What to do in the dead of winter?

Jewel Envy will be holding many many classes in January!

There are the ONE DAY classes:

  1. One day bezel setting.
  2. One day gem setting prep class
  3. One day Band Ring class

Then there are the more intensive and longer classes!

  1. 8 week Intro Fabrication class
  2. 8 week gemsetting class
  3. 8 week introductory and intermediate casting class.

Come and join us! It will be fun!


Did a recent update for a piece! sometimes a layout or technique doesn’t wear in the way that you hope – but never fear, changes can always be made! – Alexis

Initially for the Pendant I wanted the chain to move along the perimeter, but because it was on an especially long chain it was constantly flipping over. And while initially the patina was a great way to bring character to the pendant, it did start to wear off on the high points distorting the details.
I soldered the jump rings permanently to the chain, no more flipping around now! Soldering removed the patina and instead of reapplying I switched it up to an enamel. I love the depth of colour a couple of layers gave along with the transparency so that you are still seeing details and texture.

Custom Evil Eye Pendant

I often use so many blue gemstones in my work, I was very excited to have just finished combining two of my favourites, lapis lazuli and turquoise, to create an evil eye pendant.

– Alexis Kostuk

Both the turquoise and the lapis lazuli started as cabochon shapes. I carved into the lapis lazuli first to fit the turquoise into it.
Stacking and layering with a black onyx at the center.
The finished necklace. *I used a studio chain to photograph this, the client has their own chain to wear it with!*

Thoughtful day

It’s Remembrance Day today, which is making me think about how we should learn from our past. With everything going on, I’m finding the day more poignant than usual. Maybe it’s a bit naive, but wouldn’t it be great if we could all make a concerted effort to be kinder and more understanding of each other.

Poppy field (credit: https://nicubunu.ro/pictures/photoblog/poppy-field.jpg)

Of course, Remembrance Day makes me think of crosses, so if that’s your thing, here are some traditional and less traditional ones to mark the day!

Crosses by Jennifer Trotman (Frekkeldesigns)


Woes and Wows of a New Skill

Here at Jewel Envy, we love guiding students through the lows and highs of a new skill. It is so satisfying to watch someone go from the wonder of taking in a sample, to the synaptic fireworks of attempting a new practice, to the awe and celebration of accomplishment.

Instructor Robin wields her wax pen like a magic wand.

We have one more class scheduled for 2023, so check out our calendar and sign up asap to increase your skill set with something shiny and beautiful.

Why does my chain keep breaking?

Chains take a lot of abuse from daily wear. They rub against your skin, clothes, other accessories and are frequently pulled. Even gentle pressure affects their strength. Depending on current styles, chains may be sold that are actually too fine for everyday wear.

They may even be made from gold or platinum, but if they break frequently, they are experiencing a heavier use than what was intended in their manufacture.

If the chain is really thin, it is not meant for everyday wear. It cannot hold a lot of weight, i.e. a large or heavy pendant, and will most likely break over time.

To determine the quality of costume chains, examine the links. If they are not soldered shut, meaning there is a break in the links, they can easily be pulled apart. This is more of a concern for small to fine chains than larger thicker diameter link chains.

Small chains that have links less than 1mm in thickness are most secure when there is no break in them. Chains made from stainless steel or titanium are quite strong, but it is still important to make sure they cannot slip out from each other at the point where links have a break in them.

Some chains have what is called a break away jump ring on at least one side of the claps. Do not confuse this with poor craftsmanship as this is considered a safety precaution. In the event a chain becomes caught on something, the unsoldered jump ring will allow the chain to break away first before the wearer can be choked.

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

Transforming Old into New

We all have pieces that we like some aspect of, but often wish for something new, right? We love working with clients to re-invigorate their jewellery, whether to restore it to its original (or close to original!) glory, or to re-imagine it into a new piece altogether. One recent project is this brooch:

gold brooch, with sapphire and diamond halo.

It has pretty big sentimental value, but the client wasn’t happy with the yellow gold, and decided she wanted to split it into two pieces. She loves white gold, and was enamored with the echo of the “Princess Diana” ring, so wanted to try for a modern take that fit with her personal style. So, we removed the sapphire (which is a spectacular colour!) and the diamonds, and made a new, truly unique ring.

14kt palladium white gold, central sapphire, with a “broken” halo on different levels.

We’re not stopping there! The original brooch will get a bit of a makeover too, but that’s something for the future.

Have something lurking around your jewellery box that you wish you would wear more often? Bring it in, and we’ll help you figure out how to make it your own again!

Enjoy the weather, and we hope to see you soon in the studio!

Do your settings need repair?

Over time settings can wear away. Rubbing occurs with normal wear and if you are not careful you can lose a stone when a claw setting has worn thin or completely worn off.

If you have expensive stones or lots of little stones you need to pay attention to your settings.

The first thing you can do is learn to hear a loose stone by tapping the stone with your nail and listening for clicking or jingling sounds. If the stone is loose you will be able to hear it move when you tap it.

This is a good first line of defense for checking your stones and their settings.

Next, look at the metal holding the stones in place in your jewellery. If it is a claw setting look at the balls on top of the claws holding the stone. There should be at lease .5mm thickness of metal on each claw. If the claws look completely flat or if the ball is missing, it needs to be re-tipped.

If your stone is set in a bezel, (a rim of metal around the top of the stone) look for racks in the metal around the stone. A bezel setting is the strongest setting and will show less wear than other types of settings.

Finally, make sure all your settings are fully touching your stones and have no sharp edges. A good rule is the nylon test. Run a nylon stocking across the setting and if it snags anywhere, it needs some work by your local goldsmith.

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

Join us for a Meet and Greet with Shafiq Sarwari on Friday October 20th, 2023.

We are collaborating with Kerry Flowwa to bring her arts and culture meet up group to Jewel Envy for a jewellery arts discussion combined with the social cause of fundraising to help bring Shafiq’s family to safety.

Kerry organizes group events through Meet Up to discover local gems in her current city. As a world traveller she finds joy in making new discoveries and connections with locals and transplants wherever she goes. But her events aren’t just about making new friends she always chooses a way to give back to people through the charitable organization she founded called Flowwa. She registered her charity to help people “replace fear with joy, in the trauma-recovery journey” which she experienced first hand but that is a story for her to share.

Our event will be centered around Jewel Envy’s support for resident Shafiq Sarwari and helping bring his family to safety in Canada. Shafiq will be sharing his story of jewellery making, his flight from Afghanistan, and how a simple request for help turned into years of working on fundraising to bring his family to Canada.

Please RSVP here.

The event is free and people are welcome to donate on the spot with a chance to win a genuine diamond!

This game was inspired by a game I played as a child at the Exhibition in the summer. My grandfather used to take all of the grand-kids each year to the Ex but this trip was difference since it was with my dad and brother. My dad loved the vendor buildings and one person, whose booth I still remember, must have been selling jewellery, but also had this gemstone tray set up. You paid a fee and then got to guess which stone was a genuine diamond. They were all .10ct stones and I did not win….but that game has always stuck with me and as a professional goldsmith I have been able to run it a couple times at my studio over the years. I last time was in 2016 and we’re bringing it back for tomorrow nights event. Out of these 50 stones 47 of them are cubic zirconia, 2 are moissanite, and one is a genuine .16ct G/H I2 diamond. Donate money to the fundraising and have your chance to guess the correct stone. If you guess correct you will be notified after the event and the stone will be yours!

*if multiple people guess correctly there will be a draw for the winner as we only have one diamond to give away. The diamond has a retail value of $500.

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