Friday, January 04, 2013

New Blog!

While I am still holding onto the pipe dream that I will reopen my shop, Sal and I decided to start a new blog about the adventures of owning and renovating our house.  So... if you want to keep up with us, add it to your reader list!

Come and give us a look!  It's called House & Dog.

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

GS: Needing to Stay Focused...

I am still in the "debating" mode on if I will start business back up.  Slowly researching, quietly thinking and making notes, even a few quick sketches have made it into a note book.

Granted, I'm not completely focused on this... but Sal attempts to not only keep me focused but make me put a business plan down on paper and stick to it.  So during the day he will IM or email me business articles, images, jewelry articles, etc.  While he sends me great information, he sent one that hit home.

It was a Tech Crunch article titled,

"BaubleBar Raises $4.5M From Accel And Greycroft For Affordable Designer Jewelry."

(Give it a read if you have a minute, it's about 10 sentences.)  It's not so much that the company got so much funding that caught me off guard... it's the price of the jewelry they are offering!  While it is apparent that for these prices the pieces must be mass manufactured overseas, I am still confused by how low the prices are!

$28 for a complicated chain piece?  (Sorry, the link is dead... they must have sold out of it! But here's a link to their site.) Even thought it is made from plated base metal, they labor of linking the chains alone is worth more than the price they are selling it for.  This would probably take multiple trained employees well over an hour to link all of the pieces (and this means working in an assembly line, no counting of chain links to make sure they are spaced evenly, no soldering the links, no buffing out any dents or gouges made by the pliers, etc.)  Honestly, this would probably take me a day to link it all together properly.  So why is it $28?  Well, first off, we have no idea where it's made.  There is no "designer" name attached to it, so there is nobody to research.  Under their FAQ's page there is no mention of where anything is manufactured.

Looking up this type of information it made me realize something... do you know where your jewelry is made?  If you buy a shirt, it will say "MADE IN ____________" on the tag.  When was the last time you bought an expensive piece of jewelry and it had a tag that said where it was made?  Sure, the lobster claw clasp may have "Made in Italy" stamped on it, but most likely it is simply the one component.  And the box may have a "Made in China" sticker, but that is the packaging.  And I'm not talking about "hand made custom" jewelry... that should have a makers mark inside.  So where was your jewelry actually made?  Curious, huh?

Well, while I have you pondering that, the debating on whether or not to reopen continues for me... 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

GS: It's been nearly a year...

It's been a crazy year since I last posted.  Nearly a year of working on our new house, which may not sound exciting... but let me tell you, it has been insane.  But even though I have so much work still to do on the house, I'm beginning to miss my time at the bench and making jewelry. 

So, I'm debating.  Debating on whether or not to open my shop again.  But I need to learn from my mistakes... all of the negatives that made me close my shop in the first place.  And with that, I'm fairly certain that I will not be taking on any custom work.  Between the flux in metal prices, people searching for a "good deal" (and comparing prices for a hand made custom piece with a mass manufactured piece from overseas), and trying to compete with this low ball pricing and losing money on most jobs.  And my work is really good, and my products and time are worth the money.  So, unless you have an incredibly high budget, don't ask for custom work.

I'm looking into designing a small/simple/clean line.  Everything is handmade (by me, in Boston), small pieces that can go from the office to the evening, made from only precious metals (no plating over brass and other base metals), and all for a reasonable price.  And everything will be made in limited editions, signed and numbered.  If I want to make jewelry as art, I might as well treat it like art.

So, after a year away from the bench, I'm a little out of the loop.  I have spent some time researching styles and what is available on the market at the moment.  And there are piles and bunches of jewelery out there.  But something caught my eye this morning.  Not because it is the absolute most creative design (though it is rather darling), but because the description is just hilarious.  

If you read the text, it explains that "true friends are like anchors... they give us something to hold onto, and help us stay afloat."  Ummm, I may be wrong, but anchors do not float.  They sink.  So, if follow this train of thought, if a friend is like an anchor they drag you down.  Really, they should have made a life preserver charm. 

Let's see if I can come up with something a little better than this. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

GS: Coming to the End

We're down to the end of the jobs... which means the end of the jewelry photos. But don't be sad, we still have a few more photos left!

This is a wonderful set of knife edge bands. But, as you can tell, the woman's band isn't actually a knife edge. But it has tapered outer walls, mimicking the knife edge of the men's band, but just a little more "blingy" in the middle.

Both bands are platinum. The woman's band has 3mm VS F diamonds equaling about 2.1 tcw.

If you can't tell, I have a new camera. And, obviously, I don't have the settings down yet. But I think you get the idea!

Monday, October 03, 2011

GS: The Website is Down

If anybody has attempted to go to the Green Spot Studio website, you may notice that it's different. Apparently, it was hacked. It looked fine if you typed the web address in directly, but if you Googled "Green Spot Studio" there was a notice that the site was compromised. We actually wouldn't have noticed it if it weren't for a few emails from clients. What happened was somebody came in and put a bunch of image files into the site. Because the images were imbedded all over the site, we actually had to delete the entire thing (fingers crossed that I still have all of the images saved somewhere!)

We had been intending to build a new site, but put it on the back burner when I decided to close the business. But since I am hoping and planning on opening up my doors once again, down the road, I do want to keep a portfolio online. So, over the next few months, we will rebuild.

And I know that everybody likes looking at the pretty pictures... so don't worry! They will be back online again soon!

On a personal note, there is so much big stuff going on that I will share soon! There will be all kinds of new fun stuff coming up to blog about!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

GS: Fingerprints, Part 2

When the palladium rings were returned to me, I was pleased to find that the finger prints survived the casting process. But I knew I had to handle the rings with the utmost care during the finishing/polishing process so not to disturb the fingerprints. Normally, I would use various types of files, emery and rubber wheels inside the rings to take off the top surface after casting (to remove any surface pitting, texture, etc) to create a smooth surface for polishing. But in this case, I had to clean lightly around the fingerprints, not touching them at all, and then I tumbled the rings for an extended period of time.

By tumbling the rings, it would not only remove any rough/sharp areas in the fingerprints while still retaining the pattern, but prepare the rest of the metal for final polishing.

And these are the final pieces.

When off, the finger print is clearly visible. But when worn, nobody else needs to know that they are there. The perfect little secret... more personal than most engravings.

And I was thrilled that my experiment worked!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

GS: Fingerprints, Part 1

I have had so many inquiries about "Fingerprint" rings, which is the person's fingerprint imbedded into the ring (normally on the outside of the band.) But after I explain the process, nobody seems to want to go through with it. Until now.

There are a few different ways that jewelers make fingerprint bands. You can scan in a fingerprint and laser engrave the fingerprint, but I this process too mechanical and perfect. You can have the client sink their finger into clay and once the clay hardens, use that as a mold to melt wax into, but that can leave a rather faint imprint in the final piece. And then there is the way I decided to do it...

First, I lined the hard green (high melting temp) wax with a purple repair wax (low melting temp). Then I cut the rings in half (because they wanted to have the fingerprints on the inside of the rings.) And then I burned my fingers holding the wax over an alcohol flame to soften it up...

...for my client to SINK HIS FINGER INTO THE HOT WAX!

... e Voila! Wax imprint! (That is the fingerprint of the groom to be on the inside of the band of the bride to be.)

And then I make the bride to be repeat the process...

Then I had to reconnect the bands in the wax, do some light cleaning and have them cast. We actually did practice waxes to make sure the process was going to work, so if the casting didn't come out, I had backups.

Final ring photos later!
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