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Learning Cuttlebone Casting

Jan 15, 2014

by Susannah Bradley handmade and vintage goods

Learning new techniques related to your expertise can help you keep your product lines fresh. Recently, Iliana Tosheva , a self-taught jewellery designer, had the chance to do just that by taking a new class from Mastered, the online hub for mastering design skills.

After creating a product line in polymer clay, Iliana began exploring new materials. “I started with polymer clay, then moved to natural clays and now I am in a process of making a transition from working in clays to working in metals. I already work in copper, sterling silver, fine silver and vitreous enamels and I am really inspired by the incredible versatility and possibilities my media offers!” To help her take the next step with her metal working, Iliana dove into cuttlebone casting with a master jeweller from the Holt Academy in London.

Cuttlebone casting is an ancient method of casting metal which starts by carving a design into cuttlebone. Nicholas Yiannarakis, the teacher of the Cuttlebone Casting Class, enjoys this method of jewellery making because it’s so accessible. “In the beginning of my career I had very little equipment and not a lot of metal to work with. Recycling offcuts of metal was something I used to do to try and save myself some money. Cuttlebone casting was a economical and efficient method that allowed me to use my scrap metal in a creative way.”


Iliana got to learn from Nicholas one to one, and Mastered recorded it all for you to follow along with. “The experience I had will hugely affect my product line. As a result of my participation in the course, I am considering a new product line based on the cuttlefish bone casting technique I was introduced to during the course. It is a really low cost way of casting jewellery – perfect for those who would love to work from home and particularly for those new and self taught jewellery designers who are interested in creating organic texture and shape in a piece of jewellery.”

If you are interested in attending this cuttlebone class online to expand your jewellery making skills, Mastered is offering a discount on the class price in January as well as running a competition for the first 500 people who sign up for this or any course with Mastered. These will be the ‘Mastered Founding 500’.

All 500 will get:

  • Their photo and a link to their shop/blog/social media site of their choice on our site.
  • A badge to include on their own site.
  • An exclusive 30% discount to use on their next purchase.
  • Promotion across our blog and our social media

What’s more, one lucky person from the 500 will be picked at random to win a designer-maker kick starter package. They’re in with the chance of winning:

  • A personal masterclass with the teacher of their choice
  • A personal business overview to review their site/pricing/marketing strategy and anything else they need to know to make real money from their creative talents.
  • £250 to spend on supplies/marketing.

Sign up with Mastered now to learn how to cast metal jewellery with cuttlebone.


  • jizbasusan

    Susan Jizba from TheWeaverOfWords said 6 years ago

    I think it's such a wonderful idea to learn new skills and take a leap forward in creativity! When I'm challenged to work with something that I'm unfamiliar with, when I "step outside of the box" so to speak, I find it can be such an incredible opportunity to play and explore in new territories. I relish the enormous creative challenge when I receive a diverse set of words from a customer, chosen words that don't have anything in common at first look. Those sets of words are the most fun to create custom stories with since they challenge me to look at the unrelated words as a cohesive group from which I need to discover a sense of connection and natural rhythm and flow.

  • ICouldBeARockStar

    Rachel Tipple from BehindTheFacade said 6 years ago

    This course looks really useful, I have silver offcuts that I am sure could be recycled using this technique. I'll definitely look into the course.

  • Balanced

    Rachel from balanced said 6 years ago

    I am all over this. Thank you!

  • AlteredEras

    Paula from AlteredEras said 6 years ago

    Just watched some of it as free trial. Classes look fab & well taught. Thank you :)

  • behindmyeyeballs

    Stacey Lou from BehindMyEyeballs said 6 years ago

    very cool!

  • aleksandrasejdia

    Alexandra Sejdia from BoonLondonJewelry said 6 years ago

    Just enrolled :) Can't wait for my cuttlebone to arrive now. Never tried this method.

  • t100www

    Sue Duke from T100Bracelets said 5 years ago

    Thanks Etsy, this is really interesting. I've only been with you 1 day and have learnt so much!!!! I've browsed the Mastered website and there's lots of interesting help and advise available.

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