Save by creating your own jewelry

HOUSTON In this economy people are finding creative ways to save money. At a class at Z Bead in West University, women are doing just that by creating their own jewelry. They're cutting out the middle man to become designers of custom gems, using everything from glass to gold.

"You can make earrings under $5 and it would be gorgeous," said Z Bead instructor Jennifer Hilley. "(It would) look like it came out of a high-end store."

Elora Brown says for around 40 percent less than what she would pay in a store, she's making baubles and having a ball.

She said, "Everybody said, 'Oh, where'd you get them from?' And I said, 'I made that.'"

In one class, the ladies created a necklace of real turquoise and sterling silver for just $48. The ladies estimate that in a store it would cost about twice that.

"I think it is a great way to save money on gifts," said class participant Elliott Young. "This way you give them something that was a little cheaper and it's special because you made it."

Nancy Lomax is using her skills to preserve her late mother-in-law's necklaces for her three daughters.

She said, "I could remake these into smaller things that I could give to each of the three daughters, some of their grandmother's things, and that way they would always have a piece of their grandmother."

Jewelry making lessons start at $25. A set of three is just 50. Once you learn, you're all set. The tools you need to make your own jewelry at home are also very affordable. Three pieces are all you need to get started, and they cost just $8 apiece.

Over at Bead and Bead on Harwin, jewelry fans find all colors and shapes in every price range. There are bargain beads and more expensive stones, like genuine New Mexico turquoise and real red coral. Mary Jane Mehaffey made earrings plus a matching necklace for just $2. "I'd venture to say it would go for $15-30, depending on where you bought it," she estimated. "It is a great feeling."
"Z Bead" jewelry making lessons and bead store
2429 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

$50 for three beginner classes
$25 - various other classes

Bead and Bead on Harwin
9700 Harwin #146
Houston,TX 77036

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