Jewelry Making…Starting out

Have you ever looked at a piece of jewelry and wondered…could I make something like that? Me too. I think most people have. Jewelry making can be fun, challenging and very rewarding. I do lot of reading and have purchased several books on jewelry making techniques, tools, wires and beads. There are so many things to learn and so many different types of materials to work with, I don’t think I could ever learn everything. Working with wire is my favorite. Once you learn the basics with wire, you can start making jewelry using wire to connect different components together to create earrings, bracelets and necklaces. There are many different projects you can find for free. Most tell you the skill level suggested. You can start where ever you want and work with whatever you like. There are lot’s of e books and videos that are helpful for learning the basics and how-to use tools. Most of the jewelry supply stores have a resource and project area. Look through those sections as they contain a lot of helpful information. If you find a project you like, they usually list all the tools and components needed to complete the project. That makes it easy to order everything you’ll need. It may be a good idea to order a few extra beads or whatever you’re working with just in case you make a mistake. You can also buy kits that have everything you need to make the project shown and step by step instructions. This is a great way to practice skills and learn new techniques. These are great when you’re starting out. One of the first and best investments should be a jewelry tool kit. This kit will have most of the tools you will need to get started. Tools may include several types of pliers, wire cutting tools and maybe a file. You should also buy a small kit containing some components. This kit may include some beads, earring wires, some jump rings and clasps. You can also put together your own kit. When you get started, you’ll find that you never have enough containers to hold beads and findings. There’s a lot of different containers for holding beads & findings; you can probably come up with some of your own ideas. I have a collection of small jars that I keep adding to. I found that buying a magnifying tool was very helpful. This made working with wire a lot easier for me. There are many different types, in all price ranges, so you should be able to find something that will work for you and meet your budget needs. You’ll need a work area, usually a table will work fine. Good lighting is essential and you’ll need a towel or something similar to keep components and beads from rolling off the table while you’re working. You’ll quickly get used to working with tools and as you do, you’ll become faster. Don’t get overwhelmed, you’ll learn as you go along. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. Remember, your jewelry designs are a reflection of you and you’ll see yourself in everything you make. So don’t be afraid to get creative. Thanks for reading. Mary funjewelryhabits.com 5/24/14 Most of the items I talked about you can see in my Amazon Store. Thanks for...

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The beauty and history of turquoise is hard to surpass!  Seeped with history and mystery it is truly a captivating stone.  Turquoise history dates back over 6000 years.   Archeological and literary references to the stone predate the Christian era by five millennia. It has been unearthed in tombs from ancient Egypt – specifically the 4 bracelets of Queen Zar, found on her mummified arm.  These date back to the second ruler of the Egypt’s First Dynasty, approximately 5500 B.C.  Aristotle and Pliny both refer to turquoise.  Marco Polo even wrote about it.  Turquoise has always been considered a stone of life. It also has a long standing history of over a 1000 years with Native Americans who have used it extensively for protection and healing.  The stone was  also used in religion, art, trade, treaty negotiations, and jewelry.  Turquoise’s use as a healing stone reaches far – it has been used for headaches, eye problems, fever and insect bites to name just a few.  It was ground to a powder then it was drank to cure stomach ailments.  Turquoise also has significant metaphysical properties. It is a harmonizing stone that is said to alleviate nervousness, help with problem solving, relieve stress from a hectic life, and promote friendship.  It is also well known for its protective qualities and many cultures carry a turquoise stone with them at all times. Turquoise is often strung on beads, carved into animal fetishes, or combined with other stones such as onyx, amethyst, or coral.  Its color ranges from brilliant sky blue to green and it usually has black or brown veins running through it.  In jewelry it is very popular set in sterling silver.  Silver enhances the natural colors of the turquoise much better than gold. Turquoise is found in North American in the dry areas of Arizona and New Mexico.  It is also found in China, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, and Persia. Wax Treated: Much of the turquoise from China is wax impregnated. The paraffin treatment deepens and stabilizes the color but only affects the surface.Turquoise can be rather porous and chalky and is often not suitable for jewelry until it is treated.  There are various processes that are used on turquoise. Stabilization is a treatment  which uses a resinous substance.  The process uses pressure and heat to fill the microscopic gaps in the stone with plastic resin. When cured the product is a treated stone hard enough to cut and polish.  Stabilization allows genuine but lower grade turquoise to be used in jewelry.  Stabilization helps to keep the stone from chipping and prevents changes in color from contact with skin oils. Wax treatment is very common with turquoise from China.  Paraffin wax is impregnated into the turquoise to deepen and stabilizes the color but it only affects the surface. Some jewelry may be made with reconstituted turquoise which is ground turquoise from inferior stones that is molded together with epoxy resin, dyed and pressed into stone like forms – they look good but don’t have the value of a real stone. Another process is referred to as “Block” where a mixture of plastic resin and dyes are produced in blocks the size of a loaf.  There is no actual turquoise in this mix, it is entirely man mad and should be labeled simulated.  It is made in many colors, and it is used extensively for inlay work. So when in the market for turquoise jewelry be aware of what you are purchasing.  Simulated turquoise, and a natural piece of turquoise jewelry is terrific.  What ever your needs are just be certain the product you are purchasing is priced according to its composition.  Enjoy this truly captivating...

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