5 Cheat Jewellery Making Tools

As a jewellery maker, I know all to often what it is like if you don’t own a particular type of tool or haven’t got a particular tool at hand.   It can be very frustrating.

So here’s 5 simple household items that may help you on your way.

1. A pen is an ideal bail maker if you don’t have any bail making pliers or mandrels.



2.  A tin can be used as a bracelet mandrel.

tin can

3.  Can’t find your wire cutters?  Grab your nail clippers!

nail clippers

4.  For all you wireworkers, a vegetable peeler can strip the plastic from wire to reveal copper wire.

vegetable peeler

5.  If you want to oxidise your piece, and have never used Liver of Sulphur, try boiling an egg.  When the egg is hard boiled, break the hot egg and place your piece in a plastic bag with the egg.  Seal the bag and watch your piece change colour.


You never know when these jewellery making cheats just may come in handy!

Do you have any cheat tips to share?

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Mookite Gemstone


One of the lovely things about making jewellery is that I work with gemstones, and it’s always a pleasure to discover those beautiful gems that I didn’t know of previously – Mookite being one of them.

Mookite, also known as Mookaite and Mook Jasper and found in Mooka Creek, OutbackminingAustralia – a ferrous sedimentary rock made up of microscopic creatures that have been fossilised and cemented into rock by silica.  The microscopic creatures indicate formation on a marine shelf.  It is interesting to see that mine in Australia say all names, other than Mookaite (and there are many more variants) are incorrect.

Its properties include self-awareness, higher guidance and is said to boost the immune system and assist in healing broken hearts.

I use them in my jewellery however because of the bold earthly colours which are just so striking.

Mookite Wirewrap Pendant  by Karen Jewellery
Mookite Wirewrap Pendant by Karen J Jewellery
Mookite Copper Wirewrap Pendant by Karen J Jewellery
Mookite Wirewrap  Pendant by Karen J Jewellery                                                                               

Did you think Mookite was just for jewellery?  Look at this incredible sculpture by Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio, sold at Bonhams in 2014   It sold for £40,080!

Rooster sold at Bonhams

I  hope you can see the beauty of this gemstone as I do.

Let me know if you have ever discovered a gemstone that you were not too familiar with?

Ref with thanks to: Gemporia.com, outbackmining.com, bonhams.com

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Appreciating Feedback


Today, it has been suggested I write a blog about feedback from my Karen J Jewellery customer’s about my wirework.

Ooh, that’s a bit pretentious, I thought. surely that would be “blowing your own trumpet?”  The response was “no it’s not, because you didn’t provide the feedback. Your customer’s did.”

I receive feedback from various sources, mainly being social media.  I am present on most platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  Feedback doesn’t necessarily mean a comment – a repin on Pinterest, for example, is a great compliment.

My craft is visual, so feedback can come directly from a photograph before a customer has even purchased.

Here is one for example, received on Twitter in response to me vying for Theo Phaphitis’ attention on his  #SBS event.


Goldstone Copper Wirework Pendant by Karen J Jewellery
Goldstone Copper Wirework Pendant
by Karen J Jewellery

I also receive feedback from Craft Fairs.  Again, it is visual, but also tactile, as my work can be picked up.  I tend to find customers in this area are very appreciative of the work that has been put into your craft because of this reason.

Not all feedback is positive though.  I’ve been quite fortunate so far and not received negative feedback (touch wood!).  A lady on Facebook once said I used too much copper in my work.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure whether she meant I wasn’t making enough silver pieces or whether there was too much copper particular pieces.  It didn’t offend me in the slightest…I was made up someone had spoken to me on Facebook!! I responded appropriately, but even if you do get negative feedback, surely this could be used constructively to develop your business.

Another suggestion that I know works with some businesses, is to keep “A Book of Awesome” so you can make note of all your customers ‘positive’ feedback, thus giving you the urge  to carry one on those gloomy days that occur to us all.  Maybe keep those constructive criticisms at the back as part of your development. Maybe.

At the end of the day – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I know my jewellery is not to everyone’s taste.  It’s subjective – but as long as my Super Customer appreciates it, then I’m happy.


How do you deal with feedback in your business?

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Best of Karen J Jewellery week one.



What an eventful week! I published my first Karen J Jewellery blog and I thank you kindly for reading, commenting and sharing.


It is my intention to keep to my niche of wirework, and I do appreciate it is a very niche subject. However, I hope you agree,  there is lots of scope to talk about crafts, fashion, style, design etc.  I will be adding video links in the future for jewellery making techniques.


So what was my most popular blog this week? This was the clear winner!

chain nose pliers

10 Essential Steps of a Jewellery Maker


craft fair layout This was a close second.

 10 Tips for a Stress Free Craft Fair Stall

This one was very popular too, as we all have distractions. Why don’t you see if yours compares to mine?

Distractions of a Jewellery Maker  53103E1F-869B-4509-AA79-095CF72677B9


These two are based on my thoughts.  I wonder whether they resonate with your own thoughts?

When Fashion Doesn’t Exist

Dream Designs

Wirework Artist or Jewellery Maker


This I hopefully offers inspiration to those thinking about doing something they may be slightly uncomfortable or apprehensive with…then reaping the benefits in the end.

To Talk or not to Talk, That is the Question

I hope you enjoyed reading as I have writing them.   If you don’t want to miss another blog post from Karen J Jewellery, you can subscribe here.  you can also subscribe to my up and coming newsletter.

In the meantime, if you have any topics you would like me to consider, please let me know.

Return to Karen J Jewellery website.


Stamping Out Wirework!

One of the many things I love about creating wirework jewellery is its diversity, just from a reel of wire and a gemstone.

Wirework encompasses lots of techniques, whether you’re focussing on wire    Goldstone pendantwrapping or wire weaving.  They are only two techniques, but the results that can be achieved are immense and diverse.   It is one of the reasons why I stopped ‘general’ jewellery making, as there is enough to focus on within wirework alone.

However, I have decided to digress…just a little.  I’ll let you into a little secret.  I made an impulse purchase…a metal stamping kit. I know it’s not working with wire, but it is metal; flat and round not long and thin, but the same material. Surely that counts for something?! Plus I can keep to my pendant themes.stamps  I feel very excited.  I’ve never used this medium before so I know I will need to practice.  Oh what fun, especially as I get to use my hammers!  hammersI love using my hammers so I will be able to experiment with textures as well as lettering.

The only problem I have, amongst lots of my readers no doubt, is that “T” word…Time! I shall not let that deter me though.  As soon as that little window of time appears, and I can tear me away from my wirework, I shall be there…hammers at the ready!

Let me know if you have made an impulse purchase recently?

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10 Essential Steps of Jewellery Making

I mentioned in an earlier blog about a recent presentation I did where a lady said she would never again question prices at a craft fair now she knew what time and effort  went into handcrafted items – so I thought I would share with you how the process of my jewellery making.

1     First you need your idea.  Have you created a design or using a pattern.  If you’re using a pattern, have you checked the designers copyright?  Most of my designs are freestyle – much more fun!!

2     Check you have the necessary materials.  I have lots of beautiful gemstones to work with, but I need to check whether I have the correct gauge of wire.

3     chain nose pliersGather all your tools together that you need to complete the piece.  It saves a lot of time having them together rather than searching for them one by one when you need them.

4    After preparing comes the fun bit –  making your piece. donut in the making

5     When you have completed the main piece, it may need finishing.  I work a lot with copper so I may want to oxidise the piece to give it its finishing touch.

6     When you are happy with your make, you need to prepare it for public viewing, so lights, camera, action, time to take those photographs.  I will be doing a blog in the future about photography.  This in itself can be quite time consuming, adjusting settings, lights and angles, but the effort is worth it.

7     Once you have your pictures, they may need editing. I like clear white backgrounds, so I need to edit the picture to get the result I like. You will also need to resize your photographs if you put them on a website. You may want to add a watermark too.

IMG_0600Pink Quartz copper Rose Gold wire (1)

8     Once you’re happy with your photographs, you’re ready to put your item on your website.

9    Now your ready for marketing – don’t forget Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc etc

10    SALES!  Well, you’ve earned it after all that hard work! Don’t forget packaging and that trip to the post office.

Do you have a sequence to follow in your busin.ess?

If you have found this interesting, please pin to your Pinterest boards.  You can find me on Pinterest too.

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10 Tips for a Stress Free Craft Fair Stall

craft fair banner

Craft fairs are a successful part of my jewellery business.

Each craft fair I attend is different in its own way, whether it be the venue, its cause, or just the general atmosphere, but one thing is essential for all craft fairs…BE PREPARED!

Here is some guidance which you may find will come in handy if you are thinking of doing a craft fair.

1     Is your display organised? Find out the size of the table beforehand and plan your display at home before you leave.  This is me practising my display at homecraft fair layout based on a 6′ x 2′ table.  Then when you arrive, you will know what goes where.

2      Check to see if there are going to be other stalls selling the same product as you.  Jewellery, for example, is extremely popular, but make sure it’s your stall that stands out.

3     Check whether you will be by a power point if you require  electricity for lighting, for example, or a laptop.  Does the venue have wi-fi (if you need it).

4     Have a float prepared with plenty of change.

5     Do you have signage to say who you are?

6     Leave your business cards on the table.

7     Leave a clip-board for names and email addresses to build up your customer database.

8     Do you have a card terminal for credit/debit cards?  Could you be losing business without one? Check the internet for the best deals with the card companies. Credit card sales often lead to multiple sales!

9     Introduce yourself to other stallholders.  Swap business cards and network.  This is a great way to make connections and learn about other opportunities.

10    Take a pen and paper to make a note of your sales, customer orders or requests.

Did I say 10 tips?  Well here is another, and perhaps the most important!

11     Check whether the venue offers refreshments, and if not, take a flask!

I hope that helps with organising your next event.  Craft fairs are fun!

Tell me what advice you have when attending a craft fair?

If you have found this useful, please share to your social media friends.  If you share on Facebook and add #KarenJJewellery  to your post, I shall let my friends know about your page.

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When Fashion Doesn’t Exist.

Imagine if there was no fashion, no fashion industry, no mass production of designs, no advertising, no desire to get your designs known worldwide. Imagine fashion didn’t exist.

I wonder how we would look?  Would we wear the same type of outfits because there was no other option?  Would our garments be drab and colourless?  Fashion has been around for centuries, so it is very hard to imagine life without it.


Even if we are not fashionable or interested in the fashion industry, fashion is all around us, whether it be the clothes we wear, what covers our walls or even our kitchen sink.  Fashion offers variety, choice, style and individuality.

By the same token, jewellery expresses our individuality too.  Imagine if there was no jewellery to adorn ourselves.  How drab!  Jewellery is to our outfits what make-up is to our skin.  Decoration.  It highlights our outfits and allows us to express our individuality. For me, not wearing jewellery is like not putting vinegar on my chips or not having gravy on my roast dinner.  It just can’t be done!

When it comes to fashion and style, jewellery dot’s the ‘I’s’ and crosses the ‘t’s’.

Tell me how your jewellery fits in with your style.

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Dream Designs

I’m sure you’ve been through that experience where you’re laying in bed, you can’t sleep, your head is in a whir, then suddenly, you have a Eureka! moment.

Then you wake up and poomf, your Eureka! moment vanishes into thin air. poomf!I do a lot of thinking about designs in the early hours.  At one point, I thought about having a notebook on my bedside table.  These thoughts though, they’re not deep  dreams, but I’m not quite awake enough to jump out of bed and take notes.  I just seem to be drawn in.

Some ideas though have survived until morning, but admittedly, when I start designing the piece, something is not quite right, either the structure or the design. It just demonstrates dreamlike ideas don’t materialise as well as ideas you have while you’re awake, alert and focussed.

I had an idea last night, about 2am; a simple 3 x 2 weave circling small round Quartz stones, then made into a larger circle.  I can see the image in my head, but somehow I get the  feeling it will look better in my imagination.

Do you have inspiring thoughts in the early hours?

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To talk or not to talk…that is the question.

I was recently asked to do a talk/presentation at a local club about my jewellery.

The look on my face said it all…what on earth do I talk about?!

“Just tell us what you do and how you do it.  Bring your tools if you like.”

I nervously agreed and a date was set for 3 months time.  Plenty of time, I thought, no need to worry yet.  Then another speaker wanted to rearrange and I was asked to attend in 2 weeks.  Eek!

So I began to prepare.  Admittedly, I didn’t write notes because I knew what I was talking about; my subject wasn’t the issue – my confidence was.  How on earth was I going to speak for 30 minutes?  Would the crowd be interested? Would the men be interested?

I began my talk.  I talked about the gemstones, the wires, my methods, and had a guessing game about what the tools were for, and that was before I began to talk about photography, editing and marketing. Wirework Tools

Fifty minutes later, I had to stop my self!

I had done it and the wonderful thing was I got sales, orders and repeat sales, just from attending.  But the icing on the cake was a comment from a lady who said she would never again question prices at craft fairs, now she knew what work went into making handcrafted items. What wonderful recognition for artisans!

If ever you’re in doubt about attending an event, have a reconsider, as you never know what benefits it may bring.

Have you had a similar experience where you were unsure, but turned out successful?