In the Studio of a Jewelry Designer

Text reads in the studio of a jewelry designer: how I turn cork into jewelry with image of wine corks and a wine cork necklace

When I first became a jewelry designer, I created my very first necklace prototype from a whole wine cork. I must admit, I wasn't too pleased with the result. Even though I added crystals and other embellishments, it felt too obvious and clunky. I wanted to create something more understated and elegant, and that's how I came up with my current designs. When people see my cork jewelry, they often don't believe the pieces are actually made from cork until they see the nooks and crannies in the back and feel how lightweight the jewelry is.

I consider myself an artist as well as a jewelry designer, so I put a lot of time, effort, and care into each piece of Sparkling Vine jewelry. Many of the pieces take several hours to design, construct, and assemble. Here's a peek in the studio so you can see how I turn a simple wine cork into a piece of wearable art!

Prepping the Corks

First, I choose several corks from my "private selection" and cut each one by hand with a jewelry saw. I try to cut straight, but inevitably I'll end up with some ridges and rough spots that need to be smoothed out.

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of a wine cork being cut in a vise

Next, I hand-sand the pieces, making sure to also remove the names of the wineries so that it looks cleaner. I don't use machines in the studio - I do it all manually until my fingers start cramping up! I admit, this is not my favorite part. I prefer what comes next ...

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of rough wine corks being sanded

Time to Design!

I use acrylic paints and even wine to tint the corks and give them a subtle wash of color, then I add some shimmer and glaze to make them shine.

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of painted wine corks and Swarovski crystals

I embellish the corks with Swarovski crystals, bits of fabric, and other designs like hand-drawn art.

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of wine cork being decorated

I finish off the pieces by adding sparkly Czech glass crystals and charms. When I'm coming up with new designs in the studio, I play around with different configurations and colors until I'm pleased with the final result.

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of wine corks necklaces in progress with jewelry designer tools on a work table

And that's how this jewelry designer makes her cork pieces! As you can see, I spend a lot of painstaking work in the studio, but it's worth it to be able to create a beautiful and unique piece of jewelry out of something that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.

Thanks for visiting me in the studio! You can explore the Cork Collection here.

Get more information about the inspiration behind Sparkling Vine Design.

In the studio of a jewelry designer, image of jewelry designer tools and beads

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