Monday 7 November 2011

Review: Belle Femme Jewellery

While on holiday I met with an extremely talented handmade jewellery maker named Victoria Allman. She is the founder and crafter of Belle Femme Jewellery, who I felt could do with a review.

First of all Belle Femme create a huge array of jewellery from bracelets to necklaces, pendants and technically, anything you want under their bespoke, personalised jewellery making service.
The main focus on most of the jewellery at Belle Femme is the use of a variety of beads (plastic, stone or glass) to create a perfect harmony of handmade perfection. Vicky manages to use her talent as a jewellery designer to ensure that the combination of beads are arranged in such a way that would look as if it should have a designer label attached to it.

The elegance of the designs is really what stands out to me and makes me love every inch of the creations. The level of detail that goes into some of the pieces can really be seen as true dedication to make sure her style is embedded within every part of the piece.

Another point that makes Belle Femme stand out to me is it's ability to reach a variety of audiences, and to great effect by means of bespoke items. The customer simply gives an idea, and Belle Femme will create it to a standard that the customer will love and tell their friends.

Overall Belle Femme is only young, yet has the potential to grow as big as it wants. I would love to work with them in the future, and hope to collaborate on designs. Currently they only have a Facebook page (links below) which has all their images of the current designs and work that has gone on to be purchased. Hopefully we will see a full site in the coming months or maybe even a blog to really hear from the great crafter herself, so she can impart valuable wisdom.

Facebook link: Belle Femme Jewellery.

I'll leave you with my favourite piece by Belle Femme. Wonder if you can tell me why this might have a special place in my jewellery fondness?

Thursday 29 September 2011

A Nested Statement

Yes, being a programmer calls for pun-intended headlines.

A very unexpected post today about an idea from the dear Lisa Martinelli to create a pendant based on a bird nest. As soon as I saw it I wanted to make it. So I did. My first attempt below is quite a small pendant using 5mm rose quartz beads, and wrapped in silver-plated copper wire (22 Ga). I think I can do better with a bit of practice and bigger, more egg shaped beads.

Quite easy to create, but hard to master the effect of the nest. I think you have to make sure you use enough wire to get the nest effect. Not too little wire that you have no nest, but not too much so it looks like a bunched up wire ball hiding a stone (sounds like a possible experiment though).

I must thank Sarah Ortega for the inspiration to create the pendant from her tutorial here -
Very simple instructions and easy to follow with some amazing examples of her bird nests.

I think I'll start selling these with a first commission possibly from another co-worker, Emma Lawson (Thank you!)

A quick note also - I'm back at university now so I am still planning on creating when I can and completing some tutorials soon, however my work may get in the way of updates at times so I apologise in advance for long delays on posting.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

The Tree of Life

Since I began creating gemstone jewellery, I always remember coming across a pendant that always caught my eye. The name 'Tree of Life' alone had me urging to replicate whatever could sound so peaceful, and then I saw what the pendant looked like - I was stunned by the beauty of people's creations.
From then on I decided I would make my own Tree of Life pendant, however the design was quite difficult and very delicate for me as a beginner. So I did what I do best and researched the pendant and collected the tools, materials and knowledge to create my own.
Below is the final product:

I used 1mm square, sterling silver wire for the main loop, 4mm silver plated wire for the trunk, branches and roots, and finally I used rose quartz chip beads for the leaves. I believe that using rose quartz against the silver really makes the pendant shine on the wearer.

I could certainly do a much better job, especially on the roots. I made a small mistake when wrapping at the bottom, but couldn't unwrap as it would have ruined the whole pendant.
I will definitely be creating more variations of this pendant in the future, however due to a lack of funds I will be unable to buy any more sterling silver wire for the time being.
This pendant will be going on sale on my store at in the next few days.

More good news keeps on coming this week with my new directory listing at UK Craft Blog which will hopefully allow my blog to expand and get comments from all over. I'm ready for some good ol' criticism (constructive of course =) ).

Thursday 1 September 2011

Wire Squiggle Rings With A Final Farewell

A couple of weeks ago I finished my university placement at Carat Manchester. I was very sad to go, and will miss all my team! I love you guys (especially if you're reading this).

Although I may be gone, I am still very much in touch with my ex-colleagues including the intern who took over from me - Holly Keenaghan.
Holly was kind enough to commission me to create new rings for her and family. The rings themselves were created by wrapping a small length of silver or copper wire around a pen, to create the ring shape. Then I used pliers to create the squiggle (hence the name). These rings were created with inspiration from my new wire jewellery guide by Linda Jones.
Adding a small gemstone to compliment the ring perfectly is up to the buyer, but Holly chose the lovely colours below, and chose amethyst and candy jade for her mother. I unfortunately don't have pictures of these rings yet, but Holly will hopefully provide me with modelled rings soon. Below are the four I created for Holly:

Each ring has a different coloured double
As I couldn't decide which was the right one for Holly, I decided to create fours rings - a silver and copper with a rose quartz bead, and a silver and copper with three 4mm aventurine beads.

As with most of my team at Carat, I wanted to make everyone something at least once, and Alex Pickering was the only one left without a gift. So I decided to do something on a whim and drill through a D20 die. Luckily Alex's die drilled through instantly, unlike another poor D20 afterwards that has a drill bit snapped off inside of it.

Green D20 fully drilled through and pendantised (It is a word...)
The pendant originally was going to be made using silver wire, however after testing with copper, I thought the effect with the gold numbers worked the best. Alex liked it anyway, and brought him luck as he passed his Microsoft advertising exam with flying colours.
I'm hoping to dill a few more dice to make similar items. Share your dice creations, or comment on mine below!

Before I go back to university, I'll be completing at least one tutorial here, and I've decided to do it on the rings. I'll be using my own techniques from what I have seen in Linda Jones' book.
Let me know below if you'd rather see me do a video, or old school step by step tutorial too. I'd love to know if you'd like to see my face.

Friday 12 August 2011

New Trees and Bracelets That Survive Glastonbury

A few posts ago I talked about my new bracelets that I would be creating. I did a few and gave them out to people who wanted them at work. One person was Lisa Martinelli, who very kindly wore it for the longest time I've seen anyone where my jewellery. She even took it to the Glastonbury Festival and put it through an ordeal for any item there. It went through showers, mud, grime and simple drunkenness, but it came out unharmed and looking like I had just given it to her.
Rather proud that my bracelets can survive Glastonbury. That has to be a new USP right?

The new bracelets can be found in my Etsy store below. You can have custom sizes and choose your own stones too:

Now, for my favourite creations alongside my new bracelets are my gemstone trees. With 25 feet of copper wire, some gemstone chip beads and a good 2 hours work you can create a tree like these:

Rose Quartz Gemstone Tree
Peridot Gemstone Tree

A lot of effort but well worth it in the end. I'll be making more of these and hopefully if I can get a cheap stall in the near future, I'll be selling these there. For now you can purchase the only tree available (for now) on Etsy:

Before I go, I thought I'd give a big thank you to for providing great gemstones for me to create my jewellery and stuff with. Sharon at Silver Orchid has been a great help and I would recommend the site to anyone looking for good quality beads and equipment at affordable prices. I only pay £2 for any strand of gemstones at 36 inches per strand! Much better than some dealers who charge also based on the stone itself, and for peridot that can be a lot more.

In upcoming posts I'll be featuring new products including a tree of life pendant, and I want to share with you how I create my bracelets and trees in step by step tutorials, and maybe a video if I feel up to it.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Hopefully This Won't Be Too Vial

Finally! I've just posted a new product on Etsy. A small addition to what will hopefully be a massive rush of products soon.

Oh and I apologise for the awful headline pun.

Behold the mighty ickle bottle:

This little cylindrical bottle is filled with various gemstones (of very tiny proportions) and can be uncorked to fill with whatever the wearer can fit in there.
I have made the pendant with a black lace that suits the silver metal of the bail I use to hang the pendant from. The clasp system was also hand made.
An odd piece but I'm hoping that it could be a quirky compliment for someone to wear and be noticed.

Linky to the Etsy product is here.

As a special treat, I'm adding a coupon code on Etsy for all products that will give 30% off the price! So readers of my blog, which may not be many Etsy shoppers, will get a rather spiffing offer when doing me the pleasure of gracing my words.

The coupon code will be: BLOGFTW
EDIT: The above coupon code is no longer available. I shall be doing more promotions in future posts =).

Comments on this blog are now open for anyone, so feel free to leave your comments without logging in.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Just A Quickie

As the title suggests this post is just a short one to introduce my new carry box. Rather dull probably to some, however others may find it interesting to see all my stuff I use to make my jewellery.

It is a bit messy at the moment, but as soon as I stop being lazy I'll tidy it up. My favourite part is the tiers that fold out when you open up the lid.
And this box was only £7.20 at Fred Aldous! Bargain in my eyes. Follow this link if you'd like to see the box on the Aldous website.

Next post will be on a small pendant that I made from a tiny bottle (or vial). It's cute.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Back With A New Idea

Well it's good to be back after a small break. Unfortunately my Internet decided to go AWOL and then to much on and blah blah. Never mind, here's a new product that has come about from me - bracelets:

Blue Goldstone - Silver plated wire
Red Coral - Copper wire

These have come about purely by 'commission' by my good friends at MediaVest, however I enjoyed making these, and feel I should put these on the store eventually.
The clasp on both bracelets are my favourite part oddly. I felt that was the most crafty part.

I have also recently bought some more stock from Fred Aldous and Manchester Minerals including silver plated wire, and square sterling silver wire to create a very beautiful pendant called a tree of life. You can see what one looks like here. I have to get it perfect first time because silver isn't the cheapest =P

I'm going to be posting quite a few updates in the coming days, which I was going to post all today, but I thought I'd spread the love over a few days.

If you have any comments on the bracelets or any ideas or improvements, then please comment below.
You can now Like my Facebook page using the box on the right, or by following this link.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Merkaba: The Challenge

A Merkaba is a star tetrahedron consisting of two interpenetrating three-sided pyramids that form a three-dimensional star of David.


I call it a fun pointy shape, and funnily enough it has been on my mind as to how to make it into a pendant, considering it has to be wire wrapped.

It also has to be pretty damn perfect because it was one of the most expensive stones I bought (in terms of size and quality) at the Rock, Gem 'n' Bead show at Event City in Manchester a couple of weeks ago.

Here's what I have so far:

I probably won't end up keeping it like this because I don't think the copper works very well with Amethyst and I did a scruffy job at twisting the loop.
If anyone reading this has any ideas then please let me know. This will be one of my luxury (aka expensive) items on my Etsy store when it is finished.

Sunday 24 April 2011

The Perfect Spiral


It has been a few weeks but I have been working at various new ideas and getting some 'stock' together, including my industrial reel of 1000 ft copper wire.

Along with the purchase of the wire I also bought a wire spiral maker, to make those perfect coils you always wanted...Well I did anyway.

I first made the coils, and then coiled those coils to make, well Uber Coils. They can now be beaded to other stuff. Hopefully I'll find a use for them.

And here is the coiling tool:

Rather nifty when using it, not flimsy. That wooden shaft is very solid and hard.

Ahem, anyway, I'm hoping to get some new stuff on Etsy in the coming weeks as I think I need more pendants and variety of them to make them sell, because as of yet, no buyers =(.

Lots of commissions in work though, so thanks to all you guys!

Friday 1 April 2011

My Cagey Idea

I have just created my first small batch of pendants that are 'caged' within brass craft wire. This is the best thing I can do so far that actually looks decent. I do hope to expand on these designs because otherwise I think too many spirals might get boring.

Medium-Speckled Snowflake Obsidian
I'm 86.7% happy with my first attempts, but as they are some of the simpler designs then this score isn't amazing.
Drilling into stones will be my next task, but I'll need to buy some supplied from Manchester Minerals in Stockport tomorrow. Fun times!

For now, I leave you with my main tool for the trade at the present time.

Pliers of Doom™

Thursday 31 March 2011

My First Handmade Gemstone Pendant

Welcome to my blog about my new hobby of creating handmade pendants.

I'll be mainly creating these from gemstones and wire, however I may try different things as inspiration hits me like a soggy glove.

When I get a bit better I may post some tutorials and screenshots on how I did it. For now, here is my first attempt which is on sale on Etsy at . If you like it, then by all means get it! But be quick because that is literally my only listing so far, but more will come.

Enjoy it's citrine-y goodness: