Add Beauty and Value to Your Pieces With Handmade Jewelry Findings

You’re presumably on the Bluprint blog because you have an appreciation of handmade — an appreciation of small details, great care and hours if not days spent dedicated to making and creating. Handmade objects – whether they are a painting hanging on your living room wall or a mug for your daily cup of coffee – have just a little more heart and soul than mass-produced items. They are often limited edition or even one-of-a-kind, making them even more special, and make daily life just that little bit brighter!

Handmade bracelet featuring artisan beads and handmade copper clasp from The Curious Bead ShopPhotos via The Curious Bead Shop

As crafters, we don’t just appreciate the aesthetics of handmade items, but we can also fully appreciate the time, skill and sheer effort that goes into every stitch, paint stroke and turn of wire. We don’t just see the object — we see the story behind it. And when we put our own blood, sweat and tears into making jewelry, we want whoever ends up wearing our handmade art to see a little of that story!

In her post on using artisan beads, Ema Kilroy introduced us to the idea of using handmade or art beads in our work for their beauty and the added value they bring to our work. I want to take this one step further, and add the idea of not simply using handmade items for your focal or complementary beads, but also for the seemingly little things. Those bits of a jewelry design that are easy to overlook — the nuts and bolts that hold it all together — the findings.

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See also our post on how to make your own jewelry findings.

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5 tips for using handmade jewelry findings:

Handmade tin and brass toggle clasp from Lorelei EurtoPhoto via Lorelei Eurto

1. Start small

If you are working on a tight budget, start small. Why not find an interesting ring component and use a pre-fabricated toggle bar to create a unique clasp? 

Handmade sterling silver Rose Blossom clasp from Green Girl StudiosPhoto via Green Girl Studios

There are beautiful handmade clasps, headpins and earwires available in all sorts of styles and materials.

Handmade polymer and copper headpins from HumblebeadsPhoto via Humblebeads

Handmade earrings with handmade copper earwires from the Curious Bead Shop

2. Go beyond simple

If you’re anything like me, simple earrings are a staple at craft fairs. Elevate them above their simple status by using handmade earwires to give them that special touch. Why use a mass-produced, factory-made clasp or earwires when there are so many beautiful handmade options out there?

Handmade earrings featuring artisan beads and handmade sterling silver earwires from The Curious Bead Shop

These handmade earrings above feature artisan beads and handmade sterling silver earwires from The Curious Bead Shop. The beautiful handmade lampwork beads from Helen Chalmers were too special to use with mass-produced earwires!

Handmade earrings featuring artisan beads and findings

3. Buy direct

Shopping handmade is almost as fun as working with handmade findings! Often, you can buy directly from the maker, which means you are more likely to get one-off items. Try exploring Etsy for seemingly endless shops of handmade components and findings. The handmade earrings above feature artisan beads and findings and cute tin bead caps from Lorelei Eurto!

Handmade necklace featuring artisan beads and handmade pewter hook and ceramic connector

4. Get creative with clasps

Some handmade clasps can really be the talking point in a piece of jewelry! Some handmade clasps can be a little intimidating in size, compared with a simple lobster clasp. Make them the focal point, and combine them with simply strung beads.

This handmade necklace above features artisan beads and handmade pewter hook and ceramic connector. I’ve set this beautiful and decorative clasp to one side so that it can be seen while being worn.

Handmade bracelet featuring artisan beads, using a ceramic star toggle from Round Rabbit Extra, and handmade pewter button from Green Girl Studio - don't be afraid to combine different elements and materials within the same design.
5. Combine materials

Don’t be afraid to really push the boat out. Try combining different materials and artists in the same piece of jewelry, as I have in my star bracelet above. These items are special and unique. You can see, simply by looking at them in isolation, the beauty they could bring to your designs.

It’s amazing what a touch of handmade components, within your own handmade work, can really do for your designs. Go on — be bold, and support handmade!

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What’s your favorite handmade finding to add to your pieces?

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