Designer Profile: Dara Dubinet

There’s a growing focus on gemstones in their natural state, gems that haven’t been overly manipulated. Dara Dubinet is a leading force in that trend — her organic-looking jewelry is made from a huge variety of stones and crystals that she’s discovered at gem shows throughout the world.



Dara uses settings that enhance each stone’s unique appearance, resulting in one-of-a-kind designs. She’s developed a following among celebrities, including Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Madonna. Expect to see more of Dara’s jewelry during the coming years.



Photo © Dara Dubinet Natural Jewelry

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Two-Hole Metal Punch

How many times have you found yourself in a situation while making jewelry where you need to punch a hole or maybe a few holes in some metal? Even if you don’t normally work with metal, this can happen now and then when you are working with pre-fabricated jewelry components.

There are a number of ways to make a hole in a piece of metal. You can use a drill, such as a hand-held drill or drill press. In fact, I’m a big fan of drill presses.

However, sometimes you just need one little hole and it’s not that convenient to drag out a lot of equipment, so that’s when a little tool like this Two-Hole Metal Punch can really come in handy.

I purchased the tool pictured from Dick Blick Art Supplies, but I’ve seen them at a number from a number of other jewelry tool suppliers. According to the information on the Dick Blick web site, this tool can “cut 3/32″ or 1/16″ holes in silver, copper, plastic, or any soft metal up to 14 gauge.”

I like these because they are easy to use and small enough to fit inside a tool box. I’ve seen them range in price from $12 to $20.

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Craft Knife

What Is a Craft Knife?

Sometimes referred to as an Exacto knife (which is a brand name), a craft knife is a hand-held tool that includes a handle on one end and a thin metal blade on the other end. The blade is removable so that you can replace old blades that eventually become dull. These are fairly inexpensive, normally costing less than five dollars, and are available (along with replaceable blades) at most craft, hardware, and discount stores.

How Is a Craft Knife Used?

This is a very versatile tool, and primarily, it is used in the intricate cutting of thin materials. Paper, a popular material used in mixed-media jewelry, is one medium that a craft knife cuts well, though it is especially important to have a sharp, clean blade when cutting paper. Clay mediums, such as polymer clay, metal clay, and paper clay, also team up well with craft knives since you can cut out shapes from the clay using this type of knife. Just roll out the clay, and either cut out the shapes you want free-handed or place a template over the clay, and use the craft knife to cut around the template.

What Should You Look for in a Craft Knife?

Consider these important points when purchasing a craft knife:

  • Look for replacement blades at the same time you purchase your knife and purchase them as well. That way, you’ll be sure to have them when you need them. A clean and sharp blade is crucial to have an accurate cut when using a craft knife.
  • Try to find a craft knife that has an easy to grip handle.
  • Make sure the end of the knife that has the blade includes a protective cover.

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Branding Your Jewelry

There are a slew of us over at Etsy.com these days as well as other venues such as ArtFire.com and even our own web stores, and it actually takes a lot of time to market yourself to make any sales, let alone enough to be considered as making anything close to an income with our jewelry.



One issue to think about after you’ve worked on marketing and have actually managed to make a few sales is your brand. Yes, you need to make sure you have a way to show who you are to your customers. Packaging your finished jewelry is a method that is important to consider when it comes to creating a brand, and I discuss this as well as (of course) keeping your jewelry pieces safe as they get mailed off in a new article: Tips for Packaging Jewelry When Selling On-Line.



I pulled from a lot of different sources when I came up with my own packaging idea, so I spent a good deal of time researching before I figured out a packaging method that worked for me. I hope my tips and research will help you as well as you figure out a way to create a brand and possible future sales through the materials you use to mail out your jewelry items.

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