DIY Jewelry Techniques: The Hollywood Look For Less

Sep 14, 2012
AP Photo by Richard Drew, via CBS News


Elizabeth Taylor was famous for much more than her extravagant jewelry collection, but her dazzling diamonds and gemstones didn't exactly go unnoticed, either. The Hollywood star's collection of more than 300 pieces of jewelry was auctioned off, piece by piece, last December at Christie's auction house in New York City.

One of the pieces that caught my eye was an ivory-and-gold necklace composed of 18th and 19th century opera chips mounted in gold and attached to a gold chain. The necklace was valued at around $2,000 and sold for $314,500. But you can get a similar look for much less by using techniques from Handcrafted Jewelry 2012.



French Faux Porcelain Charm Bracelet
by Shelly Hickox



Artist Shelly Hickox used die-cutting, painting, stamping, and embossing enamel techniques to create charms for her French Faux Porcelain Charm Bracelet. The same techniques can be used to create faux opera chips. Choose letter stamps in different fonts to spell the name of your favorite opera house or of opera houses from places you've traveled.

Vintage Chandelier Necklace
by Jessica Inman





Apply copper tape around the edges of the faux chips and solder them, like Jessica Inman did to a chandelier crystal for her Vintage Chandelier Necklace.



Gypsy-Inspired Gelatin Necklace
by Jenn Mason



Finally, assemble the necklace by using jump rings to attach the charms to a chain the same way Jenn Mason, Editor of Cloth Paper Scissors and Pages magazines, did for her Gypsy-Inspired Gelatin Necklace.






There are 39 mixed-media techniques in Handcrafted Jewelry 2012 that you can learn and apply to your own jewelry projects. Create the projects in the magazine to familiarize yourself with the techniques--then adapt them to your own designs or let a red-carpet piece of jewelry inspire your own version!

What's your favorite method for making jewelry? Do you incorporate unusual objects, make your own beads, or use special techniques? Share what you like to do in the comments section below!

Happy media mixing!

Kate Wilson
Project Editor

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Valbeads wrote
on Sep 22, 2012 11:56 AM

I am really enjoying wireworking right now- learning to create my own earring frames, texturizing and twisting metal, wrapping beads into a feame.  I've also learned to wire wrap my own bezels for stones whether they be cabs, regular faceted or even irregular stones.

BlytheS wrote
on Sep 23, 2012 3:51 PM

The necklace of antique theater tickets own by Elizabeth Taylor was previously owned by famed costume designer Edith Head. Edith was like a mother to Elizabeth Taylor when she was growing up in the Hollywood scene. When Edith Head died the will designated that this necklace was to be given to Elizabeth Taylor. This beautiful necklace was Edith Head's signature jewelry  piece as she wore it frequently.

Kate Wilson wrote
on Oct 2, 2012 1:52 PM

Val--Wireworking is such a challenging and fun craft to learn! I'm trying to learn it myself, but it can be a tough cookie to crack! It's great you're wrapping your own bezels! I think a simple wire-wrapped stone is just the perfect focal!

Blythe--Thanks for mentioning Edith Head! I knew she had given the piece to Liz Taylor, but I wasn't aware of the special relationship they had. What a great story to go with an unusual and charming piece of jewelry!