Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review of Setting School

As a professional jeweler who earned a bench jeweler diploma from the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts (, I find myself occasionally wanting to brush up on old skills, or gain new ones altogether.  I learned basic stone setting at the academy and wanted to push those skills a little farther. 

I had the opportunity to go to a week long session at the New Approach School for Jewelers ( to study comprehensive stone setting.  Some of the techniques would already be familiar but many would be new and tricky to learn!  The instructor was well known for being excellent and he has taught thousands of students both in his school and via DVD instruction. 

The instruction was solely on setting techniques.  We did not create the jewelry that we set stones into.  The techniques we learned were as follows: 

Flush Setting.  We set both colored and colorless stones.  Colored stones often have a heavier base to saturate their color, so they need to be set slightly different from clear stones.

Gypsy and Heavy Walled Bezel Settings.  In both cases you need to refine a seat for each stone prior to setting it.  Both settings use a hammer and punch in order to move a fair amount of metal over the stone. 

Bright Cut Setting.  This techniques requires you to create a seat for the stone.  Next, you set the stone by creating prongs to lock the stone in place. You then carve away the metal around the stone at an angle.  Lastly, you can add a mill grain to finish to the edges.

Claw Prong, Traditional Prong and Square Stone Prong Settings.  The ring on the left begins as a traditional prong setting that is then modified to create a talon like appearance to the prongs.  The middle ring is a traditional, Tiffany style prong setting.  The ring on the right is set by creating a seat within each prong to accommodate the square edges of the princess cut stone.

Regular Channel and Floating Channel Settings.  In a regular channel setting, you create a seat for each stone in the floor of the channel, and with a hammer and punch, move the metal over the stones.  In a floating channel setting you carve a precision seat in the walls of the channel.  You then manipulate the stones into their seat.  Lastly, you tighten the metal around the stones.

Gaining new skills is always an exciting challenge and a great opportunity to expand your creativity.  I definitely recommend doing it!  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bonnie's Magnificent Jewelry Shop

Babbleon is one of the great shops that offers rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings on Etsy. Bonnie is a member of the JewelryonEtsy Team and hails from Ogden, Utah.  Married with 2 babies (fur babies that is). she was born and raised in the great state of Kansas.  She started selling her jewelry on Etsy in 2009.

Bonnie, the designer and owner extraordinaire, created the beautiful winning piece in the recent, Jetteam Spring Challenge. In case you didn't get to see it, here it is again!


Bonnie works with many different materials and her shop is filled with bright colors. There is something for everyone so be sure to stop on over to browse through the shop. You'll be glad you did!!

Here are some of the other items for sale in Bonnie's shop.


Chakra Bracelet and Earring Set
Butterfly Pottery Cuff

Leather and Copper Bracelet

Judy Lott


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Celebrating Mother's Day with the Jetteam

Mother's Day is May 8th this year. This holiday is observed by over forty countries. What better way to honor her than selecting a beautiful piece of jewelry made by a member of the Jetteam on Etsy? Of course, it goes without saying that you will tell her you love her, thank her for all she does for you and your family too. Something extra special handmade by an artisan, would be the "frosting on the cake" so to speak.

We all have special women in our lives; aunt, step mother, sister or friend. Celebrate them all, not only on this special day of rememberance but all year long. For those who are fortunate to still have their mother with them, give them an extra hug!! And let's not forget those pet moms.

According to Webster's Dictionary, this is the definition of a mother.

Definition of mother. 1 a : a female parent b (1) : a woman in authority; specifically : the superior of a religious community of women (2) : an old or elderly woman. 2 : source, origin <necessity is the mother of invention> 3 : maternal tenderness or affection.

Here are just a few of the many gorgeous jewelry pieces for sale on Etsy by the members of the Jetteam.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review

Simple Soldering - A Beginner's Guide to Jewelry Making
by Kate Ferrant Richbourg
As jewelry designers, haven't we all decided at some point that learning to solder would be a good thing to do?

Those times when an open jump ring or cold connection just won't get the job done, soldering can offer the solution to many a problem.

But, as those of us who have tried soldering, whether we've mastered the technique or are still struggling, already know, this is not an easy technique.

After a couple of disgraceful and embarrassing attempts to go it alone, I looked around for a how-to book and, because of its title, chose this pretty paperback.

Starting with The Basics - how soldering works, fire scale & flux, types or solder and flow points & grades, the author leads us through the wheres and wherefores of setting up a work space and choosing our tools and materials.

Then comes the real nitty-gritty: a sampler of 16 pieces to create before moving on to a set of 20 projects. The projects include hook + eye clasp & dapped bead caps, soldered beads, stacked rings, chain earrings, tube riveted pendants, and more.

While all the sampler pieces and projects I worked on are interesting, educational, and fun to make, I found them a bit more time consuming and creatively restrictive than I had hoped. 

No, I didn't make my way through them all, mainly because I wouldn't be able to claim any of the results as my own designs.

A couple of wonderful things I did gain from this book: 
1) Lots of inspiration and ideas for new designs and creations of my own. The color photos are lovely.
2) A generous helping of "pride of ownership." This 160 page book brings a professional aura to my jewelry making shelf, and expecting guests, I manage to have it "just lying around" for them to ooh-and-aah over. Did I mention that the photos are lovely?

Other assets include a useful index and a helpful DVD.

Simple Soldering, published by Interweave Press, 2012.
Find it here:
Also available as an eBook + Digital Download Bundle:
More temptations by Kate Richbourg:


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Not Just Jewelry Designers!

JETs, Jewelry on Etsy Team – what are we? A group of jewelry designers with a common goal. To enhance and guide each other, both design wise and personally. A team with a wealth of knowledge to share.

The point of the title, NOT JUST JEWELRY DESIGNER, is to show what other knowledge is needed as a designer.

One example – photographer and photo manipulator.

Why? You ask. We need to show off our designs to the best of our ability. Customers want to see the real thing so a description really does not do the trick.

We are not professional photographers but we need to know how best to take our photos – lighting, background, sharpness are just a few. Not everyone can afford a top of the range camera and some even use Iphones (which I might add are getting high tech cameras added -  LOL).

So what happens when it goes wrong? Don’t fret. If it’s that bad then start again but there are numerous free, budget and expensive photo editing software programs about.

Picture too dark – just increase exposure or highlights. Decrease shadows maybe.

Picture too bright – if your highlights are too high you may have to start again but decrease highlights and see what happens. Maybe increase shadows.

Item not close enough – crop it baby – easy!

And don’t forget sharpen. Your item must be nice and clear. Never mind the background, make sure you show off your design.

So the main tools are – Exposure, Highlights, Shadows and Sharpen.

Do not mess around with Vibrance, Saturation, Hue and Luminance. These will change colors in your design and not show the real product.

Just a little info about what jewelry designers do behind the scenes. Unfortunately or fortunately I go that a bit further. After taking a few courses on photography I was hooked and below is an example, before editing and after editing, of what I now do – major photo manipulation!