8 Week Gemsetting Wednesday January 24th, 2024

This class has a material fee of $200 plus hst. Students receive a kit of 6 cast pieces in sterling silver, calibrated synthetic gemstones for the settings, as well as the burs needed for the settings. Students will also make 2 of their own setting tools in the class.

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

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

Tinker, Teacher, Goldsmith, Hi!

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.

Kinsley Vey Designs
Pash Jewellery Design
House of Cassady

The Basics of Jewellery Cleaning

Caring for Costume Jewellery

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

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!

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