Thursday, 30 January 2014

Try working with something different - Mokume Gane

Mokume Gane Pendant by Pete Hodge - Kernowcraft Jeweller
If you are looking for a way to add colour and texture to your work, consider Mokume Gane.
Mokume Gane is a Japanese technique in which layers of contrasting metals are bonded to create beautiful patterns. The name means ‘wood pattern metal’. First made in 17th-century Japan, the mixed-metal was used decorative sword fittings.

Mokume Gane is made up of approximately 24 alternating separate layers of different metal bonded together to make a solid billet. After bonding, the billet can be twisted, cut and re-assembled, ground down in areas with burs or shaped with punches or chisels. It is then rolled out to a workable thickness, and hand worked to reveal the pattern.

Mokume Gane takes some time to make by hand, but you can buy a ready made sheet in a range of patterns. This Mokume Gane it is made up of silver and copper it is easy to work and can be treated exactly as you would either of these metals, it can be soldered with silver solder and polished as you would with silver and copper.

Mokume Gane Stacking Ring
Mokume Gane doesn't have to be complicated, you can just use a little piece to add to your design. We've complied a Pinterest board, full of beautiful Mokume Gane designs to get you started!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Choose Handmade for Valentines Day

With Valentines Day around the corner and love in the air, there is nothing more personal than a handmade gift. We'd love to inspire you to give a handmade gift. Here are a few ideas to get you started...

  • Design a piece of jewellery using both of your birthstones
  • Make a heart shaped ring, simple, delicate, stackable. We've fallen in love with them on Pinterest
  • Make a charm bracelet that you can add to each year.
  • Use our Setting Service to have a piece of jewellery made with their favourite gemstone (or birthstone). You can choose from our large range of rings, pendant and earring settings. Simply choose your stone and add Setting Service to your basket.
  • If you would prefer to encourage the one you love to make jewellery, then don’t shy away from a Gift Voucher as they will love to do some guilt free shopping for the hobby they love!
...and wrap it up in a Red Linen Presentation Box

Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Quick Guide to Jewellery Making Hammers

When you start making jewellery, you only really need one or two hammers but be warned jewellery making tools are addictive and you may find yourself with quite a collection

It is good to start with a Ball Pein Hammer as it is a good all round hammer with a domed side and a flat round side. The ball side of the head is ideal for texturing metal while the flat end can be used to hammer Doming Punches with a Doming Block to create curves and domes in flat metal.

A Rawhide Mallet is ever useful as it is ideal for shaping metal around a Triblet without marking it. As it is made of compressed rawhide, the more you use it the softer the surface will become (which is nicer to work with) and in our experience it is a tool that will last you forever as it gets better with age and use!

When you want to start adding to your collection then consider a Cross Pein Hammer. Also known as a Warrington hammer, this hammer is great for creating a bark-like texture on sheet metal. It`s also a good weight for using with punches making it a good all round hammer.

For more specialist techniques then look to Jewellers Hammer which is much smaller and lighter in weight. This hammer is essential for light precision work such as riveting and shaping. This can also be used to flatten wire and the thin tapered end can be used to create a lovely stripy 'bark' effect.

Finally a Repousse or Chasing Hammer. The word repousse comes from the French verb meaning 'to push back'. Developed especially for the technique of hammering a raised design from the reverse side of sheet metal, the handle is shaped for comfort and aids the repetitive use.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A look for all seasons - tan, silver and turquoise

The two natural elements of leather and silver go together well and sing when combined with turquoise. The nice thing about this combination is that it works happily throughout the seasons, the brown shades of leather suits the Autumn/ Winter season whereas the turquoise brings brighter notes of Spring and Summer. For you cowboys and cowgirls out there, this combination also has a hint of the Wild West!

For this bracelet we used
A length of 3mm Micro Fibre Flat Suede Cord (but you could use actual leather)
x2 10mm Sterling Silver Jump Rings
x1 5mm Sterling Silver Jump Ring
x1 Sterling Silver Caribiner Clasp
x1 Sterling Silver Stripey Charm Bead Bail
x1 Turquoise Briolette
x1 Sterling Silver Charm (we used a Starfish Charm)
0.4mm Sterling Silver Wire to wrap the Turquoise Briolette
GS Hypo Cement Glue

Fold your length of 3mm Micro Fibre Flat Suede Cord into thirds and adjust your length to make the desired size of bracelet, unfold. Take one end, fold in a third and glue in place, then fold the other end over and thread your Bail onto all three strands. Attach your 10mm Sterling Silver Jump Rings and secure the ends of the Suede Cord in place, attach the Caribiner Clasp.

Finally wire wrap your Turquoise Briolette and attach to the Bail with the Sterling Silver Charm using a 5mm Sterling Silver Jump Ring.