Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cleaning off my workbench sale -- specials galore!

Copper open arrow rivet ring
Sometimes I experiment with new ideas and a finished piece results. Other times, I'm asked about a custom item, and a finished piece results from my experiments to produce that item. These items usually end up in a basket on my workbench, sometimes "lost" for months or even a year. Sometimes parts of these just need to be recycled, scrapped, disassembled, or otherwise disposed of, and other times, these pieces are completely wearable, but they are often left in limbo.

When I have a bunch of these piling up in that basket, I sometimes go over them, clean them, decide which ones are potentially worth offering up as a "special" in my shop. I've listed a few of these pieces already and more are coming.

Specials are not items I can usually reproduce -- you may certainly ask about attempting to re-make a ring in a different size, but keep in mind that the same price of that "special" item may not apply to your custom item, because I now must attempt to reproduce something that may otherwise have been an accident. It isn't always quite as easy as it seems!

Please visit my shop here to see current specials ^_^. More are coming soon, too!

10k gold filled, sterling silver & amethyst celtic earrings

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New mixed metal chunky 14 gauge byzantine bracelets, ready to buy now!

Yesterday, I promised these were coming -- and today, they are here in my shop, ready for purchase! These are the same custom-made chunky byzantine bracelets I've been selling in titanium and steel, but now you can get mixed-metal versions, custom-made just like the others.

14 gauge steel & gold filled byzantine bracelet
 Personally, I can not decide which I like more -- the combination of gold and steel or the combination of titanium and silver. As soon as I have some sample chains made for photography, I will also offer steel & sterling as well as titanium and gold.

Solid gold is currently available as a custom made item paired with steel in 18 gauge.

I've opted to create the first titanium & sterling bracelet with a satin finish. My satin finish simply shaves a single step off the somewhat long process that I use to finish titanium.

Titanium is such a hard metal that in the semi-rough state of the metal I receive, it requires a 3 stage tumbling process to get it to a more reasonable surface appearance (which is still rather rough looking by comparison to many of the softer metals that I work with).

14 gauge titanium & sterling byzantine bracelet (satin finish)

The 3-stage process that I use involves a very rough cutting ceramic tumbling media that is used with water. The titanium spends a full day with this media. It then goes into another full day, wet tumbling session with a finer-cutting plastic media. It is after this stage that the satin finished pieces stop and just get cleaned with a gentle soap (Dawn dish soap, to be exact). Pieces to receive a shine/polished look spend another day in the tumbler, but this time with steel and plastic burnishing media.

I'm working on a process that also incorporates a final polishing run in a vibe tumbler with walnut shell and potentially a nice polishing compound.

Either way, if you like the look of these designs -- hit the "Etsy shop" link on the menu above (or click the images in this post). Both are in the "Made to order" section of my shop, ready to buy today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Byzantine by gauge - explained!

In my shop (and from other chainmaillers) you will find listings for specific weaves, like the ever-popular byzantine chain. What you may not realize is that not all byzantine chains are the same. I've noticed some maillers don't always say what the size of the chain is, and that's hard to tell from photos.

I usually list my byzantine (and other chains) by wire or ring gauge -- what this means is the diameter of the wire used to make the rings that are woven together to make the finished chain. Each chainmaille weave has a ring size (wire gauge to inner diameter of the ring) that is ideal for creating that weave, so in essence, each weave can be made in different sizes depending on the wire gauge of the rings! Confused yet? Let's take a look at some photos.

steel & 10k gold byzantine chain
This first photo shows a gold and steel byzantine chain. But how thick is it? It's hard to tell from the photo, which is clearly trying to show the pattern in a close-up way.

bronze & half-round sterling silver byzantine chain
The next photo shows a bronze and sterling silver byzantine chain. Does it look similar to the size of the steel and gold one? I'd say so. But if you guessed that they were about the same size, you'd be so very, very wrong!

Here's a photo I took recently to show the size difference in byzantine, starting with the thickest one I make (14 gauge). The order is this:  14 gauge, 16 gauge (shown in a hybrid barrel form), 18 gauge, and 20 gauge.

Byzantine size comparison (14 gauge, 16 gauge, 18 gauge, 20 gauge)

From the last photo (above), you can see that the last 2 chains are the two in the photos from earlier in this post. The steel and gold is 18 gauge, while the bronze and sterling are 20 gauge. I also like to give the cross-section thickness of each chain:  14 gauge has about a 3/8" thickness (almost a half inch thick!), while 16 gauge is a little more than 1/4". 18 gauge is about an even 1/4" thick, and 20 gauge is about 3/16".

So, the next time you're about to buy a handmade piece of byzantine chain, you might want to stop and make sure it's the thickness/size you want! ^_~

More options in 14 gauge byzantine bracelets coming very soon!

Some of the most popular items in my shop are my 14 gauge byzantine bracelets in steel, titanium, and sterling silver. Silver is popular with the ladies, while steel and titanium are the general preference for the gents (of course, guys like the sterling, too -- but more seem to prefer steel and titanium).

Byzantine samples (steel & gold, barrel hybrid, bronze & sterling)

Coming very soon are some mixed metal options to these bracelets with more customization options! To start, I'm pairing sterling silver with titanium and 14k gold filled with steel, but all of my mixed metal options will be available once I have supplies to make them all (e.g. titanium with gold, steel with sterling, etc).

Eventually, you'll be able to choose the combination of metals that you want (eventually, you'll be able to select the pattern of the metal mixture), the finish and the length so that your bracelet is made exactly the way you want it! For now, all of these options are available via special request (send me an Etsy convo).

Monday, September 8, 2014

New design, new web site ... new everything!

Things are undergoing a pretty big transition this week around here and elsewhere on the web. My main jewelry web page is moving to its own domain name www.zsartjewelry.com, all of my graphics and banners are being updated with a new, cohesive design centered around the logo I've been using on my jewelry boxes for a few months now.

The new logo can be seen at the top of this page as well as on my main web site & Etsy shop. The old web site URL will continue to work, but it will be redirected to the new domain name. Everything will funnel through my Etsy shop, as well, contact included. I will always answer e-mails sent to zsartjewelry@zero-space.net, of course, but from today forward, all of my contact links will point to the Etsy convo system.