Learn How to Make Steampunk Jewelry

My daughter is a big fan of Steampunk style, so when I saw an invitation for a Steampunk event at a nearby museum, I signed us up.

examples of steampunk jewelry
An assortment of items that would be
considered Steampunk jewelry.

What is Steampunk? Think Victorian-era sci-fi time-traveling and adventure: Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days is a perfect example.

My daughter and her friend dressed up from head to toe. I made do with vintage-style shoes and jewelry: a cameo, chain necklace, and heart-shaped scrimshaw earrings. We all had a blast at the party, where there was a scavenger hunt, a crazy brass band, and a Steampunk jewelry-making station.

We spent so much time exploring the museum, we didn't have time to make anything. But with found objects, some chain, a bit of lace, and cold connections, you can easily whip up Steampunk earrings, necklaces, wrist cuffs, and more, at home.

Jewelry artist Jean Campbell has produced books and instructional videos on how to make Steampunk jewelry. Here is her list of appropriate Steampunk-style materials for you to choose from:

Metal findings and chain: Most jewelry-makers have these in abundance in their studios. These materials make a nod to the Industrial Revolution, where common Victorians were all of a sudden able to buy metal that was stamped, pressed, and rolled into chains or cut into delicate filigrees. Choose brass and copper for your Steampunk-style jewelry.

Charms and cameos: Queen Victoria was crazy for charms and a mad collector of cameos, so they show up a lot in Steampunk-style jewelry. Incorporate motifs like flowers, leaves, birds, insects, dragons, snakes, scarabs, sphinx, and religious symbols to be truly Steampunk.

showing off steampunk design
My daughter, left, and her friend pose
at the Steampunk event.

Glass: Using any type of glass in your Steampunk-style jewelry evokes the Machine Age, which was rich with etched, faceted, and molded glass. It was the first time in history that common folk could afford such luxuries. To get the look, use glass beads, glass domes, and mirrors.

Stones: When you think about it, England during the Victorian era was a super power and had trade routes worldwide. This boosted their trading with Asia, and so materials like amethyst, opal, turquoise, freshwater pearls, agate, onyx, coral, carnelian, amber, jade, garnet, ruby, jet, sapphire, peridot, jasper, and diamonds were more plentiful in England than ever before.

Bits of sentiment: Lockets carrying hair from a loved one or a small painted portrait were popular during the Victorian era. It's easy to incorporate these bits of sentiment by using photographs or other remembrances.

Found objects: The most fun part of making Steampunk-style jewelry is working with found objects! This brings in the time-traveling, mad-scientist vibe. Choose small metallic watch parts, skeleton keys, machine parts, war medals, metal game pieces, and the like.

Jean shows you step-by-step how to make found object jewelry with Steampunk design details in her video workshop Mixed Media: Making Steampunk-Style Jewelry. It's available for streaming with your subscription to Craft Daily.


P.S. Do you make your own mixed-media jewelry? Do you prefer cold connections or playing with fire? Leave a comment below.

Categories

Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry

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