Metals – Fine Silver

Hi Everyone!

Today we are continuing our metals blog series with a post about fine silver. In case you missed it, in our previous post we discussed sterling silver, which is an alloy of fine silver.

Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver, compared to sterling silver which is only 92.5% pure silver. Fine silver is very soft, making it more prone to scratches and dents. On the bright side, its softness is the reason fine silver pieces tend to mend themselves to your body and can be very comfortable to wear. It also does not tarnish, which is great if you are not too big on cleaning your jewelry.

Meteor Cuff: Hammered Fine Silver

Meteor Cuff: Hammered Fine Silver

While fine silver can definitely be used for jewelry, most people prefer sterling silver, as it is a little bit more resistant. We do have a few pieces in fine silver, for example our meteor cuff. We chose to make the meteor cuff in fine silver, because it makes the cuff “softer” and more comfortable to wear. It also doesn’t tarnish, making this a very low-maintenance piece of jewelry.

We suggest to store your fine silver like all your other jewelry in a dark and dry place. While fine silver is not very prone to tarnish, it does get scratches very easily so it should be separated from other jewelry. If you ever do feel the need to clean your fine silver jewelry we suggest a polishing cloth. NEVER use a paper towel or a tissue paper because the fibers in those products can scratch the metal.

New Custom Pieces!

With Spring upon us, we wanted to share the new custom pieces we’ve been working on this Winter. We’ve been so busy that we realized we hadn’t shown you many new pieces in a while. So here is a glimpse of some of our most recent work.

We couldn’t have done it without our amazing clients whose vision make these designs possible. We always love making our customers dreams come true because it pushes our creativity and skills keeping us fresh and on our toes. For example, we worked with Palladium for the first time, which can be a difficult metal to work with. However, it was all worth it! We are so excited about how it came out because of the contrast it created with the yellow gold inlay. Check it out in the album below, we can’t wait to use it again.

Our newest pieces also include fingerprints engraved onto the inside of wedding bands, a fun wedding ring stacking set and a gorgeous sapphire engagement ring. For mother’s and father of another bridal party we created some custom petoskey jewelry for a destination wedding taking place in Traverse City, Michigan. And the Nebula ringwe created as an engagement ring last year now has a wedding ring which was designed to fill it like a puzzle! Wow, we’re even a little impressed with ourselves 🙂 Please visit more of our other our custom wedding bands here.

Metalwork – Forging

Today we will share with you some insight on one of our most important processes – forging. Forging is the process of shaping the metal using force. Forging can be done either hot or cold, depending on the metal. For our silver and gold jewelry, we use the cold forging process after annealing the metal. Meaning, we hit the metal while it is cold after heating it up to loosen the molecules and then cooling it off so we can hold it while hammering it. Hot forging is when you hit a portion of the metal while it is hot, traditional blacksmithing is done this way with steel.

To forge the metal all we need is a hammer and an anvil. It’s a very “old-school” process, employed for centuries by metalsmiths from all over the world. Now, often times, the forging process is done by big machines that can put a lot of weight behind every strike. However, we love the preservation of the ancient techniques, so for our jewelry we use only the force of our arms and the weight of the hammer. An interesting fact about forging is, that it actually makes the metal stronger. While you might think that hammering metal would make it thinner and therefore more prone to break, it does exactly the opposite. Forging refines the molecular structure, which results in better and stronger physical properties of the metal.

When we forge the metal to create our signature hammered texture, it is important to stay consistent. That means we try to put the same amount of weight behind every hit, and we move the metal carefully, so the hammer hits each part evenly, creating a very nice texture and refined flow.

Watch Rebecca create her signature texture in our ‘How To: Forge’ video below.

For more detail, also check out this video we did with Mark Shale Stores last year.

Jasper – Stone of the Month

An alternative birthstone for March is Jasper, a gemstone known for its many colors and its beautiful and unique patterns.

Jasper is often thought to be part of the chalcedony class of gemstones. However, it can contain up to 20% foreign material, which results in the beautiful patterns. This makes Jasper considered a group of its own. The Jasper is a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes it a fairly hard gemstone.

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The Jasper rarely comes in one uniform color. Most of the time these gemstones have streaks or spots of other colors, which results in many names for the varieties of the gemstones, including my favorites “picture jasper“, “ocean jasper” and “nebula jasper“. Because the jasper is an opaque gemstone it tends to be cut as cabochons with a smooth rounded surface. Some versions of the stone can be very inexpensive while other more rare deposits can be very expensive. The patterns and colors are what makes these stones so beautiful, many jewelers go for larger cut stones, making sure to showcase the best aspects. Most jaspers do not need to be treated or enhanced, however some are color-dyed.

Just like most gemstones, the Jasper is also believed to have healing and protective powers. In ancient times, parents often put a jasper in their children’s room in order to protect them from nightmares, snakes and spider bites. Jasper has also been said to instill confidence and courage when touched. This is why some people like to wear a necklace with a small Jasper pendant, so they have the stone close to them at all times.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com – rockman836

Wedding Parties!

We has so much fun at Indie Wed! Held at the Ravenswood Event Center, a giant loft filled with 50’s and 60’s porsches, mercedes and ferraris, it was the perfect space for an event of this kind. Every booth was fun and unique, making all of us want to get married (again). Great music made the day feel more like a party than a show and we are still dreaming of the amazing food. We were so lucky to be next to Uptown Brownie…our waistlines still haven’t forgiven us:).

Our cozy Indie Wed booth!

Our cozy Indie Wed booth!

We also met Poladora, a really cool new company that provides a combined wedding registry from local shops.  They are having a launch party in which we will be attending on Thursday, February 28th from 6pm – 9pm. Click here for the free registration.

Poladora-vertical-invitation

Not only were the vendors wonderful, but the couples walking around were fabulous too. We met a lot of new couples and are excited to share our upcoming projects with you so please stay tuned. In the meantime, we’ve uploaded some of our newest wedding and engagement rings to our website, check them out here.

Indie Wed

What an exciting year already! I can’t believe it’s almost February!

Currently I’m preparing for my next big project, Indie Wed, an alternative to the traditional bridal expo. If you are getting married in the near future, or know someone who is, and you live in Chicago, then you should definitely try to attend this beautiful and artistic event.

At Indie Wed there will be many different vendors, giving you the opportunity to pick and choose one-of-a-kind wedding items such as jewelry, decorations, flower arrangements, cakes, music and much, much more! While picking and choosing the pieces to your unique wedding, you will also be supporting Chicago’s smaller, independent businesses.

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I myself will be showing samples of wedding and engagement rings and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this important event! For those of you interested in collaborating on rings, make sure to stop by my booth #54 on the first floor.

If you’re not getting married, but would like to reset your engagement ring or create an anniversary band, please don’t hesitate to contact us to set up an appointment. If you’re not in Chicago, please don’t let geography stop you. We work with people virtually all the time, it’s amazing how that technology works 😉

Indie Wed will take place on February 2nd, from 10 am until 4 pm at the Ravenswood Event Center. The entrance is located at 4043 N. Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago. Tickets are now on sale, please click here to purchase your ticket.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Metalwork – Soldering

Creating jewelry is a much more technical process than most people think. To create certain pieces, we use chemicals, wax, and precious metals or processes such as forging, filing or soldering to create a certain design and effect. We solder almost everyday. It is the process of joining two metals together with a filler. In simple terms, soldering is the process of gluing metals together through heat.

Soldering has been around for over 5000 years. There is evidence that the ancient Egyptians knew how to solder gold. The Romans also used soldering and did an impressive job by soldering together approximately 249 miles of lead water pipes, which were able to withstand a 18 ATM.

The process of soldering differs from welding, because when you solder, you aren’t melting the actual metal of the piece, but instead you melt a separate piece of metal which will then go between the two metals you want to join together. The filler metal (solder) is a mix of different metals and needs to have a lower melting point in order for this process to work. Lead solder is often used with small electronics because of it’s extremely low melting point, but we use silver and gold solder to create our jewelry. Through melting the solder using an open acetylene flame over the joint of the pieces we want to fuse together, we form a permanent bond that will only cracks under extreme pressure.

While the solder has a different color when it is applied, it will look identical to the original metal after being polished. An untrained eye cannot detect the solder.

In order to solder jewelry, the piece of metal you want to solder needs to be completely clean of coatings, patina, oil etc. The hardest part of soldering is to not overheat the metal, which will destroy the solder and make it unusable. It is also important for the two metals you want to solder to touch, because solder is not supposed to fill gaps, it is just a glue bonding two pieces of metal together.

Watch me solder a piece of jewelry in the video below: