These are some easy earrings that I made for a friend's friend using glass lampwork beads and sterling. Simple but striking.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
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
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
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
Friday, 18 September 2009
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...