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Using Body Forms or Mannequins for Modelling Jewelry

Anna over at Almost Precious on Etsy and Susanna of Susanna Originals are readers and regular commentators. Both wondered what I really used for the "modeled" shots of my necklaces in my store. Susanna actually asked in an earlier post, "I'd like to know where you got the tanned model in January in Nova Scotia!"

The answer is body form mannequins!  They work for free and any time I want, including weekends!

Modeled jewelry pictures generally results in better sales because it gives the potential buyer some idea of what the jewelry looks like worn. This is especially important because they cannot try on online items.

These are available from any store which sells shop display items. I got mine, a painted plastic kind, on sale for $20 from a local display store. There are all kinds available at different price points. I also have a grey fabric covered one - a shop surplus courtesy of one of my beading friends. Some artisans also use dressmaking forms which can look quite artistic as is in pictures.

However, the two which I have look better if I dressed them especially the grey one which is anatomically correct! I must also add the headless torsos can be a bit unnerving for other family members who happen to wander by during a photo shoot!

I'm also glad I chose the large pop-up light tent (see my past post - A Look at My New Camera and Jewelry Photography Accessories) because Lola, my favorite, just about fits inside. Lola is what I call the skin colored mannequin after Lola Montez, the flamboyant and outrageous 19th century Irish-born woman who spent much of her adult life pretending she was someone else (see my past post - Lola Montez's Jewels).

More display ideas
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 


  1. I so agree with using the mannequin!! I just have never found one, but I a going to renew my search!!!!
    Thanks Pearl

  2. I was wandering in my favorite thrift shop this past winter and came across three mannequins in a back room. I made a deal to take all three for a total of $60.00!! What a steal! I have two black forms and one white, Then I just picked up some clothes in size 4-6 at the thrift shop for a few bucks and dress them as needed!

  3. Pearl you had me cracking up on this post! Just thinking about someone seeing your headless torsos through the window! LOL. Great idea!

  4. Loved this article however, I have yet to find one like the style you have in the photo above. I have googled so many things. I have used eBay and even Craigslist with no success. If you or any of your followers do come across these and they are affordable please let me know.. :-)

  5. Great deal Cate!

    Try store closing down sales. Also try searching different search terms with Google images. The best way is to contact a local or online shop display store and see if they stock one similar. Good luck!

  6. Pearl, you're so right about jewelry displaying better on a model and I strongly believe it sells better that way also. I've always admired your top model, Lola, she photographs very life like - regardless if she doesn't have a head, :D
    I've looked through several online mannequin sites but have not been able to locate the full torso version like Lola, all I’ve found are ones with a concaved backside ... maybe Lola's one of a kind. ;)
    But I'll keep searching, who knows she may have a sister out there somewhere.

  7. Yes, the headless part means I always shoot below to give the illusion of a real life model!

    I am sure she does have sisters out there. So good luck with the searching!

  8. I'd never seen one either, but now I'll have to look again! I'm working on some retail lines, though, and for those I think I'm going to get real people as models. It would be so nice to show pieces on real people because real people aren't usually shaped like the mannequins.

  9. Yes, real human models are preferable but they may not be available for some artisans. The lucky ones might have someone who will post for them.

    Another reason to use mannequins is that the jewelry is not worn by someone. Some buyers do not wish to wear something that has been in contact with some one else.

  10. Hello, could you share a link of where you purchased Bertha? Thank you!

  11. I bought Bertha on eBay over 10 years ago. The site doesn't keep order details more than 3 years old. But search there and find a similar mannequin to mine. Probably fiberglass construction, not plastic. I think there are other sellers there. Bear in mind, the mannequin also needs a mannequin wig (not a wig for humans). There are many styles to choose from. Good luck!


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