Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celtic amulets, finally perfected!

I wish I could say that this design was 100% original, but I was inspired by a circular celtic-looking pendant I saw elsewhere online. I liked the design, but had ideas of my own based on it. More specifically, I really wanted to put a stone in the middle of a similar design, and possibly change the shape of the Celtic part in the middle.

The first version was just working the bugs out -- testing ring sizes, arrangements, etc.

Celtic pendant - 1st version

I liked this one, but it did not have a large enough hole in the center to really put a stone. So, I kept playing with ring sizes and the alignment of the center components. The next version was similar to this one, but also included a new part of the experiment:  a wire-wrapped gemstone.

Celtic pendant - 2nd version w/wire-wrapped stone
Still not 100% pleased, I kept working. The next one I made again with no stone, but this time out of sterling silver, thinking I had nailed the base design. Not so ...

Celtic pendant - version 3 (sterling)
This time, I did get ONE thing right -- the center hole is larger & potentially big enough to fit a more traditionally set gemstone. But the celtic knot parts are still too twisted looking for my liking. I wanted something that looks definitively celtic, retains its shape, and has enough space in the middle for a stone.

The next version is where I really thought I was there, and really... it was close. Very close. I made this one in solid brass with a bronze outer ring and a center gemstone (6mm white topaz set in sterling silver).

Celtic pendant - version 4 w/6mm bezel set white topaz
The knot parts are cleaner (but not clean enough), and the space and tension are right to hold the stone in the middle without it twisting or wobbling. At first, I thought this one was it. But no ... my experiments had one more golden egg to lay ...

Celtic pendant - version 5 - THE WINNER!
Version 5 is exactly what I originally set out to create. In the end, the center stone is an 8mm round stone (in the photo, it's a mystic topaz) in a sterling silver bezel setting, and I finally figured out how to stabilize the celtic components in the center in just the right way to get the look I was after. It's made out of mostly jeweler's brass with some bronze.

Now that I know exactly what size rings are needed for each part of the piece, I can re-create it in any metal I want! The first 4 versions of this pendant are in my Etsy shop for sale. They're still beautiful, and version 4 will probably be reproduced in other metals, too, as well as be available for custom orders with different metals (mixed, too) and different stones. It's still beautifully Celtic-looking, too.

Look for version 5 to appear in my Etsy shop very, very soon! ^_^ In the meantime, here's version 4 and 5 side by side (please forgive the last 2 photos in this post -- they were NOT taken with my usual higher-quality DSLR camera).

Versions 4 and 5, side by side

Sunday, January 11, 2015

NEW 14k gold filled celtic knot rings!

One of my most popular items is my wire-and-chainmaille inspired triangular celtic knot ring. Originally, I only offered this design in sterling silver, but last year I added a bronze version to my shop, and now, I'm happy to announce that I now will be offering a 14k gold filled version, too!

Celtic knot rings in sterling, bronze, and 14k gold filled

The gold filled version is available in my Etsy shop HERE

Celtic knot rings in bronze, 14k gold filled & sterling silver

Celtic knot ring in sterling silver:  HERE

Celtic knot ring in bronze:  HERE (smooth finish) or HERE (hammered finish)

Custom metals are also a possible option, so if you'd like this design in solid 10 or 14k, please contact me for a price & timeframe.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bracelet sizing

I've had a few issues with folks not being sure what size bracelet they need, depending on the style of bracelet, so this post is to help you measure your wrist (or use an existing bracelet that fits) to figure out what size to order in a particular style.

Step 1: Read the listing of the bracelet you want!

I always explain any sizing anomalies in my listings -- for example, heavy gauge byzantine bracelets usually need 1/4 inch to a full inch added to your wrist measurement for proper fit. Be sure to read the listing for this information, you will need it once you know what your wrist measurement is.

Step 2:  Measure your wrist OR check the length of one of your existing, properly fitting bracelets

Sometimes its easy to just use what you have on hand -- if you don't have a flexible tape measure (the soft, super flexible kind used by sewing folks work best), then grab your best-fitting bracelet and a ruler OR a household hardware-store type tape measure.


To measure your wrist, get a tape measure (the kind you use for household measuring will be fine -- they are usually metal and not as flexible, but it'll do the job if necessary -- the best kind are the fabric-like ones that tailors use to measure things like inseam, waist size, etc).

Wrap the tape measure around your wrist snugly, but not super tight. It should be just barely touching your skin all the way around. Record this measurement -- this is your wrist size (preferably in inches!).


If you want to measure a bracelet you already have, the easiest way to do it is with a ruler & gravity. Take your bracelet and grab it by the clasp and let it hang in the air vertically. Hold your ruler up against it such that the tip of the clasp is on the first line on the "inches" part of the ruler (if your ruler only has metric measurements, that's fine too -- these can be converted to inches). Record the measurement where the tail end of the bracelet lands on the opposite end of the ruler. That's your current bracelet size.


Step 3:  Put it all together and figure out the correct size

Now we go back to step 1 -- reading the listing. Most of my listings make a suggestion to add a certain amount of extra length to an existing bracelet size OR wrist size. I usually recommend that you take your snug wrist measurement and add a half inch (for comfort and to make it easier to put the bracelet on or take it off) for bracelets that fit true-to-size (these are the very flat kind of bracelets). Some listings will suggest adding a certain amount to a wrist measurement -- these suggestions already account for that extra half inch I just mentioned.

Since that sounds a little confusing and complicated, let's look at some examples.

Example 1:  You want a 14 gauge byzantine bracelet, and you have an existing simple jewelry-store bought figaro chain bracelet that's 7 inches long. 14 gauge byzantine usually needs a whole inch added to your current size for a proper fit. So, you'd add an inch to that 7 inch bracelet length, and order an 8 inch bracelet.

Example 2:  You want a 14 gauge byzantine bracelet, and you just measured your wrist snugly at 7 inches. Here's where that extra half inch comes in -- if your wrist measures a snug 7 inches, you'll want to add the half inch for a normal bracelet, which brings you to 7.5 inches, and then add the extra 1 inch for a 14 gauge byzantine chain, so you would order your bracelet at 8.5 inches.

Still have questions? Ask before you order!

I will always gladly tell you what size bracelet you need based on the information mentioned above -- either tell me what size your bracelets currently are or give me a wrist measurement (and how you like your bracelets to fit, looser or tighter), and I'll tell you what size you should order. Because many of my bracelets' prices depend on length, please ASK  before you order!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New designs & unique pieces coming soon!

I'm in the process of listing a bunch of new pieces made during the holidays. There's a lot of new wire work designs, some chainmaille & wire work mixes, and some pearl designs, too!

Emerald, aquamarine & copper cluster ring

Sterling & Swarovski crystal star rose bracelet

Stay tuned for more!