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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
My Etsy store- Affordable individually-made items.

April 4th, 2010

06:06 pm
I haven't posted lately because I've been mostlyworking on commissions. I've got a couple finished up, and the rest with serious progress.

Although in the next wqeek or so there will be a new Borromean Ring, this one (set?) of half-round yellow gold.
Current Mood: busybusy

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March 10th, 2010

07:08 pm
I ordered some metal on Monday from Hoover and Strong, and I was really hoping/expecting that it'd be sent out today. It's standard mill goods; nothing fancy (except that I wanted it dead soft, which adds a day).

Thus far I don't have notification that it's been sent... and i was really hoping/planning to use it this weekend. Annoying! if in fact it does not show up Friday.

Perhaps the notification stuff wasn't working, though, and i'll get it tomorrow or Friday. I hope..!
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

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March 6th, 2010

06:23 pm
At last! A really good day in the studio again!

Progress on several commissions, obviously; there will be some photos going out soon.

Also some progress on some of my own stuff: my first yellow gold sample ring is close to finished (it's 10k); I've got the prep work done on my first Trinket Ring set, all but the final polishing and setting the 2 stones; and I did a fourth prototype for Borromean Rings that looks promising, and will give a different look than the ones I currently have done.

Hopefully tomorrow will be just as satisfying!
Current Mood: happyhappy

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March 5th, 2010

05:32 pm
There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe today about those places to which you can easily sell your gold jewelry for cash.

I wasn't surprised that the most heavily advertised one, Cash4Gold, also pays the least. The reporter bought several pairs of 14k earrings ($160 list, something like $64 on sale), and tried various places.

A coin dealer- used to appraising metal- said the gold in the things was worth just under $15. This is not surprising; fabrication adds cost to what the metal itself is worth as scrap- one of the reasons why selling jewelry as scrap is, even in the best circumstances, not going to be the best way to get money for it; far better to sell it AS jewelry.

Cash4Gold paid a bit under $3. To be fair, they did say they deducted the cost of the "free" mailing from the total.

Something like $6-7 was more typical. And honestly, that's somewhat fair, albeit a bit low compared to what I'd expect for scrap... but finished jewelry is quite possibly not CLEAN scrap, and that doesn't get nearly as good rates from refiners. Plus these outfits are not refiners themselves; they are middlemen, and thus need to pay less than they'll get; that's how capitalism works.

I was sort of shocked, though, at the way the reported was outraged about people citing prices in pennyweights- which she said was "an obscure unit of measurement used only by jewelers." OK, that part is fair enough... but even a quick Google search shows that you can get the price-per-ounce from the price-per-pennyweight by merely multiplying the dwt price by 20.

Frankly, I'd think even a reporter would be capable of that!

She also seemed fuzzy about the difference between the spot price for 14k and what that means in terms of 14k, which is only 58.3% gold, and thus obviously is a lot cheaper.

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04:12 pm
No recent updates here because I haven't been in the studio much- I've been ill. Fortunately I'm pretty much over it, and looking forward to a solid weekend of catching up. Lots to do!

I also came up with a slightly different approach to the Borromean Rings, and I hope I have time to do a prototype in between the catching-up stuff.
Current Mood: busybusy

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February 21st, 2010

08:07 pm - Borromean Rings!
Also: I've been working on a design for Borromean Rings, and have updated my site to show the ones that work: http://www.afmetalsmith.com/contents/details/BorromeanOptions.html .

These are a set of 3 rings that are interlocked- like the "puzzle" or "Russian" rings- but in which no ring actually passes through any other ring (unlike the "puzzle" rings). There's a link to the Wikipedia article on the concept on the page above.

The fun part of them is that they are GREAT to fidget with- they like being both in ring form, and in what i call "sphere" form, where they look like a wire-defined shpere, or maybe a graphic depiction of an atom. Fun stuff! and also really pretty.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

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08:02 pm
Yet more annealing today- that's been my main task for a couple of days this week. Now, though, everything is annealed, so I can work on the various pieces till they get to the point where they need more annealing!

I also replaced my pickle today. and man! was that pickle depleted! When I added baking soda to it to neutralize it, it hardly fizzed at all; no wonder stuff's been taking a while to pickle lately.

This time I made it a bit stronger (I tend to favor pretty mild pickle), and also put more liquid in the pot. That's good for dimensional pieces, but it does end up taking a lot longer to heat up, so it's a mixed bag.

I fear my crock-pot pickle pot is nearing the end of its useful life. The removeable crock does not remove at this point. Oh, well- it's lasted something like 7 years, and I can afford to replace it with a different crock-pot.

Apart from the above- the annealing is mostly commissions- I did a bit more on a couple of Trinket Ring "sets" yesterday and today. They are fun!

ETA: I was amazed at the short time it took to pickle things when the pickle was not *ahem* seriously depleted. I should probably set up a yearly nag to change it.
Current Mood: busybusy

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February 16th, 2010

11:47 pm - Diamonds!
Here's an interesting article on the history of diamonds as THE precious stone: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/198202/diamond

Personally, I agree they can be pretty- VERY sparkly when cut well!- but I'm partial to sapphires. :)
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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February 15th, 2010

08:33 pm
I've got a really well-mixed commission list again. :)

It'll keep me busy, and it's got a good mix of different sorts of pieces- from wedding rings to pendants... and I think there will be time in the gaps to work on some new stuff, too.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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February 13th, 2010

06:06 pm
It was great to have a few productive hours in the studio today! This week I've been splitting my time between actual metalwork and de4aling with inquiries about different pieces.

Besides commission stuff, I got going on a set of 3 of my Trinket Rings with a Sun, Moon, Star theme. See, J had the idea that people might like themed sets of TRs, rather than just having them be a la carte. I'm rather tickled with the idea of doing several sets, each with a holiday theme. :) Naturally, the individual pieces would also be available individually as well- but if people are having a hard time envisioning what a few would look like together, this might help. Plus, I can discount them a bit when they're bought in sets of 3-5. :)

Any ideas on more-obscure holidays that could use a (conceptual) ring set? Like, Arbor Day (2 rings with stones, and one with a leaf motif).

I am really thrilled and delighted with Fabio (my splendid new rolling mill). I was forging down som pretty heavy rod today, and ran it through Fabio to smooth it up- and it's just PERFECT- and so easy to do!

I've also had a couple of ideas about how to make inserting the tapered bezel of a ring into the ring easier. See, with a cylendrical setting, I can tension-fit it so it stays put until soldered; with a tapered one, though- it goes "Ptui!" if I try that. So I need to put in some kind of brake where the setting hits the inside of the ring. I've thought of a few approaches...
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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