Aug 20, 2008

Patina Play

I love patinas. I guess it takes me back to my art school days when I learned my eraser had as much value as my charcoal pencils. Maybe I simply need more practice at only causing the metal patination where I want it – but I love changing the whole hunk of metal and bringing back the shine to only the desire spots. I love playing with patinas.

Part of my admiration of patina comes from the philosophy that it is what the metal wants to naturally do. And part of my fascination comes from the mad scientist in me – playing with the metal, the chemicals, the heat, the timing – all in an effort to get the right patina shade. I love the Webster definition of patina: “the sheen on the surface of an old object, caused by age and much handling” – ah... much handling; I guess it is the mad scientist in me after all!

Simply put – a patina is what most would call “tarnish.” It’s the color the metal will turn in time by being exposed to the elements (air/light), it’s the change you see when the metal “oxidizes.” This can and will occur naturally but artists can also use the patination process to create depth and interest. You can create a patina on metal with chemicals (like liver of sulfur) or with natural substances (like egg yolks). A patina can give a piece character, a personal stamp, and individuality.

I mentioned four items I work with in the patination process:
  • the metal
  • the chemicals
  • the heat
  • the timing
The metal: Silver will take on a greyish-black look when it oxidizes (has a patina), copper and bronze turn a green color (verdigris) when it oxidizes and brass can become darkened or more red/pink looking.

The chemicals: Liver of Sulfur is the most common chemical for creating a patina on silver; there are specific chemicals for brass and other metals too. You can also place a silver piece in a closed bag of egg yolks to create a patina.

The heat: If you are using a chemical to create a patina – you either need to heat the metal or heat the chemical to achieve optimal results.

The timing: Never leave an item unattended (excessive chemicals can damage/pit the surface)! I have had pieces turn black in a matter of seconds and others requiring many patina sessions – patina colors can begin as a goldish color, move to reds/pinks, move to greens/blues and finally to grey/black.

I found this explanation about timing from the website
1. Heat of the solution speeds up the process.
2. Saturation or concentration of solution speeds up the process.
3. Time in the solution determines the colors rendered

With these three points in mind, to stop the patina at a particular point of color means altering one or all of the above.”

Below are some pieces with patinas from the eSMArts team:

Kari Bryde, Novel Approach

Aug 16, 2008

Statement Jewellery

I came across a great article recently about how to wear statement jewellery ‘better’! It was an interview with Hutton Wilkinson of Tony Duquette in Los Angeles. To quote Hutton “…I think ladies should have no fear when they wear their jewellery”. He recommends wearing pieces in different ways – such as twisted or with the clasp to the side. And the most important thing to keep in mind is attitude! Dress for your own pleasure not for your girlfriend’s pleasure. Don’t try to impress.

So, following this train of thought, here is some glamorous statement jewellery by a couple of our talented artisans here at the eSMArts team. And there are a lot more where these came from ;) Enjoy!

Goldfill, vermeil and onyx necklace by Novel Approach Designs

Mixed gemstone bracelet by Gahoole Tree

Bronze multistrand bracelet by Orange Starfish

Purple and silver necklace by DG Designs

Purple necklace by The World of Wezz

Aren't they talented!

Aug 10, 2008

Australian Designer!

I wanted to aim my spotlight on our Aussie team member, Annette Piper. However, due to our time frame difference, she’s way ahead of me! So, since my message needs to be available on Monday, I wanted to be sure I get this finished so it’s there on time for her. Annette’s work has very classic, sophisticated designs. Her pieces will not “go out” of fashion, like some trendy pieces. These designs you can keep and wear for a lifetime or give as a gift and be sure the receiver will be able to cherish the gift and remember your thoughtfulness for years to come.
The most difficult part of this article was deciding what pieces from her etsy store to high-light! So, I had to start with my favorite jewelry, earrings. I love long dangly chandeliers, so I found her Fatima set. Being drawn not only to the length, which she also balanced with width and different sizes of crystals, I absolutely LOVE the color! These faceted apatit crystals remind me of cool ocean breezes. Anyone wearing these will walk into a room and sparkle! Apatite can have a lovely tendency, because of it’s clarity, to blend with many shades of blue and green, including teal and aqua.
She has a timeless necklace made with a relatively new jade, called serpentine jade. Matched with silver rounds, she calls this piece Urania. The beautiful, smooth gemstones, in various shapes, fairly glow when the light reflects off the face. As you can see, these stones are at once both opaque and translucent, depending on the angle and light. This piece is for the self-assured woman, comfortable in any situation, who knows who she is and is proud of herself.
Annette works with pearls, so I wanted to point out what I considered to be a fanciful l bracelet, Lhamu. My first word is simply wow! A four strand bracelet, it contains pearls of various colors and would look simply divine on your wrist this summer. Pair it with jeans and a summer top, and let the pearls shimmer on your wrist. Or, let it glisten, peeking out from under your suit jacket. It is in a fantastic rainbow of soft colors, so you can match this with almost anything in your closet! What a wonderful, timeless gift.

Sekhmet is composed of gorgeous sunstone ovals, set off with
silver beads and small gold spacers. Annette chose only the best
sunstone pieces she could find, I assure you. Sunstone is supposed to sparkle and display inner light and reflection, and these stones definitely do that! AAA quality, whoever wears this will exude confidence and elegance!

Finally, I wanted to go back to earrings and show you a couple of fun, flirty designs. Both Bhavani and Ketu pairs caught my eye.

The Ketu pair, with it’s small, delicate silver chain, sparkles with amusement. Those stones are faceted hundreds of time, and will twinkle as the light sparkles across them. Finally Bhavani has translucent coins paired with silver wire.
Well, I’ve tried to point out some of my favorite pieces from Annette’s gorgeous work, so you could get an idea of how wonderful her designs truly are. Any piece you selected from her store would be of high quality. I hope you enjoyed hearing about our Australian designer! Check out her entire store at

Teri B

Aug 2, 2008

I just can't make up my mind!

I just can't make up my mind! And my husband would say 'That's the truth!" Just like Edith Ann from Lily Tomlin and Laugh In. (And if that doesn't date me I don't know what does!) .

One day I love Swarovski and the next day I love chainmaille. One day I'm in love with jasper and the next day it's back to Swarovski and on and on it goes!

But the really good part of this addiction is that I have loads of things to play with as my addiction to jewelry making grows. I started my business about 5 years ago -- and never realized what it would grow up to be -- and it's not full grown yet. At least, I don't think it is.... I'm expanding my business - both 'in person' and trying to get a store front started on Etsy. Thank heavens for the eSmarts team that I joined. There is a group that has wonderful ideas and can help the rest of us get moving!

I started with some basic stringing -- that's the "gateway" drug they talk about. And then I had to have some wire and after the wire came more stones and more shapes of Swarovski. And then some classes and of course some tutorials -- free and paid ones both!

And now I'm onto the chainmaille.... I've got a lot to learn and it's pretty much uphill all the way. Most people teach for right handed people and I'm the classic left handed person - uncoordinated and backwards all at the same time!!

But I say all this to tell you why I posted this picture today -- it's a blend of chainmaille and some sparkly Swarovski - what more could an addict wish for? The chain is just a basic 2 in 2 but I really wanted the Swarovski to be center stage - and not be overpowered by the chain. And I think that's what I accomplished.
Joella Miller AKA The Always Wired Bead Lady