Springboard Your Jewelry Line!: Take a Great Design Idea and Build Variations Around It

Springboard Your Jewelry Line!: Take a Great Design Idea and Build Variations Around It

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

Jewelry makers who want to expand their lines sometimes have some difficulty using a jewelry design when they want to "make it your own." The idea is not to copy other artists' work, but to use the influences from the designs that inspire and spark your creativity while saving your budget.

The recommendation here is to use something called the "springboard technique." The springboard technique is ideal for quickly generating ideas for your own design line. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has thousands of jewelry designs in the online Gallery of Designs from which you can spring forth.

Any time you see a gallery piece of jewelry that speaks to you, save it. Pay close attention to what it is about that piece that grabs your attention. Perhaps it is a bead shape, a type of material or a construction technique. Next, analyze the architecture of the design and, instead of using the materials list or exact technique when you make it, create your own version of it using your favorite jewelry-making supplies and technique variations.

It is important to note here that jewelry-making stitches cannot be copyrighted but specific techniques and patterns can be protected by copyright law, which is why it is never a good idea to copy another artist's work. For more information on copyright law, and how it applies to the jewelry industry, read the article ''Without Copyrights Where Would We Be?''

The springboard technique will transform how you look at the basic architecture of jewelry designs For instance, let's say you find a pair of earrings in the Gallery of Designs. Using it as a basic template, choose alternative materials specific to your seasonal palette or artistic preferences while still using the same basic pattern. The look will be easy to translate because the base pattern is already established; all you have to do is ''color within the lines'' using the wide variety of products available. This is a powerful tool that will save you hours of time and research.

Here is an example of how the springboard technique can work.

Design Idea A73N Earrings
The original design was found in the Gallery of Designs. It uses chain with graduating color bicone beads attached with ball pins and is finished with fishhook ear wires.
Design Idea A73N Earrings
Our designer selected some favorite materials to translate the look to a personal palette while still using the basic template of chain, ball pins and fishhook ear wires.
Design Idea A73N Earrings
Then, the designer pared down the bead count and used jump rings instead of ball pins to translate the design. Using fewer beads made the design more economical and construction went quicker, which is especially helpful when designing with sales in mind.

The springboard technique can be followed with virtually any jewelry design from thousands of examples in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Gallery of Designs. So now the question is, where will the springboard technique take you and your designs?

Additional Resources:

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Springboard Your Jewelry Line!: Take a Great Design Idea and Build Variations Around It!," featured in the January 11, 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.

"Great idea. In fact, I saw the way a pair of earrings was constructed in the last catalog I received and I'm going to try that technique (using different beads entirely and some variation, not trying to copy but to merely use a concept!) I love seeing the examples in the catalog and on your posts on Facebook."
- Karen

"I liked this resource and the springboard concept...I have used this approach somewhat, but now will consciously use some of the suggestions. Thanks."
- John

" I thought this was a fabulous example of how to use/adapt design ideas. I have been collecting photos of jewelry from various catalogs and getting great results. Thanks for your great product line, excellent service, and speedy delivery. You keep us all on track and make your jobs look so easy."
- Dusted Tre'sures

" I really enjoyed reading about and seeing examples of the springboard effect. I will be doing this. Thanks."
- Carolyn and Terry