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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” …

More mail for today. This one is actually something that I’ve been interested in figuring out as well:

From the Bloglander Jewelry Making Mailbag:

Don P. writes: “Hi, I’m trying to find ‘blank’ adjustable finger rings. I’d like to glue unmatched old earrings to these bands to make unusual finger rings. I’m having trouble finding these plain adjustable bands. Could you direct me? Thanks.”

Bloglander Jewelry Making says: We haven’t really used these adjustable ring blanks in making rings as of yet, though we’ve always been interested in giving a shot one of these days. Up until this point we’ve only tried making ring blanks out of wrapped silver or basemetal wire (this might be an upcoming tutorial). But we’d always wondered if there were options for times when you just want to glue some pieces on the top of a ring.

I believe that there are 2 types of ring blanks commonly sold, adjustable ring blanks with a pad and adjustable ring blanks with loops (often known as Charm Rings?) I did a quick lookup on Rings n Things and found the two items pictured at left that might fit the bill for you. You may want to take a look at other jewelry resellers and compare prices and styles.

The first (pictured on the left) are called Adjustable Glue-On Finger Rings and feature a round textured 1cm flat pad on which you can glue stuff. The ring itself adjusts size as well. The only thing is that there are only base metal or silver/gold plated ring blanks.

The other ones are called Adjustable Finger Rings with Loops and these come with 1 or 3 loops connected to the band. They are adjustable as well, except for the sterling silver one which is not. These are also called Charm Rings because you can just attach charms directly to the loops.

I’m not sure if the above links will work since they’re CGI based… if not, try go to the Rings n Things website and navigate into “Our Products” -> “Specialty Findings” -> “Finger Rings”.

Valor Chain Nose Parallel Pliers from ContentiBecause several readers have asked about this, we are actually going to make an effort to review specific jewelry supply products here on Bloglander Jewelry Making. To kick this off, Peter from The Contenti Company was nice enough to send us a few jewelry making related items for consideration. We’ll be attempting to review products from other companies as well. (If you manufacture or sell jewelry making products and you’re interested in this, please let us know!)

First up are these great compact Chain Nose Parallel Pliers which are made by Valor exclusively for Contenti. These particular pliers are around 5 inches in length which are about the same length as the ordinary chain nose pliers that we use for making jewelry.

Valor Chain Nose Parallel Pliers holding BeadThe pliers come in either flat nose style or chain nose style and with smooth or serrated jaws. The one we got was the smooth chain nose variety. I believe there is also a longer model that features springs between the handles for easy return.

The overall construction is pretty solid, unlike a lot of the pliers that we have gotten at larger craft stores and swap meets. The heft and fit, at least for my hand, was perfect. It actually reminded me a bit of my swiss army type Leatherman tool. It was a bit heavier than most of the cheaper plastic chain nose pliers that we have lying around. The handles are nickel plated and have an indentation pattern for easier gripping. For folks who aren’t used to rubber coated or plastic handles, this may take some getting used to. (Though, I assume it’d be easy enough to “dip” them in the usual rubber solutions.

One of the only issues that I have with this plier are that the tips of the pliers don’t taper down small enough at the end for certain smaller items. This makes it a bit difficult to grasp extremely small findings and wire. However, I don’t believe this tool should be looked upon as a “works for everything” plier anyhow. For me, it has turned out to be more of a specialty plier for larger items when I need better grip on things.

Continue reading “Chain Nose Parallel Pliers” …

Sharon Unlimited Jewelry Supplies

I’m currently working my way through a ton of email submissions… I need to set up some sort of official policy to handle these, but for now I just try to do them in the order received. Also, please remember there are so many that I can’t possibly write about all of you!

This one is from, a fairly new online shop (actually, it opened only last month) created by Sharon Marzonie to provide unique jewelry making supplies and findings for artisans. They do have some nice things for sale there, so I decided to make a writeup.

A tiny bit from Sharon’s site:

“It is a place where artisans can come together to browse, shop and share in one anothers creativity … Our goal is to provide you with a unique offering of products and a high level of service that might be otherwise difficult to find.”

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Rings 'n Things Your Design Here ContestHey jewelry makers: I was tipped off to the upcoming “Your Design Here” 2006 contest over at Rings ‘n Things the other day. This might be worth a look if you make jewelry and are looking to get some possible exposure for your designs.

So what is the “Your Design Here” contest? They basically created this contest as a way to encourage their customers to come up with unique and beautiful jewelry designs. You can enter your work in one of seven categories: Glass, Gemstones, Nature, Mostly Metal, Polymer Clay, Metal Clay and Alternative Materials.. The judges select the best entries (the deciding factors are: Originality, Craftsmanship and Aesthetics) and the winning designs will potentially be featured in their enormous print catalog as well as other promotions worldwide.

Rings 'n Things LogoIf you haven’t heard of the Rings ‘n Things company yet, they are one of the best places to find jewelry making supplies on the web. Sorry, this may sound like a commercial but we’ve ordered from them many times and have always been impressed with the speed of service and professionalism. Not to mention the selection of findings, precious stones, crystals and just about everything else related to jewelry.

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Glass And Splinters

I don’t have much experience making jewelry that utilizes handmade Lampwork beads. We just haven’t worked our way up to using them in designs yet, but that’s not to say we haven’t admired them from afar! These minutely detailed glass beads are created by melting various types of glass with a torch onto some sort of mandrel(?) and then incorporating tiny color swirls, dots and other neat shapes. I have no idea how it’s done really. I just know that the end result is pretty awesome.

Glass and Splinters Studio makes some really fantastic looking lampwork beads, which they bill as “contemporary torchworked beads”. The company is run by Lorraine Allan who has set up shop in South Australia. Having had a lot of experience working in the glass industry along with her husband for many years, she eventually tried Lampwork Glass and really got into it:

I became interested in making lampwork glass beads in 1997 after doing a weekend workshop with Peter Minson in Victoria, Australia. This led me on to enrol in a silver jewellery course for 12 months which I incorporated my glass beads into the pieces I made. Since 2001 I have put all my other glass making aside to concentrate fully on lampworking beads. Watching the glass melting and flowing in an open flame, is the most relaxing work I have ever done with glass, I don’t think I will ever stop!

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picture of Jewelry Polishing Cloth results

Whether you’re a jewelry designer who uses silver in your designs or a consumer who has a few pieces of silver jewelry, you’ll eventually run into the issue of tarnishing silver. It’s surprising how fast a piece of silver can tarnish from just being exposed to air. Sometimes a few weeks is enough to make the surface seem a bit dull and tarnished.

Though, I normally don’t use silver cleaning agents, I recently picked up this Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloth
and decided to write up an article on it and silver tarnishing in general.

Keeping Silver Jewelry Polished

Rings and Things Bead Show 2005Whee! This past Sunday we got to attend the annual Rings & Things Bead Show 2005. The one we went to was located at the Holiday Inn in Costa Mesa, CA. Each show is only 4 hours long. Ours started at 1pm and lasted until 5pm. We got their at around 2:30 but stayed until past closing!

So, you might be wondering, “What’s the big deal about going to a show when I can just order easily online or off their catalog?” Well, there are 2 things. The first is, that the prices of the items at the show have tags that show the RETAIL price. However, the sale for the show is 50% off the retail price and then an additional 15% off of that! So, even though I believe that their catalog prices are less than retail (by how much, I’m not sure). They are certainly not an additional 15% off of half price!

Secondly, it can make a huge difference to look at a stone in real life than in a catalog or on a website. The catalog picture on the website may cover up flaws, may be different in color, or it just might be something different than you pictured. There’s no way that can happen when you’re holding the stone in your hand. What you get is what you get!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring our camera to take some pics of the actual show tables, so you will have to do with a picture of the stuff we ended up buying. Last year, we ended up with mostly “fall” colored stones and crystals in red, brown and yellow. This year we got a veritable rainbow of colors! Among the items we picked out were Amazonite, Amethyst, Cherry Quartz, Pearls, Crackle Glass, and various crystals.

In case you’ve never been to one of these things, the shows are held in a medium sized meeting room. They lay out the strands of stones, gems and crystals on many tables. I think there were about 30-40 large tables just filled with stuff. In back they also have a few tables with findings, jewelry tools, and large size pendants. They give you a large tray and then set you loose. It was pretty crazy at the beginning with tons of people all grabbing at stuff.

Continue reading “Rings and Things 2005 Beadshow” …

Jewelry supplies at … Target?

On the Jewelry making site I just read about the possiblity of getting some supplies for Jewelry Making in the “dollar” section at Target stores. I’ve seen this so called dollar section before, which is usually located in the front of the store near the checkouts or carts. But I’ve always avoided it because I didn’t think there could possibly be anything of value there. According to the article by Tammy Powley, the store near her had a whole bunch of really cheap tubes of beads and some related supplies. The supplies included those storage containers with dividers and bead trays as well as some pliers.

Continue reading “Bargain Beads At Target” …

Because I work with sterling silver wire all the time and am constantly battling the effects of oxidation, I was pretty interested in what’s known as “tarnish-free” silver. I hadn’t heard of it really until now. Apparently I’m way behind the times since this was discovered almost 5 years ago by a college student who figured out a way to introduce impurities into silver in order to make it resistant to tarnish.

Continue reading “Tarnish Free Silver?” …