Sweetest Custom Request

Oct 24 2017

I have to say this is by far the sweetest custom request I have ever received.

A six-year-old boy had purchased this Tiger Eye stone to have something made for his mother.  When he asked me if I could make a necklace out of it, I couldn’t possibly say no. The stone has no flat surfaces so a bezel setting was not an option. I had seen and admired post settings but had never tried one myself and I decided to try it one this little stone.

I cut out the backplate and figured out how best the stone would sit and remain secure. Once I got my posts figured out, I marked and drilled the holes and soldered posts made from 16 gauge wire in. One more check with the stone for placement to make sure everything was going together well and onto the next step.

This little boy has a birthday in February so I decided to tube set a 4mm amethyst to use as another “post”.

After cleaning up the backplate I set the stones then made a Viking knit necklace to hang it on. I made the end caps and assembled the piece.



Filed Under: How it's made,Gifts for Women,Gifts for her
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How to replace a bead in your Peyote Stitch

Sep 25 2017

First things first! Did you kow I give away a free Peyote Pattern every quarter? Just sign up on the email list 

Have you ever reached the end of your peyote beading and realized that you have a misplaced bead? Perhaps you have broken bead somehow. There is an invisible way to repair or replace beads in Peyote stitched work and I will show you how. Do you notice there is a bead of the wrong color in the piece below? There is a green bead where the pattern calls for a yellow bead. There is a green bead where the pattern calls for a yellow bead. It is right there in the middle toward the bottom. Do you see it? We are going to remove that green bead and replace it with a yellow bead.

Slide your needle through the bead to be certain you want to remove as shown.

Now, take your pliers and carefully break that bead and remove completely. I usually just poke it through with my needle after I break it.

Now with the bead completely removed weave your way over to the bead just in front of the empty space.

Pick up the correct bead in the pattern, in this case my yellow bead and go through the next 2 beads on the diagonal.

Turn and go through those beads again and the next bead on the diagonal going on the opposite direction form when you added the new bead. Weave through several adjacent beads to secure.

Weave in your end. Now, tell me which bead I replaced!




Filed Under: How it's made,Beading and beaded jewelry
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On the Road Again!

Sep 25 2017

I have to say I am happy to be home and sleeping in my own bed! We travelled 8064 miles in 3 weeks in the Rav4 and had an amazing adventure. The first 1450 miles we didn't really stop, except for the night as out main goal was to get to South Dakota to see Badlands National Park and it was stunning!

    

If you haven't been, start planning your trip! I could easily have spent a month in the area between Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Naturally we went to Mt Rushmore, but more interesting to us was the Crazy Horse Monument. If you stop there, make sure and take in the short movie explaining the history of the monument, which has not yet been completed.

     

The Native American beadwork exhibit was impressive to this beader!

   

After we arrived in Portland to see family, we headed down to the Grand Canyon. We arrived just before sunset. These guys were casually roaming around, not minding the traffic a bit.

  

On our next trip we'll stay at the cabins on the North Rim so we can get some hiking in, but for this trip...as the sun was setting it was still pretty magnificent.

We want to do more targeted trips in the future to spend more time at each location and there is a LOT more we want to see. This trip was mainly to see family around the country and we accomplished that seeing 18 family members in 21 days.



Filed Under: Kids and Family,Mental Health,Travel
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How to slim down bulky sweaters!

Aug 28 2017

I like to start my day fairly early in the morning with coffee on the back deck. The birds are singing and the neighborhood is quiet.

 

When I went outside this morning, there was quite a chill in the air. When I checked the temperature, it turns out it’s 46°. I couldn’t help but smile thinking of my warm chunky sweaters.

You know the ones I’m talking about, you put them on and you’re instantly transported into a hot chocolate commercial, looking feminine, sexy and sweet in front of a fire. If you’re like me and carry a few extra pounds around the middle you don’t feel any of those things. I have figured out a few ways to slim those sweaters down and not make myself appear bigger than I actually am.

My least favorite is the belt. Now I haven’t made friends with belts yet in considering that I’m nearly 60 I probably won’t. I have a large rib cage and I’m fairly slim in the hipss so belts have never really worked for me. If you have a waste, this is a good option.

 

Another option, and one I’m fond of, is pairing a longer bulky sweater with skinny jeans or leggings. Not a great choice for the office, but perfect for weekends, shopping, girls night, or a quiet evening at home.

   

Next up is boots and I love boots! With even a moderate heel you’ll have added a little height and elongated your shape making you appear thinner.

   

My personal favorite is the simplest and most fun and comfortable. This one little fix is perfect with any shape, the bulkiest of sweaters, any neckline, and the choices, colors, and style are limitless. Have you guessed what it is? It’s a necklace or even a group of necklaces!  Here’s the trick, they need to be long, lower than your bust line, preferably just above your navel…or even below!

    

Combine a few these options for a fabulous for style. Get out your favorite chunky sweater, put on a pair of slim cut pants, throw on some cute boots and slip a long necklace on. You can add the belt is you like, but like I said, I have never made friends with them!

I'll be making some when I return from vacation! I can't wait!!



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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Designing Men's Jewelry

Aug 25 2017

I have always had a hard time designing jewelry for men. Unless it's made of thick leather or heavy chain, I was always at a loss. That is, until this happy accident. 

I have been making my Pentwrap bracelets for quite some time but since going into metalwork, I haven't done much beading. With hand surgery coming up I haven't been able to do much in the shop so I decided to do some beading. I still have thousands upon thousands of beads after all.

I use a jewelry tray to do these and the leather wraps around several times and somehow I forgot to check sizing during the process and I ended up at the end of my leather with only enough room to make one knot. It was too big for me :(

I used my husbands wrist to get a good measurement so I knew what wrist size it would fit. I like to give my customers as much information as I can so that when they get their piece of jewelry from me, they are ecstatic and not disappointed. Have you ever ordered something and were really excite to open the package only to find out the fit is wrong? I have and I don't like it!

Anyway, I wrapped it aroung his wrist 5 times (Pentawrap) and it looked awesome on him! I was shocked! He thought it was a special order for a man. It was too dark last night to get any photos with him wearing it, but I intend to get some in the next couple of days and I'll post the photos here when I do. 

One other thing...see the clasp? I make those too since I like for the clasp to match the piece. It's a copper disc that I have cut out, domed and enameled.



Filed Under: Gifts for him,Jewelry for Men,How it's made,Beading and beaded jewelry,Fashion & Jewelry
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Make Your Own Toggle Clasp

Aug 23 2017

When I started making beaded jewelry back in 2007 I didn’t give much thought to the clasps on my necklaces and bracelets.  I bought sterling silver and gold-filled lobster claw clasps by the dozen and put those on pretty much everything. As my skills and experience level of progressed, I began to challenge myself a little more.

 

Below is one of the first peyote stitch bracelets I had designed and I spent nearly 10 hours beading it. I wanted a clasp with a little extra flair so I started thumbing through my piles of my beading magazines. When I came across this beaded triangle necklace, I knew I had found my clasp!

 

Take a look at these two examples. The top is a plain peyote tube and loop. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, it matches the piece well, being made with the same beads. The bottom piece however, makes a much more dramatic statement and is a design element that you don’t mind showing off!

 

Sometime around the middle of 2015 my curiosity for metal work got the better of me. I bought some copper sheet and a few hand tools and a new passion was born. They’re still times when a lobster claw is appropriate, However I think you’ll agree that the clasps on these pieces suit the overall scale of the design much better. Not only that, they are so easy to put on and take off yet still very secure!

 

A toggle clasp is easy to make with just a few tools and they can be textured I many ways.

I’m working on a tutorial for a simple toggle clasp and will post it on my blog for you in a few weeks…it’s vacation time now!



Filed Under: Beading and beaded jewelry,Fashion & Jewelry
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All About Peyote Stitch

Aug 16 2017

I’ve been going a little nut since I can’t work in the shop due to a hand issue. The good news is I am getting it fixed on August 31st but in the meantime, I needed something to do to keep me from going stir crazy!

I decided to design some more Peyote Stitch Patterns for my Etsy shop. I’ve pretty much given up beading since I discovered the torch, but I still have thousands upon thousands of beads left so what the heck. I might as well put them to good use!

I teach peyote stitch locally and have for about 6 years, but have never really done a tutorial. There are so many good ones out there, so I thought I would scour the web and find some for you. You’ll find those links below.

Make sure you check uot my Etsy shop for a lot more patterns!

In the past week I have created over a dozen patterns in even and odd count peyote so pick up a pattern, check out the videos and other info I have for you and make some awesome gifts! My favorite is Jill Wiseman, but check out others. There may be a better teacher for your learning style.

Even Count Peyote Stitch Instructions Video  by Jill Wiseman

Odd Count Peyote Video by Beadaholique

Odd Count Peyote by Jill Wiseman

If you learn better using photos rather than videos, here is a great one for Even Count Peyote from Craftsy and one on Odd Count from Fusion Beads.



Filed Under: How it's made,Beading and beaded jewelry
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What Colors are hot this Fall and how to wear them

Aug 03 2017

While you might think Pantone color picks are only good for New York or London runway fashion, think again. Although the sometimes garish styles put out by the fashion industry movers and shakers, your everyday brands also pull from this notorious color chart. This applies not only in the fashion world, but in home decor as well.

For 2017, the color has been Greenery and although on the runway, the styles aren't typically what you would see in my small, rural home town more common designers have captured the color in their fashions as well.

Now we turn to the Fall 2017 colors. Pantone looks at New york Fashion week. "This information is then used to create The PANTONE Fashion Color Report where we highlight the top 10 colors for men’s and women’s fashion for the upcoming season. For the first time ever we have added London Fashion Week to our seasonal color reportage." The nice thing about the palette being publicized is that it helps us put together colors that coordinate without having to give it much thought! Take a look at the color chart below and you'll see what I mean.

Here are the colors for Fall 2017, see how well they compliment each other?

My favorite combo this year is Shaded Spruce and Autumn Maple...what's yours?



Filed Under: Gifts for Women,Your Colors,Fashion & Jewelry
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Give the gift of a memory

Jul 21 2017

You open your jewelry box and find a treasure that was given to you by someone special.

The trinket you hold in your hand is very dear to you. Maybe it didn’t cost a lot, but it holds a very special meaning for you. Your mind goes rushing back…and you smile.

I remember my grandma going through her jewelry box and telling me stories about the jewelry in there…who gave it to her and some of the memories they shared. I have some of those pieces now and the sweet recollection I have is precious. The way her eyes danced, her laugh, even the smell of her perfume all come rushing back. And I smile.

Jewelry isn’t just a gift, it’s a memory for generations.

When I look at a piece that one of my daughters have given me, I don't remember if it was a birthday, Mother's Day or just because (they do that). I start remembering all sorts of adventures we've had together and the love we share. The same thing happens when I look at a piece a dear friend has given me. Isn’t that wonderful!? One little trinket on a random Tuesday can do all that!

   

So, give a memory that on any given day, even years from now…even generations away, will bring a smile to someone’s face.

Quality handmade jewelry is the perfect gift, isn’t it?

  • It doesn’t have to cost a lot
  • They’ll have it forever
  • It’s something they’ll use over and over again, each time bringing back the joy of shared memories
  • Jewelry is a gift they can pass down through the generations with a story
  • The materials used by designers are usually much higher quality than those produced in a factory
  • You’re supporting handmade
  • Designers care about the materials and quality of craftsmanship that goes into each piece. You don’t get that with mass produced jewelry. You can almost feel the energy!

Some designers take their best-selling designs and have them produced in a factory. Divella Designs jewelry is never produced by anyone but me in my home studio. While I can nearly replicate some of my pieces, each one is distinctly unique. That’s because each piece is truly made by my own hands.

With all thsee great reasons, what are you waiting for? Choose the next memory here!



Filed Under: Gifts for Women,Gifts for her,Fashion & Jewelry
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Some unusual activities for kids this summer

Jul 10 2017

 

Are you a parent, grandparent, child care professioanl or Nanny? If so. I have good news! Ilene Jacobs has complied a fabulous list  of 101 Fun things to Do With Kids This Summer and covers the wee ones right up through the teens. Some you've proably thought of on your won. but there are many...I'd say most, that have most likely never even entered your mind. 

Start checking off the list and before you know you'll stop hearing "I'm bored". There are some great indoor activities for rainy days or school vacations later in the year too1



Filed Under: Kids and Family
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The making of enamel earrings

Jul 05 2017

The process of making enameled jewelry is quite enjoyable for me. It all begins with the tools and materials. Here are the tools I use

Tools:

Disc cutter or saw depending on shape

Brass Hammer

Torch

Alundum Stone for grinding edges

Sandpaper

Polishing wheels

Screens for sifting enamels

Tripod and trivets for firing

Small artist brush for removing excess enamel

Klyr Fire

Atomizer

Pickle pot/acid

For now, I am enamelling on copper.  Silver enamelling requires fine silver, sterling won't do. To make a pair of earrings I do use sterling silver ear wires that I make myself. Many have allergies or sensitivities to base metals so I avoid them. 

Materials:

Copper sheet, 18 gauge

Thomspons unleaded enamels

Sterling silver wire 21 gauge

Now, for the actual making!

The first step is to cut out the shapes. Discs are great because I have a disc cutter, otherwise it's the jeweler's saw and we aren't great friends yet. Before I can enamel I have to drill out the holes that the ear wire will go through. I have a flex shaft for that, so it's pretty easy. Just make the hole, use a punch to make a divot so the drill bit doesn't slide all over the metal. Then I drill the holes and use a round burr to clean them out on both sides, front and back.

Next is cleaning. The metal has to be very clean  and free of oils for the enamel to fuse. Switch out the drill bit for a spider wheel and clean the metal. at this point I only have to worry about the back. The front will cleaned in the acid bath after the first firing. 

Ok, now we can out on the enamel! Grab the sifters, enamels, and Klyr Fire. The Klyr fire holds the enamel in place...let it dry or the enamel will pop off.

Now we can set up the firing station with a heavy screen atop the tripod. We can fire this layer flat as there is bare metal on the other side so it won;t stick to anything. After it is fired to an orange peel stage, let it cool for a minute and transfer it to a steel bench block to cool before putting it in the acid bath.

After it comes out of the acid bath (a minute or 2) it is rinsed and cleand off with the spider wheel.

Now it's time for the front. If only one color is being done, or both colors are being applied at once it's the same process as the back, except it is put on a trivet so the enamel on the backside doesn't stick. Besides that, the torch has to go under the piece and be heated from the backside.

If a design is being made...like on these pieces  ,

the first layer is put down (the pink in the first pair) then the piece is cooled. The design is added (with holding agent before enamel), the piece is dried then fired. Each new color requires another step.

So all in all the pink pair has 3 firings and the orange and purple pair has 4 (back, base, flower, stem).

Think we're done? Not quite. There is glass on the outer rim of the piece that has to be ground off. 

Time for the Alundum stone and some water. The piece is wet as well as the stone and the glass is ground off the rims. then they are sanded and polished and Renaissance wax applied to prevent tarnishing. 

Now we're ready to make the ear wires, assemble the earrings, photograph, crop, write the descriptions and post.

 



Filed Under: How it's made,Fashion & Jewelry
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How to buy jewelry for giving

Jun 27 2017

You're out shopping for a friend and you spot a to-die-for necklace or dress. You try it and it looks fabulous! Remember though, you're shopping for a friend. Will it look that amazing on her?

Rena has written a short article with some great tips on how to select the perfect fashion or accessory for just about anyone.

Jewelry Wise goes into more detail speaking to facial shapes and how to figure out which one you are

All of these earrings are copper, they have different shapes, textures and tones. Which one would you choose?

 

 



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Trial with Viking Knit

Jun 26 2017

How exciting! I have been making some larger pendants and have not been happy with any of the chains I have found. I have always liked the look of viking knit, but thought it was going to be too hard on my hands. I was also concerned that they would be too stiff for necklaces such as the one pictured below. I like the design I came with for the neck on this piece but have been craving something more neutral.

 

 

I finally order the Lazee Daizee Viking Knit tool from Rings & Things and couldn't be happier! It came very quickly and while I was waiting I twisted up some end caps. 

Here is a photo of my first "chain". I am rather pleased, although I have to tell you that while I was making it, I could not believe it was going to turn out.

I still have to apply the patina the chain and caps, cut off the ends and attach a clasp.

The stone I am going to use with this is one I purchased from one of my favorite lapidary artists. It is a Picasso Jasper and is a fairly substantial size. I think an oxidized Viking Knit chain is just what it needs!

 

 Here is the finished piece. I think it came out quite nicely, waht do you think?

        



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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A Journey of Passion

Jun 05 2017

About 10 years ago, I fell into beading which then progressed to bead weaving. Beginning with simple beaded earrings, like most do, my passions quickly took me into bead weaving. My first design

was highly successful in a fine jewelry store in Maine and I sold them faster than I could make them. I used a variety of gems and pearls, weaving carefully to create a pieces that would be well loved and sought after.

It wasn't long before I turned buy attention to a variety of stitches and found Peyote Stitch to be quite relaxing and meditative. I soon began creating my own patterns which still sell quite well today on Etsy.

I'm addicted to learning and became bored with peyote, so I taught myself how to bead embroider. 

Late in 2015 I discovered metalwork. I began with copper making earrings (why do we always start there?) and before long I discovered patina and began to experiment with different ways of achieving color on copper.

Now it was time to learn to solder...back to earrings and let's try some silver (gulp). I loved it!

  

A few weeks ago, I donned my big girl panties and took my first workshop. Although I had taught myself to set cabochons, I needed some guidance with tube sets and flush mounts. This is the result and brings us up to date.

I have just ordered my first real flex shaft (I've been using a Dremel all this time) and it is supposed to arrive today. I have gotten to the point where I would prefer a shiny new tool rather than clothes or shoes. I have to say that at this rate I'll be barefoot and naked in the studio quite soon! 

It's been quite a leap of faith to trade in my beading needles for the tools needed to work this trade. Last year alone, I spent over $5000 for the various tools, copper, silver, etc. but I'm so happy I made the jump. 

I'll be 60 this year so if there's a passion that's calling to you, don't wait...JUMP! I did and I am so happy!



Filed Under: Beading and beaded jewelry,Fashion & Jewelry
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Cancer sucks!

May 04 2017

A friend of mine was diagnosed with colorectal cancer that had metastasized to her liver causing her to have a colon resection and a liver resection were she lost the entire right lobe of her liver. She is a young single mom and we were all stunned with her diagnosis. 

I tend to withdraw from the public goings on in an emotional situation so this morning as she was going in for her liver surgery I was down in my shop. Kerry works for the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually impaired so I thought I would make her a braille pendant that says love. After several failed attempts trying to fuse fine silver in the necessary arrangement I finally thought "...what if I use enamel?" That way I can keep the silver from moving perhaps but it still ended up a blob of fine silver as some of them completely fused down. At last I ended up with something I could give to her. Her favorite color (at least it was this winter) is a soft, baby blue. I used seed beads in the pattern I needed with only one small movement...it's really hard to keep those things still during firing. I hope she likes it.

Working on it got me through her surgery and now I am a puddle of tears after hearing she is out of surgery and it went well...tears of joy and relief.



Filed Under: Mental Health,Fashion & Jewelry
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I've enjoyed the journey

Apr 05 2017

Well, here it is. There are only 3 days remaining for the brick and mortar gallery on Main Street in Windsor, Vermont.

I would like to thank all of you who purchased my jewelry from Arabella Gallery & Gifts  the past and this month! I had a whopping $2300.00 in sales in April alone, normally a very slow month at the gallery. It has been a very successful outlet for my jewelry for the past 3 years being the top selling artist all 3 years! In a gallery with over 30 artists and artisans, I'd say that's pretty good. I hope I can find another location who does as well.

I've been asked if I'll be doing any of the local shows and/or events. I don't plan on it. I'm getting a little too old to be schlepping the tents and tables around. Besides, I am looking forward to having more time for family  and workshops! There are TONS I want to take! I can always be found here and plan to search out other local venues in a month or so. The gallery has kept me very busy the past 3 years so I am a bit spoiled not having to market my designs. 

See you all very soon with some new designs!

 



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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What does March Madness have to do with jewelry?

Mar 28 2017

My husband only watches NCAA basketball during the month of March when March Madness, or The Big Dance is being played. This college playoff series has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the U.S. 

Not much of a basketball fan myself, and trying to figure out what was going to pop up next on my bench, naturally hoops came to mind. I just happened to have some silver and copper wire so the next few hours were spent making hoops a few different ways until I worked up a couple I was happy with.

Inspiration comes to me when and from where I least expect it. How about you?



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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Do you love Peyote Stitch?

Mar 15 2017

Do you love peyote stitch? If you do and are looking for some patterns, I have great news! 

Although I have changed my focus from beading to metalwork, I still have my Peyote Stitch patterns in my Etsy shop. My patterns give you both he word chart and the pattern in large format so it is easy to follow. In addition to the pattern, I give you a free tutorial for two different clasp types and a free earring tutorial!

There are many different patterns to choose from...abstract, geometric and themed so if you're a beading enthusiast you'll love the Etsy shop!



Filed Under: Beading and beaded jewelry
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What to do in a snowstorm?

Mar 15 2017

Normally Tuesdays would find me a the gallery but this week Stella came to town and brought with her 16 inches of white, fluffy snow. The gallery was closed and I was at home in my studio, yea!

After cutting out and sanding the edges of the discs smooth, I annealed them and then put them in the acid bath. Because the metal has to be very clean, after giving them a bit of a dome I sanded and buffed them up. First I put a coat of white enamel on followed by the colors...here I have shown you the black/red and blue. I did some more, but since I am once again at the gallery and forgot my phone and camera, those photos will have to wait.

After applying the enamel, back into the pickle they go and then to the bench for more sanding and my 6 stage polishing for the back. The next step is Renaissance wax to protect the finish. Now it's time to wire up some stones to make the drops, make the ear wires et voila!

Make sure you sign up on the email list to see the new work before it gets published!



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Tips on caring for your jewelry

Mar 08 2017

Regardless if you're buying plated jewelry or the real deal, there are ways to care for your jewelry so they last. Naturally, plated materials are going to wear over time and end up in the landfill, but there are still ways to give it a longer life. 

I choose to create my jewelry with sterling silver, fine, silver, 14K GF, and copper so that makes it really easy. I highly recommend Sunshine Polishing cloths. This cloth safely cleans, removes tarnish and polishes gold, silver, brass, copper and other metals, glass, mirrors, wood and more, leaving a deep, long-lasting luster. Since it will work on brass as well, it's a good all around polishing cloth. It's my go to cloth for the bench and I carry one in my purse too!

If you have plated jewelry, you must be gentle. First I suggest not wearing it daily. If it's a ring or bracelet, remove it before housework, doing dishes or using any tools. Don't wear it in the pool or the ocean! In fact, plated jewelry should really not be exposed to water if possible so take it off before washing your hands or bathing. If it's earrings or a necklace you have, they are going to last longer as they are not exposed to as much wear...unless you have the habit of playing with your jewelry...a no-no for plated. 

A soft cotton ball and a gentle hand is key. Stay away from commercial jewelry cleaners...and yes, even jewelry cloths as they usually contain a mild abrasive. If you must, a mild liquid soap and warm water, but only if you must.

Pure metals are really easy and a lot more durable of course since the metal goes all the way through. One word though...NEVER, EVER, EVER use Tarn-X. It will pit your metals and destroy pearls. 

Pearls are very soft and need special care. You should never use anything to clean pearls aside from a mild liquid soap. Take care though, if you are cleaning pearls that have been strung on silk cord (which is traditional) the water will compromise the cord. A damp soft cloth is all that you really should need. You should also store your pearls in a soft bag of some sort, not tossed in the jewelry box with other jewelry. 

Opals are another delicate stone and here's the thing. Most opals these days are doublets or triplets. The lower, larger piece of the stone is actually glass or some inexpensive stone and a thin slice of opal is adhered to the top. These should NEVER be immersed or soaked. You may clean them with a damp, soft cloth. A solid opal may be cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water and if needed, a soft toothbrush. Stay away from commercial jewelry cleaners. 

 

Do you have jewelry that has a patina? If so, you'll need to know if they have been waxed or sealed to preserve the finish. If so, You should really not have to do anything to them. If they get dirty, a soft cloth is all you need...and a gentle touch.  The wax will wear off in time if exposed to chemicals or salt water. I use Renaissance Wax®, a microcrystalline wax used in antique restoration and museum curation. This wax prevents tarnish and corrosion, and is highly moisture-resistant, forming a lustrous, durable, protective coating that highlights rather than obscures fine detail. The coating also creates a barrier against fingerprints and lifts away oil and dirt as well as the accumulated murky build-up left by other polishes. I also frequently use this on my silver. Another sealer I use (particularly on Jeweler's Brass) is ProtectaClear by Everbrite. ProtectaClear has an impermeable finish that provides outstanding protection against damage caused by corrosion, salt water, salt air, acid rain, pollution, mildew, bird droppings, bleach, etc.  ProtectaClear also reduces maintenance and cleaning.

I hope this answers any questions you may have on the care and cleaning of your jewelry. Feel free to contact me at info@divelladesigns.com if you have any other questions.



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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Should I even share this?

Mar 01 2017

As I sat here sobbing with my heart breaking for these children and women and wanting to share, I thought to myself "Should I share this when it is only going to make peeople sad?" The thing is, I didn't even know this was happening. Did you? How can I just scroll past hoping it will wash away with the day. I knew it wouldn't and I think we should become more aware of the pricetag associated with our cell ohnes and laptops. 

As I decided to do a little research, it turns out there are things we can do to help that does not mean giving up our modern technology. In digging a little deeper, I discovered that Apple is invested in begin more responsible in purchasing the valuable minerals to powere their phones and computers. That's good news but it only came about when people begin to become aware of the problem. You can help too. 

Begin my liking their Facebook page Raise Hope 4 Congo. Check out their website and learn more about conflict minerals, how they are mined, transported and sold. Learn who  is in control and how to take away their power. 

It is a sad read, but one you must investigate. See the video to learn more and take action. It will only cost you a little time. Please take a few minutes and look into this and then act.



Filed Under: Human Interest
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Barbara's Bistro and More

Feb 28 2017

Barbara's Bistro is one of the several links I have just added to the "Links" page...make sure and check it out. 

The Upper Vallery in Vermont isn't just beautiful in Autumn! There is a lot to do year-round so make sure and check out the "Links" page for lots of information. I will updating weekly so be sure and come back! 



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I wonder what will happen if...

Feb 21 2017

“Creation and destruction are one, to the eyes who can see beauty." Savitri Devi

    

 

As a jewelry designer, I often follow instructions when I am learning a new technique. There comes a point however, when I wonder why when they say "dont'y" or always". It plays on me for a while and then I just have to find out and whoever "they" are well, they're ususally wrong. I suppose if it were my desire to make jewelry that looks like everyone elses, it would all make sense but, at least for now, I prefer to break the rules.

Take the three examples above. The first is a pair of earrings that I held the torch on much longer than I am "supposed to". I could have given them an acid bath and polished them but I chose to leave them torched and polish tham as is. The second is a copper and sterling silver necklace that I all but melted. I followed that with a tumbling and a applied a deep patina. The protruding round object was just screaming for a stone so I set a premium quality Swarovski CZ in a tube setting, attached a patinated sterling silver chain and there you have it. The third was a jumble of copper sheet and wire that I melted and set two 4mm black onyx in, strung it on a black leather cord et voila. This look is not for everyone, but I love the rustic, abstract quality they have. 

In my journey of metalsmithing, I am learning to break the rules, find out "what if" and have some fun creating some contemporary, unusual jewelry. What is interesting to me in all of this is that it is actually harder to work this way. Doing things the way they have always been done is easier, but to me a little boring.

What do you think...be honest!



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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Masquerading in a beaded mask

Feb 16 2017

Several years ago for her birthday, my daughter asked me to make her a beaded mask for a Mardis Gras themed party. I had never made one before but said yes because  it's really hard to say no to her. She is a wonderful human being, mother and hospice nurse. She is always giving to everyone else. How can you possibly so no to someone like that?!

The entire mask is beaded with seed beads, genuine pearls, onyx and Swarovski crystals to match her outfit. At first, I thought I could use a preformed mask and attach the beads but sewing through that just tore the materials so I ended up having to make my own out of Lucy's StiffStuff. It was an opportunity to learn something new and I figured out pretty quickly that this was only one I was going to make!

Each tiny little seed bead and gem is hand stitched into the mask material.

What do you think?!




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Oh great, something else to be passionate about!

Feb 15 2017

Just what I need when I am trying to develop a cohesive collection to offer you....

These are so amazingly unique, mostly because I have very little control over what the final outcome will be. Here's the thing; I can plan the design and variance of shade to an extent,  but the actual color I get depends on several factors, most of which are quite beyond my control. These  are things like room temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Even a slight fluctuation will change the outcome. What worked yesterday may not (probably won't) work today. 

First I have to clean and polish the metal, which seems silly I think since I'll just be laying a heavy coat of oxidation on it. If you know me at all, you know I tried it anyway...it didn't work.

So back to the metal...its hot now and we have to cool it a little, but not too much so no quenching. Pick it up with the tweezers and wave it around a little hoping the little 1500 degree piece of metal doesn't go flying about. Put the small tip in the torch and create a neutral flame...maybe a little toward reduction. Anyway, then I just touch the tip onto the metal in different ways to give me a different design...let it cool a little with the highly technical waving technique again. Repeat until I get something I am happy with. Then it's time to try and repeat the design...there's a challenge! Let them air cool, just a little and while still pretty darn hot apply a  micro-crystalline wax and buff...and buff, more wax, more buffing.

Funny that I'm such a control freak and I absolutely love this technique!

Tell me, what do you think of the outcome?




Filed Under: Your Colors,Fashion & Jewelry
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What is Bridge Jewelry? It's not about bridges...

Feb 09 2017

Bridge Jewelry

No, Bridge jewelry isn’t jewelry in the shape of bridges. Bridge jewelry refers to jewelry made with sterling silver, pure copper and gold filled metals and semi-precious and other raw minerals. It is more desirable, less dangerous and healthier than costume jewelry made with plated metals…and here’s why.

Plated metals chip, peel and the plating wears off leaving an ugly dull finish, kind of like well circulated nickel. In fact, much of the plated jewelry out there contains nickel and/or cadmium. Lead is pretty much gone but the only people protected from nickel and cadmium poisoning are children…and not even in all states is that true.

Luckily most costume jewelry does not last long enough to hurt you, which…well frankly is not a very good selling point.

Next time you are buying handmade costume jewelry, ask the maker if it contains nickel or cadmium. If it’s store bought and comes from China...beware. There are plated materials out there that do not contain these chemical elements, you just need to be proactive and ask. If they don’t know I would err on the side of safety. There is a ton of information (including lawsuits) available on the internet, but here are a couple of examples:

 

 Cadmium is a known carcinogen, particularly when it is inhaled in a factory or other workplace. It also can cause serious problems with kidneys and bones, diseases that typically are caused by cadmium that has been ingested in contaminated food or tobacco. The exact risks to adults aren't clear because typically the metal takes long-term exposure to cause the diseases.

Children's jewelry has been of particular concern because kids bite and suck on jewelry - something far less common among adults. Microscopic amounts of cadmium also could be shed onto the hands, and then ingested either by eating or putting a contaminated finger to the mouth.

"Our legal action sends a strong signal to industry that we will not stand by while they play toxic flavor of the month with jewelry," said Michael Green, the group's executive director.

"Cadmium is toxic at any age. There is no excuse for cadmium in any jewelry, and we intend to eliminate this health threat to women and children," he said.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/group-finds-toxic-cadmium-in-adult-jewelry/

 

Nickel is one of many carcinogenic metals known to be an environmental and occupational pollutant. The New York University School of Medicine warns that chronic exposure has been connected with increased risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological deficits, developmental deficits in childhood, and high blood pressure

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/metal-toxicity-health-dangers-nickel

So why the term Bridge? Because it is the bridge between costume jewelry and fine jewelry. Fine jewelry typically refers to pure gold, platinum and contains precious gemstones like rubies, diamonds, sapphires, etc.

There are times when jewelry made with silver and high quality gemstones can also be considered fine jewelry so it gets a little fuzzy at times.

One of the most positive attributes of Bridge jewelry is that you get a lot for your money. Pure metals don’t crack and peel. So, silver, copper and even 14/20 gold filled will give you a very luxurious and expensive look without spending thousands. It should also last a lifetime. Or more

The jewelry I make is Bridge jewelry. I use Fine silver, sterling silver 14/20 gold filled (not plated), and pure copper. The semi-precious gemstones I use are AA or AAA rated and I also use high quality moonstones, pearls, amethyst, peridot and more. The jaspers and agates I use are cut from raw slabs by lapidary artisans, not mass produced so there will never, ever be another one just like it. I make most of my findings (ear wires, jump rings, etc.) so I know what is in them. Occasionally I will use copper leverbacks which ae plated but contain no lead, nickel or cadmium. So, you see, there is no reason (other than it is cheap) to use those elements in making jewelry. It is worth it to me to spend a little more and be certain that I am not making my customers sick.

Take a look!



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry,Health & Jewelry
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Relief4Rescues

Feb 03 2017

Do you have a passion for paws? How about feathers?

Me too!!

When I began working with enamels a short time ago, I had the inspiration of doing a series of work where, from every sale, would include a donation to one of 3 charities.

After doing some research, I am pleased to announce that I have selected:

Lucy McKenzie Humane Society  A local fqavorite

Dogs Deserve Better Rescuing chained and penned dogs, working to change laws to protect dogs from abuce and neglect

Mercy For Animals All animals deserve kindness and respect. Mercy For Animals is giving them hope.

 

Because I just got my paw stamp, going forward, $3 from every sale of my Enameled Heart Series will be donated to your choice of 1 from the above charities. If no charity is selected, I will rotate between the 3 listed above. ]

Look for reports at the beginning of each quarter in my blog.

All heart earrings made henceforth will have the paw print stamped on the back.

Here's a picture of my rescue babies...after 6 years I'm still not sure who rescued who.

       



Filed Under: All things animal,Charitable Contributions ,Fashion & Jewelry
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Gold plated or gold filled, do you know the difference?

Jan 25 2017


So, you are admiring a piece of jewelry, then you see it was made with gold filled materials so you move on thinking it is not worth the cost, and it will look horrible on just a few months. After all, you aren't looking for costume jewelry.

Here's the thing. You're probably confusing gold filled with gold plated so you'll want to know the difference before you make up your mind.

Gold Plated is easy to spot due to its brassy appearance. It is made from base metal, usually nickel, and is applied in a very thin coating to the top of the base metal. It will tarnish fairly rapidly, rub off exposing the base metal. If you try to manipulate gold plated wire it will crack and/ or chip off. Typically is will last about a year, perhaps much less depending on care. The cost makes it a great choice for costume jewelry made with faux gems or stones.

Gold Filled on the other hand does not have a brassy appearance, and has a much higher concentration of gold (1/20 of the entire weight must be gold). It is also applied using  a different technique and is bonded to either copper or silver rather than nickel. You can expect your gold filled jewelry to last anywhere from 5-30 years depending on care. The cost is much less than gold which at the time of this writing is $1195.00 per troy ounce. Gold filled wire can be bent, twisted, manipulated and even soldered (if done carefully) without any cracking, chipping, peeling, etc...

In either case you'll want to steer clear of harsh chemicals. If you're wearing gold plated,  keep it out of water too. 

I don't use much gold n my designs due to the cost of the gold and specialty tools. I do however use gold filled wire for ear wires. The earrings you see here are actually jeweler's brass with gold filled ear wires. They are a great alternative to silver in my warmer designs. 

What's that? Did I hear you say "What the heck in jeweler's brass?"? Well now, that his a topic for a different blogpost! 



Filed Under: Fashion & Jewelry
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Should you wear copper?

Jan 21 2017

You really like copper, but will it look good on you? Does it have any medicinal benefits?

Before we get into the perceived benefits of wearing copper, take a look at your wrist, in natural light if you can. Are your veins blue, purple, or green in color? If they are blue or purple you have cool skin tones and if they are green, you lean more toward the warm tones. Now, remember that skin tone is assocotiated with ethnicity and color has more to do with the environment.  You can have light skin tones and have darker skin color if you live somplace that is warm and sunny. Your skin tone does not change when your tan goes away...althought the color fades. 

Now, the "rules" for what metals and gems you can wear have gone out the window. If you aren't sure and not so audacious that you throw it to the wind and wear what you want, then it goes like this. Those with cool skin tones "look best" iin silver, platinum and white gold, whereas those who have warmer tones look best in rose gold, gold, copper or brass. 

Onto health! The proposed benefits of copper include reduced joint inflamation. and joint pain. When you wear copper, a minimal amount of copper is absorbed by the skin. Enough perhaps to balance out a slight deficinacy but not enough to harm you. Wearing copper jewelry is unlikely to have detrimental side effects and you may be pleasantly surprised...unless you are allergic. To my knowledge there has been no medical substantiation that wearing copper will aid in arthrits, for example; however people have been insisting it does for decades that I know of. I remember my grandmother wearing copper bracelets, swearing it helped alleviate her arthritis symptoms.

Does copper turn your skin green? It's not the copper, it's your diet and maybe you should pay attention!

In Matt Caron's blog he says this 

"Copper reacts naturally with our salty skin, which can be created whenever we sweat. This just means you have to be aware of when you might be working out or in the sun. But copper can also react to acidic environments- and your body acidity is related to your diet. Junk food, processed food, and lots of red meat will make your body acidic.

The more acidic your diet and body, the more likely you are to get sick. "

#copperbenefits 



Filed Under: Your Colors,Fashion & Jewelry,Health & Jewelry
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