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Archive for the ‘Silver Jewelry’ Category

Hi all.. Can you believe it’s October already?! This year is flying by faster than the Man of Steel & his sonic booms! Anyhow…

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I’ve just been updating the custom orders page on my website, and wanted to share a few words.. After a really good conversation with my husband yesterday, I realised I am charging far too little for custom pieces.. I so want to be able to accommodate everyone, but the truth is, custom work takes 2-3 times as long as any other work – from designing (with options!), meeting clients, working out costs & quotes, and actually manufacturing – often trying something I’ve never done before! Anyhow, I’ve realised that I need to actually start charging for my time, or else it’s just not worth it for me to do :/

So – if you check out my website’s custom orders page, you can see a new pricing guide, with some minimum costs.. As you can see, I’m keeping custom name necklaces as low as possible, as these don’t take me long to provide a few font options – but for necklaces and rings, well, those have definitely gone up! I hope this doesn’t put too many people off – you will be getting absolutely awesome custom pieces if you order, but they will cost a little more..

Name Necklace Gerri

Click here to see some new pics of custom orders recently made up, as well as new pricing guides: http://www.starbrightgirl.com/custom%20orders.htm

Have a fantastic day everyone :) Megs xxx

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So, I’m reaaaally close to 500 likes on my Facebook page – and to celebrate, once I’ve reached 500, I’m going to give away this brand new pendant :)

Facebook Giveaway - Africa Bird Pendant

Facebook Giveaway – Africa Bird Pendant

 

This pendant is sterling silver, with the bird detail hand-cut, and is approx. 20mm in length.. It will come on a sterling silver 50cm chain :)

To enter, all you need to do, is leave a comment below (and your email, so I can contact you if you win! Promise I won’t spam you!)

Also – please share this with your friends on Facebook – remember, I will only draw a winner once I have reached over 500 likes!

Thanks again to everyone for the continued support – getting “likes” on Facebook for pictures of items I’ve made always makes me so happy!

Please note – this particular giveaway is unfortunately only open to South African residents – if you’re not based in Durban, I will post the prize to the winner.

Winner will be drawn at random from a hat! ;)

Happy Weekend!! Love Megs xxx

 

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Phew, I have to say, I’m glad it’s Friday – even though I’ll be doing some work this weekend.. It’s been a super busy week – with stock finished off & sent off to both Fringe Arts Cape Town shops, as well as the new Lonehill shop (JHB), as well as stock being dropped off at the KZNSA gallery, and a number of smaller orders!

(Update: I’m publishing this on Saturday – have to wait until some of the gifts at the bottom have been given! ;) )

But, the week has ended on a really good note – as I received some jewellery production tools, which I ordered from overseas, this morning..

New Jewellery Tools

My awesome new jewellery tools

On top, in the picture, you’ll see a brand new, aluminium saw-frame. This is absolutely wonderful, as it’s really light-weight & nicely balanced, which I think will definitely help reduce the strain my arms and wrists have been taking! I know some jeweller’s who use these, and only have good things to say about them – and, so far – so awesome! The other nice thing (a technical detail), is that you can set your tension for your saw-blades – which means my chest/shoulder can rest easy – as I used to have to push my old frame against myself to tension it!!

In the box, is another totally awesome tool – a mini belt-sander for the bench.. I’ve been trying it out today, and it really is great.. Basically, it clamps to the bench, and then you connect your pendant motor to it. As I have a Foredom, variable-speed, motor, I can control the speed it runs with my foot pedal, which means no hot/burnt or sanded-off-skin-fingers! I ordered a variety of sandpaper belts to use – but must say, I’m taking a while to get used to the different grits – here it’s all 400, 600, 800 etc, but these are American, and so are 320, 500, 1200.. Sigh, why can’t the world be more standardised! ;)

Anyhow – here’s a pic of me using the set-up sander (yes, I’m normally right-handed, but that would have been an awful picture!)

Using the Wolf Belt Sander

Trying out my new Wolf Belt Sander

I was honestly surprised by how beautiful and flat the pieces are sanded – which is just perfect for my style & designs! To be honest, it is a bit of a mission to change the sandpaper belts, but for assembly production sanding – I can tell this is my new best friend!! :D

To end off, here are just a couple of pics of things I have been busy with this week.. The Converse pendant isn’t quite finished – but I’m just so stoked with how it’s looking – must make more! The others are mostly gift items, so I’m just hoping they have all been given to their recipients by now! ;)

Orders August 2013

August 2013 – some custom orders

And that’s all from me – hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend :) Megs xx

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So, it’s been a very topsy turvy few weeks for me – which started with my first ever Etsy return.. I have to admit, I was pretty devastated to begin with – but as the whole situation worked itself through, I decided to take it as a learning tool..

Basically, some of the items I offer on my Etsy shops, are blackened. To do this, I use a Liver of Sulphur solution, on a heated hotplate (standard for all jewellers), into which the item is dipped.¬†However, in this case, the blackening didn’t take properly, and wore off within a day. The customer requested a refund, as they wanted a blackened piece.

Supernatural Pendant

I did try and offer a few alternatives, which to their credit, they did try, but unfortunately none worked, so I accepted that I would need to refund.

Luckily, Paypal is very sorted these days, so I asked for them to post me the item back, and Paypal would only refund once a tracking number had been entered! Quite impressed with that :)

In the meantime, I went back to the studio, and did multiple tests with the blackening solution – and determined that the solution was too old, and I needed to start fresh. I also did lots of research online, and found that adding ammonia to the solution helps the blackening – which I did. Lo and behold, I finally had perfectly blackened pieces! So, whilst not being a pleasant experience, I did learn something, and will definitely take added care when blackening in future (and will always test that the blackening holds well!) (I have also made adjustments on my Etsy shop for customers to note that it is a surface solution, and will eventually wear off – so they know it’s not permanent!)

Yes, it smells as bad as it looks!

Sulphur Powder – Yes, it smells as bad as it looks!

So, that was one aspect of the last few weeks – there was also a death in the family (my hubby’s grandfather, who will be greatly missed), a friend wrote off his car, another ended up in hospital, and my tendinitis in my wrists has flared up quite badly, so it’s been physio visits, and cortisone injections (with side effects!) for me..

But – there’s also been a lot of good – my business is going well, and I had a wonderful day at the I Heart Market last week. One of my best friends was out from the UK, so I got to spend lots of time with her, which was lovely – and another set of friends had their first baby – who we get to meet tomorrow.. :)

So, it really is about taking the bad with the good – learning from the bad, and just appreciating & enjoying the good..

This has been a deep post from me today (as deep as I go!) – so I’m going to sign off, say Happy Thursday – and enjoy the long weekend everyone in South Africa! Megs xxx

PS – One more note, for the geeky Supernatural fans (who’ll be the only ones to get this) – ironic isn’t it, that SULPHUR is used to blacken the pendant!! :P

 

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Hi again – and welcome to the new week – hope it’s going to be a great one! ;)Today I thought I’d write a little bit about custom orders..

I really enjoy doing custom orders for people – even though they stress me out, to be honest! Trying to match up with a vision in someone’s head is not always easy! But, I like to tackle them.. Plus, I have one fallback – I NEVER start making things up until people are 100% sure about the design!

I’m pretty lucky in that I do all my designs on the computer (vector files) – so I’m able to create a jpeg, and email to customers to check.. This is also useful when I have to make sure of, for example, a ring size – when the customer is on the other side of the world! I send a 100% scaled image, they can print it out, cut it out, and wrap it around their finger to check! I did this recently for a ring headed to Germany – and thankfully, it apparently fits perfectly! (Plus, I love the fact that most Germans I have met are really accurate – and these customers were great and gave me perfect diameters!) ;)
Here’s a pic of the design, and the finished ring :)

Cthulhu RingIt’s also really helpful for designing – I get some interesting requests, where a customer will ask, for example, if I can combine a variety of images to form 1 design – see the example below:

BuffyAngelPendantIt was highly useful to be able to send a rough design first, to make sure I was on the right track, before spending ages fine-tuning it all!

So basically – I really do love doing custom work, and I’m always happy to be able to work with people all over the world, to create something they’re going to love! ;) I’ll leave you with a few more examples of work I’ve done this year.. Have a great week!! :) Megan xx

Comp Design Collage

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A week or so back, I had an email from a customer overseas, asking how to clean her little Africa pendant she had purchased from me. I sent quite a detailed response, and was thinking it’s something I should share with everyone :)

For cleaning silver jewellery, I use a product called Silvo, which is a silver polish, to clean my pieces if necessary.. You get it at the supermarket here in South Africa – it’s the same stuff your mom probably uses to clean silver cutlery! I’m sure there must be equivalents to this in different parts of the world! ;)
Basically, you just shake the tin, then pour a tiny amount on a soft cotton cloth, then rub the piece gently over it – then use a clean part of the cloth to rub the polish off :) You’ll see the cloth go black when you rub the piece!

Silvo Polish

I do use a small amount of a metal called Indium in my alloying process, which helps retard the tarnishing process for a while, but if you’re slightly acidic, or live near the sea (like me in both cases!), the silver will eventually blacken..

If there is still some polish left on the edges – another nice cleaning trick is to pop it into a container of just boiled water, then add dishwashing liquid soap, and a tiny amount of ammonia. Then use a soft toothbrush to clean.
This is also great for rings (and gold jewellery) etc – especially with diamonds & other stones, where dirt gets trapped under the stones – you’ll see how shiny they come up!!

You can also use Silvo & a cloth to clean chains – but another nice tip is to put a little bit of washing powder & water into your cupped hand, and to rub the chain in your hands, this can also help clean it..

These are things that can help on a daily basis, just to clean your jewellery a little – but I’ll be 100% honest – there’s nothing for the home market that works as well as what’s in a jeweller’s studio! If you want your jewellery to look like new – take it to a local jeweller, and ask for a clean & polish.. Chains will be tumbled, and solid pieces polished by hand, and they will once again look like new! (This shouldn’t be expensive, but might be worth a small outlay, especially if you want to wear something for a special occasion!) :)

Tumbling & Polishing

Anyhow – hope this little bit of information has helped! Have a fantastic day everyone :) Megs xx

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So, just wanted to write a short clarifying post: If you’ve seen recent pieces of my jewellery, you may have noticed something new – a tiny oval “ZA” stamp on the back, next to the 925 hallmark stamp.

This has been introduced as an extra little proof, that the jewellery you see has been manufactured here in South Africa, and not imported from a mass-producing country – ahem ;)

So, when you see the ZA stamp, you can be assured of its local production – although, you could always be assured with my jewellery, as it’s all made by me! :P (although, I do buy in my chains!!)

Here’s a little pic of what I’m talking about:

ZA Stamp

And you can find some more info here, if you’re interested :)

Hope you’re all having a great week! xxx

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Valentine's Promotion 2013

Open to all South African Residents :)

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First of all – Happy New Year! :) Hope you all had a fantastic festive season – and for those in snowy climates – I am soooo jealous right now!! ;)

It’s been far too long since I last blogged, something I want to sort out this year (I’m not saying I’m going to aim for every week, but once a month would be good!) For this first blog post, I want to talk about charms…

Just before Christmas last year, my mom phoned me, and asked if I’d be able to make some little charms to go in the Christmas pudding – she said when she was young, they’d had silver charms in theirs, as opposed to money.. I said yes (even though I was hectically busy!), then suggested each charm be customised for each person.. This led to the following set of charms:

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The star charm was for me (I’ve always loved stars, hence my business name), the bow & arrow for my husband – who loves archery, the airplane was for my uncle – who used to be an airplane engineer, the puppy was for my aunt – who has 2 golden retrievers, and the kitty for my mom’s best friend – who loves cats!

Even though these were just tiny, fun charms – it led me to think about charms – as well as traditional totems and amulets.. For thousands of years, different cultures have carried tokens as symbols of their tribe or family (totems), or as good luck charms (amulets), or simply to portray a piece of their history (where they’ve been or what they’ve done) or show off something they liked (like with charm bracelets)

I don’t know if I’m really a believer in something protecting you, but I love the idea of showing off your love of a particular thing – be it an animal or TV show.. I’ve done this for ages with my starbrightsilver geek range of jewellery on etsy – the designs are based on oblique references from geek culture, which allows only other geeks to recognise them, and thereby instantly form a subtle allegience with the wearer.. Some examples below:

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I think this has had an effect on my design choices for the rest of my work.. I started doing Africa heart charms ages ago, and they’re probably my most popular item – I guess people love to show off where they’re from, especially when traveling. From this I progressed to making other “items” as opposed to just designs.. I have a range of little animals & birds with hearts (like a squirrel – which is probably my favourite animal) – and I love to hear people at the market exclaim how much they love a particular animal when they see the pendant on display! I also have some other objects – like the bicycle, and a classic camera – which fans of cycling and photography seem to love..

ImageSo essentially, for me a charm (whether to be worn as a pendant or on a bracelet), is about showing off the things in life you love..

Towards the end of last year, I also had a request to make a wild dog pendant – as the customer could not find one anywhere.. It was a challenge,but so wonderful to see her so happy with it when it was done!

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So, I’m going to keep on doing what I do – creating items for people to show off a side of themselves that the world might not know about – whether it’s a geeky side, or just loving the cuteness of hedgehogs! Whether it’s a charm, amulet or totem to the wearer is irrelevant – as long as it’s something they love, I’m happy :)

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So – been a while since I last blogged – haven’t been feeling too great of late, but am getting myself sorted out (need to take more care with what I eat, & take my multi-vitamins etc!) Anyhow – just a little update on what I’ve been up to recently.. :)

I’ve been working on some new designs – I like to keep my work as fresh as possible, and will never stop working on new ideas! Here are a couple I’m quite happy with ;)

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I’ve also been working on a “Miniatures” range – of tiny sterling pendants – all hand-cut of course!

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They come on 45cm sterling silver chains (as seen in the pics above) – and are just so dainty & sweet on!

Apart from that, I have been doing a few orders – here are a couple of pics:

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I really do get a variety of requests, but just always try my best to make awesome silver jewellery :)

And that’s my small dose of news for now – will be back with more soon.. Have a great rest of your week! Megs xx

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