Betsy Porter

Some of my most recent jewelry creations are available for purchase at my Etsy site:!

I've been making bead jewelry for many years. I love beads, enjoy handling them, like the way they move on a string. There must be over a million beads in my closet!

When living in the Princeton, NJ area, I used to teach an evening course in "Easy Gemstone Bead Jewelry" at the YWCA. Some of my students were able to start their own small jewelry businesses!

I sold my jewelry, as well as silk scarves and marbled fabric items, at gift shops and an occasional craft fair. Since moving to the Bay Area, I do less beading, but still enjoy an occasional bead day with my friends.

Recently, an old interest in metal jewelry has re-awakened in me. As with icons, the prospect of making small precious objects attracts me; and I like learning ancient crafts. So I've been taking classes and workshops, and joined the Metal Arts Guild.

A Thursday evening class with Adam Clark at San Francisco's Scintillant Studio


Semiprecious stones; some have ceramic or gemstone pendants


Hand-knotting appeals to me, and it usually works better with glass beads, because their holes don't vary much in size.

Glass artist Abram Yocum made the spiral pendant at near left. These unique beads are hand made in India.

Other beads come from China, Thailand, and the Czech Republic.


Handmade braids were created on the maru dai, a Japanese style braiding stand. The strands of yarn are weighted, and the braid forms in a hole in the middle, as you move the strands over the top in a special order - very meditative. The 4-strand braids with pendants are dyed by hand. I knotted 8-strand braids into pins.

Fimo beads - this is a colored clay which can be formed into tiny designs and then sliced like a jelly roll and baked into beads.

Ceramic pendants and pins - it's fun to make these little critters and shapes from colored clay with a clear glaze.


This is student level work, but I still feel mighty proud of it. I've been taking occasional workshops at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, and weekly classes at Adam Clark's Scintillant Studio, both in San Francisco.

I've also enjoyed workshops at the Mendocino Art Center with Diane Falkenhagen and Nancy Hamilton.

Sterling silver apple pin, copper and brass leaf pin, and 2 sterling silver rings with bezel set stones. The apple pin was started back in the early 1970's in an evening course at Michigan State University - and finally completed fall 2007.

Forged metal work - a sterling silver bangle bracelet with hammered texture, a small copper bowl, and a ring of fine silver (100% silver). Ear plugs are required for this work; but I find it quite satisfying.

Rings made at home from sterling silver wire. The "jewels" are glass beads attached to the wire with 2-part epoxy glue.

Metal clay kiln fired pendants and a torch fired ring; from a weekend workshop with Lorrene Davis.

Metal clay is messy and rather expensive but fun to work with. Setting stones is much easier. The resulting jewelry is fine silver (100% silver).

A sheet copper pendant formed on a hydraulic press, then punched and hammered.

A copper and silver "sampler" chain made from class projects and demonstration pieces made by my friend Kerry Bostrom; with a few glass beads.

Two sterling pendants with bezel-set cabochon stones. The oval golden-brown monokaite from Australia, and the tear-shaped nipomo marcasite, were crafted by Artisan Stone Traders.

3 wrapped-wire rings and a bracelet, from a class in "Wire Wrapping and Forming" with Michael David Sturlin at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. Following his lead, I am learning to work in dead soft fine silver wire.

Chains and earrings made at home, using fine silver wire.

2 bezel-set gemstone pendants, made in weekly classes with Adam Clark and Dave Casella at Scintillant Studio.

More exploration of the chain. This necklace was made at home, using 14-gauge copper wire. The glass beads, culled from a handmade but non-matching assortment, were epoxied to the wire.

Another pendant made at Scintillant Studio. This one has a coordinating chain in hammered fine silver.

Further experimentation with wire rings. The ends of the wire were melted into balls using a torch, and some were extended to clasp tumbled stones. With no soldering, these rings are flexible and comfortable, as well as quick and easy to make. The downside - the ends can catch on clothing, and the stones can come out, so they're best limited to party wear.

More fooling around with wire! The spiny necklace is made of forged 12-gauge fine silver wire, and incorporates the sterling and monokaite pendant shown above.

The "Celtic" cuff bracelet is made of 10-gauge fine silver wire, with a transparent green stone set in sterling silver.

The stone for the pendant at right is not quite rectangular and not quite flat-backed, so could not be successfully bezel set, but prongs work OK.

Sterling silver wire choker and bracelet. The end of the wire is melted into a ball with a torch; then it is shaped into a spiral with pliers and forged flat before the links are joined.

The choker incorporates beads of translucent brown jade.

This smaller spiny necklace in hammered fine silver wire looks nice with a turtleneck, and is easier to wear than the larger and more dramatic spiny necklace with monokaite pendant above left.

Fabricated silver rings. It has taken me a good 8 hours to make the ring at left, and after some initial polishing it will be ready for bezel setting its stone. It will take me 3 hours to set the stone and finish the polishing. A similar finished ring with pink tourmaline is shown at right.

A pendant and a similar pendant/clasp with bezel-set stones. Each has a pattern cut out in back.

Silver and copper cuff bracelets, stencilled in the rolling mill.

My first try at making lampwork glass beads! strung on fine silver wire.

Keum-boo components strung on fine silver wire with carved jade beads.

My teacher at Oakland's Studio One Art Center was Harlan Simon.

From a 2-day chain-making workshop at Scintillant Studio, August 2009, with David Casella as instructor.

My loop-in-loop chain bracelet and samples are crafted from fused links of fine silver. Learning to fuse the delicate wire was a big challenge - but fusing is an amazing process. It's exciting to see the metal suddenly melt and run together!

Classes with Ronda Coryell at Revere Academy and Mendocino Art Center are leading me in a new direction, working with Argentium sterling silver, a relatively new, tarnish resistant alloy containing a small percentage of the element germanium as well as slightly more silver than standard sterling silver.

For me, the special attraction of working with Argentium is that (like gold) it fuses easily. It is appropriate for detailed work such as used in ancient jewelry, with tiny twists and granulations. These pendants are fused; no soldering! Each lacy piece is a single chunk of silver.


On the deck at Scintillant Studio, a demonstration of the art of traditional silversmithing by Elhadji Koumana of

At Scintillant Studio, Alexa Simpson of Contemporary Design Jewelry works with fold-formed copper.

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