Archive | Jewelry Techniques RSS feed for this section

JBalducci Jewelry

18 Jun

Jenifer Balducci has a bachelor's degree in fine art from UCLA and a certificate in jewelry design from Gemological Institute of America. She also studied jewelry fabrication at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco while completing her master's degree in 3D computer arts.

designer earrings
maple leaf Earrings
Brass maple leaves dangle from 14k gold fill French ear wires.
Also available in sterling plated on sterling ear wires.

Before starting JBalducci Jewelry in early 2003, Jenifer designed high-end jewelry for two large manufacturers in Los Angeles, as well as custom pieces while working in a fine jewelry retail store in Santa Monica, California. JBalducci
jewelry provides an outlet for Jenifer's passion for gems, metals, and jewelry, and her need for unhindered creativity.

hair jewelry
Vintage Reborn Pink Celluloid Cluster Bobby Pin
A vintage carved pink celluloid flower cluster with pink rhinestones.

Jenifer uses only fine materials and often incorporates unique vintage and antique pieces. All pieces are handmade in her Bay Area studio, and many are one of a kind. Her creative flexibility has enabled her to design a wide range of styles, ensuring that anyone will find an accessory that they can identify with and fall in love with.

pearl necklace
Vintage Blue Flower Clasp Pearl Necklace
Two strands of white pearls are secured with a vintage blue enamel floral clasp accented with sky blue rhinestones. Measures 16 inches. One of a kind.

Jenifer Balducci is based in San Francisco, California, and her jewelry is available online and at fine boutiques worldwide. Jenifer also makes unique bridal jewelry. Custom pieces designed around your specifications are encouraged and available, as well as bridal party design.

Cuff Daddy Jewelry

13 May

Cuff Daddy is an online cufflink store based in metro Washington D.C. Cuff Daddy specializes in unique, high quality cufflinks not found elsewhere in the United States. They source the best discount cufflinks for men, and also carry a large selection of ladies cufflinks at affordable prices, with or without semi-precious stones.

Their cufflinks are adorable, but it's their large selection of unusual pendants that I found interesting:

jewelry techniques
Interlocking Love Stainless Steel Pendant
Black and Silver stainless steel is interlocked to form a rectangular shape with laser-engraved gender signs on each. Give one half of the pendant to your significant other so they can always keep you in their heart. Black color on half of pendant is coated by PVD, aka physical vapor disposition, which is the innovative process of providing a hard black coating onto metal. Once the process is complete, the black coating is extremely durable.

Carbon Fiber Jewelry
Carbon fiber is the next big thing in the jewelry industry. Super-light – lighter than titanium – with rings weighing only a gram or two, and bracelets at only six grams, carbon fiber is a slick alternative to heavy metals. It offers something that gold, silver, or platinum simply cannot offer – it's strong, it's rugged, and you don't have to worry about where you store it.

designer jewelry
Polished Stainless Steel Pendant with Carbon Fiber Cross
Made of stainless steel so it never needs polishing.

Carbon fiber is renowned for its use in Formula One Racing, space exploration, and aeronautical applications where high strength and light weight are critical – and it makes some very unique jewelry.

stainless steel pendant
Round Pink Glass Pendant with Stainless Steel
Gorgeous pendant made from poured glass into a stainless steel cage.
Made with stainless steel so it is both durable and easily cleaned with water.

Company Info
Our design team creates gold cufflinks that will make your sleeves look simply dazzling. Our inventory of sterling silver cufflinks will transform your entire wardrobe into a posh ensemble. If you want to get creative with your French cuff shirt, check out our cat-eye cufflinks, novelty links, and fiber optic designs.

We are the only seller of our Italian-inspired designs. In addition to cufflinks, you can also find men's ties (that can actually match your new set of links), multifunctional pens, and leather money clips on our site.

Cufflinks come in these materials:
• Silk
• Gold
• Silver
• Wood
• Crystal
• Enamel
• Catseye
• Fiber Optic
• Carbon Fiber
• Stainless Steel

Somers Randolph Jewelry

9 May

Somers Randolph is not a jewelry designer, he's a sculptor. Known for his larger pieces, Somers has also spent 30 years carving in miniature. When his wife Hillary discovered a virtual treasure trove of these tiny soapstone sculptures, she was inspired. They have transformed the miniature sculptures into silver and gold, creating the SOMERS collection. Somers says that he is one of those few lucky people in this world who are blessed to spend their working lives doing exactly what they want to do.

designer jewelry
Nancy Pendant
Friction clasp.
From Somers Classic series.
Measures 1-3/4" high x 3/4" wide.
Double strand 18" Tobacco colored leather cord.

Each piece of Somers Jewelry begins its life as a soapstone sculpture, hand-carved by Somers Randolph. To keep the integrity of the original soapstone, each piece is cast using the technique of lost-wax casting and a five-step finishing process.

jewelry techniques
Susan Pendant
Sterling silver hook and eye clasp.
From the Somers Geometric series.
Measures 1-1/2" high x 1-1/2" wide.
16" five strand Ruby colored leather cord.

jewelry designer
Reeve Pendant
From the Somers Classic series.
18" black silk cord with friction clasp.
Measures 1" high x 1" wide x 3/4" deep.

Artist Statement

I learned to whittle from my great uncle Alfred Adams, a Superior Court judge in nashville, Tennessee. He spent many hours whittling cedar sticks, trying to create the perfect curl of wood with each stroke. The price of a consult with that wise man when I was six or eight years old was to possess a pocketknife that would shave his arm.

My affinity for sculpture was discovered later, emerging as a logical escape from the standard pressures of a New England prep school's academic demands. Cabot Lyford was the first sculptor I ever met. His style of teaching involved a lot of doing. We were welding, casting bronze, and carving wood and stone in just two semesters of school. After a year of artistic exploration, which included attendance at the Corcoran School of Art and an apprenticeship in a marble yard in Pietrasanta, Italy, I attended Princeton.

Princeton is stubbornly academic, recognizing the study of, but not the creation of art as a worthwhile pursuit. I majored in Art History and mounted a sculpture show as a senior thesis in order to graduate. I am grateful to that institution for exposure to and friendship with some wonderful artists that chose to visit as professors from New York City.

From New Jersey, the logical move was to the West Coast, and I spent the next dozen or so years in Santa Barbara, California. In 1979, I visited a bronze pour at the local community college and was greeted by the instructor, an energetic fellow who introduced himself as Paul Lindhard, and asked me my name.

I told him and, without pause, he asked, "Somers, what do you do?" I said that I was going to be a sculptor. This fellow grabbed my shirt with intense enthusiasm and said, "Somers, you either are a sculptor, or you're not." Without hesitation, I replied to Paul, "Well then, I am a sculptor."

I taught at that college with Paul for the next several years, until I could support myself with sales of my own sculpture. I lived in warehouses and home-built studios with corrugated fiberglass roofs. The microwave oven on top of the refrigerator was the kitchen, and stone dust coated everything.

By 1990 it was time for a move, and so I loaded 14 tons of tools, stone, and possessions and headed to Nashville, Tennessee, for an encounter with my heritage. I threw in all my savings on a burned out warehouse in downtown Nashville, renovated it, and opened Blue Sky Court, the first coffeehouse in Nashville. While I was carving upstairs, we had live music six nights a week and a new art show every two weeks for over two years.

In 1996, I quit carving and began a romance with an anvil and scrap metal that lasted through my move to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1997. That morphed into silversmithing in 1998, and persists to some extent today. I returned to carving stone in 1999, and am now doing some large marble pieces, and some soapstone whittling to keep my lovely wife in jewelry designs.

Yes, there's a wife, Hillary. She's the business-minded of the two of us. She figured out how to market my thousand or so soapstone whittles as silver and gold jewelry. She also was kind enough to create a daughter, Comfort Avery Randolph, who at 3 years old has already participated in her first art show on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

While I carve, I have lots of time to ponder. I think about everything from religion, to what will be the same in a hundred years, to how to answer my 3-year-old's query, "Daddy, where is the speed limit?"

And I reflect, very often, on how fortunate I am to have been gifted with the ability to create objects that other people want.

Judith Neugebauer Jewelry Designer

8 May

Judith Neugebauer has worked as a jeweler since 1974. Prior to that, she was trained in classical ballet, having studied extensively with the American Ballet Theater in New York City. She performed professionally in the Ballet Corp at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and with the New Jersey Ballet company, as well as in musical theater productions throughout the country for ten years.

jewelry techniques
Daffodil Necklace
Necklace with lines drawn in 23k gold leaf on forged and hollow formed leaves of sterling silver. Accented with a pearl. 16"L fine silver cable. (Click on the pic.)

Judith's jewelry is made of die-formed, brushed sterling silver with an overlay of 23k gold leaf applied in sweeping, calligraphic strokes. Many pieces are enhanced with beautiful freshwater pearls and Australian boulder opals set in 22k gold. Recently, she has made extensive use of oxidized and sandblasted sterling silver to create a rich charcoal-black patina that contrasts even more dramatically with 23k gold lines.

designer jewelry
Winterberry Pendant
Pendant with calligraphic lines drawn in 23k gold leaf on two pillows of domed and hollow-formed oxidized sterling silver. Accented with a Tahitian freshwater pearl.

Judith's work is widely exhibited and collected, having been featured in Fine Craft Galleries, Museum Stores, and Juried Exhibitions throughout the US since 1985. Of special note was her selection to participate in the 1999 Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC. She was selected as a Juror for the prestigious American Crafts Council shows in 1996, and has served as Juror for a number of other regional fine craft shows.

jewelry designer
Orbit Earrings
Earrings hand-fabricated from sterling silver with 23k gold leaf and pearl accents. 14k gold post backs.

Judith was educated at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, and studied jewelry making with Austin Goodwin at Kean College in Union, New Jersey. She also studied both jewelry and ceramics at the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts in Summit, New Jersey. She lives and works with her husband, Tom Neugebauer, a nationally known ceramic artist and sculptor.

The many years Judith spent as a dancer have given her an appreciation of form, line, and movement. These influences have inspired her as an artist, and have been translated into her work as a jeweler. Her explorations with clay in the early eighties introduced her to an Oriental aesthetic, that can be seen in the calligraphic use of gold-leaf and colored metal inlay in her jewelry designs.

Artist Statement

A previous career in classical ballet and theater instilled within me a deep awareness and appreciation for movement, line, and balance. These are the classical qualities I have always tried to incorporate into my jewelry designs…and in my life.

My work is individually fabricated using sterling silver with an overlay of 23k gold leaf. Many pieces also incorporate freshwater pearls and Australian boulder opals set in 22k gold. Die-formed hollow elements create visual depth, yet the overall concern with lightness and movement remain central to my approach. A recent development has been the use of oxidized, sandblasted sterling silver with 23k gold leaf to create an even more dramatic surface.

Jeannine McKenzie Jewelry Designer

7 May

Jeannine McKenzie has been a jeweler for more than thirty years. She displayed her work on the art show circuit from 1974 to 1986, winning numerous awards at some of the finest juried shows in the Midwest. Now she creates her handmade jewelry in a remote cabin deep in the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, bear, moose, and other critters, she has found a way to merge all of her passions.

jewelry techniques
Triangle Post Earrings
Polished sterling silver and stamped brass.
Each earring measures 7/8" high x 1" wide.

Jeannine was born in 1945 in Alexandria, Virginia, to a career army officer and lived the life a typical army brat, moving from state to state and country to country. For over 32 years, she has lived in her historic 1854 Greek Revival home, and raised a family of five children. Jeannine says that she finds great strength in her children and in her big old home.

designer jewelry
Silver Post Earrings with Pearl
Each earring measures 1" high x 1" wide.
Polished silver and hand scribed matte sterling silver with a freshwater pearl.

Jeannine began her artistic career as a watercolorist, and painted for a number of years before becoming a jewelry designer. Although primarily self-taught, she is well-rounded artist, and her work is a delicate mixture of textures and forms. Through the years, her techniques have included casting, electroforming, etching, and fabrication.

jewelry designer
Mixed Metal Dangle Earrings
Each earring measures 1 1/2" high x 7/8" wide.
Handcrafted from sterling silver, copper, and freshwater pearls.

In 1992, Jeannine's husband Charles joined her in the jewelry business, and they now display and sell their work in over 75 galleries across the United States from Alaska to New York. The posts and nuts they use on their earrings are all surgical stainless steel and hypoallergenic – great news for those who have allergies to some metals.

When asked about her work she replies, "I've always had a deep love for jewelry, so it seemed the right art form with which to express my creative drive to design. To me designing in metal is more like playing than work – it's fun, exciting, and adventurous."

The McKenzies are outdoor enthusiasts, and they enjoy fishing, camping, rock hunting, and nature photography. In 2004, after ten years of rough camping one month each year (sleeping in the back of their truck), they had a cabin built on their eighty acres of land in a remote wilderness area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Charles has to plow the snow (over 200 inches the past winter) off their road, because the county doesn't do it. UPS doesn't deliver in the winter. Days go by without a human sound.

Zoe Chicco Jewelry Designer

6 May

Zoe is a trained goldsmith and describes her work as being inspired by friends, who are dynamic and fashion forward women, and who know how to mix and match styles, colors, textures, and trends to create a unique look. Zoe's jewelry can be worn every day and every night. Her designs are versatile works of art – a perfect mix of contemporary style and delicate femininity.

designer jewelry
Family Charm Necklace
Zoe Chicco Personalized Charm necklace has a 14k rose gold, 14k Yellow gold and sterling silver disks. Personalize with your family initials or your own. 16" ball chain.

Zoe grew up in Pennsylvania, and discovered she had a knack for jewelry design at a very early age. She graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, with a degree in metalsmithing. She has also studied at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy, and has apprenticed with several established jewelers on both the east and west coast.

jewelry techniques
Fleur-de-lis Necklace

Zoe now lives in Los Angeles, California, and she designs each piece and personally sets each diamond into 14k yellow, white, or rose gold, or sterling silver. With playful shapes and tiny flush set diamonds, she has created a cult following among celebrities including Demi Moore, Salma Hayek, Debra Messing, Uma Thurman, Cheryl Crow, penelope cruz, and many more.

jewelry designer
Engraved Oval Pendant
Made in 14k gold with an optional diamond accent, the pendant measures approximately 1" in length and 3/4" width, on a ball chain with a spring-ring closure.

Artist Statement

I like to make jewelry that I would choose if I were shopping for myself or friends. As my personal style evolves, I am constantly driven to create new work to keep my designs fresh and fashion-forward. My goal is to make pieces that make a woman feel special. With my jewelry, 14k gold and diamonds can be worn every day. Whether its jeans and a tank top or a cocktail dress and stilettos, I hope women will feel sexy and comfortable in my jewelry.

Cognac Diamonds

4 Apr

Designer Jewelry
Brown diamonds are very hot in the fashion world these days. The shades and hues of brown diamonds, usually grouped under the category of champagne diamonds, can be light and pinkish like wine or dark and rich like cinnamon.

Although they are the most common natural-colored diamond, production at the world's largest diamond mine, the Argyle Mine in Australia, has been down in recent years, and geologists and miners there have not discovered any new deposits. And demand for champagne diamonds has increased.

jewelry techniques
Cognac and White Diamond Bangle
A luxurious design with contemporary flair. This shimmering bracelet is crafted in polished 14k white gold. It features 34 brilliant round cut cognac diamonds in pave settings at the center. It is also flanked with 32 brilliant round cut diamonds, also in pave settings at the sides. The total diamond weight is approximately 0.71ct.

Cognac diamonds can be yellow, brown, and dark orange in color. Cognac diamonds weighing more than 3 carats are extremely rare but, just like yellow diamonds, their price depends more on fashion than on rareness. A 3-carat pink diamond, which is less rare, is worth 10 times more!

brown diamond pendant
Arco Baleno Cognac Diamond Pendant
Vibrant cognac diamonds.
Dazzling white diamonds.
Criss-cross design of 14k white gold.

If Cognac Diamonds are out of your price range, Cognac Quartz is a good alternative, and it's similar in color. It's very beautiful, and also affordable. Like this lovely ring:

diamond ring
Cognac Quartz Five-Stone Band
This artistic ring is crafted in 14k rose gold, with five brilliant round cognac diamonds in prong settings. The openwork around the band is exquisite. The total diamond weight is approximately 1.25ct. The setting size is 1/4" x 15/16" with a height of 3/16."

In recent years, $5 billion worth of champagne and cognac diamond jewelry has sold annually around the world, meaning these jewels are the most accessible natural-colored diamonds for consumers. As more and more celebrities have been spotted sporting all shades of brown diamonds on the red carpet, the popularity of these natural beauties has been taking off.

Millacreli Jewelry

7 Mar

millefiori Jewelry
Millefiori is a type of Italian glass that uses various layers of color to create beautiful flower-like patterns. The Murrina are cylindrical glass rods that contain a specific pattern along their entire length. They are cut into slices and combined to create the floral patterns you see in the jewelry, then the glass is fused together. They are completely handmade of authentic Murano glass.

Millacreli Jewelry
Millacreli combines the bright floral patterns of Millefiori glass and durable colored resin in .925 sterling silver settings to create unique and colorful jewelry.

jewelry techniques
Millacreli Heart Pendant
Dazzling asymmetric large curved heart pendant featuring a large Millefiori glass heart-shaped center that has been handset inside a white Millacreli resin and Sterling Silver with 18k gold-plated frame.

Glass manufacturing grew during the time of the Roman Empire and spread from Italy to all countries under Roman jurisdiction. In the Venetian Republic, glass craftsmanship flourished. In 1291, fearing fire and destruction to the city's wooden buildings, the glass makers were ordered to move their foundries out of Venice and onto the island of Murano. For centuries, the glass makers of Murano have held the monopoly on quality glass making.

jewelry ring
Millacreli Blue Curved Heart Ring
Designer Millacreli blue heart ring, featuring a curved Millefiori glass handset stone with blue and pearl white Millacreli resin, all set inside a silver frame.

Millacreli jewelry is of high quality, yet it's very affordable. It comes in a rainbow of colors and many different styles – bangles, bracelets, pendants, earrings, and rings. Because the designer makes new selections and arrangements for each finished piece, each one is unique.

jewelry bracelet
Millacreli Multicolor Bangle
A white resin and silver bracelet featuring two hearts in Millefiori glass with multicolor flower enamel Millacreli accents. This bracelet opens by a spring like hinge mechanism located at the bottom center of the bracelet. Also includes a rhodium-plated finish, which gives it its lustrous white gold appearance.

A unique design for a unique woman, for a cherished occasion or for no reason at all, Millacreli just might be the perfect gift for that special someone. The proud wearer will exhibit a piece of jewelry unlike any other in the entire world.

So sweet!

Argentium Silver Jewelry

6 Mar

Argentium® Sterling Silver
By definition, sterling silver has 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other materials. Pure silver (fine silver) is rather soft, so adding another metal helps make sterling silver sturdier so it holds up to regular wear. Silver is typically alloyed with copper, which makes a durable and attractive blend, but it tarnishes easily.

Argentium has the same 92.5% silver, but it also has a little bit of a metal called Germanium, which makes it far more tarnish resistant than .925 sterling silver.

silver bracelet
Argentium Silver Cuff Bracelet

Working with Argentium
Argentium is more ductile (able to stretch) and malleable (able to bend without breaking) than Sterling Silver. Before using Argentium wire, you can heat it slightly to engage the tarnish resistance, and this may harden it a little as well, and make it a little easier to work with.

jewelry techniques
Argentium Silver Woven Bracelet
The center of this bracelet is Argentium sterling silver, woven by hand using eight sets of three wires. The center weave is framed and wrapped with 14kt gold-fill wire.

The Tarnish
Sterling silver tarnishes due to the presence of sulfur, which reacts with the copper. Sulfur can come from perfume, deodorant, skin, and the atmosphere. Some people tend to tarnish silver quite rapidly.

So why doesn't Argentium tarnish like sterling silver? The difference is that small amount of Germanium. It forms a thin layer of Germanium Oxide on the surface of the metal, which is almost transparent. This layer keeps the sulfur from reaching the copper, so it can't react and cause tarnish.

While this barrier layer will build up over time at room temperature, heating it will help build the protective layer faster. This is also why it's not necessary to protect Argentium from oxygen when soldering or fusing.

When Argentium does tarnish, it takes on a very soft yellow color, where .925 sterling silver forms a dark black patina. Under normal circumstances, washing with dish washing liquid and a soft brush is all that is required to keep Argentium sterling silver jewelry bright and shiny.

Just last year, beads, chains, and clasps in Argentium became available. I think it's worth the small extra expense for its strength, beauty, and its tarnish-resistant finish.

About Argentium Silver

Fabric Jewelry

21 Feb

I ran across some fabric jewelry the other day. It's an interesting concept, so I looked for more, and I was amazed at how much I found. The attraction would be the infinite number of patterns and colors that fabric offers.

At Wilde Traditions, I couldn't figure out what they mount the fabric onto to make earrings, but the texture added by the weave of the fabric is quite attractive. They use textile patterns in combination with silver, gemstones, and glass beads to make jewelry.

They also roll the fabric around something – a knitting needle or something similar – to make tubular beads that they use in their necklaces:

bead jewelry
Blue and White Necklace with Fabric Beads
Tie-dyed blues and white with blue goldstone and glass beads
Goldstone is a type of glass made with copper or copper salts.

One-of-a-kind fabric jewelry for the wrist, using everything from buttons and pins to felt appliqués and embroidery in a variety of shapes and colors, crafted with handmade simplicity:

Fabric Cuff Bracelets

NOTE: It appears that this lady is no longer making these cuff bracelets. I think they're adorable. If you're a bit crafty, give it at try. I think girls would love them.

This bracelet is metallic fabric wrapped around a bangle. It looks like metal at first. but it must be so comfortable to wear:

bangle bracelet
Metallic Woven Bangle

Once again, very clever use of materials.