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wood and amber bracelet One of the best things about jewelry design is that there is no limit to the types of materials that you use. In addition to traditional materials such as stones, beads, and metals, many creative jewelry makers also use nonconventional materials for special effects.

If your goal is to add color and warmth, materials such as wood, rubber, plastic, horn, porcelain, lava, Bakelite, or beach glass can be used alone or with other materials to add hue and tone.

necklace with leather strips and a seashell If your goal is to add texture to your piece, materials such as rubber, lava, leather, fiber, and even fur can be incorporated into the design.

Some jewelry designers like to manipulate materials, adding to the creative process. Natural materials like bone and teeth can be dyed, carved, polished, and colored, while materials like lava, porcelain, Bakelite, and plastic can be formed into a myriad of shapes and colored just about any hue.

seashell necklace If the artist is going for a "natural" look, unconventional materials like iron and seashells can be used together or with other more conventional materials to get the desired effect. Some jewelers like to design jewelry using only "found" objects like shells, bone, rocks, wood, and glass.

plastic earrings Other jewelers like to incorporate whimsy into their design. Unconventional materials like feathers, fur, glass, and plastic can result in a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry like no other.

Jewelers looking to create original art need to look no further than unconventional materials. When you use unconventional materials, your design is limited only by your imagination.

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Nonconventional Jewelry Materials