It caught my eye one day in early 2010, when an article by the Associated Press (AP) revealed that it had obtained children’s jewelry containing a lot of cadmium, a heavy metal that’s considered a hazardous substance by the U.S. government. While I knew that jewelers would want to ensure that children were protected, they also run businesses and needed to have clarity on what tests were needed and what the limits were. . .
tips & tricks
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. . .
Our own Yvonne Padilla uses molding compound and carving wax to create textures from inspiration she finds everywhere. In the following video Mark Nelson demonstrates this exciting method for trasferring texture to metal clay pieces:
With a Swanstrom disc cutter, a mallet, and a ring mandrel, you can create simple, beautiful rings in minutes. Make a continuous, seamless ring from a sheet of mokumé gane, the Japanese alloy metal made with several layers of gold, silver, and copper. . .
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.
Mark Nelson demonstrates how to make a simple ring using 16 gauge silver wire and a chasing hammer. Check out this popular video and be inspired!
Questions arise daily about the various scales we use in the jewelry business. Gold is weighed on a pennyweight or gram scale. Gems are weighed on a carat scale. Postage is weighed on an avoirdupois scale and pearls are sometimes weighed on a momme scale. Do you know if you are using an avoirdupois or a troy scale?
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?
Our Jewelry-Making Tips and Tricks contest wrapped up last week, and jewelry designer Jette Sorensen took home the prize of a $25 gift certificate for her “handy” advice for soldering jump rings.
The Rio Grande Tools & Equipment catalog is full of specialty pliers, hammers, gadgets and thingamajigs designed specifically to make a jeweler’s life easier (note to self: suggest a Gadgets & Thingamajigs section for the 2012 catalog). Still, like in any art of craft, the sky’s the limit for creative DIY solutions. Few things match the satisfaction of going MacGyver on a common bench problem only to realize you just discovered a better, faster and more resourceful way to work…
The key to preventing rust on your tools is keeping moisture and atmospheric pollutants away from them. There are several methods you can try:
Coat your tools with a light oil such as 3-in-One® oil or WD-40®. Wipe off any excess oil when you need to use the tool and reapply when you are done using the tool.
Place seldom-used items in airtight containers or a plastic zipper bag with a packet of moisture-absorbing silica gel. (These are the little packets that come in boxes of new shoes or OTC vitamins.) This is great for dapping sets or specialty pliers…