Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Stuff to Check Out For Fall Projects And Other Useful Gemstone and Jewelry Information

Hand-made Sterling Silver Labradorite Pendant and Earrings


First, I'd like to make mention of a wonderful resource, in the form of a magazine, which I have subscribed to for over a year now, and I just love it! It's Art Jewelry Magazine, created by Kalmbach Publishers. They have a plethora of other educational magazines, on topics ranging from Wire-Wrapping, Metal Clay, Metal Smithing, Paper Craft, Felt Craft, Home Decor of all types, for all budgets, Woodworking, much, much more!
I have just acquired a new magazine from this company titled Wirework, also, which is a special issue from the pages of Bead&Button Magazine. This mag is also another wonderful fave of mine, rich with colorful illustrations and simple, step-by step instructions for amazing projects which will make you the talk of the town!

For instance, in the new Wirework Special Edition, there are 387 how-to-photos and illustrations, 34 all-time favorites, and 5 new projects! They have included a handy wire-gauge reference guide,tons of tips, techniques, and much, much more! This magazine also includes instructions on how to do Fast and Fabulous Crochet, Filigree Bracelets, along with Crocheted Wire Bezels.

I would also like to share with you a wonderful resource for GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION. It is a book titled GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY, BY Antoinette Maitlins, P.G., and A.C. Bonanno, F.G.A., A.S.A., M.G.A.. I think this is the most basic, up-to-date information on identifying most gemstones, new gemstones, such as chromium-type emeralds from HIddenite, North Carolina, and how to distinguish them from emeralds mined in other locations. This wonderful source also includes information on and instructions for using the most up-to-date instruments which assist in discovering treatments, look-alikes and synthetic gemstones, such as how to distinguish a natural "padparadscha" (peachy-pink)sapphire from one that is actually near-colorless, and treated with new diffusion techniques, also used to color orange and yellow colors. Additionally, you will find in this amazingly thorough book how to tell if diamonds have been treated by new High-Pressure-High-temperature (HPHT) techniques, often used to improve the clarity of less-than-colorless stones. This information is all vitally important in determining the actual value of a stone, and will save one a mint over the years in cost, as opposed to being fooled into spending more than a stone is worth, and then not being able to make a profit on their investment!

This book is also filled with useful color charts, and color photos of the insides of gemstone, so as to show how a natural stone of a certain type should look. Gemstones all have internal characteristics - "birthmarks", if you will - which are unique to each species of stone, and this is how they are identified by professional gemologists. The pictures in the book are very helpful in learning how to make these identifications on your own, and avoiding costly identification fees.

I also would like to share some basic information today on creating your own earring findings, which is a very simple process, and can be done in just 7 simple steps.

Supplies: 1) 4" of half-hard jewelry wire. I have found that 20 gauge works best. Some like them a bit thinner, so 21 or 22 gauge is fine, too. You can use your own judgement here. It's personal, at this point. :)
2) pair of round-nose pliers
3) needle file, or fine-grit sandpaper
4) rubbing alcohol or soap and water

1) Cut a wire into (2) 2" sections (5cm ea.)
2) Make a simple loop in one end of each wire. (A simple loop is made by grasping the end of the wire between the tips of the round-nose pliers, and rolling the pliers so that a loop is formed around the tip. Once that is accomplished, continue rolling until you have made a quarter turn more in the loop, so that a small section actually has two widths of wire in the circle.
3) Bend the wire up as if you were going to coil it around the loop, but instead, use the round-nose pliers to wrap it up in the other direction. This is accomplished by actually placing the wider portion of the plier behind and just above the end of the loop you have made, and wrapping the wire around this wider portion of the pliers. It should appear as though you have made a half lf the letter "m", with a loop at the bottom of the outside left of it. The right side of the wire should extend down below the Left-side loop, and have some excess.
4) Trim the wire to the length you want the earring finding to be.
5) Bend a slight curve at the end of the wire, pointing outward from the body of the earwire.
6) Smooth the end of the wire with your needle file or fine sandpaper.
7) Clean the tip of your new earwire with either soap and water or rubbing alcohol, to remove any remaining metal shavings or oils from your fingers.
8) Now, you're ready to take the remaining piece of wire, and create a matching wire. It helps to place the tip of the round-nose pliers into the hoop of the first wire, and shape the second wire while using the first one as a guide. You can remove the pliers from the loop after creating the new loop, and then place one side of the pliers into the curve of the earwire you have already made, while holding the wire with the other side right outside the small loop, shaping the new wire around the pliers along the same curves as the first wire.

Next, you're ready to open the small loop, and insert the jump ring which holds a bead, gemstone, or other object with which you would like to create your own unique set of earrings! There are many ways you can alter the size, shape and angle of the curves, and create tons of different styles of earrings with this one basic tutorial! ENJOY

I hope that you have enjoyed the information that I have shared here today, and the neat tutorial on basic earring creation. I would love to hear back from you, and even to see you post your own creations here. Please, do let me know what you're doing with this information, whether or not it's helpful to you, and anything that you would like to see here in the future. I will try to answer any questions you post.

Below are links to two of the magazines I mentioned. Go there, and find tons of other intersting magazines and books! Have a blast!

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