My name is Em(m)a and I use Beadz in my work. Hence the name: Emaz Beadz I’ve been making and selling my handmade jewellery and crafts for the past 6+ years. It’s mainly wirework, but I’ve dabbled in silver-smithing too. All of my creations are made in the ‘She Shed’ using genuine gemstones. I attend craft fairs, have a Facebook account as well as an Instagram account, along with my online shop.
Welcome to my world of beadz and I hope you find something a little bit different.
Emaz Beadz: The Story So Far…
It all began back in 2013 when I was visiting family in Liverpool. My cousin, who had begun to learn the technique of beaded jewellery, introduced me to the basics over that (fateful) weekend.
During my stay, as well as catching the jewellery bug, I came up with the name Emaz Beadz. As I said in my introduction “My name is Em(m)a and I use beadz in my work.”
Now that I caught the making bug, I needed to buy the supplies and materials. I love being creative, I’m more of a ‘hands on’ person than an academic one.
Since I’ve started creating jewellery, I’ve bought from UK based suppliers either online, from craft shops and specialised fairs. For example, a specialised fair is Beads Up North. They showcase suppliers at Haydock Park Racecourse, which is great for me, as it’s only down the M6 and the Racecourse itself isn’t far from the motorway junction.
Not satisfied with one jewellery making technique and with the idea planted in my head by an ex-colleague, I began to attend a silver-smith class. After going for at least 5 years, it become more of a workshop.
I made bangles, rings, earrings and pendants. I also attended extra courses, such as silver clay and silver etching. The moment I realised it went from a class to a workshop (for me), was when I was helping the other students/classmates when our actual tutor was helping someone else.
Their excuse was that I had been there longer than them, therefore I knew what I was doing!
Sadly, in 2019, the workshop (known as The Jewellery Maker and not to be confused with the seller – who have their own channel – Jewellery Maker) has closed, with my tutor moving to Portugal. She hopes to open a workshop there and offer silver-smith workshop holidays. Sun, sea and silver! A holiday I would really enjoy.
Where I am now…
To begin with, I was making jewellery on my bedroom floor. Not the best place, as my room is quite small. I can’t fit a desk to sit at.
After that, it was the move to the kitchen table. A destination most popular with crafters of any kind. This too wasn’t ideal, I had to keep putting my unfinished things away each time so my family could sit down to eat. This then led to having a desk in the bay window of our living room. We were moving a piece of furniture and my brother was getting rid of his desk. There was great, natural light and I was able to leave any unfinished creations.
During lockdown, May 2020, I bought a shed. I had been thinking about it for a while: where to put it, how big, etc, so I ‘bit the bullet’. This is where I now create my jewellery. I love it! I love it to the point that I have realised how settled I am when I’m in there. In a proper creative space. I even have my own doorbell – don’t laugh! It’s really useful. The buzzer is in the kitchen and it’s a great way of calling me for things, like… well, when it’s time to eat really.
Seeing as men have ‘Man Caves’, I have a ‘She Shed’. It can be a bit of a tongue-twister, but it was a member of the networking group WINK who came up with it and I think it’s a great way to describe it.
As for my jewellery making, I’ve tried and tested various styles and techniques, until I finally decided that I would use the rosary link technique. I find it a very therapeutic method of jewellery making – in comparison to other styles I have done over the years.
Overall, the inspiration for my designs are varied. They can come from the media, surrounding environment to what I actually have in stock. And to be honest, it’s usually what I have in stock that tells me what I am creating. I’m also not afraid of taking existing pieces I have made apart and re-creating them. This has been something that I have been doing during lockdown.
Emaz Beadz: My Creative Purpose
I love using gemstones. My preference is to use chip beads. This means I can use the same design, but the end result will always have a different look.
The types of stones I use are common in jewellery making. Did you know, there are gemstones that are also classed as crystals, yet there are crystals that aren’t classed as gemstones?
The difference is: a gemstone can have a mineral or organic base and a crystal’s base is made up of molecules that are arranged in a regular, geometric pattern.
For more information on crystals, check out another Emaz Beadz Introduction to Crystals blog.
The gemstones I use in my jewellery are:
- Clear Quartz
- Peach Moonstone
- Cultured Pearls
- Mother of Pearl
- Tigers Eye
- Lapis Lazuli
- Blue Goldstone
- Abalone / Paua Shell
- Whitby Jet
- Rose Quartz
- Lava Stone
With many more being added to the Emaz Beadz ‘collection’!
Emaz Beadz: My Favourite Gemstones
Everyone has a favourite gemstone. Whether it’s their birthstone or another for various reasons.
Labradorite and Malachite are just two particular favourites of mine. The iridescence and flashed of colour from the Labradorite and the vibrant green, with hints of black in the Malachite are some of the reasons why I like these stones.
Yet my favourite, favourite stones are Whitby Jet and Amber.
The stone has a slight sheen when it’s polished, but it also looks fantastic with a matted/unpolished look.
For the finest Jet, head to the 17 mile coastline near the North Yorkshire, seaside town of Whitby. A place that is also famous for being where Bram Stoker wrote about one of the most famous vampires – Dracula.
OK, Whitby Jet isn’t technically a gemstone. What it is, is fossilized wood similar to the Monkey Puzzle tree. Over the millions of years, it has been pressurized and become flat, to become what we use, see and buy today.
Whitby Jet became popular during the Victorian Era. This was down to the popularity of the railways. People living in the highly industrial towns and cities made their way to the UK coasts for their holidays. The holidaymakers bought Jet as souvenirs. It was also a part of the Great Exhibition in 1851, where it was admired by all.
It’s most famous patron was Queen Victoria. She made Whitby Jet even more popular for the unfortunate reason that she she wore Jet as part of her mourning jewellery after the death of her husband Prince Albert.
Like many trend setters, once the Queen of Great Britain began to wear something, everyone else started to. Those who could afford it, wore Whitby Jet and it wasn’t always worn as mourning jewellery.
Whitby Jet was also used as jewellery during the Roman Era. Discoveries have shown that both men and women were buried with Whitby Jet bracelets and/or bangles. It’s thought that it represents the person’s status, whilst they were alive as well as part of their burial.
I really like this gemstone as it’s an extremely tactile stone, plus the jewellery that can be created from it can accessorise any outfit.
Again, this isn’t technically a gemstone. Amber is fossilised tree sap or resin.
I think the main reason why I love this gemstone is because I am a fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise. Watching the films whilst growing up (as well as now) and seeing the character John Hammond with his walking stick and the big chunk of amber on top with the mosquito inside it, obviously in a subconscious way, kick-started my love of gemstones and crystals.
Amber is actually quite light and doesn’t feel ‘real’ when you hold it. If that at all makes any sense. And did you know, there is more than one colour? We think of amber as an orange colour. It’s the most popular, which is why we see it more in the retail industry. Yet there’s: brown, blue, red, yellow/lemon and green. Studies have shown that there are at least 300 types of colour that Amber appears in. The researchers believe that this is due to the type of tree and the sap it produces.
The best Amber can be found on the shores of the Baltic and can even be found washed up on the shores, a bit like finding sea glass on the beach here in the UK. Due to the quality of this particular Amber, Baltic is more expensive.
Technically, my favourite gemstones aren’t gemstones at all! As they are used in jewellery making, Whitby Jet and Amber are regarded as gemstones.
To be more technical, they are similar to Pearls, they are made up of organic sources so these gemstones should really be known as ‘gemstone materials’