Wooden beads have been used for centuries. But this natural material is not strongly associated with jewelry. However, there is now a growing popularity for wood jewelry especially laser cut wood designs.

There are distinct advantages to wood jewelry. They are very light to wear. So statement wood jewelry is possible especially big and bold earrings.  They can easily be stained or colored.  Either alone or coupled with other organic material like leather and real flowers, they reduce the use of materials which can be destructive to the environment and exploitative (see National Geographic's The Real Price of Gold).  

Some designers are using reclaimed wood so there is the recyclable option to this natural source. Others like me use Baltic birch (silver birch) a popular choice for woodworkers and laser cutters because of its strength and flexibility.  The sheets commonly used for laser cutting are 3 ply or 3 layers of birch thus making them less prone to warping. We just set the laser focal height once at the beginning of a cut session so a warped sheet is a nightmare.  

The European birch is sustainable as it grows quickly. Eco-friendly is one feature people are looking for these days. The natural look is also attractive for boho styles.  Wood does have one significant disadvantage - it is not as strong as metal. 


Real Pressed Flower and Wood Pendant 

From a designer's point of view, laser cutting means I can also control the manufacturing process.  Size, shape, combinations and so on. I have greatly enjoyed the challenge of laser cutting designs whether for finished pieces from CraftaGems or my supply shop, Beadinggem. The latter helps others come up with their own takes on laser cut wood jewelry.

Shown above is my meditation wood and resin necklace as well as a real pressed flower creation in resin.  I can also easily indulge in more whimsical designs like this pair of earrings for tea lovers! 

Teapot Wood Earrings for Tea Lovers

Another wonderful advantage of working with wood is the lack of wastage.  Shown below is my bag of unwanted bits and pieces leftover after a cutting session.  Small pieces are wood can be composted so I add it to my green bin!

What about the leftover boards? These I leave behind at the Maker Space studio I use. There is not much wood left so it can be broken up into smaller pieces for recycling. Some of the staff there also use these as kindling for campfires during the summer!

But recently, I learned they have also been using smaller sections of the boards as templates for children's craft project kits. Clay is pressed into the cut out spaces of my boards such as the domino style pendants and the star and heart studs! Brilliant!  

Thanks Christina and Laura for sharing the idea and photos. 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM