Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Jasper fit for a royal?

On a recent buying trip we came across the most beautiful semi-precious gemstone... Royal Imperial Jasper.

Jaspers come in a huge variety of colours and one of the lovely things about Royal Imperial Jasper stone is the mix of colours that you can get within one stone. Colours are predominately in shades of green and brown but with unexpected shots of orange and pink. It reminds me quite strongly of the markings you get in petrified wood, but with brighter colours.

Ring by Amy Buettner

We have come across some really stunning jewellery made from this gemstone on Pinterest (take a look at our jewellery inspiration board too see some of the designs we spotted). These are some of our favourites by some very talented jewellers (see Pinterest for the original sources of these images).

Ring & pendant (below) by MercuryOrchid

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Is this cheating?

Maybe... But it sure makes reticulation easy!

I'm not adverse to using short cuts and methods that make the jewellery making process a bit simpler and quicker (using ready fluxed solder paste instead of traditional solder strips and separate flux is the perfect example of this!).

Our recent blog post was about reticulating silver and touched on the clever crinkle metal that we stock. Here you can see a bit more information about it and why it is not only great as a short cut to achieve the reticulated texture but also has some benefits over the traditional method too.  

This metal starts out as flat silver sheet, with a blue ink pattern printed on one side (to show you which side will reveal the texture).

As soon as you bring the metal up to temperature with the flame of a gas torch it will instantly reticulate. Hence the phase 'Just heat to reticulate!'.

It's literally that easy.
It's not just a case of time saving as one of the real benefits of this metal is that it will hold its shape allows for more freedom of design. With traditional reticulation it can often be hit and miss and often the finished reticulated metal dictates the design of the piece. With crinkle metal though you can dome the metal and form it into the shape you want and then heat it - it instantly forms the texture and retains the shape you formed it into.

As you can see in these two photos the metal holds its domed shape perfectly.

You can see in this photo how one side of the metal crinkles and the other remains smooth.

To find out more about crinkle metal click here.

This brooch pin by Kernowcraft Jeweller, Pete Hodge, shows a piece of traditional reticulated silver and how the 'happy mistake' of the method can dictate the design. A hole started to develop during the reticulation process, so this lent itself to a brooch design where the hole would become the  area where the pin would hold the brooch onto the jacket.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Almost wedding season...

It's almost wedding season and many of our customers will be busy either making jewellery for their own wedding or that of a friend or making wedding jewellery up to sell. With the sun shining and the heavy weight of winter behind us, we are enjoying using lighter, brighter and more feminine colours and gems.

We created this tiara with a selection of our freshwater pearls and faceted cubic zirconia stones set into simple silver snaptite settings. These snaptite settings are fantastic as they have pre notched tensioned claws and you can literally push the stone in the setting and it will 'snap' and hold it tight. We wire wrapped these onto the tiara base.

Things you will need to make a tiara like this:
Tiara base
Freshwater pearls
Fine silver plated wire (0.3mm diameter is good for wire wrapping things onto the base)
A thicker silver plated wire (to create the plait on this design we used 1mm diameter)
Snaptite settings
Cubic Zirconia faceted stones

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Briolette Earring Inspiration

Carnelian and Pyrite Briolette Earrings
Carnelian and Pyrite Briolette Earrings We love the Bollywood feel of these carnelian and pyrite briolette earrings. Here we created a loop out of 1mm brass wire and hammered flat to create a lovely texture and shape. We then wire wrapped three pyrite briolette beads per earring using 0.4mm brass wire and added these to the bottom of the loop. The carnelian briolette bead was then wire wrapped and added to the top of the hoop with a small jump ring. (We linked the jump ring through wire at the top of the loop to stop the carenlian bead sliding around)
Blue Chalcedony and Black Spinel Earrings

Blue Chalcedony and Black Spinel Earrings These funky blue chalcedony and black spinel earrings were really easy to create. We used 0.4mm brass wire and wrapped rough loops, about half way through wrapping the loops we added the black spinel briolettes to the bottom loop of the wire and then continued with the loops. We then sealed the loops together at the top by wire wrapping tightly around the wire. We then wire wrapped a blue chalcedony briolette and then added this to the top of the loop using more wire wrapping.

Lapis Lazuli Briolette earrings

Lapis Lazuli Briolette earrings The rich blue of these lapis lazuli briolette beads looks fab combined with brass wire. Here we wire wrapped loops in brass wire and sealed at the top by wire wrapping. We hammered these flat. We then wire wrapped a lapis lazuli briolette and added it to the top of the loops. Very simple but beautiful!

Pink Chalcedony Briolette Earrings

Pink Chalcedony Briolette Earrings These pink chalcedony briolette earrings were unbelievably simple to make. We used round nose pliers to create the curved shape out of 1mm brass wire, we then hammered this flat for a lovely texture. We wire wrapped the pink chalcedony briolette bead and then added that to the bottom of wire shape we created.
Turquoise Briolette Earrings

Turquoise Briolette Earrings These turquoise briolette earrings were made in the same way as the pink chalcedony briolette earrings. We love the vibrant turquoise combined with brass, this lovely turquoise colour is sure to add a bit of summer brightness to your designs!

Learn how to wire wrap briolettes...

Learn how to wire wrap briolettes... If you are feeling inspired by these designs but aren't sure how to wire wrap a briolette, then all you need to do is follow our 'How to wire wrap a briolette' technique and you can get started creating something beautiful today!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Have you seen our new advert yet?

With spring and summer just round the corner we thought it was about time for a little revamp of our adverts. If you read any of the jewellery making and beading magazines you will probably have come across our adverts before - in fact that might even have been how you heard of us in the first place!

What do you think of our new adverts? We'd love to hear your feedback!