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Polishing John Hardy Jewelry Using Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners

9 Feb

© John Hardy

When the worth of your jewelry pieces runs in the thousands of dollars, you'd want to take care of them properly. The care or your jewelry pieces will depend on what metals and gemstones they are made of. One easy way to clean and polish your valuables it by using ultrasonic jewelry cleaners.

How does an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner does its job? It's pretty much the same as brushing off dirt, but instead of a brush, vibration from ultrasonic waves knocks off dirt and stains off your jewelry.

The vibrating motion of the ultrasonic waves creates microscopic bubbles in the water or cleaning solution in a process called cavitation; millions of tiny bubbles knock into one another and into the items resting in the cleaning tank. The cavitation process gently knocks dirt off the jewelry. The motion is very effective at penetrating the tiny crevices in jewelry that traditional cleaning cloths and topical cleaners cannot easily reach.

Because this method uses cleaning solutions that usually consist of non-ionic surfactants, detergents or ammonia, this cleaning method may not be suitable for all types of jewelry. For example, your John Hardy silver pieces can be restored to their original gleam using an ultrasonic cleaners, but your opals, pearls, emeralds and other soft stones are better off with more gentle polishing methods.

Gold Wish Rings

4 Sep

They aren't rings that you wear on your fingers. They're rings that you wear on a pendant – seven gold rings, to be exact. And all the wish pendants I found are decorated with Black Hills Gold, a lovely touch. According to legend, wearing seven golden rings will make your wishes come true, and each of the seven rings also represent a wish for every day of the week.

seven golden wish rings
Jeremiah Frog Gold Wish Ring Pendant
Jeremiah Frog and wish rings pendant in Black Hills Gold – 12 karat gold split color leaf and frog, 14 karat wish rings. Approximately 1 1/2in. high x 7/8in. wide.

The Ancient Fable
Place these rings upon your chain,
And let the luck they hold remain,
By turning one ring from left to right,
Your luck then lasts from morn til night.
All seven complete the lucky week,
Each day providing the wish you seek.

designer gold pendant
10K Moon Wish Ring Pendant
Moon-shaped gold pendant with seven dangling rings and Black Hills Gold accents.

From the romance of ancient legend come the Wish Rings. The legend reveals that "the wearing of seven golden rings grouped together and freely moving" will fulfill your heart's desires. The seven "Wish Rings" also represent each day of the week, hence a wish for everyday.

Black Hills gold necklace
Morning Rose Wish Ring Pendant
Beautiful, traditional morning rose pendant with Black Hills Gold accents. It measures 3/4" by 1/2". The pendant is 10k gold, with 12k rose and green gold accents.

May each of your wishes come true.

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 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?

Aluminum Jewelry
Very Colorful Jewelry

Chain Maille Eye Candy

10 Nov

Chain Maille Eye Candy
Eye candy for jewelry lovers means getting to look at fabulously cool jewelry, and if you are at all a fan of chain maille jewelry, then you need to take a trip over the the Urban Gallery. This is where owners Gary and Aislyn showcase the work of customers who have purchases either kits and/or metal rings from their site.

That's right. This couple created a web business based on selling metal jump rings for people who like to construct chaine maille jewelry. Actually, this is really brilliant because you need super high quality rings if you plan to make high quality chaine maille as the rings are not soldered closed but instead are snapped shut one at a time.

One thing I noticed that was a little bit of a bummer when going through the gallery is that some of the links to the artists' websites are no longer working. I hate when people do that – They get a site and then let it go so some poor person who has a link on his/her site now as a bad link. But, even still, there's plenty to browse through and enjoy in the gallery even if you can't find the site of the original artist who created the piece of jewelry.

Copper is Cool

11 Sep

Copper is one of those metals you don't see a lot of when it comes to your average jewelry design. In fact, most metalsmiths learn the jewelry making ropes on copper, and then graduate to silver, then gold, then platinum, and well, you get the picture.

So, I guess since copper is a rather inexpensive metal compared to gold for example, that may be one reason it's not considered as valuable to most jewelry designers. Yes, I get that it doesn't cost a lot, but that doesn't mean you can make some cool jewelry with copper, such as they very cool copper earrings from City Details.


10 KT the New Standard?

31 Aug

10 KT the New Standard?
Metal prices have gone out of this world over the last year to the point that the average Jill can't afford platinum any more, and the average Jo has to buy her, what? Can it really be happening? Is 10 kt gold the new 14 kt gold? Is it the new American standard these days? Oy, I hope not! But, I sure seem to see more and more of it.

Now, a few years ago, I'd say, that's fine. 10kt gold is sort of like high-end costume jewelry: it has its place. But, with the prices I'm seeing these days on items like the pendant pictured above ($1250 from, I have to shake my head with wonder and sadness.

This is a cool pendant, but consider the gold in it or lack there of, it's just sad.

Metal and Clay Equals Jewelry

20 Aug

Metal and Clay Equals Jewelry

An interesting jewelry medium called metal clay popped up around the early 1990s. The substance is clay but when the organic material is burnt out, it becomes solid metal, either fine silver or 22kt gold, depending on the type of clay. As a jewelry designer, I was really interested in this material, and I took a few classes, but it was frustrating in the early days of metal clay because you had to use a kiln to fire the clay. Today, because of new technology in manufacturing metal clay, jewelry designers can use simple hand torches or hot pots to finish small pieces that they then turn into earrings, charms, and much more. To the uninitiated jewelry consumer, though, they really don't see the difference.

The Detroit News reports on this new trend and shows of the work of one jewelry designer who found her metal clay niche, Process adds a unique twist to making jewelry:

About seven years ago, longtime jewelry maker Karyl Gatteno saw an ad in a magazine for a precious metal clay certification class that piqued her interest to learn a new technique for creating wearable art.

The Grosse Pointe resident who had spent years making jewelry using traditional techniques – silversmithing and beading – decided this would be a way to add a different twist to her designs.

"It was a totally new material that's very versatile and has a lot of possibilities," explains Gatteno, who took the three-day certification class in Indiana.

Gatteno says the gray, clay-like material was developed about 10 years ago in Japan by the Mitsubishi Co. It's a fine powder of pure silver mixed with a trade secret. After being shaped and given a design, pieces are then fired in a kiln.


Bad News for Gold Lovers

8 Aug

Bad News for Gold Lovers

Considering my recent post about how big and bold jewelry is on the list of trends for 2008, this news from about the rise in gold prices is disheartening to say the least. It's no secret that metal prices, including gold, silver, and paltinum, have continued to increase, but this reports gold going way up to 4 digits! Crap! From Gold to Rise Above $1,000 on Jewelry, Lassonde Says:

Gold will surge to more than $1,000 an ounce driven by increased jewelry demand and a weaker dollar, Newmont Mining Corp. Vice Chairman Pierre Lassonde said.

“Gold's time is coming,'' Lassonde said at the Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia today. The price will have three zeros, “I just don't know what the first number is going to be,'' he said, without giving a timeframe.

The supply of gold from mines is dropping as companies fail to make major discoveries and licensing issues slow down construction, Lassonde, 60, said. Gold jewelry demand is expected to rise from last year's value of $45 billion, he said. Gold at $1,000 would be 49 percent higher than today's price.

“The outlook for gold is bullish, but there's perhaps some vested interest in those forecasts,'' said Michael Widmer, the head of metals research at Calyon, the investment banking unit of Credit Agricole SA.

Gold for immediate delivery rose as much as $1.30, or 0.2 percent, to $674.30 an ounce today, and traded at $672.68 at 6:31 p.m. Sydney time. Gold futures reached a nominal record of $873 an ounce in January 1980, while the spot price reached a 26-year high of $730.40 in May, 2006.

`Bull Market'

“This bull market in natural resources will last a whole generation, that's 20 years,'' Lassonde said in remarks to the conference. “China and India will have hiccups but, no, they will not stop growing.''

Gold and oil will be the best performing commodities in the current cycle, while the prices of copper and molybdenum have peaked, he said. Gold will rise to more than $850 within 12 months, and will rise above $750 by fall, Lassonde said.

Calyon's Widmer said he's forecasting average prices of $650 for the current quarter, and $700 for the final three months of 2007. “The average for next year, I think, will reach $720,'' he said. “We can still go higher from where we are.''

The price of gold will be boosted by increased global wealth, which will spur jewelry sales, Lassonde said. Jewelry accounted for two-thirds of gold demand in the first quarter.

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Jewelry That Rocks

28 Jul

Jewelry That Rocks

I'm always interested in the stories jewelry designer tell about how they found their passion for creating jewelry, the journys they've taken to get where they are now, the inspiration that hit them, that eureka moment.

Many of the more successful jewelry designers also have a niche they fill that is often connected to past careers. Such is the case with Leslie Homan, owner of Femme Metale.

From "Rockabilly bling: Femme Metale creates dramatic jewelry:"

Creator and designer Leslie Homan fell into making jewelry seven years ago, after giving up her job as a makeup artist and stylist for infomercials.

The 47-year-old now lives in Corona, Calif., with her yappy Italian greyhound and giant white cat.

Her company now has 450 wholesale accounts across the country, as well as international visibility online. To come up with the jewelry designs, Homan uses reference books on Victorian Art, pop-culture icons and music to inspire her own creative mind.

Homan also creates fine jewelry rings using 14-karat white gold, pave diamonds and various gemstones like sapphires and rubies. The rings come in various shapes: skull and cross bone, pirate, burning heart, and crown, to name a few.

So, she sort of connected her entertainment backgroud with hip metal jewelry. Very cool.

Laura James Goes Eco

25 Jul

Laura James Goes Eco

Last time we looked in on jewelry designer Laura James, she was getting into heavy metal and had plans to take a metalsmithing class at Penland.

James' latest jewelry collection reflects many of the new metal working techniques she picked up going back to school as well as her renewed interest in eco-friendly jewelry and distressed designs:

The current Green Movement craze has bitten rising independent jewelry designer Laura James of Laura James Jewelry ( ). James aims ahead of the curve this season by merging high fashion with a recycled edge.

Known for her runway-inspired designs, Laura James introduces an eco-vibe to her latest jewelry collections for 2007. Continuing to create high quality, fashion-forward jewelry, James stays on trendy track this season with the environment in mind. The Cristalle collection offers a glamorous take on the Green Movement with vintage recycled crystals in every design. Her SoHo Collection offers daintier designs incorporating recycled vintage rosary beads and carved jade pendants. Both collections also have semi-precious stones and fine metals such as fourteen karat gold fill, sterling silver, and twenty-two karat gold vermeil intertwined throughout each piece. Lastly, the Metals Collection is a nod to the emerging Arts and Crafts revolution that is currently sweeping the runway. In this collection, James showcases her metalsmithing techniques learned at Penland School of Craft with handmade acid-etched floral brass discs that dangle from recycled vintage crystal and hand-forged wire.


"It is exciting to be able to create jewelry that is not only coveted to be worn, but ultimately benefits us in the long run." said Designer Laura James. "The education is out there teach us how to make this world a better place and utilizing that information in our own craft is the next step. The challenge of incorporating the latest runway trends into jewelry that women everywhere can have access to and to be able to make a difference simultaneously is ultimately my goal in this business."

Using recycled vintage materials, semi-precious and organic stones, gold and silver; James aims to create high quality jewelry with an affordable edge.

Prices in the Laura James Jewelry collections range from $30 to $300 and can be purchased both on-line at and in over thirty select retail boutiques in six states. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, James currently resides and operates Laura James Jewelry in Charlotte, North Carolina