The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Learn with Rio Grande: Basic Tools and Supplies to Begin Cloisonné

Apr 21, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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Silver, gold, bronze. These are the typical colors in the jeweler’s palette. But what if you could incorporate eye-popping color into your pieces with just a few simple steps? Enameling, and cloisonné enameling in particular, gives you the power to play with color in any piece you make. And it’s easy to get started.

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18th Century Cloisonne and Bronze Chinese Wine Pot

The artistic possibilities with cloisonné are never-ending. The process involves using strip or wire to form small compartments that can then hold enamel. The artform dates back to ancient times, when artisans used pieces of glass and stones in place of modern enamels.

Master enamelist Ricky Frank has taught several classes on the technique here at Rio, the most recent of which was at our Winter Workshop in January. His students are always asking, "What do I need at my bench to get started?".

The answer is, not much! Here are the basics you’ll need to set up your enameling workshop!

The Tools:

tools

The Blazer Butane Microtorch and the Stainless Steel Mesh Firing Rack are all the tools you need to begin experimenting with cloisonné.

  1. This little Blazer Butane Microtorch has all the firepower you need to get started working with enamels right on your bench, and its compact, economical form makes it ideal for beginners. Torch-firing enamels is a great way to get started with a limited investment. If you try it out and LOVE it (which we’re pretty sure you will) you can upgrade to a kiln, which will give you more enameling options.
  2. A stainless steel mesh firing rack allows you to torch fire pieces from underneath.

The Findings:

  1. Copper Sheet: Copper sheet and findings are a great way to practice when you’re getting started. Move on to fine silver as you gain confidence.
  2. Copper Strip Wire: Solder on to sheet or findings to create compartments.
  3. Pre-Cut Copper Stampings: Buy the shapes you need pre-cut so you can get right to enameling.

The Supplies:

supplies

Left to right: Thompson Lead-Free Enamels come in zillions of colors, and Rio's Enamel Adhesive keeps your enamel where you put it.

  1. Thomspon Lead-Free Enamels: Thompson Enamels come in an incredible range of colors and shades, including transparent and opaque, so whatever you dream up, you can create.
  2. Enamel Adhesive: Holds your enamel in place and burns off during firing.

Would you like to get everything you need to get started (and a little more) in one easy package? Pick up the  Thompson Enamel Beginner’s Kit. The only additional thing you’ll need to buy with this kit is a torch or kiln.

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Head over to Rio's website to try the Enameled Cloisonné Pendant Project!

Ready to get started? Begin practicing techniques with this basic Enameled Cloisonné Pendant Project. Ricky Frank will be back at Rio teaching a Cloisonné Enameling Class in October, so you can learn from a master. Mark your calendar now!

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Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Post-Show Savvy—Ten Things to Take Away

Apr 17, 2014
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Marlene Richey
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In this final installment of Marlene Richey’s “Doing a Show” series, she reminds us that the show isn’t over until it’s over and she shares a great list of ten take aways that can help you get successful outcomes from a show sometimes long after the event is over. Grab a pencil and get ready to take some notes and then knock some socks off at your first (or your next) big show!

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Creating & Coloring Jewelry with Reactive Metals and Anodizing

Apr 7, 2014
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anodizedbracelet

Anodizing is a simple and fun way to add color to your niobium work. What, you don’t work in niobium?? Why not? Niobium is hypoallergenic and naturally silver-gray with an extraordinary capacity to take on color using nothing more than a micro anodizer and a cup of electrolyte.

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What’s New? Jewelry News on Rio Grande’s Twitter Page

Mar 17, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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Did you know that every day of the week, Rio Grande’s Twitter page is abuzz with jewelry industry news and Rio Grande updates? Your life is busy, so we want to make it simple for you to find interesting and relevant information in ONE place. Our Twitter feed delivers up-to-date news on the jewelry world and on the hottest Rio Grande products.

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Business Savvy: Ten Steps to Facebook Success for Jewelers

Feb 27, 2014
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Nina Cooper
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Social media holds many opportunities for promoting your jewelry business, but where do you begin? One effective—and manageable—place to start is to create a business page on Facebook. Millions of people post, like, share, make buying decisions, and see your images and posts on Facebook. Here’s how to gather your own fan base on Facebook, from start to finish.

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Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Doing a Jewelry Trade Show—It’s Show Time!

Feb 20, 2014
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Marlene Richey
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In Marlene Richey’s first two posts on “Doing a Show,” she helped you apply, be accepted to, and prepare for your first jewelry trade show. In today’s post, she shares the nitty gritty on what you can expect at the show Itself—it’s show time!. Marlene has the experience and wisdom to break it down for you! Grab a notebook and get ready to take some notes and then knock some socks off at your first (or your next) big show!

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Rio Grande’s Secure Jewelry Displays: Protect your Investment!

Feb 14, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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We know it happens. You make beautiful jewelry, and lots of people want it. But not everyone wants to pay for it, so you have to protect it. Fortunately, theft is preventable and Rio Grande carries a number of displays that lock down your treasures in one way or another.

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Enameling 102: Kiln Firing vs. Torch Firing

Feb 5, 2014
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MariaElena Baca
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In part two of The Studio’s enameling series, MariaElena Baca sheds light on the choice between using a kiln or a torch to fire your enameled pieces. What are the differences between these two enameling methods? What criteria should you use to decide which method is best for you? Enameling 102 covers these questions and more. Come take a look and consider expanding your skills by taking an upcoming enameling class with the incomparable Ronda Coryell!

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Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Doing a Jewelry Trade Show—You’ve Been Accepted, Now Prepare!

Jan 16, 2014
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Marlene Richey
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In Part Two of Marlene Richey’s multi-part series on “Doing a Show,” she helps you prepare for your first big wholesale or retail show! Good preparation is key to a great outcome and Marlene has the experience and wisdom to break it down for you! Grab a notebook and get ready to take some notes and then knock some socks off at your first (or your next) big show!

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Video How-To with Mark Nelson: Creating Texture with Gilding and Reticulation

Jan 9, 2014
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Molly Therese Bell

Reticulation is a technique that presents a beautifully patterned surface finish, which lends itself well to a wide variety of jewelry designs. Eager to experiment with reticulation? Today The Studio features a how-to video, in which Mark Nelson demonstrates ways to use this technique to achieve unexpected and wonderful texture.

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