The ‘C’ Word (Part 2)

 

'C' Word! (1)

So Part 1 of this blog talked about how you can start to prepare in advance for the Christmas Period and start building your inventory early.

Part 2 will look at how you can preserve your all important time for revenue generating activities by improving your productivity and reducing your admin. So how can you do this?

5. PLAN YOUR PROMO & OFFERS

A. CREATE YOUR MARKETING CALENDAR

I am a big advocate of planning your marketing and social media in advance, but it is even more critical you do this for the Christmas period so that you aren’t frantically worrying about what to post and when to post when you have a million other things to do. Get a big calendar and plot out the big events (remember Black Friday and Cyber Monday as these are great events for sales), and your special offers to coax people into buying.

For example, I offered Free Shipping (Special Delivery) for any purchases in November and a free polishing and finishing kit in December plus free gift wrapping. Some people offer free up-sell items such as stud earrings.  You may also offer early bird discounts for ordering early.   I essentially had what I wanted to post on social media plotted out including my newsletters (high level content at the very least) well in advance so I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to post on the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on any given day.

B. CREATE ALL YOUR COPY, GRAPHICS AND IMAGES IN ADVANCE

Once you have plotted out what you want to post, spend some time drafting compelling copy (you will always need to review and tweak just before you post but that takes minute) and creating images in advance using the likes of Canva (they even do an app for the iPhone!) or Picmonkey.

I blocked out a couple of days in September to take festive pictures of my jewellery and taking behind the scenes shots so that I had everything prepared in advance. Of course I left a little space to add in impromptu photos of Christmas fairs, custom pieces and work in progress, but I had 80% of my content planned in advance.

Then every Sunday I blocked out time to schedule the week ahead and I blocked out an hour each day to respond to comments and engage with my customers and followers. Time blocking really helped me make the most out of my time and meant that I could focus on social media time on engaging with people rather than writing and posting content.

C. DECIDE ON YOUR KEY DATES (INCLUDING LAST ORDER DATES!)

It is essential that you decide on the key dates for your business including last order date for custom pieces, last order date from your regular collections and when your shop will be closed to orders for the Christmas period. Then you know what the boundaries are and you can communicate these to your customers well in advance.

6. DECIDE ON YOUR PROCESSES

You have ordered your supplies and built your inventory, but there is another way you can streamline your work and that is by planning your processes or manufacturing operations in advance (can you tell I used to work in operations😉 !?).

1. YOUR WORK SCHEDULE

Planning out your weekly work schedule can really help you organise your working week and working day. I tend to spend the first hour of every day responding to emails and spending time on social media.
Then I have dedicated workbench slots or days.

I like to batch together similar tasks such as soldering on cufflink backs or ear pins and do multiples of each task. I usually end up have 1 day of manufacturing (soldering, piercing, etc) and another day each week for polishing finishing and stone setting.

I then have a posting and packing day where pieces go to the assay office and post office) each week.

You have to be a little bit flexible, but by blocking out time for different tasks and doing what you can in bulk means you are usually more productive overall.

2. YOUR PROCESSES

Don’t make the mistake of wasting precious time trying to remember how to make each piece. Spend some time jotting down the process you follow to make and produce each piece of jewellery. It doesn’t need to be fancy – even a handwritten page in a notebook is fine – you can always work to having typed instructions later. Key information to include is:

A. Materials and dimensions – this way you can look up the dimensions and what the piece is made of (components and raw materials) and you can check your inventory and/ or start making the piece straight away without having to faff around measuring samples etc (or order the right materials and not forget anything!).

B. Time to make the piece including any parts that can be batch produced in advance

C. Step by step instructions on how to make the piece (include drawings or photographs if it helps) so each piece is as similar as possible.

D. Important notes such as alternate suppliers and any other relevant notes.

Also think about your order process end to end – I have a massive planner that is dedicate to my business and when an order comes through I enter the order in the calendar and add the piece to my workflow and diarise when I will make the piece (hopefully using pre-fabricated components), when I will assemble, polish and finish the piece (including setting any stones) and when the item is due to ship. I usually aim to do this well in advance of the maximum shipping date including in my listing so no order ever gets the stage where I am rushing to finish it in time.  I have set up all of my email templates in advance too including ato-responder emails as part of the purchase and dispatch process.

I also have 3 trays for papers – 1 for invoices for supplies or tools ordered, 1 for in progress orders and 1 for completed orders. This means I can easily file all my paper work at the end of each week without having sort through it carefully as I am doing this as I go. I put these papers in monthly folders which helps with my accounting each month – one of the first things to slip when things get busy!

3. OUTSOURCE WHAT YOU CAN?

You may want to look at any aspects of the process that you can outsource. For example, if pieces are being cast you may want to ask the caster to remove the sprue for you. Or get your pieces polished by a polisher. Or get a stonesetter to set your stones.

Find out the cost of this work and then establish if there are any processes you can get done more cheaply (or quickly) than if you were to do it yourself and try a few test pieces to see what the quality is like.

Even some help packing parcels a couple of hours a week or looking after your social media can be a big help. It can be a big leap mentally to do this (I really struggled with it) but at the end of the day your jewellery is still handmade, you have still designed it and done most of the work (certainly each piece has been quality checked by your hands) so it is worthwhile considering doing so that you can focus on the parts of the jewellery making process you are best at and enjoy doing particularly is your brand is taking off and you need to free up capacity to stay on top of your orders.

You never know, one day you may even hire bench jewellers to work for you so it is something you might need to get your head around sooner or later! The main thing I would emphasise is that if you do as much as you can in advance will really take some of the stress out of this busy time and make the Christmas period more enjoyable (and scalable!).

Do let us know of any tips and tricks you have learned to survive the Christmas period in the comments below!

 

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

Innovations in Jewellery Making

Tutor Anna Campbell has been looking at innovations in jewellery making.

When I go to museums and see jewellery that has been found on archaeological digs I am always amazed at how current it looks, how it could have been made today. We still use many techniques that would not have been out of place hundreds of years ago and yet technology has moved on to develop methods that would be incredible to those jewellers from yesteryear.

Here I look at some of the key innovations that have taken the craft of jewellery making in new directions.

 

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Roman gold rings with stones, 3-4 Century AD from the collection at the British Museum

 

1. 3D printing

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Examples of 3D printed jewellery from Fathom and Form jewelry LINK http://www.aniwaa.com/3d-printing-for-jewelry/

 

3D printing allows us to use a machine to ‘print’ a 3 dimensional object. This innovation is becoming more utilised in jewellery making in many ways including

 

  • to make samples and test pieces in resin or plastic
  • to print in wax ready for casting in metal
  • for printing directly in plastic or metal

 

Printing in wax for casting by Next Day Wax

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It’s an exciting way to design jewellery and to try this out yourself you need to master computer-aided design (also known as CAD) or work with a CAD designer to transfer your sketches into a CAD file that is suitable for printing.

Recently, students and staff from LJS were lucky enough to visit a local 3D printing company My Mini Factory. You can read more about this visit here.

 

2. Laser technology

Soldering, particularly multiple solder joins in one piece, can be the bane of the jeweller’s life (as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you!). It is particularly tricky when trying to fix broken pieces with gemstones already set because of concerns of damaging the stones. The use of laser welding has helped to make the process of repairing and soldering easier without heat damage to the whole piece.

Laser engraving has also meant that engraving is possible without damage to the piece and is now regularly used at the assay office when hallmarking, helping to ensure pieces aren’t damaged as they could be with the ‘struck’ mark.

 

3. Metal clay

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Metal clay necklace made by visiting tutor Julia Rai

 

First developed in Japan in 1990, metal clay is a different way of working with metals. Metal particles, an organic binder and some water are combined to create a putty-type substance that can be moulded and shaped, dried and fired either with a torch or a kiln. It is a beautiful addition to our ways of working with metal and artists working in the medium have fast developed their skills to do so.

Metal clay is available in many metals including fine silver, sterling silver, gold, copper, bronze and steel. It also comes in different forms including lump clay, paste, syringe and paper.

If you would like to see what is possible to create with metal clay check out the pieces submitted to the Metal Clay Masters Registry.

 

4. Motorised drilling and polishing

Drilling and polishing pieces has become a quicker process than our predecessors could ever have imagined as we have the benefit of using many nifty pieces of machinery including the pendant motor, flex shaft and motorised drill.

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Jool tool

 

At our last supplier event Petra from Metal Clay Ltd brought along one of the latest innovations in polishing – the Jool tool. You can have a look at a video review of the Jool tool here.

We all definitely had tool envy!

 

What other innovations have I missed? Have you tried 3D printing? We’d love to hear your thoughts on innovations in jewellery making. Please share them with us in the comments below or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

The ‘C’ Word!

 

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London Jeweller, Karen Young talks about the dreaded ‘C’ word and how to survive the Christmas Rush in this 2-part blog series!

Yes, I said it! The ‘C’ word – Christmas! It is no understatement to say that Christmas is the busiest time of the year for jewellers. It gets to December 25th and most of us want to collapse with exhaustion as all the orders are finally cleared and you have been working round the clock to get those very special handmade gifts to customers before the big day!

And I hate to say it, but the quiet summer months are the perfect time to start preparing and planning the last quarter of the year so that those crazy 3 months run like clockwork, and you can focus the majority of your precious time on making and fulfilling customer orders, and taking part in Christmas fairs which pay dividends well into the next year.

So what can you do to make the Christmas rush more manageable, and survive the chaos? Having one Christmas period under my belt now and having learned lots first time around I thought I would share the top tips I have learned the hard way!

START PLANNING NOW!

You cannot start planning too early for Christmas – I know some jewellers who start planning for this as soon as Valentines and Mothers day are over. I find however that orders really tail off over the summer period as people are on holiday (as are you!), and big events weddings are in full swing and so I like to dedicate August to planning and preparing and starting to build my supplies and inventory. So where to start?

1. BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS FAIRS

One of the nicest parts of the Christmas period is taking part in fairs and getting in front of your customers (particularly if you mainly sell online). But the deadline dates for most Christmas fairs such as Crafty Fox and Spirit of Christmas Fairs are very early and you may even find that some of the application deadlines are soon or have even passed so don’t delay – get your applications in NOW!

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2. START BUILDING INVENTORY

The beauty of handmade jewellery is that you lovingly handcraft your work and and each piece touches the hands of the maker/ designer.  However, making each and every piece from scratch when the order comes in can really push you to the limit during the busy period and you just don’t want the stress of having to continually order supplies and potentially run out. To keep the stress levels down I highly recommend that you start to do the following:

          A. PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS RANGE

Start designing your Christmas range as early as possible – even if it is updating the colours of an existing design or creating a few key pieces you will be promoting on the run up to Christmas. These should include your statement pieces to grab people’s attention, your bread and butter pieces such as pendants and rings and your up-sell items such as earrings. Pay close attention to what supplies you will need and start to build your supply of these items to make sure you will be able to order additional supplies if you need to (or use limited supplies to your advantage by labelling items ‘special edition’.

          B. ORDER YOUR SUPPLIES

You have to watch your cash-flow, as it is easy to get excited and overspend, but there are some things you can do to generate some extra cash to allow you to build your inventory:

a. Have a pre-summer sale – sell off end of line pieces or excess stock

b. Host a de-stash sale on relevant Facebook groups or even eBay – you can sell off beads, excess supplies and tools you don’t use to generate some extra cash.

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c. Sell your scrap!

You can even do what I did last year and sell your scrap silver – I made about £400 by selling my scrap to Cookson Gold which paid for my extra stock alone and the extra tools and consumables I needed.

When ordering Christmas supplies for my business, I will look at what I use the most frequently (for example I mainly use 0.8mm silver sheet, 0.8mm wire, 4.5mm tubing) and I will start to order extra with every order so that I create a stockpile. This way I don’t have a massive single outlay and I can spread the cost over several months.

I will also start to build my inventory of my most popular gemstones, beads and pearls (IJL in September is a great way to do this – I normally do the bulk of my gemstone buying at this event). You also get greater discounts when you buy in bulk (check out Ward Gemstones who offer great discounts when you bulk buy) so do try and save some money each month that will enable you to bulk buy when it counts!

Also, don’t forget to order all other supplies such as packaging, padded envelopes and all your parcel inserts such as business cards, social media cards etc! I nearly ran out of necklace boxes last year and had a scary 3 weeks until my new boxes arrived so make sure you have plenty!

You may want to source back up suppliers too just in case an all important material is out of stock with your usual supplier!

3. PREP AS MUCH IN ADVANCE AS YOU CAN

Although it would be lovely to make everything from scratch as the order comes in, this just isn’t feasible in the busy Christmas rush. You need to start prepping as much as you can in advance!

For example, I prep all my blanks for my tag necklaces, cuff bangles and rings in advance so that they have smooth edges and are nice and polished, holes drilled and are essentially ready to stamp.  I also create a stock pile of my most popular charms and handmade earring findings etc, so that when an order comes in, all I need to do is stamp the names, words or phrases the customer has asked for, assemble the piece/ solder jump rings closed, polish and finish the piece and then pack and send it on its way.

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If you get your work cast in silver start consider getting moulds made and your most popular pieces cast well in advance so that you have a supply of each piece where you simply need to remove the sprue, add any jump rings, settings or findings and polish and finish.

I texture sheets of silver on the rolling mill and cut out multiples of my most popular shapes so that they are in a semi-finished state, and I solder on findings and settings but leave them unset so that I only have to set the appropriate stone or pearl when the order comes through.

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Rough castings ready to be de-sprued, polished and finished.

This one is a biggie – I get as much as I can hallmarked in advance (I mainly work in silver and gold so you don’t need to worry about this if you work with other materials)! Things like adding stones or stamping names don’t impact the hallmark (you just can’t solder any additional metals to a piece once it is hallmarked), so I send off a massive package of almost finished ring blanks, necklaces, earrings and bangles to be hallmarked as I find this process is the one that takes the longest (approximately a week or even more on the run up to Christmas). I put each one in a little ziplock bag so all the components of the piece are kept together.

It is a bigger outlay at once but the cost per item to hallmark goes down with the more pieces you hallmark (particularly if you use the standard service) so I find it really makes a difference to my profit if I do this particular process in bulk. You can’t anticipate every eventuality or combination of order so I recommend focusing on your highest volume pieces first, but prepping your ‘component parts’ is a great way of shortening your turn around time significantly meaning less stress for you and happy customers as you can ship quickly.

4. TIDY AND ORGANISE YOUR WORKSPACE

I was so guilty of this last year! I was so busy that my workspace ended up in quite a state and I am sure that I wasted so much precious time trying to find things! So do take the time to sort out and organise your workspace in August or September, and give all your tools and supplies a home!
This year I have put all my components in labelled ziplock bags and in alphabetised sections in an expandable folder. It meant I could always find what I was looking for and could easily see when I was getting low in stock! I also recommend taking 15-20 mins at the end of each day to clear your workspace so that it is ready for the next day and put all your tools and supplies back in the correct place. This will save you heaps of time during the chaos, I promise!

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In part 2 of this blog series I will talk about planning your Christmas marketing and PR and nailing your processes to make everything run like clockwork (most of the time :-)).  Let us know if you have any tips for surviving the Christmas period in the comments below!

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

Jewellery Design Inspiration Classes

Tutor Anna Campbell has been focussing on jewellery design recently and is writing a couple of blog posts for LJS about the subject. Here is a focus on our classes that help you develop your jewellery design skills.

If you have been making jewellery for a little while or have attended a few of our classes you will know that we tend to teach you different techniques in the majority of our sessions. These techniques are designed to help you develop the skills you need to get to the next level of jewellery making. However, we often don’t have time in these classes to also think about jewellery design and inspiration and there does come a time in your development as a jeweller when you need to focus on this in order to develop your own signature style. Luckily we do have a few classes that focus on design and inspiration.

 

Fashion jewellery

Our one day fashion jewellery class starts with a look at fashion trends in jewellery. You create a mood board and then work from this to develop your own piece or pieces. The Fashion Jewellery class focusses on the use of beading, wire, fabrics, buttons, ribbons etc to create statement pieces with tutor support and learners on this course tend to go in their own directions rather than make pieces with the same techniques as other learners.

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Example Design Mood Board

Jewellery Design

Our one day Jewellery Design class is especially for those who would like to spend a day really thinking about design, inspiration, sketching and developing ideas. It’s a real treat to have a jewellery professional working with you in a small group and providing one to one advice. Bring along your sketchbook and prepare to keep drawing and developing your design inspirations. We have lots of resources to give you ideas if you’re stuck as well as practical advice.

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Jewellery Design and Ideas Development

Technical drawing for jewellery

This one day course in Technical drawing for jewellery is a beginners level course for those that would like to learn how to draw accurate technical drawings for jewellery making. This skill is important if you are making pieces on commission as it allows you to check designs with your clients before you start making. Additionally, it’s a skill you need if you would like to use computer aided design (or just pass on your designs to a CAD specialist) for 3D printing, for manufacturing or for your portfolio.

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You will look at some examples and then learn basic techniques for mapping out and creating high quality black and white outline drawings.

 

6 week jewellery design and drawing evening class   

For all of the above in one course why not attend our 6 week jewellery design and drawing evening class.

 

Covering: 

Week 1 – Fashion Jewellery. Creating a mood board to encourage you to focus on design, colours and style and help you visualise who might wear your jewellery

 

Week 2 – Fashion Jewellery. Use a range of beads, buttons, ribbons, fabric, chain, etc to create a piece of fashion jewellery inspired by the mood board you created in week 1

 

Weeks 3 & 4 – Jewellery Design. Over 2 classes you will learn how to make basic design sketches and various methods of using inspiration from photographs, magazines and the world around you to create jewellery designs. The classes will also look at the key elements of a design and choosing the right materials for your idea

 

Weeks 5 & 6 – Technical Drawing. Learning the basic techniques of mapping out and creating high quality black and white outline drawings from different angles to provide either to your customers, jewellers for manufacturing or as part of your own design portfolio.

 

We’d love to hear from you if you have taken one of these classes. What did you find valuable? What other design classes would you like us to provide? Let us know your feedback and thoughts in the comments below.

AUTHOR: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Diploma in Creative Jewellery – An Alternative to a Degree in Jewellery Making

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It’s Summer time here in the UK and whilst the holidays are in full swing, we are busy getting ready to welcome our new Diploma Students in September for a year of fun, hard work and creativity!  We offer a number of different Diplomas and options here at the London Jewellery School, but our signature Diploma is our 1-Year Diploma in Creative Jewellery which is a great alternative to doing a degree in jewellery, as you can work flexibly around other commitments and work as you spend 1 day a week with us!

This comprehensive Diploma Course is fantastic, as it introduces you to a wide range of jewellery making techniques, both traditional and contemporary, and really helps you to find your jewellery making ‘voice’ and unique style.  The Course will take you from a beginner in jewellery making to a professional standard and focuses on combining a mixture of traditional jewellery skills such as silversmithing, stone setting, wax carving and enamel but is unique also in its focus on more contemporary methods and materials such as resin, perspex, metal clay, fashion jewellery and polymer clay.  Although, the focus is on mastering the technical skills and techniques, over the Course of the diploma you will also learn essential skills for starting and running your own jewellery brand including technical drawing, photographing your jewellery  and a jewellery business day focusing on branding, USP and all the legalities of running your own business.

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Diploma exhibition pieces by Maria Lampitelli, Julia D McKenzie, Maysooun Homsi Touban and Kemi Awokiyesi (in April 2016)

The Course runs over 3 terms of 12 weeks and Classes run 1 day per week with a maximum of 7 students per Class.  Each term, your work will be marked by an expert Tutor and constructive feedback will be given to ensure you are progressing and pushing yourself and your jewellery designs forwards.

We understand that the Diploma is an investment both in time and money, so, we offer 3 flexible payment plans to help you along the way.

We are proud of the fact that our Diploma Course changes the lives of our Students and opens them up to a world of techniques, friendships and experiences.

We have spoken to some our former Diploma Students about their Diploma experience and how they have gotten on since they graduated.  This week we talk to Zoe Porter of Zoe Porter Jewellery and next week we will be hearing from George Galula of GV Jewellery and Linski Kilcourse of Linskiloolar Jewellery!

So Zoe, tell us a bit about how you started your jewellery making journey and what ultimately made you decide to do a diploma with LJS?

I started taking night classes with an incredible Danish jeweller in Wellington to try something new and quickly fell in love with silversmithing. It was a hobby that only developed when I went travelling around Europe for a year and realised how much I missed it. That’s when I started looking into diplomas in Europe and the U.K. and The London Jewellery School offered exactly what I was looking for.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Walnut Pendant

What was your favourite part of the diploma?

Learning so many new techniques and processes was great but the work experience I did with Just Castings, Hatton Garden really opened my eyes to a heap of possibilities I hadn’t realised when working with both silver and gold.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Pineapple Cufflinks

What was the biggest challenge for you during the diploma?

I had only worked with silver, gold and stones before the diploma, so the mixed media pieces were something I had difficulty with at first. It was however during the design of my final piece that I tried my hand at woodcarving for the first time and really enjoyed it!

What difference has doing the diploma made to your jewellery skills, designs and/ or business?

There were processes I knew nothing about, such as wax carving, that now play an integral part in my design process but one of the most helpful (and simplest) things I learnt was how to recycle silver and gold and make my own wire and sheet metal.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Molten Ring

What would you say to students thinking about doing a diploma with the London Jewellery School?

Just do it! The amount you’ll learn and take home from the course is great. Take notes – more than you think – and sit down and practice.

Don’t be scared to make mistakes, you can always melt it down and start over.

Where next for Zoe Porter Jewellery?

I’ve just launched my website and the response has been great. As a certified Fair Trade Gold user I think it’s really important to educate people on where their gold and silver is coming from and I’m hoping to visit Fair Trade mines in Sotrami, Peru, and help raise awareness.

For now, I’m just enjoying myself, working mostly on commissions and loving designing and making a number of engagement rings. They’re really special and personal pieces to be trusted with.

How can we find out more about you (website, Facebook, instagram?)

I sell online via my newly launched website – www.zoeporter.co.nz and I post regularly on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks Zoe – good luck with your business and we are so thrilled to have played a small part in your jewellery making journey!

Our Diploma Classes are quick to fill up, so book now to avoid disappointment. There is currently availability for September intake 2016. For more details on Course dates and how to enroll, please visit the London Jewellery School website www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk or call 0203 176 0546.

And due to popular demand we have loaded up the 2017 January and September dates onto our website for those of you who like to plan ahead!

Until next time,

Happy Making! x

Introducing Art Clay 950

We are very excited to announce that Art Clay are releasing a new sterling silver clay Art Clay 950 on 1st September! Metal clay tutor, Anna Campbell, gives you the low down.

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What is it?

This is a new product from Art Clay, one of the two main suppliers of silver clay in the world.  Silver clay is made up of fine silver particles, an organic binder and water. Art Clay 950 is 95% silver and 5% copper. The original Art Clay (the one we use in class) is a purer silver, 99% silver and 1% copper.

 

What are the benefits?

 

1. Strength

You might be thinking, well the original Art Clay is a purer silver so isn’t that better? The answer, of course, is it depends on what you want! Art Clay 950 is 60% stronger than original Art Clay because of the copper content. This means it is more suitable for making rings, bracelets etc and other items that might suffer more wear and tear.

 

2. Hallmarking

In the UK silver up to 958 purity is hallmarked as sterling silver (925). Silver purity over 958 is considered Britannia silver (958), and over 990 is hallmarked as fine silver (999).

Sterling silver is recognised by UK consumers more than Britannia and fine silver and so for those of you hallmarking and selling your work this is a big plus.

 

3. Pre-mixed

Many of the clays on the market need to be mixed and kneaded before you can start work but this is pre-mixed, smooth and ready to use out of the packet (just like the original Art Clay).

 

4. Cost

At the time of writing, Art Clay 950 is slightly cheaper than original Art Clay.

 

Other considerations

 

1. Firing

The one downside for the hobby silver clay jeweller is that this clay does need to be kiln fired. This is the same with any of the sterling silver clays I have seen on the market. However, on the plus side this does not need to be done in carbon and if you have a programmable kiln this is easy to set up.

 

2. The firing schedule

  1. Once your piece is completely dry put it on a kiln shelf, in a cool kiln
  2. Heat up to 500C and hold for 30 minutes (this first step burns off the binder)
  3. Heat up to 850C and hold for 60 minutes (this final firing sinters the metal particles)

 

The kiln can heat up at full speed, and doesn’t need to cool off between the two stages. Avoid moving the piece after the first firing step as it will be fragile before sintering.

 

3. Using the clay

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it out and will report back on the blog when I do. However, I have heard from those who have used it that it has a longer drying time. This could be an advantage as we often want a little more time before our clay starts to dry out! For those who are interested in more information have a look at this clear and interesting blog post on 950 by Henriëtte van Battum

 

4. Where can I buy it?

Metal Clay Ltd currently have a pre-order available on their website of 25g and 50g packs, including 10% extra free. The clay is due to be shipped on 1st September 2016. We hope also to sell it in our pop up shop after the launch (which is open 7 days a week).

 

Art Clay 950 class at LJS

I am looking at creating an Art Clay 950 class that uses the clay to its advantages e.g. in making a ring. The class would not be for beginners but for intermediate and advanced metal clay makers. The challenges are the longer drying time and longer firing time meaning that it might be difficult to fit the class into our normal one day schedule. If you are interested in attending a class in Art Clay 950 please let us know via the comments below.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Top jewellery exhibitions and events in London!

London is a very inspiring place for jewellers and we are lucky to have some annual events and exhibitions that help get the creative juices flowing! Here are some recommended events to put in your diary!

 

  1.    Goldsmiths Fair

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Source: http://www.goldsmithsfair.co.uk/about-goldsmiths-fair/

 

The prestigious Goldsmiths Fair is held in September/October each year at the grand Goldsmiths hall at St Paul’s. This two-week extravaganza is not to be missed, as it is a dazzling display of 100’s of independent designer-makers in the world of silver, gold and precious jewellery.

Find out more here: http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/exhibitions-promotions/goldsmiths%27-fair/

  1.    IJL, International Jewellery London

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Source: http://www.jewellerylondon.com/Archive/exhibiting/thenewvenue/

 

Held in early September, this giant scale exhibition at London’s Earls Court promises to inspire, as the place to discover the latest trends, source new and exciting products, network and attend the industry’s leading seminar programme. Great for buying supplies but beware of overspending when bringing your credit card!

Check it out at – http://www.jewellerylondon.com/

 

  1.    Dazzle

A free exhibition open to the public which is taking place this year at the OXO tower. The jewellers themselves range from graduates to established artists. They are not there all the time but this one is not to be missed… http://www.dazzle-exhibitions.com/

 

  1.    Collect

We’re already looking forward to Collect in February 2017, the UK fair for contemporary objects which includes jewellery.  Presented by the Craft Council and taking place at the Saachi Gallery it’s sure to be a well curated exhibition

http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/collect

 

  1.    V&A

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Source: http://www.ejal.com/project.php?projNo=39&catNo=5&nextNo=0

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum in central London is hailed by many to be the greatest museum of art and design and when it comes to jewellery it never fails to disappoint. With a full range of permanent and often temporary jewellery exhibitions, inspiration is offered in abundance.

See what’s currently on here – http://www.vam.ac.uk/.

 

  1. Craft Central Open Studios

craft central

Source: https://twitter.com/craftcentraluk

 

Craft Central is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a strong future for craft and design. Every year they hold open studios where members of the public can meet the jewellery and craft designer makers in their studios and take a look at their latest collections. Three of our tutors have studios here so pop along to the open studios to say hello!

For full details of the next open studios event please see – http://www.craftcentral.org.uk/madeinclerkenwell.

 

  1. Cockpit Arts

Cockpit Arts have two London studios and support craft practitioners with their business incubator service. They have two open studios a year where you can visit makers of many different crafts, including jewellery, and buy directly from them.

http://cockpitarts.com/shop-cockpit/open-studios/

 

  1.    London Fashion Week

Anyone who’s anyone in fashion can be seen strutting their stuff at London Fashion Week and although it is a trade only event, London Fashion Weekend is open to members of the public. Get your tickets and shop, get a goody bag and browse the catwalk to see what’s next in the world of fashion. For full details see their website –http://www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk/

 

  1.    LJS

Last but by no means least, we at LJS run events throughout the year including our diploma student exhibitions, suppliers event, expert talks and the (now) legendary London Jewellery School Christmas Party! To keep up to date with future events make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletter.   
Let us know what you think of the events you go to and share any that are in your local area with us via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages or in the comments below.

Author: Anna Campbell

 

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Could you be our 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year?

London-Jewellery-School-2016-jewelelry-maker-of-the-year-competition

We are so excited about launching our competition to find the London Jewellery School Maker of the Year 2016!  Taking part is a great chance to promote your work, get exposure and, of course, bag some fab prizes.

The competition is open to everyone – you don’t need to have taken a Class with us – you just need to love making and creating beautiful jewellery, and we are accepting entries from jewellers in the UK and internationally!

The competition will be judged on:

Design – we are looking for innovative and original designs that are all your own!

Technique – we are looking for excellent application of one or more jewellery making techniques!

Presentation – great photos and presentation of your work is essential for selling and creating a great impression.

 

How it works:

One entry only please – multiple posts on the competition Facebook Post will be deleted and your entry may be disqualified! And no links to your shops please – this is a design competition!

Simply post between 1-3 pictures of your selected piece of jewellery that has been handmade by you along with a comment about what the inspiration for the piece was and the title of your piece on our Facebook Competition thread that you can find here.

Your piece can be any design and made up of any material, the only requirement is that it has been made by you.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 21st August 2016.

The top 5 entries will be announced on 31st August and added to our website and promoted as the finalists by LJS on our blog and social media channels.

The winner will be announced on Friday 5th September 2016.

This competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

 

The Prizes:

1st – £250 Voucher for LJS (which can be used on any Classes (face to face or online) + a fab selection of Tools for your jewellery making Toolkit
2nd – £100 voucher and a selection of Tools for your Toolkit
3rd – A signed copy of Jessica Rose’s Bead & Wire Fashion Jewellery Book.

Competition Photos 05

Competition Prize 02

The Judges:

The competition will be judged by a panel of LJS Tutors who are all professional and established jewellers.

If you have an queries or questions please contact us at karen@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk!

Good luck to all those who enter!

Jewellery trends – ultra thin wedding bands

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Mila Kunis – Source http://deadline.com/2015/09/champion-dad-comedy-mila-kunis-fox-1201520581/

We at the Jewellery School were really interested in the story about actress Mila Kunis choosing an ultra thin wedding band. But the wedding was last July so why is this news? Well, she spoke about her wedding ring choice on the Conan O’Brien show a few days ago and admitted that she bought the wedding rings for herself and her now husband Ashton Kutcher on Etsy for $190 altogether (about £150).

mila-kunis-skinny-wedding-band

Source https://www.theknot.com/content/mila-kunis-swapped-engagement-ring-wedding-band

This story was great for two reasons. Firstly, she stated on the programme that she looked at wedding bands from Tiffany and Co and that they were ‘astronomical’ and so she looked for a handmade alternative. Those of us who sell on Etsy and other sites like it will be encouraged by this and the extra publicity this story provides.

It also highlighted the trend for ultra thin wedding bands. Kunis’ ring is a very fine platinum band. Gold and platinum are very expensive at the moment and the trend for the ultra thin ring is an interesting way to have a traditional band of gold wedding ring without breaking the bank.

Here are some more examples following this trend…

 

london-jewellery-school-blog-jewellery-trends-slim-gold-hammered-wedding-band

14 carat hammered gold wedding ring by GoldSmack

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Super thin platinum wedding band by Aiyla Maison

 

london-jewellery-school-blog-celebrity-jewelry-twisted-gold-wedding-bands

Gold twisted wire ring by Chatonor

 

jewellery-school-london-handmade-wedding-band

2mm rose gold ring from Goldsmiths

050-101 Micro Pave thin platinum wedding band

Platinum eternity band by Platinum Plus Designs

 

london-jewellery-school-blog-handmade-twisted-stacking-ring

Double twisted silver wire band by Saruchi R Jewellery

If you’d like to make your own ultra thin stacker rings why not join us for our very popular evening taster class? Suitable for beginners.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Celestial Night Beading Contest 2016!

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We are very excited to share the details of this amazing competition being run by our friends at i-Beads!

The theme of this year’s competition is the celestial night sky in all its glory and mystical wonders. Look up and observe the constellations and galaxies; delve into the vastness of the universe in search of inspiration using the unique TOHO seed bead in its myriad of colours to embody the cosmic ocean. The winner of this competition will win 10kg of Toho seed beads and a fabulous selection of Beadalon products.

Anyone over 18 years can enter and there are no geographical restrictions. The entry must be one jewellery piece made primarily of TOHO seed beads. The remainder of the piece can consist of any other material such as semi-precious gemstones, natural beads and SWAROVSKI crystals from the I-Beads range. Only one entry per person is permitted (no groups) and the designed piece has to be an original which has not been published or sold before.

More details like T&C’s and FAQ as well as designs that have been entered already can be found here:

http://www.i-beads.co.uk/celestial-night

Good luck!

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