What is Sea Glass or Beach Glass?

Sea glass, also known as Beach Glass, Mermaid Tears, Ocean Glass or even Trash Glass, is glass that you can find on beaches along oceans, bays, rivers or large lakes.

Natural sea glass

 

The more current or wave action, the more likely that you are to find top quality pieces. And the more crowded, by humans, the easier to find them as many careless people do not dispose their garbage correctly and prefer to toss it into the ocean.

 

Sea Glass is created when bottles and other pieces of glass that are tossed on the shore, broken and then tumbled and smoothed by the waves, water and sand and currents, creating smooth, polished, frosted pieces of sea glass. It is said that it takes anywhere from fifteen to sixty years to transform broken glass into these beautiful pieces.

 

Nowadays, due to recycling and the use of plastics, sea glass is becoming harder and harder to find.

 

Sea Glass comes in many colors, although green and clear are the most common. Other colors are amber, red, pink, blue, purple…

 

Natural sea glass

How to do jump rings

What they are:

Jump rings are very important components to our jewelry creations. They are circles made of wire coming in different sizes.

If your rings are not top quality, no matter how good your jewelry techniques are, they will get disconnected and your charms will not be properly connected and… disaster.

 

What are they used for:

They can be used in many ways such as securing clasps and connecting charms.

 

How to do them yourself

 

  1. With the help of your round nose pliers, start folding around them your wire

  2. Depending on where you are folding the wire, the loops will be bigger or smaller

  3. Fold around a couple of times, making sure that you fold from the bottom, that is the loops will go high and you are always using the same size

  4. Once you have enough, get the loops out of the pliers

  5. Using the wire cutter, start cutting the loops/coils. You may want to file the side that is pointed a little with a jeweler’s file, making sure that there is no gap between both sides of the ring.

  6. If needed, flatten them up with the flat nose pliers, and you can hammering them on a metal bench block to harden them.

Hammer/mallet and bench block

What they are:

Again, another two pieces that come very handy when doing jewelry. Two pieces that work together: a hammer, or a mallet and its bench block.

 

What they are used for:

You will find MANY different kinds of hammers in the market, depending on what you are going to do with it, you may choose one or another.

Basically you use a hammer and a bench block to:

  • Harden the metal
  • Stretch the metal
  • Shape the metal: forming or bending it
  • Texture the metal

 

basic mallet and bench block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you know where to get yours? Send me an email, I may have on stock.

Amber

What is Amber

 

Amber is a resin that has been fossilized. Amber has been appreciated over the centuries for its beautiful color, used in jewelry and other areas as an ingredient in perfumes or to create remedies.

Sometimes amber holds a little animal or plant, it preserves them over the years and centuries!

You can find amber in ddifferent colors, yellow-orange-brown (the “typical” amber color), pale lemon yellow, brown to very dark brown, red, green and even blue amber.

 

 

Selling Jewelry at Work

How to sell your pieces of jewelry at work

If you work outside your home, considering in selling your jewelry at work could be a great idea. Even your spouse, other family members, friends… can do the same for you.
But what do you need to do?
First check if any internal policy is against that, and ask your boss, and maybe human resources, if this is OK. Make very clear that you will be using your personal time, not company time, as lunch break, other breaks, after work hours, etc

Once you have your boss’ permission, you can schedule a jewelry trunk show. The best moment is before a present occasion , like Christmas, Mother’s day, etc

Since you could be a bit short on time, think up front and pack your inventory in jewelry rolls or other containers that are easy to transport and easy to show.

To set a jewelry show email as many coworkers as you can think that can be interested in your creations. Do not spam! Just inform them. Ask them to forward the email to other people. Offer discounts or drawing to make the show more appealing.
Do not worry if you do not get a lot of people queuing to see your show. Patience. Try to get your show in a popular spot, so people passing by the room can stop and look and luckily buy something. Even when you do not sell a lot, it will help you to be known as a jeweler, and more orders will follow.

Remember: Never disrupt workplace or people working!!

Another way to extend your business to work is to wear eye-catching pieces of your art every day. Most seen, if you work in an office, are rings and bracelets. If you do those, wear them!! People will ask you, eventually, about them. Then is the time to do some marketing: give them a business card, or a postcard, or your website address…

Or do a catalog, and let it circulate.

A great advantage of selling your jewelry at work is that your customers do not need to go shopping. Anything you do that makes life easier for your customers, is a great advantage to your business

If a friend or family member agrees, she/he can take your jewelry at work and try to sell it. You can compensate her later with a discount or a free piece of jewelry.

Bent nose pliers

What they are:
Another tool that can be very handy when building jewels. In the beginning you may not find it very useful, maybe you wonder what in the world can you do with it. Wait. When you start doing a lot of wire work you will realize all the benefits it can bring you.
Its tips are angled. That allows you to get into difficult areas.

Bent nose plier

What they are used for:
As said before, they help you getting into difficult or tight areas, that cannot be reached via other pliers. Or to grab a wire end that is hard to catch, maybe because it is a bit short. Other use is to hold beads out of the way when you are busy doing, for instance, a loop.

Do you use them differently? Do you use them at all? I will be glad to see your comments.

Ring Mandrel

What is this:
A mandrel is one of the most basic wire-curling tool you can use. It looks like a cone: it has cylindrical shape , gradually becoming thicker, and special ring sizing mark. So you can decide how big the ring will be as these marks indicate the ring size number or the diameter (in cm)

What it is used for

The most common use is to size rings, shaping a ring you are creating to a certain size or telling you the right size of an existing ring.

You can also use it to hold one ring, or many, for display, or to help you while doing jewelry repair.

In a mandrel wire can be manually twisted around it to create loose coils.

 

More:

The bests mandrels are made of metal, as they last longer and can be use when hammering the ring. You will find other materials as wood or plastic.

In the beginning, if you don’t have a mandrel you can use your imagination and use, instead, round pieces you can find around your house, like pens, sticks, etc. Be creative! But a mandrel is, definetly, a handy thing to have in your tool kit.

 

 

 

Wire cutters

What they are:
Wire cutters or diagonal pliers are other tool very much needed when handling wire, used to cut, oh surprise, wire like silver, copper or steel. In the market you will find many different blade models. The gauge of the wire that you are going to cut determines the size, and the type, of the wire cutter that you should be using. If you use a fine cutter on a heavy gauge wire you may destroy it at the very first cut!

wire cutter

What they are used for:
Obviously, to cut wire. Either to cut specific lengths or to trim off excess wire. They are not used to turn or grab anything, only cut. Some people use scissors to cut soft wire, this is not recommendable as it may damage the scissors.

More:
They come in two styles: side cutters and top cutters.
Be careful when trimming off small pieces of wire, as it can hit you in the eye!
Keep cutters away from children.

Good habits in jewelry

Let’s talk about good habits when doing jewels. Having good habits will certainly help you, try to follow them every time so they will become a natural thing for you to do.

 

  • The first thing, and the most important, is… SAFETY.

 

  • When you cut wire, specially when trimming off small pieces, hold both ends so they do not fly and hit you in the eye! Safety glasses should be used. If you place your safety glasses in your tool kit, it will be easier for you to remember to use them.

 

  • Another thing, if possible, limit the range of wrist movements, and the amount of them. You can also wear wristbands to help prevent injuries. If tired, rest a bit.

 

  • And always, always, keep away from children and pets your tools, specially the cutting ones, and small pieces of wire or beads.

Flat nose pliers

What are they:

And, again, another tool that is a must in your toolkit: a pair of flat nose pliers.

Flat nose pliers

What are they used for:

Used for making sharp bends and right angles in wire. Also to hold a design firmly, gripping mainly flat objects. It can be used, toot, to straight bet wire.

 

I personally use this pliers very much. Do you use them a lot too?