Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hypoallergenic metal for jewellery

Those of you who have customers who are allergic to certain kinds of metal may be interested in a cobalt alloy I recently read about called BioBlu 27Cobalt. Extremely hard, strong and scratch-resistant, it is a medical-grade alloy that is biocompatible, which means that it can be used for medical devices  and prosthetics which are surgically implanted in the human body, such as artificial joints. Developed by Carpenter Technologies in the U.S., this hypoallergenic alloy is great for people who suffer from skin irritation cause by metal. Now I just have to figure out how I can get my hands on some -- and how to work with it!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Present

This is a 14 Y, 14 W gold with palladium and sterling silver mokume gane bangle I made for my mother. Making mokume gane requires complex process, skill and patience. Although I learned it couples years ago while studying at OCAD, I have never tried and made it into an object because it looked very difficult at the time. After years of practicing, I finally have the confiedence to challenge mokume gane! During the process, I was almost emotionally break down and given up. However, I kept myself going, thinking how wonderful it would become once it's done. So I did it. The beautiful pattern was created from grinding a 12 layers of three different types of metal I have soldered. Here is one suggestion if you like to try. When you just start, you may want to work with less expensive metal for practicing such as a combination of cooper and sterling silver or nickle silver and sterling silver.

ps. I think my mom really likes it since she wears it everyday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is going to be a short one, I am exhausted from the class today!  I wanted to be true to my promise of updating with pics of the results of our gem cutting class, see below. - Alexis

This is what my gem looked like this morning
this is after cutting away the side of the table

My wonky smokey quartz,
It's challenging to get all the facets perfect which I didn't achieve, but I'm still proud of the results!

Lianne Friesen's Citrine

Kate Psaltis' princess cut Citrine

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adventures in Gem Cutting

Boris Kolodny, our teacher

Rock quartz - what our gems looked like before we started
The set-up: my smokey quartz is there in the hand piece.

pre-polish lap - made with 20 carats of diaminds.

Yay! gem cutting!!
I jumped on board for the chance to take the gem cutting class that we have running this weekend at Jewel Envy.  I guess I have a romanticized vision of how cutting a gem stone would be like... selecting my gem from a lump of rock and imagining the precious cut gem within like Michelangelo would envision his sculptures trapped within the marble before he began carving.  Like anything you want to accomplish as a goldsmith it is fraught with nitty gritty details.  To speed up the process our teacher, Boris brought us students our chosen gem with a smooth cut gem that we would be adding facets.  To accomplish this we would be using a specialized hand tool that has precise degrees like a compass to tilt the stone at a certain angle and to rotate the gem by exact increments.  Using different grit "laps" we carefully grind each facet onto the surface.  All this is easier than described since there is such a tiny margin for error.  If you make one facet a bit too large than it will effect the entire cut of the piece (which is what I ended up doing and with the help of Boris correcting).  It also took me quite a while to get a good polish on my bottom facets, but after today I have completed 32 facets, woohoo!  I decided to leave the girdle of my gem unpolished.  As Boris let me know, the industry standard was to leave it unpolished only until about ten years ago.  I will post more pics and the final gem when I finish it tomorrow.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Playing around....

Lately I have been following the price of metals so much so that I have been having dreams about charts on kitco. As both gold and silver has been rising and falling I have been trying to plot my metal shopping days in accordance with the valleys. Sometimes successfully, others not so much.

As I love both of these metals I have no intention of making work without them. So to keep some of the costs down I have started to play around with gold plating instead of solid gold sections. I have been 24K gold plating sections of my Twig line and woven pieces to give the appearance of gold dripping down them. This has been quite successful and I look forward to unveiling the new designs at the One of a Kind this winter! Pictures to follow!