Sunday, May 31, 2009

Copper is Not Just For Jewelry

By on Sunday, May 31, 2009 9 Comments

At one of our workshops, vintage copper rocked! Many of the beaders churned out pretty vintage style jewelry. Barbara's earrings were made with leftover beads from another project as well as double looped and bent eye pins. A less common approach to earring making but no less effective.

Also featured here is Kristie's design (bottom left) which uses diagonally drilled copper edged black window beads making the earrings look like chandeliers. Delicate and elegant for sure. Terri's earrings were made with large oval copper rings and prettily layered with leaves and drops.

People have appreciated the beauty of copper and used it for at least 10,000 years. There is more to copper than just its lovely color and its decorative use.

Ancient Egyptians used copper for their water pipes. Explorers like Christopher Columbus relied on copper sheathing on his ships' hulls to protect them from barnacles and other infestations. Modern ships still use copper based paints to do the job.

Later on in the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists like Ampere, Faraday and Ohm revolutionised our use of copper for they discovered copper's amazing electrical conductivity and heat transfer properties. It is now a very important industrial metal. We also use copper in coinage, in cookware, roofing, statues and in jewelry. Sterling silver contains 7.5% copper. Brass and bronze are copper alloys or mixtures.

Copper also has biomedical applications. It is biostatic which means bacteria won't grow on it which is why some hospitals have copper door knobs. Copper piping is vital for air-conditioning systems to reduce the possibility of Legionnaire's disease. Some companies like Cupron have found ways of incorporating copper into textiles making antimicrobial bed linen for hospitals possible. These textiles will still work despite numerous washings.

But copper is like oil - supplies are finite. The price of copper has been rising sharply since 1999 although it has dropped recently due to the global economy slowdown. If world demand for copper continues to grow, one estimate suggests it may be as little as 25 years before supplies to run out.

Beader Designs #: 519-21

Copper History
Wikipedia : Copper

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

InfiniteGlam's Fabulous Gemstone Wire Work Jewelry

By on Saturday, May 30, 2009 6 Comments

Delicious. That's the only word I have for the wire work artistry of Infiniteglam on Etsy. The jewelry pieces are dripping with top quality (AA to AAA) gemstones, intricately woven and "stitched" with sterling silver which is then oxidised.

Emi Kaz is the Malaysian artisan behind Infiniteglam. He is very new on Etsy and declared his passion to create bold and unique jewelry in his profile. It's a good thing I caught his tweet on Twitter.

He certainly isn't shy about using tons of mouth-watering gemstones in his work. Above is his Swiss Champagne earrings with a whopping 68 carat total weight (ctw)in Swiss blue topaz, champagne citrine, amethyst and neon blue gemstones. These large earrings are not for shrinking violets - both earrings do not fit on a palm!

I also liked his Lush Cocktail necklace with an unusual asymmetrical pendant design. The list of gemstones he used in this design is long - garnet, citrine, amethyst, kyanite, rutilated quartz,blue topaz and peridot. Did I miss any out?

His Enchanted floral lariat necklace was inspired by flowers at night. Standing in for the flowers are lemon topaz, amethyst, vesuvianite, citrine, mandarin garnet and yellow sapphire.

But Emi does make simpler contemporary style pieces. I particularly liked his kyanite ring. Unique and fabulous.

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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making Watch Bracelets

By on Friday, May 29, 2009 4 Comments

I've only ever bought one watch face. It's sitting still wrapped up in tissue in the drawer of my work table. I really think I need inspiration to kick start into making watch bracelets.

One artisan who loves making timely design statements is Stephanie over at Crystal Allure. This design above is a moss agate and Swarovski pearl affair from her shop. It's the one she picked and sent for my Reader Gallery (hint- send me your link if you haven't done so). She loves making watch bracelets because you get both form and function.

Stephanie chose to place the watch face in the conventional way. But do you have to? Nope. NikkiNakkyNoos,a British artisan likes to design hers using the watch face as a charm. Fun! Her watch bracelet designs remind me of bead treasure troves.

If you are feeling inspired already and want to try making your own version, check out the video on how to make jewelry watch bands. Making a watch bracelet is rather like making ordinary bracelets. So the presenter just goes over a couple of ways to bead the strap and the clasps you can use. I like her double stranded one.


But with Father's Day coming soon, you may like to make a leather watchband for the special man in your life. The Craftbits project is easy to do. It's a great design for those people whose skin discolors in contact with some metals.

Still stumped? Then check out Burberry's smart new triple wrap leather strap watches for men. Macho watch bling for trendy men!

Via and Via

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chain Maille Key Chain Charms

By on Thursday, May 28, 2009 0 Comments

Still finding it difficult to come up with a Father's Day gift? It's frustrating to be a jewelry artisan and the men you know and love just don't wear any. You can blame Beau Brummel, the 18th century metrosexual who set what men should and shouldn't wear for the past 200 years.

But if you are into chain maille like Carol is, key chain charms are the way to go. She has made a number for other people. The byzantine key chain in copper on the left is her own. Her design is based on one she saw in a chain maille book.

Other designs include a lovely Persian weave silver and black cross key chain charm by Lovli of Vancouver, Canada. The Simple Twist of Fate key chain charm is a barrel weave with a mobius flower at the end (below right). The Texas based designers - a whole family called the Helmrichs - sell them in a variety of colors through Unkamengifts on Etsy.

Mirricat on Artfire also created a colorful dragonscale key chain charm in teal and gold (below left). The Celtic Star chain maille key chain charm was made by Chicki on

Beader Design #: 518
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stars For A Cause Jewelry Fundraiser

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 1 Comments

Stars For a Cause

This year's Entertainment Tonight's Stars For A Cause auction is taking place on May 28 at Bonhams in Los Angeles. This unique fundraiser couples jewelry designer Robyn Rhodes with celebrities who designed the pieces which Rhodes handcrafts. The celebrities then wore their creations at major red carpet events such as the Golden Globes and Academy Awards before relinquishing the jewelry for the auction.

Rhodes said none of the stars had designed jewelry before but knew what they wanted. She added, "I'm pleasantly surprised because it seems that they do have a vision." There was one problem - one we can all identify with. Some of the celebrities had a hard time parting with the pieces. Debbie and I often see this phenomenon at workshops where people come to make something for someone else and end up not giving it away at all!

Kate Winslet made the necklace shown above and on the left in aid of the Prince's Trust (Prince Charles' charity). The designer used classic wire wrapping around the purple quartz broilette drops.

Stars For a Cause

Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) designed an onyx cluster ring. This ring, like the other pieces, is estimated to sell at $1000- 2000. Other stars who contributed included William Shatner, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams and many others.

Other items are being contributed as well as autographed photos of the celebrities.

One of my favorites is the gold bib necklace designed by Alicia Keys using wire wrapping to connect rings and gorgeous smokey quartz drops. This necklace will go to the charity, Keep a Child Alive.

Also fun is Michelle Pfeiffer's howlite turquoise earrings with the leaf dangles. These are in aid of the American Cancer Society.

Miley Cyrus chose a vintage brass cuff design which Rhodes helped embellish with rose quartz, blue jade and a cloisonne bead. She certainly knows what she likes and hopefully the Libby Rose Foundation will benefit.

Stars For a Cause

Stars For a Cause

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Win $500 of Jewelry

By on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5 Comments

Don't get me wrong. I like cooking but sometimes I just want somebody else to cook for me! It's the same with jewelry. I love making jewelry but it's nice to receive another artisan's work. So when I got the tip off on a $500 sweepstakes (contest closes on June 30), I had to go check it out. Max&Chloe is a well known online jewelry outlet featuring designs from several artisans. Their designs have been featured in many magazines including Brides, Oprah, People Style Watch and US.

You can pick jewelry by price but what I really liked about their site were their recommended jewelry ideas for celebrities on their blog as well as their trends section. So I went "shopping" for my favorite picks from their current stock.

The colorful movie jewelry extravaganza that is Bollywood is epitomised by Miguel Ases' Turquoise and Coral Chandelier Earrings (above). Check out my past post on the amazing jewelry from an epic Bollywood movie and a brief biography on Akhbar the Great.

This famous American costume designer believes "elegance, good taste and luxury never go out of style". He has a quite a celebrity following. His costume jewelry designs are as highly collectible as those with gemstones. His vintage pieces often fetch tidy sums at auctions. Below left is his Single Pyramid Cuff and his Colored Tiger Bracelets which are reminiscent of Cartier's animal jewelry but without the bling.

The classic tear drop style has been popular for centuries. See my past post on two famous emerald tear drop earrings. The one one the left below is Brian Danielle's Diamond Dangle Earrings for $3,890. Blu Bijoux offers the Champagne Swarovski crystal version (below right) for just $38. They certainly offer quite a range to suit all budgets.

Gerard Yosca's Earth Tones necklace is layered with different glass beads and Swarovski crystals. It so reminds me of Egyptian collars. His Gold Link Bib necklace will surely inspire chain maille artisans.

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