Many of the unique and vibrant charm pendants that Coreen Cordova has shared were made with resin. But what is resin? Here, you can learn about resin jewelry – the different materials it can be, the varying methods used to create resin jewelry, and how to care for your unique pieces.
Types of Resin
An example of natural resin that you may be familiar with is amber, that deep golden hard material formed from the sap of trees and then fossilized. Other natural resins include frankincense, balsam, and shellac.
Artifical Polymer Resins
Artificial polymer resins come in many forms, but the most commonly used in jewelry are epoxy and polyurethane. Some resins are best for casting a shape and others are better for coating.
Epoxy resin is recommended for use by beginner jewelers. It is relatively easy to work with, has the longest time to set (which gives new jewelers more time to work with it), and is not as sensitive to environmental factors such as humidity. But it can dry somewhat soft.
Epoxy coating resin (or doming resin) is often used when creating jewelry using everyday items, such as dried flowers or photographs. Color can be added to it and it dries with a dome shape.
Epoxy casting resin is used with molds to create shapes.
Epoxy clay resin can be sculpted into whatever shape you want, have other materials embedded, and can be sanded down and painted.
Polyurethane resin can be tricky to work with. It dries quickly, is very sensitive to moisture, you must take safety precautions, and it is a delicate process of adding the hardener – if the ratio is not accurate, the design will not set.
Polyurethane dries crystal clear, but you can add color pigments and fluorescent dyes that give the polyurethane resin a specific color.
Caring for Resin Jewelry
Avoid storing any piece in direct sunlight. Many resins used in jewelry are UV resistant, but most resins will yellow when it is exposed to sunlight or heat for prolonged periods.
Resin is a relatively soft material and can scratch easily. Remove your jewelry when doing any activity where it may come into contact with other materials.
Beauty and body products such as hairspray, perfume, makeup, lotion, etc. may discolor or damage resin jewelry. Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on.