Where to Find Dried Flowers for Resin Jewelry

Besides being asked about where to find open bezels for resin jewelry, the second most-asked question I get is, “Where do you find dried flowers for resin jewelry?”

We’ll talk shopping in-person in the US and shopping online internationally. I’ll be using my favorite flower to use as a research example throughout the post (it’s central to the Higher Jewelry style: the miniature daisy! Also known as the star daisy or star flower).

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Before we get into it, I first want to address the most difficult wall many meet.

Flower Size

Most flowers, even when dried, are pretty huge in comparison to jewelry. They don’t fit, especially in more delicate pieces. So, what’s a maker to do?

Flowerfetti. Seriously. Just like paper confetti, dried flower confetti can be beautiful, colorful, mixed with other media (like gold or silver leaf), and will fit better within small jewelry pieces. It’s something I use, even though I often use very tiny flowers in the first place. There’s often little pieces leftover from other designs (super tiny pieces) and I don’t want them to go to waste.

In-person finds (in the US)

I live in the US, so I can only attest for where to find dried flowers in my country. Hobby Lobby and Michaels have dried flowers, and many Hobby Lobby’s have what I look for, the star daisy.

If you’re looking for something not available at these craft stores or if you live outside the US, there still might be something near you that will carry what you’re looking for.

Go to your local flower shops and even look at fresh flowers you can dry yourself. Even at my local grocery store I can sometimes find wax flowers and Queen Anne’s lace, small flowers with small petals that are great for jewelry. And, again, a typically sized flowers can be cut down into confetti.

Another option is to press a petal or leaf and cut it to fit within the bezel you’re hoping to use.

If you live near a park or forest, use that, too! Small, unique leaves are great finds for jewelry. In addition, a lot of wildflowers are small. So whether it’s on the side of the road or on a trail hike, be on the lookout for tiny treasures.

Online Finds

When I’m ready to order some mini-daisies in a variety of pre-colored options (I talk about why I do this below), I go online.

Mainly Etsy and Ebay. My suppliers change often because these shops come and go and stop selling and new shops open and start selling what I’m looking for.

First, I consider how quickly I need my dried flowers.

If I can wait, I head to Ebay and see if I can find some shipped out of China (a month’s wait, usually). There’s more options if I look outside the US.

If I need them like now I head to Etsy and filter out any shops outside the US. That way I can see what’s available within the US and what will arrive fairly quickly.

Below I searched “mini star daisy.” After searching 12 other options I finally found a result with this term (and like I’m about to talk about below, online things change all the time. Sometimes there’s more options. Sometimes there’s options under different search terms. Even when I find something I often need to do the research process again a few months later if I want more of it).

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If you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for, you need to do more research! Don’t give up, it may be out there.

Just like the miniature daisies I use can be called 3 different things (and those 3 different thing can be named many different ways) you need to try many different searches.

For example, when I’m looking at miniature daisies I’ll might use these search terms:

  • dried miniature flower/s

  • dried star daisy/ daisies

  • dried mini star flower/s

  • dried mini star daisy/ daisies

  • dried mini daisy/ daisies

  • miniature star flower/s

  • miniature daisy/ daisies

  • miniature star daisy/ daisies

  • mini star flower/s

  • mini star daisy/ daises

  • mini daisy/ daisies

I found out the many names just through research and reading. It definitely takes time (and many tabs) to research and compare your findings, but it’s worth it to get what you want.

So, if at first you don’t succeed—research! Branch out, change up the wording, Google it, and if after all this you still can’t find what you’re looking for, be open to getting something else that’s similar.

Some of the best ideas come about from being resourceful and having to improvise, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Artificial Coloring or Natural Coloring?

I sometimes like to keep a flora’s natural coloring, but it’s honestly not as long-lasting. Resin lets UV rays pass through, so the flora will fade over time. To prevent the fade you can store it in a dark place when it’s not worn, but, bottom-line—it won’t last as long as artificial coloring.

For bright colors, I buy my dried flowers pre-colored. They color the flowers before they dry, achieving very vibrant shades.

You can also dye softer colors after the flower has dried with food coloring.

These colorants won’t fade and the jewelry will stay as it was first made for way longer.

Color Palettes

When making flowerfetti or mixing small flower petals together, how do we decide on the color palette? Well, Pinterest is a great place to look through loads of color palettes. You can also look to nature, paintings, photographs—just be on the lookout for color palettes that speak to you.

I mainly look to nature and Pinterest color palettes for inspiration, though sometimes I’ll see a bouquet at the store and draw inspiration from that. There’s color palettes and art all around us to be inspired by.

Test out your color palette ideas at a site like coolors.co or paletton.com where you can see the mix of colors before you add it to your jewelry.

The most important factors are to set some time aside to research and to look around, whether at the store or out in nature. Good luck in your searching!

How to Fix Tarnished Jewelry

So, this may confuse you but: you can and you can’t.

How you can: When the jewelry isn’t plated.

How you can’t: When the jewelry is plated.

This is pivotal when it comes to making jewelry, but with wearing and buying jewelry it’s also important to know, too.

I’m not going to say plated jewelry is evil and a waste of money and that there aren’t jewelers who don’t do it right (there are. Some jewelers will re-plate their work for free if it should ever rub off).

But, what’s happening? What does “plated” really mean and how can we get jewelry that lasts through washing our hands, dipping in the pool, and us wearing them everyday for years?

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So, people ask me how to fix an item that's tarnished. The thing is, not all metal is made the same.

To be made into jewelry, metals must be mixed with other metals to strength them.

These alloys, or mixtures of metals, tarnish. No matter what. Tarnishing only doesn't happen when metal is coated in enamel. And once that enamel is worn off, the same will happen.

Okay, so:

  1. There are metals that are the same metal alloy all the way through to their core (such as sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver and the rest is other metals to strengthen the alloy).

  2. There are other metals that are coated in other metals. At the core, they are a mixture of base metals that are coppery, brassy, or a dully gray. On the outside is a shiny gold or silver plating, for example.

For the 2nd, when the surface layer is tarnished--well, when we try to polish it up with a cloth, the tarnished layer comes off. Or it might've been rubbed off from being worn.

So, no. They can't be polished or brightened up. The only way to fix the item is to get the piece re-plated. For some pieces, this is a simple option.

For resin jewelry in particular, which I’m a maker and teacher of—re-plating involves heat and processes that can damage the resin beyond repair.

That means plated jewelry is often NOT the best option for resin jewelry in particular, because you likely can’t re-plate it and when tarnished the piece is just done.

Now, for the 1st, when a layer tarnishes and get's rubbed or polished off--underneath is layer after layer of bright, shiny new metal. This is the stuff heirlooms are made of.

When plating DOES last longer

A plated piece can still last a while. I have a pair of Kendra Scott earrings that are gold-plated and have not tarnished for a few years now. I don't wear it often and take care of it when I don't--but the plating is also covered in enamel.

On top of how often the piece is worn, the area it is worn on makes a difference, two. Rings can the most beatings, while earrings take less so.

For everyday wear, for rings, for the things you may not take off in the pool or when you wash your hands, for the things you'd like to pass on to your daughter, sell, etc., etc., etc.--

Go with something that's solid in the sense that the alloy, though not one metal, goes through to the core.

For example, .925 sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver with the remaining percentage being other metals to strength the silver and make it suitable for jewelry. On it’s own, it’s too soft and wouldn’t hold up as jewelry.

So it’s not technically “solid” silver, but it’s as solid as we’re going to get.

Similarly, “solid” brass or bronze, “solid” copper, high carat gold or gold-filled, or .925 sterling silver. That's the stuff that, when tarnished, are not totally ruined (and all metals tarnish, even the most high-quality. When exposed to oxygen, the oils of the human skin, and so on the metal oxidizes and )

“Is there an affordable in-between that isn’t brass or copper?”

Yes! Between plated and “solid” metals there’s something new:

Filled jewelry.

When it comes to silver, it’s affordable and I recommend .925 sterling silver.

But, when it comes to expensive gold, I highly recommend gold-filled jewelry.

It can come in many karats, commonly 14k and 18k. Think of it like this:

  • The higher the number, the more real gold content and the more yellow-gold color.

  • The lower the number, the less real gold and the more rose-gold the color.

However, a 14k gold-filled piece is not 14k gold all the way through. But, if it was, it’d be pricey.

With filled jewelry, it’s plated with 100 layers. So, while still plated, it will last longer than a typical plated piece that has one layer.

So, gold-filled will last 100x longer than gold-plated.

It may not make it to your great-great-great granddaughter, but it won’t be tarnished by next month, or next year, either.

So, if you try to polish something and it doesn't look better--it was probably plated and it's not going to come back.

This is part of the reason why I absolutely adore .925 sterling silver (also a good read on how to take care of and remove tarnish from sterling silver).

It's great for even sensitive skin, is way more affordable than gold, and is a shiny silver through to it's core. Layer after layer can tarnish and it can still be brought back to life.

Plated jewelry can still be fun and is still an option. But it will not last as long. When coated in enamel, it can last longer--but especially with open bezels it's difficult to find enamel coated plated jewelry.

In addition, re-plating would be damaging to resin jewelry.

Picking the right bezels, in the right metals, is important. We don’t want our creative efforts spent on pieces that will only last a few months. We want to create something lasting.

Not fast fashion.

Slow, thoughtful, intentional pieces of art we can hand down, sell, donate—we need to create things that can be re-used.

I'm teaching about this and SO MUCH more in my new course: the Resin Jewelry Guide.

It's jam-packed with info for only $15. Seriously. When finished, it'll only be $25 For secrets, tips, knowledge, and step-by-step plans from a teacher who's worked with resin for 3 years--

It's insanely affordable and valuable. Get your butt in now while it's 40% off.

I hope you go on to create/ wear/ share beautiful jewelry with or without a teacher.

But if you choose to have a teacher, I’ll be here to cheer you on and answer your questions.

The only course that teaches open bezel resin jewelry from the inside out

I know, if you’re hopped online in that last few years you’ll have realized there seems to be a course for everything.

Watercoloring and acting and playing tennis—but, to my knowledge, there wasn’t an online course for open bezel resin jewelry. For resin jewelry in general.

So, after throwing out unusable pieces and ruining my curtains, I kept going. Learning from trial and error. And eventually I worked out a system and a method. Having learned the ins and outs, it was easier, simpler, and less wasteful.

And it made sense to teach about it. Growing up, there’s 2 distinct things I remember loving to do consistently: writing stories in secret and pretending to teach classes in the mirror or the shower. Also in secret.

In fact, everything I’ve every learned I’ve always clamored to share with those around me. So, I share everything—every secret, every step—in the Resin Jewelry Making course.

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After years of working on this craft, I decided to make the online course for this thing.

And I’m straight up with everyone I tell about this e-course—I don’t believe anyone needs an online course for anything.

Obviously, I learned without guidance, structure, a teacher, etc.

And what about the millions of random tutorials that can be found online? What about YouTube?

If you’re a DIYer and want to scour the internet for hours, browsing through videos taking tidbits of what you actually need—or trying to figure out what exactly you’re searching for—OR leaving a question on a blog or YouTube channel that never gets answered—

You get my point.

I made my video course to make it simple to go from A to Z. With much less trial and error. With guidance, structure, a proven method, and a teacher who answers your questions—for people who don’t want to wait, who don’t have time to waste, who want step-by-step and ease.

It’s really nothing fancy—I don’t believe in bells and whistles. You just need the information as quickly and succinctly as possible.

All lessons are about 10 minutes or under. They’re edited down, narrated, and visual. You watch over my shoulder and I explain everything I do and why.

In this course I teach something very specific:

Resin jewelry using open back bezels and natural flora.

When I was learning, and even in recent times, I’ve noticed free tutorials didn’t skew towards really creating high-quality or gave in-depth advice (I tried to learn with free tutorials and still felt really lost).

And if I’m being honest—I didn’t like the style of a lot of free tutorials. I didn’t want glitter and random findings—I wanted to be intentional and really focus on simplicity and celebrating nature’s beauty.

The skills can be expanded upon, the basics are solid, and there’s tons of bonus lessons to diversify your knowledge and craft. And I add to it. There’s new bonus lessons being worked on even today—2 years after I first created this e-course.

This is the first course of it’s kind, and I’m pretty happy to share it. Yeah, I’m blatantly selling—because what’s a course without students? And as I’ve heard from students already inside the course—there’s people out there who want this course and have been looking for it.

If it’s not your bag, I hope the free resources I offer can still help you on your journey to making resin jewelry:

Click here to enroll in my free email course, Resin Jewelry Basics.

Click here to access the Open Bezel Directory.

Click here to visit the blog, where I write about making resin jewelry and other DIY jewelry projects.

Click here to read my most popular blog post: 8 Ways to Rid of Bubbles in Epoxy Resin.

But my jam-packed, in-depth video course is the most succinct and structured way to learn. Step by step instruction as you literally watch over my shoulder—and, every lesson is about 5 to 10 minutes long.

You could watch everything, even the bonus classes, within one day.

Click here or below to learn more and enroll in class (it’s often closed, but you can sign up to be notified when doors open):

With the skills you’ll learn, you’ll be ready to create your own style and designs, add to your jewelry box the most perfect pieces you can dream up, whip up special gifts for friends and family this holiday season, or—if it’s your thing—go on to create your own distinct look and sell your crafts.

I hope you go on to make beautiful things, with or without my course.

- Kayla

How to Make Message in a Bottle Necklaces

This simple DIY calls for a few unusual supplies (links are included in the post)—but it makes for a great group project, gift, or craft night DIY.

The personal message written on the miniature scroll inside is a great place to put a sentimental or heartfelt thought that the wearer can carry with them everywhere they go.

This is one of my best-selling DIY kits on Etsy (along with the Hanging Plant earrings DIY kits—see the free tutorial for those here).

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What you need:

(I have ready-made kits with all supplies included here for $8.00—AND there’s free shipping right now!)

  • Aged paper (tea or coffee stained copy paper)

  • Miniature bottles with corks (1 ml is the average size, though you could use the next size up, 2 ml)

  • Sand

  • Jump rings (x2)

  • 8 x 4 mm Eyescrews

  • Necklace

  • (optional) Glue

  • (optional) Moss/ shells

  • (optional) Jewelry pliers if you don’t want to or can’t use your finger to open the jump ring

What to do:

1. Cut aged paper into strips and write your message (make sure the width is short enough to fit in the bottle).

2. Roll your paper up and slide a jump ring on to keep it rolled.

3. Twist your eyescrew into the bottle’s cork (add a dab of glue at the base if wanted).

4. Add sand 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the bottle (using a little piece of paper, such as a post-it note, as a funnel can help).

5. Drop in the rolled up message as well as any moss, shell fragment, or whatever else you want that can fit inside.

6. Attach the bottle charm to a necklace with a jump ring.

7. Optional - glue the cork to the bottle. The message can’t come back out if you do this, but it will be extra secure.

If you’re using my kit, you can skip screwing, gluing the screw, and attaching the charm to the necklace. It’s already done for you so you can assemble it easily and quickly.

So many people of all different walks of life have tried out this simple, fun DIY, from boyfriends for their girlfriends, daughter’s for their mothers, and bride’s for their bridesmaids.

If you’re wondering, “Why does she sell kits and give links to the supplies?”

Well, often people want to make 1 to 10 necklaces at a time, and paying shipping for different supplies PLUS having to get bulk (eyescrews come in packs of 20, bottles come in packs of 100) can actually add up to more than buying a pre-made kit. I buy them in bulk and make a small profit for putting them together—but it’s ultimately cheaper and easier for you.

Additionally, my ready-made kits are partially done for you—pliers aren’t needed. Eyescrews are already in and glued, too.

How Long Do Resin Rings Last

So you're wondering, “How long do resin rings last for?” and “How durable are resin rings?” (The second I’ll answer in the FAQ at the bottom of this post, and in this post I’ll go in-depth with the first question).

I have never personally owned a completely resin-made ring. I've only worn my own rings, which are a mix of metal and resin.

But having worked with epoxy resin for years, I can still totally answer this commonly-asked question.

The short answer is: with proper care--probably a loooong time.

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The long answer is: it depends. There's 3 factors to consider. Let’s take a look at them:

Resin Quality

This is a difficult thing to tell when buying jewelry, but it is an important factor. Some resins are made more for doming and some are made more for molds (the manufacturer will say so in the description of the resin, but often a jewelry maker won't be mentioning this).

But, different brands of resin also have varying degrees of yellowing from UV rays.

Some brands yellow quickly and easily. Some resist yellowing, even when exposed to UV rays for long periods of time.

ArtResin is geared towards doming (though it can be used for molds) and lasts longer than other brands without yellowing. Click here to learn more about why I use ArtResin.

2. Metal Quality

(if used in the ring design)

There's costume jewelry and there's fine jewelry.

Costume jewelry:

Non-precious metals and plated jewelry.

Non-precious metals are copper, brass, stainless steel, etc.

Plated jewelry has a base metal, actually an amalgam of cheap metals, usually a dark grey or a brassy red. The plating is only one thin layer. Some plated jewelry can last quite long if coated in an enamel. Kendra Scott does this with their regular jewelry (they also have fine jewelry), and I have a pair of earrings years old that still looks good (got a pair on sale for $35, if you’re wondering).

It’s not a common experience with plated—but some jewelry know how to do it right.

But, once that enamel goes away and the plating wears off, there is no way to ring the piece back to it's original shine—unless you pay to get it re-plated. In other words, plated jewelry has a limited time it'll last.

Non-precious metals are not always low-quality. If you have no allergies to copper, solid copper jewelry is a great and affordable option that can be brightened up again and again. The same goes for brass, providing the jewelry is solid—not brass plated. And providing that you don't have allergies to bronze or brass.

Fine jewelry

Solid gold, sterling silver, platinum, gold-filled jewelry, etc.

Gold-filled jewelry is similar to plated—it won't last as long as solid gold—but it has 100 layers of gold plating, so it will later 100x longer. However, solid jewelry will always be the longest lasting option, because it will not run out of layers.

Tendency to tarnish DOES NOT indicate that quality of the metal. Sterling silver will naturally tarnish to black, as copper naturally tarnishes to green. If they are solid, not plated or filled, then that tarnish can be cleaned off, revealing a shiny, new layer underneath. And cleaning is simple (read more about polishing solid metal jewelry here).

Gold-filled is a popular option because solid gold is pretty darn expensive. So, gold-filled is the economic option is you want gold, and it's higher quality than gold-plated.

In Short: Plated metals will last as long as that one thin layer they have. Filled metal lasts 100x longer than plated. Solid gold/ sterling silver/ solid anything will last virtually forever, because when tarnish is cleaned off it will always be beautiful underneath.

3. Flora

Another important factor in how long a resin ring will last for:

Is the flora dyed or it's natural color? (It's not bad either way, but it can effect how long it lasts).

This effects how long the flowers or leaves embedded in the jewelry will look the same. Thought preserved in resin, the flora will still be exposed to UV light (the sun, for instance—and unless you're a vampire and don't go outside—you’ll expose your jewelry to it).

Flora kept with it's natural color will naturally fade over time with UV exposure. The color just won't be as vibrant as it once was. If the flora was dyed artificially, this isn't so much of a worry because UV exposure won't affect it.

But, while un-dyed flora might not last as long as dyed, sometime's a plant's natural color is it's most beautiful. So it’s not a question of quality—artificially vs. naturally is just a matter of preference and how long you’re hoping the piece will last.

Some resin rings do not have flora and have dyes and ink and metal flakes—or they might have a mix. Or some total other findings. If it's just dye, or any form of artificial color, OR a metal embedded inside—the color should last a long time if the findings aren’t affected by UV exposure.

So, to re-cap. How long do resin rings last?

A ring that is resin only? If it's high quality resin that resists yellowing in UV rays, then a long time.

A ring that is a mixed of metal and resin? Provided again that it's high quality resin, but ALSO that it's high-quality metal—then a long time.

If it's important to you to have long-lasting jewelry, make sure to take care of it. Read more on that here.

And if you want to know why sterling silver is the best metal option for jewelry, especially in terms of long-term use and affordability, read my post on it here.

In the end, how well you take care of it will affect the length of time it will stay in pristine condition ALONG WITH how well it was made. Solid metals can bear less care, besides polishing, but if your jewelry is plated it needs extra care to have it last half as long and then when worn off it’ll cost money to re-plate.

Resin rings that don't involve metal at all have different factors to be aware of, but again with proper care it should last pretty long, almost regardless of where or who you get it from (the biggest concern being resin that yellows quickly/ plated metals fade quickly as rings—just read reviews from previous customers to get an idea of this).

As I’ve said in other posts: These are good things to know, as jewelry buyers and jewelry makers. But, a beautiful piece doesn’t have to last forever. Especially if you’re paying less than $100 for it (but if it’s sterling silver, it’ll be both affordable and long-lasting ;).

If you enjoy it, it doesn’t matter what it’s made of or how long it will last. Just be aware it might not be a family heirloom if you pick something with lower-quality materials.

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Here's some other ring-related questions people have (and the answers):

"Are resin rings heavy?"

Resin is a very lightweight substance, so even huge resin rings are fairly lightweight in comparison to huge metal rings. My Skinny Statement resin rings are extremely lightweight because they're thinner than any other resin rings on the market (I'm teaching how to make these, if you're interested).

All other crafters of resin jewelry have bulky, cumbersome designs that are clunky and in the way. I wanted something sleek, minimal, but still bold. That's how these were born.

If you're ever unsure of how heavy a resin ring will be, just reach out to whomever you're considering ordering from. I'm always happy to answer questions, and I'm sure other handmade makers are just as willing to give you the best idea of what the jewelry will be like in person.

“How durable are resin rings?”

A similar question to length of time they last—but more about how much they can handle.

“Can they handle being dropped?” YES. They may look like glass, but they don’t break like glass.

“What if I sit on them by accident?” Regardless of it being a resin ring, the general thing to consider is that thick rings can withstand more than thinner rings, always.

But, thicker rings are also most cumbersome and less comfortable, so there’s a pay-off.

Epoxy resin is a soft material, relatively. But then, so is metal! Precious metals especially. Gold and silver by themselves are way too soft for jewelry.

And even when made stronger, they can be scratched and dented. They’re still delicate.

Jewelry isn't often indestructible. It leans more toward delicate than durable.

Rings can get bent out of shape, chains can break, gems can be cracked.

The biggest worries for resin are similar to metal rings. Don't let anything too sharp near them (water, however, will not cause damage to resin where it will to metal), and try not to sit or step on them.

Resin jewelry has the same basic needs of metal, so when the two are mixed into jewelry (see below for examples) then there's just a couple extra things to keep in mind for resin.

Metal is exposed to flame, and with jewelry it happens quite often. Epoxy resin is exposed to flame during the hardening process, but it should never be exposed to flame or extreme heat when it's a finished piece. It can melt.

Alcohol, harsh chemicals, and perfumes can also damage the smooth, shiny surface of resin. It will probably still be wearable, but not as pretty as it once was.

The oils from our skin can wear down the surface of resin, too. Again, it may not totally ruin the piece, but to keep it in the best condition try to remove oils so they don't sit on the surface for long periods of time. This can be wiped off with a soft cloth.

Metal jewelry shouldn't be exposed to water, because it promotes tarnishing—but a mild dish soap and warm water does remove oils completely (if the cloth isn’t doing it) from to the surface of resin. Again, sterling silver is a great option because it can withstand tarnishing—and water exposure—and always be brought back to life (read this post to learn more about why I love sterling silver above all else).

In short—it’s as durable as it is thick. Same as non-resin rings. But at the end of the day, they’re all jewelry and should all be treated as delicately as possible. If you’re rough on your jewelry—hey, that’s fine. It just might not last in pristine condition for as long. Not a big deal as long you enjoyed it or even still enjoy it in it’s roughed-up state.

“How Do You Make Resin Rings?”

There’s different ways. The most popular being molds, closed-bezel rings, and open-frame rings (such as these Nunn-Design options). Resin ring molds can be found all over the internet—from Ebay to Etsy.

I teach how to make my skinny statement rings in an online video class (almost complete, one lesson remaining to be finished). No molds. No thick statement rings that push your fingers apart and are uncomfortable/ cumbersome. Click here to learn more about it.

Or, click here to learn more about the complete Resin Jewelry Making video course.

Why Sterling Silver is the Best Option

I’m writing about this for my resin jewelry making blog because no matter if you're buying metal jewelry or resin jewelry—when it comes to jewelry that incorporates metal in any way, I recommend .925 sterling silver above all else.

For jewelry wearers and jewelry makers alike—sterling silver is an amazing option for many reasons. Let’s dive in, shall we?

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for a handy chart to quickly compare sterling silver against other options).

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What is It?

.925 sterling silver, sometimes just called sterling silver, is 92.5% silver.

So, what is that other 7.5%? Why isn't it solid silver, wouldn’t that be better?

Technically, “solid” silver IS .925 sterling silver. If it was actually 100% silver, it wouldn't be strong enough to make into jewelry. It would be too soft.

So, 92.5% silver is the most “solid” we're gonna get.

The other 7.5% is an amalgam of other metals to strength the silver.

But then, why not just silver plated? Why not gold?

Okay, if you prefer gold, that's great. Go for it. But gold is an expensive option. Gold-filled is more affordable, but it doesn't last as long as sterling silver—which is even more affordable (gold-filled is 100 layers of plating while sterling silver is silver allllll the way down. Deep inside gold-filled is a base metal that isn't as gorgeous as the 100 gold layers on the outside).

Other options are great, too, like solid copper and solid brass. Even more affordable and also long-lasting, BUT they’re generally not as shiny or pretty as silver.

So, in terms of affordability and long-lasting-ness, sterling silver is your best friend. For rings especially, since they often receive the most wear-and-tear.

Here’s a run-down. .925 sterling silver is:

  • An affordable, precious metal

  • Long lasting, durable with even water exposure

  • Capable of staying shiny with regular wear, which means polishing can be avoided

  • Simple to re-shine at home


Silver tarnishes to dark grey/brown or black if it’s extremely tarnished. But, that doesn't mean it's not good quality! When exposed to oxygen and the oils on our skin, it will naturally tarnish. That's just what it does.

Polishing every once in a while, or wearing daily, will fix that issue. Either way, as layers tarnish we need to remove them to reveal the fresh shiny layers beneath. More on that in a minute.

Now, if the silver was plated, once it tarnishes to black and is rubbed off the base metal underneath will be exposed. There will be no more silver layers beneath and the only fix is to get the jewelry re-plated.

But with .925 sterling silver, the tarnish can be easily removed to expose endless layers of more shiny silver underneath.

This is not to say that all plated jewelry is worthless. I have some plated jewelry I own that was coated in enamel and hasn’t tarnished in years. But, it’s just not the most reliable option—and often we don’t know if the plating is covered in a protective enamel or will wear down within a month—this is not often disclosed by jewelry manufacturer’s.

So, when it comes to a ring you're going to wear everyday (and maybe not feel like taking off every time your wash your hands) if it's sterling silver, it's going to hold through with you so long as you take care of it. It'll always come back to life.

Removing Tarnish

So you haven’t worn your piece for a while and you didn’t keep it in an air-tight baggie or box. And your piece lost it’s luster—what do you do?

The first line of defense against tarnish on .925 silver is a microfiber cloth. I recommend an untreated, microfiber jewelry cleaning cloth (untreated means no added polishing compounds).

Using the cloth, rub the silver and watch the shine return!

In extreme cases you may need to use a mild dish soap and warm water along with polishing, or even a bath in a vinegar/baking soda mix—but that’s for really bad tarnish. 99% of the time, a cloth will do the trick.

Here’s a look at a piece before and after:

Click the image to visit an article on how to remove extreme tarnish (not ideal for resin jewelry, by the way).

A cloth may not be able to get the inner sides of a chain, but it can polish up the outside.

Did you know that often tarnish is use on purpose to give depth to silver jewelry? The tarnish can emphasize designs and make the shinier parts stand out more.

General Care of Sterling Silver

What does taking care of sterling silver actually mean?

It means keeping it nice looking. When not wearing it, keep in in an air-tight baggie or box to prevent tarnish. When you wear it often, you probably won’t need to polish it because the tarnish will rub off gradually as you’re wearing it.

Also, you can wash your hands with your sterling silver rings on (though it’s not recommended . . . but I still totally do it) and get away with it. Your ring won’t really suffer because of it.

Beyond polishing it, caring for sterling silver also means keeping it away from sharp objects that can potentially scratch the silver (it’s strengthened with an amalgam of other metals, but still soft!).

Besides that, it’s pretty low-maintenance.

Click here to read my post on how to care for jewelry in general, with specifics in regards to resin jewelry.

How Can You Tell?

.925 sterling silver, or just .925, is often stamped onto work that is sterling silver. If you can’t find it, you can ask whoever made it if it was sterling silver. Trying to polish it is another option—but if it isn’t sterling silver it, polishing will just remove the plating and look dull.

Ultimately, when purchasing jewelry, jewelers will want you to know that you’re buying sterling silver and will mention it in the description or on the packaging.

Besides silver plated, there is silver-filled jewelry. Similar to gold-filled, silver-filled is 100 layers of silver plating.

Here’s a visual look at sterling silver vs. other options (click the zoom in on the chart).

Whether You’re Buying or Making . . .

Whether you’re buying finished jewelry or making your own jewelry, .925 sterling silver is a fantastic option for both you and customers.

At the end of the day, the most important question is does you or someone else want to wear the piece because they enjoy it? And then the next question is, what’s the best deal in terms of long-term use and affordability?

Even if an item won’t last long and is cheap or expensive—if you truly love it and will enjoy it while it lasts, there’s no one saying you can’t go for it anyway. And if you’re willing to pay more for gold, or sacrifice the beautiful silver shine for a different color—there’s other options to suit your wants.

Tell me in the comments, do you prefer silver or gold? Do you have any .925 sterling silver jewelry?

Are you a jewelry maker? Have you taken my free Resin Jewelry Basics course yet? Well, get in there, then!

You’ll learn the basics of what it takes to make resin jewelry. With access to a recorded class, a supply list, and other resources you’ll be on your way in no time. You in?

How to Make the Skinny Statement Resin Ring

Alternatively titled "How to Make Resin Rings that Aren't Bulky."

Bulky, cumbersome, inconvenient, clunky--maybe some people like their rings to have these adjectives.

Others don't. I don't.

But when it comes to resin statement rings, they ALL seem to be that way.

It took me a damn year, but I've developed a way to create thin, lightweight statement resin rings.

No molds. No fancy, expensive tools (except for a drill, but that's about $15 and you might already have it).

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What goes into making them?

  • A thin, bendable open frame or link

  • The contents to embed in the resin

  • A small drill (like Little Windows Spring Drill) with something to drill on

  • Chain (Yes! chain is comfortable and doesn't slip off like smooth metal)

  • Optional: a ring sizer. Can be found for a few bucks on Amazon or Ebay

Here’s a full, linked list of supplies, free to view inside the class!

These take a few days to a week to make, as all resin jewelry does because of drying time.

But, the best part in my opinion? These rings take ONE layer! It's a bit of a thick layer, but it works!

At any rate, it's thin enough to be comfortable without being cumbersome AND it's thick enough to wear as jewelry.

Clocking in at about 2 millimeters in thickness, these thin statement rings are unlike any other resin rings in existence.

Class is only $39 right now and will go up to $49 soon!

It'll be a recorded video cut down to the essentials (in other words, as short and concise as possible). You'll have access to it for the life of my online school, being able to revisit whenever.

If you're not ready for this class (not for newbies!), enter your info below to enroll in my free course, Resin Jewelry Basics! Learn foundational knowledge and figure out how to get started making resin jewelry.*

*The Skinny Statement resin ring class is for those how are already familiar with resin jewelry. If you're totally new to resin jewelry you should take the free course first.

Where to Find Open Bezels for Resin Jewelry

This is the #1 question I'm asked:

Where do you get your open bezels from?!”

They're also known as open frame or open back, and they make for beautiful resin jewelry. 

But people's biggest problem in making open bezel resin jewelry is in just FINDING them. When I first started looking, there was even less options. These days, while more options are available, they can still be a bit tricky to search for (when you spend a lot of time looking, you realize there's tons of options!).

With the right tactics, finding open bezels can be simplified. After all my research, I've discovered tips and tricks to find what you're looking for.

Also from that research, I created the Open Bezel Directory. More on that in a minute, let's get started with a few tips that will change everything.

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First Things First

Open back bezels are not all made equal. As you can see in the picture above, some are made and sold with a way to connect the charm to earrings, necklaces, and so on. Or they're hoop earrings. BUT, others don't have that, so what do we do then?

We drill, folks. It sounds complicated, but it's not too bad--I promise. A small drill bit will work, and there's some special things that need to be done, which we'll cover another time.

The main thing is, what's a good drill to use? I use Little Windows spring drill and recommend it highly.

NOTE: I notice open links, which will have to be drilled to be turned into jewelry, tend to be cheaper. Over time, this will offsets the $15 you'll put into a spring drill. Worth it, definitely.

Okay, now let's get into it . . .

Search for different terms

Just searching “open bezel” doesn't cut it.

Think about it—an open bezel is just a frame without backing. When it comes to finding them, you need to get a little creative. Could a thin ring work as a small open bezel? Yup, it could. What about links, connectors?

Yes and yes.

Play with terms like, “open link,” “open frame,” “connector,” and “connector link.” Think about rings, hoops—anything similar to open bezels and see it in a new light.

However, be warned that getting creative can lead to mishaps. I once used open bezels use for getting stones, thinking the resin would hold it together (it wasn't sealed shut, since there was no gem inside them). Only one turned out, and while it made a cute necklace it was a waste of the rest. Not worth revisiting. A close frame/bezel/ link will give you an easier time.

Don't feel like bothering with search terms and browsing the web for hours? Scroll to the bottom of this post for an easier alternative.

Search on these sites/brands

Where do you search these terms? Google brings up a couple things, but it's helpful to go to specific website and use their searches.

I often use:



I love getting links from Art Beads, because they have quite a few sizes and they have 14k gold-fill and sterling silver options. “Open links” is the thing to search.

Art Beads also sells Nunn Design, a company that's rolling out more and more open bezel options (even rings!). Searching “open bezel” can bring up some options, or you can just look through Nunn Design products on the website.



Another great option, Fire Mountain Gems has options if you take the time to look through various search terms. “Links” and “connectors” are my favorites to search.



Search all possible terms using Etsy—you'll eventually find some great stuff. Open links and connectors are again great ones to look under. Etsy is a great place to be creative with what could work as an “open bezel.”

Etsy is also where I tend to find the cheapest options (while, also, the most expensive).



I find a lot of unique open bezel shapes (birds sitting on a bench, gem-shaped, etc).


Search in the Open Bezel Directory

While the tips above should save you some time, I also created the Open Bezel Directory to make it even easier.

Wading through allll the options can be overwhelming and it can take a long time to find what you're looking for. With collective weeks of research I wanted to create something to save everyone else time.

It's free and has over 100 open bezel options (and it's growing) from all over the internet.

They're searchable, too. You can search for these things within the directory for metal type and shape, like star, gold, hexagon, etc. Or you can just look through to see what you like (it's visual, with pictures).

All the options have prices within the Directory and links to purchase--and I receive no affiliate income. I created the Directory to just share what I've found.

Want access to the Open Bezel Directory? Please come join and save yourself the headache. You get access right away.

Once you access the Open Bezel Directory, make sure to bookmark the page so you can find it again.

Biggest Sale of 2017

***This sale is over, but if you would like to be notified of future ones, sign up below.

You'll also automatically be entered for jewelry giveaways (which happen all year long).

The Higher Jewelry "Black Friday" sale is happening early this year. The 40% off clearance is taking place on 11/10 at 4 pm PST/ 7 pm EST.

The sale is going to be hosted on Instagram in a catalog style. It's fun, easy, and quick.

Items will be organized by type (earrings, rings, etc) and each item will have a letter associated with it. Then you can contact me to see if it's still available to order. From there, all I need if your email address to place your order.

Read on to find out how it works, how to catch an item (there's only one of each item and it's first come, first serve), and what will be in the sale.

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How to Order

The sale is taking place on Instagram, but you do NOT need an Instagram account to order from the sale.

With an Instagram account

Hop on Instagram to my feed (@higherjewelry) as soon as the sale goes live on Friday and send me a Direct Message with:

(1) the letter of the item/s you want

(2) your email address

Without an Instagram account

Visit Instagram.com/higherjewelry as soon as the sale goes live on Friday and shoot me an email (kayla@thestorypreneur.com) with:

(1) the letter of the item/s you want

(2) confirmation that the email address you used is the one you want to pay with (or provide the one you want to use)


The sale will go on until Sunday evening at the same time (4 pm PST/ 7 pm EST)


Payments are processed through PayPal by default, but alternatively I can use Etsy's checkout system. Both are secure, simple, and private. I never see your credit card information nor do I share any personal information.


Shipping is a flat rate (no matter how many items you order, shipping remains the same!).

Domestic (within the US) - $4

International - $12*

All items come in a jewelry box within a padded mailer.

Items will be shipping out on Tuesday, 11/14.

*Items will most likely arrive on time for Christmas for international buyers (domestic buyers, your items will definitely be there on time for Christmas). International shipping can take 4-6 weeks at the longest, and this sale is happening 6 weeks prior to Christmas. So there's plenty of time for it to get to you. But there is always the small chance of an item getting lost or stuck in customs.

What's in the sale?

Earrings, bracelets, necklace, and a new ring design I absolutely love. Take a look at the images below to see what will be in the sale.

I don't often have 40% off sales--it's a once a year occurrence-- because, as a handmade jeweler, it's difficult to have such steep sales. But to make room for new designs I wanted to hold a clearance and clean out space in my inventory--plus, who doesn't love a good holiday sale?

Remember it is first come, first serve with only ONE of each design available. More popular items go within minutes.

Hope you catch whatever you have your eye on!

How to Become a Jewelry Designer Right Now

Not that it happens completely in an instant--just like everything else, there's no end. Just constant growth. Still, right now, TODAY, you can get started.

You can become a jewelry designer. No matter who you are. Whether your want to be a hobbyist or a professional.

You can become a jewelry designer starting now.

Imagine having a vision of a piece of jewelry in your mind’s eye and knowing how to bring it to life. Of wearing it and getting compliments on it. Of the satisfaction of holding the final, perfected version in your hands.

Honestly, it doesn’t always go like that. Sometimes, I experiment and end up with something outside my vision—and it’s way better than what I had in mind.

If you’d like, you can absolutely go to school to become a jewelry designer. In this post though, I talk about how to become a jewelry designer the solo route.

Of course, I recommend taking classes, courses, and workshops on types of jewelry you love in order to learn the necessary skills for whatever subcategory you’re interested in.

Still, without teachers you can become a jewelry designer. There really aren’t pre-requisites.

And whether or not you ever want to sell your designs, designing jewelry gives us the ability to create unique pieces that fit who we are better than anything on the market. Not to mention how the creative outlet is fun, satisfying, and spiritually resonating (speaking from personal experience here).

I hope this post can help you unlock your creativity and create things that are unique to you. Don’t be fooled—there aren’t really any rules. There is authenticity and connecting with that is more important than anything.

Let's get started.

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Why Design Jewelry?

As for the question of who can design jewelry—honestly? Anyone can. Whether a professional jeweler or a hobbyist—anyone can become a jewelry designer.

Of course, design principles and rules are good to understand and know, but they aren’t meant to be strictly adhered to. Jewelry design is an art-form, and therefore it’s a flexible practice that isn’t defined by anything in particular. Some styles are widely liked, and other styles are liked by a small subset of people.

But, the most important part of any art is self-expression and communication. It’s the story behind the work, and especially when done for your own sake—it can be powerful and transformational.

To realize and make manifest in reality a vision you formed in your mind’s eye. To bring into this work something that is quintessentially you.

That's the answer to WHY.

Because the humble satisfaction of taking a vision and making it real through a hand-crafted practice is one of the most meditative, powerful, and healing experiences humankind knows.

Even when everything is mass-produced in human-free factories people will still choose to work with their hands just for the sake of working with their hands. We will continue hand-crafted traditions forevermore after it’s become outdated because it’s such a human thing to do.

In working with our hands, we find a break from the chatter of our minds. A space to heal in. A focus that ignites our hearts and that can stimulate our minds to unravel the knots that have been working themselves into our brainwaves.

So . . . why design jewelry? Because it’s fun. Because it’s human. Because the jewelry that is the perfect expression of who you are can only be created by you.

Actionable Step 1: create a collage or Pinterest board with images of jewelry that you find beautiful, inspiring, or drawn to.

Understanding Basic Design Principles

As I said,  rules and principles can be broken. But, it’s important to understand them first—that way, when you are designing anything you are able to utilize the principles to help you achieve the end result you desire.

The rules and principles speak to how the story of a piece of artwork—whether a painting or piece of jewelry—is told through visuals. Whether the tones communicated are bold, aggressive, joyous, disheartened, serene, abrupt, etc—or a mix of many—the use of size, color, lines, for example, make a huge different in communicating the intending message and style.

Going a step further, it's also important to invest time or money--or both--into learning about the specific craft or crafts you would like to get into. Take a look at your collage once it's finished and see what types of jewelry appeal to you.

I specifically make botanical resin jewelry. Knowing how to metalwork isn't necessary since the focus of the craft is on embedding plants and other materials into epoxy resin (a clear substance), but it's doesn't hurt either.

Personally, I'm not interested in metalwork the same way I'm interested in resin jewelry, so I focus on building the skills that get me making what I'm envisioning.

Actionable Step 2:  Visit this link to learn about the basics of design principles.

Bonus task: learn about Color Theory (not necessary for most of jewelry design unless a lot of color is being used, which resin jewelry can tend to be colorful).

Recognize Your Style and Embrace It

Your own style that you find emerging through sketches and compilations of what you’re drawn to may not be generally accepted as beautiful.

Conversely, you might instead be experiencing that you prefer very popular styles that are considered “kitsch.”

Either way—it’s no big deal. What you like is what you like. It doesn’t really particularly matter what other people think about it. Let yourself express what you find beautiful through your creative endeavors and give a metaphorical finger to those who criticize without any substance behind their opinions.

Over time, your style may evolve. It may go in a direction you never expected. I always encourage to go in these directions, as I went from making bottle necklace jewelry to resin jewelry. I'm happy I grew into a style more suited to who I am today.

Today’s action: create a collage or Pinterest board of designs you don’t typically like and examine what you don’t like about them and what you do. Compare and contrast with your initial collage or Pinterest board seeing what’s similar and what’s not. This is just a simple exercise in expanding your understanding of your style—but always remain open to what you don’t initially like. Your style might change or take on parts of a style you don’t like to create something entirely new. You never know.

Cultivate a Sense of Adventure and Experimentalism

One of the most important factors in designing jewelry pieces that really come from your heart, mind, and soul is to cultivate a sense of adventure and experimentalism.

Basically, go out on a limb. Try new things out of curiosity and see where it leads. Sometimes you’ll find that through openness, and even through failure, designs will come out even better than you first imagined.

I want to depart this: don’t take the creative process too seriously. Let your creativity flow through you and into this world. Stress does not produce the best work. Being in a state of peace when creating allows you to fully use your subconscious and conscious minds to create quality artwork that is packed full of something distinctly you.

Your designs don't have to please everyone. They don't even have to please most people. Your mom could totally hate them (my mom won't say it, but I know there's things I've created that she did not like), doesn't matter.

A true jewelry designer has a message. A feeling. A story to tell. There is something in their heart that is demanding to come into reality.

There is something in you, right now, that is dying to be expressed. Don't hold it back. Don't lock it up in the back of your mind.

For whatever reason, you need to let it out. And you won't believe how amazing it feels.

Need to add jewelry-making skills to your repertoire? 

If resin jewelry happens to be in your "Jewelry Designs I Love" collage, my e-course can give you the skills to go on and create your own designs in your own style

I invite you to craft beautiful jewelry that you can leave behind on this earth. Jewelry that expresses who you are in a way no other jewelry on earth can, because it’s made with your own two hands in the comfort of your own home.

Join me in the Resin Jewelry Making e-course and watch over my shoulder through video lessons from any device, anywhere there’s signal or Wi-Fi (enrollment isn't always open, click to check if it!).