<![CDATA[PhBeads - Blog]]>Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:30:04 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[April 1 No Foolin']]>Sat, 26 Mar 2016 19:28:44 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/april-1-no-foolinPicture
PhBeads will be at Tarpon Springs First Fridays block party on Saturday April first. There will be awesome  music, food trucks, beer and wine and local crafters and artists selling their beautiful things. It's on Tarpon Ave. in Downtown Tarpon Springs from 6-10 pm. Hope you can come!

<![CDATA[Why are stones usually cut a certain way?]]>Sat, 26 Mar 2016 15:28:45 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/why-are-stones-usually-cut-a-certain-wayA really BIG peridot, a large round aquamarine, a round Kyanite, a princess cut zircon. These are all as elusive as Sasquatch. People ask about it, it possibly exists, somewhere…but I’ve never seen one!
Certain gemstones just don’t seem to come in certain shapes. But why? After asking for these things fruitlessly, some gem dealers, much more knowledgeable about cutting gems than I, let me in on some interesting information. And it has to do with 1) Source, 2) Crystal Structure and 3) Refraction.
Sounds technical but it’s really not.
  1. Gemstones are not predictable, endless, stable commodities. In other words many times the answer to the question “Why are there no big peridots?” Is “Because they don’t come that way.” At least not from the current deposits that are being mined. Certain crystals just grow bigger than others under certain conditions and larger crystals will be rare.
  2. The way atoms arrange themselves as a crystal is forming is different for different minerals. The type of arrangement determines the shape crystals grow in and also the location and direction of the fracture planes. e.g. Aquamarines and Tourmaline grow as long needle like crystals but peridots and garnets are commonly found as roundish little pebbles. Diamonds are usually pyramids or cubes. Fracture planes are surfaces that are more weakly attached to each other and so break off the crystal more easily so a stone will more easily break (or cleave) in one direction than another.
  3. The way light is bent by the crystal’s atomic structure will determine the color we see. Sometimes the color is stronger looked at from one direction or a different color entirely e.g. Andalusite looks greenish in one direction and reddish brown in another.
So here’s the thing. Gemstones are cut to maximize their size. That’s why lots of Aquamarines and Tourmalines are cut into long rectangles or ovals. That’s why Peridots are cut into round shapes. That’s why Morganite is more commonly cut into ovals; the color is not as deep when cut round. That’s why Kyanites are cut long because they fracture along the long axis. So not all stone types are always available in all shapes. They are commonly cut into certain shapes for good reason, to show off their color, size, sparkle and durability.

<![CDATA[First Fridays in Tarpon Springs]]>Wed, 03 Feb 2016 20:11:55 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/first-fridays-in-tarpon-springsHey All, I'll be in Downtown Tarpon Springs for their FIRST First Fridays Event ever! February 5, 2016. The theme is Victorian Valentine. There will be food, music and handmade crafts including my jewelry. Now lets see how I can make my booth all Victorian and Valentiney! Hope to see you there!

<![CDATA[Which metal to use?]]>Sat, 30 Jan 2016 19:30:08 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/which-metal-to-use
Why all the different kinds?
I often get asked about metals in jewelry and I realized maybe it would be helpful and interesting to discuss the differences in metals used in jewelry. Traditionally the metals used in jewelry are silver and gold. The different kinds of silver and gold have to do with what those metals are alloyed or mixed with. Pure silver, also called Fine silver and Pure gold also referred to as 24k gold are as they are found in their natural state. They are, however, soft and scratch, dent and bend easily. They are easy to work with but they don’t hold up well in objects that are used often, such as jewelry. Therefore these metals are alloyed with other metals such as copper, nickel and in the case of gold, silver and other rarer metals, to make them more durable. The k or karats following a number in gold have to do with the percentage of pure gold to alloying metals and the smaller the number the less gold and higher alloy metal content.
Order of hardness
As a metal gets harder it is less prone to scratching and other wear but it also may become more brittle and hard to work. In my opinion after working with gold and silver for many years, the sequence from hard to soft is 24k gold, fine silver, sterling silver and 18k gold, 14k yellow gold, 10k yellow gold, 14k white gold, 10k white  gold.
Suitability to design
The reason I am discussing hardness in metals is to explain why certain metals are suitable for certain pieces of jewelry and not others.  You may want a piece to be harder and more durable or more ornate and the two are in opposition to each other. Ne reason is that as a metal is worked (hammered, drilled, etc. ) it becomes harder. My pieces are often hammer and bezel set because these are attractive and secure ways to set stones and they contribute to the unique feel of my pieces. When hammer setting stones in a piece, the metal is being worked and getting harder, so each successive stone is being set in harder and more brittle metal than the one before. This limits the number of stones that can be set in a piece especially in the harder metals before the piece starts cracking and flaking. Stones set in prongs or in other ways may not be affected as this work does not harden the metal. Heating softens the metal again but can not always be done once stones are set as this can darken, change the color of, or crack and even explode the stones.  More ornate pieces that are worked or have multiple stones hammer set are made in softer metals. Pieces with few or no stones can be made with harder metals.
Other metals
You will probably find that most artisan goldsmiths offer their pieces in all or some of the metals mentioned above. These are the traditional metals used since antiquity and the reason is that they are suitable to being worked by hand. Modern alloys such as titanium, carbon fiber, steel etc. are very hard and require mechanical techniques to produce jewelry. This is why these metals are available from large manufacturers but not artisan goldsmiths. The advantage of these metals is that they are often cheap and hard. The disadvantages are that they are cheap and hard! Often so hard that they can not be cut off the body in an emergency and often cause worse injury if on the body when the accident occurs. They are not considered precious and so are not considered heirlooms and in my opinion do not contain the magic and lore that gold and silver have attached to them. Importantly, they can not be recycled and reworked into new pieces. I have many customers who send me their damaged heirloom or outdated pieces to be made into something they can again wear and pass down through the generations. Platinum is another metal I get asked about often, and again, it requires much different temperatures and techniques to work and expensive equipment and separate shops. It is considered a precious metal and is expensive but can not be recycled easily into new pieces.

<![CDATA[New Feature - Inside the Jeweler's Shop]]>Sat, 23 Jan 2016 16:55:38 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/new-feature-inside-the-jewelers-shopPicture
I will be starting a new feature: An informational series of essays about jewelry and traditional jewelry making. This is intended to offer important information to consider when purchasing jewelry and to offer insight into the jeweler’s world.  I often find myself discussing these very things with clients as we design their pieces and I realized that they are very interested in the whole process and the reasons behind certain things. I love understanding all sorts of things and realize I approach my goldsmithing like a science; after all, my day job is being a marine biologist! I think it leads to a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of things, and more confidence in decision making so here we go! I hope this is interesting, enjoyable and informative!

<![CDATA[PBS!!!]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:45:25 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/pbsPicture
PhBeads been asked for an interview for WUFT the Gainesville, FL PBS station! It will be during the Glam Craft Show. I'm so excited because PBS is my favorite station. I'm a supporter!
Did you know that I just read that PBS listeners scored highest on a news questionaire of local and international news? Of course they did!!

<![CDATA[PhBeads will be in Gainesville GLAM Florida Craft Show Sunday Dec. 6]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:36:52 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/phbeads-will-be-in-gainesville-florida-craft-show]]><![CDATA[Feature in Apocalypse Treasury on Etsy]]>Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:31:56 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/feature-in-apocalypse-treasury-on-etsyFeatured in an Apocalypse Treasury on Etsy today. I think it's freaking awesome! Hahaha!
<![CDATA[Leaf Engagement Ring]]>Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:29:38 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/leaf-engagement-ringPhoto from Customer P who had me make a leaf engagement ring for his bride to go with their nature inspired rings. I just love that he sent me this pic. I hardly ever get to see my pieces once they go out into the world. Thank you P!
<![CDATA[Wedding rings]]>Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:28:06 GMThttp://phbeads.com/blog/wedding-ringsI just want to share what a wonderful client shared with me! A feature on her wedding and my rings are credited and included in the photographs! Yeeee!