Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amazing Quilled Paper Filigree Pendant Tutorials

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12 Comments

I've done some origami and paper bead making in my time but that's the extent of my paper crafts. Quilling requires a whole new level of skill.

This paper filigree art form involving coiled narrow strips of paper was used by European nuns and monks during the Renaissance to decorate book covers. It's beautiful to look at but never in a million years would I have thought it possible to use quilling in jewelry design.

One person did and that is Ann Martin. She is a highly creative paper craft artisan who writes a blog entitled All Things Paper all about people who make fascinating things from paper. Her love of the craft will keep this art alive for many more years.

Ann has graciously written a full tutorial on how to make these amazing gold-gilded sea shell and starfish pendants using the quilling technique. Her instructions are so clear I feel people who have never done quilling before can understand the process and even have a go. As she said, people will not believe the pendants are made from paper. She doesn't mention it but I am sure you can protect the pieces with some suitable varnish. UPDATE : Diana Norman (see comments) suggested that quilled pieces will look stunning encased in resin. What a grand idea!


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Monday, June 29, 2009

3 Landscape Inspired Jewelry Designers

By on Monday, June 29, 2009 2 Comments



Many artisans find their inspiration in nature - the color of flowers, sky and sea or perhaps the shapes of leaves and feathers. But what about the entire vista? Zelda Beauchampet is a clever Dutch designer who lets you customise landscape inspired jewelry. Her online shop, Zlda, features her stainless steel Handscape rings which are actually individual rings meant to be worn together. You could put together in any combination, an apartment (flat) block, trees, bunny and bird. Neato!

Do you enjoy a stroll in the woods to admire and be inspired by the flora and fauna? Then you will appreciate similar and fun acrylic Enchanted Forest Rings from Popdeluxe. They too can be worn as sets for a custom vista although these would not be as durable as the stainless steel ones. Each ring costs only $12.



But landscapes are not only about greenery. There is also the urban jungle. Take a look at the jewelry of British designer, Jo Hayes-Ward. If you weren't paying close attention, you'd think her rings are just interesting bands. But on closer inspection, each is a whole cityscape!

Her award winning jewelry showcases her technique of constructing from small building block elements. It makes for striking gold and diamond rings and bangle shown here. She combines traditional methods with modern technology in order to get accurately interlocking components.





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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Anti-theft jewelry safe for the beach

By on Sunday, June 28, 2009 6 Comments



It's fun to go to the beach but not so much for the person who has to stand guard over the valuables. Chris Statton has come up with this intriguing concept design called the Gigga Clam safe. It's waterproof and is roomy enough to keep your jewelry, watch, keys, ipod, whatever. You lock then bury it in the sand out of sight.



I know what you're thinking. Somebody is sure to notice you burying the clam safe and steal your stuff after you go frolicking in the surf. The inventor included a waterproof interactive wristband you wear which vibrates to alert you as soon as the theft occurs. The GPS tracking then kicks in. I presume the GPS capabilities means you can also find the darn thing if you forget where you buried it.

Do check out my past post on the lettuce safe. You can also hide your precious jewelry in the fridge. Although many burglars do raid fridges, I somehow think they will skip the rabbit food.


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Sterling Silver Pearl Earrings After An Afternoon Beading Party

By on Sunday, June 28, 2009 3 Comments

Betty came to a beading party with some hoop earrings she had which she liked. She wanted more in the same style. She was also clear on what she wanted. Pearls. Crystals. Black and white color scheme.

Betty also learnt after an afternoon of designing and stringing on 10 dangles plus the hoops themselves, that putting together something takes effort and time. The pearls were finely drilled so it is tough to string them at times. But all that hard work does pay off as you can see.

We added lever back ear wires for security. After all, Betty would sure hate to lose this one of a kind earrings.

Beader Design #: 534
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jewelry for Women on Men - Cartier's 100th Anniversary Jewelry Shoot

By on Saturday, June 27, 2009 6 Comments


Jewelry for men, maybe?
Part 2 of 2

I've often been wowed by how professional jewelry photographers make their shoots different. In the past, I've featured an edgy street scene photo shoot , jewelry on lingerie and even real human skeletons as jewelry displays. But what about using men as models for women's jewelry? Now that is a wickedly clever combination to attract women's attention - beefcake and sparkly jewelry. The first photo on the left shows male model Richard Lima with a sparkling piece across his broad chest. The second shows Marc Jacobs wearing an Andrew Grima necklace. Rippling muscles and pretty jewelry - quite the contrast! Hyperventilating yet?

These photos are amongst the many in a special book project put together by the renowned American fashion photographer Bruce Weber to celebrate the French luxury jeweler Cartier's 100th anniversary. He was given full access to Cartier's corporate archives and photos. The book is called Cartier I Love You and was recently published.



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Friday, June 26, 2009

Fabric Bubble Jewelry For Men by Takeoffyourclothes

By on Friday, June 26, 2009 4 Comments


Jewelry for men, maybe?
Part 1 of 2

I'm not sure if many men will go with the bubble jewelry by Takeoffyourclothes on Etsy but I think they are outrageously clever. The "jewelry" - puff cuffs, tube necklaces, fabric chains - are handmade "designs from beyond" using recycled textiles such as sweatshirt and jewelry materials.

The jewelry is comfortable with some side benefits. The puff cuffs make for good wrist cushions whilst computing. The tube necklaces can also double as warm winter scarves. The fabric chain links look like fun - maybe a none too subtle message by men who have been "taken"?



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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where Bone Beads Come From

By on Thursday, June 25, 2009 4 Comments

I have various types of bone beads in my collection. Sabrina spotted these bone ring beads which she used to surround tiger eye beads in her copper earrings design. She added a dash of color with lime green rectangular tags. All in all, a truly one of a kind design Sabrina is sure to enjoy wearing.

Sabrina didn't ask but at one beading party, one beginner beader looked up with alarm when I mentioned bone beads. With slightly tremulous lips, she asked if they were - you know, human! Well, I reassured her they are likely from animals such as cows.

I did do a search to see exactly where they come come. Harlequin Beads and Jewelry says in their article Making Bone Beads most modern bone beads come from animals such as cows, sheep or even camels and yaks. They are most often byproducts from the food industry and are thus a readily available material i.e. cheap.

The beads are hand carved but first the bones have to go through a cleaning process which is long, tedious, smelly and potentially dangerous. All the meat and sinew have to be first removed. It's not just about soapy water and a stiff brush but the bones have to be degreased by boiling in dilute acid. They are next soaked in dilute bleach to make sure every last bit of protein is gone. If not, continued decomposition will give the bone a stench. After rinsing, the bones have to be dried for several days before they are carved into beads.

Bone is a good substitute for ivory so the natural cream color is the most popular. Bone beads are often stained black or brown to "antique" them.

Beader Design #: 533

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zircon not Cubic Zirconia

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5 Comments

Zircon is sometimes confused with cubic zirconia. The former is a bona fide gemstone, the latter, a man-made diamond wannabe.

The picture here (by Rocket 1000) shows Cambodian coloured zircons. This gemstone comes in colorless, yellow, red, green and brown. The colorless varieties found in Sri Lanka are a popular substitute for diamonds and are known as Matura or Matara diamonds. They aren't as hard as diamonds, though. The yellow ones are sometines called hyacinths. Blue is the most desired color - most blue zircons are obtained by heat treating the red-brown ones. Naturally blue zircon is hard to come by.

Zircon is an old gemstone as it has been found in ancient archaeological sites and appears in historical literature and in the Bible where it's called jacinth. Today zircon is found in many places but the largest gem crystal deposits are found in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Cambodia's zircons are mainly found in the Ratanakiri region near the Vietnamese border. This remote beautiful region is where blue zircons can be found. The miners use simple traditional methods to extract out the gemstone from narrow mine shafts going down several metres.

As you can see from this video (ignore first minute or so) of Ratanakiri mining, these are small family businesses. According to the video, the mining concession rent is $10 per day. The miners dig and sift through tons of dirt to get a daily return of $10-300 a day - the average is on the low end. Watch the last bit of the video - if you've ever complained about your lousy job, you won't again. Childcare? What childcare?




ReferencesPaul E Desautels (1971). The Gem Kingdom. Random House
Edna B Anthony : Let's Talk Gemstones
David Federman : Cambodian Zircon
Gemstv : Zircon

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Best Tutorial Links for Bead or Pearl Knotting using 3 Different Tools

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 8 Comments


Knotting between beads not only gives artisans an attractive design element but also prevents damage due to friction between delicate beads especially if they are pearls.

Knotted necklaces also have an additional advantage - if the string breaks, you don't lose the beads everywhere.

The following are the three best video tutorials which shows you how to knot using different tools.

1. The first is quite easy using long tweezers. This video is by Sarah from Jewelrysupply.com. For a website tutorial, check out Tammy Powley's Bead Knotting tutorial which uses a long pin.



2. Now some of you may not own a pair of tweezers like the first instructor but you must own round nose pliers! So this video tutorial is definitely up your street!Kate Drew Wilkinson makes it look so easy. Her video also shows how she finished the ends using bead tips. The nylon cord ends are fused with a lighter flame.



3. For a truly professional finish, nothing beats the tri-cord knotter gadget. This excellent video from RioGrande shows you not only how to use the gadget but also how to finish the ends off beautifully. There is no need to fuse the nylon with the flame in their method.



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Monday, June 22, 2009

Paua Jewelry and Paua Themed Weddings

By on Monday, June 22, 2009 3 Comments



Paua is the name given to the New Zealand abalone shellfish with the unique iridescent color. You can read more about it in my past post Iridescent, irresistible paua.

Sheila has been beading before and has a keen eye for designing with gemstones she doesn't yet have in her jewelry box. As soon as she saw the paua beads in my collection, she went ahead and created this simple paua necklace and earrings to match. She used light purple and bugle beads to go with the shell beads.

Sheila is already married so these are for her personal use. However in New Zealand, paua themed weddings are all the rage. According to Pauamana.com, a supplier of all things paua for crafts people, you can get wedding invitations featuring paua shell, hand stitch two-holed paua buttons to wedding dresses, strewn pretty paua pieces as table decorations or use them to adorn wedding favors. They also had a super tip to use whole abalone half shells as lovely candle holders.

Beader Design #: 532

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Another lemonade award for The Beading Gem

By on Monday, June 22, 2009 4 Comments

Many thanks to Shay over at Shay's Jewelry and Art Blog for another lemonade award and for her patience. I made sure I kept notes so I didn't forget as she gave me this award back in March!

Here are the rules for the award:
1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

The number of blogs required in the rules seem to have multiplied so I have reverted to 5 - quality over quantity, I say! Rather than just list links I prefer to explain why I picked these blogs:

1. Carol over at The Grand Design blog is a fellow Canuck (Canadian) who made clever use of her maiden surname Grand. She was once a scifi costumer and is now a steampunk costumer. (If you have no idea what steampunk is, check my past post How to make a steampunk ring). She says, "I have an Etsy store and steampunk has pretty much taken it over." Has it ever - she makes fabulous jewelry. What she really enjoys doing on her blog is to catch tweets from Twitter and feature the artisan. Cool!

2. Pippi of Pippi's Jewelry Journey has the most inspiring subtitle "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." She does what she says too for Pippi is an amazingly talented wire artisan.

3. Joyce of Happy Cloud Moments is a software engineer who also engineers really pretty jewelry. She is an active blogger and serves up an eclectic mix of blog posts. I enjoyed the one where she proudly showed off her homemade chain stand and how it was constructed.

4. Jamee over at Jonara Blu Maui kept me sane over a long Canadian winter mostly but she did occasionally made me green with envy. That's because she now lives in Hawaii and all her jewelry is taken against beach backgrounds - sand, rocks, starfish and so on. I could almost picture the waves and feel the breeze!

5. Heather at her Azure Islands Designs blog is also Canadian. She is an inspiring artisan who is accomplished and has a great eye for color and placement. She showed me what you can do with specialised hammers to get wonderful textures on her metal work. She likes fusing too.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Solar Panel Necklace - Renewable Energy Jewelry

By on Sunday, June 21, 2009 2 Comments

Global Warming
Part 2 of 2

Climatologists have been warning us about the speed in which our world is warming up with potentially disastrous results. Our dependence on fossil fuels has to change not only because burning them contributes to global warming but also because we are running out of oil.


So finding and improving alternative energy sources like solar panels is key. But solar panels as jewelry? Well, Mae Yokoyama has indeed created a technology inspired jewelry item called the Lux Solar Panel Collar out of the latest green innovation.

The necklace is really made out of solar panels which accumulate sunlight during the day. Then, at night, the stored energy lights up the necklace's string of LED bulb "pearls". 


It takes two hours to charge up the collar to give a minimum of 4 hours of illumination.Talk about green fashion jewelry, one which features renewable energy!

Mae Yokoyama is a Master of Jewelry Design student at the Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden.

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