Jewelry Making Poll

Jewelry Making News, Tips, Tutorials, and Reviews

Archive for November, 2006


11/28/06 | Upcoming Changes

Hi there Jewelry Makers! Just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming changes in the next couple of months. In the past, I’ve often delayed posting until I had time to write up a truly informative (and sometimes rather long) article, product review or DIY jewelry shop review.

I’m going to start mixing in some shorter posts in the future that will just give a really brief overview of the topic or product, hopefully with links so that you can get delve into it more if you choose. But hopefully, this will mean more frequent posts as well since right now there is usually about 1-2 weeks between new material. I’m still going to attempt to put up tutorials and those WILL be very in-depth as usual. Those have been extremely popular so they aren’t going away. The Mailbag is also going to continue to be addressed, so keep sending in your questions.

In addition, you might notice some design changes in the next few weeks. Hopefully, we won’t have to take the website down for very long, if at all. But if you try and access pages (especially late at night) and you get errors or “updating” messages, then rest assured it’ll soon be corrected in the morning.

Thanks and Happy Holidays,
Jewelry Making @ Bloglander

Digging through the mailbag again, and this question popped out. I’ve been actually trying to work up a tutorial with several ways to make your own jump rings, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Actually, the real reason is I haven’t perfected that technique either!

From the Bloglander Jewelry Making Mailbag:

Brenda M. writes: “I would like to know if 18 gauge wire, not silver, is strong enough to make jump rings out of? Thanks!”

Bloglander Jewelry Making says: As far as I know, it should be fine. In fact I think many times that base metal wire might even be more rigid than full soft or half hard silver wire. The base metal is often more brittle, though. As far as gauge size goes, I’ve made it with anything smaller than 22 gauge.

One issue with base metal is that the jump ring “ends” may be sharp when cut, and I don’t know if it’s as easy to file down base metal as it is silver. I haven’t tried filing either (it might not even be necessary to file it if the wire isn’t cut at such an acute angle) so I might be wrong about this.

I suppose it would also depend upon the application and whether the jump ring is required to support stress or force. For example, for use in earrings you could get away pretty thin wire. For chunky necklaces, however, I wouldn’t use really thin wire. Actually, a bigger concern might be the fact that the jump rings aren’t soldered so you have a chance of the connector slipping out through the opening if they aren’t closed correctly (refer to this article on opening and closing jump rings).

Depending on the application, it may be worth it just to buy them if you need the quality to be consistent. Above are store-bought jump rings, nickel plated base metal on left, silver on right. For making the jump rings, I know Beadalon sells a really simple device for it that’s about $10. It has 4 metal mandrells for wrapping wire around, and a plastic doohickey base for winding it. Try Rings & Things for more info.

jewelry arts awardsHere’s another jewelry making competition that I had forgotten to post about this past spring. But I guess that means that now you have a good amount of time to prepare for entering next year’s event, which is due April 1, 2007. Time to get crackin’!

Actually, this contest is called the Jewelry Arts Awards and is presented by the Lapidary Journal. Although it’s open to any jewelry designers, to me it seems like the majority of the featured winners are pretty serious about the craft. I dunno if you’d be interested in this if you’re just beading at home!

Regardless, the winners were pretty amazing. There are 6 different categories you can enter under: Bracelets, Earrings, Pendants/Necklaces, Pins/Brooches, Rings and Miscellaneous Jewelry. The entry fee is $25 and you need to submit a slide or photographic image of your piece of jewelry. They judge it based on overall design, visual appeal, originality and execution.

There are some really beautiful and amazing pieces that have been featured as winners in past contests, so even if you don’t enter it’s cool to see what the pros are submitting.

Visit this page of the Lapidary Journal site for more info.