Simple Jewelry Making

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My dad worked nearly his whole life as a master-craftsman jeweler. He served his apprenticeship following his return from New Guinea after World War II. By the time I was a teenager, he was the most respected and skilled jeweler in Indianapolis. As a teenager, I worked in his shop learning the skills of a jewelry craftsman.

Here is a beautiful example of my father’s talent:

An opal, diamond and natural ruby ring made for Eunie by my father

It’s a gold set opal, diamond and natural ruby ring that he made for Eunie. I never acquired a fraction of the skill of my father, but I did learn enough simple skills that I can make interesting gifts for friends. I prefer to make jewelry from found objects. Starting with something that I’ve found and crafting an interesting bit of bauble for a friend with my own hands gives me and the friend a much more satisfying experience.

I’ll show you a simple example of something that I made in about an hour yesterday for a friend who will soon be leaving Papua New Guinea.

This is a small abalone shell that I found while diving. It doesn’t look like much:

A small abalone shell, unfinished

However, with a few simple tools and skills that we all possess naturally, one can make something beautiful and meaningful. Here is the jeweler’s workbench that I set up yesterday:

My jewelry making workbench

As you can see, it consists of nothing more than a Dremel tool and some accessory bits. The cigar is optional. You will also note from the image that another book report is coming soon.

Here is the finished abalone shell pendant:

A finished abalone pendant

Here is the back side:

The back side of a finished abaline pendant

The tools and supplies can be found at any craft store. You might have to go to a hardware store for the Dremel tool. All of the special little jewelry bits and pieces such as rings, chains and various fasteners can be found at any large craft shop. They are very inexpensive to purchase.

Here is a little gallery of a few of Eunie’s favourite pieces that I have made for her:

If you like to please your friends, spend a few bucks and take a vacation from the TV set. It’s much more rewarding. To you and your friends.

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4 Responses to “Simple Jewelry Making”

  1. My Dad | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] (tap, adagio, ballroom), an incredible acrobat, a highly accomplished amateur photographer, and a master craftsman jeweler. I owe many of  my modest talents and much of my athletic ability to the tutelage of my father. […]

  2. Jacky Says:


    Everybody, if you are looking for a nice coral jewelry gift, I ran across the Coral Jewelry. I’m not sure thiough you can bring some of there back to the States.

  3. Shad Werner Says:

    There is a man in Curacao who lives by the ocean. His eyes are clear as the sea waters and, like the sea, he is determined. his name is Bert Knubben.(64) He is on the beach of the BREEZES Resort and a artisan of the selective “kings” black coral jewelry which he stubbornly insist must be written black “koral”. A nice touch, since the initials are his own and on Curacao, he is similar with this valuable stone which he painstakingly makes in his tiny shop, the KORALART gallery, together with his pretty wife Fennie, on the palm beach of the Breezes Holiday Resort.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Shad, we’re pretty sensitive about black coral here, as much is being harvested for the jewelery industry and Papua New Guineans are benefitting in no way. As a life-long jewelry maker, I’m as fascinated as anyone could be by fine peices made from nature’s treasures. I’ve got no problem with responsible harvesting from areas which can sustain it. However, I believe that that is not the case in many places.

    I’m very encouraged to see that The KoralArt Gallery does not harvest living black coral from the reefs. I’m going to contact them to see if I can learn how they are growing black coral. I’d like to see if we can find a relatively easy way to replenish our stocks.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for taking the time to comment.