Friday, February 27, 2009

30 Sales! Doot doo doo doo!

Of course, one was to my sister and another to my cousin, but that still counts right?

Lately I've been trying to come up with affordable options, some things in the 30-50 dollar category, and also to add more earrings to the mix. I think I had become a little ring heavy. These are what I came up with yesterday:

I have other ideas, just don't have the stuff to make them just yet. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photographs, the Bane of My Existance

Today I made something pretty cool. It could use a little tweaking here or there, and the third generation of this item will probable be much, much better. But I really like it and I can't take a good picture of it to save my life. Maybe it just can't be photographed. But if it can't be photographed, it can't be sold. (Which might not be so bad, at least then I can keep it!)

Today has been a gloomy day. It started out nice, the sun was sort of out, but then around 11 it just clouded right over and has just gotten darker and darker. I think that might be part of the photography problem. I've just been using natural light to take pictures of things. The only draw back to that is cloudy,rainy day=no photos.

This is the only good one I managed of the new item, and it's not even that good:

It's a little pinky ring with oxidation, hand etched raindrop pattern, 14kt gold, and one flush set white sapphire. I think the sapphire was overkill, actually, but I couldn't resist. I think it would be all right, but I didn't place it well. So, this will probably end up being my own ring. I love being a goldsmith...I get to keep the rejects! (Or maybe I will give it to Jonna as a gift. Mmwha wha ha ha!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Perils of Making Jewels

Behold, my fingertips are sacrificed to my art. It is right to sacrifice your fingertips, therefore let us chop them all to heck.

These, people (who might, or might not, be reading), are giant slices inflicted on my defenseless fingers in the cause of making beautiful things for strangers to wear. Think of the deepest, most painful paper cut you have ever had....and magnify it by 2x. Just 2x, it's painful, but it's not life threatening.

What awful piece of dangerous equipment maimed me in the awful way?

Cue the Jaws theme music...dnn dn..dnn dn....dn dn dn dn dn....

But what was I making, when that horrible injury happened?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From Disaster, Experimentation

Hi! In my previous post I explained how I had lost an earring (that I had only worn once, by the way) down the drain. Well, I decided to melt down the remaining earring and try a new thing with it.

See below:

The ring above is the fruit of my labor. I had to melt a the earring with a little bit of scrap gold I had left over from my jewelry classes I took last fall to make the little pebble that the stone is set it. But I had a plain gold band (also from class) and that I decided needed to be jazzed up. It's super pretty on. I tried it on with these:

And it looked amazing. I think I might make a mixed set of gold and silver with different stones. I love setting stones like this. It's so much fun. Here is a picture of one ring that has already been prepared for setting:

This ring was a custom order. Since the ring size was a little larger than I have made in this style before, I had to make some adjustments.

First I had to make the setting appear larger, and I also had to adjust how the circle setting fit onto the band. Both of these made it more difficult to set the stone, and I actually had to cut the stone free at one point and rebuild the entire setting! (argh!) It was a pain in the behind, but I learned something from it, and won't have to do it again (hopefully).

This ring has a 5mm white sapphire set in the center. These have been pretty popular and I have a three more as custom orders this week. People like changing the stone up, and bright colors seem to be the thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jewelry Woes, Beware the Bathroom Sink

What is this, you ask? This is an earring. One, single, lonely earring. My personal pair of golden drop earrings, minus one.

Where is the other one? See below:

This monster has eaten my St. Christopher medal that my sister bought me in Mexico (sorry, Jonna, I've been meaning to tell you), and now an earring, just this morning. Will the carnage never end?!?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Design...yes? no?

I love old jewelry, really old jewelry, and I one of the oldest ring designs in the world is one that looks like the above ring. It has a spinning bezel and I would like to make it with this stone:

So, yes, no? I think I should just make it and see how it turns out. I love these stones though!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Etsy Front Page Action!

That's me in the upper left hand corner! Yay! But now I have to get to work with the orders that I got today!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Raw Montana Sapphires

moments before I dropped them all over the floor:

Product from above sapphires, post recovery:

Not for sale, however. This was my experiment ring. I'm going to keep it for myself.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Love Gold

I didn't always love gold. When I was a teenager I use to sneer at it. The yellow color was so uncool. Silver reigned in my heart, and I didn't own a single piece of gold jewelry.

I've now learned the error of my ways. Everything I hated about gold when I was younger, I love now. The warm honey color, the rich yellow tones. It is the most beautiful metal.

Fun gold fact:

All of the gold that has ever been mined gathered together would be the size of a giant cube about the size of a tennis court. That doesn't seem like much, does it? But most gold jewelry isn't solid gold. It's mixed with other metals (usually silver, copper, and nickle) to produce different colors and karats of gold. 24kt gold is really too soft to make wearable jewelry in. It can be done, and is, but it is easily marred, and a ring made of 24kt gold will wear down much quicker than a 22kt or 18kt gold ring.

These earrings I just made are made of 14kt gold. I like them, they are for sale in my shop, but I will probably make a pair for myself!

Friday, February 6, 2009

After Despair, Triumph

Man, I had a bad evening last night. After my two sales (!!!), the first to people who are not related to me, I pushed my luck and tried to make something new. Problem was, I hadn't really thought about what I was doing and ended up with this:

That, my friends, is a broken piece of quartz. It had been a beautiful checkerboard cut 10mm stone. Very nice and sparkly. I had meant to make it into a fun cocktail ring. But I ended up working all day on other things. And then when I finally started this particular project, I was already tired and distracted. My other key mistake was not to sit down and draw out the piece first. Never again! So I stressed and strained, trying to make something work that was ill-conceived and never going to work in the first place. And then crack! Game over.

And the worst part? I was so tired and hungry and cranky I couldn't enjoy my pho and avocado milkshake with Andreas later that night. (We had a deal that I would take him out for pho when I made my first sale.)

But I still thought that the concept was good. I had made a much smaller version while I was in school and I think I just over shot the mark by trying to use such a large stone (10mm is huge!).

So I went back to the drawing board and adjusted a few things. I cut the size of the stone down to 5mm and changed the gauge of the wire I was using. This afternoon I finally was successful!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Custom Order

Today has been a good day! I sold a set of stacking rings (first sale!) and finished a custom order for a girl on etsy. She wanted a petite stacking ring, with a stone set culet side up (that's the facet on the pointy tip of a stone).

singleB B

A lot of the time, when making jewelry, the biggest problem you face is how to hold the piece while you work on it. Most jewelry is pretty small, and your fingers can only hold it so tightly. Sometimes you need both hands to do what you need to do. That's why jewelers have come up with a myriad of ways to hold things. I was working on a little letter charm/pendant today and at a certain point I need to use a graver on the piece to make it look more 3 dimensional. To do that without poking myself in the hand with a sharp tool, I had to fix it in firmly in place. I ended up using heated shellac on a wooden board. (I heated it in the microwave, I don't know if that's kosher, but it worked!) Then I clamped it into my engravers block and went to work.

I was removing metal from certain spots to give the impression that the metal twisted in the middle of the two curves that form the B. Did it work?

I was working from this cool old alphabet from the 14th century. I love different fonts!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Praise of Etsy

Recently I have been trying to get a commission from a member of Etsy. There is a great feature that allows members to list a request for something that they would like made and then other crafters can make bids on making it. This particular request was for a bangle or a bracelet. So I put in a bid with a description of what I would make. The lady got back to me and asked to see something along the same lines as my description. Since I didn't have anything on hand I made this ring:

I was thinking I would make a bangle in a similar style. With more stones and a thicker wall, but keeping the profile very similar. Said she thought it was great, but that she had to speak to her husband about it (it's for his sister). So I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I love flush setting stones, so it would be great to have an excuse to do a whole bunch of them.