Jewelry Making Poll

Jewelry Making News, Tips, Tutorials, and Reviews

Archive for December, 2005


12/28/05 | Kiku Fused Glass

Kiku LogoKiku is a little DIY shop that I came across the other day that makes fused glass jewelry and other accesories. I like the unusual shapes and colors of these playful items.

The fused glass is actually made by putting the pieces of glass together into a kiln and melting them into each other. I’ve always wanted to try fused glass but since I don’t have a kiln handy just yet, I’m once again in “admiring others” mode when it comes to glasswork like this.

Laurie from Kiku makes a wide array of fun necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, pins, rings and even belt buckles and cufflinks. Her site says she uses “Bullseye transparent and opaque glass” as well as CBS Dichroic glass to make her jewelry. I believe that she’s based in the Chicago area.

Sizzle Pin - Kiku Fused GlassSome of my favorite Kiku pieces of jewelry are the unusual shaped items like this aptly named Sizzle Pin. It a starfish shaped opaque red, orange, and yellow glass pin that is about 2 3/4″ wide.

A lot of her jewelry seems affordably priced as well… this one was marked down to $20. There are quite a few other cool abstract pins like this one.

Ambush Necklace - Kiku Fused GlassI also like the mod styled “Tag Necklaces” which feature colorful thin discs of fused glass with an offcenter hole in them. This golden amber one is called “Ambush” and is accented by specks of crushed lavender glass and is hung on a 16 inch sterling silver chain.

Two others that I liked that aren’t pictured here are the “Balance” disc necklace which features turquoise glass layered with purple, and the “Purple Donut” which is dark purple with crushed pink accents.

You can check out other items at the Kiku site: www.kiku-co.com

12/20/05 | Aleale Beads

AleAle Beads LogoI found some pretty cool looking beads the other day made by the Aleale Bead company. This Czech Republic based company is so named after the first three letters of the first names of the two founders: Alena Chládková and Alexander Chládek.

They make all different types of handmade glass beads but some of my favorites are their “animal” beads. I really like the style of these glass bead animals… they’re sort of playful and almost cartoon-like, but are also very dignified in their look.

Tom Cat BeadThe funny little Tomcat Bead that they make is a cat with an orange face and blue ears, but with a black and pistachio colored striped body. For some reason it reminds me of hieroglyphics, maybe in the way that it is standing up instead of a traditional pose. A very cute looking bead!

Lady Bird BeadThis other bead I chose to show is of a colorful Ladybug (known as ladybird in many other places. It has a red wings dotted with black like a normal ladybug, but to me it looks like the funny looking head is twisted around so that it’s looking back at you. The orange nose (is that a nose) was a nice little touch.

I don’t know too much about their style of beads but I believe that it is semi-influenced from the “Bohemian” style, which is so called because of its origins in the country(?) called Bohemia. Apparently, there was a vibrant glass bead making culture there for over 500 years which was interrupted during WWII. Here is a bit of info from Aleale’s site about their influences:

The art of glass beadmaking has been practiced for more than four thousand years. Our techniques of shaping each bead by hand are derived from methods started by the ancient Egyptians, and developed over many centuries by Phoenician, Roman, Venetian and Bohemian artists. Every generation of glass bead designers gives new expression to this ancient art.


Continue reading “Aleale Beads” …

Bellaceti Jewelry Items
So it’s a week before Xmas and you’re STILL looking for holiday gifts for all your friends? Well, maybe this year you should consider getting all your buddies some DIY or homemade jewelry for the holidays.

There’s a ton of different jewelry makers on the web who want to sell you their wares. Many of them offer specials, discounts, or free shipping when this time of the year rolls around in order to entice you to buy from them.

Necklaces and bracelets are big sellers during the holidays… there aren’t too many gals who don’t enjoy getting these as a gift. Because they are usually smaller items, DIY earrings and rings can also make great “stocking stuffers” or gifts for your office workmates. Don’t overlook handmade buttons, pins and other non-traditional jewelry items as well; these can be great for that friend who likes unusual gifts.

Continue reading “DIY Jewelry As Holiday Gifts” …

Water Softener from CalgonThe other day I was watching a public broadcasting station and they started a show with a softspoken guy (I don’t recall his exact name) who proceeded to present several “tips” for accomplishing things like shining up shoes with ordinary household ingredients like toothpaste and salt. I was about to change the channel when he started talking about a tip on how to clean silver jewelry using powdered Water Softener as an ingredient.

Before you read any further, here is a warning: DO NOT use this method for jewelry that has any precious stones. Also DO NOT use this method on “Antiqued” silver as it will remove the desired antiqued finish on the silver. It’s gotta be pretty much “all-silver” jewelry.

I admit I was a bit intrigued because the ingredients he used in all of his demos were simple things you’d find around the house. The only thing was that I wasn’t too familiar with Water Softener. The brands he mentioned were Calgon and Rain Drops.

Apparently, this used to be much more common in households and was for washing clothes. I tried to find more info online about water softeners, and basically found that they replace hardness in water due to calcium and magnesium with salts in the form of sodium or potassium. I am NOT into chemistry so I have no idea what the chemical reactions that take place are… in fact if anyone is a chemistry person who knows, please leave a comment.

OK, so his method was to take an aluminum pie plate, the kind you’d get with store bought pies. I believe that you can also use a plate covered with aluminum foil as well. Then he added 1 tablespoon or so of ordinary table salt and 1 tablespoon or so of the aforementioned powdered water softener. Then he added some extremely hot (though not boiling) water to the pie plate and stirred to dissolve the salt and softener.

Now he dunked some tarnished silver items in the solution and the results were drastic and pretty amazing. The tarnish on the silver just seemed to evaporate magically. There wasn’t any rubbing or washing needed. He just dunked them in for a couple seconds and then took them out and they looked like new!

Continue reading “Water Softener Cleans Silver?” …

We’ve been stocking up on various supplies for an upcoming jewelry and craft show and the other day we came across these amazing vintage lucite beads in shades of orange and red. The colors of these beads are super vibrant which is something that we look for occasionally to give some extra splash to designs.

Orange Vintage Lucite Beads

Along with orange and red, they had a whole assortment of similarly vibrant different colors: blue, green, purple, pink, yellow, brown, and black/white. What is particularly cool about the lucite pieces is that many of them were chunkier pieces which is also something that we haven’t used much in designs up to this point. Some of the pieces remind me of old fashioned striped licorice or hard candy.

Lucite was actually popularized by DuPont in the 1930s as an alternative to the more expensive (and now famous) plastic called Bakelite. Looking on Wikipedia, the chemical name for the tradename Lucite is Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) . It started off being used for costume jewelry and in the 1950s became extremely popular in something called Jelly Belly Jewelry (I’m not familiar with this type of vintage jewelry). Their popularity continues to this day.

Continue reading “Vintage Lucite Beads” …