IN-DEPTH JEWELRY MAKING POST #4: Starting New Projects

The past few weeks have been some of the strangest for my in-depth project. 

My jewelry making went from hands-on and working hard, to research and theory. This major change was due to Coronavirus, and I’ve tried my best to work around it and continue learning about jewelry making as best as possible. Overall, I still think I did a lot of great research and learned lots about jewelry making. Nothing ever runs perfectly, and I’ll continue to try my best to accomplish as much as I can. 

At first, my project started off as usual. I was able to meet with my mentor and continue to work and learn about jewelry making. In the time that I met with Mme. Toure, I was able to finish a project, start a project, and continue a project. 

My bracelet is now completely finished and polished up. I think it turned out really great and I want to make another bracelet the next time I can so that I can see how my skills have improved. Handmade jewelry isn’t supposed to be perfect, the imperfections are what make the jewelry stand out and I really learned to take that into consideration with my projects after my bracelet. 

The second project I started was my silver ring. At the time of my last post, I had barely started and only stamped and cut my ring out. Now the ring is almost finished. First, I learned how to shape my ring with a ring shaper. Basically I had to heat up the metal, cool the metal, and then use a pair of pliers with curved silicon ends to shape the metal strip into a ring. Then after that, I was able to use a piece of silver solder to connect my ring completely. After that, I had to leave it to sit in a type of citric acid to get the fire scale off. Finally, I started to sand and polish using steel wool and a real jewelry polisher, but I need to continue doing that. 

I also had some time while my silver ring was in the citric acid, so I started on a twisted ring. I took two pieces of copper wire that had been heated and cooled, then using a drill and pliers, I twisted them around each other. After that, I hammered them on one side creating a cool twisted flat ring effect. I hope to be able to continue this as I go along with my in-depth. 

Meeting with my mentor was the big roadblock of these past weeks. Due to Coronavirus, I’m not able to meet with my mentor until further notice, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on my own. Jewelry making has become tougher with not being able to meet with my mentor, but she gave me a book about jewelry making that I have also been reading along with doing online research. Altogether, I went to many websites and watched Youtube videos so that my In-Depth continued at a good pace.  


Since I don’t think I’ll be able to meet my mentor again I’ve also been looking into buying some simple tools that I could use for making jewelry. I have a lot of the tools I need from hammers to files and even a butane torch, along with the projects I have and some copper and brass. If I buy a few tools then I might be able to do some jewelry making at my house. 

Coronavirus is a challenge to work around, but I’ll continue doing my best. 

Word Document with Photos:

Above are some pictures I took to show how my current projects are going, and you can view them in the word document. The first pictures are my silver ring, the second my copper bracelet, and the third my twisted ring.  

I did a lot of research leading up to this post. I’m reading the book my mentor gave me which is helping me understand the basics better, and if I keep reading a little each day, then I won’t have a problem learning plenty. I also watched Youtube videos about making jewelry and visited websites about essentials to jewelry making, African jewelry, and why homemade jewelry is a great skill. Below I put links to the websites I found most interesting and useful. 

How to Hammer Wire: 

DIY Stamped Wire Bangle Tutorial: 

How to Make a Bracelet Out of Copper Tubing: 

Essential Parts of Jewelry Making: 

African Jewelry: 

Homemade Jewelry: 

What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? 

The most difficult challenge so far has been continuing in-depth and using jewelry making skills during the Coronavirus Pandemic. I can’t leave my house unless it is absolutely necessary, so I’ve had lots of problems from not being able to talk to my mentor, to not being able to use tools, to not being able to be shown new jewelry-making techniques. This has been a difficult challenge, and I’ve been working to try and do my best to combat this roadblock. I’ve looked into getting some tools, and I hope I’ll be able to do some jewelry making at home.  

What is working well? Why? 

Right now my research is going better than ever. I have plenty of online supports along with the book that my mentor gave me, and those have kept me occupied. I’ve started reading the book and haven’t even finished yet, and there are countless online sources that I can go to. My research is the one thing I can do during this quarantine, and because I’m trying my best and have the tools to succeed. My research is working well and I hope it continues too. 

What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens? 

My actual jewelry making could improve. Due to Coronavirus, I haven’t been able to use many of the tools or actually make jewelry, and this is slowing my in-depth down. I’m going to continue working and try to buy some of the basic tools. If I do this I increase my chances of learning all the hands-on skills I need to know for jewelry making. I’ll try my best but nothing is certain.  

Nothing is certain, but I’ll continue doing my best.  

P.S. Wash your hands 


In-Depth jewelry Making Post #3: Finishing My First Project

In these last few weeks, I’ve come across some problems, continued lots of my own research, finished a project, and reflected on my In-Depth project so far. My first weeks started off very smooth and straightforward, but in the time since my last post, I hit a few roadblocks but was able to still continue and get lots done. In-Depth is always full of surprises, but so far everything I’ve learned and done has been worth it.

Meeting with my mentor was the big roadblock of these past weeks. For two weeks in a row, there were some communication issues and we weren’t able to meet for my regular mentoring sessions. However, I was still able to talk with her lots and meet with her again before this post and we even have make-up sessions set up. The main thing I did to counter missing sessions was to do extra research. I went to many websites and watched Youtube videos so that my In-Depth didn’t remain stagnant. 

However, the day I did meet with my mentor I learned a lot more. I started off shaping my actual copper bracelet. My piece of copper was too long, so I had to measure out the right length and then use a metal cutter on my flat bracelet. After that, I learned how to properly blunt the ends so that I don’t get stabbed. Finally, I had to use a wrist sizer and a rawhide hammer. I made sure I chose a wrist size that fits best to me and hammered it on the wrist sizer with the rawhide hammer so that it had the right bend and no scratches like it would with a normal hammer. After that, I sanded with multiple grits and buffed my bracelet until it was finally finished. The bracelet wasn’t finished perfectly, but as I learned from Mme. Toure, sometimes there is perfection in imperfection.

Since I had some extra time at the end of my meeting I also started on a silver ring. With this one, I had to be very precise with engraving, cutting the right size, and so much more, but I’ll get more into that in my next post when I continue the ring.

This week was filled with many challenges but in the end, everything turned out as it needed to and I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor once again and expanding my knowledge even further.



Above are some pictures I took and they show my copper bracelet I finished. Although it isn’t perfect I’m really proud of what I was able to accomplish for a first project. There’s also engraved on it “TALONS 2020” so that I’ll always have something to remember my first In-Dept by. On top of it all, after I talked with my mentor I realized that with handmade jewelry there are often amazing things that come out of imperfections, and my bracelet could certainly fit into that category of jewelry. Lastly, as I mentioned before, I started on a silver ring, and the picture on the right is something similar to how I hope it turns out.

I also did some research on the history of jewelry, how cleaning jewelry works, watched a Ted ED video on the origins of gold and watched some YouTube videos on making jewelry which helped once again expand my knowledge and prepare me for my next meeting with my mentor.

History of jewelry:

Ted-Ed Video:

Jewelry Cleaning:

What went particularly well during the mentorship sessions?

One thing that I really love about my mentorship lessons and something that always seems to make them go well, is how fast-paced and hands-on they are. The fact that I’m able to understand the concepts fast and work on things that my mentor teaches me really allows the sessions to always be engaging. Then because they’re so engaging I’m able to learn so much more, and it makes me look forward to each day we meet.

What challenges emerged? What did I do to hold myself accountable for my learning?

The main challenge for my learning up to this post was miscommunication. Whether it was because I didn’t check my email, or my phone was turned off, there were several miscommunications that caused our meeting dates to be changed. With that several problem arose and I had to find solutions whether it was rescheduling or just doing my own research. In order to hold myself accountable, I spent extra time doing research because I knew that I was missing some mentorship sessions. I made sure that I had a list of possible websites and videos to watch, and I also took notes on my phone of questions I had during sessions that I didn’t ask. With all this, I knew that I could do extra research to hold myself accountable for the same amount of learning, and that’s exactly what I did.

What logical challenges affected your communication? What factors caused this?

The main thing that affected my communication was not staying in contact before the meetings and not double-checking through multiple forms of communication. If I was able to stay in closer contact then many of my communication problems wouldn’t have happened and my life would be much easier. The factors that caused communication problems were just not having multiple forms of communication, and even checking my email or my phone. However, now that i know this I can fix it for next time.

What three strategies could you use to improve the quality of your mentorship interactions?

  1. Double-check meeting days and communicate throughout the week through multiple forms of communication
  2. Do prior research and bring questions that I have to my mentor
  3. Come up with ideas for future projects so that I can do background research

Until next time, where I hope I can continue and improve even more!

In-Depth Jewelry Making Post #2 My First Meeting


During the two weeks since my first post I have met with my mentor, continued doing my own research, and reflected on what I’ve learned. If there was one word to describe my first experience with my mentor, the word would be extraordinary. I went there expecting to mostly learn and listen on the first day, but instead, I jumped right into it.

Mme. Toure got me started making a simple bracelet out of copper. With her type of jewelry making you heat the metal (copper, silver, etc) and then you cool it, hammer it to the right thickness, and design it before shaping it to the right size (diameter of a finger or wrist). The idea of the first session was to get a base understanding of how a bracelet can be made so I got started on a far from perfect bracelet so I could get used to how to hammer, heat, pick up safely, cool, design, and shape jewelry. Being a perfectionist, I was a bit frustrated with the fact that I didn’t have the time to make it perfect, but Mme. Toure wanted to teach me the overall scope of things before I learned the fine details. At first, it was confusing because I had to turn a thick copper piece into a thin and flat bracelet, but with some demonstration and tweaking I ended up doing great. Next week I will shape the bracelet to the right size, do some touch-ups, and then soldering the two ends together. I can’t wait till my next meeting where I can continue learning how to make jewelry.


Above are some pictures I took and it shows some tools used: hammers, mallets, rawhide mallet, engravers, wire cutters, a wrist shaper, soldering tools, a blowtorch, and several other tools I haven’t used yet. The first picture also shows the bracelet I started on, and although it might not look very impressive I was very proud of the fact I did that much in one session. I learned so much and can’t wait to further this project even more.

I also did some research on how soldering works, watched a Ted Talk made by a jewelry designer and watched some YouTube videos on making jewelry which helped expand my knowledge and prepare me for my next meeting with my mentor.

As for my mentor, I got to know her better during the meeting and we also talked about her views on jewelry making. My mentor was taught jewelry making by friend of hers when she was younger in a very similar mentoring environment. From there she has continued making jewelry because she enjoys it so much and she even sells some of her jewelry she makes. I asked her if she considered herself an “expert” at jewelry making and she said no and told me that even after years of making jewelry and improving her skill, there is always so much more to learn. When she was learning how to make jewelry she saw the skill that it took and the beauty that came out of it and she enjoyed learning how to make jewelry so much that she has continued making jewelry to this day. So far, in only one session I think I’ve learned so much, but I still have so much more to learn. I learned about how to heat and cool metals, what metals are good to work with (copper and silver for beginners), how to stamp words into jewelry, and how to actually start shaping the metal. The skills and wisdom will continue to build off each other with each session, and I think doing outside research will also help out a lot. 

In my development as a mentor, which has barely started, I think I learned one extremely valuable lesson. I went into the session expecting to listen and learn, and I did do that, but I also did so much more. When someone is learning how to do something, sometimes the best thing is to just get them started right away. Mme. Toure didn’t waste a second, she got me started right away and taught me what I needed to know as it was happening. Never in a million years did I expect to get started working so quickly, but it helped me a ton and I learned so much. If I ever mentored someone, I think I would take that same approach, because sometimes you need to run before you can walk.

Next time I will continue working, and I can’t wait. 


Introductory Blog Post for In-Depth

Image result for jewelry

Jewelry Making:

For my 2020 In-Depth Project, I decided to pursue the art of making jewelry.

Who: My mentor for In-Depth is a teacher friend of my Mum’s who works in School District 43. She is a teacher at Dr. Charles Best Secondary named Nafissata Toure, and she has been making jewelry for years. My ideas were narrowed down to water colour painting and jewelry making, and after talking to both Mme. Toure and my Mum, I chose Jewelry making because of what I learned from my mentor. Mme. Toure has made beautiful jewelry for years, and even sold them at craft/art fairs. I was very intrigued and impressed, hoping that she could teach me to be just as good at the craft.

What: My In-Depth project this year will be a very interesting challenge as I take on jewelry making. I have only had a small amount of time to talk to my mentor, but I have been doing lots of research and fact gathering about jewelry making. While talking to Mme. Toure we went over how I can make things like rings, necklaces, and bracelets, and really decide to dive as deep into it as I feel. There was even a chance I could learn make a chain mail vest on top of everything else. In my own research I learned about different ways to make jewelry, and as of this moment I’m not sure the exact type I will be practicing (molding, bending, shaping, or building). All I know is that I am both excited and ready for this challenge.

Where: I will be meeting with Mme. Toure at both Dr. Charles Best Secondary and her house for mentoring. Mme. Toure has taught other people in the past and has everything at those locations for me to learn how to make jewelry. On top of meeting with Mme. Toure for mentoring at her house and the school, I will conduct my own research each week at my home.

Why: I decided to chose jewelry making for two reasons. Firstly, I had no previous skill or history in making jewelry. Secondly, I never would have had the option or thought to try jewelry making without In-Depth. I wanted to do something that was original and interesting, and jewelry making fit perfectly. It gives me a chance to learn a completely foreign and new skill that is actually very interesting (in my opinion). When compared to water colour painting, it proved to be a better option because I can do water painting at any time, but I can’t do that with jewelry making. Altogether, these factors made me chose jewelry making as my In-Depth project.

When: As of this point, I don’t know the exact dates or times that I will be learning about jewelry making. Tomorrow I will be talking with Mme. Toure again to finalize and figure out dates. The general idea is to either meet Thursdays, Fridays, or Sundays bi-weekly for mentoring. Right now everything is flexible and I need to talk with her directly before confirming any exact dates.

How: I am focusing on two different strategies to learn jewelry making. The first strategy is to do research on my own. This will be the harder of the two because this will be one hundred percent autonomous and it will take lots of effort to find reliable and relevant research on jewelry making. The second way I will learn jewelry making is by actually making the jewelry with my mentor. We will be meeting bi-weekly as my mentor teaches me the skills behind proper jewelry making. This will be challenging, but I’ll do my best and try my hardest.

I can’t wait to get started!