Jewelry making in the 50s  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Did you know that as early as in the 1950s jewelry making was already a highly lucrative hobby niche?

Here is the story of a policeman who found himself a new hobby and finally gave up police work in favour of becoming a full time costume jeweler. You can read here the full story. Now that's what I call a change in gears.

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Children jewelry sold in Hawaii recalled  

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Hawaii based company called Aloha 808 Trading, has just recalled around 12,800 pieces of jewelry due to them containing high levels of lead. All this jewelry was for children and they were made in China. Ouch.
It seems that the jewelry was sold in Honolulu from April to November this year for between $2 and $5 US.

It seriously makes you re-think buying other than artisan, handcrafted jewelry, since there is no such danger of lead and other 'strange' materials entering the piece, except what we manually work with. But of course, there are always people who are prepared to buy pieces worth $2 from their local Wallmart and face the risk of their child getting cancer or whatever else these products might contain.

Just for curiosity's sake, here are some of the pieces recalled in Honolulu...

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Christmas Sales - 10% off and free shipping  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I need to make space for new stuff, as my drawers are full of jewelry. I promissed myself I won't do more until the old is gone.

So here is my offer, which I have also posted on the Dawanda forum.

Buy 2 items or more from my Dawanda inventory, and qualify for 10% off your total and free shipping all over the world.

How this works? Login to Dawanda if you have an account, or register (it's quick and free!), go to my shop and buy 2 items (or more, if you want). As soon as you paid with Paypal (currently it's my only accepted payment method), I will refund you 10% of your total, and should any of the items be displayed with a shipping price, the shipping for you will be free (shipping will be automatically 0 when I send you the invoice. The 10% refund will happen after the sale, because Dawanda doesn't allow me to alter the listed amount.

This offer is good through Christmas and New Year. Then I will get cracking on new Valentine and Spring Collection.

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A bit MIA and something more about cleaning your jewelry  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long time no post, as it seems. I've been busy lately with my marketing studies, and I had to neglect for a while jewelry. I have plenty of stock as there were some months when I worked like a madman (or woman), so at least I don't have to worry that I will run out of jewelry to sell for Christmas.
It is always good to make more jewelry than just the next piece that you are selling, particularly if you do this for more than just a passing hobby. Jewelry can sit nicely in their ziplock bags, they are usually small pieces and do not take too much space.

Which brings me, though, to my next point: cleaning jewelry.
I got a request from my online friend Mary for two bracelets, Stairway to Heaven and Lattice bright aluminium, and tonight when I took them out from the drawer where I usually keep jewelry for storage, I've noticed that in one of the ziplock bags there were two silver chainmail pieces together. I guess I didn't have enough bags at the time and I tried to save space by adding more than one in a bag. BIG mistake! Those two pieces are darkened and dull from oxidization.

So big tip here: never put two pieces of jewelry together. I am lucky because my trusted tumbler cleans up all pieces in a jiffy, but if you don't have a tumbler, you'll have to reverse to more conventional methods, and might not give you the very same results, unless you really spend some time cleaning...
As I'm about to put Mary's silver piece in the tumbler, I'll add the two 'tainted' ones as well, to be cleaned nicely, and then put each separately in its own bag.

Also another tip. One of the two pieces Mary bought is a bright aluminium chainmail bracelet. It is very easy to clean bright aluminium, simply wash the piece in soapy water to bring back the shine.

I don't recommend putting your bright aluminium with your silver jewelry in the tumbler. Actually based on my personal experience, I don't rcommend putting any two different metals together in the tumbler, to avoid weird (to say the least) results. Some people say they had no problems with them. I did. I used once silver with copper, and don't ask me the color of my 'cleaned' silver piece when it came out from teh tumbler. It took twice cleaning just the stainless steelshot with dishwashing liquid, and then adding the jewelry back in, just to get all cleaned up. What a mess!

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Marcasite used in jewelry  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Marcasite sterling silver pendantI've been talking with somebody about marcasite jewelry, and I had to admit that I didn't know what that is. It seems I've never heard of marcasite before. So I looked it up on Google (I have to say, Google search is one of my best friends, it doesn't hide anything from me and it gives me everything I want!) and here are some interesting tidbits on marcasite.

So what is marcasite?
Marcasite, as a mineral is called irons sulfide, however most of the called marcasite used in jewelry is actually iron pyrite, as real marcasite often crumbles into dust and is thus too delicate and soft to be used in jewelry.
Marcasite was especially fashionable in Victorian times (one of my favourite period times). Jewelers usually describe marcasite as a bronze color, and you can usually see marcasite jewelry shining with a vintage estate look.
In jewellery, marcasite combines very well with sterling silver and other white metals, however it's not used with gold, as marcasite and gold do not blend well together.

It seems that when used in jewelry, it tends to be mostly cut in triangle or oval shape. One of the other stones that combines well with marcasite is the black onyx. Also mother of pearl, pearl and opal are stones that go well with marcasite.

As to what type of jewelry one can make with marcasite? Well, you can make the most common types, like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, rings and even broches. The example in the picture is a gorgeous oval shaped pendant used as a locket, with a man-made amethyst in the middle.

Marcasite is one type of mineral that is glued mostly with jeweler's cement (I have hypocement at home, that should work well), rather than being prong set. Because of this, water should not really touch the jewelry as the stones will fall out quite fast from their setting. So make sure that you never go swimming, or take a bath or go sauna with your marcasite pendant. Or wash dishes (yes, some of us still wash the dishes by hand) with your marcasite ring on.

Now although I've mentioned sonic cleaner for cleaning sterling silver jewelry, for marcasite this is a no-no. To remove the tarnish, all you need to do with your marcasite jewelry is wipe it gently with a soft cloth, which can be dry or slightly damp. The silver polishing pads that I give for free with my jewelry (sadly no marcasite jewelry in sight yet) should do the job.

Which brings me to one other tip for cleaning your jewelry that I forgot to mention in my previous post. Wear your silver jewelry regularly. Yep, that will keep the tarnish away from your silver jewelry for a much longer time than if it's simply put in a safe place.

As a final note, for those interested in the healing properties of marcasite, here they are:
Marcasite is believed to fend of negative energies, improve one’s communications abilities, and protect those working in dangerous occupations.

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Rena Klingenberg's newest book reviewed  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I got myself a copy of Rena's latest jewelry online selling and marketing book, and I have to admit, it's a hoot! If you want to read the review, head over there.
If you already have the book, make sure you leave me a comment, I want to know what you thought of it.

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Cleaning siler jewelry  

Friday, November 7, 2008

If you are like me, you like to wear your silver jewelry pretty much all the time. Eventually after a lot of wear, you will find that the silver jewelry has tarnished. What does this mean? Silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air and acquires a dull build up. It turns to a slight yellowish patina, and this robs the silver jewelry and articles of their natural sheen as well.
Cleaning silver jewelry is not difficult at all.

Pretty much all jewelry designers, jewelry artists have a tumbler (Lortone, or Chicago) which helps keep the silver jewelry shiny all the time. Just put your piece in the tumbler for an hour or so, and when you take it out, it's like new.

What about our customers, those folks that purchase our silver jewelry? They won't have a tumbler available, well, unless they make rock tumbling, in which case they still need another barrel for the stainless steel shot. But that's another story for another day.

So here are a few important tips on how to care for your silver jewelry, whether you buy it from me or any other place.

  1. When you are not wearing that gorgeous piece, store it in individual small plastic bags (ziploc bags), as well as separate compartments in your jewelry box. Consider investing in a jewelry box that is lined with a 'tarnish-free' material to keep your silver bright and sparkling. Makes sure that you store it in a cool and dry place to avoid oxidation.

  2. You can also find anti-tarnish paper strips that you can place inside your jewelry box. Just cut the strips into small pieces and place one in each small plastic bag with your jewelry. You'll find these strips at at a craft or hardware store.

  3. Use a non-abrasive polishing cloth to polish your piece regularly.
    When you purchase your silver jewelry from me, I always include a polishing pad that you can use over and over again to wipe your jewelry clean with it. Actually you can use it right until the whole cloth is pitch black :)
    Btw, silver polishing cloths are available at major supermarkets, at hardware stores and at
    jewelry stores if you run out of stock.

  4. You can also use soap and water to clean your jewelry. But do not dry silver off with paper towels or tissues, always use a soft cloth. Paper towels might scratch your piece.

  5. Never dip your silver jewelry in 'dip' solutions or commercial cleaning solutions even
    though it may say that it is for silver jewelry. If you have Bali Silver beads as elements in your jewelry (those beads with some nice dark groves in them), dip cleaners will remove the black accents on them, as well as discolor the silver over time. Gemstones may also be damaged from the dip solution.

  6. Do not use toothpaste to brush your silver jewelry with . Toothpaste and toothbrush will pretty much scratch your jewelry over time.

  7. Another alternative that I've seen recently in action is this ultrasonic cleaner, which can be used not only for jewellery, but also CDs, DVDs, glasses and dentures. A pretty neat gadget if you ask me, and it's not all that expensive either. About one lunch in a medium style restaurant.
I hope these tips on cleaning silver jewelry will help you keep your silver jewelry shine for a long time to come.
And do not forget, I always include for free a silver polishing pad with every piece (one pad per package sent to you) you are buying silver jewelry from my jewelry shop.

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New blog on ebook reviewing  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I love reading how to ebooks on making it online as a jewelry artist, or just making it online, period. I've learned a lot by reading such ebooks, be it for free, or paid for. I did post the other day a small review on one of the free ebooks I've got on online marketing, but then while digesting what I took with me from that ebook, I realised that having a blog that deals online with ebooks for jewelry artists, and for anybody who wants to sell something online, be it a product, or a service, is what I want to do. It will be geared towards another audience than my jewelry blog, which is for customers of my jewelry. While I might not be as proficient in giving the tips out myself, by having read a bunch of books on the subject, and having talked about them with friends on various online forums, I can pretty much offer a good insight of what the book is all about, whether it's worth your time (and money if it's not free), or it will save you some by ignoring it safely.
Thus my new blog, How-to ebook reviews was born. I will add regularly reviews, so keep checking back, as it will be worthwhile.

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Reiki and making jewelry  

Monday, November 3, 2008

I've been asked the other day how can I have so very different type of hobbies, spirituality and jewelry making. One is 'otherworldy' as people put it, and the other is something that you make with your hands, materialistic.
Well, I've never really thought about it until now, as for me these two major parts of my life go well hand in hand.
For one, when I create jewelry, I enter a sort of - well trance is really a strong word for it - meditative state, which allows my creative 'juices' to flow. I'm simply somewhere else at that time.
While making jewelry of any kind, I like to have meditative music on, starting from Llewellyin's reiki music (have tons of their CDs at home), to Aeoliah, and other artists and groups.
When the jewelry piece is done, sometimes I'm looking surprised at the result, it's as if I see it for the first time and discover all sorts of small things on it that I don't remember having decided to use or add to my piece :)
Also some of my friends here locally who know that I am working with reiki constantly ask me when buying my jewellery to charge their piece with healing Reiki. I have level 2 Usui Reiki attunment, and as I've benefited myself from the healing properties of this technique, I like to give this for free to everybody else around me or who gets in touch with my jewellery as well. So when you buy my jewelry, you can let me know if you'd like me to charge it with reiki, I'll do it gladly and for free.
I have held a few Reiki sessions with my mom, and with friends, and everybody felt the difference between before and after. Reiki really works. So it's a natural extension for me to use reiki in my creative arts as well, it's like breathing without focusing your thoughts on it :)

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Turkish Lace Pendant  

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I made last week this pendant, however as I've just changed my computer, I didn't have the camera software installed on the new one, so I could not transfer the pictures to my pc.

As I like to support the wire wrapping community by purchasing the tutorials of those who can make them well, I bought this tutorial from Abby and losely following it, I made this pendant.
A grand flashy pendant , for those who like to really show of their jewelry.
4 gorgeous iolite briolettes woven into intricate lace motifs surrounding a lapis bead and yellow agate cubes make up this round Turkish Lace. Measurements are 4.5 cm x 7 cm, including the bail. It comes, as usual, on a silver chain and free shipping is also included along with a silver cleaning pad.




30.47 Euros

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MarikaJewelry.com coming shortly  

That's right, I've just started working on my very first website. Selling through Dawanda, and through my blog is great, but after reading a bunch of books on online marketing (see my previous post, for example), and talking with several knowledgeable people on the subject, we all agreed that I do need a real website, with a real shopping cart where I can not only display, but also focus more seriously on selling my jewelry, as they all say, it's worth selling.
But boy what did I get into?? I've decided to use osCommerce, a free open source shopping cart software, and I've signed up with HostGator as my website host. The last two days all I've done is learn about domain DNS, how to transfer it to Hostgator, how to work with a website host, how to set up a mySQL database, then installed osCommerce and started configuring it. And that is two day's work (two evenings really as I can only do this from home, after work). I'll be happy if I can get the website up and running, at least the basics of it, by Christmas. But at least, it's a start.

I'm also in the middle of redesigning my logo, so if you go to my new jewelry site (there's just a static page for the moment), during various times of the day and night, you'll most probably see it changing until I like what I have :)

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted. I might have to slow down just a bit on jewelry, to focus on setting up the site, as I do not have the money to pay for a website developer, so I'm learning as I go along, html, php, how to configure the shopping cart, etc, but luckily I have plenty of jewellery stock at the moment to keep all my trusted friends and customers busy browsing through :)

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Online Marketing - Free book  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've been researching for ways to enhance my blog and generally learn about websites and online marketing. These are useful tools to have, if one is to focus on e-commerce, by selling jewelry, for example, like I do. Just making that gorgeous piece of jewelry and hoping for it to sale on the net is not enough. I've realised that I have to educate myself, and boy I've got tons to learn. Also tons of resources, some free, many for a fee. Of course, no such thing as a free lunch now is there, - or there is?
Well, it is seems that there are some great free resources around if you're like me, and want to learn the ins and outs of e-commerce, online marketing and promoting your product.
One of those I came across just recently is a wonderful free ebook called The Ultimate Supertip on Online Marketing. It talks about stuff like:

- Getting traffic to your site
- Preselling with free ebooks
- Preselling with articles
- Autoresponders and follow up campaigns
- Ad tracking
- Affiliate marketing
- ClickBank
- Viral marketing
- PDF book creation
- Ebook rebranding
- Creating niche sites
- Resale rights
and some others.
I was really interested in Getting traffic to your site, PDF book creation and Creating niche sites, great info which I didn't know.
Btw, if you click on the link, don't be put off by the flashy 'I'm all here to sell' font type on his site. He has really lots of good info there, and well, it's free. I was particularly pleased by the fact that when I downloaded the book, I was not asked for my email address. Less chance for spamming, which is an additional plus in my books.

As I come across more goodies, and more freebies for us online sellers of our own products, I'll post a review here.

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Difference between learning jewelry making and perfume making  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've been wire wrapping for close to two years now, and although I still feel I'm a newbie, I think I've learned quite a lot during this time. I can tackle some of the more advanced tutorials out there, without always making a mess out of things.
Very recently I've stumbled upon what proves to be another new hobby of mine, making perfumes using natural, essential oils.
I've purchased several oils from the UK so far, and started combining them to make perfumes. Which doesn't seem to be so easy as I first thought. Most of the concoctions smell horrible, at best as a bad medicine.
I've searched a lot the internet for recipes on the subject, but it's hardly anything out there. There are a couple of real life workshops that one should attend, at over $1000 a piece, and very few books on the subject, mostly touching the history of perfumery and the ingredients, but less the actual blends, mixes. So I broke down and purchased from Mandy Aftel the Level 1 Workbook, at a price of $375 (yep, you've read it right!) and shipping to Europe $80 (right again!), as this seems pretty much the only feasible avenue for somebody to really learn perfumery without spending a large amount of essential oils on trial and error, by not knowing what is one really doing in the process.
As the shipping was so very expensive for this one book, I let it be sent to Mary, a dear friend of mine who always helps me out when I buy something with high shipping to Europe, and now I'm patiently waiting for the workbook to arrive.
And in the meantime I'm musing...
Most probably since the time I started with wire wrapping, I did spend about this amount or even more on books and tutorials, however the difference between this workbook and the tutorials for wire wrapping, is that I've bought MANY tutorials, on all aspects of wire wrapping and jewelry making. I've learned a lot of skills in the process. I have now a new level of appreciation for all the wire wrappers who so freely share their knowledge in allowing the rest of us to learn their secrets, and to make their jewelry pieces. Without all these tutorials, and book out there, it would have been much more challenging to learn wire wrapping, even to the level I am right now (which is not that far). It is a completely different world between the two. Perfumers guard their secrets as if with their lives, they won't share but the very basic of blends, which doesn't bring one very far, and wire wrappers, or jewelers in general are very generous, and share. Yes, for a price, but the prices are very reasonable, anything between $5 and $15 for learning how to make one pendant, a pair of earrings, a ring, any items from start up to completion. Plus there are also many free tutorials out there, which allow you to build on your existing knowledge and widen it too. Best example out there is Eni Oken, who has many tutorials for a veeeery reasonable price, but also many freebies to get you started.
I know I'll have a hard and bumping road ahead of me with perfumery with the lack of resources available, but I'll take the challenge anyway. Should be fun.

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Echt Kolnisch Wasser  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I got today a second shipment of some essential oils I bought from the UK, and as I don't have yet Mandy Aftel's workbook which is perfect for learning natural perfumery, I googled for some perfume recipes. I found one for which I had pretty much all ingredients, mixed it up with vodka (no distilled water included, as the vodka is only 40%, so pretty weak for the purpose), shaked it well and smelled it. And it reminded me of a perfume I used while living years ago in Germany, 4711 Echt Kolnisch Wasser. I had a small set of several little bottles, and I loved the smell. While bookmarking the site from where I got the recipe, I've read further down the page. And whadya know, the (inexact) recipe WAS for this perfume. Of course, only the main ingredients were listed, as the actual recipe is safely guarded, however I was very pleased that my own little newbie concoction actually reminded me of that lovely perfume.

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Blogger banned in Turkey  

I'm really shocked! Blogger type blogs are banned as of very recently in Turkey. I've just been told by a dear friend of mine, Fabienne, from the jewelry community, who is living in Turkey, that she no longer has access to her blog. She was quite sad about it, as you can imagine.
It seems that Wordpress is already banned for a while now, along with Youtube, and Google Groups. And now Blogspot.
Turkey is trying very hard to get into European Union, but part of their 'entrance fee' is making sure that human rights are top priority, and that they give back the Northern part of Cyprus, which has been occupied by them back in 1974, and which they call The Northern Republic of Cyprus, illegitimately, of course, as there is only one Republic of Cyprus on the island, not two. Most of the countries governments don't recognise that 'republic' though as legit at all.
I'm very saddened to see that the human rights law are still non-existent in that country. I though so far only China has this problem of blocking ISPs and various online sites, but Turkey too?

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The Witcher - and Bewitched  

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One of my 'secret' hobbies is playing RPG (role playing) games. Ever since I got started playing Diablo years ago, I got hooked on this style of games. After Diablo came Diablo 2, then I played Neverwinter Nights, Guild Wars and a few others, however for the latest games, like Neverwinter Nights 2 and The Witcher, my computer was too old to be able to play them. So after having the same computer and upgrading it bit by bit for the last 5 years, I broke down and got myself a new pc. Which I went to pick up from the store last night. In the meantime, I also bought Neverwinter Nights 2 and The Witcher and these two games were taunting me for days ever since they arrived to my doorstep.
So last night after getting all my stuff from the old to the new pc, I went ahead and installed The Witcher, as curiosity was killing me! And then I played until almost 12 am.
The game is great, but it's a bit different from the other RPG style games I'm used to. Diablo was more like a hack & slash game, Neverwinter Nights had also a great storyline and was more modern than Diablo, but this one takes RPG to a new lever. The interaction is different, you need to decide between two courses of actions, and the game play will change accordingly.
One thing I got disappointed with at the beginning was that I could not create my own character. You play Geralt, the main character in the game, and that's it. But besides that, I'm still very early in the game and I'm already looking forward to the weekend to play a bit more.

While waiting for the computer to arrive, I also made a new pendant. Sort of looked at the Witcher box picture and well...this is the result. I called it Bewitched.
It has that gothic feeling, dark, mysterious but not too 'goth', which I quite like.


Created using Red Jasper briolette focal bead with carnelian and tiny garnets wrapped on a heavy gauge sterling silver frame. Pendant is 5 cm long including the bail, and it comes on a sterling silver chain.

If you want to own it, you can buy it here directly, or through my Dawanda shop.


28 Euros

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Green Quartz Dangly Silver Earrings  

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I went back to one of Eni Oken's older tutorials, and created this pair of earrings. Really like the outcome, they are lightweigh and fun to wear.
Sterling silver wire are wrapped around to create two rings, adorned with tiny silver beads.
The briolettes are green glass quartz. Glass quartz is a laboratory made quartz, to enhance the charity of the bead and to give gorgeous colors not available in the natural stones. They are very fashionable in the jewelry industry.
This pair is ~ 6 cm including the ear wires. All metal is sterling silver.

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Natural Perfumery  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One of my latest hobbies is blending essential oils to create natural perfumes. I always had a very sensitive nose for smells, so I know I can put my strong sense of smell to good use.

A very recent niche to perfumery is about using only natural components, no synthetic material, like they use in the commercial perfumes. I am very interested in this, and decided to pursue it a bit further, see where it takes me. I think it complements making artisan jewelry quite nicely.

So far I have the following essential oils (real essential oils, not fragrances) that I can play around with (more on the way from the UK):

Cedarwood
Rosewood
Ylang Ylang
Lavender
Patchouli
Bergamot
Frankincense
Sandalwood
Lemon
Neroli
Clary Sage
Grapefruit
Black Pepper
Rose
Apricot
Mandarin
Lemongrass
and Jojoba and Apricot as carrier oils

I've already played around today with three little recipes, the first two I snagged from the web, and the third I put together myself. Very basic stuff, but I remember when I started with wire wrapping, I was so proud of my first little wrap around a bead. I guess that's what these little perfume concoctions are for me *grins*. Bottles need to be dark color, and to be shaken a few times a day for the mix to blend nicely in. The earliest you can have an idea of what it will really be about is after 48 hours, but just like with a good wine, the longer it stays, the better it will be. One week, two weeks, or even more...

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Lapis Lazuli Herringbone Silver Necklace  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Using some of the lapis lazuli beads I bought the other day, I made this sterling silver necklace, incorporating also matching dyed agate beads, which I used for the larger wrapped herringbone weave links. It's a looker piece!
Approximately 44 cm long (except for the hanging part).

Lapis lazuli is said to enhance one's awareness, insight and intellect. It is also said to impart ancient knowledge and wisdom, bringing peacefulness and self-acceptance. Helps cure depression, insomnia, recurring fevers, vision and hearing problems, and disorders of the throat, lungs and immune system.
And best, it has a gorgeous deep blue color :)



35 Euros

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Hawaii turquoise silver earrings  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008



I finished this pair during the weekend, and only now,  that we have a day off (public holiday) from work, I got a chance to capture them with the camera.

Hubby doesn't like them, he said they're too exotic for his taste, so I called them in his honour Hawaii :-)
Two gorgeous turquoise drops I bought from a seller in Etsy, and tiny yellow agate beads, which I bought the other day, showed them here.
Total length is about 6 cm, and they're average weight. Nice and flashy, indeed exotic :)



21.50 Euros




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Making sterling silver headpins without a torch  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The other day I was making headpins and I ran out of gas for my little torch. Since I'm making headpins on the kitchen counter, next to the counter is the cooking appliance. I thought to myself, let's try it, why not. And it worked beautifully! Below are a few steps with pictures on how to do it with your regular cooking appliance.
Note: this is only applicable if you want to make headpins. It DOES not work if you want to solder :) But for a quick fix, if you ran out of gas and you're in the middle of the gorgeous pair of earrings and don't have any headpins left, it works :)



1. Cut your wire to size and put them in the flux (mine is some yellow borax liquid from the local jewelry supply shop). I prefer the flux to touch the whole pin, not only the part to be in the fire






2. Take the wire and hold it similarly to how I hold it in the picture, relatively vertical if possible, so the wire blobs up nicely in the middle. You see the bottom becomes after 1-2 seconds strongly yellow. Right after this it curls up into a nice round blob.




3. Take it away from the fire and inspect it briefly. If the blob is not in the middle, or is too small, or not to your liking, put it brieflyback in the fire and repeat the procedure. IF all is good, go to step 4.





4. In the meantime have hot (but not boiling) water in a jar of some sort, but make sure that the dish is not metal. I use a bowl that I bought yoghurt in a while ago. Then put a teaspoon full of pickle. The brand I use is in this picture.





5. As you finish with each pin, put it in the jar with the pickle. You see as the pins are in the container, they are all dark, ugly, oxidized. If you hadn't used flux before, it would be much much worse! Make sure that if you are using anything metal
to put the pins in the container, the metal does not touch the pickle. On the other hand, do not throw the pins in the pickle carelessly either, as the pickel is acid, and although it's not a strong one (yeah I tested it with my finger once, just coz...), it's still acid and not very healthy for your skin (or god forbid your eyes).

6. Leave the pins in the container for anything btw. 5-10 minutes (at least in my experience), until the headpins are nice and white. They are all coated with the film that will be removed during polishing stage.




7. Take out the pins from the pot using anything but metal. I have a copper thong just for this particular task.
My way of polishing the pins is with a Lortone tumbler. Use stainless steel shot of different forms, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. The US folks recommend Dawn, but as the rest of the world might not be equiped with Dawn, you can use any regular liquid. I'm using in general Palmolive, as this is the one I have in my household. Before that I used a no-name liquid that you buy in the supermarket in larger quantities, as it's cheaper. It worked just the same.
Leave the pins for about an hour or so in the tumbler, and when ready, take them out, rinse well and enjoy using your new home-made pins :)

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Briolette Yellow Jade necklace and earrings  

The battery of my digital camera is on dying, so I've bought a new one from Ebay. It's not here yet and in the meantime I'm suffering (the camera powers down every few minutes), so it's a toughie right now to take pictures. However I managed to take some shots of the latest jewelry I made during the last week. For some of the pieces I used beads purchased last weekend.



Yellow Jade Necklace and earrings
I made this set last weekend using some gorgeous yellow jade beads and a wonderful 
briolette I bought from 
an Etsy supplier. Gotta love that briolette!


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Gemstones shopping  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ok so  yesterday I decided to indulge myself, so I went to the local gemshop and bought all these goodies, plus 5 meters of sterling silver chain. It was all quite expensive, but I came out with some nice things from there. Rose quartz, all sorts of agates, a couple of glass briolettes, moonstone, jade, two sizes of amethyst and  lapis (the most expensive of all the batch except the silver chain). I guess I won't be visiting that shop at least until Christmas anymore. I need to get going and make some stuff out of all this, and sell, so the hole in my credit card is smaller :)


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Bracelets, pendants  

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've been busy over the last few days and the weekend making all sorts of jewelry. I took a few of Eni Oken's older tutorials to brushen up some of my techniques, also purchased the wrapping tutorial by Earringsbyerin (available on Etsy) and finally on Saturday I made two bracelets in Sharlyn Miller style with a heavily oxidized look.


Tooth of the Wild

When I purchased this tooth style carnelian bead, I had no idea what I will do with it. However once I went  over some older Eni Oken tutorials, I found my inspiration, and this is the result.
Length is about 6 cm, and it comes on a sterling silver chain, with free shipping, as usual, for all my pieces.


28 Euros








Pink Jade Pendant















This is a gorgeous pink jade briolette focal bead that I purchased on Etsy a while ago. I again used one of Eni's tutorials to wrap it around, embellishing it with a round of sterling silver beads. Pendant is 3x4 cm long.

28 Euros


Carnelian Fish pendant


I love this gorgeous carnelian bead and I think I found a nice way to wrap it, in a net surrounded by sterling silver beads. I call it The Fish :)Dimensions are 6.5x3.5 cm and it's of an average weight.

28 Euros






















Autumn Agate wrapped bracelet

My  inspiration for this and the next bracelets is the work of Stacie Florer at Nomadic Creations. She is working in the style of Sharlyn Miller and Connie Fox, and she inspired me to dab in this work a bit as well. I especially enjoyed oxidizing the pieces :D
Wrapped in various techniques, the center is made in herringbone wrapping using heavier gauge silver wire. 29.5 cm long, it can be slightly extended upon request to up to 1 cm.

29 Euros




Blue wrapped bracelet

Yeah, very creative name, what can I say :p

It has a gorgeous lampwork bead by an Etsy artist, some pink quartz beads and I'm not sure about the turquoise color beads. Could be Czech Glass beads, not sure. Clasp handmade, coiled and hammered. Also 29.5 cm long, and it can be extended about up to a cm or so. Plenty of wrapping techniques embedded, among others the famous herringbone wrapping technique.

29 Euros


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