Hydro stone is a light weight plaster which can be used to create very tough wearable objects with a very similar feel and working properties to stone. It’s similar to the investment compound we use in casting. Mix with water and let set and it quickly becomes a stone like material.

Check out these jury-rigged molds I’ve been playing around with! Simply created using foam board and a glue gun.

They look pretty rough, but they work!

Why are the Cardinals red?

There are so many different types of alternative finishings for jewellery. Today, I want to introduce to you ceramit enamel. Ceramit is basically low temperature curing, hard enamel. It has a ceramic like surface. Ceramit comes in 14 colours. The beautiful cardinals with their vibrant red colour is red ceramit.

Earrings – Sterling silver with black spinels and red ceramit. By Gillian Batcher.

Enamel? What’s that, you say?

Who doesn’t love a bit of colour, when it comes to jewellery? Mixed metal colours (eg silver/high karat gold), gemstones that make a rainbow, and enamel. Enamel is so fun, and versatile. So, what is it? There are a few things that are considered “enamel” (more about that in a bit), but traditionally, enamel is a silica-based colour– that’s right, it’s glass! This means that, like soft stones, you do need to be a bit careful with it, but the effects are totally worth it.

free form sterling silver ring with purple, white and black eggcup sterling silver ring, red enamel flat disc pendant with a cutout, enameled jewel shapes in a split sterling silver ring, yellow enamel oval concave cufflinks in sterling silver, five multi coloured enameled chunky hearts on a large ring chain bracelet in sterling silver
Sterling silver with traditional glass enamel and ceramit, a ceramic-like enamel. (L to R: sterling silver growth ring by Alex Kinsley Vey, Egg shell ring by Edna Milevsky, Red enamel on sterling silver flat M pendant by Robin Cassady-Cain, Enamelled Gems ring by Alexis Kostuk, enamelled heart bracelet by Jerell Reichert, yellow cufflinks by Gillian Batcher.

Another type of enamel, Ceramit, gives a ceramic and glass-like finish, but is used in liquid form, and solidifies at much lower temperature than traditional glass enamel requires to melt. Personally, as a goldsmith, I like the versatility of traditional enamel, as well as the potential for unpredictability, depending on how you use it when making a piece of jewellery!

Come in and explore colour in the retail area at the studio. Or, if you fancy having a try at enameling yourself, come in for a workshop! We do a one day workshop, and if you’re interested, if you don’t see it on the schedule, drop us a line (info@jewelenvy.ca), and we’ll put it up!

Happy Saturday!

Silver for Summertime

I love the versatility of silver jewelry and the way it glistens in the sun! It’s no secret that silver jewelry is on trend and becoming an increasingly popular choice this year. Cool and light, it makes the perfect summer statement as it looks great with breezy summer outfits – it can be casual enough to sport dock-side, or dressed up for an event!

Here are some fun breezy prices that would make a stylish addition to your collection, yet are simple and timeless enough to continue wearing throughout the seasons and for years to come ☀️

Heart Ring by Jerell Reichert

Silver Ring by Kathy Winfield

Silver Studs by Maddie Kingston

Silver Loop Bracelet by Natalia Naranjo

Unique layering options with silver chains in various styles!

The Basics of Jewellery Cleaning

Caring for Pearl and Opal Jewellery

Pearls are one of the few gems that benefit from wear and touch. The oils from your skin help pearls keep their lustrous appearance. Even if you do not wear your pearls often you should hold them on a regular basis to transfer the unseen oil from your skin to onto them. If their oils dry out, pearls begin to crack and will break.

You must take the utmost care when cleaning jewellery with pearls in it. They cannot be exposed to many chemicals or heat. Chemical solutions will eat away at the lustrous finish and can eat through the layers of nacre that a pearl is made up of. A gentle plain cloth is the best way to polish pieces with pearls. This means they require regular care to minimize tarnish and ensure surface oils are present.

Opals are considered an unstable gemstone but are valued for the vibrant colours that are produced inside of them. The colours are a result of water held within the stone. Opals should never be exposed to extreme temperature changes or chemicals. When the water inside the opal dries out, the stone cracks and loses its fire. Chemicals use for cleaning, which would not affect harder stones, can leach into opals and change their colours.

’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013

Sterling silver and pearl earrings by Kristen Vittorini

New Window Installation!

We are excited to announce that our newest window installation at Jewel Envy has been completed by our two interns, Anna and Laura!

The installation is intended to evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity among our visitors. We believe that art should be accessible to everyone, so we have placed the installation in our store windows for all to appreciate.

Our latest window installation at Jewel Envy is not just one work of art, but three! The installation consists of three separate displays, each with its own unique and personal theme that has been inspired by the sumptuous jewellery we have here in Jewel Envy made by our amazing goldsmiths. 

Come see the installation in person and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these stunning works of art!

Got ya! These are the sneaks, you need to come in person to see the finished set up and work!

Should I just use a dip to clean my Jewellery?

The Basics of Jewellery Cleaning

In some of our earlier blog posts, we have covered the basics of jewellery care, including some content on cleaning. There are a variety of methods that can be used to clean your jewellery.

Using a dip may seem like the easiest method. If you choose to use a dip, you must have some knowledge about the jewellery.

Does it have gemstones? If the answer is yes, they need to be non-porous stones. Porous stones will soak up the chemicals. This can lead to discoloration as well as contributing to a complete disintegration of the stone. Some porous stones include pearls, opals, lapis lazuli, turquoise and coral. But there are many more.

You also need to know if your jewellery is plated. Dips work by removing the top layer of a piece which is the metal that has the tarnish on it.. If your pieces are plated, you will remove plating over time with repeated dip cleaning.

’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013

Want to see other content on Cleaning and Maintaining your Jewellery? See this recent post from May

Precious and Beautiful

Just like this rainbow of natural sapphires, the dads, fathers, papas, daddies, etc we celebrate today are precious and beautiful in their own unique ways.

Natural Orange Sapphire
Natural Yellow Sapphire
Natural Blue Sapphire
Natural Pink Sapphire
Natural White Sapphire

Mark your calendar!

Come visit Alexis Kostuk, glaciale goldsmith (booth 222 in Zone C), at the 62nd Annual Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in Nathan Phillips Square.

Friday, July 7, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 8, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Sunday, July 9, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Beer Garden until 9:00 PM Friday & Saturday

Alexis here; I’m currently in my “must make all the things” era in the lead up to TOAF and once there I will have to switch gears with my hands nearly motionless and attempt to interact with the public. Pics below are some snap shots of what I have been creating!

My always popular polyp studs will be available in lots of colour combinations to choose from!
Last year I went through an earring making bonanza, this year it looks like a ring making bonanza has overtaken almost every waking thought I have (that isn’t about cats or nail polish). So many pebble shaped goodies to set into place… Keep an eye out for this in it’s finished form.
Obsessed with the shape of this micro mosaic ring and can’t wait for people to try it on. Today will be attempting a different colour variation on the mirror design of this one!
I have 3 colour variations using rectangular tourmalines in the juiciest most beautiful colours that will be sale at TOAF.

The Evolution of the Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

The rather unimpressive raw diamond on the far left.

Previous to the mid 14th century in europe diamonds were not used much in jewellery applications, naturally found diamonds have a very rough and unappealing surface, and tend to come in an octohedral shape. The first evolution was to simply polish these natural surfaces which resulted in what was known as the ‘point’ cut.

It wouldn’t be until the 17th century that the first ‘brilliant’ cut diamonds would appear. Known as Mazarin Cut, this new technique resulted in 17 facets along the crown and upper portions of the pavilion. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian gem cutter later upped the number of facets to 33, which at the time was an enormous step up in brilliance. When viewed today though Peruzzi cut diamonds look incredibly dull compared to the modern Brilliant Cut.

Notice the massive ‘windowing’ effect in the centre of the stone!

By 1900 the modern 58 facet brilliant cut had taken form and continues to be one of the most popular cuts produced today. Maximizing the amount of light reflected back at the viewer, this cut is known for its dazzling ‘fire’ and liveliness.

Today many round diamonds are cut to the ideals of the Brilliant Cut, though there are some variations in the exact layout and design of these cuts, the 58 facet version remains the most popular.

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