Thursday, 28 February 2013

Focus on... achieving a perfect polish by hand!

We are often getting asked the best ways to achieve a high polish on metal pieces so we thought we'd share our top tips and favourite products for achieving a high polish with ease. If you don't have a Dremel Multi-Tool in your workshop then these are the perfect alternatives to achieve a gorgeous shine by hand.

The perfect way to start polishing..
The perfect way to start polishing..If you haven't tried using Garryflex sanding blocks yet then you are missing out. These fantastic sanding blocks are much easier to use than sanding paper. They feel a little like an eraser but have grit in them just as sandpaper does. You can use them as a whole block or we often cut them smaller to reach smaller areas and really remove all the dirt and scratches. Work through the three grades as you would do with sandpaper to begin the polishing process.

Perfect polishing by hand...Perfect polishing by hand...
We love these polishing papers, it's so easy to see why they are one of our bestsellers! These sheets of paper are in a range of grades, simply work through the grades to work up to a lovely shine on your metal. We find it really useful to wrap them around a little bit of wood (or even an emery board nail file) to allow you to really work through the grades quickly and work up to a lovely shine.The great thing about these polishing papers is that you can polish your jewellery designs from the comfort of your sofa! We tend to use these after we have removed larger/ deeper scratches using Garryflex blocks.

Get that added shine...

Get that added shine...
Once we've worked through the grades of our polishing papers we often like to give our designs that extra little bit of shine by using a jewellery polishing cloth. A few rubs of this brilliant cloth add that finishing touch to your designs allowing them to really shine! (It's also great for polishing up your tarnished jewellery and other items!)

The perfect kit to get you started...
The perfect kit to get you started...
Our buying team at Kernowcraft have put together the perfect polishing kit to get you polishing up your jewellery designs by hand. If you don't have a Dremel Multi-Tool then this is the perfect way to polish your metal designs from the comfort of your home. Our team have carefully chosen all that you need to polish your metal by hand including sanding sheets, polishing papers and a jewellery polishing cloth. If you are just starting with jewellery making this is a fantastic kit to get your home workshop started.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

New Art Clay Silver Formula- it's now even easier to use!

Kernowcraft are really excited to be stocking the new and improved Art Clay Silver formula!
The clever people at Aida have developed a new version of Art Clay Silver that is even better than their previous formulas of silver metal clay. This new version combines all the best characteristics from their previous formulas including:
  • Slower drying time (from the Slow Dry formula)
  • Low firing temperature (from Art Clay 650 formula)
  • Easy moulding (from the original Art Clay formula)
These enhanced characteristics mean that this fantastic clay is much easier to use than ever before. It is easier to work with, with slower drying time meaning that you have longer to work the clay into a gorgeous design. It also accepts moisture more than previous formulas, making it easier to rework items as well as reconstituting dried Art Clay Silver. As well as these improved characteristics, this new formula is also much easier to carve in to when dry than previous versions. All of these developments mean that this new Art Clay Silver formula is even easier to use than ever before!
This brilliant new Art Clay Silver formula will replace all previous Art Clay Silver ranges as it's combination of all these characteristics make it the best Art Clay Silver yet. So why not create some beautiful fine silver jewellery with ease using this fantastic formula that transforms from a clay into pure silver when it is fired!
Click here to see our range of metal clay and metal clay accessories!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Be inspired this Valentines day!

Be inspired this Valentines day!

The perfect clasp This heart clasp is one of the newest additions to our range of findings and will add that perfect romantic touch to your designs. Why not combine with some pretty rose quartz beads and create a pretty bracelet?
The perfect claspA lovely little charm

A lovely little charm Why not give this little sterling silver heart charm to a loved one? This dainty little charm looks great added to a charm chain but is also great for using as a detail on beaded bracelets or added onto earring drops.

Rose Quartz romance... Traditionally rose quartz is said to open the heart to love, so what better stone to incorporate into a beautiful piece of jewellery for a loved one? These rose quartz beads are available in three sizes so are suitable for creating pretty earrings, bracelets and necklaces!
Rose Quartz romance...Create beautiful settings!

Create beautiful settings! Our Rose Quartz cabochons are so pretty, with a delicate pink colour that is sure to make someone smile this Valentines day. Add into a handmade setting or if you are a little less experienced try one of our sterling silver gallery wire settings which are so simple to set. Pop in your stone and push the pretty wire detail around the stone to secure into place!
A kiss from a rose...
A kiss from a rose... These sterling silver charm beads are always popular. Whether your loved one has a 'Pandora' style charm bracelet or you want to add this into your jewellery design, these sterling silver rose charm beads are so pretty. The roses are so detailed and perfect for adding that vintage vibe to your designs!
A pretty pendant (at a reduced price!)
A pretty pendant (at a reduced price!) Our sterling silver heart back set pendants are currently on offer with a brilliant 35% off! They're a perfect pretty pendant for a loved one, choose a 5mm heart faceted stone, pop in the back and bend the claws over to secure in place. It's a great make for somebody just starting in the jewellery world and what can be nicer than giving a handmade gift!
A pretty treat for just £6!
A pretty treat for just £6! Our freshwater pearl earring kits are super popular, at just £6 these kits give you the pearls and earring settings, as well as some handy instructions, to create a beautiful pair of freshwater pearl earrings in just 5 minutes. All you need to add is a dab of glue. Available in three colours, white, peach and peacock, these earrings are a perfect little treat this Valentines day.
The colour of love...
The colour of love... These extra special ruby beads are such a beautiful pink that they are sure to make an impact in your jewellery designs. Add a couple of these beads to some earring drops or for something extra special transform a whole strand into a luxurious necklace.

Terrific Turquoise!

If you are as in love with Turquoise as much as us then we're sure you'd love to know a little more about the history of this beautiful stone!
Turquoise has long been famed for its intense colour and can vary from vibrant blues to gorgeous greens, this colour variation is affected by the amount of copper and iron that is within the stone. Varying from a solid colour to beautiful black veining this stone is always one to grab attention in jewellery designs.

Where is Turquoise found?
Turquoise can be found in a number of countries around the world, the country of origin very often dictates the colour of the Turquoise, so Iranian Turquoise is famed for it's sky blue colour whereas Tibetan Turquoise is treasured for it's greener colour, as is Turquoise from the USA and Mexico.
Turquoise is often formed within igneous and sedimentary rocks that are rich is aluminium. It very rarely forms crystals but instead creates a large crust on rocks. As it doesn't form crystals it is a very light and fragile material and so the majority of Turquoise on the market has been stabilised for use in jewellery.

Turquoise...a brief history!
Turquoise was one of the first stones to be mined. It's history dates back to Ancient Egypt when it was considered sacred to the goddess Hathor. It was also considered sacred for many Native Americans tribes including Navajos and Apaches where Turquoise was prominent in their jewellery and carvings as talismans. Today Turquoise is an extremely popular stone and is used in a wide range of jewellery making including as beads, cabochons and even faceted cut stones.

Turquoise and crystal healing.
Turquoise is said to be a protective stone which enhances intuition, therefore it has been thought that it can warn the wearer of danger or illness by changing colour. It is also traditionally believed to unite the earth and sky to bring inner calm.

Click here to see some of our Turquoise beads.
Click here to see some of our Turquoise cabochons.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Try something new for 2013!

A new year is always a great excuse to try something new and advance your jewellery making skills, so why not take a look at some of our products that will allow you to try something new for 2013!
Add a creative finish to your metal designs...
If silversmithing is your thing then why not have a go with our glass fibre scratch brush. This easy to use tool allows you to try new finishes on your metal. Add a fashionable 'satin' effect to your metal designs or use to add a more rustic 'scratched' effect. As this brush is small and easy to use you can highlight different parts of your design with this 'scratched' effect, it's a great alternative to adding a hammered finish to your designs. Simply use under running water and brush over the surface of your piece- it's a brilliant, fast and easy way to add a new dimension to your designs!

Get a perfect polish by hand...
If, like us, you struggle with fiddly sanding sheets then why not save yourself some time (and stress!) in 2013 by having a go with Garryflex sanding blocks. These blocks come in three grades which you work through as you would do with sanding sheets however they are much easier to use. Think of them like using an eraser, they're easy to grip on to and use. Cut smaller pieces off to sand in smaller areas and get into more detailed areas, work through the grades to achieve a lovely polish. Once you've had a go we doubt you'll go back to using sanding sheets. Take a look at Kernowcraft team member Jo's blog about being converted to using them here.

Protect your fingers whilst silversmithing..
It comes with the territory, but as we all know silvermithing can often end up leaving you with hands that look like you've had an argument with your tools. Now you can protect your hands from cuts, grazes and even burns when silversmithing by using the amazing alligator protection tape. Wrap this self-adhesive tape around your fingers to protect yourself, perfect if you're new to the world of silversmithing in 2013! Simply discard when you've finished, as it attaches to yourself it doesn't leave an awful sticky residue and leaves your hands cut free! At just £3.95 for a 27 metre roll it's sure to last you a while.

The perfect book to inspire some new ideas for 2013...
If you're looking to expand your knowledge of silversmithing in 2013 then the book 'The Workbench Guide to Jewellery Techniques' is the perfect book for you. This book is filled with a huge variety of creative techniques including reticulation, enamelling, press forming, casting, patinas, making catches and much more. This book is sure to fill you with some brilliant ideas for your jewellery designs and some brilliant creative techniques to keep you filled with fresh ideas for 2013. For our full range of books covering everything from beading to metal clay click here and learn something new this year!

Set your first stones with ease...
If you've never tried setting stones before then why not have a go this year! With our range of easy to set gallery wire settings you can set your first stone in just 5 minutes! These settings are available as pendant settings or link settings in both sterling silver and brass and can be used for earrings, bracelets and pendants. Simply pop in your stone and use a bezel rocker or even a spoon to push the pretty gallery wire around the stone to secure into place. To see for yourself how easy these are to set for yourself click here to see our video.
There are so many possibilities to get creative with your jewellery making and try something new and exciting for 2013, keep your eyes on our blog and 'Just Arrived' section throughout the year to see some more fantastic inspiration!

Create funky necklaces in just 5 minutes!

Our new silver plated donut holders are so funky with a modern bird design that is so popular right now. These are some of the nicest donut holders that we've seen, not only is the bird design bang on trend but they add such a modern touch to gemstone donuts. They're designed to fit our newest range of 40mm gemstone donuts which include simple yet beautiful stones such as blue goldstone and black onyx as well as some super stunning patterned donuts in dalmation jasper and rhyolite. The silver bird design makes a lovely contrast to the gemstones making a real feature!

All you need to do to create a funky and modern necklace is slide the donut holder through the centre of the donut and fold down to secure into place. We think they look great slid onto one of our silver plated neck wires to continue the modern style or for a more traditional style you could add them to one of our silver plated chains which start at just 72p each.

These funky donut holders have been chosen for their great quality plating as well as they're design and cost £4.95 each, our beautiful large gemstone donuts range from £4.60 each. So you can create a gorgeous necklace in little time and at a low cost, making them perfect for presents or just that little treat for yourself!

Click here to see these new donut holders and take a look at the related products for our range of gemstone donuts.

A brief history of Labradorite!

It's always nice to know the origins of stones, especially when you're using them in your designs so we thought we'd share a little bit of history on one of our favourite stones, Labradorite!
Labradorite is characterised by it's stunning iridescent flashes which can range from rich golds to blues and even pinks, these flashes can often cover the whole surface of the stone but can also form gorgeous bands creating a striped effect ...sometimes it's even hard to believe that these stones are created by nature!
So, where does Labradorite come from?
Labradorite gets it's name from where it is mainly found, the Labradorite peninsular in Canada, however it can also be found in other metamorphic and igneous rock around the world including in places such as Finland, Norway, Australia and Mexico.
Labradorite has been known for many centuries in the area of Labrador by the native Inuit tribes, there are a whole host of stories involving the original discovery of Labradorite, but our favourite (and perhaps the one that sounds the most magical!) is the idea that a 'mighty being' came down to earth and threw the stones up to the sky to create stars, however a few remained sparkling in the ground.
It is said that Labradorite was discovered by Moravian missionaries living within the Inuit community who saw boulders in the area giving off a gorgeous blue flash, who then brought it across to Europe by them in 1771 where it's stunning iridescent flashes quickly became popular in the European jewellery market.
Labradorite and crystal healing
Labradorite is believed to have a vast range of characteristics which can be used within crystal healing. It is said to treat disorders of the eyes, relieve stress and regulate metabolism as well as balancing hormones and lowering blood pressure. It is said to be most effective at combatting these ailments when worn over the higher heart chakra, so transforming a beautiful labradorite into a pendant would be a great way of aiding this process!
As well as being used within crystal healing Labradorite is said to banish fear and insecurity as well as calming an overactive mind and aiding people through a period of change giving them strength and perseverence. So why not transform a piece of labradorite into a piece of jewellery, making a great gift for someone going through big changes in their life.
Labradorite is by far the favourite gemstone of the Kernowcraft team, with it's gorgeous blue flashes and markings we just can't stop using it in our jewellery designs!
Click here to see some of our range of labradorite cabochons!