Archive for September, 2010

the other pearl

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

18K and akoya pearl ring

[18K gold and Akoya pearl ring]

You may remember the pearl ring I made for my sister-in-law Ghezal. The pearl came from a pair of earring studs that she never wore. Here’s where the other pearl went.

cousin marlene’s pendant

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

rendering of opal and diamond brooch

This project started as a big batch of broken and un-loved jewelry with a lot of decent stones in it. So, I pulled all stones and sent the metal into the refiner. Then I went about designing a new piece using up all the old stones. At first the idea was maybe a brooch..

rendering of opal and diamond brooch

But then it changed to maybe a pendant.. A butterfly maybe?

rendering of opal and diamond butterfly pendant

No, too much; the butterfly pendant was way too fancy. We needed more everyday wearable—like only 20 diamonds and a handful of opals can be..

rendering of opal and diamond butterfly pendant

Every-day wearable. And still cool. Check.

wax of opal and diamond butterfly pendant

The wax of the piece. I proposed to carve the wax base for the diamonds and build/solder on the bezels for the opals. Because my last experiment with bezel-setting in gold using 14K was painful, I decided to go easy on myself and use 22K bezels. Opals are soft stones, and 22K is a dream.

18K cast of opal and diamond mandala pendant

The piece freshly cast into 18K gold (+ a little bit of polishing). There is a lot of gold here.

18K cast of opal and diamond mandala pendant

The bottom is cool.

18K yellow gold opal and diamond mandala pendant

Et voila! The finished pendant.

18K yellow gold opal and diamond mandala pendant

Soldering on all the tiny bezels was not super easy. I spent a lot of tedious hours making the bezels seamless on the piece and sanding/polishing between the little spokes, all the while listening to Dan Savage’s podcast. Now I know a lot about people who have sexual fetishes for snorting things up their noses (like gummy bears).. or outie belly buttons. I like to think I’m a richer person because of this.

That middle diamond, for size reference, is 5mm in diameter. And all those little diamonds are 1 point freaking 3 mm in diameter (cough cough). (Mine eyes..)

back of 18K yellow gold opal and diamond mandala pendant

The finished back. I like how the center stone pokes down so starkly and pointily on a back that is all soft curves and swoops.

domed poppy ring

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

14K white gold and diamond carved poppy ring

[14K white gold domed poppy ring with diamonds]

I’ve been experimenting with my photography of my jewelry. I think I’ve vastly improved upon my lighting and now I’m starting to snick at my background and staging.. Before I used a book for my main ‘glamour’ shots (a 1905 edition of Tennyson’s poems, which I found at a garage sale and bought because I thought it was pretty—I have to admit I’ve only read like 10 lines out of the thing; I’m not a huge poetry fan..) and a nice piece of linen for my all-around photos.

Which looks nice.

BUT, I kind of feel like the white background is less distracting, less contrived, and makes the jewelry piece show up better (rather than show bumps from the fabric reflecting, say).

14K white gold and diamond carved poppy ring

I don’t know. What do you think? The white background is also colder, more impersonal.

14K white gold and diamond carved poppy ring

14K white gold and diamond carved poppy ring

But .. Preeeeeetttttyyyyy… Argh. Dilemma.

ring stacks

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

I recently took a bunch of glamor shots of my rings. Here are some of the better ones..

18K white and yellow gold, palladium, pearl, & diamond rings

18K gold peacock and poppy rings (white and blue diamonds)

18K gold, palladium, pearl, and diamond rings

18K gold, palladium, pearl, sapphire, and diamond rings

Most of these rings you have probably seen before. I’ve been working on how to get better photos of things that are highly reflective and I think I did really well with this batch. Now I just have to figure out how to get the danged camera to focus where I want it to!

dancing I like

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Ronin and I spent an evening not eating any dinner (her) and dancing to various youtube video songs. Here are some winners..

Okay. This is one of my favorite all-time finales of a movie hands down point blank period and that’s final. Maybe it was the movie, but maybe it was simply the wicked edo-period tap dance. A great number of movies could be made better with a full-cast tap number finale I believe. (It starts out pretty cool but seriously gets extra fucking awesome around 1:20.)

And if you are a major Japanese movie geek and happen to have a fetish for Kitano Takeshi, here’s a little treat: Beat Takeshi vs. Shamisen. If you like this, you should seriously follow this thread (I live in a small world evidently: I’ve NEVER seen anyone rock on a shamisen until now).

Here’s another dance number mash-up I’ve watched about a million times by now:

Two words: CYD [and] CHARISSE. My god. Can it get any better? This video makes me tear up at the end actually. It’s kind of embarrassing (and it’s not because of MJ).

Do you like Bollywood numbers? Here are a couple to watch.

My daughter (she is two) is into dance and has a special affinity for ballet (would you believe..). Sometimes on hard mornings, we watch a bit of Giselle to take the edge off The Shrill. This has to be my favorite of the Act 1 variations (of the billions out there):

I don’t know why I like the hop-hop-hop-twirl-twirl-twirl bit so much (1:00) but wee little Gelsey does it the best out of all the little ballerinas on the internets. It makes me sad that the only recorded version is in so crap of shape. Bugger.

kirsten & mark’s rings

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

18K white gold hand carved mistletoe ring & ocean/tree ring

Hand-carved mistletoe wedding band with wide ocean wave and tree band. 18K white gold. Kirsten loved the mistletoe motif but my 11mm band was a little too much.. So I carved one 6mm—and I designed a mistletoe solitaire to match. She had a kick-ass old-style cut family diamond to set in the top.

I wish I got better photos of these rings. I reworked my photo-taking setup and the improvement is obvious. I had been diffusing the light at the light source rather than at the piece; it makes a massive difference. Photos from now on will be much much better. But anyway..

First sketches had a solid bezel with sprigs of mistletoe climbing up each side. However, we were concerned that the solid bezel might limit the bling factor from her old-style cut (modern brilliant cut diamonds return all light that goes in; older cuts sometimes did not..). So, I re-worked the design and opened up the bezel, letting light into the sides of the stone. The mistletoe leaves would hold the stone in place.

The wax shows that the solitaire does not actually sit flush with the band, as is usually the fashion, but is instead tapered gently up near the top. Not everything that is in fashion is the best and this is a way better design, trust me.

The stone is a lavender CZ I stuck in place to pretend. It’s only a tiny bit smaller than her diamond would be.

See? Graceful! (Not stumpy.)

18K white gold mistletoe wedding band

The finished mistletoe band. It measures 6mm in width. It’s an odd thing to think about but as I carve more and more, I get better (it’s hard to call it “practice” since I’m doing it for real, so to speak). Not only am I more efficient and exact in my carving, but my designs are more sophisticated. My 11mm mistletoe ring is one of the rings I wear the most & I love it to death but I have to say, the design on this one is better.

18K white gold mistletoe solitaire with old-cut diamond

The finished solitaire. Kirsten was too paranoid to send her stone all the way from the UK in case of possible loss by the post office so she had the stone set in the finished ring once she received it. I photoshopped a photo of an old-European cut diamond in where the stone should go just to get a nice photo of the final piece.

OCEAN RING:

Mark wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted but knew that he preferred a nice wide band. He is into surfing and outdoorsy stuff and liked the water motif on Jeff’s ring. I sketched the following:

All was a go and here’s the pics of the final ring. Each third of the ring has a different motif: gnarly old beach tree with water, water with breaking wave, just water. You can turn the ring around depending upon your mood.

18K white gold hand-carved ocean & tree ring

18K white gold hand-carved ocean & tree ring

18K white gold hand-carved ocean & tree ring

The ring has a matte finish with a mirror polish on the rounded inside. I think it turned out beautifully.

After I finished the ring, it occurred to me that I had carved essentially the Lone Tree of Carmel. Nuts!