Why Do I Need To Put My Jewelry Away?

Jewelry is a prized possession, a piece of art and most people want to hang their art on the wall in plain sight so they can admire it.  Maybe they want quick access when dressing and it helps them to choose an outfit or maybe they would forget to accessorize if their jewelry is not in plain sight.  Makes sense to me ...

Most people think it's normal for their jewelry to tarnish, and that jewelry just needs to be polished periodically.  Me, personally, I would rather NOT have to polish MY jewelry.  And if you own a piece of jewelry that I have designed, you are dealing with a whole different species of jewelry, with design details that really aren't meant to be polished.  Have you ever tried to polish a piece of my textured jewelry?  It's not really doable.  If you do, be prepared for some lint hanging up in the texture of your jewelry.  YIKES!  And the patina is not rub proof unfortunately ... polishing a piece of jewelry with a patina could change the patina finish and, in turn, change the look of the piece of jewelry.  I'm not saying you can't lightly polish the non-textured areas.  You may polish these areas using a gentle pressure either with an old t-shirt or a polishing cloth.

If you have ever wondered why sterling silver jewelry tarnishes, it is actually a chemical reaction to the moisture and sulfur in the air.  Silver actually tarnishes faster in areas of higher humidity and air pollution. Chemicals like hairspray, perfume, deodorant, lotion, bleach, etc., can speed up the tarnishing process, so it's best not to wear any of those chemicals in the area where the jewelry will be worn on the body.   If you are wearing copper jewelry, those chemicals can have a reaction with the copper and leave dark marks on your skin - don't worry, it's not permanent.  I always encourage my customers to keep the lotions and perfumes away from their wrists, fingers and decollete area, depending on the copper jewelry they are wearing.

The best way to store your sterling silver jewelry (or any metal jewelry) to prevent tarnish is to place them in an airtight bag inside of a jewelry box or drawer.  I currently have in stock some anti-tarnish plastic bags, that are treated specifically for preventing tarnish.  Look for one of these bags to be included with each jewelry purchase.

I absolutely adhere to this practice with my jewelry and all pieces of jewelry that I design for sale.  When I complete a piece of jewelry, I always place it in an airtight bag for storage in my completed jewelry drawer.  When I take any of my jewelry items out for photographing or shipping off to a customer, that piece of jewelry is as shiny as the day I finished it ... no polishing necessary.

Posted on March 1, 2017 .

#TurquoiseOverDiamonds

And so it began, I gave into my love for turquoise - I fought it for as long as I could.  I absolutely love designing with the different types of turquoise, and all the variations in color and matrix.  Turquoise is typically found in or near copper deposits and the different colors of turquoise are usually specific to the mine where the turquoise was obtained (No. 8, Royston, Bisbee, Lander, etc ).  Heck there is even turquoise from Australia.  There is a long list of turquoise mines but you get the idea.

Royston Turquoise Sterling Silver Necklace

Royston Turquoise Sterling Silver Necklace

As with many gemstones and especially turquoise, sometimes natural surface pits and/or surface fractures are apparent, which adds unique character to the gemstone.  Natural, untreated turquoise is more sought after as there has been no stabilizing material added to the turquoise, although the stabilizing material does increase durability of the cabochon.  If a turquoise cabochon has been stabilized, you won't see many, if any, natural surface occurrences. 

When designing gemstone cabochons, an experienced lapidary artist will know if a natural surface fracture is superficial (only at the surface) or if the fracture exists all the way through the cab, rendering the cab unstable.  I won't design with cabochons that I know are unstable.

Turquoise's hardness ranges from 5 - 7, depending on the type of turquoise.  Since finer turquoise is often found as thin seams within the host rock, it may be backed with a material to increase its stability.  Most turquoise that I purchase for my jewelry designs is backed.  Backing does not diminish the value of high quality turquoise - the backing of turquoise is almost always expected.

 

Caring for turquoise jewelry, it is not recommended that turquoise be submerged into water.  Wipe the stone with a soft cloth or q-tip moistened with warm water.  You can also use a soft toothbrush.  Allow the turquoise to air dry completely. Finally, you can apply a coat of Renaissance Wax for protection and added shine to the surface of the stone.  Once the wax is dry, buff the surface lightly.

I never really knew what #turquoiseoverdiamonds was until I started posting turquoise jewelry designs on my Instagram account (instagram/daniellehrossjewelry)  Of course I have always had an affinity for turquoise and other semiprecious gemstones over diamonds, but who knew there was an actual search term for this.

Posted on October 31, 2015 and filed under Turquoise.

Confessions of a Metalsmith

Handmade or handcrafted items are becoming more and more sought after by shoppers.  I know because I am the shopper who shops for those items that are made by artisans.  When I am shopping, I want to connect with the artist behind the product, and to be able to ask questions and get direct answers is an absolute plus.

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked if I actually make everything that I sell on my website.  That is a GREAT question to ask, especially if you are looking for handcrafted items.  Silversmiths or metalsmiths generally fabricate every part of their jewelry designs.  And "YES"  my jewelry is handcrafted from raw sheets of copper, sterling silver and sometimes gold, fabricating each part of my jewelry designs and even forging the metal to create curves for my cuff bracelets. Each of my jewelry pieces is handcrafted  by me in my home studio using traditional metalsmithing techniques ... just a little hard work and a lot of patience is nothing compared to seeing that finished jewelry design.  

When it comes to making the chain for my pendants, well that's a whole different question.  I recently started designing my own chains, which is something that I haven't always done.  Chain making entails a lot of time and this adds to the expense of the finished piece.  That being said, I recently designed an aquamarine pendant on a handmade chain and it was so worth the outcome of this one-of-a-kind jewelry design.

Another question I am asked:  How many employees do you have?  Employees - WHAT EMPLOYEES???  There are no bench assistants, web designers, photographers, shipping and receiving or cleaning crew.  This is a one woman studio and I am she. Of course I have my multiple cat and dog helpers that stop by for some ear scratching or to lie on my workbench right in the middle of what I am working on at the moment.  But they're not my employees - they are my family.

I don't think I have been asked this question but in case you were wondering, I ONLY work with gemstones and fossils. AND, if you don't already know, geology is how this all started. Yes, I am a geologist turned jewelry designer.  It wasn't a prerequisite but it sounds really cool.  Actually, I have been a collector of rocks and fossils every since I can remember.  I couldn't imagine ever designing jewelry with anything else.  Nature shares with us these wonderful earth crystals and fossils and I get to showcase them in my handmade jewelry designs.

Silversmithing or metalsmith (the title depends on who you ask) is a lot of hard work and there are days when things don't go so well, but I learn something new in my studio every single day.  I get to be creative, surround myself with beautiful gemstones and fossils, and build a piece of jewelry from start to finish - I really DO have the best job in the world.

Posted on March 4, 2015 and filed under Aquamarine.

Fossils as Wearable Art

I have always had a love for rocks and fossils, so for me to design jewelry with fossils is something that seemed as natural as working with gemstones.  When designing a piece of jewelry with a fossil, especially an extinct fossil, it feels like I am reawakening a life that has long since been gone.

Ammonites lived in the seas between 240 - 65 million years ago, when they became extinct along with the dinosaurs.  To discover these extinct fossils that have been buried beneath layers of rock and soil for so long is just amazing.  Fossils are an example of nature's art at it's finest.

Ammonites are a stone of protection. They provide for insight and help to assist one in seeing the ‘whole picture.’ Ammonite fossils give stability to the keeper and they are associated with the Root Chakra, therefore they are grounding and encourage one's survival instincts.

Posted on January 4, 2015 and filed under Septarian, Ammonite.

Evolving ...

Growing my jewelry business means evolving and growing in my metalsmithing techniques and my design style.  This also means my jewelry designs will be evolving and they have.  My jewelry has changed so much in the last year.  Sometimes when I look at a recent finished piece, I can't believe it's mine - it's so different from the jewelry I designed when I first learned metalsmithing.  And although my jewelry designs have evolved,  I still hold true to letting the natural gemstones be the focus.

Labradorite Sterling Silver & 18K Gold RIng

Labradorite Sterling Silver & 18K Gold RIng

Turquoise Gemstone Sterling Silver & 18K Gold Cuff and Ring - Commission

Turquoise Gemstone Sterling Silver & 18K Gold Cuff and Ring - Commission

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under Labradorite, Amethyst, Turquoise.

Will This Cuff Design Fit MY Wrist

Cuff bracelets are my most favorite piece to wear and to design. They are such a statement jewelry piece, and the ones I have designed lately have been some of my best work.

In designing a cuff bracelet, I typically start with 6 inches of metal, usually copper or sterling silver. After hammering and forming the cuff, the cuff size is approximately 7 1/4 inches, including the gap opening in the back. In this specific instance, the cuff would fit a wrist size 6 to 7 1/4 inches; of course I could always design a cuff with a customer's exact wrist measurements in mind. My own wrist size is actually 5 1/2 inches, and I am still able to wear my cuff designs without any problem. When I wear a cuff bracelet they are always loose, as my wrists are very small. Fit is important, but the most important detail when wearing a cuff bracelet is that the gap opening is small enough; therefore, the cuff is not able to fall off.

After a cuff bracelet is formed, it is NOT really meant to be adjusted. The metal becomes very hard, and any warping of this hard metal could bring about some unwanted results - any pushing or pulling of the hardened metal could cause your gemstone(s) to loosen or even fall out. Then there comes the screaming and shouting ... let's avoid this situation all together, shall we.

The gap opening located on the back of your cuff bracelet is large enough to accommodate almost any wrist size. There will be no need to open the gap to fit the cuff onto your wrist. You do not want your gap any larger, as the tight gap keeps your cuff in place on your wrist and not on the floor. You don't want your favorite new cuff to fall off because you stretched the gap opening, do you?

Follow the step by step in the attached video to see how this cuff can fit almost any size wrist, without any adjusting or distorting of your cuff:

Posted on September 22, 2014 .