- All about gemstones

Do It Yourself Jewelry

Do It Yourself Gemstone Jewelry Ideas

Natural precious and semi-precious gemstones are paramount in the world of jewelry making. Precious gems have been a part of nearly all of the world's cultures including many generations both past and present. Although the most luxurious, elaborate and expensive gemstone jewelry typically require trade skills and tools specialized and honed for precision, you do not have to be a professional master craftsmen to create lovely jewelry designs. There are a great variety of gemstone jewelry ideas and projects that can be made by just about anyone. Whether you're a novice, amateur or hobbyist home-crafter, you can turn lovely rough or shaped stones into wonderful jewelry designs.

The main varieties of precious and semi-precious gemstones that are readily available for purchase are tumbled stones, gemstone beads and carved gems. All of these are great for jewelry crafting.

Tumbled Stones

Tumbled stones are very popular. They are gemstones which have been found in natural rough form, but have been processed in a rock tumbler. Processing the rough natural stones in a rock tumbler will give the gemstones a nice, smooth, shiny and polished-looking finish. The finished tumbled stones are considered very interesting and unique for many jewelry designers. This is because they are found in irregular (but still attractive) shapes and sizes. Tumbled gemstones are perfect to use for creating interesting jewelry, but they are not typically found in craft stores. Rather, you should look for tumbled stones in your local rock or mineral shop. You may also find them in alternative healing, metaphysical gem shops, or any New Age stores too.

Jewelry and gemstone wholesalers are the best sources for polished and shaped stones. Precious and semi-precious gemstones can be found in shapes ranging from traditional cabochons to unconventional faceted shapes. You can even have your own custom shapes cut, but be sure to choose a reputable cutter.

Gemstone Beads

Gemstone beads are sometimes made from irregularly shaped, tumbled stones. They are sometimes carved into interesting shapes such as cubes or spheres and then strung through wire or otherwise thin string. Quality gemstone beads can be difficult to source at times, in fact, many times, crafters will buy a completed necklace composed of one bead type. They will then break apart the necklace and use the individual beads for smaller projects. You may also source gemstone beads at some rock, mineral or craft shops, but your best bet is to purchase them from jewelry wholesalers.

Beading requires very little special skills or equipment. When making beaded earrings, necklaces or bracelets, the concept of 'less is more' is best. Gemstone beads make excellent centerpieces when accompanied by other materials such as glass, wood, ceramics and etc. Gemstone beads are also spectacular and perfect for integrating with woven hemp.

Wire Setting Gemstone Jewelry

For polished gemstones, you can easily set them with wire. It is suggested to use a craft wire rather than a beading wire, because beading wire is too fine. You can use any wire that is attractive enough to be visually seen as part of the necklace (or other jewelry). For example, silver, copper, gold and other colored wires are excellent options).

You can use basic tools like needle-nose pliers to wrap and shape the wire around the gemstone to set and secure it. Most of time, you will likely have a hard time securely the gemstone with wire alone, so it is suggested to use adhesive as well. By combining the use of glue with the wiring, you can use only as much wire as you need or desire, rather than be forced to use too much wire making your jewelry look 'clunky'. You only need to use a small and minimal amount of strong glue as long as it is a quality adhesive. You can purchase glue specialized for jewelry in craft and beading stores, but if you can also use standard epoxy from the hardware store - like Super Glue brand. Just be sure to use an adhesive that dries clear or colorless.

Gemstone Settings

Many times, jewelry utilizing cabochons or other faceted precious gems will require some sort of metal setting, such as rings or necklace bases. When purchasing setting, it's very important to check and ensure that the gemstones you have will fit the settings (shape and size). For this reason, gemstones should always be bought based on size and not carat weight. You will not find a setting that is advertised by carat weight, because they are sold only by size too. Some settings styles will use prongs to secure the gemstone, others may have fold-over styles and others may even need a small amount of adhesive to secure the stone. Custom Gemstone Settings Another option is that you can create your own setting bases to match any custom size or shape using silver clay. Silver clay is made of metal particles which fires into various solid metal shapes. Depending on the gem type, you may even be able to lay the cabochon gemstone directly into the clay before firing the clay to create a super fit setting. This depends entirely on how well the gemstone can handle extreme temperature.