Google+ The Daily Jewel: 2008


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rio Gives Back....

Donate your sweeps to help a fellow craftsperson in need.

Designing and crafting jewelry is a passion we know is incredibly rewarding and personally fulfilling. But when disaster strikes, that important creative outlet is often a victim.That's why Rio Grande has partnered with Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) to aid craftspeople affected by an emergency or natural disaster.

To benefit this cause, Rio will be collecting sweeps (ours as well as all those received from artists like you), refining them and donating all money generated to CERF. Together, we can make a difference.

Learn more at: [media_riogrande_com]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

By Handmade - Sell Without Fees!

Buy Handmade. Sell for Free. This is the mantra of the newest online marketplace!

Do we really need another place to sell/buy from? In the current economy there are people who would say no - however, if you are an artist, jeweler, crafter - you know WE DO!!!

Ebay ( ) sales are flat and, in my opinion, it has never really been profitable for "handmade goods" - now don't jump on me, I still go to Ebay for brand names and collectibles!

Etsy ( ) has "outgrown" the "handmade" market and is allowing more and more commercial product to be sold on their site - again, just my opinion, there are LOADS of fantastic artisans producing great art on Etsy.

Ruby Lane ( )has always been known more for the antiques and collectibles market - although they did just recently add a new "lane" for Artisan Jewelry.

The new kid on the block is ArtFire ( )

From their site:
Why Buy Handmade?
Nothing is more uniquely designed, and has more expression and care put into the quality of the craftsmanship, than the handmade crafts and jewelry found on Our free interactive community provides the perfect marketplace featuring the handmade products of artisans and crafters of all types.

Find items such as:
* Unique, elegantly designed handmade jewelry
* Master fired handmade pottery from different countries and cultures
* Comforting handmade quilts
* Specialty handmade collectible art dolls

Handmade Arts & Crafts Marketplace
Becoming a member of the Artfire community of artisans is more than just selling your handmade products; your membership helps our artisan community support other organizations that help us all. The Artfire community provides a way that artisans can grow their business and connoisseurs of handmade craftsmanship can enrich their collections.

Artisan Membership
Our handmade artisan marketplace provides a platform for artisans to prosper and grow their business with other like minded members. Becoming a member of our artisan community offers more than just a place to sell your handmade products. As an Artfire member, you are making an positive impact on our planet by supporting organizations that aim to help us all. The Artfire community represents you as an artisan and makes donations on your behalf to global causes. Become an member today.

Today in a conversation on Twitter - @ArtFire replied to questions about site sales info and for current stats on the site with the following info:

"...we don't have any sale statistics for the site as a whole, but you can see how many sales a seller has had (cont'd)
...based on the number beside the shopping bag icon in their profile. I can also tell you that last month we had 246 (cont'd)
...sales in November alone. But we expect this number to climb as we do more advertising and push our buyer campaign this month. :)

We had 66,000 + visits to Artfire last month alone--that's a high climb from 10,000 in October! add that to 10,000 items total (cont'd)
...listed for sale on the site and 4887 total members and things are looking quite promising!
we were in a closed beta (no advertising for or marketing at all, not for buyers or sellers) in September, October and (cont'd)
...November we finally started to push to make ourselves known on the internet. So far things are going quite well!"

These are very promising figures for a site that has only been actively advertising for a month!!!

This is how it works - as a buyer - "It is always free for buyers of handmade products to search through our listed artisans, buy, or request for items to be specially made."

As a seller - "Verified Members Get Unlimited Listings with Zero Fees" - "We want to help artists. That means putting our money where our mouth is and stepping up in these tough economic times.
For the next 5,000 verified artists who sign up as verified artisans on we’ll lock in your membership at just $7/month for life.
Our verified status is a great deal at the normal price of $20/month. You’ll get all of the functionality of a website with great features like stats, your own sub-domain name, currency conversions and much more. "

Take a few minutes - step over to ArtFire and check out all the support opportunities they currently offer!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zircons May Be Older Than Diamonds!

From the New York Times, Dec. 2, 2008

Published: December 1, 2008

The first 700 million years of
Earth’s 4.5-billion-year existence are known as the Hadean period, after Hades, or, to shed the ancient Greek name, Hell.

Photo Credit:
J. W. Valley/University of Wisconsin
Zircon crystals.

That name seemed to fit with the common perception that the young Earth was a hot, dry, desolate landscape interspersed with seas of magma and inhospitable for life. Even if some organism had somehow popped into existence, the old story went, surely it would soon have been extinguished in the firestorm of one of the giant meteorites that slammed into the Earth when the young solar system was still crowded with debris.

Scars on the surface of the Moon record a hail of impacts during what is called the Late Heavy Bombardment. The Earth would have received an even more intense bombardment, and the common thinking until recently was that life could not have emerged on Earth until the bombardment eased about 3.85 billion years ago.

Norman H. Sleep, a professor of geophysics at Stanford, recalled that in 1986 he submitted a paper that calculated the probability of life surviving one of the giant, early impacts. It was summarily rejected because a reviewer said that obviously nothing could have lived then.
That is no longer thought to be true.

“We thought we knew something we didn’t,” said T. Mark Harrison, a professor of geochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. In hindsight the evidence was just not there. And new evidence has suggested a new view of the early Earth.

Over the last decade, the mineralogical analysis of small hardy crystals known as zircons embedded in old Australian rocks has painted a picture of the Hadean period “completely inconsistent with this myth we made up,” Dr. Harrison said.

Geologists now almost universally agree that by 4.2 billion years ago, the Earth was a pretty placid place, with both land and oceans. Instead of hellishly hot, it may have frozen over. Because the young Sun put out 30 percent less energy than it does today, temperatures on Earth might have been cold enough for parts of the surface to have been covered by expanses of ice.

In a new analysis, published in the current issue of the journal Nature, the zircons, the only bits of earth older than 4 billion years definitively known to have survived, provide another tantalizing hint about the Hadean period. Dr. Harrison and two U.C.L.A. colleagues, Michelle Hopkins, a graduate student, and Craig Manning, a professor of geology and geochemistry, report that minerals trapped inside zircons offer evidence that the processes of plate tectonics — the forces that push around the planet’s outer crust, forming and shaping the continents and oceans — had already begun.

“The picture that’s emerging is a watery world with normal rock recycling processes,” said Stephen J. Mojzsis, a professor of geology at the University of Colorado who was not involved with the U.C.L.A. research. “And that’s a comforting thought for the origin of life.”

With the old views of the Hadean period, the origin of life on Earth posed a huge problem. The earliest, and still debated, evidence for life lies within rocks in Greenland dated at 3.83 billion years. The rocks show a shift in the relative amounts of carbon-12, the usual form of carbon, and carbon-13, a less common but stable form of carbon. That shift was attributed to the presence of microorganisms, which would tend to concentrate the lighter carbon.

What was surprising, perhaps unbelievable, in the old views was that life started immediately at the end of the Late Heavy Bombardment, seemingly showing up the instant that it was possible.
In the new view of the early Earth, life could have emerged hundreds of millions of years earlier. “This means the door is open for a long, slow chemical evolution,” Dr. Mojzsis said. “The stage was set for life probably 4.4 billion years ago, but I don’t know if the actors were present.”

The revolution in early Earth studies comes largely from rocks in western Australia. The rocks are three billion years old, but they contain zircons that are older. Zircons, made primarily of the elements zirconium, oxygen and silicon, are extremely hard and durable and can survive conditions that erode, melt or otherwise transform the rock around them.

The zircons also contain enough uranium that they can be precisely dated by the decay of that uranium. In 2001, two groups, one led by Dr. Harrison and the other by John W. Valley of the University of Wisconsin, reported that the Australian zircons formed during the Hadean period as long ago as 4.4 billion years and were later embedded in the younger, 3-billion-year-old rocks.
The relative amounts of oxygen isotopes in the zircons points to the presence of water. Minerals like clays and carbonates that form in water prefer to incorporate oxygen-18 into their crystal structure, and the zircons contain relatively high levels of oxygen-18 compared to the more common oxygen-16.

In the U.C.L.A. study, the researchers studied tiny mineral grains trapped inside the zircons between 4 billion and 4.2 billion years ago as they were being formed. From the mix of elements they identified in the minerals, the scientists could calculate the depth and temperature at which the zircons crystallized — 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 15 miles — and the calculations showed a flow of heat coming out of that part of the Earth of 75 milliwatts per square meter.
That is too cool. The Earth during the Hadean period may not have been hellish, but it was hotter than today, and the heat flow should have been about three times the amount that was calculated.

That meant the zircons formed in a cool part of the crust. On Earth today, one such place is a subduction zone, where an ocean plate slides under a continental plate and is pushed into the mantle. The waterlogged ocean plate then melts at relatively low temperatures. The U.C.L.A. scientists believe that the high water content and the low temperatures inferred from the zircons thus point to the existence of such a subduction zone. And a subduction zone could not have existed unless some type of plate tectonics was already at work.

“It’s not a smoking gun,” Dr. Harrison said. “But we’re left without any other plausible explanation.”

Many geologists believe that the crust was too thin or the interior too hot for plate tectonics to occur back then. Neither Venus nor Mars shows obvious signs of plate tectonics, past or present, suggesting that only a limited range of planetary temperature and structure give rise to the phenomenon.

Dr. Sleep of Stanford said of the U.C.L.A. findings: “It may well be a subduction zone. It looks like a subduction zone.”

Dr. Valley has also concluded the Earth became cool and watery early in its history, but remains skeptical about the inferences about plate tectonics.

“To me, it’s not ruled out by anything,” he said, “but it’s far from proven with the certainty that Mark states it.” Dr. Valley said it was possible that some of the elements measured by the U.C.L.A. researchers might have infiltrated the zircons through tiny cracks.

If plate tectonics were overturning the Earth’s crust during the Hadean period, it would have shaped not just the land forms, but also the air and the climate.

In the 1980s, a climate model proposed a thick atmosphere of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, raising the average surface temperature to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, not quite boiling.

But if plate tectonics had already begun, much of the carbon dioxide would be trapped in carbonate rocks and then pushed into Earth’s interior. In 2001, a climate model by Dr. Sleep and Kevin Zahnle of the NASA Ames Research Center found that the late Hadean Earth then would have been somewhat chilly.

Neither near-boiling temperatures nor the chilly conditions make life impossible, but these factors could change ideas about how and when life started.

Earth, like the other planets, coalesced more than 4.5 billion years ago. It is commonly hypothesized that almost immediately, a Mars-size object about 4,000 miles wide hit it — a true cataclysm that vaporized much of the object and Earth. Some of the debris ejected into orbit became the Moon. The molten Earth cooled quickly, probably within a few million years, and nothing that large ever struck again.

Dr. Sleep said his calculations suggested that during the 700 million years of the Hadean period about 15 objects 100 miles wide or wider hit the Earth. About four of the objects were wider than 200 miles, and those collisions would have been violent enough to boil off most of the oceans. (By contrast, the more recent object that hit the Earth 65 million years ago and helped kill off the dinosaurs was about 6 miles wide.)

But in numerical simulations that will be presented this month at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Dr. Mojzsis and Oleg Abramov, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, show that the Late Heavy Bombardment impacts were not quite as lethal as had been thought.

“Things are hurt really bad,” Dr. Mojzsis said. But the computer calculations indicated that even rocks up to 300 miles wide would not kill everything, that pockets would exist where organisms that thrive in high-temperature environments like hydrothermal vents could survive.

Genetic studies of current life support that notion, pointing to an organism that lived in a high-temperature environment as the last common ancestor. That does not mean that life started there, but that is almost certainly where survivors of the giant impacts would have huddled.
For the question of whether life existed during the Hadean period, researchers would like to find carbon and then perform an isotope analysis similar to what was done with the Greenland rocks.
Despite analyzing 160,000 grain-size zircons, the U.C.L.A. researchers have not found carbon. (Another group has reported the presence of small diamonds, but that has not been confirmed.)

The search for more substantial amounts of Hadean rock also continues. Three months ago, researchers reported that a swath of bedrock in northern Quebec might be 4.28 billion years old, which would provide a mother lode of material to study. That bedrock includes intriguing structures known as banded iron formations, which are believed to occur only with the help of living organisms. But other scientists have questioned the age of the rocks, suggesting that they may really be 3.8 billion years old.

Dr. Mojzsis said “Hadean” might not be a misleading name for the earliest eon of Earth’s history, after all. The ancient Greek concept of hell was not one of fire and brimstone. “In Greek mythology, Hades was a dark, cold, mysterious place,” he said. “It seems to me the Hadean is living up to that moniker.”

Friday, November 28, 2008

Auction Houses - Sotheby's

Magnificent Jewels
Sale: N08498


Session 1: Tue, 9 Dec 08, 10:00 AM
Session 2: Tue, 9 Dec 08, 2:00 PM


I know you've heard of all the high-end auction houses - Sotheby's, Christie's, Bonham & Butterfield and more...but how many of you have taken the time to check out their sales?

NO - I am not implying that you should purchase - they are WAY out of my budget also...but you should take a minute and check out the pieces they represent.

These are true works of art and will inspire your work to an even higher level...check these items from the upcoming "Magnificent Jewels" sale at Sotheby's.

Items range from...antique pieces - like this 72 inch longchain from the turn of the last century...

LOT 31
CIRCA 1900
15,000—20,000 USD

The chain of stylized oval links set with numerous square-cut rubies and sapphires alternating with 98 old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately 5.00 carats, length approximately 72 inches, 3 stones missing. great vintage designer pieces...

LOT 35
CIRCA 1940
30,000—40,000 USD

Composed of an outer hoop of nephrite and an inner hoop of gold, the former decorated all around with 10 cushion-shaped cabochon rubies, mounted in 18 karat gold, signed Cartier, Paris, numbered 03407, assay marks.

...and one last beautiful inspiration for my enamelist friends!

LOT 33
CIRCA 1900
7,000—9,000 USD

The arched plaque chased on the obverse with the Madonna and Child framed by blue plique-à-jour enamel, the frame decorated with calibré-cut sapphires and rose-cut diamonds, the reverse chased with the scene of the Holy Spirit descending on a patch of roses and lilies, signed F Vernon; together with a white gold chain, length 16½ inches.

I don't know about you but this is how I get inspired when I have a designers block - give it a try!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Revere Academy Announces 2009 Master's Symposium

The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts reveals Masters classes in the 2009 class:

Each spring the Academy invites prominent master craftsmen from across the country and overseas to teach workshops in their areas of specialization.

A reception and slide lecture by visiting masters is open to the public each Wednesday evening during the Symposium.

We are excited to present our special 30th anniversary, all-star line-up including David Yurman, Michael Good and Bernd Munsteiner, Kent Riable, Jean Stark, Fabrizio Acquafresca, Harlan Butt, Christo Kiffer and Suzanne Pugh.

Registration began on October 22, 2008. To register, call 415-391-4179. Payment in full required at time of registration.

National Jewelers Network (NJN) announced the Master's Symposium:

San Francisco--The Revere Academy will hold its 30th Anniversary Masters Symposium next spring, bringing together leading goldsmiths and jewelry experts from around the world to teach 14 master classes.

The symposium will be held at the San Francisco-based school from April 3-29, with most of the two- to five-day workshops open to students at all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced.

Featured among an all-star lineup is designer David Yurman, who will share for the first time his passion, knowledge and creativity in a class called "The Complete Designer." In addition, Michael Good will teach his signature techniques in two classes on anticlastic raising; Jean Stark, a leading force in ancient jewelry-making techniques, will teach classes on ancient rings and loop-in-loop chains; Harlan Butt will share his expertise on cloissone enameling as well as basse taille, stencil and straffitto; Suzanne Pugh will helm a class on working with steel; and Kent Raible will teach granulation in 18-karat gold.

Finally, two jewelry experts will travel from Europe to teach courses at Revere. Bernd Munsteiner will make his way from Germany's famed lapidary center, Idar Oberstein, to teach one course on designing and cutting included gemstones, and a second course on optics and reflections. Fabrizio Aquafresca, who comes from a long line of Italian master craftsmen, will travel from Italy to share his techniques in chasing and repousse.

In addition to the workshops, the Revere Academy will host a Wednesday evening lecture/reception that will be open to the public each week during the Masters Symposium.

As the school prepares to welcome new students this spring, it also recently sent off 25 students with diplomas from its Jewelry Technician (JT) Intensive program, which commenced this year with a juried competition. Students were asked to present a fabricated box ring, with jurors taking note of each student's technical mastery. The following award-winning students received gift certificates donated by industry supplier Otto Frei: Kyle Greenman, Best Design; Fern Thaweechaithaworn, Technical Excellence; Srikanth Rao, Best Stone Setting; Tom Colson, Best Engraving; Corey Egan, Most Dramatic; Aline Vanzin, Best Finish; Michelle Stock, Most Marketable; and Donna Olmstead, My Favorite.

For more information about the Revere Academy and its programs, call (415) 391-4179, e-mail or visit the school's Web site,

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Gem of a Find

An appropriate discovery - Opal is the birthstone for the month of October and at the end of October, this year, NASA made the following announcement:

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed Martian rocks containing a hydrated mineral similar to opal. The rocks are light-toned and appear cream-colored in this false-color image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera. Images acquired by the orbiter reveal that different layers of rock have different properties and chemistry. The opal minerals are located in distinct beds of rock outside of the large Valles Marineris canyon system and are also found in rocks within the canyon. The presence of opal in these relatively young rocks tells scientists that water, possibly as rivers and small ponds, interacted with the surface as recently as two billion years ago, one billion years later than scientists had expected. The discovery of this new category of minerals spread across large regions of Mars suggests that liquid water played an important role in shaping the planet's surface and possibly hosting life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2,000-year-old Gold Earring Found in Jerusalem

By Shawna Ohm, Associated Press Writer
posted: 10 November 2008 10:05 am ET

This undated photo made available by the Israeli Antiquities Authority on Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 shows what archaeologists say is a 2,000-year-old gold earring discovered beneath a parking lot next to the walls of Jerusalem's old city. The Israel Antiquities Authority says the earring is inlaid with pearls and emeralds and was made around the time of Christ, between the first century B.C. and the beginning of the fourth century A.D. Credit: AP Photo/IAA, HO

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli archeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old gold earring beneath a parking lot next to the walls of Jerusalem's old city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.
The discovery dates back to the time of Christ, during the Roman period, said Doron Ben-Ami, director of excavation at the site. The piece was found in a Byzantine structure built several centuries after the jeweled earring was made, showing it was likely passed down through generations, he said.
The find is luxurious: A large pearl inlaid in gold with two drop pieces, each with an emerald and pearl set in gold.
"It must have belonged to someone of the elite in Jerusalem," Ben-Ami said. "Such a precious item, it couldn't be one of just ordinary people."
In a statement released Monday, the authority said the piece of jewelry was "astonishingly well-preserved." Finds from the Roman period are rare in Jerusalem, Ben-Ami said, because the city was destroyed by the Roman Empire in the first century A.D.
Shimon Gibson, an American archaeologist who was not involved in the dig, said the find was truly amazing, less because of its Roman origins than for its precious nature.
"Jewelry is hardly preserved in archaeological context in Jerusalem," he said, because precious metals were often sold or melted down during the many historic takeovers of the city.
"It adds to the visual history of Jerusalem," Gibson added, saying it brings attention to the life of women in antiquity.
Though Gibson dates the piece slightly later than the antiquities authority, to sometime between the second and fourth centuries A.D., he said its quality and beauty were impressive.
Ben-Ami added that he expects more small, luxury items to turn up in future excavations.
Earrings similar to this one have been found at archaeological sites throughout Europe, Ben-Ami said, where the Roman Empire also flourished. The authority said the earring appeared to be crafted using a technique similar to that depicted in portraits from Roman-era Egypt.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mikimoto - The Original

In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto successfully created the world’s first cultured pearl, THE ORIGINAL, launching today’s cultured pearl industry and making pearls available to women everywhere.

This classic piece of jewelry, THE ORIGINAL Akoya strand, has been reproduced the world over, evolving from a trademark of nobility to an icon of style.

Mikimoto. THE ORIGINAL. The first, and simply the world’s finest cultured pearls.

Nurturing the Dream
With their mysterious yet pure and honest glimmer, pearls have won the hearts of countless people through the ages. After the mid 1800s, just before the Meiji Period, Japan became deeply involved with foreign trade and its natural pearls, already regarded as precious, became more treasured than ever before. At the same time, the pearl oysters around Mikimoto's hometown of Ise-Shima were being over-harvested to a crisis point. He threw himself into the task of seeding oysters and creating pearls, and for decades, he spent every waking hour on research and experiments.Pearls had always been a chance product of nature and initial efforts to delve into their mysteries did not yield immediate results. Factors such as red tides and low water temperatures lead to repeated failures. Regardless of the many complications imposed by nature, Kokichi pledged to commit every fiber of his being to the task and he had the stubborn confidence to turn mighty nature into his ally. The day he had been waiting for finally came on July 11, 1893. In the company of his wife Ume, he raised one of the bamboo oyster baskets out of the water, opened one of the oysters, and there, inside the shell, he discovered a shining pearl. This was the first time in history that a human being had ever created a pearl.

Growing the Dream
Once he had succeeded in culturing a pearl, Kokichi's urge to research grew even stronger. He had always been enchanted by the mysterious glow of the legendary black lipped pearls and silver lipped pearls, and he made up his mind to try culturing them.In 1914, Kokichi opened a culturing site for Black South Sea pearl oysters on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa. Overcoming the often daunting forces of nature, including continual typhoons, in 1931 he turned his fantasy into reality with the production of a giant pearl, 10mm in diameter.He also dispatched a team of researchers to the South Pacific island of Palau, where they had considerable success in culturing pearls.While trying to meet the challenge of producing black lipped and silver lipped cultured pearls, he encouraged the development of local pearl industries on previously underdeveloped islands. He contributed so significantly to the development of these islands that the name 'Mikimoto' is spoken of with reverence even to this day.

Creating a Style
Hoping to enhance understanding of pearls by making them more accessible, Kokichi founded the world's first store specializing pearl jewelry in Tokyo's Ginza district. In 1906, he moved the store to a new building in Ginza 4-chome. The Mikimoto Pearl Store, a two-story Western-style building made of white stone, was a remarkably new type of establishment, offering Kokichi's keen sense of contemporary fashion in the form of beautiful, high-quality items.

Stylish young men in finely tailored high-collared three-piece suits waited on the customers and each month the store featured new displays conceived by expert designers. Kokichi put the utmost effort into decorating the showcases with jewelry representing the highest quality and most refined styles. The Mikimoto Pearl Store, a product of Kokichi's study of Western aesthetics and his own unique sense of style, soon attracted worldwide attention. Kokichi steadily continued pursuing his dreams.

Check out Mikimoto TODAY:

For some great pearl info:

Monday, November 17, 2008

MetalSmithing - Free Online Tutorials

5 Reasons Solder Doesn't Flow - Don Norris

I was asked for some tutorials, by a couple ladies in my Jewelry Making Class and thought I would share the info....

First - if you want to learn it there is probably a tutorial online for it - Google is your friend!

Two places I look to for metalsmithing info are Ganoksin ( and YouTube (! Simply put the technique or term you are looking for in the search window.

Here is a small sample of interesting tutorials:

Making Strong Secure Jumprings from How-To-Make-Jewelry [www_wireworksecrets_com]

Making HeadpinsFree Headpin Tutorial from Etsy [www_etsy_com]
Jewelry 101 - Making Headpins from Michon Jewelry Blog
Making Headpins: Video demo from Beading Daily

Patinas - Using Liver of Sulphur from Holly Gage [www_hollygage_com]
Patination from Ganoksin [www_ganoksin_com]

Fold Forming from Ganoksin [www_ganoksin_com]

Lost Wax Casting from Expert Village [www_expertvillage_com]
Cuttlefish Casting from Ganoksin [www_ganoksin_com]


Viking Knit Chain Making from YouTube

Wax Working from Ganoksin [www_ganoksin_com]
Beginners Corner from Ganoksin

From Beginning to Very Complex - Tutorials by Hans Meevis

Bench Jewelers Television Network
(some free but for full use join for a minimal monthly fee)

MetalSmithing from Art Jewelry Magazine

MetalSmithing from Jewelry Artist Magazine

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ganoksin's Orchid Digest

OK - I have saved the best for last - The Orchid Forum is an interactive discussion with working and retired jewelers so the advice given is firsthand, current information from people who have been there and have been doing this "jewelry thing" for years!

Orchid is both a reservoir of content and a network of active relationships for the benefit of the gem and jewelry industries. Through Orchid, participants may resolve their questions about virtually any subject relevant to the broad spectrum of involvement surrounding the gem and jewelry industries.

Of course there exist on the Net a variety of mailing lists that address certain aspects of these industries, but Orchid is plainly unique. Conceived and maintained free of charge by jewelers, for jewelers, both the experienced professional and the beginner - Orchid is dedicated to the exchange of substantive technical content, covering the full range of information requirements.

With list members from all over the world, speaking from a wide range of technical and aesthetic experiences, this lively forum addresses questions about every aspect of jewelry making today.

Orchid is more than this however.... Orchid is a comprehensive technical archive, containing more than 250,000 articles.

Orchid is also a gallery site where forum members can display their work or their work space [The BenchExchange Page].

In short, it's a connection to a world of resources for the contemporary crafts jeweler!
Joining Orchid is easy, fast and FREE!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What is The Ganoksin Project? you know about the Orchid Blogs and, if you had the time to read the lengthy bio, you know about how Ganoksin came to be. But there is so much more to this jewel!!!

The Ganoksin Project is...

The Tip's From The Jeweler's Bench Library: Ganoksin's rich collection of free online-articles, technical papers, reports, and news on virtually every aspect of the gem and jewelry industry.

The library features a HUGE range of topics from Beginner's Corner to Chasing and Repousse; Enameling to Surface Manipulation; Fabrication to Stone Setting; and even tips from the Pro's on Business & Marketing!

Who wrote all this info? Working and retired professionals in the Jewelry Industry! Names you know like Charles Lewton Brain (if you don't have his new "FoldForming" book add it to your Holiday list), Cynthia Eid, Tim McCreight (of "The Complete MetalSmith"), Robert Dancik...some of these pieces are reprints of articles from respected Industry magazines like MJSA as well as commercial publications such as JewelryArtist & ArtJewelry!

The Jeweler's Bench Exchange:

A project from the Orchid community of jewelry enthusiasts and professionals. We've tried to capture our benches in the midst of everyday turmoil. It all started from a post from Dave Sebaste who wrote on May 9, 2002:

I know a lot of us have digital cameras. What if everyone took a picture of what their bench looks like at this very moment, and we built a collection of these images on a Web page? No tidying up, or putting tools away. Just the state of being in which you now exist. Could be funny, interesting, possibly embarrassing to some, but I bet it would spark more than a few questions and ideas!

MetalCalc - Measurement Conversions:
MetalCalc calculates the length or weight of various precious metal products based on the dimensions you enter. This section of also includes a collection of unit's conversion calculators.

Ganoksin's Guide to Industry Websites:

A comprehensive trade directory entirely devoted to online resources for the gem, jewelry and metals industry. Each suggested entry is reviewed by knowledgeable editors insuring the quality and accuracy of websites included in the Guide.

Help others make informed buying decisions with the resources listed . We welcome your opinions and experiences with ordering, customer service and and over all satisfaction.

: One of the newest features on the "NEW" Ganoksin Project features videos from leaders in the Industry!

The Orchid Jewelry Creation Gallery
You will find within this gallery section, a collection of representative works by members of The Orchid Discussion List. We warmly invite you to join our community and to take part in our jewelry related discussions.

Participation in The Orchid's Jewelry Creations Gallery is open and free of charge. We require jury quality pictures. While we do not judge your design work we reserve the right not to include any submission which the quality of pictures is poor.

So are you looking for inspiration? motivation? resources? a new technique? you can find it all at The Ganoksin Project!

Tomorrow - Orchid and the Orchid Digest...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Ganoksin Project

The Ganoksin Project is now 12 years old, born in Bangkok and Calgary in 1995-96. In Thai Ganok means pure gold, Sin means art, and together they can be thought of as meaning 'The Art of Gold'.

The Ganoksin logo was designed by Eran Shakine, an Israeli artist whose work is on Ganoksin, a childhood friend of Hanuman, who says "The logo represents human culture and existence. It is almost a blending of the selves. It represents nature and the universe. You will find a stylized tree, human figure, fresh leaves, moon and the sun. It also might be looked as the connection between an individual and his culture."

The Ganoksin Project and The Orchid Community
By Charles Lewton-Brain 2004

Well, the Ganoksin Project is now 14 years old and is the largest online resource for tutorials, whitepages, opinions and industry links serving the Jewelry, Gemology & Metals Industries!

The resource library has grown by leaps and bounds from the original 500 pages provided by co-founder Charles Lewton Brain which started the project, the addition of an interactive community Orchid list, the bench exchanges, beautifully presented galleries of Orchid contributors, and now the newest feature - the Members Blogs!

From the Beginning...

Dr. E. Aspler (Hanuman) built a first web site in 1996, but it lacked content...Charles Lewton Brain was looking for a place to publish his voluminous writing..."destiny" intervened. Charles was the first person to click on the 'submit an article' link and Hanuman leapt at the offer! Both men had the idealistic vision of spreading information and helping others.

Hanuman's Journey

(The majority of this post was excerpted from:The Ganoksin Project and The Orchid Community By Charles Lewton-Brain 2004 -

Dr. E. Aspler, known to Orchidians as Hanuman, was born in Jerusalem in 1962, trav

els on a French passport, is a son to a holocaust survivor from Romania and a Tunisian mother, the grandson of an Italian wine merchant who had 14 wives through his long life. He speaks Hebrew, Thai and English,. He has lived in Thailand for the last 18 years.

Hanuman was trained as a Doctor in Israel . He writes: "I was fortunate to get my medical education in what at the time was considered to be a revolutionary new institute, a community oriented medical center in the Negev , the southern desert area of Israel . We were educated in medical sociology, a new science at the time, and where encouraged to do community work. We trained to see the patient in his whole environment, rather than concentrating on the illness itself. The use of cartoon drawings to convey information, medical drama (imitating illnesses) and body language made us better physicians with a better understanding of the human being."

"We where designed to be culturally sensitive doctors, who approached any treatment with respect of the patient's beliefs. Being only 18 at the time, this was a major influence on my attitude as a grown up. With the years of not practicing medicine, I forgot many of the drugs names, but not the essence of human nature I learned about. I am still using a lot of my knowledge gained at this community oriented medical school to moderate orchid."

He worked with a mobile care unit with Bedouin, performed General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery and as a young Doctor at 24 was in charge of the Trauma Emergency Room at his hospital, one of the busiest in Israel .

From what I can see he cared a lot for his patients, more than is perhaps wise or bearable. He says "At the time I felt just too young to deal with such pain and sorrow everyday. I was a good, fast and gifted surgeon. I was not able at times to be detached, as required by the profession. Some cases really touched me, leaving me sharing the patent's miseries. It became clear to me that I needed a change. Hanuman lost his father at this time at age 48 to heart disease, with many of his dreams unfulfilled. His understanding that time is limited and the difficulties of medical responsibility combined to bring him to reevaluate his life, and to visit Asia and its cultures, something he had yearned to do for years.

He continues: "I was dreaming of a tropical climate, palm trees and fresh open air. I decided to go Far East , to Thailand . Soon, what was lost in long years at the university and hospitals was gained back on the exotic beaches of South East Asia . I was happy and suntanned, but as usual I was looking for new things to do. On the road, traveling, I started dealing with silver Jewelry. I found myself increasingly involved in the Jewelry trade, and decided it was time to set up a small workshop." "Jewelry was the prefect profession for me, it had so many similarities to medicine, the interaction with humans, the art and the science behind it. It was a natural transition."

"In Thailand , It is a tradition to get a monks blessing before starting a new business. I thought that it would be a good idea. When I told the monk that I was born on Saturday, the year of the tiger, he closed his eyes in deep concentration and made me wait for long twenty minutes. He was mysteriously calculating my destiny. Than he looked at me and said, "Your company name should be Ganoksin, and by the way, you might not become rich, but you will be famous". That is how Ganoksin was born in 1993.

While he maintained his jewelry company he later worked as a buyer for the French company Societe Francoise, and dealt in silver jewelry and antique clothing. As the Ganoksin site grew his workshop could not produce enough income to pay for the site. Hanuman rented his services and his internet skills. He worked for a large jewelry company as production and product manager and eventually became managing director.

Thailand was a powerhouse in the early nineties. The economy was great and foreigners from around the world arrived looking for opportunities. Hanuman writes "cultural differences kept many of us, the foreigners, isolated. In Bangkok in those days, the infamous chaotic traffic made it very difficult for people to socialize. For example, I could talk with my friends everyday on the telephone, but I would meet them only twice a year. I could lose hair, gain weight, even have my eyelids pierced with weird body Jewelry and they would not know about it." In 1994 "All that changed with the arrival of the most important peripheral of the decade - the modem." Hanuman got his first modem and shortly after joined a local BBS (bulletin Board).

Hanuman says "The need for communication explains why the first virtual community in Bangkok , The SalaThai BBS, was an immediate success. With the opening of SalaThai suddenly we had News groups, Chat rooms, everybody was having fun using fake identities and 'out_of_this_world' screen names, but the most important thing was that it was a major source of information for us. Members would post information about new visa regulations, New drinking holes and cultural events in town."

"I noticed though that the most powerful thing about it was that people were more then willing to share and exchange information online. For some reason, more then they would do in real life!! Everyone felt that they are on stage, and every one else was listening to their words of wisdom. This was a fundamental observation. Actually this was, and still is the seed, the concept that made Ganoksin what it has become today. "

By 1995 he had decided to start Ganoksin. He was experimenting with the new medium and wanted to find ways of promoting his business. The first name for the site was Ganoksin Online. The site was scheduled to open in January 1996, but because of delays at the domain name registration body it was launched in April. Our conversation with the Orchid and the discussion group's birth was in May and June of 1996.

Hanuman writes: "We started as an online Catalogue. Let us be frank. Catalogues are boring. I tried to spice it up with bits and pieces of interesting professional information. Basic alloys data, charts and stories from the gem trade in south East Asia, were put together to create the 'Tip's from the jeweler's bench' Website.

We opened our site to local jewelers and designers. Content was the magic word that was driven us these early days. We were fortunate. We did not have to wait long. One morning two months after starting I received an email from Canada . Charles Lewton-Brain a writer, a man with vast knowledge and experience was offering us what I was dreaming of. Professional, valuable content, and for free. Over the years Charles became a guide, a friend, an advisor, the mentor."

In 1996 Hanuman wrote "I am dedicating all my efforts, time and resources to make it work" and "I took a leave from my daily job and until October 1997. I was building the site, and publishing Charles's articles. By October 1997, a few months into running Orchid, I realized that the snowball was rolling. Input to the list was steady and the community, yet young, was actually born.

Orchid in its first months was not moderated. Spam was not an issue. Our main issue was infinite loops, where "Out of the office" vacation messages were sent to the list and in one case generated 5000 emails to every user within an hour. This incident made me close the list and start the moderation process. Moderation solved other issues we were struggling with, especially repeating quotes within posts, the visual feeling of the text formatting and maintaining the correct noise to content ratio."

In 1997 - 1998 there was a major Hardware Upgrade. For 6 months the digest version was off line because Hanuman did not have the time to create it by hand. He writes "A second major achievement was that we installed the first version of the Orchid archives, under the name "The orange pages".

In 1999 Ton joined the Ganoksin team as a part time volunteer. He wrote a script to convert the mail box to a digest format and the digest was back on line. Orchid doubled its users overnight, by offering an alternative to the open forums.

In 2000 there was another Hardware Upgrade. Ton joined us full time, and was now on a payroll. Hanuman and Ton upgraded the archives into daily auto-generated static pages, index and thread sorted. The same scripts are used for this today.

In 2001 the search engine was upgraded. The site had no income from 1996-1999. In 2000 and 2001 donations and banner ads paid a little of the bills.

By 2002 the mass of spam was growing. Email harvesters and other leeches hit Ganoksin badly on a daily basis. For example a company might send in a spider program to sample our entire site for comments about them. Every time one of the larger companies did this to us it could cost us some $200 extra in server fees for the bandwidth they used up in scanning us.

In response to this clear privacy terms were applied and scripts written in 2002 to mask and encrypt all email addresses in the archives. The server rules were configured with the aid of few scripts to automatically deny access to Bad-bots. In 2003 there was another Hardware upgrade.

There was a redesign and rewrite of the Library directory, and an addition of the shopping site script.

Although during the last few years other internet forums have emerged Hanuman decided to keep the original engine that runs orchid instead of the new technologies.

In 2005 The Ganoksin project has finally got it's own dedicated server with the power of broadcasting up to 1,500Gb of jewelry content monthly.

Hanuman believes that "the simplicity of the system helps to keep the forum sprit alive, it has the correct balance between anonymity and user interface that generate the correct dose of content rich postings versus chit chat."

Charles' Journey
I grew up till the age of 12 in Tanzania , then lived in New Paltz, New York , went off to Halifax , Nova Scotia for Art school. I spent some time in Germany studying and working, and have lived in Calgary , Alberta since 1986.

My journey began as a workshop teacher and writer. Starting in 1987 I was translating the German Theory and Practice of Goldsmithing into English and bought a Mac SE for this labor - an improvement over yellow legal pads. I assembled a set of eclectic teaching notes, information for the field, on stonesetting, critique of work, gemology, good sources for tools and equipment and the like. I would permit people to copy these when I taught workshops and the handout ended up at about 180 pages. One day in 1992 I asked a group of people in Los Angeles who amongst them would like a disc instead of paying to have the handout copied. Half the class, some 14 people said 'Yes', and I knew something had changed in my world. In 1995 I got onto the internet, and after looking around for six months or so realized that there were a lot of jewelry sites, but almost no content. There were one or two places, like the Society of American Silversmiths and the ArtMetal project which did have information, but in general there was lots of 'front end', with nothing behind it, just emptiness: no content of note.

I felt I was a perfect fit for the net. I was used to giving information away widely, was interested in an idealistic position on sharing information, and I had hundreds of pages of my writing and technical drawings already on my computer ready to go. When I searched the net and found a site I thought educational, and open minded I would offer my writing,, tons of it, for free to publish, with the only stipulation being a byline and an email link as well as a rule that readers were free to read, print out and share my information, but were not permitted to duplicate it or publish it for commercial gain. My thought was that I wanted to build such a strong and widespread web presence that any question about jewelry making would find me, and near the top of the results at that. This goal has, through my partnership with Hanuman, been fulfilled exactly as planned. I hoped as well that the articles and increased profile would sell my books. I am not sure whether putting up so many extracts from them has had a positive or negative effect on sales. But there has definitely been an increased profile for myself and my writing as a result.

The occasional site would accept my offer of free content, but only to the extent of a cautious article or two. None wanted to really go for it. It was as if they distrusted the offer of all my writing, as if they thought I was scamming them, tricking them. All the North American sites I offered this to rejected the offer. I came across Ahmed Shareek at in Sri Lanka whose site was starting and he welcomed the idea. It was early 1996.

Then I found the Ganoksin site. It had just started and I liked the statement on the site, the feeling that it was altruistic and wanting to help goldsmiths. I offered Dr. Aspler all my writing, for free, he said "Great!' and I began to send him articles, which he installed in the Tips from the Jewelers Bench section. He had taken a year off work to build the site. With the new content Ganoksin now began to grow, and to attract visitors. Our partnership, friendship and collaboration developed as well. It was six months of working together before I thought about and even figured out that Hanuman lived in Bangkok . I remember saying "you live where?!!"

I often wondered why I had such a hard time getting a North American site, even a public education one, to take me up on the offer. At one point I realized that the two people who had really welcomed the idea were Buddhist. Coincidence? Maybe.

Its worth mentioning what Ganoksin taps into in terms of the field, why people are so committed to the site. There is a sisterhood and brotherhood of metalsmiths. I found this out when at age 21 I traveled around the world on a ship for four months, visiting goldsmiths and jewelers in every country we went to, dressed politely, carrying my camera, notebook and a handful of my pieces, my chasing hammer and a selection of tools. These served to validate me a fellow goldsmith, and I was universally accepted and welcomed, fed in people's homes, taken care of, treated with respect and my questions about life as a jeweler answered in depth. Ganoksin taps into this place, a place where our tactile understanding of the material, our intimate understanding of this stuff we work with and the important role that jewelers play in rites of passage and in everyday life come together.

Jewelry is important: anthropologists claim that ornamentation of the body was one of the earliest acts that define humanity, and came before organized tool use. And as a jeweler you share understandings with others in the field, no matter what the culture or language you live in.

Other factors include the sense of belonging to a group, access to information otherwise unattainable and the practical demonstration of the old adage "If you want to make a friend ask someone for advice". One of the effects has been innumerable friendships and activities between members in their everyday lives off the computer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Announcing the Orchid Blog Network

Blogging-Made-Easy for Jewelers and Metalsmiths,and for
those working in the gem and jewelry-related fields.

(Currently Online - 65 blogs)

If you have been considering your own Blog, but
haven't yet,the Orchid Blog Network may be perfect
for you!

We are passionate about empowering Jewelers,
Metalsmiths and Lapidary artists,
and we hope it shows!

To that end, we've combined the atmosphere of the
Orchid Forums with easy-to-use Blog tools to give our
Members the opportunity to be seen and heard.

A single Blog, on your own, may not generate the interest
it deserves, but by being part of the Orchid Network your
Blog will attract both attention and readers!

Orchid Members can now have an online presence within
minutes of joining, and have access to resources that come
from being part of a community of our size.
We think you'll enjoy the difference!

It's easy to create a Blog. For example, you can...
share your jewelry-making techniques,
pictures of your work,
your design thoughts,
discuss Art Shows you have participated in,
or museums you have visited, just for starters.

Jewelry Schools can cover events, classes
and happenings within their facility.

Businesses can use their Blog space as a repository
of press releases, company announcements and provide
their Staff with a chance to share their passion for
their work with the outside world.

In case you already run a Blog site, we offer specialized
migration tools which will transfer your existing Blog to
the Orchid Blog website in a single-click. The migration tool
will not delete your old Blog but will duplicate it on Ganoksin.

Participation is absolutely FREE

Your Blog address will be

Join Today!

To Join please email with the following

- Full Name
- Company Name (If applicable)
- Email Address
- Desired blog address (
- Blog title (can be changed later)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Guyot Brothers

A leading manufacturer of brass jewelry findings and decorative stampings for the costume jewelry and related decorative arts trades, Guyot Brothers manufactures thousands of different quality jewelry stampings ranging from the most delicate filigree to very bold charms and ornaments, always keeping the designer in mind. The Guyot line of brass findings has kept its focus on classic style and high quality products, now in its fourth generation.

While selling jewelry findings, filigree and stampings is the major duty of the Guyot Brothers website...this one is fun to browse also:

Irregular E-Letter
Jewelry Findings
Glossary of terms
Frequently Asked Questions
100+ Uses for Guyot Findings
Jewelry Industry News
Jewelry and A brief history of jewelry
The Jewelry Book Shelf

For the current issue of the Irregular Newsletter - Andrea asked their readership for info on the meanings of the various fingers of the hand - why is your wedding ring worn on the finger it is?

One answer..."In Europe in the Middle Ages it was believe that the ring finger of the left hand had a direct connection to the heart and thus, when a woman was married a ring was placed in that finger to symbolize that her heart belong to her husband."

Check out the other answers at:

...and enjoy perusing the site!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Emmys - the color story....

No dialog on this one - just showing the popular colors and silhouettes...


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