Archive | February, 2008

Charm Bracelets

15 Feb

Charm Bracelets change in looks over time, but they never go out of style. There are thousands of charms to choose from, with many themes. Some high fashion names such as Louis Vuitton and Juicy Couture have begun issuing their own collectible charms.

Traditional Charm Bracelet:

jewelry bracelet
Time For Shopping Stainless Steel Charm Bracelet and Watch
Moschino stainless steel bracelet watch with Italian heart and handbag charms.
This polished bracelet adorns the wrist with fun and sophistication.
Made in Italy.

Modular Italian Charm Bracelet:
In 2001, a new fashion was launched for Italian charm bracelets, in which the charms are snapped onto the body of the bracelet rather than dangled from it. Italian charms are flat, modular links that hook together to form a charm bracelet, key chain, or other accessories.

Modular bracelets and charms are beautiful and versatile. The modular design means that the charms are interchangeable. An individual Italian charm can be switched out for a new look or to better suit the mood or changing interests of the wearer.

A starter Italian charm bracelet consists of eighteen blank links. In order to create a personalized bracelet, the blank links are replaced with Italian charms that are flat, modular links that hook together. While traditional charms dangle, Italian charms feature individual pieces soldered flat onto the surface of the link.

You begin by choosing your starter bracelet in the metal and style you prefer, like these:

charm bracelets
Zoppini Starter Bracelets
The charm bracelets stretch to fit over your hand for ease in taking them on and off. It can fit either loose or snug, depending upon your preference. Our starter bracelet has 14 links & is available in your choice of Shiny, Matte, or Diamond design.

Zoppini Charms
These charms are made in florence italy. Zoppini offers more than 1,500 designs to provide customers with the greatest range of imagination and creativity. You can choose from a large selection of charms: animals, bugs, hobbies, family and friends, signs of the zodiac, spirituality, patriotic symbols, letters of the alphabet, and more. You design your own bracelet by choosing the charms like these:

jewelry charms
Four-leaf Clover Charm

You can wear the story of your life on your wrist. Each time you hit a new milestone, simply add a meaningful charm. Add charms that commemorate the important events in your life, symbols that reflect your deepest heartfelt beliefs, or the cherished people who have helped you along the way.

designer bracelet
Wedding Bells Charm

So cute!

2008 Critic’s Choice Awards

14 Feb

Marcia Gay Harden is one of my favorite actresses, and I also like her style – simple and elegant. She looks beautiful here on the red carpet at the 2008 Critic's Choice Awards. Simple and elegant can also describe the jewelry she wore to that event – a coral silver lariat necklace and ruby CZ stud earrings.

celebrity jewelry
Marcia Gay Harden

At the Critic's Choice awards, Marcia presented Daniel Day Lewis with the Best Actor award for There Will Be Blood.

Did you hear about The Mist yet? Marcia Gay Harden plays a religious zealot, and I hear she really contributes to the tension in that freaky movie, which is based on a story by Stephen King.

This is the gorgeous necklace she wore:
designer jewelry
Coral Drop Sterling Silver Heart Lariat
This Tiffany-inspired coral drop sterling silver heart lariat is dazzling. The genuine gemstone reflects the surrounding light. The rhodium finished sterling silver heart that weaves through them adds shine and glitz.

Did You Know?
Marcia Gay was warned by a producer she'd never be a success in Hollywood if she didn't alter the shape of her nose. Thank goodness she didn't listen to him!

She was the first University of Texas at Austin graduate to win an Oscar. She won for Best Supporting Actress in 2001 for Pollock, for which she received $1,000,000 paycheck. She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Mystic River in 2004.

She was nominated for Broadway's 1993 Tony Award as Best Actress for Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.

And these are the earrings she wore:
sterling silver earrings
Sterling Silver Ruby Cubic Zirconia Stud Earrings
These fiery sterling silver ruby cubic zirconia stud earrings romance the eyes with their deep red color. The red cubic zirconia stones measure 8mm and have a total carat weight of 7.1 carats. The rhodium finished sterling silver backing makes these earrings come alive with beauty.

Cherry Creek Designs

13 Feb

Heather Gill: Jewelry Designer
Heather at Cherry Creek Designs is a prolific jewelry designer. I'm amazed by the wide variety of jewelry styles available on her website. She works with Precious Metal Clay, fine silver, enamel, etching, and all sorts of metalsmithing. She truly has something for everyone.

handcrafted jewelry
Cupid's Arrow Necklace
A little cupid with a heart and arrow. It comes on a 16-inch sterling silver ball chain. The pendant is made of fine silver.

I love her whimsical jewelry – everything from tiny stud earrings that say "be mine" to vintage postage stamp earrings to studs with little doggie paw prints on them. Her jewelry is so much fun.

designer jewelry
Lady Bug Stud Earrings
Cute little ladybugs made of fine silver with sterling silver posts and backs.

jewelry designer
Flourish Necklace
The name of this necklace comes from the delicate flourish impression on the fine silver bar. It is accented with a light green faceted chalcedony briolette stone. It comes on a 16 inch sterling silver ball chain.

Artist Statement

I'm a culinary trained chef. I retired when my daughter was born. I wanted something to do that I could be creative with, and jewelry seemed to be just the ticket for me. I thought taking a class on jewelry making would be fun, at least I could make some gifts for people.

I took a class on stringing and was bored with that in a week. So I took a class in PMC and was hooked! In the last six months, I've taken several classes in metalsmithing, and I'm also hooked on that. Everything in my store is totally handmade by me.

My work isn't perfect, nor do I want it to be. I want it to be natural, and with every piece I make my skills are improving. I strive to learn something new about this world of metal everyday – and that's not easy with a 3 1/2 year old running about.

I think I approach my jewelry creating as I approached my cooking. I always wanted people to feel welcome and comfortable when they ate at my restaurants. I want people to feel comfortable with my jewelry and to wear it wherever they go. I don't want you to feel like you have to dress up to wear my jewelry. I want it to be fun, yet nice enough that you could wear it dressed up if you like.

And Heather's jewelry is very affordable.

More Valentine’s Day Jewelry

12 Feb

More Gift Suggestions for Valentine's Day
Jewelry is available at all pricing and quality levels, but you can buy a piece of real jewelry without breaking the bank. Consider your lady's favorite gems, her preference for silver or gold, old or new. From sterling silver, platinum, gold, and gemstones – the possibilities are endless.

Gifts of jewelry are universally liked by all women, and one may unhesitatingly choose an item of jewelry to please a woman despite being unaware of her style or taste. Jewelry made of precious metals, like gold, can be very pricey. Sterling Silver jewelry is still the real thing, but it's much less expensive than gold.

There's a type of silver that's still fairly new, but it has some very good properties. It's called Argentium Silver. It costs a little more than regular sterling silver, but it tarnishes much slower. And when it does tarnish, it's a soft yellow color that's easily removed with soap and water. So your sweetheart won't have to use harsh chemicals to clean it.

If you don't have deep pockets, there are many gifts that are very inexpensive, like this adorable charm:

gemstone jewelry
Cell Phone or Camera Charm
Each sterling silver charm can be adorned with up to 6 crystals (up to 3 on each side of the heart). They are separated with sterling silver daisies.

Or, if you have the bucks to spare, you might want to pick up this sweet little number. It's the real deal:

metal jewelry
14k Gold Link Bracelet
This bracelet features a solid gold heart tag design with a toggle clasp to ensure proper security. If giving as a gift, it's sure to melt the heart of the one you love!

This one is in the mid-price range:

handcrafted jewelry
Turquoise Celtic Eternity Knot Bangle Bracelet
With no beginning and no end, the Celtic Love knot represents infinity and the unending love that binds two people. Carefully handcrafted in 900 Silver with an impressive turquoise cabochon.

I hope my suggestions have made your jewelry-buying experience quicker and easier. Jewelry is a very appropriate gift any time of the year. Whatever you buy her, I'm sure your special lady will be pleased because you bought it especially for her.

Valentine’s Day Jewelry

11 Feb

Valentine's Day Gift Suggestions
OK, all you guys out there, listen up. Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and it's time to look at gifts for all the women in your life – your Mom, wife, daughter, fiancee, or friend. A thoughtful gift that tells her just how much you appreciate her. Candy is soon eaten. Cards get stashed in a drawer. Roses die very quickly.

What could be a more appropriate gift than jewelry? It's relatively inexpensive. And, depending on the quality you buy, jewelry can last her a lifetime. Every time she looks at it, she'll think of you.

So let's get started. These are my suggestions for Valentine's Day gifts for all your lovely ladies, And so you don't have to dig too deeply into your wallet, most are very affordable.

jewelry gifts
Tiffany Inspired Sterling Silver Mesh Heart Ring
This ring features a mesh motif that is made of solid .925 sterling silver and features an open heart emblem that adorns the center of the ring that gives this ring that feminine, romantic touch. The flexible band adds a special feel to the ring while still keeping it quite comfortable to wear. This is the perfect gift to melt the heart of the one you love.

Hearts are the universal symbol of love, and heart-shaped jewelry is a classic gift that women appreciate any time of the year. Giving jewelry for Valentine's Day is traditionally meant as a token of love. Yet, finding the right jewelry gift is almost an art in itself, and men often rely on saleswomen at mall jewelry counters to help make their choice.

designer jewelry
Sterling Silver Triple Heart Pendant
This necklace is a stunning combination of solid .925 sterling silver and 14-karat gold vermeil. Its dramatic design features a triple heart centerpiece – each in a different color. From silver to bronze to gold, the words today, tomorrow, and forever are engraved on the hearts. This eye-catching pendant reminds us that true love really does last a lifetime.

The best tip for all the shoppers who are purchasing a Valentine's Day jewelry gift is to first get a good feel for your Valentine's tastes and preferences.

Listen when she expresses her likes and dislikes when it comes to jewelry. Watch what she wears. Is her taste classy and elegant or more bold and flamboyant? Pay close attention, and you will have a pretty good idea of what she likes.

jewelry necklace
Love is Simple Necklace
dichroic glass Filigree Heart Pendant
This delicately etched dichroic glass heart is simply strung on a chain for a clean and elegant look.

Buying jewelry online from an jewelry designer is a very easy and safe way to buy a gift. Just do a Yahoo or Google search for "designer jewelry," and you'll be amazed at the results. The selections are great, and if you pay close attention, you can find an independent jewelry designer who designs and makes her own jewelry. So you'll have a better chance of finding a truly unique gift.

Happy shopping!

Cuff Bracelets

8 Feb

Bold Cuff Bracelets are definitely a must-have this year. The trend is to wear fewer pieces of jewelry, but what we wear must be big and bold. Cuffs fit right in with that description. They're the perfect complement to this spring's fashions. Great for the girl who's not too dainty and wants a little oomph.

Fashion predictions for this season say that bold, chunky, sterling silver cuff bracelets will be one of the top hottest trends. A wide sterling silver cuff bracelet is right at home against your sweater and won't end up hiding inside the sleeve. It's the perfect choice for your winter wardrobe!

cuff bracelet
Floral Pattern Cuff Bracelet
Nickel-Free Sterling Silver Bali style, Thai floral pattern embossed cuff bracelet.

And there are lots of styles to choose from: shimmering silver, enchanting gold, woven, hammered, or heavily textured. For extra added punch, throw in a dazzling gemstone or a colorful cabochon. No matter what your preference, you can surely find a bold cuff bracelet to your liking. Whether you love huge and ornate or a simple design, cuffs are great for young girls, teens, and older women.

Mixed metals add to this bracelet's appeal.
handcrafted jewelry
Anna Beck Wide Cuff Bracelet
Brilliant flattened dots, hand-applied drop by drop, cover a handcrafted, wide cuff bracelet, giving it texture and a sophisticated look.
Approx. inner circumference: 6 1/4"
Approx. width: 2"

The Family Jewels

7 Feb

Jenifer Smith: Jewelry Designer
The Family Jewels is a family-run business devoted to creating handcrafted jewelry – the kind of jewelry that makes the wearer feel beautiful and unique.

If you haven't noticed by now, you will very soon if you continue to read this blog – I love handcrafted jewelry!

Chainmaille certainly falls into that category. Taking a bunch of jump rings and weaving them into a complex pattern must take precision, determination, and patience. Jenifer has several chainmaille pieces available on her website. This is one of my favorites:

chainmaille jewelry
Copper Celtic and Chainmaille Bracelet
Copper wire is coiled onto a mandrel, cut into rings with a jeweler's saw, and then woven into the Kingsmaille weave, a variation of the European 4 in 1 weave, where every link is doubled. Wherever you would find a single link in Euro 4-1, you will find two in Kingsmaille.
Copper rectangle is 1.75 inches (4.38cm) long by 1.25 inches (3.13cm) wide
Adjustable from 6.75 inches (16.88cm) to 7.75 inches (19.38cm) in length.

I love this piece for its natural beauty and terrific color combinations:

designer jewelry
Mermaid's Tale Necklace
The pendant was made from 3 pieces of sea glass found on the beach at Martha's Vineyard over nine years ago. They are suspended from sterling silver bails and a dainty sterling silver chain that is accented by blue chalcedony rondelles.

Artist Statement

I am Jenifer, mom and Master Artisan. Several years ago, I developed an allergy to the cheap metals that are so often used in less expensive jewelry. So I was left with three options:

  • Not wear jewelry at all – not really an option because I love jewelry so much
  • Buy handcrafted fine jewelry – again, not really an option because it's so expensive
  • Figure out how to make my own jewelry, using materials that won't bother my skin

As you've probably guessed, I chose the third option. Over time, my skills and creativity improved, and I began to receive compliments, and inquiries like "Where did you get that?" and "Can you make me one?" So the seed was planted, and my husband and I have cultivated it into a successful business idea.

Aluminum Jewelry

6 Feb

Designer Jewelry in Anodized Aluminum
An inexpensive, lightweight and very malleable metal that is silver-white in color, Aluminum is extensively used to create jewelry, especially pendants. Aluminum jewelry is durable and fun to wear. It looks great with both casual and dressy attire.

designer jewelry
Anodized Aluminum Cuff Bracelet
This lovely number was created by applying acrylics to anodized aluminum.

Aluminum is the most plentiful metallic element in the earth's crust. It is the third most common element after oxygen and silicon. Although aluminum is present in most rocks and minerals, the only mineral that aluminum is commercially extracted from is bauxite. Major producers of bauxite are Australia, Guinea, Jamaica, and Brazil, with other countries around the world contributing lesser amounts, including the US.

Because aluminum doesn't occur uncombined in nature like gold and copper, it was unknown as a metal until the 1820's. Today, aluminum is valued for its versatility. It's lightweight, one-third the weight of steel, and can be just as strong. The metal is also corrosion-resistant, a good electrical conductor, and easily worked by standard forming methods.

HSU Studio

The people at HSU Studio use an aircraft grade aluminum to make their jewelry. This is an alloy that contains less than three percent of alloying metals, giving it strength and working properties. They purchase only raw material, as high-temper sheet, rod, or wire. The embossing and shaping they do further work-hardens the metal. Anodizing gives it an even harder finish. The resulting work is lightweight, durable, and brilliantly colored.

metal jewelry
Aluminum Doodles Pin

Anodizing
Anodizing aluminum is an electro-chemical process that allows the surface of the metal to be dyed. Before anodizing, the mill finish aluminum, is cut into manageable sizes and embossed with fabric or textured in some manner.

The first step is to suspend the aluminum in a chemical solution and run an electric current through it. This process produces an oxide coating that is rather porous. That is what allows it to be dyed.

The aluminum is then immersed in dye baths of various colors to achieve the color desired. The dyes they use to produce the colors are similar to fabric dyes. The dye is trapped on the surface by sealing it in a hot bath, which changes the structure to a mostly non-porous one, sealing in the dye.

handcrafted jewelry
Aluminum Tire Swing Earrings
The result is a beautiful and durable finish. The oxide coating that is formed on the surface during the anodization process is harder than the aluminum by itself. Anodized aluminum cleans easily with a damp cloth. Mild soap can be used for stubborn stains.

HSU Studio is such a whimsical jewelry site. Take some time and look around. It's guaranteed to make you smile.

Who knew aluminum could be so versatile?

SOURCES
Aluminum Jewelry
Very Colorful Jewelry

Resin Jewelry

5 Feb

Resin jewelry is made from liquid plastic that magically turns solid when a hardener is added. Resin is quite a versatile medium for jewelry. It can be cast into virtually any shape or color, and can also be painted. The popularity of this material for jewelry making has soared with the introduction of easy-to-mix, low-odor products. Resin is being increasingly used by manufacturers to make ethnic fashion jewelry items.

resin jewelry
Resin and Aluminum Bracelet
7-1/2" length bracelet of 3/4" aluminum squares with interior shapes filled with resin.

Polyester Resin
Polyester resin is the most commonly used resin. It is normally clear, but with a green tint. It can be tinted in various transparent and opaque colors using special pigments, and it comes in both laminating and casting formulas. The hazard is that polyester resin has a very offensive odor while casting, and the process is toxic because of the use of cross-linking agents and catalysts, dilutants, and accelerators.

jewelry techniques
Resin and Silver Pendant
Aluminum 1" frame with silver interior pattern

Epoxy Resin
epoxies are much more expensive than polyesters, and they have better temperature tolerance than polyester and are stronger. The epoxy compound ingredients are mixed in different rations to create different formulations. They can be tinted or colored with various pigments in opaque and almost transparent colors. They produce the least odor of all resins.

designer jewelry
Fabric and Resin Jewelry
Stunning, unique pieces featuring bright fabric underneath glossy resin
Made in Mexico
Taxco el Viejo is a small village in the silver-rich mountains of Guerrero state. The Union Progresista Artesanal (UPA) was founded in 1986 by twenty-six jewelry makers who set the following goals: 1) to raise family incomes by producing and marketing their products collectively, 2) to promote community development projects, 3) to share the principles of cooperation and self-improvement.

The Casting Process
Casting is done using a mold. Resin is generally cast as a pourable liquid or it can be laid up – laminated by hand with reinforcing cloth of glass or carbon fiber. Most of the resin can be cast using flexible molds of polysulfide and urethane.

Rigid molds of plaster, fiberglass, metal, or wood can also used. A separator coat is usually applied to the mold so the resin can be separated with ease after it has hardened. Silicone molds are the most convenient and appropriate, because they are flexible and need no separator coat.

SOURCES
Resin Fashion Jewelry
Fashion Jewelry Manufacturers

Connectables Clasps

4 Feb

Denise Couling is a lawyer and founder of Just So!, a jewelry design studio in Brighton, Michigan. She also writes the new Impeccable by Design Blog.

She has invented a neat little gadget called a Connectable that makes it easy to connect up to five completely different strands on the same necklace. A special clasp that allows you to basically create your own design.

Her Inspiration

My husband had given me a beautiful triple-strand pearl necklace. I loved the Jackie Kennedy look. I didn't love the fact that the design was permanently stuck in the Jackie look. If I needed a single strand of pearls, I had to go out and buy another necklace. If I wanted a double-strand, ditto. If I wanted a longer, matinee length, I would need to go out and buy that too. I knew one triple-strand pearl necklace, if designed right, should be able to provide all four classic looks.

designer jewelry

Voila!

I couldn't find a good interchangeable necklace clasp, so I made it a New Year's resolution to design one. I ripped apart my Jackie Kennedy necklace (sorry, Mark) and created three separate pearl strands, each with clasps on both ends. I can now wear one, two, or three strands at a time. Everything layers perfectly, and it's easy to take on and off. I can also use a chain extender and wear the long strand as a matinee length necklace, or add an enhancer to any strand.

Get The Look
Whether you purchase custom-made pearl strands or are a jewelry-maker who wants to create her own interchangeable necklaces, here are the 5 simple pieces required to create a Connectable necklace:

jewelry designing

If you're thinking about Spring 2008, and have begun to plan for the pastel looks for bridal parties and special events. Here a just a few looks Denise created by using her Jackie necklace as part of other interchangeable designs:

designer jewelry
Connectables Jewelry