Thursday, September 30, 2010

In The Studio: Palladium & 14K Rose Gold Wedding Band

Palladium & 14K Rose Gold Wedding Band. Ring & Photo by Emily Wiser.

A bride-to-be recently emailed me to request a custom palladium and 14K rose gold wedding band. She had seen my 2 separate rings, and wanted the bands soldered together. Palladium melts at much higher temperature than rose gold. It was going to be a tricky business, but I finished it successfully! Here are some pictures.

Above: Cutting the 14K rose gold and palladium to size.
Shears, ruler, ring sizing chart. Photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: 14K rose gold ring on the soldering block. In the background is the pickle pot.
Photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: Lighting the torch. Yes, I did take this photo with a lit torch in one hand and a camera in the other!
Photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: Soldering palladium. High-heat soldering block. Photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: 14K rose gold and palladium ring is ready for sanding. Ring & photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: Sanding 14K rose gold & palladium ring. In a ring vise, sanding with a flex shaft. Ring & Photo by Emily Wiser.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In the Studio: Stacking Rings

Emily Wiser's Jeweler's Bench. Photo by Emily Wiser.
I'm in the middle of making a 14K white gold tube-set stacking ring with faceted gemstone and a sterling silver stacking ring with black onyx. Here's a picture of the rings in progress. You can see 2 3M radial bristle discs on mandrels. They're used for polishing. You also see large and small jeweler's files, a round-nose pliers, some scrap silver, and a 12mm black onyx cabochon.

Here's what the 2 rings will look like when they're finished.

Above: Sterling silver and black onyx stacking ring. Ring & photo by Emily Wiser.

Above: 14K white palladium gold stacking ring with sapphire. Ring & photo by Emily Wiser.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In The Studio: Adventures in Enameling

Turquoise enameled copper scrap on tripod. Photo and enameling by Emily Wiser

I'm trying enameling for the first time. No teachers. No guidance. I'm learning on my own. But, I did find a great article at Here's a picture of my first enameling attempt. (Well, it's not really my first, but it's my first successful one, LOL.)

This is a piece of copper sitting on a steel screen. The screen is set on a tripod. I applied the turquoise opaque enamel 4 times, fixing it with Pantene hairspray. I heated it each time with a propane torch from underneath. I got the really deep color by adding a 5th layer of translucent turquoise enamel.

I'm going to make some cute enamel disc earrings and enameled flowers. Pictures soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thank You!

Aquamarine & Sterling Silver Stacking Rings. Photo & Rings by Emily Wiser

would like to thank all of my clients who have written positive reviews on my etsy page. Thanks for being so supportive of me! I do read all of your reviews, and it makes me feel so happy to see that you like and enjoy my jewelry. One of the best parts about making custom jewelry is working with wonderful clients. Here's a small highlight of your wonderful reviews:

megynjory says:

My new favorite seller! Not only was shipping and communication flawless but the ring itself is perfection. The fact that she hand makes her jewelry makes it even more special. It's so comfortable I'll wear it daily. Thank you Emily Wiser!!

stephaniemh1 says:

I love this ring!!! It is more than I could have imagined and will buy a ring for my mom with the grandkids birthstones.....! Beautiful and very happy! Thank you!

ghanagyrl says:

Absolutely gorgeous rings! They arrived in a beautiful package, and once I tried them on...I never wanted to take them off. I am saving up my money to buy the same style in rose gold. I love them!

hazydazy14 says:

Pretty, delicate ring, I love it, thanks.

selena43 says:

Wonderful fit and customer service as Emily kept in touch with me and provided timely status updates. Thank you!

TheBarkingTree says:

She totally loves it!!!!!!!!!! Perfect!!!!!!!!

erinmchugh says:

Lovely, understated ring arrived today. Very light to wear, perfect with everything! Very pleased with purchase, thank you!

kirbylynn says:

We had a bit of drama with the USPS but Emily was just so patient and kind--really above and beyond what was expected. My ring just arrived and I'm enthralled, it's beautiful, and I can't wait to order more pretty things from you in the future!

TiffanyTalavera1 says:

It is the perfect amount of elegance and simplicity. Thanks Emily, you always leave as a happy customer.

librariangirl says:

Lovely item and more beautiful in person. I will be a repeat customer!

robynsquyres says:

Emily is WONDERFUL! She really went above and beyond. Thanks a million!

StarlitPotions says:

Got the ring today, it's really pretty! Couldn't be happier. Turn around time was fast and the item fits perfectly. Would buy from again. Thank you!

britbart says:

Love the rings, I've been showing them off for two days straight since I received them. People will soon think I'm nuts, but the work is awesome. Great customer service as well. Thanks!

sewcutefashions says:

my grandmother LOVED it!! made her cry (in a good way)!!

primeval75 says:

lovely rings - very friendly seller - thank you so much *****

ammullins says:

The artist got them to me so quickly, I was impressed. They are very well-made and beautiful- my mom LOVES them!

Love2BInspired says:

WOW!!! THIS IS PERFECT I TELL U!! PERFECT...Do I sound excited? Everything about this ring and my earrings are wonderful..I love the stones, the band is so cute, the earring backings are wonderful..the packaging was great, and fast shipping. I felt like a princess and will be wearing my ring everyday!! Thanks so much..def. coming back for more of this wonderful artist pieces.

LiciaBeads says:

Adorably petite everyday wearers, I love these little guys! They have a sweetly handmade quality that I appreciate a lot. Thanks Emily!

krislea79 says:

love, love, love these rings! Thanks!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Organic Pickle Recipes

Large black onyx and sterling silver stacking ring. Ring and photo by Emily Wiser.
After taking classes at Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco this summer, I've learned a bunch of ways to pickle jewelry. Pickling is simply cleaning jewelry with acid after you've soldered it. In the old, old days, silversmiths used hot white vinegar. Now, we often use sulphuric acid or Sparex. I used to use sulphuric acid. Then, one day, while I had my pickle pot open, and hot, steaming, sulphuric acid fumes were wafting out, a fly flew through this cloud and just dropped dead right out of the air! "Hmmm," I thought. "Maybe this isn't so good for me, either!"

I've been looking around for healthier and environmentally friendly pickle alternatives. So have my teachers and fellow students at school. Here's the alternatives:

1. Citric Acid. That's right--the kind that comes from citrus fruits. It's available in a powder form from Otto Frei.

2. Hot White Vinegar & Sea Salt. This is what I use. Keep it piping hot in a crockpot. It smells terrible, but works great! Just imagine salt and vinegar potato chips and you won't mind the smell at all.

3. Just Hot White Vinegar. This is what one of my teachers uses. She just adds some water to the crockpot when it gets low.

4. Lime Juice. One of the students I met at Revere uses this. She says hot lime juice works fine.

5. Kool-Aid. This is the best one, yet. I know that you can dye wool with Kool-Aid. It turns out you can pickle jewelry with it, too! It kind of makes me afraid to actually drink Kool-Aid. Just mix the Kool-Aid with water (don't add sugar). You'll have to refresh your pickle often. Thanks to Shirley at Etsy for this one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How Much Gold Is In 14K Gold?

14K Solid Rose Gold Stacking Ring. Photo & Ring by Emily Wiser.

Were you aware that the gold in jewelry is not pure gold? Pure gold is called 24 Karat (24K) gold. 24K gold is much too soft to make any durable jewelry! So, pure gold is alloyed (mixed) with other, stronger metals. So, if 24K gold is 100% gold, 14K is 50% gold, and 18K is 75% gold.

Gold is alloyed with copper and silver for strength. Rose gold is an alloy of gold and copper. White gold is an alloy of gold, silver, and palladium, nickel, zinc or other white metal. Green gold is an alloy of gold and silver.

Below: 14K solid gold bead ring. Ring & photo by Emily Wiser.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How To Buy Stones At A Gem Show

Blue sapphire, white topaz, and 14K white palladium gold stacking rings. Rings & photo by Emily Wiser.

just got back from the San Mateo International Gem & Jewelry Show. It was really crazy. Not a lot of professional buyers there, not even in the wholesale section. In the wholesale section, there were a good number of women from bead shops buying briolettes and a lot of rather silly women holding the temporary strung beads up to their necks and saying, "Does this fit?" I must admit they were beautiful stones, and I was tempted to do so myself!

At this gem show, there were a lot of fakes mixed in with the real stuff, and a lot of bad stuff mixed in with the good stuff. How can you tell the real from the fake, and the good from the bad? (Subscribe to my newsletter to get more tips like this. My next issue will tell you how to buy pearls at a gem show!)

Emily's Tips For Buying Stones at a Gem Show
1. Set your spending limit before you go! This is very important!

2. Bring your sales tax number or sales tax certificate with you. If you don't have a sales tax number, you can still buy in the retail section of the show.

3. Bring a 10x jeweler's loupe. This is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you will not be able to tell real from fake gems. I brought 2 loupes: my 10x and my 20x. Look through your 10x first, and then if you see something interesting, you can use the 20x to see more detail.

4. Bring a piece of white paper to hold stones against. You can use your white business card. I simply used an envelope that held my sales tax certificate.

5. Shop at well-lit booths. Surprisingly, there were quite a few booths that were badly lit. It becomes very difficult to see the stones' colors and flaws clearly without good light.

6. It's better to buy fewer stones of a higher quality then more stones of a lesser quality. This is just my preference. I think it's best to be happy with your purchase.

7. Ask the salesperson a question to which you already know the answer. It helps to gauge whether s/he's truthful.

8. Bring a price guide with you. You can use your smart phone or just bring a wholesale catalog. It's difficult to keep the prices of all the different stones in your head.

9. If you see dyed or fake stones being sold at a booth, skip the whole booth. Don't shop there at all. You know you can't trust them.

10. Do not pull out the bead strands. You might have to buy it if you do.

11. Ask them if they will give you a discount. Often, the price marked on the strand is not the price they sell it at.

12. Look through your 10x jeweler's loupe for scratches at the facet joints of the stone. If there are scratches, chances are good it's glass.

Do you want to know how to tell real from fake pearls? Subscribe to my newsletter!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Facebook Fan Page Give-Away!

Sterling silver stacking bead ring $14. Photo & ring by Emily Wiser

I'm giving away 3 $15 gift certificates and free shipping to my etsy shop! To enter to win, just fan (or like) my Facebook fan page at by November 1, 2010!

Spreading Happiness Through Jewelry

Well, Etsy likes to send us tips on how to do business better. They emailed Etsy shop owners a link to this blog entry: The 4 P's. I was really inspired by the Philosophy section. It helped me articulate exactly what my business goal is: I want to make people happy by making great jewelry! People can wear my jewelry and take pleasure in it. They can give my jewelry to others and spread happiness. Well, anyways, that's my optimistic assessment of my philosophy. LOL