Steampunk, Rise of the Inventor

Design Idea J52A Earrings

by Jamie Smedley, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

The jewelry and style term known as "steampunk" is making waves in the fashion and accessories industry, influencing jewelry designers, artists, crafters and clothing designers. This inventive, time-merged look can be incorporated into handmade steampunk jewelry for men and women, as well as steampunk home décor and designs for steampunk weddings.

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The Story of Steampunk

The Steampunk style is a science fictional Victorian look rooted in the concept of antique technology and the euphoria of steam-powered inventions that sprang to life during the late 1800s. The Victorian industrial movement was a golden era where people thought big and worked hard to create items of lasting beauty. Within this style, special emphasis is placed on recuperating lost treasures and incorporating mechanical materials with imaginary functionality into designs. This waste-not-want-not philosophy is embraced by many because it feels contrary to the disposable culture we live in today.

Steampunk, Rise of the Inventor

When making steampunk style jewelry, designer-artists are encouraged to become both engineer and inventor to refashion their world around them into one they would want to see. Steampunk style is the ultimate DIY. Whether it is transforming a modern working desktop computer into a steam-powered contraption or fashioning a necklace adorned with clockwork gears--having a secret mechanical purpose that only the designer knows about--the steampunk aesthetic can be incorporated anywhere.

Recreate This Style

Employ your thinker to create assemblages of mechanical and antique-looking items to portray advanced, fictitious technology that may or may not be functional. Key materials include brass, iron, copper and other metals with aged patinas that can manifest in designs as watch dials, hands, gears and cogs along with chain, screws, nuts, wire and findings. Antiqued metal components play an important part in the look, along with gemstone, glass and crystal beads with mathematical chessboard faceting in the theatrical colors of rich red, jet black, sheer aqua and glowing amber.

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Jewelry designer-artists who want to experiment with this style can explore our collection of steampunk components, then watch our steampunk jewelry-making steampunk jewelry-making tutorial videos with Christi Friesen and Lisa Pavelka and get inspired by a range of steampunk jewelry projects and ideas.

It is also important to include found objects such as drawer pulls, escutcheon plates, locks with keys and old hardware or mechanical bits that add a special meaning or story to designs. When you want to make your own steampunk jewelry and accessories, your creative thought, artisanry and skill go into the creation of each piece with the intention of spurring the imagination and pushing the boundaries of inventive thought.

Steampunk Components

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Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Steampunk Style Jewelry: Rise of the Inventor," featured in a 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.

"I love checking out the new ideas of jewelry. The steampunk ideas have instantly caught my eye. I wish I had the money to purchase some of the supplies to make it."
- Karen

"Fascinating ... A really nice presentation that got my interest in creating some steampunk jewelry. Thanks for the inspiration."
- Catgondek

"Love it! Thanks for considering Steampunk an option!"
- Anonymous

"I really like the idea. I think it is genius and look forward to seeing more creations of steampunk in future articles."
- Donna

"I enjoyed your online article about steampunk. It is informative and inspiring - explaining the deeper ideas and imaginations the artist can use while creating. I love the idea of creating a machine with functions and powers that only the creator knows about. Thanks very much."
- Anonymous

"Very interesting! Actually, I loved it and it has gotten my "gears" turning. Thank you!!"
- Huffman