handmade jewelry

Jewelers Workbench / Studio / Atelier - Jewelry maker Tools & Machines

how it's made, jewelry tips & advice, FAQsKarolien Severins

Let me show you around in my studio / atelier.

Check out the video here! 

I get a lot of questions about what tools and machines you need to start making jewellery. That is a hard question to answer, because it totally depends on how YOU work, what your favourite techniques are. I know a lot of people dream about all the tools/machines I have to make jewelry, I know I did a few years ago, but I also know that I’m still not there when it comes to all the machinery and tools that are still on my wish list.

In the video, I show you what’s in my studio now.

Where can you buy jewelers supplies? Down below I’ve put up some links to items I found online that are the same or similar to what I have. And I also share some websites I know who sell tools/supplies/machines/…

Remember to search for second hand first, you can save a ton of money and might find some vintage treasures!

I have made a list for the USA and for Europe. I want to make the lists longer to help everyone who’s just starting this metalsmith adventure. If you have tips, please share them with me if you want.

I will continue to work on this blogpost later on, when I think of something else that isn’t listed here or when I hear about something I didn’t know. So if you have suggestions or questions, you can contact me here.

U.S.A. :

You can find everything you need at www.riogrande.com

Some things on my wishlist:

Thank you very much for watching the video / reading this blogpost.

I hope this might help some of you who are just starting out and don’t know what and where to look for.

Again, this is just the start, I want to make this list better, but we all have to start somewhere.

Have a great day!



P.S.: If you buy something from the amazon links here, I get a small percentage of the sale. You don’t pay extra for that, it is amazon that pays for that. These small things all help me to be able to take the time to write and make video’s about topics like this. Just wanted to share this with you to be honest about it, even tough it still feels strange to me, but I want to grow this side (youtube, blog) of my business, so every small thing can help. If you prefer buying elsewhere, no problem, you’re still welcome here to find tips ;)

Silver Challenge & Zilverdag Schoonhoven

how it's madeKarolien Severins
Silver challenge.png


Monday June 10th my husband and I went to visit Schoonhoven (the Netherlands) for the 35th “Nederlandse Nationale Zilverdag” (=Dutch national silverday).

Schoonhoven is known for it’s silver and therefore carries the nickname: “Zilverstad “(=Silver City). Since the 17th century, and still today, silver and gold smiths have been working here, you can find a lot of studio’s in this small city. Schoonhoven is also home to the Dutch Silver Museum and an International School for jewelry technique. Besides jewelry, Schoonhoven is also known for is its production of clocks and for clock makers.

It was a lovely day and I would really recommend visiting Schoonhoven if you’re in the area and love silversmitthing/goldsmitthing. We will visit this small, cosy Dutch city again for sure! But why did we visit this year?

Silver Challenge

As you might have seen in one of my youtube video’s or on instagram, I went to some workshops earlier this year. Two workshops about enameling and 1 about brooch pin mechanismes. All these workshop were at the Jewelbox, Annika’s cosy studio.

After 31 years of being me, I know that to practice what I’ve learned, I have to challenge myself. So when I read about the “Silver Challenge” online, I was intriged.

The Silver Challenge is a competition organised by the people who organize the “Zilverdag”. People who visit the exposition of pieces selected for this competition can vote for their favorite piece during the Zilverdag. I wrote them an e-mail to find out if I could participate, since I’m not Dutch and that was ok!

So than I had a few weeks to come up with an idea and make the piece. The theme of this years Silver Challenge was “Feest” (=party). My kids are totally into balloons, and blowing a party horn and all of that kids-party-stuff since their second Birthday in January. So inspiration wasn’t hard to find ;) But making the piece would become quiet a challenge indeed, since I didn’t had a lot of time - most of the time I spent during these months is dedicated to finish wedding rings that people ordered - AND I really wanted to incorporate several techniques in which I don’t feel comfortable or well-skilled at.

I first started by making some quick sketches of the ideas and than translated those shapes into a wax model. As soon as I was finished with that part, the wax model was casted in Sterling Silver. After that, it was time for the enamels. But that was hard, since I didn’t had my own kiln yet, I had to go to Annika (who was my teacher for the basics of this technique in the first workshop) and I only had 1 day scheduled for this part of the project. And as a beginner in this technique I had some difficulties of course. Than I also wanted the pin to be a part of the design, in my opinion that worked out pretty well and I’m eager to make more brooches in the future.

As I wrote earlier, this is a competition, everyone who visited the exhibition during the Zilverdag could vote for their favorite piece in the exhibition. The winners of this years’ edition:

First place Femke Toele, second place Janneke de Bruijn, third place Marjon Kappers, fourth place Laura van der Kleijn, you can see photo’s of their work here.

In this video I show you the process of how the brooch was made and show you a little bit more about our visit at the Zilverdag, Schoonhoven.

Thank you very much for reading this blogpost, feel free to contact me if you have questions about my work or if you want to collaborate!

Have a great day!


How to clean your jewelry?

jewelry tips & advice, FAQsKarolien Severins

This blogpost is all about cleaning your (silver) jewelry. I get questions about jewelry care instructions and cleaning almost daily, so I hope this advice answers all your questions.

If you don't like reading, here is a video about this topic:

con't clean this jewelry 1.jpg

NOTE: The methods I will write down below, are only to be used on fine jewelry (sterling) silver and gold. Don’t try these methods with high street (cheap) jewelry or costume jewelry.

And don’t use these methods for jewelry with gemstones, pearls or silver jewelry with a patina that was a part of the design (to create a more antique / vintage look or to create more contrast in a piece of jewelry).

For all those types of jewelry, ask the place you bought it from for clean and care tips, because every piece of jewelry is different.

Before and After : Clean your silver jewelry at home!

Before and After : Clean your silver jewelry at home!

How to clean tarnished silver jewelry at home and make it shine again?

Sometimes your Sterling silver jewelry gets tarnished or the polishing gets dull. To prevent that, you can give your jewelry a quick clean after wearing it, check method 1 &2. I have more tips on prevent your jewelry from tarnishing in another blog post, click here if you want to read those tips. If a quick clean is not enough, you can use the DIY jewelry cleaning method 3 or ask a professional jeweler to clean the jewelry for you.

There are a few methods you could try to clean your silver jewelry:

  • Method 1: Give your jewelry a quick clean with a polishing cloth (like for example the one I use here, that’s one from Hagerty). Quick, easy and you can keep it and use it again every time you need it.

  • Method 2: Warm water and mild dish soap: Mix some mild eco friendly dish soap in a bowl of warm water and gently wash oils, creams, dust… from your fine jewelry. Rinse in water (just water, nothing else) and dry it with a soft cloth. Make sure your jewelry is completely dry before storing it.

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  • Method 3: Baking Soda and Aluminium foil: Cover the inside of a bowl with aluminium foil and place your tarnished Sterling Silver jewelry on top of the foil, cover it with some baking soda and fill the bowl with boiled water. Wait until it stops bubbling. Rinse your jewelry in water (just water, nothing else) and dry it with a soft cloth. Make sure your jewelry is completely dry before storing it in a jewelry box.

  • Method 4: Go to a local jeweler and ask them to clean and polish it for you!

How to prevent tarnishing or prevent that your jewelry gets dull?

I wrote another blogpost about that!

Was this information helpful? Share your before and after photo's on social media, use #korneliajewelrytips and we might learn tips and tricks from each other.

See you soon!


How to measure your ring size?

jewelry tips & adviceKarolien Severins

This blog post is all about ring sizes! If you want to find out what size to order online, I'm going to explain what to do step by step. If you already know your ring size, you might want to check the general tips very quick, just to make sure, maybe you'll learn something you didn't know before.

Don't like to read a lot? Watch this video:

I don’t know my ring size? What size should I order?
— every new online jewelry customer

General tips

Before you start, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. On which finger do you want to wear the ring?

  2. Also which hand? Because the size of your fingers is different for both of your hands.

  3. Do you want to buy a ring with a wide band or a narrow band? Usually you need a bigger ring size for rings with a wide band.

  4. Are your hands cold or warm when you’re measuring the size? This will give you different size results. For some people ring sizes are even different in winter and summer.

  5. If it is possible, measure your ring size more than once at different times during the day (because your size can be different in the morning / evening). The most ideal moment is in the late afternoon, this usually gives the most correct size. Don’t measure your ring size when you’re just waking up or just did a workout or took a shower, wait a little bit and than measure your size.

  6. When you’re pregnant, you might have a larger ring size then usual.

  7. Ring sizes are different around the world. I use the circumference of the inside of the ring in millimeters, that is the most common way of ring sizing in Europe. But the diameter in millimeter is also used often. If you want to order a ring from the US, ask the seller for a size chart. If you want to order a ring from kornelia and you only know your US size and don’t know what millimeter-size it is, no problem, you can contact me and tell me the US size.

Professional ring size measuring

The easiest and most correct way to find out your exact ring size is to ask a professional to measure it for you, so going to a local jeweler or goldsmith is the best option! If you live nearby my studio, you can make an appointment and I’ll measure your ring size for you.



I know some of you don’t have a professional jeweler nearby, so here is a method to measure your ring size at home:

Use a ring you already wear

You might already have a ring that fits you perfectly, that is a good solution for finding out your ring size. You can take this ring to a local jeweler and let him/her measure this ring for you (this is a perfect solution if you want to find out your partners’ ring size).

So, how do you measure your ring correctly?

First, make sure the ring is still round! Because sometimes it can happen that a ring becomes a bit oval from wearing it a lot, this happens especially with very thin/fine rings. Than put the ring on a ruler that has millimeters (don’t use inches). Make sure you measure the inside diameter of the ring and DON’T include the thickness of the ring itself.

Now you know the inside diameter of your ring and give this to the jeweler as the size of the ring.

Why you shouldn’t use the DIY ring size method with a paper strip (or dental floss)

The steps you find about this method: Cut out a strip op paper and take a pen and a ruler. Wrap this strip tight around your finger and mark where the paper overlaps. Measure from mark to mark, that’s your fingers circumference in millimeters.

So, why not? I’ve seen so many customers ending up with a ring size that is totally wrong. So if you still want to use this method, make sure you try it several times (I also tried it and ended up with different results, it was very inaccurate). If you have the same result all the time and you really want to use this method:

NOTE: keep in mind that these methods aren’t 100% accurate and that you might have to ask for a sizing later, so if you order a ring and you’re not sure if the size is correct, ask the jeweler first what the cost is to re-size a ring. In general a sizing for a silver or gold ring costs €20-€50. If there are gemstones or diamonds involved, or some enamel, it can cost (much) more or may be very difficult, so that’s why it is so important to measure your ring size before buying a ring.

Was this information helpful or do you have some other tips? Share it on social media using #korneliajewelrytips

See you soon!



7 tips to take care of your Fine Jewelry - care instructions

jewelry tips & adviceKarolien Severins

To make sure your jewelry is always ready to shine, these tips can help you to prevent your jewelry from tarnishing and becoming dull.

Before I start with the tips / advice let me answer 2 questions:

What is tarnish? Why does it happen?


Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that develops on metals like (sterling) silver and copper as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Oxygen, airborne pollutants, dust and moisture are the main causes for tarnished jewelry. When jewelry gets tarnished / oxidized the metal often looks dull, gray or it looks like it has a black film / coating / patina, which can really reduce the beauty of your jewelry.

In some designs I use this natural chemical reaction, because it can create more dept in a design or give a silver piece of jewelry a more rustic or antique look. This type of jewelry is often called silver jewelry with a patina / oxidized finish. But if you want to prevent your jewelry from tarnishing, here are 7 steps:


1.Jewelry Box

When you are NOT wearing your silver jewelry, it is best to keep it in a closed box, away from (sun)light and air (oxygen). Jewelry boxes (like the ones your grandma used to have for example) are the best, so you can store all your jewelry in one place, but separate them inside the box. This way they are carefully protected and you’re making sure your jewelry will remain beautiful!

ear studs button jewelry box

2. Button

To store tiny earrings / ear studs you can use a button to make sure you don’t loose one piece of a pair. Although wearing 2 different earrings might work for you too? I love to mix and match or wear different earrings! ;)

3. Straw

If you have problems with chain necklaces that get tangled up, this might be a super tip! Especially when you’re traveling, but also to store your chain necklaces in your jewelry box: Open the lock of your chain necklace an put one side of the chain in a straw and the other side out, then close the lock again.

4. Chalk or Silica

If you put a piece of chalk or a bag of silica inside your jewelry box, it will absorb moisture. Change it for a new one every couple of months.

5. Don’t wear / avoid wearing jewelry when:

  • you’re sleeping

  • you’re working out

  • you’re going to a (hair)salon

  • you’re cleaning, since cleaning products can damage your jewelry or you might get it entangled somewhere, so you can put on cleaning gloves to protect your rings, or take off any jewelry you wear and store it safely.

  • you’re swimming

  • you’re taking a shower / bath

  • you’re sun ‘tanning’ or go out in direct heat or hard sunlight, because this might tarnish your jewelry or fade gemstones.


6. A Quick Clean

You can clean your jewelry gently with some water and a soft cloth in order to remove skin oils, dust, makeup,… after each wear, it will really help prevent the forming of tarnish on your jewelry. Just make sure that the jewelry is really dry before storing it in your jewelry box. To be honest, I don’t do this every time for jewelry I wear almost every day. But for jewelry I wear only on special occasions and store it for longer, this is a real time saver (better to prevent than clean)!

7. Jewelry = finishing touch!

Something else that has impact on the polishing and can make your silver tarnish faster: all kinds of soap, lotion, sunscreen, perfume, make up, hairspray,... since they contain chemicals that can be harmful to your jewelry. So when you are getting dressed it is best to first put on everything make up , body lotion or whatever, perfume, clothes,... and than jewelry as your last finishing touch!

How to Remove Tarnish from Your Jewelry?

In an earlier post, I’ve shared with you some easy tips to clean tarnished jewelry, using some a few ingredients that you probably have at home you will make your jewelry shine again!

Natural Jewelry - How it's made

how it's madeKarolien Severins

This blogpost is all about how I use tiny details from nature to create Sterling Silver and (18ct) gold jewelry.

If you don’t like reading a lot, I also made a video about this topic, check it here:

When I go outside for a walk in the park or we’re hiking in the forest : I am always inspired by nature and I am keeping my eyes open, looking out for beautiful, natural details. Like little leafs from a tree or a plant or seeds from a flower. Anything can really inspire me! I might take pictures to use as a reference later or I pick small details from nature and bring them home to my studio, that’s were the real fun begins!

natural jewelry

I’ll start playing around with these natural pieces, combing them, trying out different shapes and compositions. Sometimes I see a ring or a pendant or an earring in a new combination and I’ll work further in that direction. So I usually don’t sketch my ideas for these type of designs on paper, since they grow kinda organically while working at my bench. Some other compositions I might really like, but I don’t know how or where to wear them as jewelry. When I have pieces like that, it might help me to sketch a little to figure out what kind of jewelry it can become. Most of the time these pieces will be put aside and I’ll check them again later, because sometimes it just seems very difficult to know what direction to go with a piece, but after a break it is much easier.

So how do I make those natural items stick together?

Well, I use the lost wax technique, it is one of the oldest techniques in the jewelry making history. I use melted wax like a sort of glue to stick the pieces together.

When I am happy with the designs, they’re casted into solid Sterling silver. The casting process is the only part of the process I am not doing myself, because I don’t have all the machines and materials you need for that. Luckily there are some casting companies nearby.

After casting in silver I finish the pieces at my bench. Sometimes they are perfect and just how I imagine them to be and only need some small touch ups or changes, but some pieces have little cracks or mistakes or casting didn’t work out perfectly. I finish all the designs and than see which ones I love most. The designs that I love most are selected to create a mold from, so the mold can be filled with wax and that wax again gets casted into silver or gold. This way I can re-create the exact piece again. Or well... exact might not be the correct word, since I finish every piece by hand and I like it that they’re all a little bit different and unique. So the steps of finishing after casting are the following:

STEP 1: I’ll start by cutting off the sprue with my piercing saw.

STEP 2: I’ll file the area where the sprue was to make it smoother.

STEP 3: With something like ear studs, for example, this is the moment I solder the Earring posts or do any other soldering that I need to do on that specific design.

When it is cleaned after soldering it is time for STEP 4: to sand down the whole piece, but I’m always very carefull with this step, because I don’t want to take away the natural texture of these pieces.

STEP 5: they are polished and cleaned up, ready for packaging and ready to wear. 

If you’re interested in finding out more, since this is just one of the many processes and techniques I use to create my jewelry, consider subscribing to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Thank you very much for reading my blog and have a great day