Mokume Gane (wood grain metal)

Mokume Gane is a Japanese metalworking procedure. What you see is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns like the photo above. (Cufflinks made by Gillian Batcher).

Mokume Gane looks like wood grain and is closely translated from Japanese as “wood grain metal”. It has the appearance of natural wood grain.

With Mokume-gane, you fuse several layers of differently coloured precious metals together to form a sandwich of alloys called a “billet.” Then the billet is manipulated in such a way that a pattern resembling wood grain emerges over its surface. There are many many ways of working mokume gane to create diverse patterns.

I thought i’d share what mokume gane is today as two customers came in and were really admiring the patterns on the different rings using Mokume gane.

Spring curation for a Saturday

In honour of the spring-like temperatures we’ve had this week, here’s my curated collection of things that are making me feel spring-like!

Are you feeling it? Clockwise from top left: Flower earrings with stones (Frekkeldesigns), stone stacking rings (3; Glaciale Goldsmith), Circles ring (Winfield Design), Tulip clutch pin (Edna Milevsky), M clutch pin (House of Cassady), Shell Flower earrings (Pash Jewellery Designs), filigree Flower earrings (Shafiq’s Jewelry), Butterfly kiss earrings (Eunice L Designs)

Come see them in person in the shop, and discover some other new designs, perfect to lift you up with that spring feeling!

Enjoy Saturday, whatever you’re doing.


Glovely Choices

Now that the holiday breaks are over and we find ourselves outside in actual winter weather, it is time to bundle up each day we leave our door. Cold means gloves. Gloves mean slick ring choices to fit easily inside those gloves. Here are some beautiful choices for everyday winter wear, from fashion to commitment rings:

As for the gorgeous rings you already have, it is also a good time to come by and get the prongs holding in your stones checked. Scarves, hats, sweaters, mittens and gloves can have just the right type of thread to pull back an unchecked, worn tip, and have you frantically looking for your precious gems. From experience, we can tell you that the stones can be launched, drop out right away, or hang in for weeks before a bump lets them loose. It costs nothing to have us take a look and do a quick, simple check. If you find your jewellery is feeling “catchy” lately, or you’ve already lost a stone, or you want to make sure everything is alright ahead of time, we are happy to help!

What type of clasp should my necklace have?

Chapter 3 – What type of clasp should my necklace have?

There are many types of clasps and not all of them are created equally. Spring rings are the most used clasp in commercial jewellery, and the cheapest clasp with the highest rate of breakage.

If you want to upgrade a chain without buying a new one, have a jeweller change your   spring ring to a lobster clasp. It operates in a similar way but is just a little heftier and more reliable for keeping your clasp safely attached.

Toggle clasps are often used as accents in the design of a piece and are strong provided they have the correct proportions.

At toggle clasp is most commonly a ring with a bar that goes through it but they can be other shapes as well.

The bar must be at least two times the inside diameter of the circle they are pushed through. For non -geometric shapes take the longest diameter of the space and multiply it by two for the length of the bar. There must be some weight to the chain for this clasp to work as it is held in place by both sides of the chain pulling away from each other.

Magnetic clasps can be perfect for people who have a hard time manipulating regular clasps. They have rare earth magnets inside, which are stronger than regular magnets. Beware they can interfere with things like pacemakers and hearing aids, if you have either of these you must check with your doctor before wearing them.

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

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

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