Tag Archives: gemstones

Behind the scenes at Create and Craft TV

Metal clay tutor Anna Campbell made her live TV debut for the London Jewellery School on Create and Craft TV last week. She gives us a behind the scenes look at what goes into making the show

 

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Earlier this year our founder and director Jessica Rose appeared for the first time on the shopping channel Create and Craft TV, showing a metal clay starter kit in action. It was very popular and Jess and the Create and Craft team decided to bring more London Jewellery School products and online courses to the channel. It was decided to continue the focus on metal clay. In January this year I had filmed the ‘torch fired stone setting in silver clay’ for Jewellery School Online so a stone setting kit was put together, along with the online course, to sell on the shows. Jess asked me if I would like to do the live TV demos and, of course, I said yes!

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Screen tests and samples

There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing to go on live TV. Firstly, I needed to travel up to Peterborough, where Create and Craft film their shows, to do a screen test. This was a fifteen minute demo of what I can do to check that I would be OK on camera. There’s a whole list of things you can and can’t say, can’t wear (some patterns etc can look funny on camera!) and there was even a helpful video to watch of dos and don’ts!

I had my screen test with presenter Martyn Parker who had just been on air so must have been ready for a break! To be honest, in my view it didn’t go that well! My metal clay wasn’t behaving but I was able to keep talking and was passed to go on live TV! It was a great learning experience and made me really think very carefully about getting everything ready for the real thing.

I needed to have lots of samples of finished pieces that could be made with both the beginners kits and the stone setting kit to show. This really helps people get inspiration about the finished products that can be made with the tools and the online classes. I also needed some ‘here’s one I made earlier’ pieces so there was no waiting around on the show. Luckily, Jess had the finished samples that she had used previously for the beginners kits so I could focus on the stones. I went to LJS to pick up some samples from the stone setting silver clay class and put them on chains and cords. I also made some more pieces myself to take for display and to show as work in progress.

 

On the day

My shows were at 4pm and 7pm on 7th October. I was glad that they were later in the day as I could travel up from home and back in a day.

When I arrived I went into the green room to get ready. I got changed and did my makeup and hair (sadly there are no make up artists to do that for you!). Then I was able to go into the studio to set up the display of jewellery and the demonstration area. You have to be quiet in there as the live show is filming in the same studio so I tried not to drop anything!

The staff in the studio were so helpful, helping me set up the jewellery, unravelling chains and generally remembering the stuff that I might have forgotten! There was a bit of concern about the torch firing demonstration. It is something we do safely every day in our own studios at LJS but I understand that they don’t regularly use butane torches and so were a bit wary!

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First live show

I was so lucky to have Natasha McCarty to work with as my first presenter on live TV. She had previously done a show with Jess and was excited about the silver clay. She really helped keep me at my ease and I so appreciated that as I was nervous. I did find that the time flew by and I quickly just got on with talking about the clay and doing the demonstration and forgot the five cameras that were pointing at me!

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Feedback and making new samples

After the first show I went back to the green room for tea and custard creams! The producer came down to talk to me and asked if we could change the second show slightly to get to the polishing of a piece earlier. I could understand why, it’s important for people who hadn’t seen it before to be able to see how the clay turns into silver and the firing and polishing is the magical part.

This did mean, however, that I had to quickly made some new samples for the later show. I did this and dried them on the top of the kettle!

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Final show

My final show of the day was with Andy Love. He had been on air during the previous hour so I didn’t get much time to talk to him before the show started but he was also great to work with. I did two torch firing demonstrations in this hour (I’m sure they loved that!), one demonstrating the basic kit and one showing the glass setting.

Then it was time to pack everything back up to get the train home.

It was a long, tiring day but I really enjoyed the experience and hopefully I will get a chance to do it again!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Winners of our 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year Competition!

Just in case you missed our recent Facebook Post, the winners of the 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year Competition have been announced!

Huge congratulations to our winner, Vlad Zoldak! Vlad is officially the London Jeweller School Jewellery Maker of the Year 2016 for the stunning ‘Interstellar Ring’!!!  Our judging panel were utterly amazed by Vlad’s beautiful and unique design, fine craftsmanship and presentation!

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Interstellar Ring by Vlad Zoldak – 1st Place

And let’s not forget our amazing runners up! In second place is Kim Styles Jewellery for her gorgeous Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring, and in third place is Robyn Golding for the beautifully innovative ‘Green Fingers Ring’! 

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Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring by Kim Styles – 2nd Place

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Green Fingers Ring by Robyn Golding – 3rd Place


Congratulations to you all! Your prizes will be winding their way to you soon.  And we will be interviewing each of our winners to find out more about them, their jewellery making journey and what inspires their work, so stay tuned for those posts!

And a massive thank you to all who entered the competition and shared your beautiful work with us!   If you haven’t seen it yet do have a look at all of our amazing shortlisted candidates and their entries on our previous Blog.

Diamonds are a girls best friend…

Hello April! A new month means it is time for a new birthstone. And this month it is one of our favourite gemstones – Diamonds! Happy birth month to all you April babies!

One of the most coveted gemstones in the world, most natural diamonds are between one to three billion years old.

The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means invincible or indestructible. This is very fitting as diamonds are the hardest natural substance. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. So it is easy to understand why diamonds have been incorporated into beautiful and meaningful pieces of jewellery throughout the ages.

Most people are aware that the value and price of diamonds are heavily influenced by the 4 Cs – Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat with the primary focus being on the clarity and carat weight of the stone as the factors that influence the price of the diamond. However, in recent years a large body of diamond connoisseurs have favoured ideal cut round brilliant diamonds which are diamonds that have been precisely cut according to mathematical formula developed by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919.

This formula prescribes a very tight range of angles for each part of a diamond that are meant to create the maximum brilliance and fire in a diamond.  The term Hearts and Arrows is often used to describe the pattern created in a diamond cut with perfect symmetry and angles.

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Chart created by IdealScope.com that shows the light return within an ideal cut diamond.

A special viewer called an ‘Idealscope’ was developed by Garry Holloway that allows you to see these wonderful patterns in a diamond. Customers are willing to pay a premium price for what is considered to be a perfectly cut diamond.

However a growing body of jewellery designers are breaking all the rules and incorporating ‘imperfect’, and ‘organic’ diamonds such as rose cut, or rough cut diamond beads into their designs.  And the effect can be quite stunning!  These diamonds tend to ‘twinkle’ rather than sparkle and are often know as candle-light diamonds as they can look truly beautiful in low lighting.   And the great news is that these diamonds can be more affordable than their traditionally cut counterparts.

Here are some examples…

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A gold rose cut diamond engagement ring by Deborah Cadby.

Rose Cut Diamond Necklace_Alexis Dove

A grey teardrop shape rose cut diamond pendant by Alexis Dove.

Embers Jewellery

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A selection of beautifully organic diamond jewellery by EmbersJewellery.

And the trend for antique cuts looks only set to continue with a number of diamond cutters now cutting modern antique cut stones that are cut for light return and sparkle so you can get the best of both worlds!

Rose cut and organic diamonds are still relatively difficult to source here in the UK, but our friends at Kernowcraft have recently started selling some beautiful ones in a range of colours if you want to incorporate diamonds into your designs.  Do check them out!

So what kind of diamond makes your heart sing? The perfect ideal cut diamond or a diamond with natures fingerprints and birthmarks??

Inspirations: Wood in Jewellery

At London Jewellery School we’ve been looking for more opportunities for our students to create mixed media jewellery which means we’ve been looking at wood jewellery quite a bit. So we thought we’d share a few ideas on how you might work in this beautiful natural material.

The grain and colour of wood makes it a very attractive material which doesn’t need much adding to it. For example, Gustav Reyes talks about creating wearable wood sculptures.

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This simple wooden piece by Gustav Reyes is simple but stunning

 

The most traditional material to combine with wood is metal as in a lot of pieces by Kara Ross.

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“Shirt Cuff” bracelet by by Kara Ross. Sterling silver, ebony and faceted gemstone.

 

But it can work well with other materials such as resin.

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Britta Boeckmann produces all sorts of jewellery combining resin and wood.

 

Or you can embed or attach gemstones.

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Oak embedded with malachite and mother of pearl by Simply Wood Rings

 

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Amber and wood carved necklace by AmberSculpture

 

With advanced wood carving skills you can create chains and charms, producing a whole range of jewellery elements.

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Wood carved necklace – with school days dangle charms from Oxford Jewel

 

 

 

 

 

Take inspiration from a galaxy of glamorous earrings on the Cannes red carpet

If the Oscars were all about statement necklaces in jewellery terms, the other home of movie glamour, the Cannes red carpet is definitely dominated by bold earring choices. While these mainly feature diamonds, platinum etc, from super-high-end jewelers such as official Cannes partner Chopard and de Grisogono, the shapes and styles may well inspire you to practive your own stone setting, beading and wire techniques to create equally glamorous items for this summer.

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Julianne Moore’s emerald. diamond and platinum earrings by Chopard have been a favourite in the London Jewellery School office and set us wondering about what weight of semi-precious stones we could wire to a frame. The earrings have 52 carats of emeralds.

 

cannes catwalk jewellery 2015

The multi-coloured Chopard drops worn by Lupita Nyong’o weighed in at a mere 13 carats by comparision and are sure to inspire a wealth of bright statement dangles this summer. Opportunies for plenty of stone setting practice – or perhaps long metal clay shapes studed with colourful CZ stones

 

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The shape of the de Gisogono earrings worn by Bar Refaeli should offer beaders plenty of ideas to play with.

 

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The Choppard setting of the diamonds and emeralds worn by Fan Bingbing s particularly beautiful and intricate but the shape and colour balance is worth keeping in mind in your own earring making.

 

 

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And you can’t go wrong with a sparkly dangler – Natalie Portman wearing diamond Gocce earrings by de Grisogono

 

 

Design expert completes line up for evening of jewellery talks

We have now completed the line-up for the Jewellery Talks Evening at London Jewellery School on Thursday 28 May from 6.30pm.

Our third speaker will be bespoke jewellery artist Ellie Stickland.

Ellie specialises in creating illustrations and technical drawings, as well as 3D models, of jewellery pieces, taking concepts for final designs and then works with jewellers to create the final pieces.

She will be talking about the design process, working with jewellers and how important drawings can be in communicating an idea.

Ellie Stickland designs

Examples of Ellie’s work

 

Ellie will join gemstone specialist Sarah-Jane Newland of Shangrila Gems and Sian Hamilton, editor of Making Jewellery magazine.

Sarah Jane, who have a great deal of experience in sourcing gemstones directly from producers, will be talking about finding the right stones for your jewellery.

Meanwhile Sian will give you an insight into submitting projects to jewellery magazines and getting your jewellery noticed. There will also be a chance to see Sian’s two new books Wirework Jewelry Workshop and Stringing and Linking Jewelry Workshop.

There will be opportunities to ask all our speakers questions and network with other jewellery makers.

Email info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk to confirm your place.

Dragon inspired jewellery

It’s St George’s Day and, because he reputedly slayed one, here is a selection of dragon themed jewellery.

dragon jewellery

We spotted this stunning gold, jade, ruby, diamond and pearl antique brooch, circa 1870, on  Pinterest.

 

Anastasiya Ivanova has a really fascinating collection of dragons and other jewellery created using wire weaving on her website.

 

One of a series of rings by Tito Pedrini where dragon’s claws clutch the gems

 

You can move away from literal interpretations of dragons. These soutache earrings by Sabo Design draw their shape from dragon patterns.

 

The faceted chalcedony and smoky quartz cobblestone-set in the brass-framed cuff bracelet looks like dragon scales, from Peruvian Connection

 

And finally dragonsblood jasper in a wirework pendant by Simple Gems

February birthstone jewellery

We love gemstones at London Jewellery School so we have gone looking for some fabulous jewellery made using the February birthstones, which differ according to which category you look at.

Traditional: Amethyst, Hyacinth and Pearl

Modern: Amethyst

Mystical: Bloodstone

Ayurvedic: Amethyst

This give you a good variety of options and you could think of combining stones.

February birthstone jewellery

This Victorian insect brooch does just that combining amethysts with natural pearls for the wings.

 

February birthstone jewellery

Gemstones don’t always have to be polished. Rougher finished stones can make striking jewellery. This pendant by Cynthia Down uses sterling silver and a rough amethyst crystal point in an unusual setting.

 

February birthstone jewellery

When thinking of pearl jewellery you don’t need to just consider perfect rounds. As this exquisite necklace, ‘Liquid Love’ by Nadia Newman of Mondial, shows itrregular shapes can create interesting effects. This piece was a finalist for the Pearl Design Award at the Jewellery Association of Australia Awards in 2008.

 

February birthstone jewellery

We love the use of hyacinthe cristalline in this unusual mixed media brooch using heather and grape wood, silk, silver, amethyst by Terhi Tolvanen. It really shows that jewellery inspiration can come from anything.

 

February Birthstone Jewellery

Bloodstone looks magnificent sent in this men’s ring, by Skylight Jewellers

You can learn more about these wonderful stones in our Introduction to Gemstones class – information, dates and all booking details can be found here.

 

 

Agate and its infinite variety

Agate is one of the birthstones for this month and unlike most birthstones it comes in a wide variety of colours which got us thinking that we should find out a bit more about this popular and varied gemstone.

The variety of agate colours and patterns fascinate the LJS team, especially when adding new stock (like these) to the pop-up shop

The variety of agate colours and patterns fascinate the LJS team, especially when adding new stock (like these) to the pop-up shop

According to Geology.com an agate is “a translucent variety of microcrystalline quartz. It is used as a semi-precious stone when it is of desirable quality and color. Agate generally forms by the deposition of silica from ground water in the cavities of igneous rocks. The agate deposits in concentric layers around the walls of the cavity or in horizontal layers building up from the bottom of the cavity. These structures produce the banded patterns that are characteristic of many agates.

“Agate occurs in a wide range of colors which include: brown, white, red, gray, pink, black and yellow. The colors are caused by impurities and occur as alternating bands within the agate. The different colors were produced as ground waters of different compositions seeped into the cavity. This banding gives many agates the interesting colors and patterns that make it a popular gemstone.”

Agates can be found in several countries around the world. In fact, some countries have their own websites about their agates such as Scotland and Argentina.

With so much to choose from we took a look at some the types of agate that stand out from the crowd.

Binghamite or silkstone

 Binghamite or silkstone . Type of agate stone found only on the Cuyuna iron range (near Crosby) in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. The formation of the stone occurs near deposits of iron ore.  From heartofstonestudio.com

A type of agate stone found only on the Cuyuna iron range in Minnesota, USA. The formation of the stone occurs near deposits of iron ore. (From heartofstonestudio.com)

Moss Agate

A pretty semi-translucent type of agate embedded with green formations that look like moss. Moss agate sometimes can be found with black ‘moss’ also, but more often is found in the green variety. (From Pure Gemstones)

Fire Agate

fire agate

Irridescent fire agates are found in Mexico and get the brownish colour from iron. (From Mystic Merchant)

Mexican crazy lace agate

 

The complex bands pf colour in this agate give it a fabric-like pattern (from Sam Silver Hawk)

And finally some spectacular agate jewellery.

We love this cuff with slabs of agate. Unfortunately we can’t track down who originally made it from the Pinterest link – we’d love to know.

agate3And like the cuff this folder formed copper bangle with fire agate, it really shows off the stone.

Fire agate and copper bangle by John S Brana

We hope you enjoy exploring the world of agates – and please do share your pictures with us of any agate jewellery you have, via twitter @jewelleryschool

 

LJS tutor Sima’s new venture

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Tutor Sima Vaziry has launched a new website showcasing her jewellery collections including those commissioned specially for the British Museum in London such as the Hope lapis bracelet pictured here.

Inspired by her Middle Eastern heritage and featuring silver, gold and gemstones, Sima’s collections show how starting out in jewellery by taking short courses can help someone turn a hobby into a fantastic career.

Despite her success at the British Museum and featuring in magazines such as Tatler, Sima is still sharing her talent with students at the LJS, teaching on some of the silver clay courses as well as pearl knotting and introduction to gemstones courses.