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Best Jewelry Making Books

Updated on May 19, 2014

The Best Jewelry Making Books That I Personally Recommend

I love making jewelry and have a ton of books, some of which I consider the best jewelry making books ever. Some though were a flop. They're sitting on my shelf and gather dust. But I won't focus on those here. I will review instead jewelry making books that have proven to have meat to them, which can actually teach something to the beginner to making jewelry, but also to the most seasoned jewelry designs.

When you want to make your own jewelry you might be wondering what to start - jewelry making is not so simple as it sounds. There are a few very distinct branches and each have their own books made by leading jewelry designers and teachers to help learn the craft the fastest way possible.

image above copyright MarciaG

For example there is bead stringing, beading (the two are very different, btw), chain maille, wire wrapping, metalsmithing / silversmithing, polymer clay and so many other branches. So you see why when it comes to books, they are very specialized. You'll seldom find a book that covers everything jewelry making technique - it's close to impossible. That's why when you start out you need to know what you want to learn and get the right books for the chosen craft.

I have so far made jewelry in bead stringing, beading, wire wrapping, chain maille, and currently I'm learning metalsmithing. I've never made polymer clay, for example, so you won't find many books on it here. However having over 100 books on jewelry making alone at home, I can easily recommend the best books that will not fail you.

Latest Book I Got - One Of The Best - The Worbench Guide To Jewelry Techniques by Anastasia Young

Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques
Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques

The truth is I've been craving for this book for over a year now and finally I saved enough money to buy it, and it just arrived today. I've been hearing about this book a lot, and only good things at that, so I knew at some point I would get it.

First of all let me tell you that the book is huge! With a capital H. Heavy, hardcover with lots and lots of content - all wonderful techniques for the metalsmith and jeweler in general. I mean you can read all the techniques included right on the cover page of the book that I'm holding in my hand.

Since I'm learning metalsmithing as my latest jewelry making technique, this book has just come in handy because I'm slowly figuring out that the word 'metalsmithing' includes just so many techniques, it's probably one of the most complex one - and one of the oldest one as well.

For example wire wrapping is a relatively new technique, and stringing beads (and beading),while it's old in its own right, it's quite basic. Sure there are various beading patterns and templates to use, but the main technique is simply stringing seed bead after seed bead on a Nymo thread.

But metalsmithing...oh boy where shall I start...I will need to write a new post just about it, since this one is about books - most of which I own with pride.

Just How Many Jewelry Techniques Are Out There Anyway?

jewelry books and magazines I have
jewelry books and magazines I have

Once you know that you want to learn how to make jewelry, the next step is to focus on one particular technique. There are practically tons of different types of jewelry you can learn in a lifetime. You can start with a few types and then what happens is, you usually find your niche - a particular technique or type that you want to focus all your energy it.

The way it usually goes is like this: most people start with bead stringing as it's really the easiest type to do and it hardly takes a few tools and some techniques. Then people become more adventurous and start on seed beading. This is a fun style of jewelry that some people stick to over years and learn to become really terrific seed bead jewelry designers, however most of the people I've talked to found that something else caught their attention at some point and left seed beading at least partially behind.

I personally started with seed beading, took a small detour into stringing beads (didn't like it too much) and then went onto wire wrapping,chain maille and now silversmithing. I haven't done any seedbeading in years, but I constantly work with wire and metal sheet, as that's what I like to work with most.

If you look at the photo above that I recently took, you'll see that most of the books I have scattered on the floor (I'm in the middle of reorganizing my craft room, so everything is upside down) are about wire wrapping, chain maille and metalsmithing.

Let's Start With Bead Stringing And Beading

Popular Bead Stringing And Beading Books I Recommend

While they're not exactly identical, both beading and stringing beads deal with the same thing - put beads on a thread to create beautiful jewelry pieces, hence I sort of 'lump' the two together. Here are some of the books that I read and find great resources to learn how to make jewelry with these easy to start techniques.

The Basics of Bead Stringing: A Complete Illustrated Approach for Beginner and Advanced Designers
The Basics of Bead Stringing: A Complete Illustrated Approach for Beginner and Advanced Designers

This books is one of the first I bought (hae given it a friend in the meantime, since I no longer do stringing beads). It's very easy to follow the projects with clear instructions. You will learn here the most important tools and materials that you need to have, and the easy projects can be tackled even by somebody who has never made jewelry in their life. Recommended.

 
The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry
The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry

This is a relatively recent book, one that I don't have, but have seen at a friend who bought it. It's actually very well done and any newbie to making jewelry will find these projects easy. There are no less than 35 projects that build up your confidence and skills as you go along. A fine jewelry books for newbies.

 
The Best Little Beading Book (Beadwork Books)
The Best Little Beading Book (Beadwork Books)

This is actually the first beading book I started my adventures in making jewelry with. It's an adorable and cute book, one that teaches the basics of beading and goes beyond as well. It's in fact quite an old book, but I think it has been since updated with new editions. Really recommended for starting with beaded jewelry.

 
200 Beading Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensable Compendium of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips (200 Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets)
200 Beading Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensable Compendium of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips (200 Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets)

A very thorough beading book by the well known jewelry teacher Jean Power. She actually has several books that you might want to check out, all geared towards the beginner.

This book is perfect for learning those small things that once you know them, your jewelry making will become so much easier. It is a problem when you don't have a local jewelry making school or teacher who can give you these tips, and unless you learn them from a book, DVD or some online tutorial, you'll have a hard time discovering them. I think it's a book well worth getting.

 
Beading Basics
Beading Basics

Beading Basics is another great beading book geared towards newcommers to the craft and art of making jewelry using seed beads. What i like about this book is that the author is also a self-taught jewelry designer, so she went through the 'pains' of learning from books. This is why she knows exactly what to put in hers to make learning jewelry fun and easy.

 

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading

A book that I want to highlight separately is Teach yourself visually jewelry making. While I did say initially that the books are highly specialized towards a technique or jewelry making style, here comes a boo that sort of defies this.

It includes project on various jewelry making technique, starting from stringing beads, to beading and even some wire wrapping thown in the mix. For example making loops is an important skill that pretty much anyone needs to know, and it actually belongs to wire wrapping, not to beading.

Another thing I like about this book is that it's visual. So if you like to follow images and pictures as your steps and instructions, you will love this book. It's a great book that I think is well worth having on your jewelry bookshelf.

 

The White Russian Beading Book - The best beading book ever!

my copy of The White Russian beading book
my copy of The White Russian beading book

I wanted to leave the best as last because it's really really really - did I say really? good. It took me a while to get it because it's not cheap. So I wouldn't consider a great first book to start with. But if you already have some beading books and realized that it's something you want to pursue in the long term, I cannot recommend this book enough.

I have it and while I don't do beading currently, I'll never ever give this book away - not even as a loan!

One thing people might be scared of is that the instructions are in Russian. I don't speak the language at all, but honestly the many diagrams and wonderful colored pictures showing not only the finished jewelry piece, but also the steps how to do it are more than enough to learn to do even the trickiest of patterns. Btw I love their many rope designs, going way beyond simple peyote.

See These Screenshots From The White Russian Beading Book

If you're not sure whether it's really worth getting the book, I have found for you a few more online reviews that specifically have taken pictures from the book so you have a better idea of what you're getting.

Not Sure If Beading Is For You? - Check out this basic beading instruction video on Youtube And Decide For Yourself

Examples Of Some Beaded Jewelry I Made Based On These Books

Here are some jewelry pieces that I made over the years in seed beading and bead stringing techniques. Some I made based on The White Russian Beading Book. Enjoy the small preview.

Netting Choker

Cellini Spiral

Summer Breeze

Beaded Netting

Atlantis Choker

Orange Netting Choker


Popular Wire Wrapping Books

Some Of The Best Wire Wrapping Books I Own Or Have Seen

Oh boy where to start...wire wrapping is extremely popular right now pretty much all over the world, so you will find practically tons of popular jewelry making books using this technique. There are several techniques actually, but they all have in common the use of wire - sterling silver wire, fine silver wire and copper wire. They are soft enough that you can easily bend them without getting too hard to work with them.

It's a bit tough to put together a list of all the wire wrapping books I actually want to add, so I will try to add only a few that I find essential to learning how to wire wrap jewelry.

Wire Wrapping: The Basics And Beyond
Wire Wrapping: The Basics And Beyond

This is a great book that is geared towards the classic border wrap style that is so popular in the US. I have in fact 3 of Jim McIntosh books, all in downloadable (pdf) format. This book has some great pictures and very easy to follow instructions. If border wrapping is more your style, this one is a great book to start with.

 
Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping
Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping

This is a book that I also have, I think it's shown in the photo above where I have several books in one place. It's a great book, and while I might not get it as my first choice, I'm very glad I bought it. It has several great projects geared towards beginners who have already done a few jewelry pieces of their own already and know to make a basic loop or hold a plier in their hands.

 
Wire Jewelry Masterclass: Wrapped, Coiled and Woven Pieces Using Fine Materials
Wire Jewelry Masterclass: Wrapped, Coiled and Woven Pieces Using Fine Materials

I don't have this book yet, but I've bought several tutorials from Abby Hook, so I know first hand that her teaching is impecable and great. The book is on my wishlist, hope to get it soon. It has some awesome reviews (all 5 stars at Amazon too).

 
Bead on a Wire: Making Handcrafted Wire and Beaded Jewelry
Bead on a Wire: Making Handcrafted Wire and Beaded Jewelry

Bead on a Wire is one of my first wire wrapping books ever. I also have a DVD from her and another book on making copper jewelry. She is an excellent teacher and if you can get her book, I highly recommend it. You will really learn some cool stuff with her.

 
Contemporary Copper Jewelry w/DVD: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects
Contemporary Copper Jewelry w/DVD: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects

Actually since I mentioned Sharilyn MIller, here is her copper wire jewelry book as well. I have this one in downloadable format, bought it recently at Interweave.

Copper is becoming more and more popular with the exorbitant high prices of silver, so there are lots of jewelry artisans who turn to this also very soft and pliable medium to make their wire wrapped pieces. I've recently started working with wire and that's why I bought this book, as the jewelry featured on the cover really inspired me. And I was not disappointed at all.

 

Not Sure You Are Good Enough To Learn Wire Wrapping? - This is a great and easy wire wrapping tutorial that anyone can do

Here's a great way to wrap those beach glasses or pebbles you found on your walks near the water. Very easy for a total newbie.

Here is a beach stone that I wrapped in 2008 based on the above tutorial

Here is a beach stone that I wrapped in 2008 based on the above tutorial
Here is a beach stone that I wrapped in 2008 based on the above tutorial

Examples Of Wire Wrapped Jewelry I Made Over The Years

Here are some wire wrapped jewelry pieces I made the last few years. I try to keep it simple (I found that the very elaborate and complex jewelry doesn't sell as well because it's not only more expensive, but it looks more expensive as well, so people tend to buy jewelry that they can actually wear every day).

Green Quartz Earrings

Simple Wrapped Earrings

White Snow Bangle

Black And White Bracelet

White Pearl Earrings

Heart In Love Pendant

And here is a small shameless plug to my own Dawanda jewelry store if you'd like to check it out.

Chain Maille Books

A List Of The Best Chain Maille Books That I Have And Love

Here I would like to recommend a separate list that I put recently together on the best chain maille books that I have and love. If you click on the link you will end to another page of mine right here on Squidoo. I can recommend any of the books listed as I have 90% of them or more at home.

Chain Maille Books
Here you will find some of the best chain maille books that are teaching you how to make absolutely stunning, unique pieces of jewelry using nothing more tha...

Metalsmithing And Silversmithing Books

So Is It Metalsmithing Or Silversmithing?

In the past, silversmithing meant making large pieces in silver (bowls, jugs, vases, etc). Today it means making jewelry using silver.

Metalsmithing involves working with all kinds of metal, including silver, but also copper, bronze, brass and even steel.

Popular Jewelry Making Books Using Metalsmithing Techniques

Maybe the most complex, difficult to start with, but also the most gorgeous style of jewelry involves metalsmithing, also called silversmithing in some circles. That's why I left this section for last. I honestly haven't met many people who started with metalsmithing instead of the former easier to learn jewelry techniques, except for jewelers who learned the craft many years ago when this was pretty much the only style of jewelry made around the world. Chain maille and wire wrapping, and even beading are relatively newcommers to the jewelry making scene, and usually newbies do learn these first before going on to more advanced techniques.

Metalsmithing itself involves numerous techniques of making beautiful pieces of jewelry and not everyone learns everything. There is soldering, working with gemstones, foldforming, etching, and a phletora of others. However luckily most metalsmithing and silversmithing books have several of these techniques included. You can also find highly specialized books (e.g. if you want to only learn how to solder jewelry) which you can well do without learning anything else in the process.

Here I have put together a list of metalsmithing books that I have and can easily recommend. There are many great books out there and listing them all would be beyond the scope of this page. But if you start with these books, they will give you a great foundation which to build your skills upon.

Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)
Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)

This is the first book of metalsmithing I bought many years ago, even before I knew that I would eventually learn this particular craft. I do have an older edition of this book, so I'm assuming the revised edition includes even more great information.

I highly recommend it, it includes pretty much everything you need to start making jewelry using metalsmithing techniques.

 
The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques
The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques

This is a book that simply cannot miss from any bookshelf of a serious metalsmith. It is very comprehensive and it teaches lots of techniques. It's one of my favorite books ever.

 
Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler
Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler

If you just want to learn soldering and leave the rest for later, one of the best books I can recommend is the one by Joe Silvera. The book comes with a very handy DVD which teaches you to make a project from scratch. The book goes over several projects where you build upon what you learned before. It's only recently that I acquired this book and I don't regret it for a second.

 
The Jeweler's Studio Handbook: Traditional and Contemporary Techniques for Working with Metal and Mixed Media Materials (Studio Handbook Series)
The Jeweler's Studio Handbook: Traditional and Contemporary Techniques for Working with Metal and Mixed Media Materials (Studio Handbook Series)

A great book on working with metal and other materials. It wouldn't be my very first choice of a book, but one to buy once you've started your journey into making jewelry using metal wire and sheet.

 
Jewelry: Concepts And Technology
Jewelry: Concepts And Technology

Here is a book that is currently on my wishlist and I'm dreaming of buying it at some point. It's not cheap, but I've seen a copy at a friend, and I really really want it. It's awesome. It's huge and it includes tons of techniques that you can experiment with. No serious metalsmith should be without it (my excuse is that I'm still learning so I have time to get it - maybe this Christmas).

 

Soldering Jump Rings Made Easy By Kate Richbough

I have some of Kate's instructional videos (got her DVD and also joined Craftsy and took her metalsmithing class) and I have to say her style is one of the easiest to work with when it comes to making jewelry. She's just too fun and almost like a friend really.

If You Like Kate Richbough's Style Of Teaching

Here is another free course with her for beginner metalsmiths. I've taken her course (still enrolled actually) and also the full Metalsmithing at Home video course. I love Kate's teaching style!

Check out the free Soldering With a Microtorch course by Kate Richbough

Great Books On Making Jewelry At eBay

Many times I go to eBay when I want to buy a jewelry book but it's quite expensive (or not currently in print) at Amazon or other bookstores. They not only have hard to find books at times, but they're also much cheaper in many cases. Just make sure you check the shipping to your place or country so you don't overpay (yeah it's happened to me - and yeah, more than once).

Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry
This article will showcase some of my handmade sterling silver jewelry designs. One of my passion in life is creating unique jewelry made of sterling silver ...

Are You Making Any Kind Of Jewelry?

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Which Is Your Favorite Jewelry Making Book And Why? - Do you have a favorite that I haven't mentioned on this page?

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    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      I have always wanted to make jewelry particularly bracelets perhaps I should invest in a book!

    • profile image

      dilipchandra12 lm 4 years ago

      This is cool, first time coming across this set of books. I like this lens, LIKED!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i love your selection. I think I'm one of those people who spend more time looking at handmade jewelry than making pieces.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      I love your collection of jewelry resource books because it is such a useful trade to have, especially with sites like etsy around.

    • johnny-knox profile image

      johnny-knox 4 years ago

      Thank you for putting together this excellent book recommendations about Jewelry Making basics.. Very nicely done!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I really like how you did all your personal recommendations. well done and I certainly will stop here when I'm in the market for a jewelry making book.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      I only can buy Kindle books and not all on your list are available in the Kindle shop. Still the latest one I got on wire is The art of wire by J Marsha Michler, and since I als olove knotting-Ãlegant knotted jewelry"by Becky Meverden. Tying knots is almost as much fun as wrapping wire:)