Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Flights of Imagination of a Jewelry Designer

By Olga of O V Gillies Designs

Every jewelry designer goes through stages, collections, periods where creative streaks overtake often in a direction previously not imagined. Thankfully, my latest flight of imagination is something that has been in my mind and in development in my studio for a while.

First, is the mini-make-over of the focal semi-precious pendant stone design that I have been selling in my O V Gillies Designs on Etsy shop for a while now. I have updated this design with a long pullover, infinity, chain and a hand-stamped brass leaf with my maker's name and the name of the stone. The look and style is something of a bohemian, city chic. The necklace sits just below your breast and will go well with a more relaxed look, while subtle natural colors and classic design make it perfect to add something unique to a work suit.

I choose every stone for each design very carefully. The selection is often influenced by various inspirations, often I take a photograph of the inspiration and include it in the listing. Not surprisingly, living on an island, the colors and nature around play a major role in my inspirations. I wire wrap each pendant individually and hand-stamp each tag myself. This results in characteristic handmade 'imperfections' and quirky little things the total of which is an absolutely unique piece of jewelry.

Second, is the coming together of my two passions: art and Mineralogy. The result, is the line of Art Canvas Necklaces that feature unusual, interesting semi-precious stones as mini works of art. I love finding stones that represent intricate, complex designs and creations of nature. In Art Canvas pieces I present them on a classic linen canvas. Each stone is natural, untreated and is absolutely unique. Each mini canvas is handmade by me with natural materials - pure linen, wood, raw brass. I metalsmith each bail and hand stamp my maker's name and the name of the stone, or a combination of stones, featured in each necklace. There are characteristic handmade quirks in each necklace, and I have used a long oxidised black sterling silver chain to complement each handmade mini Mineralogy art pendant.

New Jewelry at O V Gillies

Ocean Jasper pendant stone black silver chain necklace. Smooth oval cabochon, linen canvas. Seaside geometry, Mineralogy jewellery


Navy blue untreated Pietersite pendant stone necklace. Midnight storm blue leaf focal Pietersite black silver chain. Night sky jewellery


Petrified Wood Opal Cheetah Agate pendant stone necklace. Fossilised w/ druzy black silver chain. Mineralogy jewellery


Untreated denim blue Apatite pendant necklace. Smooth trapezoid stone, linen canvas, long black silver chain. Geometric, geometry jewellery


Favourite pieces of art-jewelry from other JET team artisans by O V Gillies

Black Eclectic Jasper G...


Luna Moth Fairy Pendant...


Goddess Necklace- Sterl...


Green Quartz Gemstone R...


Geometric Wire Earrings...


Carved Amazonite & Pyri...


Prasiolite Ring Sterlin...


Starflower Fine Silver ...


Sterling Silver Queen C...


Mens Silver Compass Wax...


Anatomical Heart Neckla...


Green Amethyst (Prasiol...


Hand Painted Glass Lock...


Marquise Loop Earwires,...


Wood and Stone Pendant ...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Enter Autumn Wedding Season

By Lynn from Urban Pearl Studio

Did you happen to know there are more September and October weddings than June? I was a shocked to hear this tidbit as well but if sales this time of year speak volumes.

So many brides are looking for new designs and colors; harvest colors, black, and gray all compete for top billing. This design from Urban Pearl Studio has them all in one contemporary flash of pearls.

Styles in bridesmaid dresses cover a broad range. Strapless is still the go to style for all seasons with short, mid length, and long all being offered this fall. We are seeing a-line, high waisted looks more often than not, but the mermaid style and layers of ruffles are still present.

The choices for brides are endless from classically tailored to retro Cinderella fluff. Wedding designers are really getting what brides want and delivering amazing colorful, tasteful options for the season.

I'm not at all surprised to see black wedding gowns hit the market. This Vera Wang dress is stunning. The number of black pearl necklaces I have created for brides this season tells me this is not just a trend but is here to stay.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stamping Tips and Tricks

By Denise from LoveStoneArts

Stamping can be stressful, partly because it is often custom work, and we want the customer to be thrilled with their order, and partly because it requires precision. I only stamp when I'm calm and focused and even then still sometimes make mistakes.

Getting Started
First, I make a paper practice template with the stamps to determine size and spacing using a slab of apple wood as a block to stamp the practice piece because it allows the letters to indent.
*Don't do the actual stamping on the wood slab!

When I'm satisfied with the paper version I cut it to the finished sized and use this as the guide for laying out the cutting lines on silver sheet or whatever metal you will use. Cut your metal to size. I usually use 20 gauge.

If you want to add texture to your piece do it now on the steel bench block.

I next do the sanding, filing, and preliminary polishing as well as punching any holes where needed.

Let The Stamping Begin
I have the paper patterns, stamps, a brass mallet, my jeweler's hammer, and a rubber block laid out on the work surface next to the steel bench block. I look at the patterns but have not tried stamping through the paper (this might just work for you).

Check the position of your stamp on the metal piece and recheck until you're satisfied that the letter is right-side-up and the spacing is what you want. Breathe deeply. Take your time. I don't try to stamp with just one stroke of the brass mallet but usually take 2 or 3 firm raps while stabilizing the silver piece and the stamp with my left hand. With practice you will get a feel for keeping the stamp from bouncing.

I figured out a way to work with kids on stamping. I stabilize the metal and the stamp firmly with both my hands. I have them hold the stamp above my hands with their left hand and they whack with the mallet in their right hand as many times as I think will give them the depth they need on their lettering. It works remarkably well; so well that I think I should enlist a helper for stamping all the time!

Repeat, Repeat
If your piece is curling you can flatten it out by tapping it face down on the rubber block with the broad face of your jeweler's hammer. If you don't have a rubber block, you can cushion the steel block with a rubbery silicon baking sheet to protect the face of your work. Complete stamping your phrase and repeat the flattening step once you're finished stamping. I usually only stamp one side but sometimes make two sided pieces by fusing several layers together. I haven't had a problem with putting the torch to a stamped piece; seems to maintain the detail just fine.

To dome a stamped piece I use a wooden dapping set to protect the pattern and/or lettering. You can carefully use a metal dapping set but you will lose a little of the detail.

You may darken the letters with sulphur oxidizing on silver or heat oxidizing on copper.  I also use an industrial indelible ink.

We would love to hear your tips for creating great stamped pieces. Please share them below and perhaps they may be featured in another post.