My previous experience of jewellery making consists solely of twisting together strands of coloured cotton to form “friendship bracelets” that were then shyly swapped in the primary school |playground – the bracelets lasting little longer than the friendships themselves.

It is therefore with some trepidation that I joined a group of five others for a three-hour session at Wearne’s the Jewellers’ Falmouth branch, where they have begun |jewellery making courses.

Designed for novices through to those who already have some skill in the field, the main requirement is an interest in jewellery and a willingness to learn.

They have been set up by Wearne’s owner Sarah Corbridge and led by Sophia Gale-Windsor in the basement workshop underneath the shop in Arwenack Street.

Sarah explains: “People get a lot of pleasure out of being creative. It’s a relaxing thing to do. And you never know what a person will create – they could be the next big designer.”

Sophia agrees, telling me: “They can get something to take home at the end of the day. People get really |addicted.”

From the most simple form of jewellery making, |‘beading’ (threading beads onto thin wire) for beginners through to silversmith work for the more advanced, Sophia and Sarah have years of experience to pass on.

Skills such as ‘knotting’, allowing the creation of |long bead necklaces,|can also be taught.

With only three hours to play with, it is decided to go for something that means I can experience a range of |different processes but still end up with a completed piece of jewellery at the end – although in an ideal world pieces would be created over a number of weeks.

I am informed by Sophia that this evening I will be making a ring from scratch (yikes) and am allowed to choose the gem that will be featured (normally people supply their own).

I select a vibrant oval of turquoise that should |contrast well with its silver setting.

I soon learn that the |beauty of jewellery making is that old, unwanted pieces can effectively be ‘recycled’ into something new.

To that end, we begin with Sophia showing me how to hammer an old silver hair pin around a gently tapering metal pole called a ring |mandrel, to make a metal hoop – the basis of the ring. The mandrel has the |different ring sizes engraved into it, to make fitting easier.

The pin has previously been heated to a high |temperature and quickly cooled – a process called ‘annealing’, which makes the metal more workable.

I am initially a little wary of hitting the ring too hard with the rubber hammer (partly for fear of damaging it and partly for fear of whacking my fingers!) but quickly discover a good degree of force is needed to bend the metal successfully.

Having shaped the ring to a suitable size, the unwanted metal is cut with a metal file (like a small hacksaw with an extremely thin blade) and the band then dipped in |sulphuric acid to take the |tarnish off, to allow the two ends of the ring to be |soldered to complete the |circle.

We then move onto the ring’s decoration. After filing the top of the ring to make a flat edge on which the stone is to sit, I am tasked with |cutting an oval base from some sheet silver (which is put through a metal press to flatten it further) with the file.

I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to cut metal in a curve, once I have been shown the correct technique for cutting (concentrating the pressure on the ‘up and down’ movement, rather than the forward motion) – although I do manage to break one of the delicate blades (sorry about that). Sandpaper is then used to smooth the edges.

An even thinner piece of metal is bent around the stone, which is then soldered to the base – and this in turn is soldered to the ring. It is all a far cry from plaiting |friendship bracelets; my younger self would have become bored long before and moved onto Sabrina the Teenage Witch by now.

With time running out Sophia takes over briefly, pushing the stone into the base, knocking down the metal edges to secure it and then burnishing the ring to polish it.

I am allowed to try out the polishing machine – like a lathe for jewellery. Pieces of fabric are spinning very fast and I’m nervous over whether it hurts if you touch them; it appears not, although I am told to wear goggles to |protect my eyes from any accidentally flying jewellery. The ring also gets very hot under the friction, but the effect is phenomenal – the magpie in me is fascinated by how shiny it now is.

Although exhausted by learning so many new skills in such a short space of time, by the end of the session I am beginning to see how rewarding making your own, unique jewellery can be.

My ring looks like |something you see in a craft shop for lots of money and although I am realistic enough to realise that |claiming 50 per cent of the work as my own would be optimistic, I am proud of the result – crafts have never been my strong point; I don’t have the patience.

Talking to other members of the class is inspiring though. Kim Perryman, who lives just outside Helston, has always had an interest in jewellery, having worked for a company selling on pieces imported from Mexico.

Since beginning the classes she has tried enamelling, silver clay modelling, stone setting and metal hammering.

“When I saw the|opportunity to do the |workshop I jumped at it,” she tells me. “It’s just being able to be creative with something you can wear as well, rather than just hang on a wall.”

Classes run every Monday between 10am and 3pm, with people able to come and go as they choose.

For more information call Sarah on 01326 317222 or visit