Monday, March 28, 2011

How to: Patina Silver at Home

I do not have liver of sulfer, the most common silver tarnishing compound. So when I read the other day that one can use over-boiled eggs to give a patina to silver, I had to try. First things first: you have to boil and egg until it starts to turn green inside. So, maybe 20-25 minutes rather than 15. All you need is the yolk, so give the whites to your niece who loves hard boiled eggs. Squish up the yolk and put it in a container with the silver and close it up.

After half an hour it was starting to tarnish a little. I dont thin i boiled my the organic free range eggs arn't as sulfry as corprate eggs imho...

An hour later its changing color

The next morning its dark. I polished up what i wanted and the piece had nice details. If you ever find yourself in need of a silver patina but without your liver of sulfer this is a great, cheap eco-friendly way to do it.
I ended up having to solder the piece again and toss it in the pickle, which removed the patina. Oh well.
The finished piece. Again I used Ethiopian opal that I cut by hand and a paridot cab. A fun paisley ring.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cacoxenite in Amethyst Pin-The Making Of

Last week I bought some new stones. Right away I wanted to create the setting for my cacoxenite amethyst. First, though, I had a crooked cut trilliant/pear shaped amethyst i had to make a basket setting for. Well, honestly I have never created a full basket setting.  Sure, my raw opal pendant is a basket, but it doesnt have two galleries...only one. Plus, being raw opal I didnt feel the need to make the baskets perfect---because the stones weren't! Alright, so this creating this basket I knew was going to be a challenge. First I created the upper and lower galleries (aka, the triangley shapes) Then, since i used thinner gauge wire for the gallery i notched the thicker wires for the prongs where i wanted to solder the gallery.

Most jewelers using binding wire or stab the wire into a charcol block because tweezers act as heat sinks...but i suck at using binding wire, so I'm using tweezers to hold my wires in place. I started with hard on all these joints.

Again I notched the wire where the second gallery is to lay. 3 of the 4 joints in the first solder where touching, so i soldered those three still using hard. The 4th joint i adjusted a little to make contact and moved to medium solder to keep my other joints from opening.

In the mean time, I was building the main piece. My little beads for the bezel.

Look! It fits!

The bezel is ready, i have to create a bail and attatch them

Once I got the bail on I finally cut the excess wire off the back end.

Sadly, The bail was a little long and looked funny, so I added some tubing for an accent stone.

It don't loook funny no more! All soldered together.

Now to polish...There were lots of hard to reash stops that my polishing wheels couldnt reach, so I had to polish using thread with tripoli on it.

All polished up.

Almost done, but that darn accent amethyst on top keeps falling off my bench and disappearing! My niece managed to find it the first time.

All set and all finished.

Very classical in design with a modern stone. I decided to go with a style that wont be passe in ten years. This one is going into the CMAG Spring Jewelry show.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Naw Ruz or Persian New Year

I was brought up in the Baha'i faith, and for the last 15 days I have fasted sunup to sundown (typically Baha'i fast for 19, but I had the flu, so I was exempt). In the Baha'i calendar there are 19 months with 19 days each, before the final month the 4 extra days are spent in celebration. This last 19 day month Baha'is in good health above the age of 15 are supposed to fast during the day. So I got up early and made a big breakfasst with my mom, drank lots of water and then when the suncame up I got nothin' 'til the sun went down again. Yes, that meant two weeks without coffee. Two weeks of eating and wanting to go straight to bed. Two weeks of few blog posts. Two weeks of trying to distract myself the last three hours of the day. Two weeks of movies.  Two weeks of....very little productivity.

During the fast Sunset is a very special time.

Which is fine as the time of fasting is meant to be a time when one slows down, meditates and prays. For me, it is a time to improve my will power, learn to appriceate the bountius food we Americans are surrounded by and recalibrate between my bodies needs and wants. You see, often we confuse a snackish feeling with real hunger. Fasting you learn that that snackish feeling will often fade proving to be mearly a want and not a need.

Anyway, all this goes to say: the fast is over! It is Naw Ruz-the New Year! It is offically spring! Yippee!!! Iranians also celebrate Naw Ruz. Why not? Its the first day of spring! And how do I celebrate?  My little tradition is making doughnuts for breakfast. For realz, yo.

Yes, sour cream doughnuts from the Joy of Cooking. Rolled out and ready to go!

Fry, little doughnuts, FRY!

A little powdered sugar...

All done, all yum.  As of tonight there is only one left.

Oh yeah, and coffee.

My mother likes to celebrate by giving gifts. She gave me two new (much needed) purses. She bought sparkley beads at the "gem faire" and made a necklace to give to my 94 year old Grandma (My Grandma verymuch likes sparkles---i fear soon she will outsparkle the stars and make the jealous!) The next Baha'i celebration is the 12 day festival of Ridvan. My family we make a little Persian style tea garden and have tea and cookies. As a kid I used to sleep in the "tent" we set up.

Anyone else have a family/religious tradition related to spring? Have you ever started a family tradition? What is your favorite celebration? Thanks for letting me share with ya'll

Friday, March 18, 2011

What? More Stones?

Yes, it had happened: I have aquired MORE stones. I am pretty good about not buying unless i need it...but every so often a stone catches my eye. Like this baby:
Its called cacoxenite amethyst and apperently is from just one mine in Brazil. Basically amethyst with rutilation running through it. I refrained from buying it when i saw it at Handleys, but when I got home I found I had a sale on my etsy shop so I called up the owner of the rock shop and said, "keep that stone for me!" So happy! I didn't realize it was amethyst when i picked it up, but seeing the pale purple I started looking for an amethyst to with it. Most of the stones they had there where a deep, deep nice purple...but thats not what i was looking for. I found it (possibly the cheapest one there, too)
To quote Goldielocks: "This ones juuuuust right."

 In a few days I'll show you what I did with these stones....its pretty sweeeeeet. Sadly, it wont be done until i go back to the rock shop as I dropped/lost my 2mm accent stone. :(

Did I mention that I got a lovely slice of watermellon tourmaline?
While it doesnt have much color around the edges, I love the play the inclutions in the center give it.

Anyone remeber my opal kick a month back?  Well, I finally made something from my lovely hydrophane opal:

Honestly, if no one buys this ring, I wont be hurt. Okay, maybe I will be hurt because I wore it out driving twice and got totally distracted watching all the color play as I passed different light sources. Certainlly it kept me from rageing while sitting at lights, "oooo..pretty. so many colors. awwww. traffics moving already?" Pictures dont do this rock justice.

Speaking of opal, another "gem faire" is in town. There is one reason and one reason only to go: raw opal. Expect to see some new opally treasures coming soon!

Thanks again for stopping by and checking out my blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bamboo Ring for Japan

Hey guys! I finally got over my jewelers block today. First off, I created a special ring I'd like to share with you and would like you to share with your friends. My ring for Japan is how I am trying to help Japan. I lived in Japan for several months and have a connection with the land and culture. It pains me to see not only the destruction from the earthquake and tsunami, but also the social stigma that will beset the poor people and their families who are exposed to radioactive fall out. Since I can't be in Japan helping to evacuate I will help by donating to a major relief orinization. Thats where the ring comes in: the more I make of these and sell, the more WE can send to help the relief efforts.
The peridot is actually a very nice fresh bamboo color. I wanted to show you how I set the stone in the piece. First I made the ring, hammered it, polished it, added the tubing.

Here it is ready to start.
I measured the size of the stone (1.98mm) and used a hart burr about .1mm smaller. I drilled down then once the edge of the burr went below the rim of the tubing I cocked it a little and created the seat for the stone.
If you click you can see the seat I am creating for the stone.

Check that the stone fits and is sitting straight. The hole isn't big enough yet, so I have to drill a little more making sure to leave a ridge of metal around the rim I can press around the stone.

I drilled a little more, check the stone and heard a little "click"-the stone as the peridot snaps into its seat. It fits perfectly!
Now I carefully press the metal around the stone. My homemade tool isn't the best shape for the job, but I have gotten used to it and can do a decent setting with it. Once the stone is firmly set I use another tool to burnish the setting then polish it up to look smooth and not catch.

I hope you will tell your friends about my ring so we can help Japan together.

Have any of you created a special project to help relief efforts after a disaster? How do you like to help? What charities do you support?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Work in Progress

Yeah, and my radio station is still classic rock. It's the only station i can pick up, but luckily I have inherited some country cds from my Grandma, so I'll be honkeytonking around my bench soon enough. Anyway, I spied some sexy stones over at Handleys the otherday and decided to pick them an extra stone. Join me as I design a piece.

Let me say about myself, I am not formally trained in design. I grew up surrounded by fine art and have a pretty keen instinct as to what looks good, but the process of design is pretty organic. Sometimes I know right away what I want, like this piece, othertimes I'm not totally sure so I design as I go. This is how I work some of the times.
Three matching calcedony and a lovely rutilated quartz
At first I was thinking maybe putting the rutilated quartz with this fantastic set of calcedony, but eventually decided on garnet. thinking something along the lines of this....

Alright, i wasnt totally sure about the design, something wasn't groovin' i decided to do the main piece first, then the settings for the two smaller stones depending on how everything worked out.
The other item i got was a planishing hammer. I LOVE the mark that a planishing hammer leaves on metal and have been wishing for one for quite a while. I decided to use my new tool to texturize the silver. Additionally, I decided not to cut out the back bezel. I felt like the textured silver kinda sparkled behind the calcedony, so I will leave it closed. Hopefully it doesnt tarnish too quickly.

I actually was terribly spaced out when I soldered the bezel to the silver backing....and accidently melted the bezel. boohoo.

yeah, something along these lines. now how will i attach it to the chain. hurm.....I'll figure that out later. I have an inclination to do something different with the tubeing...but nothing with the tubing is really making me satisfied. Part of the problem is the garnet bezel is on a different plane from the rest of the piece, and its making it difficult to design around. I suppose i'll just drop the tubing idea. Now I make the other two settings.
Yup, thats them being soldered.

There we go! Now I just need the right kind of chain (or to make some myself), polish up the silver and set the stones. I can't wait for it be done!
While I worked my dog was keeping watch. Watching adorably at that.
How do you design? Do you draw out your design and stick with it, or do you start working without a design and just see what happens? What are some of your favorite designs? You do you look for inspiration?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Appologies and Etsy

Friends, my appologies for not writing this week. I was stricken with a nasty virus that kept me with fever for near a two and a half days. Thankfully, I am over that part but my head is still quite cloudy. I WAS thinking of sharing with you my fever induced dreams...but then i forgot what happened.  Don't worry, they were not really all that interesting anyway, you didnt miss out. So instead, I am going to share with you some interesting items from etsy.

This is what got me started:
ScholarlyArticle's Frosted Dounghnut Pumps Painting shoes with such unique and fun imagry as Narwhals, dancers, cameos, and doughnuts? Love it!
Next DJRieglel and her hand engraved schrade cigar box knife are delightful! She does beautiful engravings on pocket knives and a few other items...I would love to have my next pocket knife be one of hres! I guess she picked up engraving after finding her Granddaddys gravers and decided to give it a go. I bet her Granddaddys pretty proud of her work.

Check out swipxa on etsy: he is from China and does traditional paper cutting. His work ranges from traditional themes and imagry to modern works. One of my favorites is the bird community papercut. Really beautiful and modern, and look at all the cuts he did for this one image! Wow!

Alright, so lets say I am going to go burlesque. Check out little number from Bubbles and frown.  I have to show this of even though its quite....spectacular it is really amazing what a person can do with feathers. This shop has all sorts of wild hats.

Well, so what shall I wear with my little hat? Oh, I know! TianaCHE's Marquise Casati Bolero! Lots of awesome items in her shop. I've never been to into bolero jackets, but hers are so fun that I want wear 'em!

I suppose I'll just stroll over to DelilahBurlesque for the rest. Burlesque gloves with fringe and rhinestones? yes please!

Underneath...i guess ill jsut use some of my own pieces....:P
Alright, I guess since I am a jeweler i should share with you a few of my favorite items i like and wish i could have!

  • brontotheroocity  does some crazy awesome carvings and cabs. Check out the balmorhea blue sky he cut. Its a color change stone and just fantastic cut! Love it!

  • SilurianEra has some of my favorite stones. The Zebra Jasper Cab is pretty nice...infact, 
    I may just have to buy it! 
    dmargocr has got a nice little shop too. How about the colors in this jasper? wild, huh? and guess what? If you mention this blog, she says she'll give you a 10% discount off your whole first time purchase. nice, eh?

    I love stoneaddict's work. They aren't my style, but i just love what she does! I'm always happy to see new items go up in her shop. Check out this shield necklace with opal. Its such an attractive design.

    Finally, marcomagro has great metalworking skill and shows it off in his work. This particular piece i find quite interesting:
    Neat, huh?

    Well, thats it for now. There are lots of other folks who have caught my eye, maybe i'll showcase them another time. I should be back to normal in a few days and rollin' out some new work.