Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Actually the end of October for the making of these two necklaces.  The first was a small piece of opal and matrix rough.  As can be seen the opal is the bottom edge and is a gray-blue color.  The gray matrix is obvious in this free form cabochon.  I cut the cabochon two weeks ago, then drilled a 2 mm hole at the apex of the triangular shape and attached the bail.  The chain is a base metal with silver coloring.

If you click on the thumbnail, you can see a large image of the piece.  The next is made from 18 gauge round copper wire.  I bought a 50 foot coil of dead soft wire ( then coiled the wire with the assistance of Debbie into 6 mm jump rings.  The entire chain was handcrafted.  The resulting Byzantine pattern necklace is 22 inches long.  As you all know, no one could afford to purchase this necklace if the actual hours used to craft the chain were used to price the necklace.  I took at least 10 hours to put the chain together.

Everyone have a happy Turkey Day later this month.  I have two birthdays to take care of.  Thanks to Maria Jenny for one gift (teal pearl bracelet) and the other is a dark yellow topaz / gold necklace. 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Celebrate the Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox has just occurred and the fall season has officially begun. With the advent of this season my creative muse has taken on a new vigor. Starting with the original form of silver smithing -- wire wrapping, I made a pendant with a cobalt colored druzy agate in the center of the wire frame. Cobalt Druzy Pendant In another working idea, I took some 20 gauge square half hard copper wire and wound it on a 3 mm mandrel to make jump rings. These were cut from the mandrel with a jeweler's saw, then put together to make the chain for this necklace. A dichroic glass pendant that accents the copper color in the chain hangs along the necklace. Copper Chain Necklace Please excuse the quality of my photographs. I enjoyed making these pieces, and am continuing in my creation of custom work.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jewelry Making Federal Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations

Title 16: Commercial Practices, Part 23 – Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries

This discussion will briefly discuss part of the above regulations, the entire Part 23 can be found online as the e-CFR. This will not be the entire regulations, but a summary of the pertinent parts. For this particular discussion, I will limit the discussion to only those parts regarding metals. Future discussion will focus on gemstones and pearls.
These regulations are applicable to anyone who produces a product that is ...”fabricated from precious metals (gold, silver and platinum group metals), precious metal alloys and their imitations.” Thus these can be construed to also include the precious metal clays or any plated or filled metals.
Gold must only be used to describe items that products that are composed throughout of an alloy of gold of at least 10 karat fineness. The gold regulations include definitions of what is Gold Plate, Gold Filled, Gold Electroplate and several other terms. The real cruxt is that the Artisan can not use the word Gold to describe the product made, unless it is composed of at least 10 karat gold content. The fineness of the Gold must also be included, the fineness can only refer to any component of least fineness. Thus a product made of two different finenesses must be called the least fine.
The term “Sterling Silver” is restricted to describe an industry product that is at least 925 parts per thousand silver. The alloying metal is not restricted to copper. The term “Coin Silver” can be used to describe a product that is at least 900 parts per thousand silver.
Platinum Group Metals include platinum, iridium, paladium, ruthenium, rhodium abn osmium. Platinum must be at least 950 parts per thousand platinum to be called platinum. This applies to all of the group metals.
Simply put, if your product does not entirely meet the minimum quality to be called gold, silver and/or platinum you can not use that term in any part of your name or description of the product. There are no exceptions for these regulations based on size or type of the jewelry producer. Those of us in the Artisan jewelry industry must follow these regulations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Have been looking at various stones that are in my collection, and I found a 3.5 carat marquise cut Amethyst and thought that it would make a good pendant for a necklace.  I took some sheet Sterling Silver and cut out an oval then pierced a 16 x 8 mm marquise shape hole in the silver.  Soldered a jump ring to the top and four prongs to hold the stone in place, pickles, polished and then patinated with Liver of Sulfur.  The result was very unique:

Amethyst Pendant  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Work at the Shop

As the first day of autumn approaches, we realize that September has come and in the Upstate of South Carolina it is by definition no longer hot.  August is hot, September is cooler.  We will notice Autumn about mid October when the leaves change to their fall beauty.  During this time, we continue to work in the shop.  Debbie makes about 20 pieces to my one.  She does the bead work and I do the lapidary and metalsmithing work.  She is very creative and has produced several fantastic jewelry pieces.  One of these is based on a sprig of flowers in the pendant below the golden yellow of the sun:

Flower Sprig

The second piece that she crafted that is featured this month is done with brown beads and golden yellow potato pearls.  Again, the focal pendant makes the piece.  This pendant is bronze with golden highlights and a yellow faceted stone.

While she has been busily string beads (I add the clasp and chain to her designs), I am working on cutting stones and either wrapping them or setting them.  In this case, I cut a piece of amethyst that had a fantastic chevron banded pattern above a very dark section.  The cabochon is in a free form style.  I drilled a 2 mm hole in the cabochon and attached a pinch bail and Sterling Silver Venetian box chain to finish my necklace:
Banded Amethyst

Friday, August 12, 2011

Call For Entries -- Differences Unite Us Jewelry Exhibition

"Differences Unite Us" Jewelry Exhibition

    Sponsored by The Ganoksin Project, the Internet's oldest and largest
    jewelry website, this international online exhibition will feature
    work dedicated to the theme "Differences Unite Us".

    Ganoksin sponsors the jewelry list Orchid, with 12,000 list members
    from all over the world, speaking from a wide range of technical and
    aesthetic experiences. The exhibition theme grew out of a desire to
    celebrate the creativity encompassed in this wide variety.

    Artists are free to interpret the theme in any way they choose. There
    is no limit on materials.

    Each artist may submit up to 6 pieces at NO charge.

    We require jury-quality images

    Entries must be in jpg format, and must be at least 600 pixels wide.

    Only top quality images will be accepted!

    We do not judge your design work, but we do reserve the right to
    refuse photographs of lesser quality. All images must exhibit
    technical competence including sharp focus, proper exposure,
    adequate depth of field, and must use the best backdrop possible
    (usually a gray, white or black smooth background).

    Photographs should be edited properly in a photo-editing program
    before submitting. Please crop and correct for exposure and"Differences Unite Us" Jewelry Exhibition

    Not accepted:

    Images with watermarks, copyright notice, edited frames, edited
    backgrounds or other photoshop effects.

    Images should be submitted with the entry form below completely
    filled out. When listing web URLs please be sure the URL is for a
    site that does NOT require viewers to sign up or be part of a group!

    All submissions are subject to editor evaluation!

    Entries will be accepted between August 11 and November 30.

    To participate please use the online form to submit your work at

Beth Wicker
"Differences Unite Us" Jewelry Exhibition

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Designer for Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry LLC

Debora Lee Rasmussen, my wife, has been a driving force for my art and shop since I began at her initiation of my study of gemology.  She is disabled and one of her causes of depression has been the feeling that she is not contributing for our family.  She is very creative and last week started designing and creating beaded wearable art.  I will still be doing the lapidary and metal work for the shop.  She has been very busy and has designed and created several pieces.  Her designs will be available at Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry LLC.  
Here are two examples of necklaces that she has designed and put together during the past several days.  She has a great understanding of texture and color.