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5/19/08 | Blitz Jewelry Care

Blitz Cleaning Products - Jewelry Making at Bloglander

The nice folks over at Blitz Manufacturing sent us a whole assortment of jewelry and metal cleaning products to try out. The company has actually been around since 1912, when they created their first jewelry cleaning cloth. Since then, they’ve expanded to include an enormous lineup of jewelry / metal cleaners, polishing cloths, jewelry cleaning machines, travel kits, and other jewelry care accessories. They’ve even branched out into non-jewelry cleaning items like musical instrument string cleaners and sporting good cleaners.

We were sent a travel kit, various cleaning cloths, several varieties of the wet cleaners and even a guitar string cleaning cloth. One nice part about the company is their dedication toward non-toxic and environmentally safe cleaning products - this is going to go along way in the future with all the concern over chemical and cleaner hazards.

I have to admit that we haven’t yet tried out the wet cleaners fully, but we have made some good use of the polishing cloths. We’ve used one of the double sided cloths from another company before and it worked fairly well. The Blitz Jewelry Care Cloth we used was at least as good, if not better. I feel like it loosened more of the tarnish.

The cloth is two pieces, one of which is impregnated with polishing agents and serves to loosen the tarnished areas on the metal. The other outer cloth is used to remove the tarnish and buff the surface of the metal to get a nice shine.

The cloth can be used on gold, silver, platinum jewelry. (Note there are several types of jewelry where the cloth is not recommended, such as pearls and opal. ) We tried it on several items including white gold and platinum rings and silver findings like clasps. It performed admirably on all items. I had a lot of difficulty taking “before and after” pictures which is what I usually like to do. I just was not able to show how well it cleaned. In particular, I used the cloth on my own wedding ring which has been through all sorts of crazy wear (I used to occasionally mix concrete with my bare hands with it on!) and it came out amazingly clean.

Below is a picture of a before and after on a standard silver lobster clasp on a silver chain necklace. The cloth instantly took off the tarnish.

Blitz Cleaning Products - Jewelry Making at Bloglander

Continue reading “Blitz Jewelry Care” …

Sylwia Calus Design - on Jewelry Making at BloglanderWe came across some very cool, slightly futuristic jewelry on Etsy made by Sylwia Calus who hails from Warsaw, Poland. She’s been making jewelry for around 4 years, but already her work is being sold European designer shops.

What makes the jewelry interesting is the choice of materials and the way they are used. She employs clear polyester resin to create classy, one of a kind bracelets that contain decorative elements inside. She hand-polishes the bracelets to give them a nice finish - below is an example of one of them called the Square Shadows bracelet.

Sylwia Calus Design - on Jewelry Making at Bloglander

Another very interesting use of materials are her knitted silver wire pieces. She takes thin silver wire and knits or crochets them into earrings, bracelets and other items. Shown below is an example - her Knitted Oxidized Silver Earrings.

Sylwia Calus Design - on Jewelry Making at Bloglander

Visit: Sylwia Calus Design on Etsy

Swarovski Here’s yet another jewelry competition we’ve found. But this one is being held by a company that everyone should know, unless you’ve been beading inside a cave. Cut crystal maker Swarovski is holding their “Create Your Style” Contest and entries will be accepted until May 16, 2008.

You can enter in 3 different categories: Professional, Amateur and Student. But what’s cool is that the finalist prizes are quite significant and are the SAME for the first two categories (1st:Trip to Austria, 2nd: $3500 gift cert, 3rd: $2000 gift cert) - the student category prizes are a little less but still significant and are put toward tuition. Semi-finalists get $50 gift certs.

All of the designs have to be made of at least 80% Swarovski crystals. One note - if you win I think they keep your design in order to photograph it for various books. I’m also not sure if there is an entry fee, but I don’t think so. They’ll announce the winners on October 15th, 2008 in New York. Good luck if you decide to enter!

Visit: Swarovski: Create Your Style

Ugly Necklace Competition - Bloglander Jewelry MakingI hesitated about a microsecond before posting this unusual jewelry making competition. There is a contest held by Land of Odds (and sponsored by a few other companies) to design the ugliest necklace possible. There’s a reason I didn’t picture any of the previous winning entries here. =) Have a look for yourself. The contest is currently open and they will stop accepting ugly necklace entries on March 15. Oh, the humanity!

Visit: Ugly Necklace Contest

Rings Things Designs Rock Contest - Bloglander Jewelry Making

Another upcoming competition for you jewelry makers: don’t forget about the Rings & Things 2008 “Your Designs Rock!” Competition. The focus here is on designs that you make that use Rings & Things products. The entries are being accepted until the end of this month February 29. There are several categories including Glass, Gemstones, Polymer Clay, Metal Clay, Mostly Metal and Alternative Materials.

Although the prizes are Rings & Things credit ($750 Grand Prize, six category $250 First Prizes and $75 Honorable Mentions), you also get a chance to have your design featured in their catalog and other promotions which could be a good chance to get worldwide exposure for your designs.

2008 Bead Button Show - Bloglander Jewelry

Just a quick note that it’s time to think about the Bead & Button show again. Sure it seems like it’s 6 months away - it’s being held June 1-8, 2008 in Milwaukee. But registration opened yesterday, and the Bead Dreams Competition and Exhibit is now taking submissions from now until April 4. Never to early to get a head start in the new year on planning out jewelry pieces to submit and figuring out what bead supplies you need to pick up at the largest consumer bead show in the world. They also have a ton of different beading classes and workshops worth looking into.

8/16/07 | Experimetal

Experimetal - featured on Jewelry Making at Bloglander

Wow, I had decided to take a little break on posting but that quickly turned into several months! Welcome back to me. As I said before, until I get more time I’m going to focus on shorter posts, and leave the full “how-to” write-ups until a later time. Maybe I’ll try get some jewelry makers to contribute (I don’t know how I’d be able to pay you to write up techniques though…)

Finding jewelry makers on Etsy can be somewhat of a tossup. There are some truly amazing designers coming out of the woodwork now that there is an easy to use artisitc network and selling framework provided by Etsy. However, that same ease also lets in the copycats and knock-offs of jewelry that belongs at walmart more than on the web.

This is definitely not the case with Experimetal. Seattle resident Victoria Takahashi creates some truly uniquely organic and earthy pieces of jewelry and sells it through Etsy. She focuses on mostly one-of-a-kind pieces and has a good selection of necklaces, rings, brooches, earrings and bracelets. As her moniker suggests, much of the jewelry focuses on experimental, though very cleanly designed, metal working. She uses gold, silver, and copper in combination with shell, stone, and various small gemstones in her work. Like many jewelry makers, she’s mostly self-taught. Here’s a little bit from her bio:

Lets see, I started making jewelry in 1993. I took 2 quarters at a local community college, and traded work study for classes at a non-profit art school for about 3 years. Since that first class I just started to make metal stuff. I was very fortunate and got really positive and honest responses from friends and family, then it just rolled forward from there.

Captive Stone in Round BoxHere’s an example of one of her necklaces. This interesting piece features a pendant that is a round window box with a smooth beach stone encapsulated in it. The necklace is sterling silver and has a 1mm snake chain to complete it. I have to say that we have found one of the most important things with selling your jewelry online is to make sure the photographs of your work are clear, detailed, well-posed and… well, at least a little bit interesting. This shouldn’t SEEM to matter, but it certainly does - it’s because online a potential buyer has absolutely no way to judge a piece except by the photo. They can’t pick up the piece and look at it. Victoria presents her pieces in a really great way with nice backdrops.

Rununcula Blossom Bracelet CuffHere’s another one of the many jewelry pieces that really stand out from the rest of the crowd. This is a bracelet cuff that features a Rununcula flower blossom made out of two pieces of shaped copper. They are riveted onto a 7.25 inch leather cuff and the overall presentation is very simple yet beautiful. If you have a chance, check out some of the items in the Experimetal store.

Captive Stone in Round Box - $72
Rununcula Blossom Bracelet Cuff - $36
Experimetal (Victoria Takahashi)

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - Anna Sofia Designs

Anna Sofia uses an interesting material for the bulk of her jewelry: Paper! Using a variety of brightly colored decorative papers, she fashions glazed paper pieces for use in necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The papers most often used are Japanese Chiyogami (vibrant silkscreened paper reminiscient of kimono patterns) and Katazome-shi (stencil-dyed paper with softer and organic design).

Her jewelry is strung on silver chain and findings, and she also makes use of crystals, semi-precious stones and pearls as accents. But the real stars in her jewelry are definitely the multicolored paper centerpieces. I didn’t know this, but each glazed bead consists of a core made of illustration board which is then covered with the paper, one surface at a time! The paper bead is then sealed with a special glaze to protect it and give it some shine.

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - Anna Sofia, Besito NecklaceThere are so many wonderful designs in different shapes and colors that it was difficult to pick out just a few to show. This Besito Necklace is an example of the pretty colors and designs available. The pendant is made out of orange, ochre and green floral Chiyogami paper and then strung on a sterling silver chain. It’s a very pretty piece in the shape of a rounded rectangle. You can see how the side of the beads is actually covered separately.

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - Anna Sofia, Monteverde EarringsThese Monteverde Earrings consist of three connected paper bead rounds that feature green lotus designs on stencil-dyed Katazome-shi paper. They dangle 2.5 inches long from sterling silver ear wires and are connected with jump rings. Fun, flirty and fresh. There seriously are a ton of different paper designs on the earrings so you should take a look at all of them on the site.

Besito Necklace, $43
Monteverde Earrings, $35
at: Anna Sofia Designs

3/21/07 | ES Designs

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - ES DesignsWe’d posted about selling jewelry on Etsy nearly two years ago when it first launched, and they are doing quite well over there with tons of crafters selling wares on the site. You can find a lot of great jewelry designs there just by surfing around - the latest one we came across was Elizabeth Scott’s jewelry.

From her studio in New York, she handmakes a variety of light and airy forms out of different types of metals. Sometimes the metal is combined with other items like pearls, but more often than not the focal point is the actual shaped metal object. The metal is often oxidized and polished, and a number of her pieces are also made using Precious Metal Clay forms. She makes a good variety of necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets.

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - ES Designs - Filigree Vine NecklaceHere’s an example of one of the beautiful designs she can make. This is a Filigree Vine Necklace made out of sterling silver. The pendant looks like a wire vine inside of a teardrop shaped enclosure. It’s attached to simple cable chain. Very elegant and simple, like the best jewelry designs.

Visit: ES Designs

2/13/07 | Bead Arts Award

Jewelry Making at Bloglander - Bead Arts AwardI can’t remember if I’ve already posted about the 2007 Bead Arts Award which is sponsored by Lapidary Journal. In any case, their deadline is coming up on April 1 of this year. The basic entry fee for this one is $25 and it’s open to anyone who makes beaded jewelry or art.

There are 3 divisions with a first and second place winner in each: the first is the general bead category, with subdivision for clay, glass and other mixed media beads. The second is bead jewelry with subcategories of bracelets, earrings, necklaces and “other”. The third is a “beaded object” category which can be either a functional or non-functional item (but it just can’t be jewelry). You actually enter by sending in photos of the item instead of the actual beaded piece which is sort of nice because I wouldn’t want to trust sending it to them by mail.

So if you’re looking to enter a bead contest, get started by visiting the Bead Arts Award Contest for more information.