Body Jewelry and Adornment
by Judy Ellis
Stuck in a jewelry-making rut? Maybe it's time to step away from what you're used to and try adapting your style to a different type of jewelry. Stuck making bracelets, and sick of it? Wrap your bundle around a hair comb or hair stick for dramatic results. Need a man's gift? A bolo tie, tie clip, or cufflinks would be a special treat.
Above the neck:

Bridal Tiara or Circlet
Hat Pins
Hair Comb, Hair Clip, and Hair Sticks or Pins
Fascinators and Headbands
Earrings and Ear Wraps
Nose Rings
Nose Chains (originating in India - a nose piercing with a draping chain that connects to the ear)

Jewelry worn above the neck is some of the most ornate and delicate jewelry a person can wear. This is because most things worn on the head don't come into contact with anything else, whereas rings and bracelets are constantly touching desks and steering wheels, or can come in contact with food or dishwater. However, tiaras, earrings, and combs generally are left alone except to tuck hair behind the ears or in a gust of wind. Therefore, we can afford to use thin wire and eye-catching crystals in these zones, and fantasy jewelry does especially well here.

Bolo Tie
Torc (a thick collar, popular with Celts)

Neck jewelry is one of the first things you notice about someone when you see them. Whether it's a tight collar or a relaxed lariat, what a person wears around their neck can tell you a lot about them. I've worked in places that required lanyards - and a handmade lanyard showed a lot of personality. A gent wearing a bolo tie is a statement himself, and would remind most people of the American Old West. The length of a necklace must complement the wearer's neckline of the shirt or dress they are wearing, which is one reason many pre-made neck cords are an adjustable 16-18". In my jewelry, I make my own neck cords because I prefer a 14" cord for pendants to show above my neckline; total customization of a piece is one of the many abilities of wire jewelry artists.

Arms and Hands:

Upper Arm Cuff
Bracelet & Bangle
Slave Bracelet
Cuff Links

Rings are always popular at shows - a simple ring made from 5" of wire at the edge of your booth can make passers-by pause, and a custom-designed wire wrapped prong ring is a highly-valued piece. Bracelets and bangles are also lots of fun to make, and can feature many, several, or no beads, as you desire. However, as I mentioned, with little exception, bracelets and rings are in "high traffic zones," so counsel your customers to remove them before doing dishes and cleaning. More exotic Arm accessories include the upper arm cuff (reminiscent of Xena or mythology in most cases - generally a spiral design to allow the cuff to expand over the elbow) and the slave bracelet, which is a ring that connects to a bracelet, usually with a flexible chain or perhaps chainmaille.


Tie Clip
Corsage, Brooch
Shawl Pin
Belly Chain
Belly Button Piercing

You might not expect the torso to be a decorative place, but it is a playground for jewelry artists. Why not make a light wire wrapped chain that could be worn as a long necklace, a doubled necklace, a belly chain (worn with a two-piece swimsuit), and a belt - that's 4 jewelry accessories in one, and a huge value to your customer! Let's not forget special occasions: if your daughter's prom is coming up, you could create a beautiful colored wire or silver-and-pearls corsage (worn as a brooch, or around her wrist). Decorate with real flowers, and she'll have a beautiful piece to wear at the prom, and to treasure for years afterward. If your son appreciates wire jewelry, you can wire wrap a design into a tie clip.

As a knitter myself, I can vouch that knitters love to fasten shawls and sweaters with handmade shawl pins - a quick search on Etsy for "shawl pin" will inspire you in no time. (Bonus: Many shawl pins can double as hair accessories!)

Legs and feet:

Bride's Garter
Anklet/Boot Jewelry
Toe Ring
Footless Sandals

When you're making a custom set for a bride this spring, you've probably arranged to make her a necklace and earrings; perhaps a tiara; perhaps you have the honor of making her ring. I'm sure you could find a plain wedding garter and spice it up with some wire wrapped pearls or beads in her wedding colors - as a gift to such a good customer, or for a little fee to increase the sale!

While most of us are familiar with anklets, some may not be aware that certain parts of the country love to wear boots, and they especially love to adorn those boots with chain and beads - it's practically a bracelet for the boot itself. It's a very niche market with avid customers. Toe rings are also popular with customers; made with inches of wire and maybe a bead, they're inexpensive and easy to sell. Build up on the toe ring with chain or chainmaille and wrap around the ankle to create a footless sandal, or barefoot sandal! Much like a slave bracelet, but with a toe loop or toe ring and an anklet, this is becoming a popular trend both in the fiber and wire worlds, and can be worn with bare feet, flip-flops, or strappy sandals. Be sure to use round wire or a satin cord on the toe component for comfort - a Google search on barefoot sandals will return a host of inspiring images.


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  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Design, Selling, General Education