Developing & Defining Your Own Jewelry Design Style (Video)

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena

by Rena Klingenberg.

Here are five simple things you can do to develop and define your unique jewelry making style:

Transcript of This Video:

If you want to develop or define your own unique jewelry design style, I have some simple tips for you:

Your Jewelry-Making Preferences

First, I believe that the things you most love about making jewelry should be part of your style.

For example, what sizes of jewelry do you love to make – big, small, long, short?

Think about your favorite components and details.

Which metals do you like best?

And do you prefer your metals to be shiny or antiqued or colored in some way?

If you work with beads – what kinds, sizes and shapes do you prefer?

Do all of your creations seem to have wire on them somewhere?

Do you gather all sorts of different items to create mixed-media jewelry?

Your jewelry-making preferences are the backbone of your style.

Your Non-Jewelry Interests

Now let’s look at your non-jewelry interests.

What other things do you create?

What music, sports, or activities interest you?

What are your favorite books and movies?

What are your favorite places?

Consider how your interests can influence your jewelry designs.

Your Personal Sense of What’s Beautiful

What are your aesthetic preferences?

Do you see beauty in things that are plain and simple, or fancy and ornate, or rugged and natural?

Or maybe you’re drawn to a combination of things – like fancy combined with rustic.

Or delicate combined with bold.

These preferences can be clues to your jewelry style.

Use Pinterest for Insights into Your Aesthetic

Here’s a fun activity for discovering more about your aesthetic taste.

Go to Pinterest – but NOT to look at jewelry photos.

Instead, find other images that make your heart sing – nature, interior design, architecture, art, shoes, whatever images make you go “Wow!” or “I love that!”.

Make a pinboard of the images that really resonate with you.

Now look at the board as a whole – what elements do the images have in common? Colors? Boldness? Elegance? Small details? Rounded shapes / angled shapes? Stark contrasts? A vintage feel? Flowers everywhere?

These visual elements can be important in your jewelry style.

What Do People Say About Your Jewelry?

What words do people use when they talk to you about your jewelry?

Those words are clues to the qualities other people see in your work – and they can give you important insights about your style.

Your Jewelry Style is Not a Commitment

And of course, you don’t have to have a specific style for your jewelry.

Or you can have more than one style.

And your style will probably evolve over time as you learn new techniques and have new inspirations.

Your customers will enjoy seeing and wearing your jewelry style as it evolves.

So by defining your style, you’re not making a permanent commitment to it. You’re honing in on what you want to create and explore.

I’d love to hear about your jewelry style – or the direction your jewelry art is going.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I’ll see you soon!

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Necklace: by Kelly E. Marra – polymer clay butterfly, shell disks, chain.

Earrings: by Rena Klingenberg – faceted glass; 14k gf earwires from my Long Earwires tutorial.

Developing Your Own Jewelry Design Style.  Green Butterfly Necklace by Kelly Marra; Green Glass Earrings by Rena Klingenberg


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  • zoraida says:

    Wonderful topic and one that is close to my heart. I’ve always considered myself an artist first and jewelry making is only one expression of my “art”. I love themes and colors reminiscent of nature and tend to favor rustic, earthy designs even through I occasionally stray into vintage and appreciate steampunk as well. Because I have a restless nature, I’ve decided it’s OK to create styles are look so different from each other as long as I keep growing and learning. It is extremely important to find my own expression in everything I do. I’ve never been a follower of trends and fads and don’t really care what current fashion dictates. And yes, Pinterest is a wonderful place to find inspiration and I get lost in the beautiful images I find of jewelry, birds, nature in general!

  • Gail says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am a newcomer to the making of jewelry but I have been an artist for a long long while. I have been driving myself crazy feeling like I have to decide right now what “style” my jewelry will take and then stick with it, because I love so many styles. You have eased my mind, and I appreciate it.

  • Vicki Newman says:

    Rena, I follow your newsletters faithfully…my problem is I have everything to make jewelry but I can’t get organized enough to get started. I have recently purchased an armoire to use as my work center but I need advice on how to organize my supplies. I have tons of containers with sorted by color beads. Any advice?

  • Lori says:

    Thank you, Rena, for this post. I am an outdoorsy person, inspired by nature and earthy things. I was first compelled to make my own jewelry because I could not find anything that appealed to me that I could wear on my outside adventures. I tend to incorporate leather, metals, wood and stones. While I appreciate my style, I have to understand that not everyone will. My market is narrow because I am not “blingy” so to speak. I am trying to broaden my tastes and interests to appeal to more potential customers. I am new to the jewelry making art and business, have much to learn and you help keep me focused on what’s important. Thank you.

  • Jeanne says:

    As a jewelry artist my heart and passion lies with wire wrapping – anything… my favorite being unique cabochons, pieces of glass/porcelain dishes, wire by itself, and sometimes combining them into statement necklaces… I also love to upscale old or broken pieces from estate/garage/rummage sales into something new and wearable once again. My inspiration usually comes from nature and architecture.
    But as a business woman I am forced to pay the bills with craft jewelry… simple wire rings, anklets, simply wrapped pieces put on a chain/cord…

  • Blanche Nonken says:

    I just discovered this format of your presentation, and you are wonderful here! Your discussion is food for thought, your presentations are brief enough I can drop one in while waiting for my coffee to brew.

    Scrap wood, mostly old weather-beaten cottonwood deadfall, plus the occasional burl chunk, I love those. There’s one piece I’ve been eyeing, with plans to cut out sections with a hole saw and mount – maybe with hammered copper wire – one of the amazing naturally formed cabs of Fallon Wonderstone I just find lying around. Fallon Wonderstone is a type of rhyolite, where the spaces between the microcrystals allowed minerals to leach in through the millennia, and form wonderful colors, streaks, and swirls. The frequent dust storms we get here mean that I constantly find stones that have been naturally “buffed” so smooth that it doesn’t take more than a pass with rouge and a buffing wheel on my variable speed drill to bring out a startling shine, and translucence if I’m lucky in my find.

    I’m also in love with religious art and iconry. Any religion, any culture, there is something amazing in the passion artists and artisans put in their work.

    This has led me to a real learning experience. One stone I found last week is an amazing profile, shape and “robe pattern” of the classic Roman Catholic Madonna. It – she – cries to be a pendant, and I can “see” her with a copper and brass halo, but I can’t touch her with wire or mounting, it will ruin the look.

    Best idea so far is to drill a couple of mounting holes in the back, build the “halo” with a separate ring to hold the bail (look at religious medals, the hole and bail don’t touch the actual sacred elements) then glue – cyanoacrylate or epoxy – mounting wires into the holes. I am kind of “blocked” with how and what to proceed, but in its way I’m enjoying the initiatory process of discovery.

    I also want to research what kind of wearable religious elements are present in the Mormon (LDS) church, we’re in Mormon Country here.

    Thank you very much for sharing your world and learning with us!

  • Jean BH says:

    Thank you Rena. As a newcomer to the jewelry making business, I have been in the arts and craft business for many years. I love big, bold, bohemian and African styles of jewelry. My problem is that on the small island of Carriacou, you are in close contact with the residents. People seem to love my macrame work (sales are good) and are always suggesting that I add this or that (i.e. headbands, rings, wire jewelry, etc.). I get sidetracked and find myself trying to use everyone’s suggestions. Then I have to sit back and say….I love macramed necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets. I want to stay true to my passion pieces and not get lost in everyone suggestions. Am I on the right track? As always, Greeting from Wild Side.

  • Natasha Burger says:

    great tutorial. and I appreciate having the written transcript so I can read it quietly and without using headphones. Plus I can go back and actually take the time to answer all the questions, and I’d lose my place if I was listening instead of reading.

  • Thank you for a very informative video/tutorial. I have quite a few different styles or interests. I usually will work on one specific style for many pieces, and then I find myself starting to change to another. Right now I am interested on the 60’s period so I am making a collection of this style. My favorite styles though are simple wire and bead pieces, or stringing beads. I am learning to work with copper metal sheeting right now, and I find it to be very versatile.

  • Catherine says:

    Rena, I’m happy I ran across this because since I’ve discovered making jewelry, I started out making bracelets, then earrings, then I discovered necklaces, and now it’s what I LOVE most. I was just string beads on wire, then I began making my own links…now it’s all I want to do. I think it’s the challenge of seeing what I can do without making it too easy for myself. I’m beginning to find my “style”, or maybe “my voice”, and I’m so excited!

  • Tasha B. says:

    Enjoyed this! I have thought about the pieces that I currently design and the hundreds of ideas that float around in my mind and I wonder if I will spread myself too thinly regarding my niche. I love chunky beads, bright colours, bold shapes, nature, butterflies, the sea, travel and happy times. Although sad times have brought out the best in me, too. I am finding though that as much as I dislike working with seed beads, I see how they can make beautiful necklaces. Yet, I am seeing how peaceful pastels can be. I want to get into soldering and shaping metals to form my own pendants etc.
    I like the idea of the board and pinning photos of the kinds of things I like.
    It is so true that one’s jewelry is not a commitment. This is a journey that I am enjoying.

  • Tasha B., I love your beautiful way of expressing your thoughts on this! And like you, I also enjoy the journey of trying new things. 🙂

  • August Y. of 3JN2 Divine Creations says:

    Thank you Rena! I’m so thankful I found you online! So much to learn from you….
    I love making leather jewelry, I used different metals, stones, including pearls. I prefer leather with different colors and not just black or brown, though I do have some pieces in black/brown. I’m also inspired by verses in the Bible, or Hebrew and Greek words which I use to name some of my jewelry pieces.
    My friends enjoy that the pieces I make tie to a verse, or word, and it becomes an inspiration or source of encouragement for them.

    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge, I appreciate your generosity in doing so! Blessings!

  • August Y, you’re very welcome! And thank you for your lovely comment. I so agree that if you can connect some meaningful words or verse to a piece of jewelry, it makes the piece more personalized and significant to the wearer. Lovely thoughts! 🙂

  • Paula J Countryman says:

    Awesome tips Rena,
    Thank you!

  • Paula J Countryman says:

    I’ve been ill and my jewelry supplies have been packed away and other items stacked on top.didn’t realize how much I have! Fortunately, I half way organized them before I got sick. (I have anemia and my energy is coming back now) My passion is antiqued copper, brass and silver as well as vintage inspired and bohemian jewelry. Adding crystals or stones of any color truly bring out the vintage style.

  • Paula, thank you! I appreciate that. 🙂

  • Paula, I’m so glad to hear that you’re starting to feel better. Your jewelry design style sounds lovely, and I agree that adding colorful stones or crystals is the perfect touch for those metals!

  • Terry says:

    Great ideas, Rena. I don’t seem to have one certain style. I like wire weaving, but I don’t try the elaborate pieces. Love sterling and genuine gems and try to use the real thing whenever possible. I seem to take a bit of this and that and incorporate it into my unique pieces. I have followed a couple of tutorials, but wound up putting my own spin on things. I only sell a little here and there, probably because I am not one of those pushy types. I’m not sure if my items just aren’t blingy enough or ugly or what the mainstream likes. My prices are not outrageous. I am constantly making new things.

  • Terry, I think there is great value in constantly making new things, and exploring new techniques and new materials. Perhaps your style is eclectic – and if you choose to sell your work, your customers might be folks who are always looking for something new and different.

  • Terry says:

    Thank you for your comment, Rena. Eclectic? That just
    might describe my work. It’s definitely different, not exactly mainstream. At Christmas, I take a “Santa’s grab bag” of pretties and invite family to get an item from my grab bag, instead of buying them gifts. I would like to sell more of my creations. At present, I am on Disability waiting to get a knee replacement this month and also a caregiver/companion to my guy’s mom with dementia. I have some free time to work on my pretties for TBerry’s Trinkets on fb.

  • Terry, I love your idea of letting family members take a grab bag item instead of purchasing a gift for them – a fun and different twist on gift giving. Wishing you well as you go through your knee replacement, and a speedy recovery!

  • Terry says:

    Thank you, Rena! Good luck to all of us in this new year!

  • Maritza Diaz says:

    Love the jewelry you publish Rena. I am teaching wire wrapping classes in the community that I reside in. I also enjoy seeing your different ideas you give in your journal Mostly love boho jewelry. Thank you.

  • Thank you for your lovely comment, Maritza! I am a fan of boho jewelry too. 🙂

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