About me and my work


Barbara Nelson

B Nelson Designs

Hand fabricated one of a kind and limited edition jewelry.

 I am inspired by modern architecture & design. I hand fabricate each piece; getting lost in the process and relationship between the metals, my tools & my hands. My work changed drastically in 2006. The price of gold & silver soared so I turned to bronze in place of gold. Bronze was a bigger challenge than I anticipated and I developed great respect for what the ancients created with bronze and primitive tools. My hand tools are much like what the ancients used and I am reminded of that every time I pick them up. Bronze is now a major component and my work has grown with it.

 My formal training is in apparel design, I use the same principles in jewelry design: fit, drape, proportion, balance and texture. I use metals as I would fabric but with very different tools. My textures are hand stamped with steel pattern stamps and a mallet. Forming is done with mandrels, daps, punches and mallets. Components are joined with solder, cleaned, oxidized and given a brushed finish. My goal is to create a unique piece of art which is wearable.

 I want my jewelry to engage the audience. I enjoy the one-on-one connection I have with my audience as jewelry is very personal and self-adornment is a universally human language.


The Process

My jewelry is hand fabricated using sterling silver, bronze and carefully selected stones. Each piece starts out as a flat sheet of metal. One of my patterns is traced onto the metal then cut out using a jeweler's saw, shears, a pancake die or a combination of techniques. The edges are filed and sanded until smooth. Hand stamped textures are applied using a variety of steal stamps and a one pound mallet. Components are formed with hammers, mandrels, punches, dapping blocks and sometimes a hydraulic press. I use a torch for high temperature soldering as well as cold joining techniques. Some designs require several soldering steps as well as multiple forming techniques. After all soldering and forming are complete the pieces are cleaned, oxidized (darkened to bring out detail) and buffed. The brushed finish gives each piece a soft sophisticated look and highlights the design. Finally, each piece is hand signed by me, Barbara Nelson.


Maintaining Your B Nelson Designs Jewelry:

My jewelry is easily maintained. I use Windex to clean my jewelry, spray it liberally and rub with your fingers or soft cloth, rinse and towel dry. I use 3m Scotchbrite to remove tarnish and maintain the brushed finish, the same green Scotchbrite that is available in grocery and hardware stores. Brush over the high points to brighten them. I also use scotchbrite to blend scratches. When using the Scotchbrite, brush in a couple of different directions so the new brush lines cross. If you are concerned about using the Scotchbrite, test it where it won’t show. The use of Scotchbrite will leave a residue, Windex or dish detergent will remove this. Store your piece in a re-closable plastic bag to help prevent tarnish. Silver cloths and/or silver polish will remove tarnish but they are mildly abrasive and will remove the brushed finish. Rejuvenate the brushed finish by using the Scotchbrite. Please do not use silver dip, you most likely wont like the look.

If you have a comment or a question I would like to hear from you. Please go to the contact page to send a message.