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Beading Blog - July 2007

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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A sort of relevant post in the Beauty & Fashion Blog...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, July 31, 2007 at 2:24 PM (Pacific)

The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: Fashion notes: making your own jewelry

I'm starting to get back into jewelry-making mode. Today I ordered a catalog from a supplier I've had my eye on for months. They carry the (oddly rare) 14/10 goldfilled wire I'd like to try, also I've heard they carry argentium sterling silver (which I've converted to). As well as other kinds of wire and findings.

I've concluded that the kind of wire you use is crucial. Many, many suppliers sell it, at all levels of quality and price. In the beginning, you probably should use cheaper wire, since you don't know what you're doing. Once you have a better grasp, I think it's well to invest in better wire.

That said, I'm not going back and redoing any of my regular sterling pieces, or stuff made with the odd 12KT goldfilled. (Really, I'm dying of curiosity, is that 14/10 better than 14/20? worth the extra bucks?) A piece, once I'm happy with it, becomes permanent, as if someone else had made's a solidified piece of time, a tangible monument of sorts.

Oh well, waiting for the catalog now. :)


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posted by Colleen Shirazi, July 22, 2007 at 12:14 PM (Pacific)

I saw part of a very nice documentary on Deutsche Welle tv the other day. When I went to the Deutsche Welle website, I couldn't find anything about the was about a Russian woman blacksmith. Apparently there aren't that many female blacksmiths, at least not in Russia, and this one was using something called Damascus steel to make swords and knives.

I dunno, I just liked it. They showed this...block of layers of the Damascus steel, about six layers. She would heat it, hammer it, double it a pastry dough, it kept getting more and more layers of steel. Finally the steel was twisted, which produced a unique pattern in the finished knife, so no two knives produced this way were alike. It's an expensive piece, the price quoted for a knife was around $10,000 US. But in all likelihood, you're thinking, it is an eternal piece. Hard to imagine it ever breaking. :)

In one part, she said the knife knew the mood of the knife-maker; a good mood while making the knife, produced a good knife. She added that cursing while making the knife was not good...knives hate it when you curse.

lol! She had a point about the mood! About the cursing though, that's got to be a natural part of making jewelry, if not of making knives. I'll have to try it out next time, making a piece of jewelry without cursing. Hmmm... I'll let you know how it works out.


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posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 11:43 AM (Pacific)

Okay, I've decided where to buy my wire from. They don't etail, so I have to get a catalog.

Wire is key...I'm a convert to argentium silver. Rings 'n' Things has it (in more tempers and gauges than before), but they don't have the kind of goldfilled wire I want. I'd like to try 14/10.

I have some ideas for earring designs I'd like to make with 18KT gold wire. I'm going to try them out with the argentium first (since I can wear argentium silver earring wires).


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posted by Colleen Shirazi, July 21, 2007 at 6:39 PM (Pacific)

Went to the Gem Faire in San Rafael today. In a sense, I had to go, since I needed some freshwater pearl strands.

I'll have to admit, it was a bit disappointing...the prices seemed to have gone up, the selection wasn't as good as some other shows I'd been to. Still it is always worth going to these things. I got a bunch of pearls, finally...after traversing the entire floor what felt like three times, looking for a good price.

Along with these, I visited my favorite merchant, based in Castro Valley. They've been at every Gem Faire I've attended (three in total) and I've always bought from them. This time I got a strand of chunky aquamarine...I've been trying to develop a really nice aquamarine piece. It's not as easy as it looks. Also, two strands of similarly chunky citrine.

I washed the aquamarine as soon as I got home, wondering if the color would come out (aquamarine is so often dyed), but it's still nice and blue. :)

It occurred to me, I've developed better taste in beads. It's easier for me now to know what not to buy, and what is worth paying a bit more for. It takes time.

Next step...I will need to buy some wire. I have an idea where I want to buy it, but they don't sell online, I'd have to order a catalog. I mean I can do it, but it's an extra step...for people who aren't making jewelry specifically as a business, but are trying to fit it into whatever they're already doing, it's almost worth paying more to be able to put together the order online.

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posted by Colleen Shirazi, July 15, 2007 at 10:38 PM (Pacific)

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. We're overhauling the entire site of The Lipstick Page Forums. Currently we're doing the product reviews section; the blog and forums are finished.

I haven't dropped the idea of making jewelry by any means. I do need to order some "some," I mean a lot of wire. I have only a small amount left.

In a way it's been good taking a break. I did the same thing last can be an intense experience, making jewelry, and it can get to be expensive too. It's good to step back once in a while.


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