Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jet of the Day - Adroit Jewelers


There is definitely something for everyone here in Maine.  And depending where you live or visit, your Maine experience will be different from somebody in a different part of the state.  I’m going to share a little bit about my Maine. 

Let’s get right to the good stuff.   Mmmm…lobster!  I could make lobster stew for all of the JETS with this 27 pound lobster.  Here’s a little trivia.  How long does it take a lobster to get to be one pound?  I’ll let you guess and then I’ll give the answer in the comment section. 
Growing up, we owned a lobster pound where people could come to eat lobster, clams, and mussels, along with some other good stuff.  It was always fun to meet people from all over and watch their interactions with the Maine lobster.  Some were pros and all that was left were empty shells when they were done.  Others needed step-by-step instructions, while some didn’t even want to touch the lobster.  There was not a day that didn’t bring many laughs.  No, I wasn’t laughing AT the people, I was laughing WITH them.  Well, sometimes they were laughing, too.
My favorite part of my Maine is living on the coast.  I LOVE the ocean!  One of my favorite pass times is going to the beach to collect sea glass (and whatever else may capture my attention).  I do not live far from Acadia National Park.  It is incredibly picturesque and the home of Cadillac Mountain.   This picture depicts looking down from the mountain onto Bar Harbor (a popular tourist town). 

This is a picture of the Bass Harbor lighthouse
I’ll share a few of my creations that came from my beach findings.
Genuine Sea Glass Pendant Knit with Sterling Silver Wire
Chocolate Brown Genuine Sea Glass Link Bracelet
Genuine Sea Glass Earrings Wrapped in Sterling Silver
And I would be remiss if I didn’t share some of the lovely creations from a fellow Mainer and wonderful person, Mollie, from Rough Magic Creations. 
Seashell Pendant Necklace with Jasper, Pearls and Swarovski Crystals

Asymmetrical Copper Starfish Necklace with Blue and White Gemstones

A great  part of the JET team has been getting to know people from all over the world…and my own little world of Maine. 
Maine, “vacationland”.   It really is a great place to visit…and live!
Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jet of the Day - Your Daily Jewels

Following "A"  is for Agate by Shazzabeth a few weeks back, I bring you...

 Is for Borosilicate Glass

Z-Beads by Sarah Moran 
Amazing Lampwork, Here is Sarah's Flickr Feed
Borosilicate glass (Boro) is a unique and specialized variety of glass. Its composition is different from the "soft" glass that is normally used for some beads, paperweights, figurines, art glass bowls, ornaments, etc. It will stand up to a lot of wear and tear without having to treat it as carefully as soft glass jewelry. 

Aqua, Blue, Green and Teal Boro Heart Necklace - SAStudio
Because of its strength, Boro has been used for everything from stovetop cookware to nuclear waste containment. The reason is a high boric oxide content, (at least 5%). This makes the glass resistant to extreme temperatures, and improves its resistance to chemical corrosion. In 1915, a famous line of borosilicate kitchen products  that we all now know and love, was released under the Pyrex label.

Boro Lampwork and Copper Earrings - DesignsbyCher
Orchid Boro Glass Earrings- TheSilverBear

Today, soda-lime  (silica) glass is the glass of choice for kitchenware, due to the fact that it is generally cheaper to produce than borosilicate glass. It is the most prevalent type of glass. Soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as soda, lime, silica, and alumina  in a glass furnace or kiln  at temperatures up to 1675°C.

Saddle Red Lampwork Necklace - StoutDG2
Glass workers also love the amazing color palette available with borosilicate glass.  Actually, there are fewer colors available to work with but each one is an organic, living color that can be manipulated and shaded with careful torch work and annealing.  The craziest mistakes can be lovely The finished piece appears much more dynamic and vibrant. Also, silver and gold metals may be used to color the glass in unique and amazing ways.

Lampwork Bracelet - Your Daily Jewels
Lampwork and Czech Glass Bracelet - Your Daily Jewels
Borosilicate glass is considered more forgiving to work with, as its lower COE (coefficient of thermal expansion)  makes it less apt to crack during flame-working than soda-lime glass. But it does have  a narrower working temperature range, (and much higher)  than soda-lime glass. 

Red Lampwork Glass Earrings - WillowCreekJewelryStudio

It has fewer available colors, thus, the ability to work with the available colors is a skill that must be honed. At one time, soft (soda lime and lead) and hard (borosilicate) glasses had distinctly different looking palettes, but recent developments have diminished the distinctions between them.  Boro is also considerably more expensive than soft glass. Boro glass is as  lovely as many semi precious gemstones, but it will not necessarily be less expensive! 

Z-Beads by Sarah Moran 
Incredible Boro Beads by Sarah, Read her BLOG here.

So, our beloved “Lampies” can be either Boro or not. These spectacular beauties were made by my friend Gillian Soskin of Gillian Beads on Etsy. Gillian also shares photos of her (very neat) glass shop with us.

Gillian's Facebook Page

GillianBeads Studio

Gillian Soskin at Work (or at play!)
The art of glass bead making is done by winding molten glass (hard or soft) from a rod or a strip, around a steel rod called a mandrel. The molten glass is wound around the mandrel until the desired size and bead style are achieved. 

Once in a molten state,  from small to massive scale, lampworkers form the glass by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. Terms used are flameworking or torchworking,  by a hot glass artist or flameworker.

Once a bead is formed and the artist is finished with the actual creation process there are several more steps involved before the bead is ready to be used in fine jewelry. The bead is then placed in a kiln to start the annealing process.
Annealing is the process of slowly reducing the temperature of the hot glass. The annealing process makes glass beads very strong and durable. Beads that have not been annealed will have "stress" in them, which means that on a molecular level, the glass is unstable, and outside forces (falling on the ground, temperature, pressure, etc.) can cause them to develop cracks, stress fractures, or even break.

Blue Hawaii Handmade Lampwork Glass beads - PaulBead 

When a bead is taken out of the kiln it is removed from the mandrel, the holes are cleaned and filed with a Dremel diamond file or similar tool.

Lampwork and Boro beads are one of a kind pieces of wearable art.  The Glass Artist who created your beads actually sat down, chose colors from a palate and created the beautiful designs that came from their soul. This is a long rewarding process that deserves a great deal of respect for the “natural” ability that comes from that artist.  

Pair this with your talented jewelry artisan and you are sure to own an heirloom quality, uniquely beautiful jewelry piece for years to come. 


The best source of all...
SEARCH:  "Jetteam boro",  "Jetteam lampwork", "jetteam Glass beads" on for some of the most gorgeous Boro glass and lampwork jewelry you will find on the Web.

Thanks for reading,

Lampwork Bracelet of Dusty Desert Colors - Your Daily Jewels

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jet of the Day 2/24/12 - Willow Creek Jewelry

Lately, I’ve really become interested in metal, especially copper and everything that can be done with it. I love to manipulate it, fold it, hammer it and poke holes in it. But, I particularly like to take a torch to it. Copper is a warm metal that can achieve gorgeous patinas and it’s also affordable; if you mess something up, it doesn't hit the wallet too bad.

Copper, like other metals, will harden when worked which leads to difficulty in manipulation. This is where the annealing process comes in handy. Annealing results in malleability and reduces the internal stress on the metal, allowing you to move and bend your piece without it becoming brittle.

Hammered Copper Fold Formed Pendant - HGWjewelrydesigns

• Cut your desired shape from copper sheet or you can wait until the end of the creative process and cut the shape from the completed sheet. To begin with you might want to try a 26g or24g thickness.

Autumn Maple Leaf Copper Dish - Rough Magic Creations
• Place your metal on a fire safe work surface, such as a fire brick. Using your torch, heat your metal slowly and evenly; move the flame over the metal in an even fashion. Heat the metal until the entire piece reaches a cherry red color. The cherry red color indicates that the metal has reached the proper annealing temperature. You can also watch the color or your flame as it will turn an orange-red at the same time the copper becomes cherry red. You may find it helpful to dim the lights in order to see the metal
change color.

• After the metal reaches the correct temperature, remove the flame and turn off the torch. Using metal pliers or tongs, quench the metal in water. You can also quench directly into a pickle bath; always use caution when using a pickle bath as not to splash any chemical. If using a pickle bath, use only copper tongs as other metals will contaminate your pickle. The pickle cleans off the fire scale; however, some people prefer this rustic look and choose to leave it or maybe sand back a small portion. After a pickle bath you can also go back with your torch and create some beautiful flame patinas.

• Rinse and dry the annealed metal.

Aspen - Fold Formed Copper Earrings - Willow Creek Jewelry
• Now you’re ready for the fun part. At this point you can fold, hammer, pinch and contort. After folding, use a dull straight edge to open your metal up (I use an oyster shucking knife) When the metal becomes hard again, you simply repeat the annealing process and continue with your creativity.

Mixed Metal Copper and Silver Earrings - Eleven13

• Once you’re happy with your creation you can sand any sharp edges, work harden or toss it in your tumbler.

I find this process to be very relaxing and stress relieving. Sometimes, hours will pass without me realizing it. I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do.

Thank you for reading and happy creating!
Scroll - Hammered Copper Earrings - Willow Creek Jewelry

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jet of the Day - Wearable by Design

Jewelry is an intuitive thing.  It speaks to us.  It speaks for us.  That’s why, as jewelry designers, we are driven to create and adorn ourselves with unique, wearable art.  In our modern, consumable world, we crave individuality and communication.  Mass produced baubles cannot telegraph our nuanced thoughts and our complex identities.
Chain Reaction Industrial Gears Necklace

Is it small bouquets of flowers?  On closer inspection, it’s gears.  A trio of gears that work rhythmically and in concert.  How uniquely feminine -- exposing the beauty that exists within the inner workings of our lives.  The statement is clear: beauty; strength; facilitation; conciliation; control.  (Sleeveless tank top, slacks; heels) 

Silver and Square, Pink Topaz Faceted Ring
Clearly, strongly pink, this ring doesn’t do androgynous, the message is reenforced with the delicate scrollwork on the band.  It says of the wearer “I’m a girl.”  No matter the age or the responsibilities, the approach will be decidedly feminine.  (Cashmere) 

Blue Sapphire and Silver Classic Petite Pendant Necklace
Effortless and easy is how this necklace reads.  No bold pronouncements.  Just everyday casual elegance -- an after the holidays, when you’re ready to quietly be yourself again kind of statement.  The tiny, intensely blue sapphire communicates that private spark at your core which remains, recharging. (Jeans and a sweater)

Unconventional.  Three silver rings, the center ring sporting a thick copper cladding, are as unexpected as they are beautiful.  They buck the system and go their own way, but they retain their female aesthetic.  No need for recharging or introspection here.  This is an action piece.  (Man’s white shirt, boots)

Silver Oak Leaves Necklace

Communing with nature, without getting dirt under your nails.  This necklace begs to be worn when the the air gets crisp and the light comes in, just at an angle that says summer is definitely over.  We sense these rhythms strongly and feel the urge to layer ourselves in the colors and symbols of autumn.  (leather and wool 

We’re not static, we have many roles and moods.  No one piece of jewelry can communicate just how complex our lives can be.  Owning (or creating) a variety of pieces that speak to our many facets can say, at a glance, who we are, in this moment.

Thank you for reading, Jennifer