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

Links to this post 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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