Monday, May 30, 2011

JET Interview - Mollie of Rough Magic Creations

This gemstone and copper starfish necklace reminds me of summertime on the beautiful coast of Down East Maine, where Joe and I are fortunate enough to live.

The arts have always held a fascination for me. I've tried my hand at drawing, painting, fiction writing, playwriting and, when the need to eat intruded, editing and publishing. In fact, my husband Joe and I own and operate a small publishing company, providing pre-World War I American plays to college and university bookstores. At one point, we even wrote two theatre related cookbooks, which we are considering reprinting for theatre gift shops and, of course, for sale on Etsy.

These earrings embody the concept that I call "rough magic," mixing the rough of hand carved Maine hardwood beads, the magic of blue green Peruvian opals, and my old friend Copper
When I began designing jewelry, I named my brand Rough Magic Creations, inspired by a line in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. But long before I saw the play performed, the phrase "rough magic" had been stashed away in a corner of my mind. You see, one of my favorite novelists is the wonderful storyteller Mary Stewart, who entitled one of her "damsel in distress" thrillers, This Rough Magic. When I first read that book I had never dreamed of making jewelry, so it's a bit ironic that a valuable ring plays an important role in the novel.

This "rough magic" bracelet combines mixed gemstone stars with smoky agates, crystals, hand carved wooden beads, coin pearls and shells I collected from the beach
It was Joe who first suggested I start designing jewelry. When the idea took root, I envisioned myself working in sterling silver. But first I went to the local builders' supply and bought a role of copper wire to use for practice - before moving to the pricier sterling. A good thing I did, because I wasted that entire roll of copper trying to master the wrapped loop! After many hours … no, make that weeks … and goodness knows how many more rolls of copper wire, I took the plunge and bought myself several yards of sterling silver. Ah, what a thrill to see that beautiful metal, to feel it in my hands! And yes, I did enjoy working with it and still do. But soon I found my fingers itching for the warm, friendly and forgiving touch of copper.

I have to admit to being partial to these Gentle Folk Earrings. They're all copper, after all!
There's a saying among us copper-loving jewelry makers that copper gets under your skin - metaphorically as well as literally. My fingers and I can testify to that. I've come to look at copper as a faithful old friend whom I can bend, wrap, coil, pound, dip in this and that, and be assured that somehow or other, it will either do what I want or teach me a lesson. And for me, that's what life is all about - creating something beautiful or learning something valuable. More valuable even than the ring in Mary Stewart's tale.

"With This Ring" Romantic Copper Heart Pendant Necklace

Saturday, May 28, 2011

JET Interview- Laura Stamper Designs

Lotus Pin or Pendant and Sculpture

Laura Stamper Designs

Imagination meets art in my world of wearable sculpture. I handcraft every unique piece from porcelain and gemstones; and then set it in precious mixed metals. My jewelry is truly three-dimensional. Many of the pieces are designed to stand as sculpture when not being worn.

Druzy Crater Ring

My Artsy Beginnings
I grew up in rural Minnesota, greatly affected by the natural beauty around me. As a child, I was always making things with mud and drawing on walls. Today, my influences are nature and the feminine image. Further, much of my inspiration is rooted in story. Each piece of miniature wearable sculpture has its own personality and its own story to tell.

Mermaid Bracelet

The Evolution of My Art
My first love is painting and illustrating and I formally studied portraiture. From there, I moved into working in clay sculpture and pottery. I dabbled with small pieces of porcelain jewelry, drawing pictures and glazing the miniatures. Eventually, I took the process one step further and sculpted the porcelain to make the jewelry. As the work evolved, I developed a desire to work with metal and incorporate the porcelain miniatures with more materials.

For several years, I have done sculptural portraits in jewelry. My collectors encouraged me to do celebrities. I enjoy making pieces of iconic beauties from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (i.e. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc.).

Icon Ring--Frida Kahlo

My Process & Materials
I do not, nor have I ever sat down and forced myself to create. I close my eyes, and I see unending possibilities. When I approach a new piece, I think in terms of color, composition, and negative space.

All of my designs are original in concept and execution. My studio assistant helps me with the preparation process and the finishing (polishing and beading).

The entire process for each piece consists of multiple steps:
First, I sculpt the miniatures in fine porcelain. Then, I fire them several times in small kilns, layering the glazes. Next, I marry them with gemstones and other natural materials using fabrication techniques.

The metals that I use in this process are fine and sterling silver, 18k and 22k gold and 24k gold leaf. I am also drawn to unusual materials; such as minerals and rough-cut stones. I feel nature provides beauty far more intriguing than when man gets involved in the process.

In the end, the most common question I get asked is, "Don't you have a hard time parting with them?" The only reason that I do not is that I know each piece is waiting for her human twin. Call me crazy, but "they" tell me who they are and I just provide the hands to help them get here. I also think they know who they are going home with long before I do. It is as if they beckon their future owner, saying, "Look at me! I am part of you!"

Circles-2 Earrings in Reclaimed Sterling Silver and Copper

My Artistic Future:
I am moving increasingly toward working with reclaimed metals. This is not only the cosmically correct thing to do, but it opens up another new world of materials and ideas.

Mixed Reclaimed Metals - Crescent Moon Earrings

I am sure there must be reincarnation because I will never live long enough to bring to life all the ideas that run through my head!

As for retiring, I hope never! Instead, I hope I am creating until my last breath.

Please visit my website for news and to track my exhibitions scheduled for the year:

You can find Laura Stamper Designs at juried art shows across the nation, through select galleries and through the fine crafts catalog, Uno Alla Volta.

Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Expanding your Business Horizons - to A Second Location!

The First Step …

            In setting up a new web business is planning and thoughtful action. You are building something that will be there for a long time; there is no rush. Think ... and plan first. This is most important.

            Before you do anything else, you need to decide how much control you want over your new place of business. If you are happy working within a framework with few options, you’re probably looking for another site like Etsy. There are many of them out there, some more heavily promoted and successful than others.  The tightly controlled sites like eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Artfire give you a form to fill out when adding items; all the pages on the site look very similar; and your URL is a subweb of a larger site. Although this type of site has its advantages, you don’t have many options with this type of site and you have to do things their way, which means using their payment options, their terms of service and their feedback system.

The next type of site is a prepackaged solution with a bit more freedom to do what you want. Still, it IS pre-packaged, and you have to work within boundaries. These sites can be good if you don’t really want to make the site look a certain way; since they’re essentially a “site in a box” you’ll find they’re easy to set up. All you do is upload your items, put your name at the top and set up your payment solution. Many of these sites come with a shopping cart, or have one available as an add-on option.

Sites that work in a similar way to this are Yahoo! Stores, the Verizon websites you may have seen advertised on TV, Intuit stores and the stores at Main Street Mall Online. Of course there are many others, and you can find them with a quick Google search. With Yahoo! Stores, you can use their site building software as is or modify it by adding to or re-writing portions of the html.  You can even hire an “expert” Yahoo approved designer to build your store for you.

With Main Street Mall Online, you use a form, similar to Etsy. But their form allows a lot of modification; you can pretty much make the pages look any way you want with html. I believe most of these sites allow URL forwarding. This means the actual web address would be something like But you can attach your URL to it by using a forwarding service. This allows you to promote with your web address.

            The third type of shop I want to discuss is an independent website, completely set up and run by you. This allows complete freedom. Take the payment services you want. Use any shopping cart. You write the terms of service; it is your store, and you’re the boss. Make it look any way you want; have as many pages as you want; no competitors on the same domain a click away; there are MANY benefits to this option.

            To do this you have to bring several components together in harmony … they all need to work in a seamless way for a smooth customer experience. But by using services that exist for this purpose, you can save countless hours of work.

            In any case you have to promote your items. As Etsy shop owners we know there is a cost to visibility. If you want to stay anywhere near the top of the Etsy search you have to renew items. Since they cut the time period items remain in your shop before you have to renew, this can add up. However, this is actually a very reasonable price for exposure to Etsy’s shopper base; in reality, renewing before the deadline is the most popular way to advertise on Etsy.

            I mentioned in my first article that we began selling jewelry online at eBay. At one time we had several hundred items for sale there, and because of the final value fees and all the add on options – fees for the gallery, some with bold type etc … one month our bill reached a staggering $800.00 for the Christmas season.

            That was when I decided … enough. I stopped selling at eBay and began advertising with Pay per Click ads instead which were new - and cheap in 2000 - 2001. I figured if I was paying all that cash … and making eBay stronger … I could promote my own brand instead of eBay’s by going independent.

            One way or another … promoting your items costs money. But every time you make a sale in your current shop, the customer sees a big ETSY logo. Ask someone “where did you get that?” Good chance they’ll say I bought it from Etsy. Or eBay. Not the seller on eBay. You are making Etsy famous and cementing it into your customer’s mind.

            I am not saying close shop on Etsy and go indie. But do BOTH!

The real difference between the first type of shop and the more independent options is marketing. With the sites in the first paragraph, you have shoppers who are registered customers or members of the site – a ready and waiting pool of customers looking for things that interest them. With the second type of site you usually have to get the word out yourself; you have to advertise or market on search engines.

So … which option is best?

That’s up to you. The least expensive, time saving option is a second shop like an Etsy shop; could be on Amazon, eBay or Artfire or one of the others like iOffer or Zazzle. If money and time are a concern, this is the way to go.

Yahoo stores can do very well on search engines, and you can get your items into exclusive Yahoo advertising programs if they host your store. Main Street Mall Shops can be moneymakers, but you’ll need to advertise. With both there is a monthly fee. Yahoo also takes a piece of everything you sell – on top of the monthly fee.

Of course I prefer my own site. It is more work to set up, and there are expenses - but there is nothing like being in control of everything. And … once it IS running, there is very little needed to keep it humming along nicely. In the next article, I’ll begin to discuss how to set a site up step by step, from registering the URL to adding the shopping cart.

Bob Edwards is a proud member of the Jewelry on Etsy Team - JET. He is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade, specializing in handmade silver jewelry. This article may be reproduced provided it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2011 Robert Edwards

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From our team, and on this team blog you will find gorgeous selections of handmade,one of a kind, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, anklets in any style of jewelry you can imagine!  The JETs (Jewelry on EtsyTeam)  is your  direct connection to collections from one hundred of Etsy's premiere jewelry artisans working with sterling silver, copper, brass, gold, and recycled metals; semi precious gemstones, pearls, crystals, handmade glass beads, found objects, and more. Stop by daily to see what is new. And visit our TeamPage on


'FA LA LA ... it's the Jets! PART ONE' by cooljewelrydesign

Great team of diverse folks who each have his or her own distinctive "look"...check out these amazing shops.

Rustic forged copper an...

Rainforest Green Quartz...

Copper Bracelet Word Sa...

Jade and Copper Stamped...

Large White Pearl Teard...

African Copper Bead Cop...

Gorgeous Deep Red Facet...

Silver Owl Necklace

Colorful Copper Necklac...


Rhodochrosite and Sterl...

Gilded Tiger Eye Dragon...

Golden Crystal Wrapped ...

Artisan Silver Jewelry ...

Sterling and Fine Silve...

Beautiful Agate Tie Tac

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ever wonder how people get that groovy  Facebook “like” button on their blog?  In case, like me, you are facebookingly impaired, I have simplified it for you.

1. Go to your fan page
2. Click on "Edit Info" (upper right)
3. Click on "Marketing" on the left side
4. Click on "Add a Like Box to your Website"
5. Put your page's address in the box titled "Facebook Page URL"
6. Tweak the setting:
  • Mine is 175 width  in order to line up with my other widgets
  • I chose light because dark is black and too dark for my blog
  • I chose not to “show stream” because it looked too busy for my blog
  • I chose “show faces” because I like to see my friends
  • I chose “show header” because they can click and go  to your FB page

7.   Hit:  "get code”
8.   Copy either: "iframe" or "xfbml" code.  I used “xfbml” and it worked. 
(That’s all I know about this step)

9.   Go to your blog , sign in,  and click on "design". (I use the new Blogger Platform, I am not sure of the steps to get to “design” on the older format.
10.  You will see your boxes with "add a gadget", click on one.
11.  Click on "HTML/JavaScript" (8th gadget from the top.)
12.  Title it how ever you like. You can put your page name or “My Facebook page”.
13.  Paste the content that you copied from your Facebook page in the "content" section and save.
14.  You will see "page element added"
15  Hit "view blog" and see where it is positioned in your blog.  Give it a few seconds to load.
16.  You can go back in to "design" to move it around your blog. You just drag that “widget” to wherever you want it. Hit save.

Easy peazy.

 Thanks for reading,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chrysoprase: Another May Birthstone

Chrysoprase is an alternate birthstone to emerald, for the month of May. This beautiful green gemstone is one variety of chalcedony and varies from a deep green to an apple or lighter green, often called lemon chrysoprase

 Many green stones get their color from chromium or vanadium. The lovely green color of this stone comes from a trace amount of nickel. It resembles jade and is the rarest stone among the chalcedony group; and perhaps the most expensive.

Chrysoprase can be found in many part of the world, including Brazil, Australia, the Ural Mountains, and right here in the US. The name “chrysoprase” comes from the Greek words cgrysis (golden) and prase (leek).
There is much gemstone lore surrounding this Chrysoprase.  It is considered a lucky stone and thought to attract money. Chrysoprase is also thought to encourage love, tolerance, and friendship.

Frederick the Great of Prussia had many pieces of furniture and art made in whole of pieces of chrysoprase. This stone can still be seen in many buildings in Prague, including the Chapel of St. Wenceslas.

Jewelry designers including Peter Carl Faberge have used this gemstone in their designs. For a period, it became rare and expensive until more resources were found. Today, good uniform colored Chrysoprase is no longer hard to find.

As you willl see, it is a popular gemstone among the members of the Jewelry on Etsy team (JET). Among the JETs, you will find many handmade bracelets, necklaces, pendants, and earrings designed with chrysoprase.

Handmade Chrysoprase Jewelry: Courtesy of the JETS'

Chrysophase Wire Wrappe...


Sterling Silver Pattern...


Tiny Lemon Chrysoprase ...


Green Chrysoprase and H...


Natural Beauty - Chryso...


Green Gemstone Chrysopr...


Opalite and Chrysoprase...


Vintaj brass chrysopras...


OOAK Australian Chrysop...


Wirewrap Lemon Chrysopr...


Apple Green Australian ...


MATTE GOLD Chrysoprase ...


Lemon Chrysoprase Teard...



Australian Chrysoprase....


Chrysoprase With Citrin...