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Making jewelry for a cause


During the month of October, the Pink Ribbon, the international symbol for raising awareness for breast cancer research, appears in many places. It was designed to show support and strength for breast cancer survivors, patients, and their family and friends, and to keep awareness focused on the search for a cure.

How did this ribbon become so immediately identifiable with this noble cause? The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation had already adopted the color pink in their advertising when they first passed out ribbons to participants during their annual Walk for the Cure in 1991. Self magazine and the Estee Lauder corporation were both instrumental in launching campaigns using the Ribbon to raise awareness, and in the fall of 1992, the Estee Lauder makeup counters in department stores nationwide passed out more than 1.5 million ribbons, accompanied with information about breast self-examinations.

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Avon joined the cause the following year, but their use of the Pink Ribbon was the first to take the form of jewelry.  Now, each year the Avon company produces many styles of jewelry and donates a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research, as do so many other corporations. 

Today you see the Ribbon everywhere, and not only in support of breast cancer research. Dozens of other causes have begun using the iconic image of a cloth ribbon folded over on itself to raise awareness for issues as wide-ranging as autism, support for US troops overseas, food allergies, and of course many other kinds of cancer.  

What kind of jewelry can you make to show your support for the cause of your choice?

Although many of these ideas below focus on breast cancer awareness, you can adapt many projects to show your support for almost any cause. Fire Mountain Gems has a helpful list of all the colors and patterns of awareness ribbons for various causes. Some examples: blue ribbons raise awareness for prostate cancer, while gold represents pediatric cancer.  Check the chart for more information, or print it out to hang over your bench. They offer color-matching options for beads and crystals for your projects as well. 

rio charm
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A quick search on Etsy uncovered dozens of different “ribbon” charms, in either a plain base metal or in the color for your cause. Often incorporating the word “hope,” these charms could be used in a myriad of ways: on a bracelet, in combination with different beads or crystals to make a pendant or earrings, or perhaps on a keychain. Rio Grande also carries many charms in sterling silver, if that works better in your design. 

Cancer awareness angel

If you’d prefer to go the stitching route, try making a beaded ribbon Angel Pendant. It makes a lovely gift for a breast cancer patient, survivor or caregiver in your life. He would also look darling made in white to show support for Holocaust Remembrance, or in yellow for support of the Deployed Military member of your family. 

urban beader stamp
impressart stamp


Prefer to work in metal? Check out these metal stamps in the shape of the awareness ribbon. Stamp them on metal blanks, perhaps combined with a hopeful message or the name of a loved one, for a very personal charm or pendant.


The Urban Beader has an exclusive version for $9.75. 



And ImpressArt, a wholesale tool company whose products are carried by many suppliers, has this stamp and a few others as well, including one that shapes the Ribbon into a heart. 


resin mold awareness ribbon
While browsing on Etsy, I also found several different molds that can be used with clays or resins to make a ribbon of your choice. The one from MoldMuse, pictured here, can produce three ribbon pendants at a time, just over an inch high. Use a colorant with your favorite two-part epoxy resin to produce a ribbon in the color of your cause.


Whatever your cause, share with us how you use your jewelry-making to raise awareness. We'd love to hear from you on our Facebook page!

FIND MORE: beads , metal , resin , metal clay , polymer clay

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