Designing the Back of Your Jewelry (Video)

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 26

by Rena Klingenberg.

Do you ever add special touches to the back side of your jewelry? Some people will definitely notice them:

Transcript of This Video:

Have you ever noticed that when people pick up a piece of jewelry out of your display, they often turn it over to look at the back side of it?

I was talking to a jewelry artist friend about that once, and he said, “I always wonder – when they flip it over, what are they looking for?”

Well, I think a lot of people want to see how the back of it is made, how you’ve put the piece of jewelry together, and what’s on the other side of it.

Other people are interested to see if there’s a sterling silver mark, or some sort of a maker’s mark that would be worth seeing to find out more about the piece of jewelry.

And I think for some people, it’s a tactile experience – the flipping it over in their hand. How does it feel as they turn the piece over in their hand?

But whatever their reason for turning the piece of jewelry over, why not give them something interesting to see when they’re looking at the back side?

Not necessarily something major, but just some small detail or small touch.

There are a lot of little details you could add to the back of a piece of jewelry to make it worth flipping it over to see.

Here’s a pair of earrings where I’ve done something like that.

I made these earrings from Chinese coins that are a thousand years old:

ancient coin earrings

Ancient coin earrings by Rena Klingenberg

Here’s the back of them:

back of ancient coin earrings by Rena Klingenberg

The special touch I added to these is on the wirework at the top and bottom of each coin – I finished off the ends of these wires by creating a decorative little rosette instead of just clamping the wire ends down flat against the coin.

It’s just a small detail, but it’s something that makes it worth seeing when you turn the coins over to see the back of the earrings.

So why not include some sort of interesting detail on the backs of your pieces – such as a bit of wirework, some metal stamping, or a tiny unexpected bead.

People are often delighted to discover these secret touches when they flip the jewelry over.

And it’s the kind of lovely handmade touch that adds charm, a story, and some perceived value to your work.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on putting something special on the back of a piece of jewelry to make it worth seeing when people flip it over!

Thanks so much for joining me today, and I’ll see you next time.

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Brass Aztec and Coin Jewelry by Rena Klingenberg

Necklace – From the Aztec Bib Necklace tutorial by Rena Klingenberg. Brass, leather, wood.

Earrings – By Rena Klingenberg. Faux coins with 14k gf earwires.

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Comments

  1. Hi Rena,
    First I would like to say how much I enjoy your website!
    In every newsletter there is at least one thing that provides inspiration and I enjoy your tutorials!

    In regards to the back of a jewellery piece….
    My husband once commented that my customers always get two pieces in one, as the back is as good to wear as the front.

    I for myself think that the design should not stop at the edge of my jewellery piece.
    This is a handmade, one-off item and the wearer appreciates the thought going into the whole item.

    Design and finish should provide a tactile experience, may be a surprise and something for the eye to discover.
    Also, when one wears e.g. a pendant on a longer chain, it does flip over and as jewellery maker I would be embarrassed if the finish of the
    back of my jewellery item revealed that I didn’t care for it with the same attention as for the front!

    Quite often I put something on the back that mirrors the front, even if it is only a detail or part of a texture. If the size allows I have my logo on a small round piece attached to the back (I work with silver clay and have these ready in dried clay to go on the jewellery), my initials and the silver content are engraved where they are not too obvious but visible for inspection. This is something I look for when I pick up a jewellery piece and what I want to provide for my customers.

    Looking forward to many more newsletters!
    Ingrid

  2. Hi Rena,
    I love the necklace you are wearing, it looks great on! Great tips on the backs of jewelry too, wonderful series!
    Lindsay

  3. I’m one of those people to looks at every angle of a piece of jewelry for all the reasons you mention. How a piece is put together and finished is important to me so I usually create some little spiral or decorative element on the backs. I also like to dangle a bead or tiny spiral on the clasps. People do seem to appreciate the tiny finishes. Sometimes the backs can be just as pretty as the front.

  4. I put my initials with a Pilot silver or gold marker on the back side of my cabochon pendants.
    People like to have something that is signed by the artist.

  5. Elizabeth Collins says:

    And I thought I was the first! LOL I was standing in a long line behind a lady wearing what appeared to be nice earrings only I could not see the front. The back was a pretty color and shape, but otherwise boring. I kept wishing she would turn so I could see the front. It hit me then that I needed to add something decorative to the backs of my polymer clay jewelry. I found a small leaf rubber stamp and started including a leaf on the back with the same color and material as the rest of the earring. My daughter thought it made a good trademark for my jewelry. I also have a tiny, tiny rubber stamp with my initials that I include. I have had quite a few positive comments on my new additions. Thanks so much for your great
    newsletter – I have learned so much here!!

  6. I’ve been making some lace word pins today, and have highlighted parts of the lace with silver glitter. On the back where the pin closure is, I did the same thing, so when you turn the pin over you see a bit of sparkle.

    Also, I have just made most of my lace jewellery so that it is actually reversible, so the back can be worn as the front. I think that developped out of my embellishment compulsion. The back of lace is also so pretty, and I just couldn’t leave it alone, lol!

  7. Hello Rena,
    First, thank-you for all the wonderful tips and inspirations you send out each month. I really look forward to reading your newsletters.
    I’ve always thought jewellery should be beautiful to behold no matter which way you look at it, so I’ve always tried to make the back at least attractive and at best an alternate design to the “front”. Many of my customers are pleasantly surprised when they realize that they are getting 2 looks for 1 making their purchase even more enjoyable/

  8. oanh spano says:

    Hi Rena

    Thank you so much for share your videos,that is really a good sight to see and learn and right thinking .

  9. Leslie Schmidt says:

    I teach jewelry making at a local craft store. When I don’t have customers taking classes, I work on jewelry items to hone my skills. The latest is wire wrapped beach glass. I make my pieces so the customer can wear either side, the front or the back reflecting a different style so it can be versatile. You never know which side someone might prefer.

  10. I have to chuckle at this. I’ve always been a bit…fanatical about the back of my jewelry. It never made sense of have something “ugly” going on with the wires. Not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for functionality. *I* wouldn’t want to wear something that looked like a jumbled mess on one side, and beautiful on the other! I don’t remember when I started making “reversible” pendants, but it’s become a basic design now. While I tend to have one side as the “front” (my preference), I try to make it so both sides of the pendant is beautiful and unique. I use tumbled stones, so it’s an interesting challenge sometimes! Some pendants end up looking like two completely difference items once I’m done though.

  11. What a cute idea. I always seem to forget about the back, I think the little extra touch shows you really care.

  12. Tavette says:

    Years ago when embellishing and/or painting on T-shirts was the “rage” – one of the best instructors I knew always put a little design on the back shoulder so the design carried over from the front. That way when people walked by you they’d get something they maybe didn’t expect to see on the back – part of the design from the front of the shirt. The design didn’t just end abruptly at the shoulder seam. Like your jewelry theory – the shirts were pretty on both sides.

    With jewelry I flip it over – for all the reasons you mentioned. I want to know the designer put some thought into it rather than just tying some big ugly knot on the back. With earrings, people standing behind you are looking at that – the back side so you want to look “finished”.

    Tavette – South Florida

  13. Great idea and I love what you did to the back of these pretty earrings. As I jewelry creator myself, I really appreciate the added touch. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Cynthia Landrie says:

    This adds such a unique touch to already beautiful jewelry. It really shows that the piece was made with care and attention to detail.

  15. I haven’t thought about the back too much, so love this idea.

  16. This is a very cool idea! Thanks for sharing. It’s the little touches that make jewelry neat.

  17. It’s always nice to have good finishes on every side of things – and the backs of your earrings especially can often be seen, so it’s nice to have them looking good too!

  18. As someone who has super sensitive skin, my first reason for turning over jewelry to see the backside is to check to see if it will irritate my skin. Now with granddaughters, two of whom also have sensitive skin but love custom made jewelry, they too have learned to carefully look at and feel the backside.

    Nena

  19. Diana Redlin says:

    Oh Rena,
    Along with the music your voice is so easy to listen to…
    The back of a piece of jewelry is just another note you can add to the artwork of a piece of jewelry. This took me awhile, to use this important pallet for another statement in my own jewelry.
    Love everyone’s comments about using their very own.

  20. Thank you for your lovely compliment, Diana! And I agree, I’m loving this creative discussion about designing the back of jewelry.

  21. I love this idea. It makes my piece unique, and people want to see something different when they are buying hand make jewelry. It might even be the last boost that sells that piece, who knows.

  22. Alethia Robertson says:

    Well Rena, I have been getting so many ideas from your newsletters! Regarding the pieces, just like clothing, every side matter. When I select a piece of clothing from a store, it doesn’t matter how great the right side looks, if when I check the wrong side does not have a good finish, that has to go back to the rack for me! Thanks again for your ideas.

  23. Alethia, I’m so happy to hear that you’re getting so much inspiration here! And thank you for the comparison of clothing to jewelry, and every side matters – a great insight. 🙂

  24. Nancy Lawrenz says:

    Rena
    I find your blogs and tutorials VERY clear and useful. I’ve subscribed to your newsletter but how do I get earlier copies?
    Thanks

  25. Nancy, thank you so much for your lovely feedback! There are no newsletter archives, but nearly all of the posts that have ever been in previous newsletter issues are on the Jewelry Making Journal website.

    This post shows you how to find topics that interest you on the Jewelry Making Journal website:
    How to Find Content on Jewelry Making Journal

    I hope this helps, Nancy – and enjoy the JMJ posts on the website!

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