Etching and Photoetching, Filing, Fittings and Findings, Forging, Fusing, Hammering, Inlaying, Mokuké Gamé, Patinating and Oxidizing, Pickling and Quenching, Piercing, Polishing, Reticulation, Riveting, Soldering, Sampling and Making Blanks, Stone Setting, Texturing, Using Wire, Metal, Stones, Mixed Media,

This is a book for people who want to make 'wearable art', so if you're pursuing an art-based approach to jewellery making and looking at silversmithing/jewellery making courses, this book will be of interest.

It's also nice that you can peek inside this with Amazon's preview option, so you know what you're getting.


Metal Artist's Workbench: Demystifying the Jeweler's Saw

When moving into making jewellery using silver, copper and other metal, the tool that opens up the whole world of making bezels, making pendants, making fretwork designs (and more) is the Jeweller's Saw. If you rentol on a course you might find you don't even get to use a saw; if you enrol on a course where you get the chance to use a jeweller's saw you might find you're given no instruction at all. You'll come home feeling excited at having discovered the Jeweller's saw, but disappointed that you've no instruction in how to use this very, very useful tool.

The Metal Artists's Workbench: Demystifying the Jeweller's Saw was on my Xmas list, but as it came out so late everybody'd already bought my gifts! This is definitely a book I'll be buying in 2012.

The Metal Artist's Workbench fixes this - it's a very comprehensive guide to using a Jeweller's Saw to create jewellery. Dedicated to this one important skill, the book covers every aspect of a jeweller's saw, so you'll understand what it is, how it works - and how to become an expert.

Thomas Mann is passionate about using a jeweller's saw and this enthusiasm oozes out of every page. He eagerly teaches you everything you need to know about this well-loved tool.

15 Jewellery Saw Projects:

The Metal Artist's Workbench: Demystifying the Jeweller's Saw gives you some great projects to practise your new-found skill. Fifteen of them to be precise. These are not all jewellery projects, opening up your eyes (and ideas) to using a saw creatively.

My favourite is the Maze Pendant.

The Metal Artist's Workbench, takes you step-by-step through the skills you need to be proficient at creating some really impressive projects. Learn how to:

  • Understand and use all parts of a jeweller's saw
  • Saw correctly, using the proper grip, to maximise your sawing skills and minimise blade breakages.
  • Start a cut - often the hardest part of sawing if you've not been shown how!
  • Turn a perfect corner - without breaking blades.
  • Cutting fretwork.

The skills in this magnificent book work equally well with copper, sterling siilver, metal, plastic and other materials you will eventually wish to use in your jewellery projects

This one book will transform you step-by-step into an expert - making the jeweler's saw your favourite tool on your bench!

Published in November 2011, this book is modern and has 144 pages filled with detailed descriptions, drawings, photos and tips.

How Many Jewellery Making Books Do You Own?

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      Marie-Anne 4 years ago

      These are some good jewellery making books you've highlighted. A girl can never have enough! I buy jewellery books for inspiration and to show me new ways to achieve techniques I already know. Every book is a treasure to me as they give me great ideas to mix and match. The best jewellery books I've got have got projects in for me to follow and try.

    • Making-Jewellery profile image
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      Making-Jewellery 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Marie-Anne, thanks for your comment.

      I head straight for jewellery books whenever I go into a book store! I love collecting fresh ideas, great projects and new techniques.

      All the best

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