Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jewelry Can Be Functional and Beautiful

Deco Eyeglass Chain

We think of jewelry as being something to look pretty.  But jewelry can often be functional as well as beautiful. 

The list of possibilities could be endless, but here are my top five types of functional jewelry designs along with some great examples:

1.  Eyeglass Lanyards and Necklaces:
A beautiful and functional jewelry design that helps you keep up with your glasses.  I make and sell these myself on Etsy.

Black Pearl and Crystal Eyeglass Chain 

Gold Pearl Eyeglass Necklace-Lanyard 

2.  Hair jewelry:

Head bands, hair clips, head pieces.  Some are worn daily - others for weddings and special occasions.

Here are a few beautiful examples I found on Etsy.

Handmade French Beaded Flower Barrette by SparklingGarden on Etsy

Winter Headband Decorated With Silver Beads by Tuschealpacas on Etsy

Ivory Cream Rose Crown Wedding Headpiece by Kisforkani on Etsy

3.  Magnifying Jewelry:
I love jewelry that has magnifying glass in it.  Perfect for those who don't want to carry reading glasses.  These designs I found on Etsy are both beautiful and functional:

Beautiful Magnifying Glass Wrapped with Beadwork by beadshead on Etsy

Beautiful Antique Brass Magnifying Glass Necklace by jenuineB on Etsy

4.  Lockets:

One of the oldest and most cherished types of functional jewelry.

Check out these beautiful examples of beautiful lockets:

Emerald Bewitched Locket by TwilightsCastle on Etsy.

Vintage Style Floral Oval Locket by Ringostone on Etsy

5.  Timepieces:

Another functional type of jewelry that's been around for ages!

I found these beautifully functional jewelry designs at - where else - Etsy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tutorial: How To Make Fish Hook Style Earring Wires

Have you ever wanted to make your own earring wires?  They are really not that hard to make.  Here is a tutorial for a DIY (do it yourself) simple fish hook style earring wire.

I am using sterling silver filled wire for this tutorial but you can use any type you prefer such as copper or brass.  Practice with some inexpensive type wire before trying any of the more expensive materials such as sterling silver or gold filled.  I prefer dead soft as opposed to full or half hard.  The dead soft is easy to work with and produces excellent results.

First, assemble your tools and supplies.  You will need:

  • Round nose and nylon flat jaw pliers.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Ruler
  • File - I bought mine at Lowe's home improvement store.
  • Steel wool.
  • Wire of your choice.
  • Round cylinder of some sort.  My cylinder is a dapping punch - I have a variety of sizes so I can choose different sizes depending on the size of the earring wires I want to make.  You can use most anything you have around the house such as writing pen or pencil.

You will also need:
  •  Chasing hammer.  If you don't have a chasing hammer, any flat headed hammer should work.
  •  Rubber mallet.  
  • Steel bench block.
  • Sandbag.


1.  Cut your wire to desired length.  For this tutorial I will use two inch size wire lengths.  Use your ruler to measure your first piece of wire.
For your next piece of wire, simply use the first piece of wire as your "ruler."  I usually go ahead and cut several pieces of wire and make multiple sets of earrings at a time.

2.  Next, you need to flush cut your wire ends.  Your wire cutters look different from each side. One side is for "flush"cutting and the other for "angle"cutting.  You will want to cut your wire with the flush cut side.  Make sure to wear protective eyewear when cutting your wire - those pieces of wire are known to fly in odd directions when you cut them.

Flush cutting

Angle cutting

Here is a side by side comparison of an angle cut and flush cut wire.  The top wire is angle cut, and the bottom one is flush cut.  You always want flush cut ends so that there are no sharp points that might hurt the ear when inserting.

3.  Now you want to use your file to sand down the end and make it very smooth.  I usually hold both pieces of wire together (or multiple pieces if you are making several earrings) and sand the ends in one direction only.  If you go back and forth, you actually make the ends more rough instead of less rough.  

4.  Next, use your steel wool and push the wire ends up and down through it to further smooth your wire ends.  This is optional but I like to really smooth the ends for added comfort.  In this photo I am using four pieces of wire since I was making multiple sets of earrings. 

5.  Now it's time to form your ear wires.  Do both pieces of wire together so that you will have uniformity in the shape of your ear wires.  Take your cylinder in your left (or non-dominant) hand.  Using your right (or dominant) hand, form the wire around the cylinder as follows:  (I like to place the wire so that one end of the wire is slightly longer - but some people prefer to make them equal.)

Your earring wires will now look as follows:

6.  Now you need to make your loop.  This could take some practice depending on how experienced you are in working with wire.  If you are just beginning, this is a good reason to start with an inexpensive type of wire.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp the shorter end.

Bend the wire back toward your pliers at a 90 degree angle.

Grasp the tip of the bent portion of wire with your round nose pliers.

Curl the tip back with a twisting motion toward the top of your earring wire.

7.  Make a "tail" for the other end of your wire using your nylon flat nose pliers.  Grasp the tip of the longer end of your ear wire and gently push it upward.

Here is what your earring wire now looks like.  Almost finished!

8.  Finally you will want to hammer your earring wire to harden it.  Place your steel bench block on top of your sandbag.  Remember to use a firm surface underneath.  The chasing hammer will be used to flatten the curve of your ear wire.  The rubber mallet hardens without flattening.  Some people choose not to flatten and will only use the rubber mallet.  It's up to you.

Use the flat end of your chasing hammer to flatten the curve of your ear wire.  You don't have to hit hard.  Usually 4 to 5 gentle strokes is sufficient.

Use your rubber mallet to hammer and harden the entire ear wire.  

Here is what a flattened and an unflattened earwire looks like:

And here is your finished pair of ear wires.  You are now ready to add a beaded dangle or charm.

Final note:  I usually also tumble my earring wires to further harden them.  I think it also makes the ends even smoother.  I use a Lortone rotary tumbler that I purchased from Fire Mountain Gems.  This step is optional but recommended if you are making lots of jewelry.

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to visit me at:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

DIY Christmas Ideas

With the Holidays just around the corner, I am getting the bug to start decorating.  So I thought I would share some of the inspirations I have found on the internet - a lot of them on Pinterest and Facebook.

Do you have a lot of old Christmas ornaments (like the ones pictured at left?)  Those pretty vintage Christmas ornaments are not mine - I found the photo at (one of my favorite places to visit now days is Pinterest!)  And I am thinking I have a lot of things lying around my house to use and repurpose for some great Holiday decorating.  

I have yet to try re-creating any of these, but hope to do so soon.  Here are some of the ideas I might just try this year.

Vintage Paper and Glitter Covered Glass Ornaments
Found at:

"Snow" Covered Wine Bottles - using Epsom salt
Found at:

Simple Jewel & Bauble Filled Glass Ornament
Found at

Beaded Ornament Hangers
Found on Pinterest at Just Hang On Ornament Hangers

DIY Christmas Garland With Glass Ornaments
Found at

Vintage Christmas Wreath
Found on Pinterest at:

Beaded Christmas Ornament
Found on Pinterest at Beadwork Designs by Joanie Jennigas

Beaded Christmas Garland for Windows
Found on Pinterest at:

Do you have any DIY ideas for this year?  Let me know ... I would love to see them!  Find me at:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY Wedding Tutorials and Ideas

Okay - for all you brides out there!  Here are a few links I found for some great DIY ideas!

DIY Beaded Wedding Tiara (from

DIY Beaded Wedding Garter (also found on

Matchbox Wedding Favors (found at OrchardAndBrown on Etsy)

Beaded Wine Glasses (found at

Wedding Guest Puzzle Book (found

Make your own wedding wine charms.  These were a set I custom made for a bride.  You can learn how to make your wine charms in my post: Tutorial For Making Beaded Wine Charms.

For more great wedding ideas, visit me at:
Facebook at  DJAweddings and DJAjewels
Etsy -

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wedding and Bridal Jewelry 2012

Are you a bride looking for fresh ideas for your wedding jewelry?  My newest Etsy shop is dedicated to custom, made to order bridal jewelry.  My shop is filled with ideas for brides and bridesmaids.  Any of my designs can be replicated exactly or modified and personalized to match your wedding colors and theme.
Pearl and Silver Filigree Bridal Earrings

Silver Filigree Heart Earrings

Bronze Pearl Earrings

Pearl Wedding Earrings
Pearl Wedding Necklace

Something Blue Bridal Earrings
Crystal Bridal Necklace

Remember, any of these designs can be customized and personalized in just about any way.  Like the design but need different colors of crystals and pearls?  Here is a color chart of some of the most popular Swarovski crystals and crystal pearls I use.

There is really no limit to the possibilities.  Visit DJAweddings on Etsy and let's get started on your bridal jewelry today!

Or contact me directly at: