Pearls ARE Forever!

Bridal NecklacePearls come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. There are 4 main types of pearls: Tahitian, Cultured, Akoya, South Sea. They have been revered throughout the ages for their lovely luster and rarity. Pearls are very delicate, especially when compared to gem stones and precious metals! But with these simple tips, your pearls will last a life time!
1. The natural oils of our skin help to keep pearls lustrous, so wear your pearls often!

2. Pearls can be easily damaged by household chemicals such as hairspray, perfume, andPearl Assortment makeup. An easy way to remember is: Last thing on, first thing off!!

3. Pearls should be stored in cloth or a separate area from other jewelry to help avoid scratches

4. Strands of pearls are most often stung on silk thread. Each pearl is separated by a single tight knot, to keep the pearls from scratching each other.

Woven Pearl Necklace5. When you first purchase a strand of pearls, the knots may be so tight as to distort the strand. Simply allow your pearls to hang when in storage (on a wood hook, or non-abrasive jewelry mount) and let gravity to the rest!

6. When stringing pearls, if the hole is not large enough or is obstructed, gently use a diamond coated bead reamer to expand the original drill hole.30 Minute Earrings

Feeling inspired? Check out 30 Minute Earrings for quick fun pearl projects! Enjoy your pearls!
 -Amelia Upton
Tune in Next Week for Tips and Tricks on professionalism, branding, and much more!!

Playing Safe in The Studio

Safety
You have only one body so don’t let something that you love doing cause it harm. Protect and cherish it! Most studio safety issues really aren’t from an accident with a tool, rather they are little things that accumulate over time that involve your eyes, ears, skin, breathing and muscles.

As an artist your eyes are one of the most valuable assets you have. They need to be protected from injury and strain. Safety glasses are easy to have around and they are comfortable to wear. A magnifying headpiece such as an Optivisor will act as both a shield and help protect against eye strain. Lighting is a safety feature that is often overlooked. A good bench lamp will allow you to see and work on your projects without strain.

Your poor ears, so often overlooked safety wise and so very important! The long term whine of your flex shaft or polisher, the ringing of metal as you create your next beautiful piece, even loud music as you work. The effects don’t show up right away but they definitely build up over time. Earplugs, earmuffs with foam or for very loud projects both, will keep them safe and let you hear all the ohhs and ahhs over your work.

Keeping your skin safe is easier. The best way? Be mindful with what you are doing. That graver slip can hurt! Using Finger Pro safety tape helps you get a secure grip on items without being as restrictive or sometimes as dangerous as gloves. A good flame retardant apron is a good item to have; it helps protect you and your clothes. Keep your studio at a comfortable temperature, to hot and you sweat. Sweating increases the blood flow on your skins surface and may increase the absorption of chemicals into your body. Washing your face, arms and hands after working will also remove chemicals, dust and other items that can cause problems.

Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation, the very best way to protect your lungs from the dust and fumes in your studio. Keep in mind, some heating and cooling systems recirculate the air over and over. An exhaust fan is a great help. You can protect further with a good particulate respirator, one with a N95 classification. The N95 means 95% of particulates are removed. Dusting your shop often then washing the cloth and work clothes separately from your other clothing will also help.

Our bodies really weren’t made to sit for long periods of time. So, every hour or so get up, walk around, stretch out, you will help your back and your concentration. Make sure your chair is the right height for where you are working. Some items in the studio are heavy so make sure you use correct lifting techniques. Get help to move that 100lbs of Kerr investment!

A couple of quick general safety tips: If you have long hair keep it pulled back. Make sure your electrical system isn’t overloaded. Keep your work area tidy with items stored safely. With safety, there is no excuse not to take proper precautions. Protection is inexpensive and easy to get… please use it, we do care!

-Leah Alden Jaswal

Remember Mr. Yuk!

Working with metal is exciting and enthralling as a hobby, interest, craft or career. However, many of us get into the rhythm of working and forget about personal safety. As magical as many of the chemicals’ results may be, most can pose health risks when not used properly. Product Safety.com has some excellent advice to keep in mind, before you begin working at the bench:

There are several easy steps to take to promote consumer product safety. First, always read all directions and instructions. Before you use an item, make sure you understand the directions and instructions. Second, read and understand all warnings and cautions. Cautions are typically spelled out pretty explicitly, and are usually accompanied with helpful illustrations. Those instructions are always there to be helpful to the consumer, and they should be followed closely. Also, there are many websites that can be helpful about specific items. (http://www.product-safety.com/healthandsafety.html)

Additionally, here are a few metalsmithing specific tips!

~ Keep a tub of baking soda mixed with water near your pickle pot. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of pickle, on your piece or your skin. Once the mixture has been tinged blue, then it is time to swap it out for clean water and more unused baking soda!
~ Avoid touching any kind of flux with bare skin, or getting it anywhere on your person. If you do get some flux on your skin, be sure to wash it off with soap and warm water as soon as you get a chance.
~ You will want to investigate your chemical options. For instance, when choosing a flux, Dandix is Fluoride free, which means fewer harmful fumes. Handy flux which does contain fluoride, should be used with increased ventilation. You should evaluate which materials you would like to use and then determine what safety precautions you will need to take after you have made your choice.
~ Plating solutions are very strong chemical combinations, at Seattle Findings we choose to carry Earth Friendly plating solutions to minimize our customers’ exposure to cyanide, which is both very flammable and hazardous.
~ Additionally, choosing cadium and lead free solders is an easy way to eliminate harmful fumes from your soldering and brazing routines.
~ Last but not least, don’t forget to wear your safety glasses/masks/ear protection/rubber gloves when necessary. Remember Mr. Yuk and work safe!

Tune In Next Week for Metals & Patinas on Review!

-Amelia Upton

*Mr. Yuk is trademarked and copyrighted by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh