Jewelry Pliers: What’s the Difference Anyway?

Jewelry pliers come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. Each set of pliers has been designed to accomplish a different job.
Chain Nose, Flat Nose, Round Nose, Bent nose . . . what’s the difference anyway?
Well first the basics, there are four main types of pliers, each designed for specific tasks.

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Soldering, Stone Setting, Lost Wax and More with Anat and Joe Silvera

Joe and Anat Silvera are metalsmiths and teachers who currently hail from Berkley, California where they run a small school for jewelry making. They also teach around the Bay area and at bead shops and various festivals around the country. They are well known for their hands on teaching style, with a focus on good technique, as well as their use of equipment that is affordable and very home friendly.

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Spooky Inspirations!

Bat EarringsIts that spooky time of year again! With Halloween just around the corner, we at Seattle Findings wanted to give your haunted-side a jolt of inspiration! With these great ideas you can create jewelry, augment costumes and create tasty treats for Halloween!
These fun bat earrings are fun and simple to make! You can cut out bats from sheet metal or use a stiff acrylic or thick paper. Then, cut two pieces of chain for each earring, varying different lengths. Attach with jump rings and add a few faceted beads for extra fun!

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Upcycle Your Life

Upcycle your lifeFor many, school is starting, which means that Fall is almost upon us! I’ve always felt that each school year brings new beginnings and new goals to strive for. Starting this Fall, strive to be greener! One of the most enjoyable ways to start this Earth-loving habit is to practice Upcycling!
What IS Upcycling you say? Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

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Color, Texture & Casting

Color, Texture & Casting for JewelersHave you ever gotten stuck when designing jewelry? Feel like you have hit a rut with your design techniques and or style? Design freeze happens to everyone! At many points in one’s life, career, and year, inspiration is going to run dry. One of the best ways to get your inspiration back in full force is to increase your exposure to new experiences.

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The Myth and Lore of Seattle Findings Stones – Part I

Wire Wrapped Labradorite PendantIn the ancient world, many stone were considered as valuable as gold. The deeper you delve into stones, the more lore you can uncover. You will also find contrasting and even conflicting beliefs. There is really no single definitive power, symbolism, or quality for any type of stone.

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The International Gem and Jewelry Show is back in Seattle!

Once again the International Gem and Jewelry show is coming to Seattle! I don’t know about you but I look forward to this one every year. This year there are over 85 Exhibitors attending and there will be free beading workshops (with purchase of a materials kit) all weekend too. August 24-26,2012 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. SHOW HOURS: Friday 12:00 pm-6:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am-6:00 pm Sunday 11:00 am-5:00 pm.

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The Magic of PMC

PMC Necklace by Susan Shahinian DesignsAre you looking for something more to add to your work and your repertoire of skills? You may want to give Precious Metal Clay (PMC) a whirl! Precious Metal Clay, most often shortened to PMC is a powdered metal that has been mixed with an organic binder to form a clay-like material.
PMC can be molded, shaped, and formed, the same way that you would handle clay. Once you have formed the clay to its final state, and all the moisture has evaporated from it (or been removed with a gentle heat gun), you can fire the piece in a kiln or with a torch. Firing the piece will burn off the organic clay binder, and leave only metal in the exact form you created!

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Wax On – Wax Off!

Wax Carving KitAt Seattle Findings, we get a great deal of customers who are self-taught. Some techniques are not as easily learned on one’s own, and some require more or less instruction. Wax carving is one such skill, that once you have mastered the basics, you can potentially create anything you can dream, if you only you have enough time and enough wax!

For those of you, who are beginning to explore casting and wax carving, try out these tips and watch your carving skills improve!

Wax Rings1. The most important thing to start out with is a drawing (or several) and a clear idea of what you intend to make.
Bracelet Wax2. Once you have a good idea of what you’d like to carve, it is time to pick out your wax! The softness and pliability of wax is marked by its color. Blue is the softest, purple is medium soft, and green is the hardest. If you haven’t carved before, it is easiest to begin with the hardest wax (green). If you plan to carve small delicate parts, such as prongs, green is too brittle, blue will be too soft, purple should work out well.

3. Cut any stable shapes first. For instance, when carving a ring, be sure to size the ring tube to the desired ring size before you begin any design carving! It is easiest to size a wax ring with a ring wax sizer, instead of trying to use a hand tool or flexshaft to carve the inside away. A ring wax sizer will carve quickly and evenly.

Divider4. Measure out and mark where you should begin carving. Just like carving anything else, it will speed up the time and effort you spend if you can remove any large unnecessary chunks from your wax first. To measure how much you need to remove, a sharp compass or divider is very handy. You can dig into the wax to mark it, or use any type of permanent pen.

Spiral Wax Blades5. The easiest way to remove large chunks of wax is with a coping saw and a wax blade. The twisted tooth of the wax blade allows the blade to cut through the wax without getting stuck. Once you’ve cut the large chunks off, you can start carving with a flexshaft and wax burs, or by hand.

6. The final touches and details can be done with hand tools or a flexshaft. It may be helpful to sharpen, shorten, or thin out your hand carving tools to better fit the needs of your design. It is always better to adjust your tools to your design, rather than adjust your design to the tools you have.

Wax Kleen7. When you have your design completely carved, try buffing it with 300, 400, or 600 grit sandpaper to smooth any rough areas. Personally, I like to buff with a soft paper towel after 600 grit. I’ve found the extra buffing takes out any small scratches in the surface of the wax that the 600 grit didn’t get. Wiping your wax down with alcohol & or Wax Kleen also will help to reduce remaining scratches or mars in the wax.

* The more finishing you can do before casting, will save you time once your design is cast!
Working with a wax pen has many aditional wax applications and many other techniques. Wax pens can be used in conjunction with carving, or by themselves to smooth or create various textures. The best advice for any wax carver working with any method is to practice trial & error, then document your results! Keeping a journal or notebook of your discoveries will allow you to recreate happy accidents and help to decrease your errors. Happy carving!

-Amelia Upton

Check back later this week for Tips & Tricks from Leah