Design Your Own Jewelry: Elements of Style

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originally posted February 1, 2010

There are many elements that determine the design of a new jewelry piece – the materials used, the designer’s own personal style and, for those who design for a living, the clients needs just to name a few. If you’re new to making jewelry but don’t know where to start, the following design idea basics should help you in creating new pieces to add to your jewelry collection.

The Repeated Pattern

Repeating a pattern throughout a necklace or bracelet creates a nice symmetric look, and it’s probably one of the easiest designs to create. I made the bracelet above by starting out with small beads, gradually stringing on larger beads, then back down to the smaller beads. I repeated this pattern three times for the desired length of this bracelet.

The Asymmetric Design

Creating an asymmetric look is another option. Simply string your focal beads a bit off center, generally to one side or the other. In the example above, I used black onyx beads in 3 different sizes, starting out with the smallest to largest creating a graduated look in the size of the onyx. Then, I added five large, bright red, imitation Cinnabar beads a little off center and then finished stringing my black onyx.

I used the same asymmetrical design concept in the bracelet below. Keep in mind that using different shaped beads together creates visual interest as well. Notice the texture created when mixing the smooth round black onyx beads with the larger, saucer-shaped rhodonite beads.

The Centerpiece Design

When you want to emphasize larger focal beads, make them the centerpiece of your design. The 3 faceted teardrop glass beads make up the centerpiece of the above necklace. I broke them up by placing smaller spacer beads and accent beads in between them. To finish this piece, I used two different repeated patterns up the sides of the necklace.

These are just a few design ideas, but there really are endless options when it comes to making your own jewelry. Keep in mind, too, that the best way to start designing a necklace or bracelet is to lay the pattern out on a bead board to see if it works before stringing your design. This will help you figure out the right length for your necklace/bracelet , as well as how many beads you’ll need to create your design.

Happy Crafting!

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