Thursday, June 20, 2013

Explained? The Idea in the Dark

I ran across this article the other day:  Darkness Sparks Creativity: How Dim Lighting Raises Self-Determination And Lowers Inhibitions. It made me think of all those times that I, like so many others, get those fabulous ideas while laying in bed at night in the dark. What about the dim bulb, you say? Well, how many of us have dim light streaming in or an alarm clock light? If I had a grant, I'd study it. :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wire Review: Diamond Cut Sterling Silver Wire From Rio Grande

While perusing Rio Grande recently, I ran across this: Diamond cut, faceted sterling silver wire. I grabbed some so fast, you would have thought it was chocolate! I got the 20g to try.

As you may know, I don't use a lot of twisted square wire in my work. I find it to be overwhelming on a majority of pieces. I was hoping this wire would have a more subtle effect and it does.

Lets take a look at it:

20g faceted diamond cut sterling silver wire

Compared to smooth square wire:

diamond cut, faceted sterling silver round wire compared to smooth wire

and.... compared to square twisted wire:

As you can see, this wire is radically different. I was sold on the looks, I wondered how it would work.

I chose a beautiful bustamite pendant to work with because I believe this wire is best just for accent and that was all I wanted for this stone.

My impressions:

The wire looks very rough. It is actually surprisingly soft. It is not smooth, mind you, but I don't think it would cause a lot of problems to wear. 

I thought the wire would be much more hard or stiff. It is not. Despite what Rio Grande says on the website, "to avoid annealing, use only after soldering" this is very soft wire. In fact, the lack of harness is a bit of an issue for me. It doesn't want to hold it's shape well. You have very few options to harden it, as well. You can't hammer or twist it and running it through a cloth tears up your cloth.

The look is quite nice. It has a bright but not garish twinkle. It is almost subtle. I can see using this for accent to great effect.

The gauge seems smaller than 20g. That is because the surface is textured leaving a slightly smaller solid diameter. It did bundle very well with 20g round, though. But, because the core is smaller, it is less strong. I wouldn't use the 20g for earring drops, as an example. I think it would be fine for small components which will be work hardened, but for larger components, I don't think it is strong or hard enough. However, as I found out, a single wire in a bundle works very well. One just has to remember to work harden the angles a bit. I think this would be very nice to add to a wire sculptured piece- better than twisted square even. The cost may make that unacceptable, though.

Overall, I have to say that I like the wire. For what I would use it for, that is, accent in a bundle for a pendant, it is perfectly acceptable and fairly easy to use. However, because of the softness, I think it has its limits.

I haven't given it a patina. I'm not sure that I want to. I will try it at some point when I think it might be called for and let you know what I think.

I tumbled this piece for an hour. It tumbles fine and I think I could have tumbled much longer. 

Thanks for reading :) I hope this was helpful and that you decide to try this new wire. I may get some more to do a wire sculpted piece. I haven't done one in awhile.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Ghost in the Stone

I finished this yesterday and had to share it. It is a Chinese Paintbrush or Nature's Paintbrush cabochon.

Nature's Paintbrush aka Chinese Paintbrush

When I first laid eyes on this, I had to have it. It so vividly reminds me of an old picture of a great, great Aunt. In the old sepia photo, she is holding her arms out with a huge lobster dangling from her hand. I have tried to find the photo and now that I want it, I can't. Rest assured, the image is almost dead on- except there is no rock lobster. :)

I love picture stones and I'm always looking for good ones. The cool thing about them is that everyone sees their own pictures. An image which seems crystal clear to one viewer, may be vague or something else completely to another viewer. This stone, the one with the ghost or apparition, is no different. I am really curious as to what others might see. Let me know in the comments.

Close up of what I see in the stone.

Thanks for reading and for your comments. :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Working for the Man

I've been busy. I've been doing lots of custom work for men. If I'm not doing custom work for men, then men are buying from my Etsy shop. For anyone familiar with my style, it may come as no surprise that my work appeals to men. I tend to stray away from curls and feminine embellishment. Yes, I will say it again:  It's all about the rocks. (I run into more rockhounds doing this work!) 

Rare Blue Green Ammolite

I've been thinking about this trend of selling to men. I remember on a few discussions boards, questions would frequently come up addressing the issue of men and jewelry. Us women, because it was invariably us mystified and clueless women who would be wondering, rambled on with ideas and thoughts about what men really liked. Rarely did a man ever chime in. I don't think any one of us really had any good understanding of the subject. And, of course, it isn't fair to generalize, but we must. We can't cater to every desire. We have to aim for some middle ground.

Kambaba Jasper with Beaded Frame Wrap sans beads

Here are a few thoughts that I have on the subject of men and jewelry. (I can only speak about pendants here.) I think men appreciate strong design. That is, a design that speaks visually to a determined mind. They don't seem to care for ambiguity. They want a design to work in concert with the stone. The design has to be seen as an extension of the stone, not an embellishment to the stone. I think they want stones that make a strong statement, too. All of my men clients have chosen unique or rare over pretty or even masculine. They chose statement stones, stones which stand out as examples of their breed, or stones which represent something about themselves. The stones on their own make the statement. The jewelry is just a way to unobtrusively present the rock in a straight forward way.


If I am explaining myself well, then it's easy to see why I sell a lot of pendants to men. My style has always respected the rocks. I guess, I have a masculine aesthetic. I see a lot of jewelry that incorporates a lot of fancy wire work. I have some favorite artists for that style, too. I do enjoy it a lot. I'm a girl, so frilly is sometimes exactly what I want. But, for some reason, that's not where my mind goes to when working for myself. Try as I may, I have no imagination for more feminine work. I think it goes back to my affinity for Art Deco and clean lines and, of course, my love of the lapidary arts.

Rare Australian Print Stone

I'll keep doing what I love to do and I'll keep making jewelry that men tend to like. It's a good place to be- working for the man. :)

Cherry Creek Jasper with a decidedly masculine look

Thanks for reading, as always. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lots of Rocks

During my recent family crisis, I found that the best thing to do was to cab to keep my mind off things. I found it very hard to concentrate on wrapping. I did do a few wraps, but not many. I have done so many cabs that I have lost track of them- literally. LOL!

I got on a kick with Graveyard Point Plume Agate (GYP) because of the variety of looks that I got from all the different rough I had gotten.  Some of it is full of marcasite with a real metallic look, some is real plumey and some has a little of everything. I had a few that had black dendrites, or at least that's what it looked like. They had a Montana agate look to them.

I put together a slide show of some stones. Then, I decided it was too long. So, I tried to put together a simple table for adding the pictures to Blogger, but Blogger did not play nice, at all! I guess, it's back to old fashioned scrolling. :(

Australian Print Stone- Rare and beautiful with a matte polish

GYP ring stone

Very rare Forest Fire Agate

Plumey GYP

Ocean Jasper

Scenic GYP much nicer in person with a lot of depth

Fuschite full of Ruby- this is the best one that I've done. It's very difficult to cab.

Very nice plumes in GYP

Sonora Chrysocolla

More GYP

"Bad Moon Rising" Montana Agate- Very cool stone!

"Heavy Metal" GYP

Flame agate

Almost mossy GYP

More colorful GYP

Sonora Sunrise Freeform
I'm sure there are lots more that I left out, but like I said- I've lost track of what I've done. 2 are sold already for custom pendants and several are for sale- or will be- in my Etsy shop. There's also some there that you may not have seen, including one some of you might remember from before I recabbed it. It had been in a very popular wrap that I cut up. I don't know why I cut it off, but I did.


My grandson ended up with a long term suspension. He was very impressive at the hearing and made us all proud. I think he represented himself very well. :)

My nephew is now home and continuing outpatient chemo. He has been doing very well with it. He can return to light duty at work. :) That's really incredible news. He just can't be stopped.

Thanks for following along and for your comments. Things have calmed down here and life is back to semi normal, I'll have more time for the blog ... and more time to wrap.