basic jewelry making

Tools of the Trade

This is all about the very basic processes in costume jewelry making.

First, we’ll go over the tools you’ll need and some of the items that you can use to build jewelry. Then I’ll show you the basic ways to connect the pieces.

Here is a picture of the tools that I use:

Wire Cutters (pink handles)

Needle Nose Pliers (dark blue handles)

Flat Nose Pliers or (cyan blue handles)

Round Nose Pliers (purple handles)

You may come across a variety of other tools that can be handy but I find that these are all that’s needed for the basics.

Loops, Charms and Beads! Oh My!

Here is a picture of some items you may want to use in jewelry making.

This list and image contain a variety of pieces parts but it’s only a tiny selection of what’s available to you. For each part I included a description of the items in the picture for you to be able to put a name to a part.

They are:


Silver Filigree Bead

Colored Glass Lampwork Beads (2 blue beads)

Turquoise Turtle Bead

Indian Glass Foil Bead (red)


Rondelle Faceted Crystal (round or globe shaped – several sizes and colors pictured)

Bi-cone Faceted Crystal (wide in the middle but tapered to each outside point – several sizes and colors pictured)


Head Pins (long pin with a flat head)

Eye Pins (long pin with a loop on the end)

Ball Pin (long pin with ball on the end)

Jump Loops:

(pictured in several sizes of silver and gold)

Earring Loops:

(Gold and Silver)


Tiger Head Charm

Tree of Life Charm

Fleur de Lis Charm

Opening and Closing Jump Rings

Jump Rings are the connectors that bring together the different pieces of jewelry such as beads, charms, chains, pendants, etc. It’s important that they are closed without gaps which would allow pieces to slip off and get lost.

To open a jump ring, clasp the jump ring on either side of the break with a pair of pliers and gently pull one side toward you and the other side away from you maintaining the circle of the ring. Pulling the ring open like a clamshell will most likely never close properly.

If the wire of the ring is flexible enough you may be able to use your thumb and forefinger on one side of the break and a pair of pliers on the other side.

To close the jump ring just pull the two ends back towards each other using the same method used to separate them. When you feel the two ends graze against each other you know the ring is closed properly.

Of course you’ll want to work with beads and crystals. It’s easy to string them along a cord or line but if you want to dangle them from a chain or earring then you’ll need to know how to make them into a connecting component. It’s easy and I’ll step you through it at Making Simple Bead Loop Connections!

Once you get the hang of dangling baubles from simple looped rings you may want to step up to Making Wrapped Bead Loop Connections like this one. It’s just a little more work but lends a much more professional look. Not to mention that your bauble is so much more secure.

Well, keep checking back because I’m always coming up with new ideas and posting them here.

Take care and keep in touch!