I love my necklaces small and simple, so mini solitaire necklaces featuring a single drop of colorful gemstone are just my style. Plus, I enjoy making that little coiled bail top on briolettes — there is something extremely gratifying in topping little briolettes off this way. :-) There is no shortage of briolette stones in my possession for these projects, of course, and in time I will be rolling them out in a necklace form.

As a starter, I have a few mini solitaire necklaces ready to be listed in my Etsy store. Some are in 14k gold-filled and others are in the usual oxidized sterling silver. Enjoy! ( continued… )

My silver-loving customers, of which there are many, don’t need to worry about a thing: the rustic beauty of oxidized silver is not lost on me (NEVER!). :-) I have a few new silver pieces coming up in my Etsy store. Additionally, most gold designs of mine can be made in silver, although the other direction does not work too often. So if a customer of mine sees some design in gold and would rather like it in silver, she can always ask me. (Please do!)

There are many pieces featuring labradorite. My suppliers have been doing a superb job luring me with their exquisite labradorite acquisitions. It’s one stone that is super hard to purchase online, since the chatoyancy of the stone is difficult to accurately represent in photos. I am very lucky in that regard to have such wonderful brick-and-mortar stores right in the city.

Enough with words… here they are. Enjoy! ( continued… )

It’s the beginning of another year, looking sharp, whole and pristine. It’s tugging at me to make a fresh new set of resolutions. So here we go. I would like the year 2008 to be known as the year that I finally tamed my gemstone buying habits.

As much as I take jewelry making seriously, it is still a hobby to me. While my Etsy shop has been a huge blessing, the downside of having a successful selling outlet for me is that it becomes an enabler (”Oh it’s ok to pick up this exquisite and very expensive strand of gemstone because I will sell jewelry made with it and recoup the cost in no time!“). Well, 2007 saw more than enough enabling action, and my gemstone inventory is about to bring on a landslide. So this year, I will:

  • For whole 4 months from January till the end of April, I will not make any gemstone purchases. An exception is noted below.
  • Occasional gemstone purchases are allowed on a limited basis: they are to be budgeted within the $ amount made from DESTASHING my current gemstone stock in my DollarBeads store.
After April, I will re-assess my jewelry expenditure and set new goals for the coming months. Hopefully, my self-control will have proven strong enough to be entrusted with a larger and more flexible budget for gemstone purchases.

That was a short-term goal, but I also have a more permanent new policy to declare. I discovered that more than anything else I need to keep under control my urges to go out and “buy more”. This is how it goes usually. I make a new design and list it for sale on Etsy. Then I immediately run and order/buy more of the components used in the design. This I do even when I have plenty of spare components in stock! Well, yes, when I have just finished a new design, I am so in love with it that I am convinced it will fly off the shelf, exhausting remaining parts in no time. This is my brain talking while high on creative pleasure! From now on, I will WAIT until that design SELLS and brings some cash in my pocket before putting out an order for more components.

Those are my resolutions for the year 2008. I wish all my customers and jewelry-making colleagues a happy, beautiful and balanced year! And oh, if you are a jewelry maker, please look out for awesome gemstone destash sales in my DollarBeads store — chances are I will be desperate for those sales. :-)

I remember some years ago thinking to myself “What is she thinking???” when Dana Kellin went gold. And then, after all this time, it suddenly caught up on me: I am officially going through a gold phase. I have long been suspecting that silver isn’t the right match to transparent gems such as topaz, clear quartz and all other more expensive kinds of stones. Gold does a much better job.

There are, however, problems with gold: (1) 14k gold filled is virtually unknown in Korean jewelry market, which makes it harder for me to come by, (2) 14k gold-filled findings are pretty limited in terms of designs and variety in the first place, (3) I have come to dislike vermeil silver, which is not at all pretty when tarnished, and (4) I am not yet ready to go all the way to solid gold. And a rather tangential issue: pictures of my gold pieces always seemed to come out lacking somehow, which I think came mostly from my old photo setups flattering more to silver than to gold. (This is one of the reasons behind my recent photo overhaul — see previous post.)

After giving it some thought, I decided to adopt gold-plated sterling silver. As explained in this earlier post of mine, the Korean jewelry industry has embraced all sorts and manners of “x-plated sterling silver”, where “x” can be brass, gun-metal, gold, platinum, copper, etc. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but once I did, it opened up a whole new world of design possibilities. Unlike vermeil, gold-plated sterling silver is much more resistant to tarnishing, which makes it more safe to mix with 14k gold-filled components.

So here they are, my latest creations in glorious gold. If they are not in my Etsy store, they will be soon. Enjoy! ( continued… )

The year 2007 is almost over! A whole month and another near-month came and went without a new blog post. You might have noticed that shop-keeping efforts to my Etsy shop were minimal during that time. There were some distractions: I moved mid-November to a new place, and I started out at a new job at the same time. However, the real big reason for this recent hiatus was, I think, my subconscious fear of the biggest shopping season of the year. With the recent big changes in my life, I just didn’t feel up to dealing with the mad pressure that is the Christmas shopping season. So, now, with the frenzy officially over and my audience much calmer, I resume my jewelry making and shop tending activities in a leisurely manner. :-)

And the new awakening is accompanied by some fresh new looks: I have been experimenting with new photo styles. The time for new photos was ripe. There is a roaster of photo setups that I have been using in most of my shoots: one involves a natural wood piece as a background, another with dark stone slate, and another stone background with a golden brown tone. Some lovely shots have been produced in these setups, but there were some things that warranted an overhaul. ( continued… )

It is time…! I have long been promising myself a SALE, which I kept putting off. Well, I’ve been distracted lately — after a long break from work, I have recently found a new job (hurray!). It is a research position, but I got some teaching duties too so here’s keeping fingers crossed that it won’t distract me too much from making lots and lots of jewelry. :-) Anyways, the time is right for me to have a sale! It’s been a couple months since I made my last email announcement to my mailing list subscribers, and apparently that got some folks wondering “Is this thing still on?”. So if you’re a subscriber, watch out for an announcement in your box — it will be there very soon!

With the exception of my pompom earrings, I haven’t been using leverback earwires much in my designs. I love their functionality and looks, and I know that many customers prefer them on account of the extra security they provide. It’s just that attaching a drop to a leverback earwire always seemed to create a disjointed look between the two components due to the way leverbacks are shaped, which tends to leave the overall design looking unfinished. Recently I have been discovering many creative uses for Hill Tribe silver printed rings (such as in this bracelet), and they came in handy again this time. Simply placing a couple of them atop a gemstone dangle gives a leverback earring a cover-up and a touch of re-enforcement at the attachment spot while adding a decorative element. I went ahead and made quite a few variations of this design.   ( continued… )
My focus has been on making bigger, complex pieces lately, and the staples of my jewelry line have been neglected as a result: affordable, everyday silver earrings with rustic appeal. Strangely enough, I realized that this cool period came from… fatigue from making my own earwires. :-) Apparently, I spend too much mental energy on getting every detail and especially the contours of my earwires right. Luckily, once I got back into the mood I was rolling out new earwires and designs in no time.

For some reason I have long had this aversion to carrying variations of the same design in my shop. It somehow felt indecisive as a designer to make available essentially the same design only with different gemstones, when I should be offering one and only version of a design, painstakingly refined to perfection! Haha… Well, I decided to get off the rather maniacal high horse and try offering design series. After all, it would be good to give customers some choices as to their preferred gemstones and color schemes. I have conjured up a couple of “lines” here.   ( continued… )

I love making wire-wrapped rings. I am not as widely known for rings as other Etsy sellers such as starrydesigns and farafield, but I have had a fair share of successful ring designs of my own:
Most of them are set for retirement, so I wanted to come up with some fresh new ring designs. There are standard-sized stones that can easily be wrapped and turned into a ring, but I always felt that the center stone of a ring needs to pack a little more “punch”. The fine faceting and organic inclusions in the Aquamarine Ring make for that punch, and so does the disco-ball look on the multi faceting of the prehnite stone. This time, I wanted to use some interesting-looking free-form nugget stones. The advantage is that the resulting rings have the unique, one-of-a-kind quality; the downside is of course that these rings become limited edition, and might require individual photo shoots, which adds to the price. ( continued… )
As a designer, I go through a phase every once in a while where I am hooked on a certain design element. Flowers are, for me, not one of them: it seems that I am perennially in the state of being hooked on them. :-) Thai silver flower charms and beads have always been my favorite thing to work with; I am also always on the lookout for flower-shaped gemstone beads with high-quality and detailed carving.

Continuing from my last designs of rose branch earrings, I created three additional earring pieces designed around rose blossoms. There are also a couple bracelets and a necklace featuring Thai silver flower components. Continue reading below for larger pictures!

( continued… )

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