Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Gorgeous New Ring

I loved doing this special commission that was the birthday present for a beautiful girl from her mum.  It is hand forged sterling silver, with a tube-set green sapphire.  Difficult to tell from this picture but the ring was v-shaped at the shoulders to show off more of the stone.  Gorgeous and sparkly.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seasonal Update

The tree is up at home - thanks to a very eager 3 year old.  Nothing to do with her mum, hoho no.  The shop is still getting stocked up, and I'm so pleased that the orders are pouring in!   A very happy first shop Christmas.  I'm delighted to have been asked to make several custom items...

A guitar pick in fine silver with initials:

Some sapphire raindrop pendants again in fine silver: 

and several others that I must keep under wraps, I'm told.  But I did promise an update on the handprint cufflinks that I made recently, and I hear that they got the oohs and the ahhs that they deserved.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Demantoid Garnet

OK, I am now well and truly speechless.  I thought I knew what my favourite stones were, and could just get on with setting them into lovely pieces of jewellery, and along comes this baby and throws my mental list of plans into disarray:

Demantoid garnet.  A little gem rarity - diamond-like (demantoid, ta-da!) sparkles dance as you move, and it is such a joyful green that it can't help but make you smile.    The picture really does not do it justice.   I have big plans for you little green garnet.  Oh I do.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Shop's Open!

The shop is finally here!!   Click, click, click now!!

I'm pretty proud of this shop, seeing as I have done e-v-e-r-y-thing myself, from the websites (including some crazy coding), the photos, the making - and all this with a still-busy home life and knowing that this time last year I could not have guessed if I'd had a million tries what I would be doing now.   Sure there have been compromises.  Some of the ranges I really really want to be in the shop have to wait a little bit because I want to get them just right.  I'm still learning.   And if I'm not entirely happy with a piece, I cannot bring myself to sell it. This past year has brought me more failed attempts and scrap pots full of precious casualties than I can bring myself to admit.  Maybe I should have listened to the people that used to say "practise on copper!"...  So I have brought back some assembled pieces and have sourced some beautiful pendants and charms, and will continue to practice late into the night so I can bring all those ideas to the shop in the coming weeks.

Make sure you visit, and let me know what you think.   And with Christmas just around the corner, I'm sure there will be plenty to inspire some thoughtful gifting!

Jasmin x

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Coming Up For Air

It feels like I have been away from my online world forever - you must really excuse me, I have been locked in a cave working on many new pieces - want a sneak preview?

Shop opening soon - stay tuned!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Work in progress

A special order for a very lucky grandad:

I'll show you the finished product when they have been approved by the two willing helpers!

In case you could not tell, they will be a pair of cufflinks with the grandchildren's actual handprint embedded into fine silver.   Ok, actual handprint is a bit of an exaggeration - I follow a process to make their actual handprints into a miniature stamp which can then be pressed into the soft clay.   Clay?!   Indeedy.  If it does not look like silver (let alone 'fine') in the photo, it is only because this is Art Clay Silver, a soft, mouldable material that needs to be fired so that the binder and the water holding on to the silver particles can burn away and those lovely silver particles can sinter to produce a solid silver piece.    It's [almost] magic!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

I've flown!

This is one momentuous week.  This is the week that I have given up my job to concentrate on my jewellery work.  This is the week that hopefully, will imprint itself on my memory as THE professional turning point.  This is the week that will also be remembered as one of the most exciting, scariest and busiest ever. 

And it is also a little bit of a sad week, so many goodbyes to so many lovely people... 

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Everyday Earrings

These are some easy earrings that I made for a friend's friend using glass lampwork beads and sterling.  Simple but striking.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A new obsession. Moissanite.


I received today my first ever moissanites.   Beautiful, amazing material.   Stronger than corundrum and just a notch below diamond on the Mohs scale, Moissanite is bright and fiery and dazzling.   This is as far from cubic zirconia as you can get.  I am unable to tell it apart from real diamond myself, and it has fooled professional jewellers many times.  However, the object, I think, is not to see it as the diamond's poor relation and a sneak that's out to fool you, but to appreciate it for its own merits.  Yes, it is lab created - natural moissanite is very rare indeed: it is found in meteoric dust (see? romantic too - it's silicon from heaven!), but the particles are far too small to be usable in jewellery.  Then along come the clever people at Charles & Colvard and they devise a way to recreate the magic.  But whilst the happy chappies at C&C are probably laughing all the way to the bank (trust me, moissanite ain't cheap), I'm happy too that I'm getting the same bling knowing I'm not helping to fund wars in diamond mining areas of the world.  That, for me, is a good thing.  

I would like to use conflict-free diamonds in future, but for as long as I remain at the stage where I can spend 20 minutes under the bench looking for a wayward stone, it's probably wise not to...

Now I just need to decide how best to show off these babies.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Citrine Ring

Practiced a new style of ring today, with shoulders that come up next to the collet.  This one is sterling silver with a gorgeous faceted citrine which is a beautiful form of quartz.  I was surprised to learn that the quartz family includes along with rose quartz and smoky quartz, the less obvious agates, jaspers, chalcedony and even amethyst is a form of quartz!  and did you know that quartz is the second largest occurring mineral on earth and that it is the main constituent in granite stone.....   lovely family, the Quartzes.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Stone setting

My stone setting course at jewellery industry supremos HS Walsh just finished.   We learnt the professional way of doing three different types of setting:  rubover, claw and grain - they all have different personalities.  Rubover is a bit of a bullmastiff - you need a fair bit of brute force but can be moulded into a gentle and obedient curve.  Claw setting is the primadonna of the settings, very dainty, very exacting and surprisingly time-consuming!   Grain setting remains a bit of a mystery to me....   this is a calculated setting that requires not just a good understanding of geometry but also dexterity in the use of the setter tools - too much going on at once!  one to practice slowly, so please don't be asking me for pave set diamonds just yet!

And yes, these are unfinished cast ring blanks - no shine! 

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Today I thought I would show the other first attempts at enamelling.  I am hooked - now I only need to find a really good kiln that I can use both for this and for my silver clay work.

Stamped with writing

Several thin speckly layers

All of these pieces are made from copper - but enamelling works really well with silver, especially the purer fine silver as you don't have to continually deal with firestain after each firing as you do with sterling.

Kiln shops, you will see me very soon indeed.  And photography training providers, you, probably will too.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Blown Glass Earrings

At the weekend, I went to a friend's birthday party - where I had been asked to do a model of her having just returned from a shopping trip - here she is in all her finery:

I love this - I honestly sometimes wish I hadn't gone the academic route through school and uni and instead focussed more on the artistic half of my brain!  If you would like to see some more of my work with miniature models and cakes - see my site:  http://www.jasmins-cakes.co.uk/

As a present for birthday girl, I made her a beautiful pair of silver earrings with moutblown glass beads.  These are such a lovely weight, I like them so much I may just offer them in my shop.

Friday, 18 September 2009

My very first post

Hello Blogosphere,

An introduction - I'm Jasmin, and I make jewellery using precious metals and gems.  I'm about to leave a job of comfortable predictability and embark on a little adventure in adornment - so things in my world are just a little bit exciting at the moment.

My latest experiment in the craft has been with enamels.  I had the opportunity to take a class with the renowned artist Joan MacKarell, her work is just amazing, and I would urge you to visit her gallery. I will show my other first attempts later.  I had not really considered glass to be a very 'friendly' working material - up until now!  I was amazed by the results and the possibilities of bringing colour into my work - and cannot wait to experiment further. I love the look of the transparent enamels, and I love how this little honeycomb fine silver pendant filled with orange enamel turned out (though this isn't the best picture in the world):

More adventures in enamelling to follow...