Book Review: Steampunk Style Jewelry

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The next book that I looked at was Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell. This book is much more like Steampunk Emporium , (than the previous book I looked at – The Art of Steampunk) and is geared (har har) towards making your own steampunk-style jewelry.

There are a number of interesting projects, each interspersed with a sidebar about a different aspect of steampunk culture. The sidebars include topics like the roots of steampunk and science fiction origins, steampunk music, steampunk on stage, gears, goggles, finding materials to work with, and many others. This is really interesting, though it does mean that compared to the other book, there are fewer projects, and each one has slightly less detail in the instructions.

For the projects themselves, there are bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings, however the different elements could be swapped between different projects as well. (For instance the dangling element of one earring could be hung as a pendant instead.)  I found the amount of instructional detail ok – if you have never picked up a pair of needle-nose pliers before, it might not be enough for you, but if you have made a few other jewelry pieces before, this book includes more than enough detail.  My only preference for the Steampunk Emporium book is that it covered techniques I haven’t tried yet (and thus the high level of detailed illustration in that book was great), where as this book doesn’t really do a lot of projects that are new to me.  (Your mileage may vary!)

Although I really enjoyed the sidebars about Steampunk culture, I wondered if a book devoted to jewelry was really the best place for these items, or at least the quantity and length of them.  I would have loved to see them in a book about Steampunk culture itself – with chapters devoted to stage, dance, costume, artwork, jewelry, animations, goggles, rayguns, etc, but the length devoted to the subjects in this book is hard – they’re too short to give anything more than a taste, and I feel ultimately that they take away from the book I was really trying to read – one on making jewelry.

There is also a brief gallery of steampunk jewelry designs near the end of the book, with some lovely and well-photographed pieces to serve as inspiration.  Some are very similar to the designs in the book (at least in terms of tools you would need, techniques to use, sources for supplies, etc) while others are far more ambitious, and likely the work of trained jewelers rather than crafters.

As with all of these kinds of “project”-based books, supplies are vital, and if you want to capture the same look as the author, getting the same supplies is important.  There is a lengthy supplier list at the back of the book, along with artist biographies and credits (with links) for the artists and performers in the culture sections.

So, what do you think?  Have you picked up Steampunk Style Jewelry?  What did you think?

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