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How to Get Inspired

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

With spring just around the corner and winter being ridiculously mild this year, it's time to think about some inspiration for jewelry and wedding season. Here are some tricks and tips of how I come up with new ideas.

To me, there are two main inspirations for jewelry: shapes and colors. That's all there is to it, really. I occasionally look at other jewelry, but it's less often than you might think. The only kind of jewelry I really look at is antique stuff, mainly art deco, but again it's about how they work with shapes. So for instance, the hexagon shape is often seen in art deco center stone settings. A related pattern one often sees is the honeycomb pattern. Buccellati uses that very often.

Once you have the basic shape, you can come up with endless variations and iterations, which you can apply to other ideas: hexagon eternity, hexagon bar pendant, hexagon V-shape, hexagon dangly or stud earrings.

hexagon

You can do the same with the fan and kite shape, which again was a basic shape I saw in antique jewelry, largely used in much bigger pieces than mine. The petal shape I have was originally part of a Victorian flower earring, which I expanded into first the sunflower ring, then the Camellia, and after that the Lily concepts. I did this simply by changing the center stone and by layering the petals.

sunflower

The Gatsby design also uses 3 petals, just more drawn out ones.

 gatsby

This gives the trillion shape, which is not that pleasing to the eye in my view, a more rounded look. And finally, adding petals to the marquis shape can make it look less elongated.To play with these shapes yourself to make more elaborate earrings or necklaces, just take a piece of paper and start drawing. For earrings, most of these styles can be posts from which something can be dangled, or they can be incorporated into a leverback. They can be right side up, or upside down. Necklaces and bracelets can be done eternity style, necklaces can look like lariats with various pieces dropping down from the chain. Rings are a bit more difficult but if you consider that your finger is only so wide, that rings can only be so thick and that height also matters, you are half way there.

For color, I barely even look at other jewelry at all. Oddly, I find that most jewelry doesn't use color in a very inspiring way. Art deco doesn't use color at all - or hardly any. A much better place to get inspired with colors is by looking at fabrics: shirts, scarves, but also socks, pillows and carpets, table cloths and even napkins often have really fun color combinations. All of these are far more inspiring to me than jewelry.The hard part is to come up with gems that match those colors. There are far more shades of colors out there than gems, but some gems, i.e. sapphire and spinel, also offer oodles of shades to play with. So much so that matching two can drive you to madness.
In fact, so many gemstones come in various shades: tourmaline covers almost the entire green spectrum for instance, and Mexican fire opal offers a lot of warm reds and oranges. The dichroism of certain gems, notably unheated tanzanite, kornerupine and sphene, can also lend itself to tie other colors together. Sphene often goes well with green and orange for that reason, or even with red and sometimes pink.

There are some colors, the neon turquoise of paraiba for example, that can live next to just about any other color and be happy, while there are others, notably hauyne and Russian demantoid, that like all the attention and refuse to share. Sometimes this is surprising - I wasn't expecting it with either of these gems. But therein also lies the fun, because just with these two simple concepts, color and shape, you can open up just about the entire world of design.
Below are some more inspiration photos. A gallery with past designs is coming to this website soon!


Meanwhile, you can also check out our boards on Pinterest.


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  • Follow you on Instagram and love trolling your etsy store. Someday…!

    Linda Lipford on

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