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Cuttlefish Bone Casting
August 20th, 2021

Bare Bones Casting The technique behind cuttlefish bone casting and design possibilites it offers By Margaretha Held Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from “Cuttlefish Bone Casting: Theory of Mold Making, Design Possibilities, Practical Casting Technique and Analysis,” a paper by Margaretha Held that was published in the proceedings of the 2019 Santa Fe Symposium […]

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Wear & Tear
August 2nd, 2021

A study of the wear resistance of platinum and gold alloys Sponsored by: By Teresa Fryé, Ulrich E. Klotz, & Tiziana Heiss Editor’s Note: The following excerpt is from “Wear Resistance of Platinum and Gold Alloys: A Comparative Study,” which appears in the July 2021 issue of Johnson Matthey Technology Review (click here read the […]

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Set in Stone
August 2nd, 2021

Kenetha Stanton, kintsugi, and the healing process Kenetha Stanton stumbled upon kintsugi art several years ago, during a difficult period of her life where she experienced several intense losses. The kintsugi philosophy resonated with her, and she began visualizing how she could put back together the pieces of her life to create something better. She […]

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Breaking New Ground
August 2nd, 2021

Christopher Taylor Timberlake mimics kintsugi in metal Christopher Taylor Timberlake, a fine art jeweler in Austin, Texas, had never heard of kintsugi until a client walked into his studio a few years ago and mentioned the art form as a possible source of inspiration for his wedding ring. As luck would have it, Timberlake’s assistant […]

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Embracing Flaws
August 2nd, 2021

Designers taking a crack at the Japanese art of kintsugi By Shawna Kulpa It used to be if you broke your favorite bowl or plate, you mourned the loss and disposed of the remains. If the item was significant enough, you might send it out for repair, but the lingering scar would forever mar the […]

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Metal Fabrication 101 for Jewelers
September 24th, 2020

Metal Fabrication 101 Making your own sheet, wire, and rod By Shawna Kulpa One lesson we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of rolling with the punches and knowing how to make do. If you have to close your workshop due to government restrictions, you learn to have Zoom meetings with your team […]

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Under Pressure: Understanding Stress Corrosion Cracking
September 24th, 2020

Under Pressure Understanding how stress and corrosion create stress corrosion cracking By Stewart Grice Stress corrosion cracking. It’s the bane of many a jeweler, even if they don’t know it’s happening. Ever wonder why a couple of perfectly good 14k white gold prongs failed for what appears to be absolutely no reason? Or why a […]

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What’s Old Is New Again
July 8th, 2020

What’s Old Is New Again What the future may hold for guilloché By Calina Shevlin Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from “Guilloché: From Watch Dials to Fantastic Creations,” a paper by Calina Shevlin that was published in the proceedings of the 2018 Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology. Guilloché, the decorative art of […]

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Fill in the Blanks
July 2nd, 2020

Fill in the Blanks Developing a modern technique using a traditional rose engine By Chris Ploof Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from “Practical Applications of a Rose Engine in the Modern Shop,” a paper by Chris Ploof that was published in the proceedings of the 2019 Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology. It […]

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In the Clear
July 2nd, 2020

In the Clear Transparent protective coatings offer jewelers tarnish and wear resistance By Shawna Kulpa There are few things more frustrating: After spending hours crafting a piece of jewelry, polishing it to a high shine, and proudly placing it on display for your customers to admire (and hopefully buy), you walk by the display days […]

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Banishing the Blues
July 2nd, 2020

Banishing the Blues Overcoming the challenges of platinum-cobalt By Shawna Kulpa All jewelers have their favorite alloy—the one they love to work in, that responds to their tools as if it were made just for them. All jewelers also have an alloy (or maybe two) that they detest—that doesn’t respond well or creates more work. […]

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Step Up to the Plate
July 2nd, 2020

Step Up to the Plate A beginner’s guide to plating By Sharon Elaine Thompson When most consumers think of plating, they associate it with costume or fashion jewelry. Yet many fine jewelers and manufacturers use plating daily—from chain manufacturers looking to match the color of the findings they buy in bulk to their chains to […]

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Hammer It Home
July 2nd, 2020

David Huang on raising and the movement of metal By John Shanahan Truth be told, when Michigan-based metalsmith David Huang first came across the art of metal raising in college, he didn’t care for it. Given a 12-inch disc of 14-gauge (2 mm) bronze by his professor, Huang hammered away at it, but turned in […]

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The Looks of Foldforming
July 2nd, 2020

The Looks of Foldforming Charles Lewton-Brain has categorized the classes of foldforming into 10 techniques. Some can be used as the starting point for dozens of variations; others have literally hundreds of possible looks. Line Folds: A basic technique where the metal is folded and unfolded, and sometimes worked in between to achieve a desired […]

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Above the Fold
July 2nd, 2020

Above the Fold Charles Lewton-Brain on the art of foldforming By John Shanahan It’s entirely possible that if Charles-Lewton Brain had not learned to speak German, the art of foldforming may never have been created. After finishing art school, he learned of Fachhochschule für Gestaltung, an influential school in Germany that one of his teachers […]

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A Plique-à-Jour Pictorial
July 2nd, 2020

  A Plique-à-Jour Pictorial 1. Lyons has mixed her enamel powders with water and Klyr Fire (an adhesive), and they are now ready to apply to the earring.   2. After applying the first layer of enamel, Lyons places the earring into the kiln. 3. The earring after the first firing in the kiln. Plique-à-jour […]

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Three Enameling Safety Tips
July 2nd, 2020

Three Enameling Safety Tips   Enameling is a beautiful art, but when you break it right down, it comprises three dangerous aspects: tiny glass particles, harmful fumes, and infrared radiation. Amy Roper Lyons offers three quick tips to deal with each of these. 1. When working with dry enamel powders, take care to not create […]

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Looking Glass
July 2nd, 2020

Looking Glass Amy Roper Lyons on the care and considerations of enameling By John Shanahan The primary reason designer Amy Roper Lyons of Summit, New Jersey, began working in enamels is fairly black and white: her jewelry needed color. “My first line was made of sterling with other non-precious materials,” she says. “It was pretty […]

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TruSilver Plus
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 92.5% silver, copper, and other proprietary elements   Suitable for Casting and fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,570°F (855°C) Liquidus: 1,700°F (925°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): 88 HV • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): 80 HV   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) […]

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TruSilver
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 927 silver and other metals   Suitable for Casting and fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,562°F (850°C) Liquidus: 1,610°F (875°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): 75 HV • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): 70 HV   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) • […]

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Sterlium Plus
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 92.5% silver, copper, and germanium   Suitable for Casting and fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,560°F (849°C) Liquidus: 1,655°F (902°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes before quenching flask: 62–70 HV 0.3 • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): Not recommended.   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) • […]

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Sterling Silver Plus
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition Silver, copper, zinc, and other additives   Suitable for Casting   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,625°F (885°C) Liquidus: 1,700°F (927°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): N/A • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): 80 HV   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) • Fully annealed […]

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Sterling Silver 57
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 92.7% silver, 4% copper, 2.25% zinc, germanium, de-oxidizers, fluidizers, and proprietary elements   Suitable for Casting   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,558°F (848°C) Liquidus: 1,653°F (900°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): 55-60 HV • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): 50 HV (susceptible […]

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Deox Sterling Non-Tarnishing Silver
July 2nd, 2020

Deox Sterling Non-Tarnishing Silver     General Alloy Composition 92.5% silver, copper, tin, proprietary trace elements     Suitable for Casting     Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1558°F (848°C) Liquidus: 1675°F (913°C)     Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): 155 HV • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): […]

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Continuum
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 92.5% silver, copper, and palladium   Suitable for Casting and fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,680°F (915°C) Liquidus: 1,730°F (943°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes before quenching flask: 97-117 HV 0.3 • No dwell (less than 5 minutes): 75-82 HV 0.3   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) […]

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Arctic Fox Anti-Tarnish Silver
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 92.7% silver, copper, zinc, and indium   Suitable for Casting and fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,515°F (824°C) Liquidus: 1,592°F (867°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) • Dwell for 15-20 minutes (after casting, before quenching): About HV 104 • No dwell (less than 3 minutes): About HV 82   Hardness (70% […]

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Argentium 960 Pro
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 96% silver, copper, germanium, grain refiners, and de-oxidizers   Suitable for Casting   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,625°F (885°C) Liquidus: 1,697°F (925°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) 57 HV   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) N/A   Hardness (Age-Hardened) (HV) • Two-step age hardness: Anneal the casting and quench after the red glow […]

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Argentium 960 Millform
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 96% silver, copper, germanium, and grain refiners   Suitable for Fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,661°F (905°C) Liquidus: 1,697°F (925°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) 65 HV after casting of bar or ingot.   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) • Fully annealed (dead-soft) before cold working: 57 HV after full anneal and […]

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Argentium 935 Pro
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 93.5% silver, copper, germanium, grain refiners, and de-oxidizers   Suitable for Casting   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,598°F (870°C) Liquidus: 1,670°F (910°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) 72 HV   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) N/A   Hardness (Age-Hardened) (HV) • Two-step age hardness: Anneal the casting and quench after the red glow […]

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Argentium 935 Millform
July 2nd, 2020

  General Alloy Composition 93.5% silver, copper, germanium, and grain refiners   Suitable for Fabrication   Melting Temperature Range Solidus: 1,477°F (803°C) Liquidus: 1,657°F (903°C)   Hardness (As-Cast) (HV) 80 HV after casting of bar or ingot.   Hardness (70% Cold-Work) (HV) • Fully annealed (dead-soft) before cold working: 65 HV after full anneal and […]

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De-Ox Silver Alloy Comparison
July 2nd, 2020

Casting and fabrication alloys Click on the links below to learn more about the alloys’ composition, capabilities, use, temperature ranges, hardnesses, forms, and more. You can also read a companion article about working with de-ox sterling silver alloys, “On the Bright Side.” Argentium 935 Millform (GSM Metals, Argentium International Limited) Argentium 935 Pro  (GSM Metals, […]

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On the Bright Side
July 2nd, 2020

Getting to know de-oxidized sterling silver alloys By Irina Missiuro Sterling silver alloys typically contain about 7.5 percent copper, an addition that not only provides strength to the otherwise pure silver, but also helps the alloys to tarnish fairly quickly—a traditional frustration for jewelers and consumers alike. In addition, both copper and silver readily absorb […]

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The Big Finish
July 2nd, 2020

The Big Finish Techniques for popular finishing touches By John Shanahan Precious metals are beautiful on their own, from the rich glow of yellow gold to the dense white of platinum—and everything in between. Take that as a starting point and add the kind of patterning and textural elements that come with applying a finishing […]

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From Scratch
July 2nd, 2020

    From Scratch Making metal sheet, wire, and rod by hand By Jo Haemer “When am I ever going to use this?” Although this question is usually associated with math students, it’s also often uttered by the metalsmithing students I teach. After all, why master the art of making sheet, wire, and rod by […]

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Solid Rivets
July 2nd, 2020

Solid Rivets A step-by-step guide to an essential cold connection By Helen I. Driggs Solid rivets are one of the most useful connections for joining materials that are delicate, heat sensitive, or not metal. I like to use them both as decorative and structural elements, and although there are manufactured rivets available on the market, […]

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Catching Cold
July 2nd, 2020

  Catching Cold   Tim McCreight puts it all together with cold connections   By John Shanahan   Technically speaking, if you have ever stapled two pieces of paper together, you have ventured into the realm of cold connections. To jeweler and metalsmith Tim McCreight of Brunswick, Maine, cold connections are everywhere. “I bet right […]

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Video: Weaving Loop-in-Loop Chain
July 2nd, 2020

Presented by Ann Cahoon Flying Marquis Studio/North Bennet St. School In this video, jeweler and educator Ann Cahoon demonstrates a technique for weaving loop-in-loop chain. This video is a companion the MJSA Press book Secret Shop Weapons, in which more than 30 acclaimed designers and jewelers reveal their favorite tools that make work smoother and life easier. Secret […]

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A Touch of Gold: Keum-boo–Elegance and Value
July 2nd, 2020

  Touch of Gold Jayne Redman adds elegance and value with keum-boo By Shannon L. Brown Art meets engineering when Jayne Redman of Jayne Redman Jewelry Inc. in Portland, Maine, applies keum-boo, the ancient Korean technique of bonding 24k gold foil to another metal surface, usually silver. Her nature-inspired, sculptural silver jewelry is brought to […]

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Together Forever: Joining Two Metals
July 2nd, 2020

Together Forever Joining two metals to produce a match made in heaven By Shannon Cournoyer    Jewelry with more than one metal is growing in popularity. Yellow gold and silver, white gold and steel, platinum and cobalt—no matter what two metals you are trying to unite, wedding them blissfully in a piece of jewelry takes […]

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Video: Tips for Melting Silver
July 2nd, 2020

Methods for melting silver alloys In this video, James Binnion, owner of James Binnion Metals Arts, demonstrates his preferred methods for properly melting silver alloys to minimize porosity and oxidation issues. James is also the technical editor of the MJSA Press book, Jewelry Metals: A Guide to Working with Common Alloys, available here.

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Reactive Hues
July 2nd, 2020

Reactive Hues Creating colorful jewelry designs by anodizing titanium and niobium By Kirk Lang When most people think of colored jewelry, their minds conjure visions of rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. After all, jewelry makers have been relying on gemstones to add color to their work for thousands of years. But there are other ways to […]

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Making Your Own Alloys
July 2nd, 2020

Practice Makes Perfect   Tips for creating your own gold alloys By Shawna Kulpa   It doesn’t take a PhD in metallurgy when it comes to making a jewelry metal alloy, but it does take practice—lots and lots of practice.   Whether it’s your desire to create the perfect shade of buttery yellow gold or […]

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Plating Patterns
July 2nd, 2020

  Plating Patterns Using resists and electroplating to create patterns By Charles Lewton-Brain With the ever-higher cost of precious metals, many jewelers are increasingly working with non-precious metals such as stainless steel, titanium, and copper. As jewelers design with these materials, color and pattern development have become popular ways to dress up the surfaces of […]

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The art of Mokumé gane
July 2nd, 2020

Painting in Metals George Sawyer on the art of mokumé gane By John Shanahan There is perhaps no jewelry look more immediately distinctive than mokumé gane. With its multiple colors of precious metals flowing in wood-grain patterns, the art traces its roots back to Japanese sword-forging techniques that originated before 1000 A.D. George Sawyer’s fascination […]

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Paint It Black: Belle Brooke Barer’s Blackening Process
July 2nd, 2020

Paint It Black Belle Brooke Barer demonstrates her blackening process By Belle Brooke Barer   Step 1: I prepare the pieces with 800-grit sandpaper, bristle brushes, Moore’s discs, etc. to get them to an almost finished state.   Step 2: To get the matte look of my designs, I sandblast the pieces and even out […]

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Natural Curves
July 2nd, 2020

Natural Curves Making a foldform bracelet using a line fold By Charles Lewton-Brain Foldforming is a rapid way of working with sheet metal using hand tools to create complex three-dimensional shapes and relief surfaces. There are hundreds of specific forms that are predictable, lightweight, conservative of materials, and fast to make—fast enough that they have […]

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Layered Looks: Working with Gold-Filled Materials
July 2nd, 2020

Layered Looks What you need to know about working with gold-filled materials By Shannon L. Brown Judith Bright’s retail store makes its home in a high-end mall in Nashville that services a diverse clientele. To meet the needs of her customers, Bright has built her business around gold-filled jewelry. “If we worked in solid gold, […]

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In the Loop: Making a Crocheted Chain
July 2nd, 2020

In the Loop Step-by-step instructions for making a crocheted chain By Michael David Sturlin Fabrics and precious metals would seem to be total opposites, like hot and cold or yin and yang. However, despite their obvious differences in hardness, they do possess similar properties–specifically, both are pliable and elastic, and can be stretched and manipulated. […]

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Video: Finishing Handmade Chain
July 2nd, 2020

Presented by Ann Cahoon Flying Marquis Studio/North Bennet St. School In this video, jeweler and educator Ann Cahoon demonstrates how to finish handmade chain. This video is a companion the MJSA Press book Secret Shop Weapons, in which more than 30 acclaimed designers and jewelers reveal their favorite tools that make work smoother and life easier. Secret Shop […]

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Video: Crocheting Chain
July 2nd, 2020

Presented by Ann Cahoon Flying Marquis Studio/North Bennet St. School In this video, jeweler and educator Ann Cahoon demonstrates a technique for crocheting chain. This video is a companion the MJSA Press book Secret Shop Weapons, in which more than 30 acclaimed designers and jewelers reveal their favorite tools that make work smoother and life easier. Secret […]

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Color By Number
July 2nd, 2020

Color By Number Fabricating and anodizing a titanium ring in eight steps By Kirk Lang Editor’s Note: In the September 2013 print edition of MJSA Journal, Kirk Lang provided an overview of designing with and anodizing titanium and niobium. In this step-by-step article, he takes you through the process of creating an anodized titanium ring. […]

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Back in Black: Tips for Blackening Silver
July 2nd, 2020

Back in Black Tips for blackening silver By Tina Wojtkielo Snyder Blackening silver involves coating a piece of silver with one of a number of solutions that blackens the surface. The end result can be chic, sleek, or sexy—and it looks great with high karat gold accents. But taking silver from sterling to black can […]

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Around the Bend
July 2nd, 2020

Around the Bend Tips and tricks for scoring metal By Charles Lewton-Brain Scoring metal is incredibly important for custom jewelry construction. It enables you to reduce the number of parts in a catch or a hollow piece, which increases strength and cuts fabrication time. The term “scoring” refers to creating a groove in metal sheet […]

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On Red Alert
March 24th, 2020

On Red Alert The trials and tribulations of working with red gold By Shawna Kulpa “You like potato and I like potahto. You like tomato and I like tomahto. Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto Let’s call the whole thing off.” Brothers George and Ira Gershwin may have been talking about vegetables in their famous lyrics from […]

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Everything Is Fine
March 24th, 2020

Everything’s Fine Victoria Lansford on the art of filigree—Russian or otherwise By John Shanahan Every jewelry designer can pinpoint the thing that first called her to the art. It may have been seeing something in a museum, or finding a delicate heirloom piece in her grandmother’s jewelry box, or even a simple wire-and-bead kit she […]

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Blackening Eggsperiment: Blackening Silver with a Hard-Boiled Egg
March 24th, 2020

A Blackening Eggsperiment Blackening silver with a hard-boiled egg By Jack and Elizabeth Gualtieri Editor’s Note: Blackened silver is one of the hottest trends in jewelry today. The process involves coating a piece of silver with one of a number of solutions that blackens the surface. While researching this process, the MJSA editorial team learned […]

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Seamless Construction: Making a Heistad Cup
March 12th, 2020

Seamless Construction Making a Heistad cup in three minutes By Charles Lewton Brain Fold-forming is a hand-working technique applied to single sheets of metal to create surfaces and three-dimensional forms quickly without soldering. It relies on the metal’s plasticity and ductility to make hundreds of complex forms resembling chased, constructed, and soldered shapes. Using thin […]

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