Buy Antique Jewellery To Re-Work For Re-Sale

old antique shop

For any avid jewellery maker, there are always different and exciting ways to expand on your skillset and your collection. Whether you try your hand at new designs for technique practice, or you expand your range to include items you maybe didn’t offer before, there are lots of avenues to explore when it comes to broadening your repertoire.

One way we’ve looked at broadening your approach as a small jewellery business, in this article, is the addition of antique jewellery. Some customers search far and wide for pieces from certain eras, or a trademark design that perhaps is no longer manufactured. There’s opportunity in re-working antique jewellery for re-sale, which is why we’ve come up with some of the best places to go to buy antique jewellery.

Where to buy antique jewellery

Antique shops

Sounds obvious, but you’ll uncover many hidden gems at some of the UK’s best antique shops. Search through antique furniture and clothing to find pendants, rings, bracelets and other antique jewellery that you can re-work for re-sale.

For example, maybe you’ll discover some antique ring settings without stones? There’s opportunity here to get your bezel roller and add gemstones to empty bezel cups.

We’ve listed some of the UK’s best antique shops below, but of course there are more to choose from:

  • Hemswell Antiqueslocated in the Lincolnshire countryside, this large antique store stocks items from over 400 dealers.
  • The Herts and Essex Antiques Centrehere you can explore a multi-barn complex packed with antique stock, located in Sawbridgeworth.
  • The Old Barn Antiquesnestled in Compton, Surrey, The Old Barn is a smaller antique store but with plenty of items to choose from.
  • David Wolfenden Antiques all the way up in Northern Ireland, this expansive antique store doesn’t compromise on its jewellery offering.


You’d be surprised at the selection of antique jewellery available on the world’s biggest online auction site!

online shopping

Packed with sellers and buyers, eBay is an ideal place to research your antique jewellery projects and get a feel for what other likeminded people do when it comes to antique jewellery. You may find some people are selling chains, ring settings, brooches or even clasps that can be used to recreate timeless designs.

It’s worth reading through seller reviews and maybe getting in touch with them if you have any queries about their product. You could even start building up a network of contacts to keep in touch with about your antique jewellery endeavours – maybe even your entire jewellery business.

Auction houses

auction house

There are plenty of auction houses dotted around the UK where you can pick up some unique antique pieces, as there are endless online auction rooms offering the same opportunities. Discover gems from the Edwardian belle époque era, when platinum was introduced as a unique selling point for a lot of beautiful pieces. Discover diamonds from Colombian and Burmese origins, which are in high demand by a lot of jewellers. Even pearls could have a rich history worth investing in – you never know which monarch may have owned them, and from which ancient empire.

Some of the best auctions to attend or search online are as follows:

  • Arthur Johnson & Sons Auctioneersone of the UK’s largest auction houses, located in Nottingham. Go along and discover everything from antique furniture to collectables, jewellery and even commercial equipment.
  • Sotheby’s renowned for its global scale, British-founded Sotheby’s operates from its central New York hub, but its online auction room is worth exploring.
  • Barnebys founded in 2011, Barnebys is a search engine for antique art, jewellery and other unique items, taking over 2,000 leading auction houses into account.
  • Chiswick Auctions ­located on Colville Road in London, Chiswick Auctions is an established auction house holding regular auctions for a range of different items. From rugs and carpets, to rare books, ceramics and jewellery, you can attend the auctions in person or bid online.


craft market

Markets are an ideal place to uncover hidden antique gems:

  • Covent Garden’s Apple Marketbrimming with artisan items, from handmade soaps with unique scents to sweet treats and trinkets. On Mondays, you can browse antiques and collectibles stalls for your next antique jewellery project.
  • St Nicholas Marketlocated in the heart of Bristol City Centre, St Nicholas Market can be found within an historic Georgian arcade, hosting plenty of independent stalls and shops selling antique jewellery, arts and crafts.
  • Portobello Road Market an iconic destination for an antique-searcher, this market’s stalls are brimming with collectibles and antique jewellery pieces.

If you’re looking for antiques near your home, it’s worth investigating the nearest stores or markets. Online forums for antique jewellery are an ideal place to begin, especially if you’re hoping to share your ideas with others and find out more about where to buy antique jewellery.

And if you’re looking to sell antique jewellery? You can create a seller account on eBay, or even other online marketplaces within Etsy or using your own dedicated website.

For more information on your jewellery business, and further advice on how to make it a success, check out the content in our business advice hub.

Source link

Different Types of Metal for Jewellery Making

metal sheet and wire

With so many varieties of metal available, we thought we would go back to basics and examine some of the different types of metal that can be used for jewellery making today.

To begin with, let’s look at some of the general terms you might come across when dealing with metal:

What is Precious Metal?

A precious metal is a naturally occurring metallic element, which is rare and therefore highly prized and valued. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are all examples of precious metal.

What is a Metal Alloy?

Precious metal in its pure form is often difficult to work with, so it is mixed (alloyed) with other metals to enhance its strength and workability etc. when making jewellery among other things.

silver sheet and gold wire

What is Hallmarking?

To be sold as such, all gold, silver, platinum and palladium products above a specified weight have to be independently tested (assayed) and hallmarked. This procedure is a guarantee for consumers, so they can be sure of what they are buying as it is impossible to tell simply by eye.

The minimum weight thresholds for hallmarking are as follows:

  • Gold: 1g
  • Silver: 7.78g
  • Platinum: 0.5g
  • Palladium: 1g

It is also important to remember that a hallmark is a legal requirement, and so must be adhered to where necessary.

Want to learn more about hallmarking? Get started by reading our guide to hallmarking, and to discover how hallmarking began you can also take a look at our brief history of hallmarking.

What is Plated Metal?

Plated metal has a thin coating of a secondary and often more expensive material which covers it completely. It is often done to improve tarnish resistance and/or make something appear more expensive than it actually is. Common examples are gold plated silver (sometimes known as vermeil if the plating depth is around 2.5 microns) and rhodium plated silver. Base metal findings and chain are popular jewellery making components which can be made from plated metal.

silver plated chain

Silver Plated Chain

Plating depths vary and some are much thinner than others, meaning pieces will be more prone to wear and tear (standard plating is usually between 0.5 – 1 microns, and heavy plating is usually between 2.5 – 5 microns). This means that most plated items will need to be refreshed and re-plated on a regular basis to keep them looking their best. It is worth noting that plated metal items can only be hallmarked with the mark for the lower grade of metal used, as the plated coating has no bearing on the value and cannot be stamped.

What is Bonded Metal?

A bonded metal is a grey area in terms of description, and ideally should contain two elements which are fused together to make one piece. However, many bonded gold items have simply been gold plated, albeit sometimes to a greater depth than standard plating. It is worth noting again that bonded metal items have to be clearly hallmarked, and can only be stamped with the lower grade of metal used – meaning a gold/silver bonded item would be hallmarked as silver.

What is Gold Filled Metal?

Also known as rolled gold, the term ‘gold filled’ refers to a layer of gold which is wrapped and bonded (via heat) around a second metal (either silver or base metal).

Gold Filled Lobster Clasp

Gold Filled Lobster Clasp

This gold layer, although thin, is much harder wearing and substantial than any gold plating and can be hallmarked as such. Beaded wire and chain are just some of the jewellery making components which are available that can be made from gold filled metal.

It is vital that you know exactly what you are buying when purchasing precious metals, as mistakes can be costly and can lead to items being illegally sold – so make sure you research your products before committing and you won’t go far wrong.

Source link

How To Make Earring Backs

snipe nose pliers

Earring posts for jewellery making are a simple finding to start producing yourself. It’s easy to make them in bulk so that you have them to hand whenever you’re ready to bring all the elements of your designs together to make your own stud earrings. To help you kick start your earring making process, here’s our guide on how to make earring backs in two stages.

Here’s how to make earring backs by hand:

Stage One: How to make earring posts with silver wire

You’ll need:

  • Silver wire (0.8mm gauge)
  • Wire cutters
  • Snipe nose pliers
  • Flat file
  • Jeweller’s saw
  • Three square needle file

Prepping your silver wire

  • Take your 0.8mm gauge wire and snip off a 14mm length of wire using your wire cutters. At this stage you can cut multiple earring posts to save you time in the future when it comes to making stud earrings in bulk.
  • You may find that the silver wire bends a little as you handle it. If this happens you can take your snipe nose pliers to gently flatten and straighten out the wire. Try not to put too much pressure on the wire – you’ll want to guide it back into a straight post instead of flattening it down.
  • Now take your flat file and using a flat, forward motion, file the end of the wire that you’ve just cut so that it leaves you with a flush end to solder to your stud earring design. Use a little emery paper to finish this process and to make sure that the end that you’re going to solder is completely flat and flush.

Top tip: When working with such small jewellery findings you may benefit from steadying the earring post as you file. One simple way of doing this is using small notch in your bench peg to steady the earring post and keep it flat as you file. Remember that light pressure is all that’s needed as you don’t want to shorten the earring post by being too heavy handed.

flat file

Filing to a point

  • Once you’ve filed the end of the earring post flat, you can switch to the other end of the silver wire to gently file it to a point. Using your flat file, file the end using a forward motion to take that end to a point. Rotate the earring post 360 degrees to ensure you’ve filed evenly all the way around the end of the post. Once you’re happy with the pointed end that you’ve filed, gently file the very end of the point so that it becomes a little blunt – the last thing you want is for your earing posts to be too sharp! Finish with emery to ensure no snags are left behind.
  • Add a subtle dimple that will guide the earring back into place with a satisfying click. To do this, steady your earring post on your bench peg. Place your saw blade about 3mm from the pointed end of your earring post and with a very small amount of pressure, start to push your saw blade forward across this point of the post. (Use a forward motion so that the teeth of your saw blade are not cutting.)
  • Rotate the post as you saw using this forward motion. This will leave you with a subtle indentation that your earring back will sit in. To ensure the indentation you’ve made is neat and free from snags run a three-square needle file through the groove. This will deepen the indentation slightly making sure that your earring back nestles nicely in place.

Onto soldering….

Stage Two: How to solder earring posts

You’ll need:

  • Hand torch
  • Soldering block
  • Silver solder pallions
  • Flux and small paint brush
  • Reverse action tweezers
  • Additional set of tweezers

hand torch

Set up your workspace

  • Set up a safe environment where you can use your hand torch for soldering. Set up your soldering block a in clear space, tie back your hair and put on some protective eyewear.
  • Place your stud earring design face down on your soldering block and using your small paintbrush, add a small amount of flux solution to the back of your design as well as the flat end of your earring post.
  • Take your reverse action tweezers and place your earring post in its claws, holding it at the pointed end.
  • Rest the earring post by strategically placing your reverse action tweezers. Shift the position of the reverse action tweezers until you‘re happy that the flux on the stud design and the end of the post is neatly lined up.
  • With your reverse action tweezers set up and locked in place you now have a free hand to use another set of tweezers to add a small silver pallion to where the post meets the earring design.

It’s time to solder

  • Let’s start soldering! Switch on your hand torch and gently start heating the flux. You’ll notice that the pallion may move with the force of the flame, so use your free hand to take your second set of tweezers and put the pallion back into place.
  • As you heat the piece, the moisture will be drawn out of the flux and turn a white colour. Continue gently heating the area with an on and off motion. If your pallion moves simply shift back into place and continue heating.
  • With such a small amount of solder you’ll soon see a flash and the solder will run towards the heat. Keep this in mind as you heat the area because you’ll want the solder to run entirely through the seam leaving you with a strong solder joint.
  • Turn off the heat and quench your piece in a clean bowl of water. Pickle, clean up and add the earring back to your design!

Now you have the basics of earring making perfected there’s no end of designs you could produce. Pick up all of the jewellery tools and supplies you need to make your own stud earrings at Cooksongold today. From silver wire, to high quality hand files, and soldering kits – we have everything you need to produce professional stud earrings.

Source link

Choosing Wedding Jewellery for Bridesmaids

Sterling Silver Bracelet with Infinity Locator

Creating or buying jewellery for bridesmaids can be a tricky business. Regardless of the scale of a wedding, if there will be bridesmaids then there will undoubtedly be different ages, sizes, styles and characters to consider – and so if you are trying to achieve a uniform look, this can be a challenge!

To do this for bridesmaids, you could either decide on a colour or motif and then choose a selection of different jewellery styles to suit people based around that feature, OR choose classic and understated pieces that everyone can wear. For example, a pendant is a safe bet for all ages. Chains can be adjustable for all sizes, and shorter options can be purchased for children to wear. Earrings, on the other hand, are more difficult, as not everyone has pierced ears and you have to consider skin sensitivity that some people may have to certain metals. Also, the weight of earrings can be an issue for some; what is right for one person might be extremely uncomfortable for someone else.

Sterling Silver Bracelet with Infinity Locator (XBS 2036)

Our range of infinity themed pieces would make a great starting point for any bride wanting to choose from a suite of jewellery to suit all ages. The sentiment behind it is perfect for a wedding, and the range of designs available means there is something to suit all tastes.

Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Set Infinity Connector

Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Set Infinity Connector (NV1 545)

We also stock connectors in the same design, which could be used to connect a small chain for a child, hung as a pendant or even tied around a wrist with ribbon, whilst still keeping within a theme. You could add some beads to your connector too if you are looking to unify the look with both colour and design. The simple yet classic look of these connectors also means they can be a really great addition to jewellery for tricky bridesmaids!

Swarovski Crystal Bicone Beads

Swarovski Crystal Bicone Beads 

If you using colour as your unifying element in a wedding, Swarovski Crystal beads would make perfect bridesmaid accessories. They come in a wide range of styles, sizes and tones to match any theme, and would be gorgeous strung onto elastic to make bracelets which will please any flower girl.

Fresh Water Pearl and Crystal Necklet

Fresh Water Pearl and Crystal Necklet (VPS P303) 

For something with a more classic look, you really can’t go wrong with pearls and we have an extensive range of pearl jewellery to suit all styles. For example, our pearl and crystal necklet has just enough sparkle to make it really special without being too attention-grabbing, and can be easily teamed with a pair of simple pearl or crystal studs for those with pierced ears – yet are impactful enough as stand-alone pieces for those without.

Swarovski Crystal Pearls

Swarovski Crystal Pearls

On the other hand, if you would prefer to create your own piece of pearl jewellery, our selection of Swarovski Crystal pearls are available in a variety of colours and sizes. This means you have plenty of choice when it comes to making handmade jewellery for bridesmaids.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for finished jewellery or components to create bridesmaid jewellery yourself, as you will find a wide selection of products to choose from at Cooksongold. Explore our range today and make sure you are prepared for wedding season or even your own big day.

Source link

A Guide to Jewellery Tool Kits for Beginners

Beginner’s Tool Kit

Buying a ready-made tool kit can be a great way to equip you with the basic tools needed to start making jewellery, or even replace tools you may have had in your workshop for some time.

In our range of jewellery tools, for instance, we offer many kits to choose from which all have been put together by experts who know exactly what you are going to need. You can also expect a considerable cost saving when buying your tools as part of a kit as opposed to buying each item separately, so it’s well worth considering one of these kits if you have multiple products to purchase.

But Which Jewellery Tool Kit Should I Buy?

This is where it gets a little trickier! To help you with this difficult decision-making process we have put together the following handy YouTube video, which talks you through each of our jewellery tool kits piece by piece, allowing you to view each item much more closely before buying.

We have also put together the simple tick list comparison chart below which will enable you to see at a glance which kit contains what tools, along with the product code for reference:

Product Code 997 1001 997 1002 997 1003 997 1005
Name Beginners Tool Kit Student Starter Kit Workbench

Tool Kit

University Student Tool Kit
Tool Box Y Y Y
Saw Y Y Y Y
Extra Blades Y Y Y
File Y Y Y
File Handle Y Y Y
Needle Files Y Y Y Y
Hammer Y Y
Raw Hide Mallet Y
Flux Y
Metal Ruler Y Y Y Y
Steel Square Y
Dividers Y
Digital Vernier Gauge Y
Metal Tweezers Y
Reverse Action Tweezers Y
Soldering Torch
Soldering Block Y
Honeycomb Board Y
Scriber Y Y Y Y
Emery Sticks Y Y Y Y
Pliers Y Y Y Y
Metal Shears Y
Bench Anvil Y
Bench Peg Y Y
Binding Wire Y
Centre Punch Y

Here is a little more information on each of the kits, to give you a helping hand in selecting the right one for you and your workspace:

Beginner’s Tool Kit

As a rough guide we would suggest the basic Beginners Tool Kit for anyone curious about making jewellery, but is a little unsure. This kit will enable you to mark out, saw pierce and shape sheet metal and wire. It also contains a small jobbing hammer which could be used for riveting and other cold fixing processes.

Student Starter Kit

Student Starter Kit

The next step up from the basic tool kit is the Student Starter Kit, which essentially gives you a full-size file and a toolbox in addition to everything contained in the beginners kit (with the exception of the hammer). Obviously, a larger file means you can work on bigger pieces and remove material more efficiently, plus you get the toolbox to keep everything in.

Workbench Tool Kit

Workbench Tool Kit

One step up from this student kit is the Workbench Tool Kit, which contains an additional bench peg and anvil – so it does indeed equip your workshop as well as your set of jewellery tools as the name suggests. It is the perfect kit for those who are new to jewellery making and are looking for a comprehensive set of essential tools to get started.

University Student Tool Kit

University Student Tool Kit

Finally, the crème de la crème is the University Student Tool Kit which literally covers all bases, and includes almost everything available in the workbench tool kit along with additional hammers, tweezers, a vernier gauge and more. However, it is worth pointing out that whilst this kit includes soldering equipment too, it doesn’t contain the torch itself – so this will need to be purchased separately in addition to extra saw blades which are also not included.

Whichever jewellery tool kit you decide to go for, you can be sure that each contains a set of high-quality tools and equipment for jewellery makers. Not only that, they are all conveniently put together in a handy kit so you can take the headache out of kitting out your workspace.

Need to equip your workshop with the essentials for a particular jewellery making technique instead?

Our extensive selection of tool kits for jewellers also includes sets which are ideal for those who are looking for the tools required for soldering, polishing, beading and more – no matter whether you are a beginner jewellery maker or a more experienced jeweller who wants to refresh their used tools.

Source link

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas 2019

Sterling Silver Heart and Star Design Three Stacking Rings

The race is now on to bag that last minute Valentine’s Day gift. To give you a helping hand, let us guide you through some items from our range so you can make sure you are well prepared when it comes to giving a special gift to a loved one on Valentine’s Day this year.

Sterling Silver Heart and Star Design Three Stacking Rings, Size O (VRS 222O) 

First up are the beautiful tri-colour stacking rings above, which are stylish but fun and extremely on-trend, but best of all they don’t look like an engagement ring! 14th February can be fraught with danger for anyone with an expectant other half, but you will have no worries on that front with these pretty rings which are gold plated, rose gold plated and sterling silver.

Swarovski Pack of 2 Heart Beads, Crystal Rainbow Dark

Swarovski Pack of 2 Heart Beads, Crystal Rainbow Dark (62SW H36X) 

Our beautiful Swarovski Crystal heart-shaped beads can make a truly versatile gift. You could try hanging them in a window to catch the light, or equally they can be worn as a pendant or earrings with the addition of a jump ring or bail. Either way, you can rest assured that when buying Swarovski Crystal beads you are buying a high-quality product, so these are a sure bet when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts.

Heart Template with Classic Heart Shapes

Heart Drawing Template with Classic Heart Shapes (997 515) 

If you are planning on designing your own Valentine’s Day card or gifts for some this year, then you might be interested in our classic heart drawing template which will guarantee accuracy every time. Featuring 5 different heart styles in a selection of graduated sizes, the template in itself may well also provide you with some design inspiration if you are struggling!

Knot Cuff Link Rhodium Plated Brass

Knot Cufflinks, Rhodium Plated Brass (X2A 102)

Should the special someone in your life be a bit more romantic, why not treat them to some cufflinks? The cufflinks shown above feature an especially romantic twist in the form of a subtle love knot, and look much more expensive than they actually are which is a win-win situation. Simply pop them into one of our many cufflink boxes and you are good to go.

Sterling Silver Pendant Long Dog Tag

Sterling Silver Pendant, Long Dog Tag (VPS 2044)

Finally, our range of dog tags are an ideal blank canvas for the engraving of a special date or personal message to your loved one – making them a truly unique and individual gift. The slimline dog tag above in particular is a little more understated and considerably more contemporary. It also comes highly polished and measures approximately 32mm x 8.1mm x 1.1mm, so is by no means a flimsy piece. A chain is not included with any of our dog tags, but don’t worry as we have plenty to choose from to suit every taste.

So, whether you are making a Valentine’s Day gift for someone special this year or simply want to buy a piece which is ready to present, you can be sure to find what you are looking for in our range of finished jewellery and jewellery making supplies.

Source link

How to Use Halo Earring Settings

halo setting

What is a Halo Setting?

For anyone not familiar with a halo design, its defining feature is a decorative ring of metal which surrounds a stone setting, often making it look much bigger and giving it a greater presence.

The halo itself is not functional, but it usually contains a functional element such as a claw to secure a stone. Halos come in many different forms; some plain, some patterned, but are most commonly stone set so there are plenty to choose from. They are also not limited to being simply rounded. The idea is to mimic the shape of the central stone, so they can be cushion shaped, square or even heart or marquise shaped – there are many, many different possibilities.

What are Halo Earring Settings?

For the purposes of this article, we are focusing on lightweight halo earring settings which are part of Cooksongold’s range of earring findings and allow you to create delicate earring styles with your choice of centre stone.

finished halo earring settings

They are available in a selection of alloys including 9 carat white and yellow gold, as well as 18 carat white and yellow gold, and sizes range from 3mm – 6mm so a wide range of styles are covered.

How to Set a Stone in a Halo Earring Setting

To take a closer look at these settings and how to use them, watch the following video and discover just how simple these settings are to work with, and how quickly gemstones can be set in them with only a few pieces of stone setting equipment.

By clamping your halo earring setting into a ring clamp like the one featured in the video, you are securing it ready to apply the pressure needed to push over the prongs which secure the stone. Simply follow the below steps to produce your own earrings featuring these settings:

1. Slide the halo earring setting into the clamp, so that the back of the claw is resting on the top and make sure it is secure.

2. Take the correct sized stone (see chart below) and position into the mount, ensuring it is level.

Setting Size (mm) Gemstone Size (mm) Gemstone Weight (carat)
3mm halo earring setting 3mm facetted stone 0.10ct stone
4mm halo earring setting 4mm facetted stone 0.25ct stone
5mm halo earring setting 5mm facetted stone 0.50ct stone
6mm halo earring setting 6mm facetted stone 0.75ct stone

4. Take your pusher and gently push over one of the claws until it is resting on top of the stone. You will need to rest your clamp against the edge of your bench or on your bench peg whilst you do this.

5. Turn the setting round, and push over the claw which is directly opposite the first one which should level out the stone.

6. Continue with this process until all four of the claws are pushed over and the stone is secure.

Choosing the Right Earring Backs

It is worth noting that all of our lightweight halo earring settings are sold singularly and without scrolls, so don’t forget to double up when you order and remember to add the corresponding scroll backs (product codes NBL 007, NCL 007, NNL 007 and NPL 007) as well to ensure you have everything to complete your earring design.

earring scrolls

If you are nervous about stone setting, these halo earring settings are a great place to start as they suit all skill levels and require very few jewellery making tools to produce a finished design. As they are lightweight too, they are relatively inexpensive meaning you don’t have to worry about wasting too much money should you make a mistake – although these particular settings are extremely straightforward and simple to work with, so mistakes are highly unlikely! Why not explore our full range today, give them a try and let us know what you create?

Source link

What Is Onyx Gemstone?

onyx gemstone

Curious about the onyx gemstone? Here’s everything you need to know about onyx, its properties, and how to recognise a real black onyx gemstone from the rest.

What is onyx stone?

Onyx is a variety of stone that comes from Chalcedony. Chalcedony is a silicate mineral, mostly made of calcite (similar to marble and granite) and it usually features contrasting layers of colour.

What does onyx look like?

Most people associate onyx gemstones with a jet black colour with some contrasting white layered bands. However, onyx is also found in brown, red and white variations. Brown and white onyx is usually referred to as sardonyx, while the red and white variation is recognised as cornelian onyx.

All forms of onyx gemstone feature multiple layers, with the lighter layer of stone sitting on top of the darker layer. This property has, historically, made onyx a popular stone to use for engraving techniques as well as producing cameos, where a raised relief is produced to form a design that is lighter than the layer it sits on.

What is onyx made of?

Onyx is naturally formed from calcite in caves around the world when water drips and evaporates from the ends of stalagmites and stalactites. Once it evaporates, it leaves behind traces of minerals and calcium carbonate which causes its intricate bands of varying colours. The bands of colour are produced with alternating silica minerals – quartz and morganite – and leave behind bands that lie parallel to one another. This tends to be why agate is often mistaken for onyx, as it is formed in the same way. However, the layers produced when agate forms are not parallel. Instead, the alternating bands are produced in a more dramatically curved formation.

Where does onyx come from?

Onyx is mined from several countries around the world including:

  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Botswana
  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan
  • Yemen

Onyx is also mined in some areas in the US.

What are the properties of onyx?

The properties of onyx include: 

Chemical Formula: SiO2
Mohs Hardness: 6.5-7
Density: 2.58-2.65
Refractive Index: 1.530-1.540
Luster: Vitreous

What is black onyx?

Black onyx is often the most well-known variation of the onyx gemstone. It’s a form of onyx that has a black base and white bands that sit parallel across the top surface of the stone.

onyx gemstone

What does raw black onyx look like?

Raw black onyx is usually not completely black. It can appear brown/greyish and sometimes dark green in colour when found in its natural state. But it appears black because it’s so deep in colour and opaque. That’s why a lot of jewelers tend to use a form of chalcedony that has been dyed black to get that deep, jet black that consumers are looking for, instead of slight hues of green and brown.

Raw black onyx is incredibly difficult to come by as it is a lot easier for suppliers to mine red and brown onyx and then dye it black. So be careful when it comes to buying onyx. If buying real black onyx is a must for you, you’ll need to have the knowledge to differentiate between what’s real and what has been dyed black. If you don’t have the experience to make out the difference between a real black onyx stone and one that has been treated, you may want to get in touch with an experienced gemologist to identify the stones for you.

In the industry many jewelers will use a dyed black agate stone or other common black stones such as black spinel, or jade and call it onyx. So, make sure that you trust your supplier’s knowledge, especially if using ethically sourced materials is a large part of how you work.

Is black onyx valuable?

Due to its rarity, black onyx can be expensive. If it’s identified by a gemologist as real, naturally occurring black onyx then it can be incredibly valuable. However, dyed onyx is very affordable to work with and can add a unique look to your designs without having to source more valuable stones such as black diamonds.

What is black onyx good for?

In the jewellery industry, black onyx is often used to create smooth cabochon stones for use in rings and pendants. Due to its smooth, glossy lustre, it’s a great stone to set with silver or gold pieces, and as it’s reasonably inexpensive to stock up on it makes for a popular choice among jewellers and consumers.

Where can I buy onyx stones?

We have a range of pre-cut onyx gemstones at Cooksongold. Check out the varied sizes and shapes available in opaque black and with varying banding detail. With our pre-cut onyx stones, it’s simple to add them to your pendant, ring or bracelet designs. Want to add an intricate design to your setting too? Take a look at our range of gallery strip for a different take on your latest stone set designs.

Source link

Your Guide To The Best Drill Bits For Metal

metal drill bit

Starting out in the jewellery making industry can be challenging, but if you’re equipped with the right tools to create original, statement pieces, it becomes a whole lot easier.

That’s why we’ve put together a simple guide to choosing the best drill bits for metal jewellery. There are different touches you can give your jewellery using metal drill bits, depending on the style and finish you’re hoping to create. Read on to discover more.

Different drill bit sizes

The best drill bits for metal jewellery can vary depending on size. Whether you’re creating larger holes in a cuff, or perhaps a daintier rivet hole in a bracelet, choosing the correct drill bit sizes goes a long way to achieving the desired result.

We stock metal drill bits in a variety of sizes. Our Busch Shank Drill 0.5mm enables you to drill smaller holes, for more delicate requirements, or even surface patterns.

For larger, thicker gauge jewellery pieces, a bigger drill bit size may be necessary. If you’re making a set of chunky metal bangles and you want holes for beadwork, a Busch Shank Drill 1.5mm may be more appropriate.

Different drill bit types for metal

Another way to choose the best drill bits for metal jewellery creation is to consider the different types.

Not only do drill bits come in different sizes with varying millimetre thicknesses, they can also have several other differentiating properties. We’ve listed some of these below:

  • Compositionthe harder the material you work with, the harder your drill bit should be. Some of our drill bits are constructed from high speed steel rather than regular steel, which makes them last longer and able to withstand high temperatures.
  • Twisted Drill twisted drill bits are typically the same thickness from shank through to drill tip, offering a sturdy drilling experience and the chance to drill further than a shanked drill.
  • Pearl drills if you’re creating a piece of metal jewellery that features pearls, you may consider using a pearl drill. These are specially designed to stop the nacre from chipping when you drill pearls, enabling you to create your desired piece without destroying your materials.
  • Diamond Twist Drill – If you’re working with gemstones or even glass a diamond twist drill is ideal. Coated in diamond, these drills are ideal for drilling small holes in gemstones for jewellery applications and perfect for drilling holes in glass.

HSS drill bits for metal

One type of drill bit we mentioned above are drills with a twisted shape. Typically, these are HSS (high-speed steel) twisted drills and they’re designed to broaden your cutting landscape.

The high speed and harder composition means these drill bits can withstand high temperatures during jewellery making and are ideal for using with materials other than metal. Hardwood, glass, shell and stone are some of the materials you may want to experiment with.

Diamond drill bits

Our diamond drill bits are designed to drill materials like stone, as the cutting end is typically coated in tiny diamond pieces.

diamond drill bit

This allows for a more aggressive cut, but in most stone drilling scenarios you’d need lubrication. Diamond drill bits aren’t designed for cutting further than the cutting end, but they’re able to cut through harder materials.

Tools to use drill bits with

You can use your metal drill bits with many of our drills, including the Foredom Pendant Motor Sr Jewellers Kit Quick Release System. Unlock power and performance while you work with this kit, allowing you to master control with an easy handpiece and foot pedal. Whether you’re drilling larger holes with thicker drill bits or you’re attempting an intricate design, the Foredom Pendant Motor SR Jewellers Kit can help you develop your technique.

Take a look at our other pendant drills and choose from handpieces, multi-systems and other accessories to accompany your drill bit kits, ensuring the drill bits fit the collet.

A lubricant will need to be used – Burr Life (998 021) to help it drill and also prolongs the life of the drill bit.

Why would you need metal drill bits?

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to use your drill bits for, we’ve come up with a couple of examples for you to get started with.

1. Sawing a pattern

You may want to create an intricate pattern on a pendant, ring or other piece of statement jewellery. The easiest and most accurate way to do this is to use a saw blade and saw frame, allowing you to cut and shape your jewellery and achieve the look you want.

You’ll need to drill a hole through your metal to get started. The hole must be large enough to fit the saw through, so depending on the size you’re using, you may want to consider different drill bit sizes.

2. Adding jump rings and chains to pendants

Finished creating a statement pendant? You may need to attach a jump ring to loop a chain through, or you may choose to loop the chain through the pendant without a jump ring. Whatever the case, you’ll need to use a drill bit to create the hole for this.

Find the best drill bits for metal jewellery creations today

Now you’ve got some examples to work with, and more information on drill bits and their uses, why not check out our selection of drill bits and get started today? It doesn’t matter if your first go doesn’t work – it’s all about experimenting and developing your personal technique. Read our Beginner’s Guides to find out more about different jewellery tools, materials and inspiration.

Source link

Designer of the Month: Annamarie McHugh

enamel leaf pendant

A variety of materials go into the pieces made by Annamarie, including silver and enamel, with the designs in her handmade jewellery collection being inspired mainly by fantasy and faeries. In the following Designer of the Month interview, we spoke to her about her background, what she has learnt from her time as a jeweller and more…

Let us know a bit about yourself, detailing your background, study and training in the jewellery making industry.

My working background is within the corporate sector. However, I’ve been making jewellery as a hobby for many years – beadwork, wire work and simple silver designs, but there is only so many presents you can give to the same people over and over! In 2015 I tried to start my current jewellery business whilst still working full time in order to minimise the risk of a new enterprise. However, the nature of my work and the hours were not conducive to any consistent or sustainable outcomes for my little enterprise. So, in mid-2017 I left my role as Operations Director to finally pursue my passion full-time and Jewellery by Annamarie was born. Not sure whether my subsequent conversion to vegetarianism was an ethical decision or a consequential financial one!

Anyway, as I have been making jewellery for years I am largely self-taught but have augmented this with part-time courses at the Birmingham School of Jewellery and the Midlands Art Centre, concentrating primarily on traditional silversmithing techniques and stone setting.

Tell us about your work – are there any particular materials or techniques that you favour?

This is where I am going to make an effort to be concise as I love learning new skills and having my work evolve with them, and so could go on and on. The challenge is to stick to my business plan and know that there will be new collections to come, with which I can incorporate more and more techniques.

I love reticulating silver and predict that featuring in a future collection.

I love silver and gold – in the form of wire, sheet and metal clay. One thing that excites me is the symbiotic potential of using all three mediums to make something beautiful, detailed and unique.

I also love colour, and have started using vitreous enamel. Whilst my current work is predominantly silver, future collections will incorporate more colour and when I have the money I will hopefully be booking myself onto a course with Ruth Ball.

How would you best describe your design style?

Away with the faeries! Just joking.

I think that style is innate – some more distinctive than others – but this means that whatever you make, it is in your own style.

The type of jewellery I make is mainly whimsical – some of which is detailed and smaller pieces a little more simple.  I make faery houses and doors and little toadstools – some not so little! Tiny little toadstool house charms hanging from mirror finished bangles and earrings in the shape of a rolled newspaper engraved with the words Faery News.

toadstool charm

I am currently working on a new collection, Ould Man Oak, which will include oak leaves, a green man, acorns and little green gemstones – a mixture of Peridot and Chrome Diopside. They will be ready for the British Craft Trade Fair at the start of April.

As a jewellery maker, where do you like to get your inspiration from for your pieces?

My inspiration is mainly drawn from nature and my imagination – which is a place of magic and fantasy. I am a prolific reader and, amongst others, one genre constant is that of fantasy…this also feeds my imagination.

That being said, the shape or flow of a piece can be influenced by the curve of a railing which catches my eye or a Christmas bauble – so there is magic to be had everywhere.

Do you have a piece that you have made which you favour or are particularly proud of?

I oscillate between love of every piece I do and hyper-criticism which renders none of them any good. I’m sure other designer makers go through similar emotions…or at least I hope I’m not the only one!

If I have to choose one, it is probably the first faerie house on which I used a little vitreous enamel – I think the colour made it ‘pop’ a little. The house has a leaf roof and the use of transparent enamel allows the natural leaf vein structure to remain visible through the colour. The little toadstool on the doorstep has a door and window to house a tiny family of sprites and is highlighted with opaque red enamel. The house (pendant) hangs low on a substantial chain which avoids being chunky with the use of various chain types, little beads of Peridot and chalcedony and small silver pieces; flowers, a dragonfly and butterfly.

toadstool house

What is the one item in your jewellery making workshop that you could not live without?

Hmmm…just 1?

Well, if I can have only one it will have to be my polishing motor – both my Dremel and my stand-alone motor. Oops…did I sneak in 2 there?

There are so many tools that I can’t do without. However, these tools save me so much time when sanding fiddly little areas, in polishing or frosting. I am currently thinking about buying a new pendant motor tool ‘just in case’ because if anything happened to my Dremel, I would be hard pushed waiting for a replacement to arrive.

What upcoming trends do you see being popular soon?

I think CAD is becoming more prevalent and also more acceptable. By that, I mean that it is becoming accepted by designer/hand makers as a way of augmenting some designs, but not taking the place of the bench work that is so loved.

I also think that metal clay, whilst it has been around for over 10 years, is now becoming more popular with jewellers who appreciate the quality of what can be achieved. More makers now see it as another medium rather than a pseudo product.

With regards to what is selling – anything with a nature theme seems to be eternally popular. The latest fashion editorials have predicted that big, statement jewellery will be the pick of 2019, with colourful and quirky jewellery being a hit. I hope so, as this would suit my work…I don’t make many huge statement pieces but I make very few tiny pieces and most of my work is definitely quirky.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from your time in the jewellery making industry?


You know that old chestnut…’Fail to plan and you plan to fail.’

toadstool on chain

There’s a balance to be had between artistic pursuit and business plan outcomes. I can easily be drawn away to try new ideas and techniques – some of which come to fruition and others which…don’t! This is where the balance comes in.

I would happily pursue every appealing design thought that pops into my head and if I see an Andrew Berry YouTube video, I just want to get on with trying out a new technique straight away. I think it’s important to make time for this because it can lead to good things, but it’s a balancing act.  I always ask myself – does it contribute to this year’s business plan? What outcome will be achieved? How will it benefit?

Of course, it may not contribute or add value straight away, but I look at the potential, either immediate or long term, and plan accordingly. Well, that’s the plan! And, I do my best to stick to it.

Do you have any particular advice that you would give to up and coming jewellery designers, or someone interested in getting into jewellery making?

Write down a little reminder of something that puts a smile on your face or a feeling of joy/pride/success in your heart. Keep it near. When times are tough – look at it and keep going.

Listen to the valuable advice of others but only take on board that which fits with your journey and strengthens your plan….it can be easy to lose your way…so when you have your nose to the grindstone, working hard, lift your head regularly to check you’re going in the right direction.

Give it time – it won’t happen overnight, just believe in yourself and your product.

…and finally, time for a bit of fun in our quick-fire round! Tell us your favourite…

…drink – pina colada

…book – Lord of the Rings

…gemstone – Peridot

…sport – swimming

…animal – wolf

For more details on Annamarie’s work, you can visit her website, or feel free to check out her Facebook page, Twitter profile or her Instagram page.

Source link