Shibuichi is a low-silver alloy that’s getting some buzz in the metalsmithing community. As you might guess from the name, it is a Japanese term. It translates to “one fourth,” which is a reference to the traditional Japanese alloy mixture that historically has been composed of 25% silver and 75% copper. Back in the days of the Samurai, Shibuichi was used to make ornaments for the katana (Samurai sword). . .
How does a jeweler know that he/she is choosing the right solder or flux for the job? There are so many confusing details related to soldering, brazing, and fluxes that I thought I’d ask our resident expert Mark Nelson to help me sort things out. . .
Would you consider buying a 1 carat diamond without a certificate? Most folks wouldn’t. Consumers rely on the objectivity of a third-party gem lab to tell them the properties of the diamond they’re considering. So it is especially damaging to know that some diamond grading labs don’t do an ethical job when grading the diamonds. . .
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) regularly hosts a symposium in order to keep people who work in the gem trade up to date with new developments. We have returned, and are brimming with new information and ideas, and I thought I might give a report of the proceedings. . .
Back in 1979 the infamous Hunt brothers largely cornered the market on silver, driving the price from $6 per ounce to an all-time high of $48.70. Their scheme unraveled when the COMEX intervened, and silver rapidly shrank back down to more accustomed prices.
But here we are in 2011, and silver prices are once again whipsawing – trading at prices well north of $40, and then dropping $10 in less than a week down to $37 or so. But our current situation is different from conditions back in 1979, and while no one knows for sure, it seems possible that silver may have enduring higher prices going forward.
Rio Grande has joined a new and much needed fundraising organization set up to help the victims of March’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Instead of just asking for direct donations, Jewelers for Japan is asking members of the jewelry trade to donate their gold and silver scrap. Simply send in your scrap to Rio Grande, and we will refine it and turn over all proceeds to the Red Cross for the relief effort to Japan. . .
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day! We love an excuse to do some rhyming, and since we didn’t have any snakes to drive out of the building, we encouraged our fellow associates here at Rio to whip up a ditty or two for your reading pleasure. If we are a bit self-indulgent, please forgive us!
The jeweler’s saw is a fundamental jewelry-making tool. It’s one of the first and most important tools found on every jeweler’s bench. At the same time this tool is different for each jeweler. If you take a quick look at the Rio Tools catalog you’ll see over two pages of jeweler’s saw frames, and a veritable sea of saw blades. How is a jeweler to decide?
Rio In Motion has us all abuzz! We have been excited to have our visitors here at the Rio facility. In addition to hosting classes led by world-class instructors, we’ve enjoyed just showing off our place. If you, gentle reader, ever come to Albuquerque, be sure to drop by and see us firsthand. We’d love to show you around our warehouse and manufacturing facility. But for now, I thought you might enjoy a virtual tour.
Take a look!
“BAM!” is what Emeril the chef says on his cooking show. And “BAM!” is what I felt when I saw the price of silver top the $30 mark on Monday. Lately, listening to the news has seemed surreal. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has been quoted about “fears of deflation”. Yet here is $30 silver, where just a couple months ago it was half that price. What is a jeweler supposed to do?
Back in 1995 I became the precious materials product manager at Rio Grande. As a new manager, I began reading National Jeweler magazine, and one day, I came across an article about a new jewelry-making material from Japan, Precious Metal Plasticene. It was invented by Dr. Morikawa of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. By 1996, it had been renamed Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and Rio Grande began sales to the USA…