What word sums up the daily life of a Goldsmith at Jewel Envy? Inventive.
When jewellery is handmade, creativity in the design in expected, BUT that is not all. The “how” and the “with what” is at least as creative. It can mean learning a new skill, or buying a new tool, which we love, and then what? What if there is no book, no commercial tool available for the brilliantly beautiful creation keeping us up at night? We hypothesize, we experiment, we create a process to form our creation. Many times, we modify or create new tools, which means we need to know how to work steel, or rework electronics, or read and enter new code.
The next time you visit us at Jewel Envy, and you see an interesting piece, ask us how it was made. The answer might surprise you.
At Jewel Envy, we see lots of chains. We sell chains, we make chains, and we repair chains. Here are some observations and tips from the goldsmith’s bench:
Most people concentrate on style, length and price when choosing a chain. However, one of the most important considerations is strength! The required strength depends on how often the chain will be worn, what conditions it will endure, and the size/weight of any pendant it is expected to hold. It is vital to the lasting enjoyment of a new or newly repaired necklace or bracelet to discuss a chain’s tolerance with a goldsmith. You will be glad you did!
When the required size or preferred look of a gold chain is out of the budget, there are options that meet a multitude of needs without compromising aesthetic.
Gold plated means that a microscope layer of genuine gold has been added, though an electric process, to a more affordable metal. It will need re-plating as it wears with time and use, but it is a great way to showcase a special piece or a special outfit.
Gold filled means that a layer of gold has been fused to another metal, completely covering it so that it looks like a solid gold piece. It contains more gold and costs more than a plated piece, but the gold endures longer and looks great!
Hollow chains are made through a process that allows for larger looking genuine gold links without the weight and cost of solid gold. The links are completely empty behind their very thin gold walls. They will not hold up to pulling, stretching, or squishing, but with gentle care, they provide beauty and style for moderate budgets.
The most versatile is solid gold. It keeps it’s colour, it can be repaired, and it holds value. As long as the correct chain is chosen for the correct job, it can endure a long time.
If you have any questions, drop by and have a chat with one of our Goldsmiths. This is what we do!
The goldsmiths at Jewel Envy have worked on such a wide range of ideas for custom gifts and after combing through some of our creations I wanted to put together a small group of great starting points for gift ideas for when you want to get someone something special and don’t know where to start!
Think about colour
A great starting point is favourite colour. A typical go-to for a jewellery gift would be to select a person’s birthstone and create a piece of jewellery design with that. BUT, what if your person doesn’t like their birthstone? We suggest going with a favourite colour! Colour can be added into jewellery in so many ways: gemstones, enamel, inlay, metal surface treatments, adding fibre such as felt. We have done it all!
Think about turning a keepsake into something precious
We have been trained by years of advertising and marketing that the penultimate way to show love and sentiment is with a diamond. One of the most unique (and we would say precious) ways to create a custom piece of jewellery is to bring us a momento from a time spent with someone that holds sentiment and meaning beyond the material value. We have worked alongside customers to transform small rocks and pebbles from memorable life moments into something wearable.
Whether it is transforming a small pebble into a simple pendant with a skillfully drilled hole and bail, or hand carving one of a kind settings to hold them in a necklace/earring set.
Think about their fandom
Do they have a favourite book/movie/tv show character?
We can go the extra mile to replicate or design something that reflects their fandom and give them a one of a kind collectible.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. it’s the Polish Festival in Roncevalles. The weather is amazing, the street is buzzing, lots of good food, things to see and hear. Not to mention the usual Big Blue House excitement with all the pretties!
Here at the Blue House, there’s a garage sale in support our fundraising for our colleague, Shafiq Sarwari.
Here’s Gillian with the masses of preloved clothes for sale (I might get in trouble for this one :).
When should I have my jewellery cleaned by a professional?
Have you tried some of the methods mentioned in our earlier blog posts without positive results.? Does your favorite piece of jewellery have an alternative materials in it? Would you feel better if someone else cleaned it for you? These are all valid reasons to leave the cleaning to the professionals.
Cleaning is a service often offered on site by most goldsmiths but not at all jewellery stores.
You may want to ask if it is done in the shop or elsewhere. Yu will probably get better service if it is done onsite by the person with whom you consult or by someone who can contact you directly if they have questions.
’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013
All these images are student projects that were made in either an 8 week or 1 day class at Jewel Envy! Scroll through to see the amazing pieces our students have made and to check on upcoming dates for our Fall classes.
Sterling silver band rings. These beauties are variations that can be made in either our 8 Week Introductory Fabrication or the One Day Band Ring class.
Cast ring, which can be made in either or 8 Week Intro/Intermediate Casting or the 2 Day Casting. Stacking rings, which can be made in either our 8 Week Introductory Fabrication or One Day Stacking Rings. Bezel set gemstone, which can be made in either our 8 Week Intermediate Fabrication or 2 Day Gem cutting and Gem Setting
A different set of rules applies to caring for costume jewellery and they really start with “if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it”.
Costume jewellery is put together using a variety of commercial techniques that include spot soldering, welding, casting, gluing, and plating. When costume jewellery breaks it cannot usually be repaired to look the same as before as a goldsmith cannot use the same procedure for soldering on softer metals as they are often toxic. Soft solder can be used in some cases, but it is never a permanent solution. The piece is most often fixed with a glue or cement, but it is only a matter of time before the piece will break again.
Costume jewellery is not made to last in most cases and is intended for disposal once it has broken. Inventive jewellery can often redesign a piece or come up with ingenious ways to reattach parts, but you must be willing to let go at a certain point or expense.
A goldsmith will do their best to save your sentimental pieces but as they were not only made in a way that allows for many traditional repairs, some pieces will have to be let go while others may be salvageable.
Consider having your goldsmith remake a design in materials that can last over time and that can be repaired as part of their natural cycle of wear and use.
These inherited costume clip on earrings had a broken clasp. The customer chose to remake these into 2 pairs of earrings in order to share with another family member
’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013
I’m adding new work to my bubbles at the studio this week, and I’m pretty stoked about it. These are a series of pieces designed around the red blood cell (yes, it’s my ongoing obsession with the immune system coming out again!).
This is an picture of a field of red blood cells. Essential carriers of iron, among other things, did you know they don’t have a nucleus (brain of the cell!), giving them that characteristic “donut” look.
These are the base series (all done in sterling silver!): a short and longer element done as: bracelet, pendants, ring and 3 earring styles. (backdrop postcard done by Leonie Schoen– don’t you love it??)
I have plans for some other, slightly more elaborate pieces in the future, but these first pieces will be available in the studio from next week. I’ve decided to call them “Rolling”, since I feel like I can see them rolling along a blood vessel.
Wondering how big they are? Here’s some scale photos:
My favourite are the half hoops, I think–how about you?
Visit the studio to see them in person, and try them on! With their simple elegance, and undulating curves, they’re sure to be a new favourite!