JewelStruck Blog

Jewelry Making

The Perfect Valentines Day Gifts

by Joy Jewlr on Jan.23, 2010, under Jewelry Making

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Chocolate. Flowers. Jewelry. I think everyone knows that some combination of any of these would make a good valentine’s day gift. Its completely fine to stick to the traditional gifts, however, it will be even more appreciated if you try and find some new variation on these classics. Your goal should be to create a memorable experience for your loved one, instead of just another bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates.

For Chocolate check out this cool creation by a company called Bruce County. This company has taken the candy apple to new extremes by creating many different variations of chocolate covered apples including nuts, and different toppings. These treats are not only great looking, but they are also super delicious. In giving your significant other this creative gift you will definitely create a Valentine’s day that stands out. You can find these cool products at www.nutandfudge.com

When it comes to Flowers it is a bit more difficult to be creative. This year instead of simply giving her a bouquet of roses try and spice it up and get creative. There are a number of ways to do so. One is to buy more exotic flowers like the Blood Lily, Blue Dawn Flower, or the Calatheas. All of which are very beautiful and very exotic. A nice vase is also a good touch.

Finally, Jewelry is always a difficult thing to buy for your loved one. The key is to avoid potentially buying the wrong thing. To do so consider buying an engraved couple’s ring. This will not only show her that you had been thinking about this day for a long time, but it is also extremely personal and difficult to dislike. I came across a number of these rings on www.jewlr.com.

This valentine’s day do something different and make her happy.

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Vintage Steampunk Necklace Design

by Kay Jacobs on Jan.19, 2010, under Jewelry Making

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I have to show you my new vintage steampunk necklace design.

The necklace is made with vintage findings, watch parts and swarovski crystals.

The metal is a antiqued copper making this a wonderful vintage steampunk look.

Following are closeup views of this Necklace.

Steampunk Necklace

Steampunk Necklace

Since I have a love for machinery, with all the gears and things, steampunk is a style that I love also.

The centerpiece is made with vintage copper findings, Swarovski crystals, and vintage wrist watch parts.

Steampunk Necklace

Steampunk Necklace

I built the chain of the necklace with links of Swarovski Crystals, watch gears, and vintage stampings.

I like to sign my one-of-a-kind pieces. This is the back of the centerpiece.

Steampunk Necklace
Steampunk Necklace

I finished the necklace with an antiqued copper toggle clasp.

If you like the Steampunk style, you can see more of my Steampunk designs at Pizazz Beads.If you would like more beading instruction, I have a Beading Secrets Series on DVD with beading instruction from beginning to advanced techniques. You can find great beads to make your unique designs at Pizazz Beads.

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Jewelry Making – New Illusion Necklace Design

by Kay Jacobs on Dec.12, 2009, under Jewelry Making

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The illusion necklace is something that most people are familiar with. I decided that I would give a new twist to it and use colored nylon wire instead of clear in this necklace

Vintage Button Necklace

I use a color of wire that compliments the color elements used in the necklace. The center focal is a vintage button that I took out of a bracelet. I wanted to share this necklace with you because of the uniqueness of the design.

Following are step by step instructions to make this necklace.

Vintage Button Necklace Vintage Button Necklace
Vintage Button Necklace Vintage Button Necklace
Vintage Button Necklace Vintage Button Necklace
Vintage Button Necklace

You can use any stones or crystal rondelles that you like to make this necklace. There are lots of colors of nylon wire available, so choose one that will compliment the beads or crystals that you use.

If you want to see more designs using colored nylon wire, check out my DVD #11 and DVD #12 devoted to the use of this wire to make unique designs at Pizazz Beads.

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Metalsmithing – Thats how I made a Green Amethyst Dome Ring !!

by karla on Nov.14, 2009, under Jewelry Making

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This is the ring that I imagined in my head. What I plan for is not always what I end up with, but any problems often turn into happy mistakes and turn the piece into something that I never imagined. However….this time, it came out almost exactly how I pictured it in my head!!

design

It finished up in a rather large silver domed ring with a checkerboard cut green amethyst set on one side. Yep, it’s kind of obnoxious in its awesomeness.

final

This is what I started with- a sheet of 20 gauge sterling silver, two sizes of fine silver bezel wire, square wire for the band (not pictured) and a 12 mm cushion cut green amethyst.

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I like to get all of the pieces ready at once before constructing anything. I got the wire into the basic shape and size I would need it and sawed it off.

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I sawed out the circle, this metal was a little too thick for my Joyce Chens, so I had to saw it, but it wasn’t that painful and I think I made it all the way around with one blade. OK, so maybe two. For those of you who may be asking who or what is a Joyce Chen? They are kitchen shears that were designed to cut through chicken bone, so they work wonders on thinner gauged metal. You have to watch your fingers because if it can cut through chicken bone I would have to imagine it would cut through a finger. They can be found at pretty much any kitchen supply store.

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While I am preparing things, I select my outside bezel wire size. It should be slightly higher than the height of the table (top of the stone) to culet (bottom of the stone). Wrap it around the stone and cut it to the correct size, it should be snug but not tight. At this point, don’t worry about the shape of the band or the bezel, we just need to get the size down. It is shaped after soldering.

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So on to the soldering. I like to try to do as many things at once as I can, some call it efficient, some call it lazy.. whatever. This round I will be soldering the band and the outer bezel shut. Since I am at the torch, I will also anneal the silver disk so it is easier to dome. Annealing metal is a controlled heating to make it more malleable and ductile.

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After everything is soldered, I bring it to the mandrel and hammer it round with a rawhide hammer. I can also slightly adjust the size of the band during this time if I need to, but I don’t because this fits my finger perfectly! And half of the people at the studio as I find out by them all commenting, “Oh you shouldn’t have….and look….it fits perfectly…”

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Once the ring is round and the correct size, I move over to the hammering area (P.S. this is my favorite area, who doesn’t love to attack a piece of metal with a hammer? Great stress relief!) Start with a shallow dome and work your way slowly to the depth you want. The block pictured above has multiple sizes I just kept rotating the block until I got to the depth I wanted. This can also be done on the anvil. If you go too fast there is a good chance you will wrinkle your metal, and no one likes wrinkled metal, well, unless you do. That can be made to look really good, but I have a plan and I am sticking to it!

Now on to the second part of a step bezel. We have the outside together and now we need to shape it to our stone. This is very easy if it is a common shape and you can use a bezel mandrel, but I tend to be drawn towards the unnecessarily difficult, and this is a rounded square. I used the round mandrel to get the basic shape then moved over to the square to get corners, but the corners are not real points so be careful to not hammer too hard and create 90 degree corners. The shape still wasn’t right so out come the pliers. At this point, all you can do is work with it and try to convince it that it wants to be the same shape as the stone.

You can also put the stone in the bezel and kind of roll it around on the table, but beware; this can stretch the bezel, so roll gently. Once you have determined that it is the right size and have it in the right shape, take the second size of bezel wire, which is slightly shorter than the first, and cut it so it fits snug inside the outer bezel. Repeat the steps above for the inside bezel.

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This picture is from midway through the shaping process. You can also see that the outside bezel is WAY too high; this will be filed down later.

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Here is the dome soldered onto the band, both pieces of the step bezel and the stone. Dosen’t the ring look kind of cool just like this? I almost got sidetracked and said, “Voia-La, its done!” But then I looked at the shiney, pretty stone and kept going.

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Put the step bezel together and place it on the dome, I had to do some slight filing to get the bezel to sit inside of the dome without any gaps, so I like to mark an X on the ring and on the bezel, trace the shape for placement, as well as an arrow pointing to the top. It sounds silly, but you would not believe how many times I have gotten everything perfect then spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how the parts fit back together. The stone is just placed there to make sure everything is level, sits right and is pretty :-)

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Now that everything is soldered together, you’re thinking…that’s one mighty fine ring, and look it’s almost done. You are so wrong. While yes it does look put together, there is still so much to be done. In case you have never met Firescale, let me introduce you. Lovely jewelry aficionados meet Firescale, she’s a $(@#&. The best way of describing firescale is one of those movies where the happy go lucky main character is going along with their life, then BAM someone shows them something, whether it is a hell dimension, a video tape, or insert your own movie reference here, and you will never be the same.

The Wikipedia definition of firescale is this, “firescale, is a red or purple stain that appears on mixtures of silver and copper, such as sterling silver. At high temperatures, oxygen mixes with the copper to form cuprous oxide and then cupric oxide.”

As a beginner, it will be hard to see it, people will say, “Look, there it is,” and you will see nothing but beautiful shiny silver…..but then one day there it is. A shadow that doesn’t move when you move the piece around in the light…..You have been forever changed.

You can prevent firescale to some degree with flux or other special anti-firescale items and pickling after heating. You can also try to replace Oxygen with Hydrogen or ammonia, but seeing as how breathing is rather important I haven’t figured out how to do this one yet. So instead you sand, and sand, and sand, and grind, and file, and sand. When you think you are almost done, you are probably only half way there. The way I get myself through these times is by asking myself, “Do I want this piece to be mediocre or fantastic?”

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One tip: Firescale is more visible when it is humid or wet, so get your piece wet if you want to make sure you got every last sneaky shadow.

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Now it is time for setting the stone. Lay everything out so it is within reach because once you get started, it’s annoying to have to get up because you forgot your burnisher in the cabinet. I try to not use the pusher because there is more of a chance of causing lines in your bezel, so I start with the rocker. When positioned push down and in with a side to side rocking motion. The bezel should be soft from the heatings so it should not require that much muscle (yet) since there are slightly rounded corners. I slightly filed the corners so they would lay better.

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Once you have the stone in place and everything looks good, start with getting the bezel to lay flat and completely encompass the stone. The bezel is a little too high for my liking, but by the time I realized this, I was already to the point of no return, so I will have to get over it. When you have done all you can with the rocker and the stone is in there and not coming out, grab your burnisher and have at it. I hold it like a pen at a 45 degree angle from the stone. This smoothes out the bumps and should make the setting look uniform.

I chose a brushed silver finish because when it was at a high polish the stone kind of disappeared, so I cleaned up any dings made while setting the stone and then did a few rounds with the scotch bright and steel wool.

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Ta-Daaaaa, here it is. When finished I asked someone to crack my back, went home, made myself a drink and went to bed.

Long article right? But I hope you found it interesting and informative to read as much as I loved to write. So thats was my story, on how I made this beautiful ring I had in mind. You can check my etsy shop for more stuff I keep making.

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Making Sterling Silver, Fabric and Resin Necklace

by lindley on Nov.11, 2009, under Handmade Jewelry, Jewelry Making

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Here are the steps I used – to make this sterling silver,  fabric and resin necklace
  • Hand fabricate different sized bezels and soldering tubes to the backs.
  • Use soft sterling silver wire, to go through the back and connect the pieces.
  • Fill the bezels with fabric remnants in varying colors and prints
  • Pour resin over the tops to create a glossy, glass-like effect.

Sterling Silver Fabric and Resin Necklace

Sterling Silver, Fabric and Resin Necklace

If you like this piece, you can checkout my website to know more.

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