Monday, August 16, 2010

Properties of Element Metals

Here is a list of our favorite metals and some of their more important properties. This properties are important for any jewelry artists. If you understand your materials, you can use them to fulfill your final vision.

Symbol: Ag
Melting Point (F): 1761
Specific Gravity: 10.49
Wt. (troy ounce / cubic inch): 5.527

Symbol: Cu
Melting Point (F): 1981
Specific Gravity: 8.96
Wt. (troy ounce / cubic inch): 4.721

Symbol: Ni
Melting Point (F): 2647
Specific Gravity: 8.90
Wt. (troy ounce / cubic inch): 4.689

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fineness of Gold & Karats

Ever wonder the difference between 18 karat gold and 14 karat gold? Here's a quick explanation to help clear things up. Gold is not a very strong metal, so alloys are usually added to help strengthen it.

A karat is a measure of the fineness of gold. 24 karat is pure gold. One karat equals 1/24 or 0.0417. Thus 14 karat gold is 14/24 pure gold and the balance (10/24) is alloy. The usual alloy metals are silver, copper, and zinc. Nickel is used in white gold.

Here's a quick chart for your reference.

Karat Fineness
10 0.41667
12 0.50000
14 0.58334
24 1.00000

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Caring For Your Turquoise

By: Alan Eby

Hello Jewelry Enthusiasts,

In this article I will be talking about caring for the turquoise in your jewelry, so you will be able to keep it beautiful for years to come.

Turquoise is a semi-precious gem stone, that comes in a wide variety of blues and greens it is rather fragile. There are quite a few “enemies” of your turquoise, some obvious, others not so apparent. We hope you all will find it helpful or at least interesting.

The first, and most obvious, “enemy” of your turquoise is physical stress. If you wish to keep your turquoise in one piece avoid dropping it, or knocking it against any other objects as this could fracture or break the stone. Another stress to avoid is extreme temperatures. Most turquoise is both turquoise its self and the mother rock that turquoise is found in. The mother rock is usually referred to as matrix. In extreme temps the turquoise and the matrix will expand and contract at different speeds, often causing cracks in the stone.

Next lets look at jewelry cleaners. Due to the composition of turquoise, any liquid with a low pH (acids) will break down the stone. Most jewelry cleaners are slightly acidic and can attack the luster and/or the color of turquoise. Other items to avoid bringing your turquoise jewelry in contact with are sunscreen, hairspray, perfume, and some cosmetics. Even skin oils can often affect turquoise to a slight degree, usually changing the color over time.

If your turquoise jewelry comes in contact with any of these “enemies” it should be cleaned as soon as possible. To clean simply take a soft, damp, cloth and wipe off the surface of your turquoise. A good idea would be to make a habit of cleaning your jewelry whenever you take it off. This will take care of anything your turquoise came in contact with while you were wearing it.

Finally lets talk about storage. To ensure you keep your turquoise as long as possible in the state and color it is now in. You will want to store your jewelry in an airtight container and if possible store you pieces with turquoise in separate containers from your other jewelry. This will decrease the amount of chemicals that can affect your turquoise.

If you clean your turquoise regularly and store it in a container that it as airtight as possible, and avoid knocking it against anything. Than you should be able to keep your turquoise beautiful for a long time.

What is Turquoise?

By. Alan Eby

Hello Friends,

I'd like to take some time and talk about one of my favorite things, Turquoise!

Turquoise is one of the Earth's oldest known gemstones. It was used by the Egyptians and is mentioned in the Bible quite a few times. Turquoise is a blue/green copper mineral its measured between 5 and 6 on the MOHs hardness scale. This beautiful stone found current popularity in the 70's and 80's due to its use in Native American jewelry being made in Arizona and New Mexico.

For many reasons, less pricey alternatives to natural turquoise have been developed. Along with these, there have also been a few ways to treat poorer quality turquoise to make it usable. I hope that this column will be helpful for those of you who use turquoise in your art, and all those interested in this beautiful and ancient stone.

Very little of turquoise is actually usable, because of poor color or because weakness and/or fractures. This makes natural untreated stone very valuable. Due to these issues and turquoise’s increasing popularity in the 70's and 80's, treatments were developed so more of the stone could be used.

Natural Turquoise, is the turquoise that has a nice color and will hold up during cutting and polishing. Sometimes to protect the polish and luster of natural turquoise, the stone is waxed but other than that Natural should be just that. Natural turquoise will change color over time or in certain conditions.

Stabilization is a process in which weak stone is treated with a mixture of epoxy and resin. This takes an otherwise unusable stone and increases its ability to be cut and polished. A side effect of the stabilization is that the color of the stone will not change.

Enhanced turquoise is a common term for turquoise treated with the Zachery process. The Zachary process is the invention of an employee of R.H. & Co. named James E. Zachary. This process is a secret owned and copyrighted by the company. So while I cannot tell you exactly what they do, I can tell you that it darkens and strengthens the stone. Also the like with the stabilized turquoise the color won't change in enhanced turquoise.

These process are there to increase the value and usability of otherwise worthless rocks. In this economy many are looking for inexpensive alternatives to rather pricey items. One of these is turquoise jewelry. Magnacite is quickly becoming the most popular substitute for turquoise. Magnacite is naturally a white and brown, chalky stone, that takes dyes and a polish rather well. Its found in a wide variety of colors making it not just an alternative to turquoise but many other stones as well.

Reconstituted Turquoise, is stone flakes and chips compressed together with epoxy and sometimes dyed. Its generally a strong and easy to cut composition, it can be useful for carving as well.

Block is plastic mixed with some natural materials and dyed to imitate a large selection of semi-precious stones. Block usually comes in square pieces, and is very smooth. When its being sold its labeled along with the name of the stone its imitating. (example. Block Turquoise, Block Lapis, etc.)

These alternatives are not meant to fool the consumer but to be an economical alternative to a more expensive stone. Sometimes these imitations are sold as natural, sometimes because of a mistake, sometimes it can be dishonest.

I hope this column has been helpful to both artists and jewelry enthusiasts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Product Photos - Part II - Overview of the Camera

By: Jim Manley

Great product photos start with the right understanding of your tools and how to use them. Probably the most important tool that you will use to create great looking product photos is your camera. You don't need the most expensive camera to take great product photos. Just use your creativity to make your photos a compliment to your creations.

The most important thing to remember is that there is a disconnect between your web page and your potential customers. EVERYTHING you do on your website should be geared toward narrowing that disconnect. Usually that means very clear pictures, and multiple angles. Make the customer feel comfortable buying this product. They are placing their trust in you that you will deliver what they expect. Don't disappoint them.

When taking pictures, remember that your photographs should convey information, just like a chart or graph. That means remove things that don't help convey the important information to your customers. This does not mean that you should make your photos dry, and boring. This means, think about what information is important to your customers. What type of fabric goes with this necklace? How big is this bracelet?

Lastly, get familiar with your camera. Read the instruction manual. If you don't understand some terms, look them up. We'll try to go over some of them here, but there's no substitute for just doing it. Don't worry, no one is looking, so it doesn't matter if you take the worst picture in the world. Use it to get better. Send me questions, or better yet send me your photos, and I'll give you some quick pointers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Product Photos - Part I - Introduction

Over the next few months we will be exploring ways to get the most out of your product photos. This will involve an in depth look at a number of parts to taking good product photos. These parts include the camera, the lights, the product, and the actual shot itself.

It will be important to understand each of these aspects in order to take great product photos. I would encourage you to take out the instructions to your current camera and become familiar with them. Also, take your camera out and start taking some photos just for the fun of it.

Be sure to send me any questions you have along the way, and I'll make sure to touch on each of them. I would also encourage you to post your own suggestions for our readers, and share any information you would find helpful.