Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Anyway, I'm just getting back into the swing of things in the shop after my few days off and don't really have many exciting things happening at bench right now. BUT I finished a fun project a couple weeks back and saved sharing it for just such an occasion! Yup, I'm sneaky like that!
Sometimes I have clients that want me to handle multiple jobs to check as many items off of their wedding 'to do' list as possible. This would include things like (1) wedding bands (2) bridal jewelry (3) bride/groom gifts (4) bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts... things of that nature. So this project was for a Best Man and Maid of Honor, who happen to be husband and wife.
Their last name begins with the letter Q and the bride wanted cufflinks and a pendant to reflect that initial. While my mind directly went to a beautiful high domed, high polished, old typewriter style capital Q, I thought that idea has been overdone (e.g., Tiffany's O pendant.) So I decided we would go the exact opposite... more modern, flat, square, lowercase, negative space and a brushed finish. This is what I came up with...
Seriously, how damn cute are those? And it could be done with any initial!
Here are a couple more photos to detail the cufflinks. The pictures a bit lighter, but it helps to show off the shape a bit...
Friday, April 23, 2010
To lure the students to my table (past the free pizza, pickles, ice cream and pastries) I had to offer something just as tempting...
One of my 100% recycled Sterling Silver Grasshopper Pendants! I think he's cute enough to rival free pizza ;)
So I'm thrilled to announce our winner... Melissa Smith! So Melissa, I hope this little guy brings you good luck and good health!
For more information on the Harvard Law School Green Living and to see a list of the other vendors, click here for their blog.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This was a fun and straight forward project. A client came to me with her diamond pendant made years ago from her mother's engagement ring and wanted matching earrings. I always enjoy projects where I need make pieces look like a matching set. I normally do this when a client brings me an antique engagement ring and I need to make the wedding band, but this was a first with a pendant/earring set.
The pendant has approximately a 3/4-1ct diamond bezel set in 14KW. The earrings are a matched pair of .45ct ea (.91 tcw) bezel set in 14KW with threaded posts and backs.
So far I have ordered in the 18K yellow gold for the support structure of the bracelet and sapphires. I decided that my piece would fully be made of sapphires. While I know that nearly all Red Carpet jewelry is made mainly of diamonds (with a few colored diamonds or rubies, etc, scattered throughout the piece) I cannot afford to make a giant piece of diamond-covered jewelry.
I have a few reasons why I decided to go this direction. One reason is to move away from the norm; another is ability to purchase in parcels (larger quantities.) But the main reason is because I can purchase parcels of mixed sapphires for a fraction of the cost of diamonds. You see, these parcels will include stones that are heat treated, some VS clarity others SI clarity, some diamond cut others cut poorly. But even when a sapphire is lower quality or cut poorly, it still has color. If I purchased lower quality diamonds, well, they just wouldn’t sparkle, or be discolored looking, and still be much much more expensive.
As a custom jeweler, I have never been a fan of mass manufactured ‘mall quality’ jewelry that has nearly industrial grade diamonds. This is not my being a snob; this is me being an educated consumer. Just like anything, if the price seems too good to be true, there is a reason for it. And usually the $59 diamond ring special is that price because (1) it’s 10K gold or sometimes less (2) it has been assembled in a 3rd world country (3) may contain lead or cadmium and (4) has ‘commercial’ grade diamond, emeralds, sapphires, etc., that do not sparkle. Basically, the consumer is buying that piece of jewelry to buy the word ‘diamond.’ I do not want to use diamonds just to say I built a huge piece of diamond jewelry.
AND from a design standpoint, color is wonderful.
So, if you are curious what my color pallet will be, here you go!
I tossed these sapphires on my scanner. They range from tones of yellows to oranges to reds.
Construction starts next week! Stay tuned!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The band is 14K White Gold with sixteen 3.2mm diamonds with a 1.9tcw.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am really excited to say that my first bit of press was bigger than I expected. Jacqui Pini from Captivate.com is supporting me on for my challenge! Now, maybe she's a bit bias because she was the recipient of this insane custom engagement ring...
... and you should see this thing sparkle at night! Anyway, I am thrilled to say that she is not only personally cheering me on for my challenge, but going to keep sharing/covering the whole process! Her coverage will be taking place on her blog Indulge and on tv screens all over the US and Canada!
You see, every time you ride an elevator that has a tv screen, most likely that is showing the Captivate Network. So, if you were in an elevator yesterday you may have seen this...
And I couldn't more thrilled! So thank you Jacqui and Captivate Network for all of your support! And I promise that you can be the first to try on the completed Oscar jewelry!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
BUT I want to show you where I'm getting my design inspiration from and how it has been transforming over the past month. AND I'll tell you what I'm making.
Okay! You ready?!?!
I'm going to make a 3" cuff bracelet with earrings. The reason being is because very few people wear necklaces at award shows... it detracts from the necklines/bodice of the gowns. You have to find a happy balance between the gown and the jewelry. Just like Coco's simple rule to look in a mirror before you leave the house and take off the accessory you notice the most (which is great advice for most of us!) stylists do the same when dressing clients for any media events. And why not keep that in mind when designing/fabricating. This is how I work with my clients... so even though this is a project for me I will still just treat this as designing for a client.
Anyway, over time I will fill you in more on what they pieces will look like and the materials used, but for now I wanted to show you where my inspiration is coming from. Simply put, raindrops in a puddle.
(Thank you shutterstock.com for the example!)
I love the circles and ovals and movement! And the reflective surfaces! OOO! Just delightful! Now, while I am jokingly referring to this as my puddle pattern, it won't look like this in the end. But the joy of being 'artsy' you can sample from all kinds of ideas and make it your own, and that is what I have been working on.
So, I spent a month scribbling and playing and talking my way through taking this pattern and turning it into a design. And this is just some of my process...
I know this probably seems like a big pile of scribbling nonsense, but it's just another form of problem solving.
Keeping checking back to see the progress!
Monday, April 12, 2010
I work along with a fabulous designer when it comes to building a piece of jewelry with CAD. This is because I am a traditional jeweler and I haven't been trained in CAD (or not since I studied Industrial Design at Mass Art back in 1999.) I do know I will probably have to learn at some point, to keep up with the industry, but for now I will just keep getting dirty doing what I do best and leave the CADs up to the professionals.
The client for this antique style engagement ring had a very specific list of requirements for this piece (which made this process quite simple.) We needed the following:
-1.5mm melee diamonds surround the center 1.5mm cushion cut diamond
-2 rows of 1.5mm melee diamonds half way down the ring shank
-bezel for the center diamond
-a Celtic pattern to match her husbands previously purchased wedding band
-small milgrain around the bezel and the bead set stones
-matching eternity wedding band
-the center diamond set as low as possible
-14K white gold
The client purchased her own center 1.5 ct cushion cut diamond. One of the main things when making a CAD for a cushion cut diamond you need to be able to trace the shape of the stone into the program to get the exact shape for the bezel. So, I scanned in the diamond and sent it off to my CAD colleague.
Then I sent her the photos, along with all of my sketches and specs, and she went ahead to design it on the computer. And after going back and forth, we email computer renderings to the client for their approval.
And after everything has been approved the CAD file gets sent of to the caster where they mill the wax and cast it in the designated metal.
From there the casting gets cleaned and the stones get set. Then, to finish, we always do a little work to attempt to take the diminish the appearance of the piece being a CAD. The Celtic pattern was cleaned up with hand engraving, very fine milgrain (the fine little beads you see in the bezel and along all of the diamonds) was added, etc.
And this is the final product...
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I was asked by a client to make a quick bracelet, simply a silver chain with a blue glass evil eye bead. This isn't quite my forte, but what the hell. But once I got the components, the client thought it was a somewhat simple looking.
So we played around a bit with the design and decided to add a few different elements. One was a sterling silver bezel around the bead, flush set with blue sapphires, purple sapphires and diamonds. We also added in a few silver disks with one sapphire set in each disk. And then to make the stones 'pop' I used a satin finish.
The final product is contemporary with a bit of whimsy.
Over the next year or so I will be using this blog for my Oscar Challenge, normal work and personal. But I wanted to give each one not only a label for each post, but also a tag in the title. So, from now on, each Post Title will have a prefix. The following are what you will see:
Green Spot Studio Oscar Challenge - OC: Post Title
Green Spot Studio Work - GS: Post Title
Personal - ME: Post Title
But whatever is posted, it's all me ;)
Friday, April 09, 2010
So here goes...
- Can a solo jeweler build an ‘Oscar’-worthy piece(s), which are normally built by teams, on a budget, while simultaneously running a small business?
- Build an ‘Oscar’-worthy piece(s) of jewelry (bracelet / earrings)
- 100% designed and fabricated by myself
- Build it in 5-6 months, leaving time for promotion and publicity
- Build it on a budget, since I don’t have unlimited resources (tbd)
- Get as much social media attention as possible (re-tweet, re-post, re-blog, etc)
- See how many different people will wear the piece(s) at different media events
- Get enough media attention to have somebody wear the piece(s) to the Academy Awards.
** If I reach my goals, the piece(s) will be auctioned off and proceeds (minus the cost of materials) will be donated to charity (Red Cross)
In need of:
-Support from social media (moral – not financial) to obtain as much free press as possible
I know, it sounds nice and straight forward! But this will be a long process! So stay tuned and please pass it along!
Thursday, April 08, 2010
On Sunday, March 7th I was laying on my couch, sick, zonked out on Nyquil and half watching the Academy Awards. To be honest, I rarely watch award shows. But I was half asleep and decided that it would be a good excuse to see what kind of fashion was gracing the red carpet this year.
As I was watching, I was thinking about what a great opportunity for small fashion designers to get tons of publicity. But, as I watched, I realized that it’s not quite the same for jewelers. A fashion designer can spend 1 or 2k on fabric and labor and come up with an amazing gown. Jewelers, on the other hand, usually spend at least 100k, on the low end. Celebrities are so excited to say their jewelry is worth 2mil and up. How can small jewelers compete with that?
AND beyond the budget, it normally takes a team of 5-10 to make a piece of jewelry. There are the designers, the fabricators (either in wax, metal or a combination of both), the jewelers that assemble the pieces, the stones setters, and polishers… and don’t forget the possibility of engravers, laser welding technicians, etc. And all of the time put into these pieces is normally between 800-1200 hours. Again, how can a small jeweler compete with that?
And with this, I came up with the brilliant (or insane or insanely stupid) idea that I want to compete! I want to build a piece of ‘Oscar worthy’ jewelry! And on a budget! And from my Nyquil induced drugged state the Green Spot Studio Oscar Challenge was born!
A few days later, as I came out of my haze, I started to think about the details and how on earth I could possibly make this work. Even if I somehow could pull an incredible piece of jewelry out of thin air, how would anybody know about it? I am a teeny tiny little jeweler. I do not pay for advertising. My clients find me through word of mouth, my website, my blog, etc. Basically, all clients find me through social media.
These thoughts made part two of my Oscar Challenge come to light… I am going to document this entire process and share every step! And now this isn’t just an Oscar Challenge, but now a Social Media Experiment too! I must seriously be going insane!
My hopes are that you will find my challenge appealing enough to follow along… and share it with others.
Over the next couple of weeks I will outline the entire challenge, share my design ideas, budget, materials, and thought behind why I am making my choices… and then the photos will start coming!
But don’t forget, I still have to run my regular company. So expect to see my regular work and life updates!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
While I was doing this, I was looking through some of my old blog postings and noticed a bunch of new comments. And being somebody who thrives on feedback... and slightly neurotic, I was all excited. But, much to my dismay, most of the comments are from other jewelers attempting to hock their wears! I find this so disappointing! Partially because I was excited to get feedback on my work, but mostly because I don't want people attempting to use my work/time/photos/posts to get their careers ahead.
I understand this is a cut throat industry and you have to get ahead however you can, but come on! I am such a small part of the industry, why steal my thunder? All the time spent searching for little jewelers blog postings to comment on, they could probably do something useful for their career with that time.
Anyway, I will just chalk it up to one of life's an annoyance. I spent 10 minutes deleting all of the fake comments and left the actual ones I got from you all. Because, come on, that's all that really matters.