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Are those Cabochons natural or man-made?

Is It Natural or Man-Made? I’m often asked this question concerning the Cabochons and faceted gemstones in my jewelry. Here are a few things to consider.

What makes something natural? Think of the things that come directly from the environment. Air, water, and soil are resources that exist in nature. People cannot make natural resources.

People can change natural resources. Something created by a person that does not occur naturally in the environment is man-made. Let’s see if we can decide what is natural and what is man-made.

Take a walk outside. Breathe in the fresh air and look around. Do you see any trees?

The air is natural and so are the trees. People use the trees to make new things. Trees are cut down to make lumber to build houses. We can also change trees into paper. Paper and lumber are man-made.

When you visit the beach, you can feel the sand between your toes. Nobody makes the sand, it occurs naturally in the environment. Some people use the sand to make glass bottles or jars. A glass bottle or jar is man-made.

Have you ever heard of limestone? It is a type of rock that occurs naturally in the environment. We dig limestone from the Earth and cut it into blocks for constructing buildings. We also use limestone to make toothpaste. Limestone blocks and Toothpaste are man-made.

Clay also comes from nature. It comes from finely ground minerals. People mold clay into plates, pots for plants, and floor tiles. Clay pottery is man-made.

Stones come from nature, lapidaries cut, grind and polish these stones changing them into cabochons or faceted gemstones for jewelry. Using the above rationale, are Cabochons and faceted gemstones man made or natural?

All of this leads to my question, that once you take a stone out of it’s natural environment and manipulate it into something that does not occur naturally in the world, such as a cabochon or faceted gemstone, then is it effectively man made? If there is no difference between cutting and grinding which changes the shape, polishing the surface which enhances the color, dying or heating which may change the color or composition, or using acrylic, super glue, water glass or opticon to fill cracks, pits, or vugs in order to stabilize or enhance the appearance aren’t you still changing the base natural material into something suited for another purpose… i. e. Jewelry making?

Using this same reasoning, you can dig a small hole and stick your piece of lumber in it, cover it up and pretend it’s still a natural tree, but would you be correct?  Is it a man made piece of lumber, or will it ever grow roots and branches and leaves and go back to being a tree? Could the same logic be applied to cabochons and faceted gemstones. In my mind, if it is cut by Man and Made into a cabochon, then it is Man-made no matter the base material. Something to ponder, but I will let each of you draw your own conclusions.

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The Art of Design for Handmade Artisan Jewelry

From earrings and necklaces to rings, bracelets and pendants, each piece of handmade artisan jewelry showcases the skill of an artist while making a unique statement about his/her design style.

Before you can be effective at jewelry design, whether you are going to replicate your designs or are producing one-of-a-kind pieces you need to have a background in the basics of construction and also understand the materials you will be using.  Through an understanding of the basic elements of design which include materials, size, color and function you will be able to form a conceptual style of the piece you want to make based on the individual elements i.e. its geometric shape, symmetry/asymmetry and whether it will be more refined or more organic in nature. You will also need to understand how your design will “work” on the wearer. You will need to possess a basic knowledge of the essential tools needed to create each design element along with basic techniques for manipulating the materials used into the design you have envisioned.

That brings me to the point of the article, where to start? My advice, find a class either in person or online, perhaps a tutorial or two, try it out, and learn the basics. The internet is a huge source of such information, or try your local library, bead store or rock shop. Most offer classes by very talented people in the jewelry industry and you can “pick their brains” for information and knowledge related to the projects you create while in class. One on one instruction has its advantages as you can ask questions when you are unsure of what you are doing. See if you have a “knack” for the basics of construction using someone else’s design that teaches the techniques needed to make jewelry.

After you learn the basics, there are a thousand more steps to go through before you can start to design jewelry, For example, you may want to learn more advanced techniques in casting, metal fabrication, wire weaving and soldering. Act like a sponge and soak up every bit of knowledge you can, always push yourself to learn more whether it is new techniques, using different materials or just doing the same thing in a different way. You never know where it will take you. Unfortunately, like anything worthwhile, it does not come easily. You have to do some research and then work hard towards your goals once you figure them out.

Some won’t agree with me and may even argue that this isn’t the case because big brand-named designers didn’t learn this way, they went to design school or are just naturally talented…right?  However, I’ll bet you, that those very same big named designers were once young men/women who were sitting on a stool at a jewelers bench next to their teachers who were showing them the basics of construction and materials way before they started designing. 
 

My approach to jewelry design, as I am self-taught, is to draw out my designs on graph paper and use that as a reference for the final piece. After I draw it out, I let it soak for a couple of days to see if I need to make any changes. If with this, many times I have what I think is a good idea, but when I sit down to make the jewelry piece, it very rarely turns out like I want it to.

 Initial Design
Initial design didn’t work so I ended up with two pendants, some design elements were not used.

 

I separated the bow & arrow from the heart.


Through trial and error and past experience, it becomes easier as I try to learn from both past triumphs and mistakes, but still, I had to learn the basics of working with metal, gemstones, glass, and other materials before I got to this point; and I’m still learning. I may make a prototype of a design with less expensive materials and stones before I finalize a piece using more costly metals/materials such as silver, gold, or precious gemstones especially if I am unsure of how the design will look or wear. While I have sketch pads filled with ideas, these “ideas” require hands-on effort before they become physical pieces of jewelry to be worn and adorned by women and men everywhere.

When you have learned more about the jewelry making universe, more specifically jewelry making basics and techniques such as metalsmithing, lapidary-gemology and soldering, you will have a much better understanding of where your style fits in the jewelry community and how you might become a designer of fine artisan jewelry.

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The Value of Wire Wrapped Jewelry and is it considered a real art form.

 

I’m often asked by people who silversmith/metalsmith “C’mon now, is wire wrapped jewelry “real “jewelry. You know you don’t use any metal smith techniques in it.” I always answer with an unequivocal “Yes”. Even though metal smith techniques may not be incorporated into wire wrapped jewelry, it does not diminish its value as an art form nor the effort and time it take to make it. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to dozens of hours in order to complete one piece depending on the weave and complexity of the design.  Plus there is a certain charm and uniqueness to wire wrapped jewelry that just can’t be readily transferred into any other jewelry making medium. I personally make jewelry that is either all 100 percent wire wrapped/weaved or a combination of wire weaving and metal smithing. So to all the Nay Sayers out there who think their way is the only way, I say wire weaving is just one of many art forms in jewelry making and is no less or more valuable than any other. So for those of you who are using wire wrapping/weaving to make jewelry, please don’t under value your skill and time as you master this intricate art form.

 For those of you thinking about getting into the craft, If you want to make jewelry and don’t know where to start then wire wrapping/weaving may be for you as it is a fairly inexpensive inroad to making jewelry that you can wear and sell with a minimal starting investment in a few basic hand tools and some wire. While learning your craft you can always add to your collection of tools as you progress, just as I did. It’s one of those mediums you can definitely work your way up through as you add hammering, soldering, torch work, enameling, etc. to your repertoire of skills.

And to all those in doubt, here is a little background on wire wrapped/ weaved jewelry. Examples of wire and beaded jewelry made using wire wrapping techniques date back thousands of years. Museums across the world have samples of jewelry from the Sumerian Dynasty, found in the cemetery of Ur that contain spiraled wire components. This jewelry is dated at approximately 2000 BC. Other samples of jewelry from Ancient Rome show wire wrapping. This Roman jewelry is dated to approximately 2000 years ago. In the manufacture of this early jewelry the techniques for soldering did not exist. Later, as the technique for soldering developed, the wire wrapping approach continued because it was an economical and quick way to make jewelry components out of wire.

The true art of wire-wrapping has been around since the time of the Phoenician Empire, since about 1000 B.C. where Gold or Silver was hammered into thin sheets, cut into narrow strips and the edges filed smooth, making the wire. The wire was then woven into a design and usually set onto a breast plate armor.

The earliest reference to drawn wire versus cut wire is in the 8th century in France and the first commercial wire operation was in 1270 AD in France. During the Medieval period, Knights brought wire back to England to make chain mail for their armor. Gold and silver wire were drawn in France and transported back to England. The earliest mention of wire production in England was 1465. During this time, wire-wrapping was limited to fastening crucifixes and other religious symbols to lanyards and chains.


In the 1800’s the Bohemian culture made wonderful necklaces and bracelets using wire to connect beads and stones. These jewelry items were popular with European aristocracy for over 50 years.

Today, wire wrapping has become popular because of the uniqueness and the individuality of each piece – no two are ever exactly alike! Now you have a little knowledge in defense of your craft the next time someone ask “ C’mon is that wire work “real” jewelry”.

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Shipping Rate increase due to US Postal rate hike

To our Valued Customers,
Well, it’s been a long time in coming but the United States Postal Service has finally raised shipping rates on most services within and for countries outside of the US. Unfortunately, we cannot absorb these cost increases into our price structure and provide free insured shipping. Effective as of January 17th, 2016 we have had to increase our shipping rates for items purchased in our store. Rate increases are minimal, but necessary in order for us to continue to provide great customer service.  Shipping will be as follows.
.



Domestic Services


USPS Priority Mail within the US – $7.50 Small Flat Rate Insured


International Services
 
Canada 1st Class International –                 $11.00 USD Insured Flat Rate
United Kingdom 1st Class International –  $15.00 USD Insured Flat Rate

Shipping to Canada, and the United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Scotland) via USPS First Class International Mail. All items will include insurance and tracking where/when available

Plus $1.00 USD for each additional item that is not part of a set. This applies to Domestic and International Shipments.

At this time we are only able to ship to the United States/territories, US APO addresses, Canada, and the UK (  (Great Britain and Northern Ireland & Scotland) Any other orders  originating outside of the above aforementioned countries will be cancelled. Thank you for your interest in our store.

We are sorry for any hardship this may cause and we value your continued support.

Thank you,

From the Adams Handcrafted Jewelry Team.

dla

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New Gallery of Past Works

We have finally gotten a new Gallery integrated into the blog showing my past works. It has been a long time coming as I know some of you do not have accounts on Pinterest, so it makes it difficult to see what I have been doing lately. We will be posting photos to the gallery as pieces become available. Thanks for everyone’s support over the last year as it has been an exciting time for me and my wife as we travel down the path of discovery into unchartered jewelry designs.

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New Customized BoHo Chic Wire Wrapped Serpentine bracelet now available for preorder in our Store!

We have another new Wire Wrap Serpentine style Bracelet  with a snake tail in Copper Patina Customized with a stone of your choice that comes with matching bead accents. Hurry and get yours soon as these are limited to the gemstones on hand.

 

You may choose from the following Gemstone types.

Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery as these are made to order.

Comes in ** SMALL, MEDIUM or LARGE** to fit the following wrist size.
Small Fits 5-1/2″ to 6-1/2″
Medium Fits 6-5/8″ to 7-1/2″
Large Fits 7-5/8″ to 8-1/2″

Stone color and markings may vary slightly from the pictures shown. Designs are for illustration purposes only and may vary slightly from those shown. Due to the variations in weaving and wrapping bracelets will vary slightly in style, making each bracelet unique and One-of-a kind.

Domestic Shipping & Handling:
USPS Priority Mail $6.50 1st item,
each additional item – $1.00
Canada – USPS Intl. First Class Mail -$10.85
each additional item – $1.00
UK – USPS Intl. First Class Mail – $14.85
each additional item – $1.00
We apologize for any inconvenience, but we are only able to ship to the United States, its territories & APO addresses, Canada & the United Kingdom at this time. Any other orders from outside of the US will be cancelled and promptly refunded. Thank you for your understanding.

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Customized Paisley Fine Silver Wire Woven Bracelet Now Available in our Store

We have another great offer in our On-Line Store,  You can now customize this beautiful Paisley bracelet in .999 Fine Silver with the Gemstone of your choice. This Stunning bracelet comes made to order entirely out of pure Fine Silver wire with matching accent beads or crystals that perfectly compliment the focal gemstone in this bracelet.

 

You get to choose from the following Gemstone cabochons

Order now as quantities on these gemstones are limited, so  get yours ordered soon.
Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery, as these are made to order.
Comes in ** SMALL, MEDIUM or LARGE** to fit the following wrist size.
Small Fits 5-1/2″ to 6-1/2″ 
Medium Fits 6-5/8″ to 7-1/2″ 
Large Fits 7-5/8″ to 8-1/2″
Gemstone color and markings may vary slightly from the pictures shown. Designs are for illustration purposes only and may vary slightly from those shown. Due to the variations in weaving and wrapping bracelets will vary slightly in style, making each bracelet unique and One-of-a kind.
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Customized BoHo Chic Wire wrapped Bracelets Now Available in our Store

OK everyone, are you ready for some BoHo Chic wire wrapped and woven cuff bracelets where you get to pick the cabochon. We are now offering these gorgeous wire wrapped cuff bracelets made to order in our On-line Store 

 
and you get to choose from the stones listed below.

Don’t hesitate as quantities are limited and we don’t expect these to last long, so order yours today. Prices vary according to Gemstone type and size of bracelet.  See our On-line store for details.

Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery as these are made to order.
Comes in ** SMALL, MEDIUM or LARGE** to fit the following wrist size.
Small Fits 5-1/2″ to 6-1/2″
Medium Fits 6-5/8″ to 7-1/2″
Large Fits 7-5/8″ to 8-1/2″

Gemstone color and markings may vary slightly from the pictures shown. Designs are for illustration purposes only and may vary slightly from those shown. Due to the variations in weaving and wrapping bracelets will vary slightly in style, making each bracelet unique and One-of-a kind.
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Now Shipping internationally to Canada and the United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Scotland)

Just Announced, Adams Handcrafted Jewelry in now shipping to Canada, and the United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Scotland) via USPS First Class International Mail. All items will include insurance and tracking where/when available.


International Services


 Rates are as follows:

Canada 1st Class International –                 $14.00 USD Insured Up to 8 ounces
United Kingdom 1st Class International –  $19.50 USD Insured Up to 8 ounces

Plus $1.00 USD for each additional item that is not part of a set.

At this time we are only able to ship to the United States/territories, US APO addresses, Canada, and the UK (  (Great Britain and Northern Ireland & Scotland) Any other orders  originating outside of the above aforementioned countries will be cancelled. Thank you for your interest in our store.