Before & After

As you probably know by now, we do a lot of custom work, especially a lot of custom commitment rings. Often times we create pieces from scratch, but sometimes we also revamp an existing piece. A few months ago a couple came to us with two beautiful wedding bands from their grandparents. They wanted to keep the rings and honor the tradition, however they were looking to customize the rings a little bit and add a personal touch.

Here are the before and after pictures. As you can see, the simple 14K yellow gold half round band (on the left) got a more edgy and sculpted look, while the 14K yellow gold sculpted band (on the right) got a hammered, two-tone look.

Before:

After:

We couldn’t be more excited for our customers on their wedding and are so happy they chose us to rework these extra-special pieces. Should you want to revamp an old piece of jewelry, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Quartz – Stone of the Month

Considered the “Universal Crystal” all over the world because of its transparent and colorless nature, Crystal Quartz is the perfect alternative to the diamond, the traditional birthstone of April.

The word “crystal” comes from the Greek word “krustallos”, meaning ice. Quartz was believed to be ice formed by the Gods. Since the Middle Ages, crystal balls made of clear quartz have been used to predict the future. The English word “quartz” comes from the German word “Quarz”.

Another theory, by Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, was that quartz is ice that has been permanently frozen after a great length of time. Pliny supported this idea by the fact that quartz is mostly found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains which were formed more recently in the geological history of the Earth.

The ancient Japanese theorized that quartz is formed from the breath of a white dragon, and therefore represents perfection.

Pure crystal quartz, which is often referred to as rock crystal, is found abundantly all over the world. Natural quartz can have inclusions and traces of other minerals in it, which is why larger stones are often synthetically enhanced. Because of its hardness (a 7 on the Mohs scale) and its glass-like properties it is often used for hard stone carvings. The crystals of quartz are generally six-sided and can grow either singularly or in groups taking on different shapes according to the temperature at the time of their formation. They can also come in a variety colors that are considered to be gemstones on their own. These include citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, milky quartz, and many more.

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While quartz isn’t permanently frozen water, God’s ice or an object to predict the future, it has been said to have strong healing powers. Quartz is known to give its wearer power, energy and clarity. Quartz can help rid you of negative energy, clear your head, feel harmonious and give you new strength to carry on. The crystal quartz is simply an all purpose stone when it comes to natural healing properties.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com – cliff1066

Metalwork – Sawing

Today we are continuing our ‘How To’ series with an edition on sawing. Just like the processes described in our earlier posts, sawing is a very important part of how we make our jewelry. In the video below you will see Rebecca saw a round circle, which she then files and will later use to create a Satellite Brooch. (Stay tuned for pictures!)

It is surprising how complicated something as “simple” as sawing can be. There are many little things to keep in mind. First, the direction of the blade relative to the saw frame is key. The blade’s teeth need to be facing out and pointing down. Since the teeth are so tiny, we like to use our fingers to lightly feel the direction of the teeth to make sure. Second, it’s important to make sure to put the right amount of tension on it because if there is too little you won’t be able to saw. You achieve the right amount of tension by pushing on the handle against the bench pin while placing the blade in the frame and tightening it into place.

Once you place the blade in the saw frame with the correct tension and direction you can start sawing. At first it’s a little difficult, but once you find your flow it gets a lot easier… Until you have to make a turn. When you saw around a corner, you have to be careful to slowly move the blade with the curve, otherwise it will break. As you will see in the video below Rebecca uses a technique she calls the “two finger split” to stabilize both sides of the metal over the bench pin to avoid cutting herself. Stabilizing the metal is very important, because if it isn’t stable it can easily slip and cause your blade to break or cut into your metal.

When you are done sawing, you will probably want to file the edges to make them smooth. As Rebecca demonstrates in the video, it is always very important that you stabilize the metal by pressing it against the bench pin so that you can apply maximum pressure to file efficiently. It is also important that you always file from top to bottom of your file in order to keep your file “healthy” and get a nice smooth finish.

Watch the video below for a more in depth tutorial on how to saw! Enjoy!

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.

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

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!

Last minute holiday sale!

We hope your holiday season is going as well as ours!

Thank you so much to all of you who came out to the One of a Kind Show and our studio sales! Each show was a great success and we couldn’t have done it without you… Thank you!

To all of you who couldn’t make it to any of the shows, don’t worry, there is still a way for you to get your hands on beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry for the holidays!

One-of-a-kind Satellite Cluster

One-of-a-kind Satellite Cluster by Rebecca Zemans

Like us on facebook and get 10% off when you come by the studio this week to pick out a piece! If you like us already, you will automatically get 10% off. We will be open Thursday, December 20th and Friday, December 21st from 11a-7:30p, Saturday December 22nd from 3p-8p and then Sunday, December 23rd from 12p to 5p. Please call 312.636.5557 or email info (at) rebeccazemans.com to set up an appointmnet. This is our Final Holiday Sale for 2012!

If we don’t hear from you this week, we hope you have a joyous, healthy and peaceful holiday.

With Gratitude,

Rebecca