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Learn to make jewellery on a half-day course

by Adrienne Wyper
PR London Jewellery School class - Learn to make jewellery on a half-day course - Craft - allaboutyou.com

I've been making jewellery for years, as my dad is a jewellery designer/maker, but I've seen myself at work and I know I've got plenty to learn, so I was looking forward to my half-day Introduction to Jewellery Making course at the London Jewellery School. The school's motto is 'everyone can make jewellery' and, based on my experience at the School, I'd agree with that.

Where's the course held?

Fittingly, the London Jewellery School is just round the corner from London's Hatton Garden, the street at the centre of London's jewellery and diamond trade since mediaeval times. If you've never strolled this street, I'd recommend arriving early for your class and admiring the trays and trays of diamond rings.

Who's on the course?

We were a mixed bunch of women (maximum class size is eight) and our tutor Becky started off by asking us to make a sticky label name-badge, and to introduce ourselves and explain why we're there. Some have never made any jewellery and some have had a go but want to improve, like me. (My stated aim was not to have bits falling off my earrings!) A couple of my fellow students had been given a gift voucher for the class - what a lovely present! - and there was one mother and daughter learning together. The atmosphere of intense concentration was punctuated by bursts of giggles. At the end everyone agreed that the course was a really enjoyable way to spend three hours.

What did we learn?

At each place was a case containing the different pliers and wire cutters that we'd need. In the centre of the large table that we all sat around were lots and lots of boxes of enticing beads. Becky gave clear instructions, and offered support and encouragement, coming round the table to dole out individual assistance where needed.

I was amazed at how much we managed to produce in just three hours. We all went home with three pairs of earrings, two bracelets and a necklace - those are mine on the left, minus the necklace.

Along the way we learned basic skills and how to combine them in different ways to achieve different results.

Progressing at a steady pace, we first learned how to judge the length of a headpin for a chosen bead, and how to cut it, how to make a loop, how to open the loop, and how to close it once it's on the earwire.

Our first project (above, gold colour) was a pair of earrings, made by learning how to cut headpins to size, thread on a bead, form loops with the round-nosed pliers and slip onto ear wires.

We practised our loop-making skills by using short sections of headpin, threading with beads and joining with loops for longer, multiple-bead earrings (above, silvery beads).

Next we used several different-length headpins with groups of beads (above, red and black) - I found it quite tricky to make three loops for each earring and squeeze them all on to the earwire.

An elasticated bead bracelet was next, with Becky offering more expert advice on how to tuck away the ends of the elastic by threading it through the beads.

Memory wire was our next tool, which 'remembers' its spiral shape so it coils around your wrist. Again, we laid out the beads to check the combination and then threaded them onto a length of memory wire, and finished with a bead at either end (above, green bead bracelet).

To make the necklace, we used tiger tail beading wire, made of several wires covered with nylon. After laying out the beads and attaching one end of the clasp, we threaded the beads on to the tiger tail. A professional knot, small crimp bead to hold the knot in place and tidy tucking in of the ends  was certainly a better option than the unreliable knot I'd have tied left to my own devices.

Since the course I've worn all of the jewellery I made - and even had compliments - and I'm confident that I know how to make more without risking losing my beads!

Find out more

The Introduction to Jewellery Making costs £55 and is held on Sundays from 2-5pm on selected dates between December 8 2013 and November 30 2014. Find details of over 100 more jewellery-making courses on the London Jewellery School website or call 020 3176 0546. The School is at 7 Hatton Square Business Centre, 16-16a Baldwins Gardens, Hatton Garden, London EC1N 7RJ

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