We sat down with Jewelry Designer Tiffany Anderson of Pixie Belle Jewelry to learn how she makes her beautiful, feminine pieces as well as how to fix common jewelry dilemmas.
A few things about Tiffany:
She loves to create pieces using greens, blues and earthy tones.
Her resource in Columbia is Swift Water Beads (you can take classes on beading, buy tools, beads and leather)
Tiffany says, “There is so much people can do on their own. I started doing this just for fun and read a book and just figured it out!”
How-To Make Gold-Fill Wire Hoops:
- Have a thick layer of 14 carat gold wire
- Wrap wire around some sort of container-sized object
- Use “needle-nose” pliers to shape wire around for the hook
- Use “flat-nose” pliers to mash the wire down flat
- Use sharp cutters to remove extra wire
For creating more intricate designs:
- Use a thinner gage wire for wrapping around the hoop
- Keep threading and wrapping the wire
- You can create different patterns, around the edge or bunch multiple wires together to hang from bottom, etc
Why 14 carat gold-fill wire?
- It lasts longer than gold plate
- 20 percent thickness of real gold
- It’s affordable, but high quality
- It leaves no residue on your skin
- Measure out jewelry wire. A good place to start is 18 inches on the design board
- Stick jewelry wire through crimp bead (what attaches the chain to the wire). Loop in and around and put the wire back in the crimp bead. Clamp what attaches crimp bead onto wire and to the chain.
- Thread big beads through the wire
- Use crimpbead and fasten it again
- Clip extra wire as close as possible
- You can do a double or triple layer using the same technique (you have to be patient!)
Another technique: Silk knotting which uses no clasp. Simply knot after each bead. This lies a little differently.
How-To Make a Bracelet:
- Use stretchy wire
- Measure out 5 1/2 to 6 inches of beads
- String beads
- Knot the end and clip as close as possible. Test before you clip!
You can even make a little set of layered bracelets if you like! This is a very basic way to do bracelets, Tiffany usually creates chain or leather bracelets.
- Place wire shape on metal block to hammer
- Creating matching earrings from wire can be challenging to design. You have to make sure they are the same size before hammering.
- One end of hammer flattens metal while the other end creates a bubbly, hammered look (this requires special bars).
- Tiffany’s most popular hammered pieces are leather bracelets with hammered metal and magnetic clasps
How-To Fix a Clasp:
- Cut off the broken clasp
- Use a medium size gold-fill wire
- Make a loop with needle-nose pliers and tighten
- Add a new clasp onto loop
- Wrap wire to close loop
- Clip extra wire and use flat-nose pliers to make sure it doesn’t irritate the skin
How-To Re-Wire a Necklace:
- Buy small delicate gold-fill chain
- Clip when desired length of chain is met on the design board
- Simply remake the clasp
How-To Make a Necklace with a Pendant:
Tiffany goes to markets in Charlotte, Atlanta and Charleston and visits various websites to get suppliers
- Measure beads out on the design board (24 inches is great for a pendant piece)
- Take a bead and slip onto a small wire
- Wrap the wire to keep the beads in a specific place on the chain (or to add color in between)
- Use needle-nose pliers to wrap the wire
- Create loop on top, then snip the end of the wire
- Hook the pendant and wire through the chain and tighten with needle-nose pliers (Make sure to put it on where the pendant lies right!)
- Can mix up colors and go all the way up the neck
- Use needle-nose pliers to loop wire onto chain and twist it
How-To Use Jump Ring for Clasp:
The jump ring comes in all different metals (use wire on thicker chains)
- Grab the jump ring with both pliers to open it
- Attach to chain
- Thread clasp on to jump ring too
- Use pliers to close