As technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace, jewelry and fashion are taking a journey back to a simpler time--a time of storytelling and family heirlooms. As we rediscover the value of handcrafted goods, jewelry with a narrative is growing more and more popular. Hearkening back to a time of lockets and family crests, the new personalized jewelry strikes a balance between modern style and sentimentality.
One unique interpretation of this trend is jewelry that incorporates a fingerprint. Fingerprints are completely unique to each person, making them a fitting memento of a loved one. When placed in jewelry, these patterns are a contemporary way to keep someone close to your heart. Fingerprints can be reproduced using paper and ink that is then preserved using glass cabochons, Omni Gel™ or ICE Resin®. Metal clay is also a great medium for capturing fingerprints. Use birthstones, charms or other meaningful components to add further personalization to this jewelry style.
Fingerprint jewelry makes a wonderful gift for Mother's Day, weddings, anniversaries and other important dates. To get started, take inspiration from the featured projects.
NecklaceThe featured necklace boasts a fingerprint captured elegantly on a pendant and is embellished with Swarovski crystals. The forward-facing toggle clasp gives this design added interest.
To create your own truly one-of-a-kind pendant:
The featured charm bracelet was made using sterling silver metal clay, sterling silver chain and Swarovski bicones. Each uniquely-shaped drop features a fingerprint, initial and a corresponding Swarovski crystal birthstone.
To create a charm bracelet that is uniquely yours:
- Lightly oil your hands, work surface and tools. Place the clay on your work surface. Using clay slats for measuring, place the green slats on either side of the clay. Use the acrylic roller or brayer to roll the clay out until it is even thickness with the slats.
- Press the top section of a finger into the clay, pressing firm enough to leave an impression but not so firm that you thin the clay too much, as this will weaken the piece.
- Using the cutter of your choice, cut out around the fingerprint, keeping the imprint below the midline of the shape so it is positioned below the hole for hanging.
- Collect the excess clay and wrap it in cling wrap. Spray the clay with water if it is showing signs of drying.
- Use a small straw to cut out the hole for hanging the charm from later.
- Reroll the clay to 2-cards high (yellow slats).
- Using the same cutter, cut out a 2nd shape. Use a smaller cutter to cut out an area from the clay that is below the midline; the fingerprint will show through this area.
- Using a letter stamp set, press the letter of your choice onto the tool handle until it snaps into place.
- Hold the tool vertically and press into the clay. Press gently to avoid cutting through the clay.
- Use the straw to cut out a hole from the cut-out shape. Set it aside to dry.
- Use a paintbrush to wet the surface of the first cut-out shape. Carefully lift the 2nd shape with the cutout and place it on top of the first, matching the edges up as best as you can. Let it dry.
- Once the surface is dry, flip the charm over and press the straw through the small hole made for hanging the charm from, pressing through to the new 2nd layer. Flip the charm back over and let it dry completely.
- Repeat for each charm you would like to make.
- Using progressive grits of the polishing papers, refine the edges and surface of the charms.
- Fire in the kiln at 1472-degrees F for 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, burnish using a steel wire brush and/or agate/steel burnisher for a bright finish.
- Optional: Place in the tumbler with stainless steel shot and burnishing compound (small amount of dish soap and enough water to cover the charms). Tumble for 20 minutes or until desired results are achieved.
- Using jumprings, connect the charms to a bracelet. Add textured rings for interest, if desired.
- Use patina gel or liver-of-sulfur to add a patina and pick up detail in the final design.
- Use headpins and jumprings to attach Swarovski crystal birthstones to the bracelet.
- Polish the high spots of the charms, jumprings and chain using a polishing cloth.
- Swarovski crystal birthstones
- Swarovski crystal
- Metal Clay
- Omni Gel
- ICE Resin
- Antiquing solutions
- Clay tools
We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Fingerprint Jewelry," featured in the April 5, 2011 newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
"Thanks for the ideas! I've done the "PMC" type charms, but, the inked/Omni gel creations will be something I'll definitely try. I can certainly keep my costs down for my customers - especially, ones who have lost partial income and deserve something of heirloom quality. Thanks, again....."
"Hi, I enjoyed reading the article on how to make the Fingerprint Bracelet by Tammy. However I got lost in the cut outs. It would have been helpful to have drawings on how the construction was done along with the words. Sincerely,"
"Gee, it's too bad that not all jewelry can be made with fingerprint identification to protect the owner especially, when it pertains to theft. A great identification tool used in criminal cases."
"I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the article on Fingerprint Jewelry. This is what I'm wanting to do, but kinda nervous about it. Thanks so much :)"
"Great idea for the fingerprints just in time for mother's day."
"that gives me another idea.....many years ago a sculptor made fingerprints out of metal to hang on the wall.....could do the same on a small scale with wire!"