Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weddings: Not just for the Brides

You know, pretty much every wedding magazine/website/blog/etc is focused on the bride. Granted, the bride does make 99.999% of the decisions (including what the groom-to-be wears) but I still feel we need to throw them a bone once in a while!

Most men do not want to wear jewelry. A good amount of men don't even want to wear a wedding band let alone cufflinks or some other type of appropriate man jewelry. So what is man approved?

Well, I have learned (from being with a man that shuns all forms of man jewelry and wouldn't wear cufflinks till nearly 3 years into our relationship) that many do not want anything flashy or showy. What does that leave, you may ask. Custom Collar Stays!

These are a fun something-something that is just for him.

Sterling Silver with either a name or a sentiment stamped on it. So simple, yet so cool.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cluster Maps 2009

It's that time of year again. The time of year when my Cluster Maps, the software that tracks how many of you look at my blog and what country you are located, resets back to a blank map. It's a somewhat sad time of year for me, because I am always exhilarated (and somewhat confused) to see how many people read my blog. I still don't know why I seem at all interesting to you all... and I'm guessing it's simply for the photos... but who am I to complain? Apparently you like me... you really really like me ;) But it's also exciting to start from scratch again.

Well, there was a special section this year listings that outlined exactly how many people from each country looked at my blog. Who knows, maybe there are some dedicated visitors... or just people to peek at the pictures... but I find it very very interesting. I love the fact that there are countries on this listing that I couldn't find on a map if I tried!

United States (US) 15,406

United Kingdom (GB) 2,269

Canada (CA) 1,666

Australia (AU) 921

New Zealand (NZ) 668

India (IN) 429

France (FR) 244

Netherlands (NL) 223

Germany (DE) 203

Italy (IT) 128

Thailand (TH) 125

South Africa (ZA) 123

Malaysia (MY) 122

Turkey (TR) 121

Philippines (PH) 111

Singapore (SG) 109

Mexico (MX) 100

Spain (ES) 99

Brazil (BR) 99

Sweden (SE) 94

Pakistan (PK) 89

Belgium (BE) 84

Ireland (IE) 83

Indonesia (ID) 76

Poland (PL) 74

Greece (GR) 71

Israel (IL) 70

Romania (RO) 67

Switzerland (CH) 63

United Arab Emirates (AE) 63

Finland (FI) 61

Bulgaria (BG) 55

Denmark (DK) 51

Norway (NO) 48

Hong Kong (HK) 47

Russian Federation (RU) 47

Hungary (HU) 47

Korea, Republic of (KR) 41

Saudi Arabia (SA) 40

Japan (JP) 40

Portugal (PT) 39

China (CN) 38

Vietnam (VN) 37

Egypt (EG) 35

Argentina (AR) 35

Czech Republic (CZ) 32

Austria (AT) 31

Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 29

Serbia (RS) 27

Lithuania (LT) 27

Chile (CL) 25

Slovakia (SK) 24

Estonia (EE) 22

Slovenia (SI) 22

Croatia (HR) 21

Colombia (CO) 21

Latvia (LV) 20

Peru (PE) 19

Sri Lanka (LK) 18

Venezuela (VE) 18

Taiwan (TW) 18

Georgia (GE) 17

Puerto Rico (PR) 16

Ukraine (UA) 14

Lebanon (LB) 14

Qatar (QA) 13

Macedonia (MK) 12

Trinidad and Tobago (TT) 12

Kuwait (KW) 9

Costa Rica (CR) 9

Guatemala (GT) 9

El Salvador (SV) 8

Jamaica (JM) 7

Armenia (AM) 7

Bahrain (BH) 7

Panama (PA) 6

Ghana (GH) 6

Mauritius (MU) 6

Bangladesh (BD) 6

Oman (OM) 6

Asia/Pacific Region (AP) 5

Uruguay (UY) 5

Jordan (JO) 5

Guam (GU) 5

Cambodia (KH) 5

Brunei Darussalam (BN) 5

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) 4

Morocco (MA) 4

Albania (AL) 4

Cyprus (CY) 4

Ecuador (EC) 4

Moldova, Republic of (MD) 3

Luxembourg (LU) 3

Honduras (HN) 3

Fiji (FJ) 3

Palestinian Territory (PS) 3

Iceland (IS) 3

Barbados (BB) 3

Maldives (MV) 3

Kenya (KE) 3

Algeria (DZ) 3

Tunisia (TN) 2

Sudan (SD) 2

Belize (BZ) 2

Iraq (IQ) 2

Nepal (NP) 2

Malta (MT) 2

Dominican Republic (DO) 2

Bermuda (BM) 2

Azerbaijan (AZ) 2

Bahamas (BS) 2

Bolivia (BO) 1

Grenada (GD) 1

Tanzania, United Republic of (TZ) 1

Suriname (SR) 1

Syrian Arab Republic (SY) 1

Uganda (UG) 1

French Guiana (GF) 1

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (LY) 1

Paraguay (PY) 1

Mongolia (MN) 1

Antigua and Barbuda (AG) 1

Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN) 1

Anguilla (AI) 1

Kazakstan (KZ) 1

Yemen (YE) 1

Northern Mariana Islands (MP) 1

Netherlands Antilles (AN) 1

New Caledonia (NC) 1

Macau (MO) 1

Turks and Caicos Islands (TC) 1

Malawi (MW) 1

So... thank you for peeking. And come back and visit often!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tiger, Ninja, Cowboy

I haven't done a me post in a while... so this one is all about me! Oh, and Sal ;)

We went to an AMAZING wedding this past weekend in NJ and as a fabulous treat, A PHOTO BOOTH! So while people were using props, Sal and I decided to go with a rousing game of Tiger, Ninja, Cowboy.

For those of you (who I am quite sure there are many) who do not know the game Tiger, Ninja, Cowboy, it is a more animated version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. In this version the following wins:

Tiger beats Ninja (because the tiger eats the ninja)
Cowboy beats Tiger (because the cowboy shoots the tiger)
Ninja beats Cowboy (because the ninja dodges the bullets Matrix style and can attack the cowboy)

We played best out of 3, one round for each frame. I won all 3! Seriously! Not staging it for the photos!!! So the final photo is my victory photo ;)

All I can say is... HOW DAMN CUTE ARE WE?!?!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Custom Costume

Costume jewelry isn't something I would normally tackle. Actually, I'm not a big fan of gluing and wiring and such (I have a tendency to glue my fingers together.) But for a friend, why the hell not.

So, my friend approached me with ideas of what she could put in her hair for her wedding along with a broach for her bustle. She showed me a few pieces she found online, but none gave you the sizes, they were coming from China and other distant lands, and all took a month to deliver and were 'exchange' only if you didn't like them. I couldn't let her do that... so I took on the challenge of making costume jewelry.

Her dress is simple with what I now refer to as 'the doodad' on the front (a beaded aplique.) So I decided that would start with the doodad and go from there...

The whole wedding has an antique or vintage theme about it. So as I played with the design, I gave it a bit of a deco feel.

The first is a broach to put on her bustle. It is about 3.5 inches in length, cut out of sterling silver and has Swarovski crystals glued (yes, glued) onto the surface. And a large piece of mine cut glass in the center which I soldered on some basic prongs to hold it in place. But, because I cannot just leave it at that, I depletion guilded the sterling to bring out the fine silver (to keep it from tarnishing) and added a hammer finish in case any of the stones fall off there will still be a facet from the forge marks.

And the second is a thingie for her hair. This is made out of the thinnest silver I had in the shop, around 30 guage sheet (like thick aluminum foil) to keep it from weighing on her head. Then I, again, glued the crystals to it. I finished with adding fine silver loops to bobbypin it to her head.

We're heading to this wedding this weekend. Let's see if the bride actually wears this stuff or finds something better ;) Keep you posted!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Final Comic Book Cufflinks...

Here are the final cufflinks. Very simple, very whimsical... love 'em!

These are sterling silver with bezel set 5x7mm blue-grey spinels. The backs are hand engraved with the word 'KAPOW' inside of a spike bubble. How fun!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Finished 3 Stone Engagement Ring

I have a new finished 3 stone engagement ring (click here to see the design)... and it's now one of my favorites. I like to think of this more like a European style setting, because the stones are set high. Most of the time, people worry about catching their ring on different things at work or home... but a stone sparkles more when you don't sink it deeply into a setting (which is more common in American style settings.) I love a stone sticking out for the world to see! And this ring does that!

The center stone is a 68 point VS2/SI1 G/H colored transitional cut family diamond. The sides are 4.5x6.5 mm blue-grey pear spinels. And finally, there is one tiny 1mm square VS melee diamond on each side of the head. All set in 14K white gold, with most of the metal provided by the clients.

What I like about this ring is the fact that we carried a soft pointed edge throughout the ring. The shank is a style called knife edge, which carried into the end V-prongs for the pears. We also finished the center stone prongs the same way... and finally added a the small square diamond, but turned on it's axis to fit into the crisscross of the head.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Engraved Vine Bands

Another 100 year old engagement ring, another attempt at making wedding bands to compliment it. Unfortunately, I do no have photos of the wedding bands with the engagement ring, but trust me, they look beautiful paired together.

While her ring is platinum with itty-bitty melee diamonds to match her engagement ring, his is 14K yellow because he wanted to match his class ring... who said only women need to match other jewelry? Also, the pattern on her ring was slightly more 'vine' like, while his was a little more 'scroll' like, because he didn't want his too ornamental or cluttered looking.

Overall, I think we found a nice balance between the two.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Complimentary Birthstone Engagement Rings

Sometimes I am hesitant to make rings with birthstones because it can end up looking like a typical 'Mother's' ring... but these were different. They wanted contemporary/bezel set/heavy weight rings.

One birthstone is a sapphire and the other is a peridot, which creates a wonderful ocean-like color combination. The large cushion cut sapphire and the melee diamonds were provided by the client. We deliberated on obtaining another large sapphire for the second ring, but decided to make the rings complimentary and used a peridot the main stone.

Each client chose a few details they wanted to work into the designs, to make them a little more to their taste. The final products are beautifully complimentary.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pink Dogwood Earrings

Pink dogwood flowers are my favorite. Also, I've been sitting on some natural green diamond melee, which really pop when set in red gold... so both of these facts combined just screamed Red Gold Dogwood Earrings!

Here are just a couple quick photos of the one completed earrings... the other will be completed by the end of the day. It was fabricated from 18K white gold (hoop), 18K red gold (flower and stamen) and 1.5mm natural green melee diamonds (flush set in the stamen.) So, I thought I would share what I have so far...

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