Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I finished!

Yes I did, I finished the 2011 Year of Jewelry Challenge! I made one piece of jewelry a week for the entire year. The last project was created yesterday afternoon when several instructors got together to create riveted rings under the tutelage of the charming and talented Kristina Malcolm. Bless her heart, Kristina put up with us like a real pro. Have you ever tried to teach a group of teachers? It's kind of like herding cats....

My ring has a piece of "crackled" beach glass as the focal, which is a shard that was probably burned in a bonfire before it got washed into the lake and mother nature did her job of tumbling and smoothing.

Some of my 2011 projects were epic failures, a few were created in classes I took, several became prototypes for classes I teach and to my great delight, quite a few of them sold. Feel free to check out my facebook album. All in all, I have to say the exercise was hugely inspiring and I can't wait to do it again in 2012.

Care to join me?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sterling vs. Silver Filled Wire

Silver-filled wire is similar in construction to gold-filled. It has a layer of .925 sterling silver bonded to a white brass core consisting of a copper and zinc alloy. The sterling silver layer is 1.20th or 5% of the material. It is a great low cost alternative to sterling and can be soldered and oxidized just like sterling.

That's the official buzz is but I wanted to check it out myself so I made two Swarovski pearl rings using 24ga wire for the coil and 20 ga wire for the core. The one on the left is made with sterling silver wire and the other is silver filled. Can you tell the difference? No?  Neither can I and I took a good close look thru my optivsors. They both took a patina like pro's, held up to 4 hours in the tumbler no worse for the wear, and came out all bright and shiney, just like I like my silver.

But my wallet sure noticed the difference. Silver filled wire is running approx 30% the cost of sterling. Thirty percent! Wow, I feel like I just traveled back in time when I was buying sterling for 30 cents a gram. Doing the happy dance!!!!

Tune in next time when I do a comparison of silver filled vs, sterling on a soldering project. Oh, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My New Rolling Mill

....has not arrived yet, but I just know Santa is bringing me one!

So I'm spending the intervening days educating myself. I have only used the rolling mill a handful of times and always under supervision, so I needed a comprehensive "Rolling Mills for Dummies" version. Here is one of the best free tuts on the web provided by Wired Lotus.

And here's a video by Rio Grande and one more by Melissa Muir.

Oh and Santa, apologies in advance for the heavy package, but I promise there will be some extra cookies in it for you.....  :-)