Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just wanted to stop in ...

Its time to make the rounds here again, and so here it is! I've been keeping busy with the JETs over at Etsy lately, doing blog posts and tweets to promote my fellow team members. I'm much better with the JET blog; I post every day there and love doing it! And I've really done a lot to optimize my Etsy handmade jewelry store, hoping to get higher up in Google searches. I finally got the GoogleBase thing right; the last two weeks in a row I've had the maximum number of items uploaded. So ... pretty good so far!

I've got lots of design ideas ... gotta write 'em down or I'll forget - there is just so much to do! But I'm getting past each hurdle - one at a time!

I've also been doing some things to improve the website ... more social network links, cleaned out the onsite shopping directory so there aren't any dead links, and re-wrote the anchor text of some existing incoming links so they're more relevant to the content on the pages they connect to. Maintaining a site like ours is hard work, and I need to spend a few more hours a week on that also.

I'll stop in again very soon ... Bob:J24-7

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I am a busy man but

I know I need to do some stuff here too, and I've been neglecting it as usual. I get so wrapped up in my daily stuff to do that time just flies by, as they say! So here it is ... November already and I have lots to do as usual.

Our ETSY shop was Jet of the Day one day last week. Kinda weird to write about your own shop, but ... I love doing the post every day, so ... I treated us like any other JOD, and wrote a nice post about Jewelry24Seven on Etsy. Now I need to pay more attention HERE as well, so ... I'm gonna try!

I decided a month or two ago that I would try to make smaller, lighter pieces of jewelry. Silver is kind of expensive right now, and so I'm making open back pendants and ring settings. I'm trying to make pieces that I can offer for less; people simply don't have as much to spend as they used to. Nice things don't have to be big:

this Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby Ring is a great example!

Time to go back to work. I'll try to be ... less of a stranger here. Till next time ... Bob:J24-7

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Big day ahead!

So much to do ...

Our new stuff order arrived from Bali, Indonesia ... so now I have NEW Bali silver cuff bracelets and hoop earrings to put up on the site. Today is photo day ... and if I can, I'll get the stuff up there today. Terry's home this week and she'll help me so maybe it'll go faster than usual. Yesterday we went to Manhattan to meet our JET friend Barbara from CapitalCityCrafts and had a really nice visit! Just made a chain ... and I have to ship it, so ... until next time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lotsa stuff on my plate!

So it isn't food. Work, as usual! Going full steam with the social networking and writing a post a day for the Jet Team Blog spotlighting the Jet of the Day. I've been going through the website using Google Webmaster Tools and fixing any problems I can. and I ordered a bunch of new stuff - Bali silver cuff bracelets and Bali silver hoop earrings. They're coming from the distributor I deal with there so the jewelry will take about a week to arrive.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Very Active Summer!

With the economy in the tank I figured I would have problems doing business, but it has been a very busy summer season! I've had lots of custom orders. The last two were for rings, and the styles couldn't have been more different!

This one features Chinese characters that say "Red Thread" ... there is an old proverb that says people who love each other are connected by an invisible red thread ... it went to a couple who are adopting an orphan from China ...

The second is made with wire, and the person who ordered it wanted it made to cover her entire finger. The entire ring is hand forged ...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Midsummer ...

I love this time of year ... usually. In NYC the weather has been rainy, but not too hot ... kind of strange. On rare days when it doesn't rain though ... its been perfect. The rain makes the weeds grow ... well, like weeds. Hard to deal with!

So I have been very busy this past month. I now use six social networking services on a regular basis. And I've been networking with the JETs on Etsy, exchanging links and promoting through the JET blog. I know that eventually all of this will pay off ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Frequently Asked Question ... What is Sterling Silver?

In the course of my day I get a lot of email, and a fair amount of people want to know what sterling silver actually is. Today, sterling silver is the most common type of silver and the kind most people are familiar with.

Sterling silver is an alloy, which means it is a mixture of two or more metals. The primary reason silver is mixed with another metal is to harden it. Most sterling silver is a mixture of silver and copper. The proportion of metals by weight in the alloy determines the fineness or purity of the silver, as well as the name of the alloy. There are three commonly found silver metals found in the United States:

Pure silver is also called Fine silver. This is 999/1000 or 999 parts per 1000 pure. This is considered pure; the remaining .001 consists of (usually) traces of other metals. Fine silver jewelry is usually marked or stamped .999FS.

Pure silver is a soft metal. Unless it is very thick it can easily be bent by hand, and is easily scratched. Items made of fine silver need to be made with thicker sheet and wire to give them strength. By using sterling instead, thinner parts can be used because sterling is much more rigid when hardened than fine silver.

Sterling silver is always marked .925, which shows the amount of silver in the object. The same formula is used; this alloy is 925 parts per thousand silver and 75 parts per thousand other metal, usually copper. This can also be expressed as 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metal (copper) by weight.

The third commonly found type of silver in the U.S. is Coin Silver. Until 1964, United States coins 10¢ and larger were made of a silver alloy containing 90% silver and 10% copper by weight. A higher percentage of copper was used to make the silver harder and more durable so the high relief and details of the coins wouldn't wear away in circulation. Many of these coins are still held by collectors, and there are silversmiths who make coin jewelry out of them.

Silver jewelry is usually made with sterling silver because it is durable. Jewelry made with fine silver does have one advantage over sterling; it doesn't tarnish easily due to the absence of copper. Sterling silver tarnishes because the copper in it reacts with sulphur dioxide in our air. Sulphur dioxide is a common chemical compound found in everyday air pollution. It can come from natural sources like volcanic eruptions, and also man made sources like vehicle emissions and factories.

Sterling silver is a fabulous metal for jewelry making because it retains many of the properties that make fine silver attractive while gaining the benefit of increased durability. With minimal care - a cleaning and polishing when needed - sterling silver jewelry can last for many generations.

Robert Edwards is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years experience in the jewelry trade, specialzing in handmade silver jewelry. This article may be reproduced as long as it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2009 Robert Edwards

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy July ...

So here we are in July, and the weather in NY isn't much like summer yet ... but at least we have a bit of sun now. June was so wet ... it rained something like 20 days last month. I've been doing lots of garden work - actually, battling weeds in the backyard ... and all that rain made them grow so fast I could hardly keep up with it. One good thing ... my habanero pepper plants are SO green ... and they are getting lots of flowers so I know I'm gonna be making lots of hot sauce this year ...!

Yeah, I know ... I'm supposed to write about the jewelry thing here ...

So I've stepped up the activity on Twitter and I'm getting a Facebook page set up. The JETs have been really great and are excellent promoters, so I'm not alone ... we've done a lot in a short time with social bookmarks on Del.icio.us and blog linking. The next target ... Stumbleupon. Eventually we're going to be a lot more visible ... working together helps a lot.

AND ... the entire contents of the Etsy shop is searchable - all of our handmade silver jewelry is now on Google Products! I set up an RSS feed upload to Google Base so it uploads automatically once a week. Nice tool ... Thanks, Etsy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

June ...

Summertime is here. We're not going to do any outside markets. Tired of paying rent and wasting the day. So ... more time to work on the web business. I have been a lot more involved with the JETs over at Etsy lately, promoting through social media. And of course I am trying to improve our search engine rankings and have done fairly well with that. And I have lots of design ideas for new pieces ... now that I have some time, I'm going to get settled at the bench and make some jewelry.

Added a nice 1.2mm wide box chain to our selection recently ... this is a nice size for a pendant necklace. It is a very attractive and strong chain.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

OK ... On a roll here ... Another Article!

Why Charm Bracelets are Much More than Ordinary Jewelry

By: Robert Edwards

To many people jewelry is part of their wardrobe. Everyone has their favorite pieces. Sometimes a ring or necklace can have a special, personal meaning because it was a gift.

These items are usually designed to be worn as-is. Charm bracelets are very different.

Over time, charm bracelets grow. They can become collections unto themselves. And they take on the personal nature of the owner. Many have charms depicting an endless variety of themes. People build sea themed bracelets with shells, sailboats and anchors. Or animal jewelry, with tiny giraffes, lions and bears connected to the chain links. We've seen career theme bracelets, and even one with a heart collection.

Charms are available in many types. One of the more popular categories is sports including golf, tennis, baseball, soccer, football, basketball, hockey, equestrian and more. Music is another, with musical instruments, notes and clefs. The holiday theme is popular with different bracelets for Halloween, St. Patrick's Day and Christmas. Even food is represented, with pizza, candy bars, hamburgers and veggies. The variety is simply amazing!

Collections can grow over many years. It is a long standing tradition in many families to add a charm to a bracelet over time as a holiday or birthday gift. This is almost like attaching memories that celebrate each birthday, holiday or special occasion. The personal connection can be very strong.

Although almost any chain with large open style links can be used as a charm bracelet, the traditional, classic charm bracelet is made with a double curb link chain. These links are made so they nestle into each other, giving the chain a wide appearance while using fairly narrow gauge wire to form the links. The double link adds strength and style.

A charm is connected to the link with a jump ring. Many people leave the rings open; but a valuable charm can be lost this way. A good jeweler will solder the jump ring closed when a charm is added to a link for a customer.

Gold is expensive, and so sterling silver has become the traditional metal of choice for this type of jewelry. Of course price is the primary reason why silver is more popular, but there are other reasons to consider. There are many more available in sterling silver. Gold charms are made in popular styles, but unusual designs are very difficult if not impossible to find. And of course people do mix silver and gold, which can result in a very attractive, unusual and valuable piece of jewelry.

An alternative is to buy a ready made charm bracelet. The average bracelet comes with five to seven charms attached to it. As described above, they usually follow a theme or central idea. By starting with a small collection of five or so, it looks very attractive while providing room for more to be added as they are acquired.

The ultimate collector heads to auction sites, garage sales and flea markets to hunt for vintage and antique pieces. A small silver heart from the 1920's can cost $50.00 - or even more, depending on rarity. Once in a while an entire vintage bracelet will appear in an Ebay estate auction and cause an online frenzy. Vintage examples have gone for many hundreds of dollars to avid collectors.

Sterling silver jewelry doesn't just look great - it has value and can also have personal meaning. Find out why charm bracelets are an obsession for many collectors. Start building your charm bracelet today ... it's fun!

©Robert Edwards. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use this article as content on websites and blogs provided all links and this author's statement remain intact. Robert Edwards is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with more than 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade. He is the webmaster of a very popular silver jewelry site that features many unique and handcrafted designs. Visit the Silver Charm Bracelet Gallery today!

Monday, March 9, 2009

My latest article ...

I decided to write some more articles. The last one was posted about a week ago; I am going to try for one a week until I have nothing left to say ... LOL! So here it is:

Why Sterling Silver Rope Chain is a Must Have Style
By: Robert Edwards

Jewelry fashions change often. Trendy styles come and go, as with any other fashion accessory. Some designs lend themselves to a certain style dress or can be seasonal. Obviously toe rings and belly rings are mostly seen during the summer months.

Then there are the classic styles every jewelry owner should have. This is the kind of jewelry that can be worn with just about any style clothing, all year round.

One of the most popular and versatile jewelry items is the rope chain. A long necklace is ideal for most lockets; a shorter length can be very attractive with a gemstone or birthstone pendant. Wide sizes make nice bracelets. Many jewelers use it as a component in other pieces. For example, this design is also fabulous used in a nameplate or anklet.

This jewelry can be made with any metal, but a sterling silver rope chain is a popular choice for a variety of reasons. An attractive, fabulous fashion accent that can be worn over a lifetime, they give high value for a very low cost.

This type of jewelry is made with round, ring shaped links. There are different styles; the design varies depending on the way it is made. Traditional double rope necklaces and bracelets are made by passing each link through the two previous links. Adding links in this manner allows the maker to produce jewelry that shows the spiral structure of this pattern. Standard sizes are made on machines that automate the process, but larger sizes are still made by hand, making and adding one link at a time.

Most commercially made pieces have soldered links. Larger commercially made necklaces and bracelets may be made with thick wire links that are not soldered.

Chainmaille artisans usually handcraft jewelry without soldering the links. These pieces are made in a way that does not require the links to be permanently closed; they will not come apart. Leaving the links unsoldered makes it easier to add onto or shorten bracelets, anklets or other items when making custom length jewelry.

A less expensive look-alike style is actually hollow. This design is made with fine metal tube shaped links. The result is a very light piece that looks similar; but isn't the same as solid jewelry made with wire links. The hollow links cannot be soldered closed; they break easily and often as a result. Many 14k gold bracelets and necklaces are made this way to limit their weight and keep the cost low.

Sterling silver rope chain is available in many size widths, from very fine to designs thicker than a man's thumb. This style is very strong; even fairly thin pieces are very tough because of the way this design is made. This means it is a great choice for holding your favorite pendant; but they also look great worn alone.

Sterling jewelry can be made with smooth or twisted wire links. Different textured links can be arranged to form patterns in the jewelry, like stripes. Other metals can be mixed in to create striking effects; jewelry made with copper and silver links is very attractive.

A silver rope chain is a great fashion choice -- for any occasion!

©Robert Edwards. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use this article as content on websites and blogs provided all links and this author's statement remain intact. Robert Edwards is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with more than 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade. He is the webmaster of a very popular silver jewelry site that features many unique and handcrafted designs. Visit the silver rope chain gallery for custom length jewelry!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Artisan Jewelry – Fabulous and Unique

Jewelry artisans offer truly unique one of a kind handcrafted fashion accessories and gifts. Artisan jewelers do much more than set stones and string beads - each piece is truly a miniature work of art.

Sterling silver is a popular metal choice because it is affordable, but you'll also find fine silver and 14K gold artisan jewelry. Many unique jewellery designs incorporate dichroic glass, gemstones, pearls and mixed metals.

Custom handmade jewelry can include bracelets, rings, pendants, earrings and necklaces. It doesn't end there - popular items also include barrettes, belt buckles, pins, cufflinks and more. Shopping for your own special handmade accessories is easier than ever now. An online search for handmade jewellery and custom made jewelry is easy with search engines like Google and sites like Etsy.

Artisans make their handmade items in a different way from today's modern manufacturer. Each handcrafted silver ring or gold pendant is created one at a time in the artist's studio. Handcrafted artisan pieces made from silver and gold are most common but if you browse the web, you'll see that many artisans are experimenting with new design ideas and materials from paper to plastic resin. New ideas that become fabulous designs are added to online galleries every day, and designers continue to push the limits to new horizons.

Jewelry artisans are usually very knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to their work and will happily answer questions about metals, gemstones, techniques and processes for making jewellery. Colorful handmade designs are created with gorgeous natural and synthetic gemstones fashioned into beads, cabochons and faceted gems. Many artists express themselves in beaded creations including necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Wearing one of a kind handmade jewels gives the wearer a personal sense of style that is truly their own.

Custom made, one of a kind, and limited edition fashion accessories are even more appealing in today's economy. Less is more these days, and jewellery made for the person wearing it is a great way to accent any style from casual to business wear. Artists are specialists - some work with beads, some with wire, and others with enamel. Some make just earrings, and others like to make necklaces. One of the more popular categories is chainmaille. Chainmaille is made with a variety of metals including sterling silver, brass, gold filled and copper. Many styles are available, from the traditional flat chain mail to fancy weaves like byzantine and rope chains.

Custom designs are a way to give every person a unique look. Many artisan jewelers will work with you to create fabulous one of a kind handcrafted earrings, pendants and more that are truly made just for you. Custom handcrafted jewelry has a distinct, original look and feel; most pieces are not easily copied because they contain unique gemstones or are personalized. Instead of mass produced cast settings, individually made bezels hold freeform cut gemstones. Hand stamped accessories have made personalized items like message pendants more popular than ever. Artists are using glass to make beautiful beads that mimic miniature oceans with fish and gardens with fabulous tiny flowers. There is no limit to artisan jewellery design, because there is no limit to the imagination.

Robert Edwards is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years experience in the jewelry trade. This article may be reproduced as long as it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2009 Robert Edwards