Sunday, June 30, 2013


Happy Birthday Canada!!!

If you're not making jewellery for Canada's birthday, then I'm afraid you just aren't celebrating properly.  To help you prepare for next year, here is a mini lesson in Canada's favourite pastime - making stacking rings.  Now pay attention!

I like to start off with round wire, which I roll down just a bit.  This gives the rings a nice comfort fit.  In this case, I am using 12 gauge wire, which is about 2mm in diameter.

After carefully calculating the required length, cut the ring blanks and file all the edges to 90 degrees.  When making super skinny rings, I tend to cut the blanks about a quarter size too small to account for stretching (because I don't know my own mallet strength) and clean-up.

Using ring bending or half-round pliers, shape each blank into a 'D' shape.  The two ends should meet perfectly to ensure a good solder seam.  Be careful to use the pliers as leverage with your fingers doing most of the bending, or you will mark your metal.

Next, solder the rings using hard or medium solder.  Make sure the solder flows all the way through the seam.

File away the excess solder from the seam, and hammer the rings round on the mandrel using the mallet.  I like to start off by hammering around the ring towards the seam from both sides.  Make sure the rings are the correct size!

Once the rings are round, I use a combination of files, sawblades, and diamond burs to make different patterns and texture.  Then it's time for some light-clean up and voila!


Have a great weekend!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roncy Rocks Casting Class

For those of you not in the know, last weekend there was a street festival in Roncesvalles called Roncy Rocks.  There were street vendors, artists, magicians, musicians, you name it.  Here at Jewel Envy, we offered a free wax carving demo in the sweet summer sunshine.  A few participants, Courtney, Patricia, and Vida, opted to have their pieces cast in silver, and then came in today for a 1-day workshop to clean it all up to a polish.

Below is an image of Courtney, hard at work.  Her finished piece is a pendant with a jump-ring bail, hanging on a lilac cord.  The pattern she carved on the front is perfectly complemented by the diamond-shape, if you ask me.  It turned out fantastic!

This is Patricia.  She decided to make a ring for herself, which is one of my favourite things to do too:)  The ring looks fantastic on her hand, doesn't it?!  And see what a difference a polish can do, if you just sneak a peek at the middle image of the work in progress.

Last but definitely not least, here is Vida.  She was VERY motivated and completed two pieces, but here I am showcasing her ring.  She added three pieces of amber to the ring, for the perfect combination of colour and eye-catching design.  So unique and pretty!

Ladies, your pieces were amazing, you are amazing, everything is amazing!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spring 2013 Colour Palette

visit our pinterest page to see what gemstones I thought would be great matches to pantones 2013 Spring Colours!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mokume Gane workshop

Good afternoon!

This past weekend, there was a 2-day Mokume Gane workshop in the studio.

Mokume Gane is a traditional Japanese decorative technique, that uses compressed layers of contrasting metal (called a billet) to create varied and unique patterns.  It is labour-intensive, but the results are well worth the effort.

The students, Lissa and Silvia, made billets of sterling silver and copper.  The sheets of metal are soldered together, rolled down, cut in half, and then these halves are stacked and soldered together.  This process is repeated until the desired number of layers has been achieved.  The end result in this class was a 16-layer billet.  Here are the lovely students hard at work:

Lissa                                      Silvia

There are a few different ways to produce patterns.  In this class, Lissa and Silvia tried two variants: hammering and burring.  In the first instance, the piece is hammered, which produces raised bumps on the opposite side.  These are then filed down reveal the pattern within the piece.  In the second instance, the piece is burred to reveal the pattern below, and then rolled level.

Some shots of the work in progress:

The samples, at the end of the weekend:

Silvia had some extra time, so she domed her piece (above left).  Both of them had great Mokume success, good work ladies!  Hope to see you again soon, for another workshop!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shine Bright Like A Diamond?

Check out this very unique engagement ring inventor Ben Kokes proposed to his now fiance with! It's titanium with LED lights that illuminate when he is near her. Sounds like the prototype needs some more work but it's still a really cute idea. Read the full story here!