Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Cards...

My new cards came in... and they are beautiful! All because of my cool-ass graphic designer Paul O'Hearn! I love working with him because I send him pretty things and basically say 'make it work' and he does!

When it came to designing the card, I wanted something simple, clean and easy to read.

But the back side I was looking for something snazzier. I have a photo of flocked wallpaper from Versailles that I love...

... And this is what Paul came up with!

The cards were printed by Greener Printer. They are printed on recycled paper with soy based inks... and even the printing presses are run off of alternative energy (off grid.) Pretty sweet, huh?!?!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Save the Date

Every year the North Bennet Street School hosts the Annual Evening of Traditional Craft... their major fundraising event of the year. The Save the Date for 2009 features my 14K Pearl Clasp.

I thought I would share!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meltin' Metal

I talk about being green and recycling metal, but I don't show you the process. So I thought I would document the fun part... meltin' metal.

Honestly, I love melting metal. It is fun. Yes, if you don't know what you're doing, you really shouldn't be playing with large flames and molten metal... but I know what I'm doing (and take all of the proper precaution.)

We're starting with three 14K Yellow gold wedding bands...

The rings have been cleaned and stones removed and cut into small pieces...

We clean the metal to make sure no contaminates get mixed into the metal when melted. Also, any visible solder is cut out because it melts at a lower temperature and contains different alloys than plain 14k, which can both cause pitting in the final piece.

To begin the melting process we clean the ceramic kiln. To do this, we heat up the kiln and add a VERY small amount of powered borax. When the borax is heated, it creates a fine glass layer over the ceramic to keep the metal from being trapped in the porous ceramic. Any extra borax is heated and poured out of the kiln.

To melt the metal, you start with the largest pieces first. This is because they will take the longest to heat up. If you start will small pieces and add a large piece, it will freeze the metal and the overall process will take much longer.

And the above photo is just cool. Seriously, I love melting metal!

Okay, so you can see a small piece of told in the tweezers in my right hand. Each piece is added one by one. The metal in the kiln balls up when heated to a molten point and when that ball is seen with the surface 'dancing' it is the time to add more metal.

If you look carefully at the above photo, you see a 'ball' of metal glowing at the bottom of the kiln. That is the metal! This is the point when you stir the gold with a carbon (or quartz) rod to remove any contaminants from the ball. The contaminants will float to the surface and stick to the rod.

And finally this is me making new 'grain' from the molten metal. The metal is poured into water to form small pieces. Look carefully, you can see the glowing metal! The reason for this process is to mix all the golds together. Each jewelry manufacturer uses a different alloy (recipe) for their gold... this blends them all together.

Most of the time I will not be making grain, I usually make new stock (sheet, wire, etc.) But this gold will be mixed with new gold and used to cast a ring.

And finally... this is what the rings turned into...

There you go! Meltin' metal!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Final Flying Buttress Ring...

I know, I know... this is not a real 'flying buttress' but it works with similar principals... just somewhat reversed! So, I'm taking artistic license with this... this is my descriptive term and I'm sticking with it!

But whatever you want to call it... it's beautiful! If you don't remember the Flying Buttress Engagement Ring, here is a photo of it...

And here is the matching wedding band...

And the engagement ring and the wedding band together...

And finally, the bride and grooms weddings bands together. They both have a 1.5mm Ruby flush set inside the band with an engraved N and K in script on either side of the stone.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Organic Engagement Ring

I'm starting a new engagement ring.

A client came to me with a 3 stone ring that belonged to his grandmother. While he already proposed with that ring, they decided to create something that reflected themselves... and in comes Tracey to help!

We sat down and chatted and I got to know them a bit. While we talked, I wrote down words like:

-Feeling of movement
-Color (warm / orange)
-playful / whimsical

I came up with something that I felt reflected them well. We decided to use only the center diamond, and save the other two side diamonds to make gifts for siblings. The overall ring will be about as organic as they come... the diamond will be 'growing' out of the center of the band.

The ring will be made out of Palladium white gold, because while it is white gold it still has a warm color that will allow us to use orange sapphires traveling down the leaves on the band.

Sorry this isn't the best sketch... but it will give you an idea. But more photos to come soon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

mexican wiener dogs...

When we were in Mexico I kept seeing these little sombreros EVERYWHERE! And every time I saw these tiny sombreros, I would threaten Sal with buying them for the dogs. The reason I say threaten is because Sal is a minimalist and disdains clutter... so if we bought them it would be something else to collect dust. But every time we passed another tourist shop that had them, I would pick them up and give him the sad puppy eyes... you know, just to torture him.

Well, crazy enough, one of the other couples decided that it would be the most fun to buy them for me because it would drive Sal nuts! Yay! So I am now the proud owner of a pair of wiener dog sized sombreros! And what do you do with wiener dog sized sombreros... you put them on your wiener dogs!

So, without further delay, I give you...

Perros de salchicha Mejicanos con sombreros!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

No more custom...

Sorry for the lack of updates. I was out of the country for a bit... and then came home with an inner ear infection with included vertigo. I couldn't handle looking at my computer, let alone working. So I am now playing catch up with EVERYTHING! Including my blog.

But tonight will be a quick talk about the use of the word 'custom.' Custom has to be one of the most over used terms in the jewelry industry. What I do is custom, meaning that I make it specifically for an individual client, with that clients input, by hand. Most larger jewelry companies that offer 'custom' but is actually 'pick your diamond, pick your setting.' That is not custom. That is not even semi-custom! But everybody offers 'custom' jewelry!

The reason I bring this up is because I'm working on my new business cards and I have been debating the term 'custom.' My cards have always said 'custom jewelry and fabrication' but do I want to continue using that word? So, for MONTHS I have been researching a replacement term.

I decided upon 'bespoke.' What is bespoke, you may ask. Well, bespoke is a term traditionally used when talking about custom made/tailored suits (mainly in the UK.) Today, the term is also used with jewelry.

Now, the problem with using bespoke is that most Americans do not know what that means. But I decided that is a good thing! Teach somebody something new! And when I hand off a card, the least it will do is start a conversation. So bespoke it is!

Now as a side note, a couture clothing designer I know shared this article with me. It was from a year ago in WWD about FAUX COUTURE. Take a peek... it feels my pain about FAUX CUSTOM.
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