A Jewelry Maker's Portfolio

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

What's a jewelry designer's portfolio? Do I need a portfolio in the jewelry design industry? How do I make a jewelry portfolio? Never fear ... find the answers to these questions and. Get ready to share your talent with the world, increase sales and showcase creative successes with a well-organized jewelry designer's portfolio.

What is a Jewelry Portfolio?

The definition of a jewelry designer's portfolio is a collection of work intended to display artists' talents and accomplishments. A portfolio is an invaluable tool when presenting your work and yourself to prospective clients and employers, applying for juried artisan fairs, building online sales, promoting your jewelry-making brand and more.

Documenting jewelry-making projects also allows easy reference to past designs, whether you're looking for ideas for a jewelry-making class or to remake a piece. Not only does a portfolio help document past projects, it also serves as a reminder of your creative accomplishments, giving you the opportunity to easily view your work.

Putting together a jewelry designer's portfolio doesn't have to be a pain--the key is finding a format that works for you. You may have something like a jewelry-maker's portfolio already but might not be looking at it as a so-called "portfolio," or using it as a professional tool. A portfolio format can range from digital documents, website or blog, to a scrapbook, an organized shoebox or three-ring binder. Here's a guide to creating a jewelry-designer's portfolio, with jewelry portfolio examples and tips for portfolio photo success.

A Jewelry Maker's Portfolio

Building a Jewelry-Designer's Portfolio

The best way to create a jewelry maker's portfolio is to build it as you work; documenting jewelry pieces as you finish them. Going back in time can be challenging, especially if you no longer have the piece, and it can be difficult to remember the details of the work once you've moved on to other projects. Think of your jewelry maker's portfolio as a constant work in progress, something you continue to update as you create.

Jewelry Portfolio Format

The format is up to you. Think about how you would like to share your work. For example, are you mostly promoting yourself online or are you needing to show people your work in person? The most important thing is finding a system that works and can be easily shared with others.

Jewelry designers can choose to organize their work by date created, materials used or specific clients. You may want to develop an online portfolio through a blog or website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter or online photo programs such as flickr or webshots--as they are easy to share and send to others. Add an online photo link to an online resume/networking site, such as LinkedIn, to promote your work.

Online pages can be printed if you need to put together a hard copy to share. Many jewelry designers prefer to create a jewelry portfolio in a book format or three-ring binder. It's nice to be able to take your portfolio with you if needed, so using a format you can take on-the-go or easily show from an electronic device is helpful. Never give out the master copy of your jewelry designer's portfolio, instead just make copies to share with others.

A Jewelry Maker's Portfolio

Jewelry-Designer's Portfolio Photo Tips

The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words," is a good thing to keep in mind when compiling a jewelry designer's portfolio. Photograph designs in progress (step-by-step photos are helpful for future reference), or include a picture of each completed piece. You may want to use a similar display/background to photograph your pieces. You can also use a photocopy machine to produce an image of a piece--placing the piece on the glass (be careful not to scratch the glass) and covering the piece with a white sheet of paper for a uniform background.

Photograph designs in progress if desired, or just include a picture of each completed piece. You may want to use a similar display/background to photograph your pieces. You can also use a photocopy machine to produce an image of a piece--placing the piece on the glass (be careful not to scratch the glass) and covering the piece with a white sheet of paper for a uniform background.

Helpful tips for information to include in your jewelry-designer's portfolio photos:
  • Title of the piece
  • Materials list (a list of every component used in design--include item #'s for easy reference and reproduction)
  • Inspiration for design (for example was there a specific design idea or famous design inspiration for the piece?)
  • Notes about design, including any techniques and/or jewelry-making resources used (especially on areas of the design that are not visible in photo) and helpful hints/tips for recreating the piece. For example, how long did it take to make the design?
  • Name and contact information
  • Copyright notice (including creation date)
  • If the piece has been published, include a copy of the magazine tear-out or a printed copy of the webpage
  • If the piece has been entered into any jewelry-making contests and received any awards, include results
  • Any additional information or notes about the piece you think may be helpful to you or others in the future
Samples for Jewelry Designer's Portfolios

Many jewelry-making artists like to have an actual sample of their work as part of their jewelry designer's portfolio. You can easily organize, store, transport and display samples of your work using jewelry-making organizers and displays.

Just remember, the key is keeping up with your jewelry designer's portfolio and developing a format that makes it easy to share with others as needed. This will ensure you'll always be ready to show off your jewelry-making talents and creative accomplishments.

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Customer Comments

Customer Comments We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "A Jewelry Maker's Portfolio," as featured in an email 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.

"This article is great! Thank you."
- Susanne

"Great idea--I make a lot of "one-of-a-kinds," so this will help me show folks what I can do, even if I no longer have the piece."
- Carol

"This article is a keeper! I am going to print/keep for reference. This article offers insight that novices and professionals alike may not think of when creating one-of-a-kind or make-again pieces. Thanks so much!"
- Julie

"I like this and other articles, but would like to add them to a list--just like adding items to buy. Please add a button to do this. Thanks."

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