Saturday, July 24, 2010

Newsletter Give-Away!

I've just started a quarterly newsletter. It comes out each season (4 times a year) plus I send you a great coupon on my birthday. If you sign up for my newsletter by September 1, 2010, I'll enter you to win a sterling silver stacking ring. I'm giving away one sterling stacking ring. Just enter your email address here:

You'll learn tips on silver and goldsmithing, how to tell if gems are real, get peeks inside my studio, and learn of new products. And every season, you'll be automatically entered to win some of my jewelry!

Monday, July 19, 2010

How To Make Sturdy, Inexpensive Workbenches

My husband made these fabulous work benches for my studio this weekend! We got one heavy-duty steel frame bookcase. Then we supplemented the wood shelving by laying thick plywood on top. Finally, we stuffed weatherstripping in between the sides of the plywood and the metal shelving brackets. Voila! The best part is one bookcase makes two benches! There was a really nice guy working at Home Depot who showed us how to make it.

On my workbench, you'll see my anvil, plastic mallet, planishing hammer, brass head mallet, ring marking anvil, and bent shank ring stamps, and a coil of sterling silver wire. Pretty fun, huh?

Below, you'll see some of the rings I make on my workbench. They're 14K white gold stacking rings set in tapered tube setting with faceted gemstones: white topaz, red garnet, and blue sapphire.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sterling Silver Stacking Ring Celebration!

I'm having a sterling silver stacking ring celebration! 9 sterling silver stacking rings for $45 plus free shipping to the U.S. and Canada. I love hammering out these little rings.

Do you want to know how I make these rings? Here's instructions on how to make sterling silver stackable rings!

Materials Needed:
16 gauge sterling silver round wire, half-hard
blow torch, propane or butane
fire brick or soldering pad
jewelry pickle (see my organic pickle recipe) in a crockpot
jewelry tumbler with steel shot and ivory soap chips
silversmith's anvil
silversmith's hammer
steel ring mandrel
jeweler's file
400 grit sandpaper
600 grit sandpaper
jeweler's cutting pliers or jeweler's saw
hard silver solder (you can use sheet, wire, or paste. i'm using sheet solder)
copper tongs

1. With the cutting pliers, cut the length of sterling silver 1-2 sizes smaller for the ring size you want using a ring sizing chart.
2. File the ends of the wire with the jeweler's file.
3. Bring the ends together to form a circle.
4. cut a silver solder chip and put it underneath the ring.
5. spray the flux on the ring or dab flux on using a paintbrush
6. Heat ring with a blowtorch in a circular motion.
7. Wait for ring to cool, then put in hot pickle.
8. Once ring is shiny again, take it out of the pickle using copper tongs. You must use copper, not any other metal tongs, for this.
9. Sand or file any rough edges.
10. Hammer the ring on the anvil horn to get a rough shape
11. Hammer the ring on the ring mandrel to get the size
12. Lay the ring flat on the anvil. Tap it gentle to make sure that it is straight when it lies flat. This is called "trueing" the ring.
13. Put the ring in the jewelry tumbler half full of water and add ivory soap flakes. Tumble for a half hour.

Your ring is done!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Organic Pickle Recipe

I've researched ways to find an environmentally safe alternative to traditional sulphuric acid pickle. I've found that 30 ounces of white vinegar combined with 3.5 ounces of sea salt does a terrific job of cleaning sterling silver, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. You put the white vinegar and salt in a crockpot and set the crockpot on high. It should be really hot. It smells terrible, but it's better for your health and the environment.