Saturday, January 31, 2009

Clear Drop of Water Jewelry

By on Saturday, January 31, 2009 3 Comments

Jewelry Inspired by Life's Necessities
Part 2 of 2

I know some readers out there are lamp work artisans so they can appreciate the craftsmanship of this designer better than the rest of us who don't make glass beads. The simple hand blown glass pendant on leather cord shown here is the work of Swedish artisan, Karl-Oskar . It looks simple but I am sure it is not easy to handle the molten glass just so it forms a drop like water does.

3 Euros from every sale of the "CLEAR DROP OF WATER" necklace goes to the UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund)'s water project in Ethiopia which strives to provide good water and sanitation to the people there. Good water is something we take so much for granted. Diseases caused by bad water kill 4,000 children worldwide - every single day.

The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jewelry Inspired by Food

By on Friday, January 30, 2009 3 Comments

Jewelry Inspired by Life's Necessities
Part 1 of 2

Don't you wish there could be a fairer share of the world's food resources? Some people have too much to eat and many more don't have enough.

Designer Kali Arulpragasam took molds of staple grains such as rice, beans, sweet corn, nuts, black bean, lentils, chick peas, wheat and edible seeds to cast them into solid silver beads, some of which are plated with gold. The designs range from bold Egyptian style collars to delicate pendant pieces.

The jewelry collection, appropriately called HUNGER was designed specifically to raise awareness of the current world food crisis. Rising grain prices combined with the credit crunch problems mean that many poor people will no longer be able to afford to buy food. Part of the profits from the jewelry sales will go to Oxfam International which originally approached the designer about a collaborative project. The entire collection can be viewed here as a pdf file. For sales contact

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pretty Wire Crochet Bracelet

By on Thursday, January 29, 2009 2 Comments

I've been pretty amazed at the lovely bead combinations beaders have been putting into their wire crochet bracelets. Brenda's design is so attractive because of her colour combinations and the relative proportions of each colour she used. The bracelet was a mix of turquoise blue glass chips and seed beads as well as clear crackle beads. Here and there, Brenda added salmon pink glass chips which really gave her bracelet that ooomph! factor.

Virtually none of the women who have tried out this technique at our workshops have ever done wire crochet before. What's more, every single design has been different. It's not that difficult to make your own one of a kind crochet jewelry. If this convinces you to try out wire crochet, then check out my past tutorial post - Knit and Crochet Wire Jewelry Tutorial and Books.

Beader Design #: 458

The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ARTFIRE - A New Alternative to ETSY

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 11 Comments

First there was eBay which revolutionized online selling and buying. But artisans were understandably dissatisfied to have their creations amongst secondhand goods. So Etsy came about - a wonderful site for top notch hand crafted products. But with a crowded handmade jewelry section, some artisans were beginning to chaff at the listing fees. It's actually quite modest - 20 cents for a few months per listing. But if you have a lot to sell and nothing is moving, it all adds up.

As with anything, there is always something new sooner or later which delivers what people want. That something is ArtFire. It is an Arizona based start-up.

This new online artisan marketplace is somewhat similar to Etsy but with a couple of significant differences in their payment system. You pay them a set sum per month no matter how many items you have for sale and there is no commisson. They are currently offering $7/month (for life) for the first 5000 accounts. According to their website, they have 1500 signed up already. They also plant a tree for every person who signs up! (Update: Note Artfire allows you to have a free store but you won't have access to certain features. The current rate is now $12/month)

Let's compare ArtFire with Etsy with simplified scenarios. For $7, you get to list 35 items on Etsy which you have to pay again if they don't sell after 4 months. You pay ArtFire $7 a month, every month irregardless of how many items you have for as long as you like. For the sake of comparison, let's say you have 35 items in ArtFire too. To make the math easy, let's say every single item in both stores costs $10.

If you sold everything you had in one month in both stores :
On Etsy :you will make $10 x 35 =$350. They charge a commission of 3.5% so your take home is actually $350-12.25 = $337.75. Take away the listing fee, you are left with $330.75.
On ArtFire : you get $350 minus the $7 monthly fee leaving you with $343.

If you sold everything you had only in the 4th month in both stores :
On Etsy : As you've already paid the listing fee for four months when you first listed, your take home is the same as above $330.75. (ie you didn't have to pay for relisting yet)
On ArtFire : Now that monthly fee comes into play. Four months of listing, that's $7 x 4 = $28. So your take home is $322.

In real life it is actually more complex than that but I would say Etsy is a better bet if your stuff sells slowly and you only have a small shop. But if you are a prolific producer and your creations sell quickly, then ArtFire may be the way to go. There's also nothing wrong with having two stores too!

At the moment Etsy is the better known site so there is more buying traffic there. Is ArtFire less competitive for jewelry artisans? I don't think so. Even at this young stage, there are already about 13,000 jewelry items up for sale. The nearest categories below that are Accessories and Craft Supplies, each with about 2000 items for sale.

Does anyone have anything to add about their personal ArtFire experience? I know some readers have ArtFire stores.

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips
Liked what you read? Don't miss a post!
Subscribe via RSS OR Via Email* It's FREE!
*Click on the link in the confirmation email to activate subscription

Be a Fan!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Organic Chemistry Jewelry

By on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 0 Comments

Remember Molecularmuse? That was silver jewelry inspired by the molecular structures of caffeine and even neurotransmitters which affect our moods and appetite. Sarah McLellan and Kristina Ortega, the Los Angeles designer friends behind Mctega jewelry also have science and pre-med backgrounds.

Their designs are a modern day alchemy mix of resin, dyes and sometimes gold leaf. Their hand poured polyester resin jewelry range from coloured chunks which resemble crystals to carbon ring inspired necklaces. Their approach includes trial and error experimentation to get their ideas to come to life.

Would you believe they actually ditched science part way through college to study fashion? Jewelry is their first collection. They hope to eventually launch their own clothing line. Small baby steps lead to big steps! Their jewelry can be bought directly from their website.

The use of gold leaf in their creations is inspired! Their work reminds me of alchemists long ago. These early chemists tried to create the legendary "Philosopher's stone" which they thought could transmute base metal into precious ones like gold and silver. The ultimate goal was less so for riches but an elixir of life which could cure all ills and impart immortality. Nicolas Flamel (featured in the first Harry Potter book) and his wife Perenelle, were real 15th century alchemists, best known for the alleged creation of the Philosopher's stone. The couple were wealthy and people naturally thought the source of their riches came from their alchemy experiments. Both were definitely mortal.

Although alchemy is no longer a proper scientific discipline, it was seriously studied centuries ago. One of the world's greatest physicists, Isaac Newton (1642-1726), who defined gravity, actually spent half his time obsessed with alchemy! Imagine what he could have accomplished if he spent ALL his time on physics.

Perhaps we can consider ourselves alchemists in a way as we are in pursuit of transmuting base materials into precious jewelry!

The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Lemonade Award!

By on Monday, January 26, 2009 4 Comments

Well I'll be. Mei over at WireBlissMei recently selected me for the Lemonade award which is given for gratitude and attitude. Thanks Mei for saying that my blog shows an "attitude of gratitude, uplifting and has good content."

So to live up to her words, in an "attitude of gratitude", I select the following blogs for the same award.

Here are the rules for the award:
1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude and link to your post.
3. Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.

Bev's Jewelry

Bev has both gratitude and attitude in spades. First of all, she is a cancer survivor. She knows too well what a horrid disease this is so she created a jewelry line on her online shop called Lexie's Jewelry where $10 from each purchase goes to cancer research. The jewelry collection is named in honour of a 10 year old girl who developed a brain tumor when she was just a tiny baby and has endured much in her young life. Bev truly has a heart of gold - some of her blog posts touch on the plight of people less fortunate than us. I do hope Bev has plenty of forgiveness too for I think I forgot to acknowledge a similar sort of award she gave me a while ago!

A Bead A Day

BetteJo willingly shares her life, both the ups and downs with her many readers - a life enriched by her two grown children, her four cats and a sense of humour. Her Maxine Monday cartoons are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. She stumbled onto my blog back in 2007 and I am grateful she did. Not only has she taken the time to leave many, many comments, one early comment in particular on my past post, 16th century Elizabethan Metrosexual and His Jewelry, encouraged me to develop what is now a reader favourite, jewelry related mini-bios of famous people from history or as one reader puts it the "wacky bygone generations!"

Kokopelli Design

Dagmar who hails from Germany deserves this award for her can do attitude. Her passion is Native American bead and quill work. When she realised many of the beading community only communicated in English, she made sure they could read her blog by publishing it in two languages! Although I don't read or speak German, there are recognisable words like "und" for "and", "kollektion" for "collection". This is not surprising for Old English was the language of the Germanic tribes collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons who invaded and began settling Britain from the 5th century AD. So I am grateful for Dagmar for her linguistic lessons with every blog post and of course, finding out what she has been up to.

Creative Potential on Etsy

Pamela Vale is a multi-talented artist who lives up to the name of her shop and blog for she is just a-bubbling with lots of ideas. Like me, she also believes you can make great jewelry from unusual materials such as a bracelet a clear plastic tubing stuffed with pretty yarns. Dipping into her past posts, you can find off-centred wire worked bails, trompe l'oeil paintings, artwork, home decor and a series of antique store finds such as this jewelry display. Her artistic eye also results in some clever jewelry photography ideas such as using scrapbook props (not paper). Her floating earring photo shoot was really cool! She does indeed see potential in everything around her. So thank you for inspiring us all.
The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Chasing Butterflies Jewelry

By on Monday, January 26, 2009 3 Comments

10 year old Grace was on a mission. Her mother said she could make some jewelry for her cousins who live far away. So here is one of her designs using purple, a popular colour choice for young girls. Grace designed the necklace with butterflies which seem like they are flying in formation. I didn't notice until I looked closely at the photographs I took but Grace used pale pink faceted elongated bicones in front of each butterfly. I wonder if she thought they were stand-ins for antennae?

For the accompanying earrings, Grace didn't use the butterflies, just the purple glass pearls she had for the necklace. She incorporated matte pale purple hearts instead because the jewelry was made with a lot of love!

Beader Design #: 457
The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Plumbing for a Woman's Lost $70,000 Diamond Ring

By on Sunday, January 25, 2009 9 Comments

When I was about 11, my mother accidentally dropped one of her pearl stud earrings down the bathroom sink drain. I remember she was quite upset about it.

She sent my brother, sister and I outside to where the drain outlet emptied into a large open drain. We had a fun time poking around with sticks but didn't find anything as the heavy gold mounted earring was actually still in the drain U-bend.

If you drop your jewelry down the toilet, you may not be so lucky as Allison Berry found out earlier this month. Her 7 carat $70,000 wedding diamond ring fell off her hand as she was flushing the toilet in the bathroom of the Black Bear Diner in Phoenix, Arizona. The force of the water carried the ring away. City workers tried to flush it out but failed.

Mr Rooter, a plumbing franchise, came to the rescue. Using a small video camera, the ring was spotted 3 feet down and 5 feet along from the toilet. They then jackhammered for 1.5 hours, removed the pipe and finally recovered the ring 8 hrs after Allison Berry lost it. The picture here, taken by Mike Roberts from Mr Rooter shows the plumber holding the ring. Roberts said "They always say diamonds are a girl's best friend. In this case, a plumber is a girl's best friend."

She and her husband were so grateful, they tipped Roberts and his technician $400 each. The diner employee got $200 also for staying late. The cost of the special plumbing job and presumably the repair? $5,200. The bill from the city? $1,000. The look of joy on her teary face when the ring was found - priceless.


From the Web :
Boy finds heirloom rings in toilet
Top 8 lost ring stories ever
How to get a wedding ring out of a kitchen sink drain
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Plaincraft Lets You Pick the Best Jewelry Design

By on Saturday, January 24, 2009 5 Comments

[UPDATE : Plaincraft is no longer available.] 
Have you ever wondered, deep down, if your jewelry designs were really, really good? Your friends and family may gush over your creations but perhaps the one way to know for sure if your jewelry has broadbased appeal is if you got a whole bunch of total strangers to judge your jewelry purely on its merits. A fabulous design doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be wildly popular.

Plaincraft is a new website where you can get crowdsourced ratings on handmade creations. Just upload your design (with your online shop link) and viewers can rate it on a scale of 1-20. Everyday, the top 10 are displayed on their front page. Below are my favourites from yesterday's top 10.

As they said on Plaincraft's Twitter - "No frills, no fees, it's free!" It's an easy way to get exposure for your work. Yep, free advertising. You got to like that.

Exotic Paisley Necklace by JoslinJewels
Sheridan Joslin is a fantastic wire work artisan from Bainbridge Island, WA. I didn't know until after I stumbled on Plaincraft that she reads my blog too!

The Vision Chain Maille Earrings by IkowDesigns
Chris from North Carolina is a passionate jewelry artisan who fell in love with chain maille and it shows.

Nouveau Blue by JoslinJewels

The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Friday, January 23, 2009

Delicious Food Jewelry

By on Friday, January 23, 2009 8 Comments

How do you like your bacon? Crisp fried? How about on your wrist? Yes, you can indeed wear breakfast if it's bacon jewelry by Diffraction on Etsy!! Beth Cummings is a Chicago based artisan who is also a skilled photographer. She takes pictures in her photography studio and transfers the images onto thick plastic. Her jewelry pieces are protected with layers of polyurethane.

Her images are so good, the jewelry looks delicious enough to want to eat it! You can't get any fresher than her strawberry pendant. I wonder if Beth realised she created a jewelry pun when she made her pear earrings. Pear-shaped gems - get it?

The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Diagonally Drilled Pearls

By on Thursday, January 22, 2009 2 Comments

Have you ever bought beads and found the strands just perfect as they are? I did once when I bought a mixed strand of amethyst, green aventurine, rose quartz and clear quartz chips. I loved the combination of colours and just restrung the chips.

Chris who adores pearls also loved the diagonally drilled pink pearls from my gemstone collection just as they were. She transferred them from their temporary string onto beading wire following the same order of pearls. She saved some for her earrings which looked especially fun and funky. This necklace will look beautiful against her favourite black outfits.

Beader Design #:456
The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to Use Vernier Calipers

By on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 4 Comments

I used to knit and liked taking my projects with me to do whenever I was out of the house. Now I pack my chain maille stuff inside a small plastic box. I've been known to make chain maille jewelry waiting at the dentist's or waiting to pick up my children. But when I empty out my box, I discover misplaced rings of varying dimensions waiting to be sorted out.

If you have many types of rings as I do, this chore can be a headache. So vernier calipers come in handy to check for the internal diameter of the rings. Vernier scales and calipers are used by scientists like me but if you are not familiar with them, perhaps I should explain.

As you can see, there are actually four scales - two each for metric and imperial measurements. The pincers are used for either internal or external measurements. I placed a ring on the internal pincers and moved the sliding scales until the ring was just held - the little geared wheel helps me shift them.

First you read the main measurement along the inch scale (second scale from the top). Now find any line along the top scale which sits exactly along any line on the second scale. In this example, the "0" mark on the top scale is pretty well close to the 1/4" mark making this ring a 1/4" id (internal diameter) one.

For the metric measurement, do the same. The main centimetre scale shows it is just beyond 0.6 cm or 6 mm. The matching mark on the lowest scale is 2 so this ring is 6.2mm id.

I only paid a few dollars for this cheap plastic vernier calipers. It's manual and not that precise. The marks will also eventually wear away.

Metal calipers are more durable. If, like me, your eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, digital calipers like this one are the way to go!!

I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

Before You Go:

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