The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

What Are You Working on Now? Show Us Your Stuff AND Enter Our February Contest!

Jan 22, 2014
Molly Therese Bell

Well folks, it's that time again! Each month we ask the question, "What Are You Working on Now?" and we eagerly await a peek at your jewelry bench! We love seeing inside your studios and hearing about how your work is evolving. Each month we also feature the work of a random winner—who, in addition to getting a moment in the spotlight, wins a $10 Rio credit!

This month's winner is Roberta Althiser of Powell Butte, Oregon.


My name is Roberta and I started wire wrapping a few years ago. I began selling my work this last month on my own website, Wire Crossing. Some of the techniques I love to use include wire wrapping, soldering, metal forming, chain maille, and stone setting, and there are other skills that I am starting to get the hang of as well.

Recently I started learning how to solder and picked it up pretty fast—but I just LOVE weaving! I have wrapped woven rings before but they always felt unfinished because of the obvious seam that was difficult to hide. So I started combining the two techniques. I wasn’t sure it would work, but so far I haven’t had a problem and I've started getting really creative!

The ring on the left is the latest of what I have come up with: it is composed of sterling silver half-round wire, twisted wire, and braided wire soldered together using each hardness available. It is nearly seamless (unless you look inside the band) and very comfortable.

These are becoming very popular and I just LOVE making them! I have plans this week to start using the same combination of soldering and wire wrapping to make full sterling silver bracelets and eliminate the need to wrap parts together, which can be a hassle for clients to maintain as constant wearing can lead to loose wraps (you can see in the image that the wrapped bracelet is starting to lose its grip on the design). I just feel like the life of the piece will be extended by permanently attaching each component to the others. I will start with the bracelet design pictured, and maybe even try to blacken the pattern wire depressions to make it stand out (still trying to decide).

Anyway, I am confident that it will work well and I’m looking forward to the challenge!

 And here are a few more examples of Roberta's work from her website, Wire Crossing:


Thanks for sharing your work with us, Roberta!

Now it's your turn to show us what you're working on. What inspires you these days? What materials are you dying to work with? Add a comment to this post with photos of something that's on your bench right now. This next part is REALLY important, so take notes!

To enter this contest, leave your comment RIGHT HERE in the comments on THIS BLOG POST


  1. Your full name (and a link to your website/Etsy store, if you like).
  2. A photo of your chosen project. Include a few photos if you like!
  3. A description of the project you're featuring. If you can include a little about your approach or technique, even better! Your fellow jewelers LOVE to read this stuff and so do we.
  4. After you add your comment, be sure to check back and make sure your photo has uploaded as it should. We don't want to miss your pic!

Enter and you might be spending an extra 10 bucks at Rio Grande this time next month. Our next winner will be in the spotlight in February—Amy, over at Rio's facebook page will keep you posted on the deadline, so stay tuned!

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In the Spotlight: Jewelspan’s Interview with Jeweler Melodie Owen

Oct 2, 2013
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Amy Cliser
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Check out jeweler Melodie Owen’s recent interview on, in which she talks about how much she’s learned in Rio Grande’s classes over the years. Melodie has become part of the Rio Grande family as she’s expanded her skills and knowledge, and we love following her work. Thanks Melodie!

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What Are You Working on Now? Show Us What’s on Your Bench AND Enter Our May Contest!

Apr 11, 2013
Molly Therese Bell

What inspires you these days? What materials are you dying to work with? Each month we present you with another “What are You Working on Now?” contest, in which we invite readers to submit a picture or two and a description of what’s on their bench right now. Well, this month’s winner, Ivona Posavi Psak, has won a $10 Rio credit, and May’s contest has officially begun – show us your stuff for a chance to win!

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Metal Hardness: It Ain’t So Hard

Feb 7, 2013
Eddie Bell
Mark Nelson
Posted by and

Knowing how to choose the correct hardness of sheet and wire metals for your jewelry techniques and designs helps you achieve the good-looking, long-lasting results you want. In today’s post, Eddie Bell and Mark Nelson share some of what they know about metal hardness. Take a look! It’s sure to enrich your experience at the bench!

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Etsy Stores We Love: Sneekbead, Tactile Melodies, and Willajunejewelry

Jun 7, 2012
Andy Sherwin
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With the advent of, a lot of our jewelry customers are finding it easier than ever to start an online store to sell their work. We thought we’d highlight a few of them and learn a bit about the artists!

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Book Review: Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections by Scott David Plumlee

Aug 29, 2011
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Cathy Contreras
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Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections is the fourth book in Scott David Plumlee’s series on chain making. If you love making chain, but have been avoiding projects that involve soldering, this is the book for you!

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Large Silver Hoop Earrings: A Project with Mark Nelson and Book Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Aug 25, 2011
1 Comment
Spencer Baum
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Today we’ve got another wire working project to share with you. In this one, Mark Nelson creates a pair of large silver hoop earrings made from 20-gauge sterling wire and wrapped with Swarovski beads. Have fun!

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Did You Make These Wire-Wrapped Earrings?

Nov 18, 2010
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Molly A. Bell
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I often think about how many memories are tucked away in my jewelry box. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of each piece, my jewelry is more fun to wear because each has it’s own “story”. Adding to the pleasure my jewelry brings, is the extra special gratitude I feel when a piece brings a nice compliment from others…

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