Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review - Hot and Cold Jewelry Connections

By on Thursday, December 19, 2013 3 Comments

The path we all thread as jewelry designers is a long one with plenty of diversions.  Some of us find a comfortable spot and stay there.  But for those of us who wander, we eventually reach the point where we consider moving on to hot techniques and basic metal work.  While it is possible to make cold connections with rivets and wire work,  soldering and torch work allows even more design possibilities.

One clever new book which I received for review is Kieu Pham Gray's Hot and Cold Jewelry Connections: How to Make Jewelry With and Without a Torch.  It's clever because it shows the differences the techniques make to finished designs with common themes and inspires the reader to learn more. 

The book consists of 20 projects which covers basic metalsmith techniques like sawing, stamping, dapping (doming), hole punching, forming, hammer texturing, patination, wire connections and soldering with a hand held butane torch.  The projects are designed to give the reader the option of using either hot or cold techniques "so you can choose an approach that works for you".  They do show the author's remarkable creativity in coming up with alternative designs.

The tool section at the beginning of the book was very helpful. Kieu carefully divided the tools into "must have", "tools to add over time" and "luxury" tools. While the rolling mill appears in the luxury section, the author goes over other inexpensive ways to texture metal besides buying them ready made!

Her take on some of the more popular themes like dapped discs and pearls is refreshing. One of the most stunning examples are her pod pendants below.

Many of the projects are relatively uncomplicated such as these rings. She also shared an invaluable tip on how to make a simple wooden forming block to help form wider band rings around a mandrel.  I found that so helpful, I got my woodworking uncle to make me one!

My favorite design were the Flourish bracelets below where copper and other metal pieces are connected to linked discs.

 A small point to note, the projects are not arranged by progressive order of difficulty.  It's the kind of book meant for dipping in here and there depending on which projects appeal and what sort of techniques one is interested in.

The book is well illustrated with careful instructions from an experienced instructor.  It's not just about choosing your connection but also about learning more and getting comfortable with metal smithing.

 Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. sounds like an interesting book

  2. I absolutely loved this book. This book helped me when I first started metalworking. I was able to not only get great crafting ideas but also was able to read the steps the first time and understand that she was telling me to do, instead of thinking "wait now what was I suppose to do" I especially was thankful for the way the authors had broken down the toolkits into the different sections because I was working with the a very small budget of a single mom of two with hardly and tools. I highly recommend this book for anyone who isn't versed in or is intimidated by the blacksmithing aspects of metalworking.

  3. That's great to hear that you liked the book so much, Cosmina! Books are also a wonderful learning resource when one cannot afford metalworking classes!