[Orchid Blogs] New topics on the Orchid Blogs network

Offer “Free Stuff” to Build Your Customer List
Virginia Vivier

I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to generate sales in this
crummy economy and one of my favorite “expert” sources is Bill
Stoller’s eZine (http://www.publicityinsider.com). I happened upon a
gem (no pun intended) from one of his newsletters. His point was to
give away as much “free stuff” as you can, to build a prospect list
even in times when sales are down. "You will make far more money,
and have a much more stable business, if you create lots of targeted,
high value, zero cost (free) virtual goodies to give away to your
visitors in exchange for their name and e-mail address, than if you

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Of Pearls and Hospital Stays
Beth Wicker

You may well be wondering what pearls and hospital stays have to do
with each other! Well, I have spent entirely too much time in
hospitals with admitted family members over the last 20 years, and
have come to realize that without something productive to do I go
slightly nuts So when we realized they were going to admit my husband
Tuesday, I pulled together some pearls and stringing supplies, a
bead board, some findings, and my “travel kit” for pearls. I keep a
little zip lock container stocked with silk, needles, threader, tiny
scissors, bead tips and some findings so that it is easy to grab
when I’m traveling. Add pearls and bead board and I’m ready to rock
and roll…

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Necklace in Sterling and Morenci Turquoise
Sam Patania

This necklace is one of the Vine Necklace series I have done in both
18K Gold and Sterling Silver. These necklaces have been set with
turquoise my grandfather and father bought decades ago. In most
cases this turquoise won’t be seen again. I still continue to get
high grade Morenci and love using it in my jewelry but, to have sets
of pear shapes as in this photo is not something that I will have
for long. Nobody that I know of is cutting calibrated Morenci that
is natural. Natural material is too unpredictable to cut in
calibrated sizes. Calibrated stones are stones cut into consistent
shapes in a variety of sizes measured in millimeters…

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Pendant in 18K Gold set with Coral and Diamond
Sam Patania

This is one of my less complicated pieces. I had purchased this
wonderful piece of coral from a friend several years ago. His name
was Will Foerster and he taught me much of what I know about
turquoise. He was a lapidary and general crazy man. He died a few
years ago. This piece of coral was really meant to be the center of
what ever jewelry piece it went into. It had to go in gold and I
wanted to try to compliment it with a diamond. The color shown is
accurate, it is a really fantastic piece of coral…

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About - Susan Thornton
Susan Thornton

My metalwork is contemporary with an ancient feel, modern yet
primitive, whimsical yet sophisticated, perhaps capturing some of
the paradox that makes life interesting. I am enamored by the
marvels of nature and often incorporate these inspiring elements in
my jewelry designs. Earth-wrought materials spur my imagination,
expand my vision, and provide a spiritual connection across time and
cultures for me…

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Bazaar Bizarre

Last weekend was the Maker Faire Austin. Part of the Faire was the
Bazaar Bizarre, which I had a table at. While I spent most of the
time at my table, I did get a chance to explore a little bit, and
among the things I saw were…

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New Gallery
Susan Thornton

I decided to go out of the gallery business and just have a studio
back in 1999.but.I am opening a gallery again. I am opening around
the first of November. I will post pictures of the new selling space
as soon as it is ready.

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More Experiments With CZ
Hans Meevis

The first mistake was that 98ol Bright Eyes forgot to put masking
tape on the clamp faces. The result is that the glue leaked in
between the stone and the clamp. So when I tried to remove the now
dry stone, it did not release the stone, but broke it. Well, that
certainly proved that the glue is more than strong enough. ( the
silver lining part) This was the now much smaller preformed part. (
the non-silver lining part). It looks flat, but it is not really…

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Solving Problems in Class

Thank you Carrie. I love your web page. Your designs are simple but
elegant (my passion) and very well crafted. Keep up the good work.
Re classes, please go to www.bocamuseum.org and click on The Art
School. That will give you the whole shabang. In addition to
painting, photography, sculpting, and clay, we have a very active
jewelry studio and very very talented instructors. Take a look and
give me your impression…

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America Creates - New Place for You to Sell

America Creates Fine American Arts and Crafts Online is a higher end
alternative to etsy, and it looks really great. The oft mentioned
criticism of etsy is that the prices there are generally too low,
and I agree with that, it is a problem…

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Tarnished Silver Causing Colour Change In A Diamond
Hans Meevis

There has been a somewhat lively discussion on Orchid as to whether
the tarnishing of silver will affect the colour of a diamond set in
that material. On the one side were those that said no, using
optical properties of diamond as an argument, and on the other side
were those who said yes, using the experience of working with
antique silver jewellery set with diamonds as their argument.
However, to me, this stuff is not rocket science, and I don’t write
a million words about it. I just do the work and take pictures. Much
easier. The tube, normal silver…

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Dop wax and stones
John Rasmussen

I have the hardest time getting stones to stay on my dops. I heat
the wax in a dop wax heater by Covington and heat the stones at the
same time. i will have what appears to be a great tight hold, and
then while applying the stone to the lap; poof " the stone goes
flying around my room. Tonight I started with 10 stones and 7 of
them came off the dop. 5 of those at the coarsest grit, two at 1200
grit. Only 3 made it to and through the cerium oxide polish step.
These turned out very well. Is there some secret that I have missed
to keeping stones on the dop?..

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Linking Strategies for Your Website

Linking Strategies for Artists and Artisans -Good keyword density
helps provide a better position in the search engines, but good link
popularity is more important, even than keyword density. The search
engines seem to change their algorithms now and then and your
position in the search engine database depends on satisfying those
algorithms. Good content coupled with a solid strategy for soliciting
incoming links from related websites will help your position in the
search engines as well as drive traffic from your linking partners to
your own site. Three kinds of links exist. These are internal links,
outgoing links and incoming links. Of these three the incoming links
are the most valuable, but you can use internal and outgoing links in
certain ways to make your site more marketable…

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Introducing - Chaiwat Gim Wattananukit

Solid Skin… ur signature being the second-solid skin that we
create when challenging the boundaries of flesh and solid pieces.
Soidskin is a contemporary jewellery studio, which design and
produce such a delicately handmade jewellery. Apparently, the
jewellery are created in a small amount or some of them are

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Introducing - Taweesak Tim Molsawat

In my work, I am investigating our everyday cultural activities
regarding the social, cultural, political, economical, and personal
issues to reveal our humanity in today society. I utilize my work as
a mirror to examine our roles and responsibilities to the community
and the world…

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Blog Pages, Posts, Categories, and Tags.

When should you use a blog page instead of a post? How do you know
what should be a category versus a tag? After this post, you will
know exactly what to do…

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Necklace in Sterling Silver
Sam Patania

I made this necklace earlier this year and named it “Spikey”. My
inspiration was to make a piece which was like a spiked collar. My
work is classical, I want it to be enjoyed for generations. I took
the inspiration and made it my own by bringing it off the neck and
laying it flat. I feel I made a statement piece, a piece which
cannot be ignored. I make my pieces out of solid sterling, they are
not thin and light. They are not heavy either, they have a good feel
to them. When you pick one of my pieces up you will know what I
mean. The tactile dimension is very important to me as an artist.
This necklace is made to be worn on the skin and warmed by your body
to make it come alive…

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Tahitian Bondage
Pat Pruitt

When it comes to Pearls, Im a big fan of Tahitians’. Namely because
black will always be the new black. This project started off wanting
to use undrilled beauties that had some kinetic properties to it and
evolved from there. The construction was farily simple, create a
shape that was pretty pleasing and could be combined with itself to
form a cage. Once the design was finalized, it was cut via the three
axis machining center…

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ETSY Team SC Holiday Hunt
John Rasmussen

I belong to an ETSY team for members from South Carolina (TeamSC)
and we are sponsoring a holiday stocking hunt. There will be a
Christmas stocking hidden in the offerings of the team stores. See
this link for …

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Inspiring Things

There are loads of things that inspire me to create, like
architecture, sculpture, bridges, girders, I-beams, sweet lil’ rusty
objects I find in the street, music, twirling fire poi, dancing,
graffiti, machine mechanisms, old photographs I find at flea
markets.there is so much beauty in the world…

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How to Use Liver of Sulphur without Dipping

Liver of sulfur is Potassium Sulfide. Buy it in lump form from a
jeweler’s supply company. You can buy it pre-mixed, but since it has
a shelf life, it’s much better to buy it in lump form and mix it as
needed. Break off a pea sized lump and add it to 1/2 a cup of warm
water and dissolve the liver of sulphur…

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Opals are my…ya know.

Well, if you know me well, have heard the story, read the article,
or just know my entertaining use of language, you can fill in the
blank. Otherwise, make up your own entertaining title and swear you
know it’s true…

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Picture Pages

Time to get your crayons and your pencils…" I finally caved and paid
Flickr for that Pro account. They teased me with it in the beginning
and then took it away. Since I had once had all my photos on Yahoo,
their online presence disappeared with the pro status:( Now they’re
all back (yay!) and I can arrange them as I please…

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Crafters of California " in the beginning
Bev Ludlow

I am in the agonizing, but fun, initial steps of creating a new site
for Crafters of California. The first part was easy! I had a great
idea, a web site featuring only California crafters, artists,
photographers, anyone who makes their own product, is serious about
sales, and who lives and works in the state. What is unique to this
site is that the artist doesn’t need a web site, an email address,
or even a computer to be listed…

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How do I price my jewelry designs?
Barbara Carleton

I’m sure you’ve heard this question asked many times. It is a hot
topic in trade magazines, chat rooms and bead classes all over the
world. Most jewelry designers love to make jewelry but have a hard
time trying to figure out what each finished jewelry piece costs them
to create and what price they should charge for it…

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Seed Pottery

I enjoy creating southwest jewelry but my real joy is creating my
sterling pottery. This seed pot is approximately 3.5 inches in
diameter. The model was turned from Ferris Blue Carving Wax in two
parts. The piece was cast in around 25 ounces of sterling silver.
There is a paper in Orchids Tips From the Jewelers bench that
illustrates the process of turning wax…

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Living with Me
Heather Skowood

found wood, glass lenses, copper tacks, old photograph found wood,
copper and steel tacks When I’m not making jewellery I’m hoarding
things I find on the street, at flea markets and in friends +
families basements. Although I embrace contemporary architecture,
sculpture and technology with full abandon I also can be very maudlin
for objects left behind from older times. These objects can range
from old photographs, rusty nails in all shapes and sizes, weathered
wood and stones and metal with a good patina on it…

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A Studio Story

I had two great studio days in a row! Sunday and Monday were very
productive.and enjoyable too. I was hoping to have Saturday evening
to make things as well, but my back was kinda spazzy, so I watched
the hockey game in bed with the pup and fell fast asleep…

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Sarit Wolfus: Lyrical Jewelry From Israel!

I found Sarit Wolfus through the Ganoksin Gallery. I was interested
to learn that Sarit’s main occupation was music for over 20 years.
She started out in the Israeli Army Band, went on to studying music
at Tel Aviv University Music Academy and then spent many years
playing the trumpet in most of the professional orchestras and
chamber ensembles in Israel, as well as at theater productions…

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Damascus Stainless Wedding Rings

Much thanks to Chris Ploof for giving me a hand with some technical
aspects of working with this material. Not too much to say about the
actual fabrication of this ring, simple machining techniques are all
thats needed. The etching was nasty stuff tho, I dont recomend the
hobbiest tackling that part…

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Thank you to On Jewels: Appreciation of the Art’ Blog

Yesterday jewelry professional Katrina Morris kindly gave my blog
and my jewelry a big shout out on her blog “On Jewels: Appreciation
of the Art”. I’m grateful and pleased Katrina gave me a shout out as
I have enjoyed her enthusiasm and passion for the jewelry she writes
about on her blog. She has written about jewelry and politics, and
highlighted some fantastic work coming out of the International
Jewelry London show. Laura Bamber’s work IS breathtakingly

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Pendant in 18K set with #8 Spiderweb Turquoise and Diamond
Sam Patania

I made this pendant earlier this year with the #8 Spider Web which I
have written about before. It was the last lot of turquoise my
grandfather bought before he died in 1964. Much of this lot of
turquoise is cut in triangle shapes which is due to the way this
turquoise grows. These pieces are not calibrated ( think I can say
with some certainty that no natural #8 was cut calibrated) but they
are not free form either. In any case the geometric shapes have
always intrigued me. I set the stones in 18K gold and put it on an
18K commercial chain…

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Collecting Family Silver
Sam Patania

The Smithsonian recognizes the distinctive jewelry of three
generations of southwestern silver smiths Bent over a scarred wooden
workbench laden with shears, files and other tools of his trade, Sam
Patania snips sterling silver wire and sheet into tiny strips, ovals
and crescents. Wearing jeans, a button-down shirt and magnifying
glasses, Patania, 40, hammers the wire flat and solders the pieces
together to create two clusters of turquoise blossoms with leafy
silver stems"earrings designed 50 years ago by his late grandfather,
Frank Patania, Sr., and still in demand today. At the other end of
the narrow workshop, Sam’s 69-year-old father, Frank Jr."or “Pancho,”
as he is better known"bends gold into a ring setting…

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A Halloween Design !

A good day in life is when you enjoy your work. This little design
was fun to do and everyone in the shop was anxious to see it come
off the mill. Here we stand, (all adults) acting like it was truly
time for that “Treat” in this trick or treat season. We got it too!!
We decided to make this skull smile during the design stage. By the
time the model was a reality he had a name “Smilin Jack”! We are all
truly children at heart!. Its nice to “Play” a little now and

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Costume Jewelry vs Art Jewelry

I just had a conversation on the phone with a really nice lady who
wanted to consign jewelry for her soon to be opened clothing
boutique in the hippest mall in Bangkok. After explaining to her
that my jewelry is mostly one of a kind, made of sterling silver and
18K gold, she exclaimed, “oh it’s costume jewelry.” I started to
frown with a mixed feeling. I didn’t want to be impolite and correct
her on the phone that my jewelry is definitely not costume jewelry
but she needed to know that! But how can I tell her on the phone,
without her seeing my pieces?..

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Pendant in 18K White and Yellow Gold set with Sugilite Sam Patania

This Sugilite I bought rough and cut myself. Originally this was a
single long triangle stone. I somehow broke it so I re cut it into
the two stones pictured. Unfortunately I am unable to photograph it
to get the color correct. It is too dark in the photo but monkeying
around with the color on my photographs is too much desk type work
when I rather be doing bench work. I also have reservations about
color manipulation with Photoshop…

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Delaware Decadence
Heather Skowood

I just love visual tension and contrasts, within them there are so
many surprising textures, emotions + experiences. I often
incorporate contrasts and tensions in my jewellery too through use
of textures, materials + even through the way I design and fabricate
my work. My Fluff collection for instance creates interesting
tension between the soft fluff material, metal and colour which is
why I believe, people respond to those pieces of jewellery. My
larger sculptural jewellery like the Strangeways knuckleduster + the
Sensual hand ornament are examples of how tension brings a surprise
to my jewellery. Often people think upon first glance that these
larger pieces I create will be cumbersome and awkward to wear but
once they put them on they are exceedingly pleased how comfortable +
wearable the jewellery is. I love that reaction since I try to make
exciting work that is a delightful visual as well as physical
experience for the wearer. As for the photo above I shot it at my
brother’s house. I had been lugging this chair around in the back of
my car for the weekend to get it back to my house from our
grandmother’s. I took it out and put it in the entrance of my
brother’s shed thinking the contrast of the vibrant blood red velvet
against the ordinary shed interior would make a interesting image.
What do you think?

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Pendant in 18K Gold set with Tourmaline
Sam Patania

This is one of my box form pendants. I made this in 18K gold and set
it with tourmaline cabs I got from Jeff Graham, www.cabbers.com and
www.faceters.com. Jeff’s specialty is tourmaline. I set one of his
green tourmalines in the 18K white gold bracelet that the
Smithsonian took. Living in Tucson has it’s advantages. Tucson is a
gem capital of the world, not the only one by any means but, every
year the Tucson Gem Show brings the world to us. Jeff had this lot of
tourmaline cabs which had every color tourmaline comes in. I had to
buy it from him, I have just a little bit left in green, pink, red
and gold colors. All the pieces I have made with this material is in
18K gold. These wonderful colors are well supported by the rich

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Circle Tourmaline Pendant
Hans Meevis

This is a commissioned pendant that I made out of 18kt yellow and
white gold. Hazel liked the green to dark green colour change that
the tourmaline has. She has a pale skin colour, so this tourmaline
stood out quite dramatically. The circle of gold was made by making
yellow gold tubing, drawing it down, then at the appropriate
diameter, inserting white gold wire into the tubing. Then the bi-gold
gets drawn down to the right diameter…

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Upgrading our little shop

When we opened our store 18 months ago, we combined a bunch of stuff
from our garages to make a showroom and workshop. Our display cases
came from a pawn shop for free in return for labor. After cleaning,
making new pads with neat fabric and installing new formica on the
fronts, they were good to go. We found display shelves at a yard
sale, repainted and had new glass cut to fit to put these to work.
Our shop had a variety of home built stuff, cabinets scrounged from
wherever, and some reasonably old tools. The worst was…

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Tucson Museum of Art Catalog 1999
Sam Patania

One day in late 1998 I was visited by a woman who I didn’t know who
told me that my family had received the Stonewall Foundation art
show a the Tucson Museum of Art. It was to be a three generation
show for my grandfather, Frank Patania, Sr., my dad, Frank Patania,
Jr. and myself. I didn’t really understand but, I knew it was a bolt
out of the blue and that it would change my career…

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Queen of Melted Jump Rings
Beth Wicker

I still consider myself a “newbie” to soldering, although I have
been doing it for several years now. I have only been able to create
rather erratically until this fall though, so I’m still not where I
want to be in terms of skill and technique. I had a Paua shell
necklace I made last spring, with the links connected with really
fine jump rings. At the time I was using a Prestolite Acetylene
torch, and I knew if I tried to solder the jump rings closed I would
wind up with melted necklace…

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Why I hate Halloween

Sorry, today my post has nothing to do with my jewelry, it is about
why I hate Halloween! I’m Italian, and when I left Italy in 2000
there was no sign of Halloween celebration there, the 1th of
November is the real holiday for us. Halloween was something that
I’ve seen only in the movies…

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Look what I have found!

After writing my last posting, I was searching the internet for
images of costume jewelry, hoping to get a better uderstanding at
it. Instead of getting a clearer picture of what people would
consider costime jewelry, I ran into the image below. What a nice

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BronzClay How-to pdfs Available

Mardel at Cool Tools has posted some terrific summaries of how to
work with, fire, and dry BronzClay, 16 pages in all. Very

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Cast of Characters, Kilo, Studio Dog

I will try to post the cast of characters who I write about as they
come to the studio. It is appropriate in no way to make my dog first.
He was a stray who came up to me one day while I was taking out the
recycling. I felt something on my leg and though, oh crap, what is
it, a RAT or raccoon???..

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Steampunk Burnout Kiln

I arrived to this lovely show down in the swing state of North
Carolina, a trailer full of supplies, tools, signs and stuff. Alas,
when the time comes, I realize that I have no kiln. I use a burnout
kiln to heat the metal cylinder called a flask, making the wax melt
out of its plaster prison, and is replaced by gold or silver,
slammed into place by a centrifuge and a casting is born!..

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New Stones
John Rasmussen

I have cut from rough about 30 stones that I will start working on
to make the next round of jewelry. Amethyst, Rock Crystal, Jasper,
Moonstone, Topaz, Amazonite, Aventurine and Fluorite are all
included in the new stones. Many thanks to dopping suggestions, I am
going to try the epoxy gel with this batch of stones. I still
haven’t found the last stone that went flying. There is no hole into
the outside world from my workspace, so it has to still be inside.
Tonight was All Hallows Eve (Halloween); we had a total of 4 trick
or treaters show up this year. Three of them were grandsons. Thus we
only had one that came from the neighborhood. I guess we live too
far out of civilization for even the motorized division (PP&M song)
to make it here…

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Repouse Gold Ring
Hans Meevis

This is a ring I made this week for replacement of stock. This ring
is a double walled ring. I make the white gold part first and then
the yellow gold inside. I make the yellow gold wider than the white
gold part and then I fuse the yellow gold so that is melts into the
white gold part…

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Inspiring Day
Beth Wicker

So a fiber artist friend and I drove the 2 hours to Charlotte, NC
today to see the ACC craft show at the Charlotte Convention Center.
What an inspiring day! In addition to fabulous jewelry, there was
great glass, clay, wood, fibers and more. Great eye candy. Here are
some info/links to some jewelry artists whose cards I thought were
worth picking up: Julie Shaw - really interesting use of patinas.
Unfortunately, no web site. Neat folded business card though…

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Blog Carnival Q of the Month!

What’s a skill you’d like to learn and why? Or what’s your favorite
technique and why? I’d like to learn blacksmithing. I took one class
years ago, at the one place in Chicago with an accessible forge.
Turns out that the classroom was in a former greenhouse, just steps
from Lake Michigan. In winter. It was cold. Very, very cold. And the
blacksmithing instructor had a broken arm. The welding teacher did
his best to show us what he knew about blacksmithing, which sadly,
wasn’t much…

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Designs and Thai Jewelry

When Alan Revere was in Bangkok for a design workshop back at the
end of September, I took him to a mall where many jewelry
stores/stalls are. Why? Not to shop of course, but to allow him to
see what we have here as far as jewelry is concerned. We first hit
the area where stainless steel and costume jewelry were located.
Alan said the designs were ‘safe’ as far as sale is concerned but
not much insterest here. We then moved to fashion jewelry section
where Alan saw pieces he didn’t think would be considered jewelry.
He was surprised to see jewelry made of brass that was not being
plated to prevent tarnish and discoloration against the skin. After
that, we walked by many fine jewelry stores. After browsing through
many windows and shops filled with sparkling pieces, Alan found only
one piece that was worth mentioning…

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Thoughts on Booths from the ACC show, Charlotte
Beth Wicker

I was paying attention to booth design as I browsed the ACC show in
Charlotte yesterday. I want to revamp my booth design, and the
Artisans of the South Carolina Cotton Trail that I am a member of
wants to do a booth design workshop. I was looking for what worked
visually, and yet was inexpensive and something one person could
manage, as this would fit both for me and for the ASCCT group

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What good is daylight savings time?

Hello everyone, I’m in the middle of several metalsmithing projects
right now and way behind on everything, but I promised myself I
would post something on my blog at least once a week, so I’m going
to bring up the timely subject of daylight savings time. What good
is it? I have heard many explanations of why it exists, and none of
them make any sense to me. Do people really think they are getting
an extra hour? How about actually making it a 25 hour day, so there
actually is an extra hour, or while you’re at it why not 26. or 30?
As far behind as I am, I could use the extra time. Trouble is, I
have a feeling the time would go by faster ;)…

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Sterling silver, Indian garnet and cubic zirconia pendant and
Helen Hill

Here is another new piece (or pieces) that I’ve just finished. I
made it for my best friend’s birthday. June loves to wear red so I
thought garnet would be a good choice. I used 2mm round wire for the
“back bone” of the pendant and 1.2mm wire for the earrings. I made
the bezel setting for the large (6mm) round CZ a little taller than
I normally do so that I could drill holes to make a hidden bale for
the chain. I like that look, rather than adding a bale which
sometimes adds nothing to the design of a piece. I was going to
arrange the three smaller CZ’s in a line around the silver wire
(just as I have done with the round, faceted garnets but on the
other side), but when I was arranging them on the bench prior to
soldering, they accidentally formed a little trefoil which I thought
looked much better. So I soldered them together like that, before
soldering the group to the piece. Such happy accidents are great!..

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Chinese turquoise, topaz and peridot necklace and earrings
Helen Hill

I recently got back in touch with a friend I lost contact with when
I moved up to Lancashire from Birmingham in 1993. I’ve thought about
her often but suddenly had an overwhelming urge to catch up again.
We were friends from when we were expecting our first children in
1986. Sadly Jenny lost her little girl at around about her due date.
She didn’t find out why her little girl was stillborn until a few
years later, after she had successfully given birth to a boy and a
while later, sadly lost another baby girl. She was diagnosed with
obstetric cholestasis, a condition where the flow of bile in the
liver is reduced, such that there is a build up which leaks into the
bloodstream and can poison the unborn baby. The disease causes
severe itching which is often the only symptom and is a condition
that is not widely known about. After diagnosis, babies are usually
delivered at around 37 weeks (or earlier, dependent on levels of
bile salts in the blood) because of the increased risk of stillbirth
in the last few weeks of pregnancy…

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Necklace in 18K Gold and Tourmaline
Sam Patania

This beautiful red/pink tourmaline was from the lot I have written
about which I bought from Jeff Graham, www.cabbers.com. This
necklace is a distillation of my grandfather’s vine designs. My
grandfather worked in a larger scale with this vine motif than I do.
I feel it is more current to have simpler pieces, more present day
fashionable. I feel the simpler variations of this design can be
worn more often, not just to the opera or ball. A simple piece like
this is not out of place anywhere where an open neck line would be
worn. It is not taking over the room, it won’t be missed or ignored
but, it won’t blind anyone…

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Santa Barbara Snapshot

This doesn’t really have anything to do with metalworking except
that metalsmiths tend to collect tools. This means we need space.
Space in southern California is hard to come by, and nearly
impossible in Santa Barbara. I counted once: standing on my back
balcony, I could hit no fewer than 12 different apartment buildings
with a thrown baseball. That’s just one side of the building. For a
midwesterner like me, that crowding becomes an issue from time to
time. I do love it here. It’s as close as I’ve ever found to
paradise, absent the space problems, and the insane housing

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Shades of Autumn

When I was a boy, I preferred spending my free time outdoors. I
spent many a day walking in the woods or out on the water. One of my
goals upon returning to my hometown last year was to once again
enjoy the natural beauty of upstate NY. Rochester is fortunate that
it’s founders set aside generous amounts of open space to be used as
parkland, encompassing many lakes, rivers and streams, woodlands,
wetlands and glacially created landforms…

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Today 3rd Nov. last to day to act with No Dirty Gold
Heather Skowood

Would mine for gold in the National Cathedral? Stop the destruction
of the sacred shrines of Shoshone Nevada! Sacred sites are threatened
by gold mining Canadian Barrick Gold wants to expand the Cortez gold
mine in Nevada onto Mt. Tenabo, a site sacred to the Western
Shoshone nation.

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Little Devil

Hey everyone, sorry for my absence! The last couple weeks have been
really weird and crazy for me with all of the major changes life has
thrown me…

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Studio Cat #1
Beth Wicker

My studio is called Three Cats and a Dog, because they all “help” me
in their own very special ways. The dog is a German Shorthair
pointing dog named Patch. He is now very old, and going blind and
deaf and doesn’t smell well anymore either. His hind legs have a
tendancy to go out on him at times, but he is still happy and
doesn’t seem to be in pain. He loves lying right between me and the
bench and the soldering station. Lovely. Cramped. Sometimes I can
step over him, sometimes he has to move so I can get where I need to
be. I tried putting a furniture pad out for him to lay on, but he
wants to be close by…

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Electrolytic Etching on Copper - first try
Beth Wicker

The November issue of Art Jewelry magazine has an article on
electrolytic etching by Ron Pascho which intrigued me, so I have
spent the last week or two collecting the necessary supplies to try
this. I come from a fine arts/visual arts background, so the idea
that I could draw/paint on metal, and have my brushstrokes
translated fascinated me! After running around several towns
(remember, I live in the country!) I finally found that Radio Shack
had pretty much everything I needed except the glass containers,
which I got at Wal-Mart (and the air stone which I found there

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Cast of Characters, Dick Barber
Sam Patania

I met Dick Barber at The Drawing Studio when he signed up for my
jewelry class. Dick had taken many metalsmithing classes before mine
so he was not new to the craft. The Drawing Studio in Tucson is a
wonderful art school. It is not degree oriented but is more of a
studio atmosphere with an instructor. TDS can be used as simply a
studio or you can pursue as much instruction as you wish just by
signing up for a class…

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A Few Tidbits From our Tool collection
John Donivan

Thought I’d show a few of our more interesting tools - many years
accumulation. Made the holder out of a block of aluminum on my miller
The bur holder I machined out of a solid block of aluminum on my
milling machine…

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Putting on the Dog with CAD/CAM

Here’s a project I recently did for A Charming Life, a company
specializing in one of a kind charms from photos. The customer
wanted a charm of their pug, a dog with some rather distinctive

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Ring in Platinum and 18K Red Gold set with Ruby
Sam Patania

I made this ring for the 1999 Tucson Museum of Art show. I bought
this fantastic ruby from Jeff Graham, who I had been doing lots of
business with during this time. This was before was aware of the
problems in Burma. Now I have a piece of Mawsitsit from Burma that I
can’t bring myself to work with until the political situation in
Burma changes for the better. Until then the stone sits on my

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Steampunk Clock Finished
Hans Meevis

A steampunk clock that pumps time and is able to modify time to the
owner’s needs. It has four extremely important functions, that will
enrich the owners life,making it long and joyful, and filled with
bliss and good fortune. ( trust me on this one) I will explain the
functions as we go along…

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YOUR Marketing Questions Answered by Dr. David Weiman

Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. David Weiman, jewelry marketing
expert and author. He’s answering questions submitted by All Things
Metal Clay readers…

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Contemporary Crafts Market

The 23rd Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica, CA just
concluded its 2008 show which featured over 250 the some of the
finest craft artists in the world including nearly 100 jewelry
designers. The show was crowded at times, but the general consensus
was that there was a great deal more looking than buying with people
concerned about the economy, with budgets stretched tighter than
ever before…

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Hydraulic Press and Microfolding Workshops in Birmingham, England

I’ve just received an invitation to teach two workshops at the The
Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre( JIIC ), which is part of The
Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.
http://www.jewellery-innovation.co.uk/ I’ll be teaching two 5-day
Short Courses (British for “workshop” is “Short Course”). I’m
excited! I taught a hydraulic press short course/workshop in 2005
and really enjoyed it…

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My Life before jewelry

Rhodesia. Art, woodwork, rock collecting, rudimentary stone cutting,
the wonder of the outdoors! High school was a big chore except for
woodwork and sport. For entertainment I read the encyclopedia,
explored, and made all kinds of stuff. Doing national service was
right up my alley. My first job was a draftsman and I saved enough
money to quit and be a hippy. A year later I found another job in
the remotest corner of the bush to get away from hippies and the
ever-demanding call to arms. There I met an Australian girl…

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The Rest of My Studio “Helpers”
Beth Wicker

Today I had everyone “helping” in the studio, at one time or
another. Unfortunately one of the cats, Mugsy, does NOT think the
dog, Patch, should be allowed in the studio. And she is VERY vocal
about it! So it was a rather loud day, in places…

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Pearl and Diamond Cluster earrings

I mentioned in an Orchid post that custom diamond total weights with
the laser are a money maker. A case in point. Each earring is made
of 35 little bits of wire, tubing and sheet lasered together. The
7.5mm pearl was the customer’s. The circle of five pointers is domed
and airlined, although not visible in this shot. I have torched this
type of thing before but the laser makes it fun. In fact I hardly
use the torch much at all anymore. No irregular solder reflections,
no firescale, no heartache on the last joint!

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Lasered Diamond Ring

A simple ring that doesn’t have a filet of solder joining the three
shanks or bezel. I set the melee first, which lets me use a file
along the rail for a perfect plane, then carved the inboard ends of
the channel and the side shanks to fit the contour of the bezel.
Pinpoint accuracy of the laser allows a really neat join without
worry of burning the stones. In the past I have torched this kind of
thing with the occasional 98oh-oh’…

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Ring in Platinum set with Aquamarine and Diamond
Sam Patania

Jeff Graha,knows that my daughter’s birthstone is aquamarine. He
would purposely, from my perspective, cut beautiful aqua’s because
he knew I would have to buy it. I also just love aqua, I love
Morganite and Rose de France amethyst for the same reason. They all
have a wonderful understated beauty to them. The understated quality
of aquamarine is not the electric irradiated blue of blue topaz.
Aqua has a pleasant intensity, especially when Jeff cuts it himself.
Jeff’s designs his own cuts and he cuts for color and flash not
weight. Jeff also has access to premium material to start with…

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Trilliants in channel surround settings

5mm Trilliant cut Tanzanites in 9ct channel surrounds, purchased ear
hooks. The channel was made by drawing a strip of gold through a
round drawplate along with a piece of piano wire. The resulting
channel was curved to a radius slightly larger than the sides of the
stones so that the corners of the stones will be free-floating. The
mitres for the two lower corners were filed about one third through,
and the channels bent into triangles. The lower mitres are not
soldered. The top of the channel is open and an open eye was soldered
on leaving a common opening…

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Claddagh by CAD

…A few weeks later, I ran into Stephen again at an Irish Festival
where he had a booth. We chatted for a bit and he mentioned that
three different customers had recently come in looking for a type of
Claddagh ring that he didn’t make. Isn’t that the way it is? All
sorts of Claddagh rings in his shop, but not a Claddagh on a
half-domed wedding band with side rails. I thought it was something
I could probably make, so we made plans to go over the design after
the weekend. A few phone conversations and an email or two later, I
had a pretty good idea of what he was looking for. I figured it would
be a good ArtCAM project since it was fairly naturalistic in shape.
First, I drew a standard half-domed wedding band with side rails…

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My newest creation - Great Dane named “Titan”.

This is an urn for a very large The dog is hammer-formed from 16
gauge brass sheet. The pillow base, of the same material, is
hydro-formed. The base is 10-1/2" square, and the total height is
about 5" tall. The hardest part was figuring out how to do the ears.
In the pictures I had of the dog, the ears were either straight up
or off to the side like wings. I decided that they wouldn’t be up
when the dog is sleeping, which I guess is a moot point because I
was not going to be able to stretch the metal that far. I ended up
with the dog’s left ear off to the side and the right ear as close
to off to the side as the metal would allow.

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Another New Resin Ring Design

I just finished this ring today, and an delighted with the way it
turned out. Neptune’s Moon Coral Ring Elegant and Dramatic in
Design. Simple, Harmonious Forms Mesmerizing Ocean colors, changing
from Blues to Greens to Gold…

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The Jewelry of Silence?

Picture standing in a redwood grove, looking up at the play of light
across the leaves. Deepest shadow dotted with flitting patches of
brightest emerald green. Soft browns deep enough to fall into, and
silent stillness, reverential and poised. Imagine standing on my
grandparent’s back porch on the plains of eastern Colorado, feeling
the sunwarmed stucco at your back, watching a thunderstorm roll in
silently from 50 miles away. The wind, loaded with the scent of
water, blowing from beyond the horizon, and the awesome sweep of the
clouds across the mountains…

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Ring in Platinum set with Diamond and Garnet
Sam Patania

This beautiful garnet came from my favorite source for colored
stones, Jeff Graham. Jeff would stop by every week and tempt me with
his stone of the week. These stones were cut by Jeff himself and he
would cut them to test a new design so I had first crack at many of
original designs. Jeff taught me so much during these weekly gem
shows. I am forever spoiled for good cutting and pass that on to
anyone who will sit for a minute. So many gem stones are poorly cut
which is a misuse of good material. Many stones are poorly cut to
hide the fact that they are bad material. I don’t have a problem with
poor cuts and poor material as long as they are priced appropriately.
For my art work I prefer Jeff’s stones…

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Improving our shop

Well, the new dust collector is fabulous. We bought some inexpensive
unfinished cabinets and pre-cut formica countertops at Home Depot,
and spent last Sunday installing them. This week we’re running
around in circles trying to remember where we put everything, now
that there are places to put things. A little more finishing up is
in order - put end panels on the cabinets, move some electrical
outlets around, and we may be ready for visitors. Or, Photos. yes,
Hans, we will once it’s all together!..

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Quitting the shows

We have been traveling and doing shows for many many years, and
after our last one in October we made the decision that it was truly
the LAST one. We had a couple more on the table for the rest of the
year, and even with losing the advance fees, etc., we cancelled out
and feel that we have minimized our losses…

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Necklace and Bracelet in Sterling and Branch Coral
Sam Patania

My kids and I had the great fortune to spend some of the past summer
in San Carlos, Mexico. We snorkeled almost every day in the Sea of
Cortez which is a rich body of water. We saw more sea life than I
have ever seen outside of an aquarium. I have always wanted to use
sea life motifs in my work but have not been able to make them mine
in any substantive way. I just realized this morning that the three
branch coral necklaces I have made fulfill this desire of mine and I
didn’t even know it. The last necklace and bracelet set I made with
branch coral I named “Coral Sea” and this one is named “Coral Reef”.
I had always assumed that I would make star fish and different fishes
in some way and that would be what I was after but my work is never
realistic. If my work is figurative it is very abstract. This series
is no different.

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Yeay Dennis!

I studied jewelry design at Buffalo State College under Assistant
Professor Tara Stephenson Nahabetian. She and her husband, Dennis,
were very successful with getting the class excited over exploring
every aspect of design and technique. Dennis was also extremely
involved with teaching us how to promote our work…

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Introducing Kevin Potter
Kevin Potter

I suppose I will just start this out like everyone else, and tell
anyone who cares to read this a bit about me. Since this is on
jewelry web page I guess it should be about my jewelry and my
thoughts on the trade. I have been a working goldsmith for 18 years,
most of that time has been spent doing custom work I have been lucky
in that I have not had to do alot of repairs. I am a wax carver most
people who read this will know what that is, I carve the patterns
that are cast into finshed fine jewelery. I work mostly in gold and
platinum but have been using alot of paladium as of late due to the
high cost of the other metals…

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Creating a Mountain Sheep Kachine

This is the finished Mountain Sheep Kachina. It is cast in 293 grams
of sterling silver. The Kachina mask will be used on a large piece of
silver pottery. This paper will describe and illustrate the many
steps in the creation of the piece.

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More Hammer-texture Rolling Mill Adventures

So I got the BIG Cavallin mill bolted down to my ancient welded
steel pipe table I made back when I was a teenager. It’s perfect for
this job and saved a ton of trouble. Next I had to get a big sprocket
to reduce the speed of the gearmotor to the ungeared-down rolling
mill to about 25 rpm. This gives it some more mechanical advantage
too. I had tried extending the manual handle to about 30" long but
that didn’t make rolling anything heavy easy enough to want to do
more than once. It did not facilitate rolling steel to steel hamer
impressions, but the 1/2 hp 245 in. lb. torque gearmotor sure did !.
Not quite what Mr. Durston recommended as far as power, but the fact
that such a big mill might reasonably be powered by the suggested
3/4 hp tells me that I probably won’t be torturing the mill near it’s
capacity like I did my Pepe (now residing in a kitty litter tub
awaiting the Big Move…

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Leaf Series!

A while back I made a couple of necklaces that incorporated a leaf
motif, and I really fell in love with them. They’ve been out of my
shop for a little while, but, in honor of the Fall season, they are
BACK, and I have introduced a third piece to the series!!..

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Solving Problems in Class

Well, how did the ‘floating’ pearl turn out? Remember my suggestion
to student A was to drill a hole approximately 1mm through the top
of the large wave, countersink the hole, insert a pin through the
hole and cement it into the pearl. She did this out of class and
brought it back with the cement cured and about 1mm of the pin
sticking out of the top of the wave. I used this opportunity as a
demonstration to the class on how to create an invisible rivet.
First, I cut the pin down to about 1/2 mm above the surface. Then
with my cross peen riveting hammer, gently, so as not to disturb the
cement or the pearl, tapped the edges of the pin down and into the

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eSMArts Team: Getting ready for the

Christmas tree ornament or suncatcher from MyGemStoneBox by Diane
available at our eSMArts Team store. This makes a great gift for
teachers, friends and family. Made with silver wire and Cathedral
crystal and gold beads, amber crackle, amber AB beads and gold bugle
beads. Finishing touches are pearls to complete the look. Beads are
4mm, 6mm & 8mm. Approx. size of each snowflake is 5" x 5". I have
others soon to be added! Also, listing at my Etsy shop done in red
and crystal! I am offering free wrapping on all items purchased from
now until Christmas! One less gift you have to wrap! Good deal and

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Workshop - Forging: Bracelets, Brooches, and Rings

I just finished teaching a weekend workshop at Metalwerx, and am
very pleased at how much everyone learned and accomplished. We
started with how to hold a hammer, and began by making basic forms
in bronze. Participants then could continue to forge in bronze, or
work with Argentium Sterling Silver. Here are some images from the
“show and tell” discussion at the end of the workshop…

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Book Announcement: First Book out on Bronze Clay

Hadar Jacobson’s self-published book on BronzClay and combining
BronzClay with PMC or ACS is now out! It’s 128 pages, full color,
with 39 projects…

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Custom Guitar Pick Necklace on Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style

Payson & Co.'s first big media coverage - we had the opportunity to
create a custom guitar pick necklace for a season 2 episode of the
Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style show, which aired for the first time this
past week on the Bravo channel. The custom guitar pick necklace,
made by Payson Jewelry was presented to Eliza Neals during episode 6
(‘Eliza’) (you can see a picture of her wearing the necklace here).
Click to read more about the custom guitar pick necklace.

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Necklace in 14K White Gold and Rose de France Amethyst

I love working with models for photography. Nothing makes a piece
come to life more than a beautiful woman. The photograph becomes
more than just a shot of the necklace. A product shot is better for
detail but, the detailed shot can be put into the larger model shot
or followed with a product shot. This necklace was made for the 1999
Tucson Museum of Art show. It wasn’t used in the catalog, it may not
have been done in time for the catalog, I can’t remember. It sold at
the show to a favorite local client…

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New Jewellery Display and Signs

I am busy from last week Monday making a new jewellery display for
my shop. I make them out of steel. Hollow tubing and square solid
bar. They heavy when I am finished. This one will take me a week. I
weld them together in its entirety. It is very quick…

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Observatory Progress

This week I have been lending a hand to get the new observatory
build before winter sets in. It will house the big telescope and
astro imaging equipment. Building this observatory has been Tom’s
dream for many years. The dome will go up next. Tom will be able to
control the dome, telescope and cameras, remotely, from within his
“warm room”. All very high tech and interesting…

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Pendant in Platinum set with Opal and Diamond Sam Patania

One year at the Tucson Gem Show I went to visit a friend who comes
every year to the AGTA. His name is Mark Levine and his company is
called Merchants Oceanic out of New York City. Mark had a fantastic
lot of opal which I fell in love with. It was the nicest opal I had
worked with and I needed to put it with diamond and set it in
platinum. The opal was cut in free form shapes so I wanted to cluster
them in an organic manner and fill in with diamond…

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Want to Excel as a Woman Entrepreneur?

Whenever I give an interview about my book, Discovering Your Inner
Samurai: An Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success, I
am frequently asked the question, “What are women doing wrong in
business?” The emphasis is usually on what isn’t working for women.
For example, women can have difficulty making the big bucks, getting
funding, and competing in the business world. Interviewers often
overlook what women are doing right. What I’ve discovered about
women entrepreneurs who excel is that they do so in some ways that
are similar to their male counterparts and in other ways that are
distinctly different. Both women and men entrepreneurs who excel…

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Customer packaging

We all take in repairs where customers wrap rings in scotch tape or
have 15 items crammed into an old ratty velveteen pouch, or…

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Soldering titanium with a torch (or not)
Jim Binnion

This set of experiments came from a series of postings on the Orchid
list about the possibility of silver or gold brazing (soldering) to
Titanium with a torch. There are special brazing alloys (aluminum
and magnesium based alloys) and fluxes that allow a skilled operator
to torch braze titanium to itself but they are not something that
would be found in a jewelry studio. It is not clear that theses
fluxes and alloys would be compatible with our normal materials
either. So I decided to do a set of experiments to explore the
difficulties of trying to braze titanium with a torch and typical
studio materials. I also wanted to see if a few of the more exotic
studio tools might allow such soldering operations. The short
answers are no you can’t solder with standard materials to titanium
and yes with a pulse arc welder you can set up a procedure that
allows soldering to titanium with a torch but it is not without its
issues. Click on the images below for a little more detail on what is
happening in them…

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Tanzanite and diamond ring

We just finished this ring. Wax was carved and setting and finishing
work done by Ignacio. The tanzanite weighs 2.46 cts. We sure hope
someone buys it for Christmas!..

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Building Displays and New Emerald Ring
Hans Meevis

I finished the display to the point where I have to put glass into
it. To get the glass, it involves me driving to the french side of
the island. Giving them the sizes and paying for it. Then in four or
so days I must drive again to fetch it. This takes three hours a
morning each trip there and back. Friggin’ mission…

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Bracelet in 14K White Gold and Tourmaline
Sam Patania

My father is the master of clean work. His modernist designs leave
no where to hide defects. His surfaces are mirror perfect, he spends
hours making sure of it. My dad taught me patience for this craft. I
don’t believe that my work is as technically perfect as my father’s
but sometimes I get close. This bracelet is a variation of a
modernist design of my father’s made mine by my choice of stones and
metal. My choice of stone placement was also more “Sam” than
“Frank”. I put if off to the side because putting it in the center
would be too easy. To my mind putting the stone on the side made
this piece more interesting…

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It doesn’t smell like Chicken
Kevin Potter

Being that I am a restless employee I have had the opportunity to
work for all kinds of stores, not that I stole anything or did
anything dishonest, I just always thought that the owner was an
idiot and i couldn’t wait to quit that job. The first job I got was
with a custom jeweler who was the only jeweler in town who would
hire someone with no experience, willing to be fully exploited by a
paranoid coke-fiend. My first day at work I showed up at 6am like he
told me. He gave me $100 and said go down to the liquor store down
the street and pick up some “supplies.” He said there’d be an order
there waiting…

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New Gemology Forum
John Rasmussen

Pretty Rock (Dev and Beth McCrorie) has started a new Gemology
forum. This is an exciting addition to the Internet. They have an
internet site that sells gemological equipment and rough stones.
Anyone interested in gem stones should take a look at this forum…

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Save money refine gold
Kevin Potter

The boss was always worried that the gold refiners were screwing him
on his returns, so what is the best course of action for a paranoid
lune to take, yep get a gold refining system and give the how to
video to the apprentice and tell him to be ready to refine gold in
the morning. I watched the video and they said it was real easy and
that you would be saving a fortune in refining fees, yea right, they
left out the parts about toxic gas clouds and acid burns. I managed
to release a toxic cloud of greenish yellow gas that was so dense
that it setteled to the floor…

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Sodalite and Copper
John Rasmussen

Well I have finally gotten a little of my artistic stimulus back, so
here is the latest: This cabochon was cut on my flat lap, then wired
in copper in a Diamond Hitch Cage (see tutorial below). I actually
made two of these the stones are slightly different, but both came
out well…

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Midnight Fire Coral Resin Ring

Elegant and Dramatic in Design.
Simple, Harmonious Forms
Mesmerizing Black and Fire Opal,
Pure Fun and Fantasy
Another new ring, and this one was really fun to make.

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Elaine’s Rules for Blogging Part III

Here’s an update to my Elaine’s Rules for Blogging post, which you
can read here. I’ve been visiting lots of artist’s blogs lately, and
I have these observations and recommendations, specifically for
jeweler and artist bloggers…

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Bracelets in Sterling Silver and Spiny Oyster Shell
Sam Patania

Earlier this year I had a commission through Mark Bahti’s gallery (
www.bahti.com )to make a bracelet in spiny oyster shell and sterling
silver. I LOVE spiny oyster, I love all the colors it comes in
purple, yellow and all the reds. I love to combine it with
turquoise. To me it is old home day when I work with these
materials. As an apprentice to my dad I worked almost exclusively
with turquoise and sterling. Coral and spiny on occasion and few
colored stones. The shop jewelry that I was learning to make didn’t
call for faceted stones so I didn’t learn how to set them until I
was designing on my own. I was not a designer during my ten year
apprenticeship, I concentrated on making what my dad required and
doing the best I could. I had an informal competition with dad and
Dan Enos, I wanted to be as good a craftsman as they…

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Blair Waugh

As the studio continues to grow the need to image the studio has now
come. This has caused me to take the time to consider and decide the
direction which I wish to take in the jewellery trade. After so many
years in the trade now is a good time to take a final, or what I
perceive to be,direction and put the image to that direction…

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Emerald leaf pendant

This is a pendant that we made using a customer’s stones. Peggy
fabricated the leaf and Ignacio set the stones. The stem is the bail
for the pendant. A fun collaboration!..

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Hello world
Kay Taylor

Thanks to the following who have encouraged me to jump in: Etienne
Perret, Sam Patania and Elaine Luther. You may not remember our
conversations in person or online, but I remember you. Now I’ve got
some learning to do. Getting the posts out with photos to go…

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