The New Encyclopedia of Jewelry-Making Techniques

The New Encyclopedia of Jewelry-Making Techniques I adore making jewelry. I've made and sold all sorts of jewelry over the years. Origami crane earrings. Polymer clay pendants entwined with wire circles. Silver metal clay constructs. Cabochon photo jewelry. Cyanotype pendants. It's amazing how many options are out there. So when I saw this book of a "comprehensive" guide in an "encyclopedia" of jewelry-making techniques, I was thrilled. This would open my eyes to a vastly larger world of jewelry making, all in an organized, step by step function.

I was a bit disappointed.

Let me first say that, for what the book does cover, it does it nicely. There are well lit, beautiful photos of inlaying metal into metal. Details about how to polish chains and rings. Cool ideas on how to weave wire. You can rivet. Enamel. Set stones into metal frames.

It's not to say that if I wanted to become an enameling expert that I'd rely on this book. That's not what the book is about. But it covers each task in enough detail that you get a sense of what you're in for. Then, if you want to go further, you get an entire book (or two, or three) on that particular topic to let you delve further.

I enjoy that encyclopedia format, and I enjoy the photos. I enjoy the descriptions in the sense that they're giving an overview of how each operation works and what is generally involved.

What is disappointing for me is that the book is pretty much 99% metal. Nowhere in the title does this book say it is the All-Metal All-The-Time guide to jewelry making.

Sure, in the back there's a page or two on wood - with metal. There's a page or two on acrylics. But that's it. Pretty much the entire book is all about metal, metal, metal, and nearly all requires fairly complicated (and sometimes quite expensive) tools. Not everyone has access to a college workshop where all of these items are laid out for free use.

What about the massive wealth of other jewelry making opportunities out there? The wide variety of paper-based jewelry? 3D printing which many libraries now have available for common use? Polymer clay? Cabochon? Other things I've never even heard of - and clearly won't hear about in this book?

Add to that that nearly nothing in this book is kid-friendly. I'm not sure I'd let most children near a soldering iron or a lathe.

There is just so, so much more out there in the world of jewelry. Things for all ages, for all ranges of budgets. I don't feel as if this was comprehensive nor a complete encyclopedia. While it might be great for someone specializing in metal, and someone with a budget to match, I couldn't recommend this as an overall useful book that covers the wide range of what jewelry making can be about.

Lisa Shea's Jewelry

Polymer Clay Jewelry Main Index