The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Betty, Goddess of Metal: An Early Piece by Rio’s Mark Nelson

Apr 30, 2012
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Spencer Baum
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"In grad school we always made light of the fact that we needed a jewelry goddess of some sort, one we could pray to for a successful cast or soldering job or whatever. We felt a deity would help us in our endeavors, so I thought it would be fun to create one."

That’s what Mark Nelson told me about this piece he made in graduate school. We were talking about Betty after an article in the last MJSA Journal reminded jewelers to pay attention to all sides of their pieces, even those that aren’t visible when the piece is worn. Mark’s professors agreed with the authors of that article—whenever students submitted a piece, the professors immediately turned it over and looked underneath. Betty greeted those professors with a surprise.

A message for Mark’s professors, who were always checking to make sure even the bottoms of the pieces were finished.

I asked Mark if we could share Betty on the Studio, and if he could tell us a little about the project. Here’s what he had to say.

"The primary challenge I gave myself was to carve a figure without adding any wax at all, strictly wax removal. Once the figure was completed I cast the figure and the box, praying to the goddess all the while. The rest is all fabricated from sheet, wire and ingots and soldered in place. The Sculpture depicts a torch with the smoke from the tip, an anvil, and hammer. And the writing was etched into the sides.”

How did the instructors react to Betty?

"The expression on their faces was priceless. They immediately burst into giggles like they had been caught," Mark said. "Being the prankster that I am, though, one trick wasn’t enough.  I also put in a Peek a Boo under the lid and again they were caught off guard. They loved the piece because of that interaction."

A message from the artist for anyone looking under the lid.

What about you? Do you have any early pieces that come with a great story? We’d love to see them. Share pictures and stories with us in the comments.

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What Are You Working on Now? Enter Our Next Contest and You May Find Yourself in the Spotlight!

Apr 26, 2012
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Molly Therese Bell

Our quest to find out what’s happening in YOUR studio continues! Last month we presented you all with another “What are You Working on Now?” contest, in which we invited readers to submit a picture or two and a short description of what’s on their workbench right now. Well, we’ve given this month’s winner a $10 credit, and May’s contest has officially begun –show us your stuff for a chance to win!

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Make a Love-Knot Necklace with Swanstrom Link-Forming Pliers

Apr 25, 2012
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Spencer Baum
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In today’s video, Tim Sheriff of Swanstrom Tools uses the Swanstrom Link-Forming Pliers to turn 20ga sterling wire rings into a series of attractive interlocking knots. With some jump rings and a clasp, those wire knots become a necklace.

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Texturing Metal with the Bonny Doon Hammer

Apr 23, 2012
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Spencer Baum
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When Phil Poirier designed the Bonny Doon Hammer, he was thinking about the ideal tools for anticlastic and synclastic raising. Since debuting the hammer at last year’s SNAG Conference, we have found that it is capable of much more than that.

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Top Five Reasons You MUST Try Bur-Life®!

Apr 19, 2012
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Shelby Chant
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Tried Bur-Life® yet? Here are the top five reasons why you must try the original tool lubricant!

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New Mexico Jewelers Association Has a New Website!

Apr 18, 2012
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Shelby Chant
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Learn about our local New Mexico Jewelers Association (NMJA) on their new website!

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Tech Tidbits: Rust Prevention, Gluing Pearls, and Aughts vs. Naughts

Apr 16, 2012
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Yvonne M. Padilla

It’s time for our next installment of Tech Tidbits! In case you haven’t heard, the members of Rio’s Tech Support team have been sharing tips, tricks and shortcuts they’ve learned from years of working at the bench. Here are a few of the latest!

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Diamonds: CURSED!

Apr 13, 2012
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Andy Sherwin
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Happy Friday the 13th! Are you a superstitious sort? If so, you may want to acquaint yourself with a little bit of history about three famously cursed diamonds. After all, you never know when a TAINTED jewel may find its way to your bench…

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Eddie’s Tips: Considering the Difference Between Gold Alloys (Casting Grain) and Master Alloys

Apr 11, 2012
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Eddie Bell
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Would you like to learn more about gold casting options? Today, The Studio is featuring an Eddie’s Tips article that sheds light on the difference between using gold casting grain –already alloyed to the desired color and karat –and alloying fine gold and master alloy yourself for more flexibility and a lower inventory investment. Check it out!

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Five Favorite New Items from Rio’s Product Managers

Apr 9, 2012
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Spencer Baum
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We’re constantly adding new items at riogrande.com, and I asked each of Rio’s Product Managers to pick something new (or relatively new) to share with you on The Studio. Come on over to see their picks!

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