Breathtaking Copper Cuff Bark Bracelet Listed on Etsy

Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Are you searching for an incredible copper cuff that will add a dash of fabulous style to almost any outfit? This hand-crafted copper cuff bracelet fits the bill!

The deep hand chased pattern on both the inside and outside areas adds dimensional seductiveness. “Chased” means to be texturized and is a popular technique with the malleable copper material.

Traditionally, the 7th anniversary is the year of copper! And if you really want to create the perfect gift, you can also purchase some matching copper earrings.

Opening of Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Opening of Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Copper is one of the leading trends in contemporary handcrafted jewelry today. Copper is extensively available and very easy to work with, making it both a designer and enthusiast favorite. It’s unbelievably easy to polish and texturize. It looks great coupled with rough cut gem stones, yet another modern jewelry trend. Even leading stars are jumping on the copper bandwagon, brandishing their sensational bling on the red carpets.

Copper is known for being capable to stand the test of time. When it is new the sparkling metal shines has a rose-gold tint. If not covered with an unique protectant, with time the material tarnishes but the tarnish turns into a bronzy-brown tone that appears great if you’re going for an antique look. This chased copper bracelet, however, is varnished with a protective coating that will maintain its original color intact.

Press This Link to Acquire this Hand-crafted Copper Bark Cuff

John S Brana Named Bay Area A-List – Best of 2014 Runner-up for Best Fine Jewelry

San FranciscoCA — Jewelry designer John S. Brana has announced that his eponymous collection of handmade fine jewelry has been selected as a runner-up winner for the 2014 Best of the Bay Area A-List. This marks his fifth honor in the Best Fine Jewelry category.

The Bay Area A-List is a website that awards Bay Area businesses honors in 168 categories. Winners are determined based on the tabulation of more than 37,000 votes from local residents and industry experts. Winners are given a web page to promote their products and services, and new results are published annually.

 

In the 2014 Best of the Bay Area A-List Awards, Brana’s designer jewelry collection received Runner-up Award – Best Fine Jewelry, ranking in second place out of 45 local San Francisco handmade jewelry collections in the Fine Jewelry category. His handmade fine jewelry line won Runner-Up awards in 2010 and 2013 and was named a Finalist in the Fine Jewelry category in 2012.

The line of designer jewelry made from copper, aluminum, fine silver and gold received the Best Designer Jewelry Award in 2008.  On John S Brana’s Handmade Jewelry profile page of the Bay Area A-List Awards, more than 35 voters are quoted, describing the quality craftsmanship and unique designs of the John S. Brana Jewelry Collection.

John S. Brana Handmade Jewelry is a collection of fine jewelry produced in San Francisco. The pieces in the collection are handcrafted from a variety of precious metals, including fine silver, sterling silver, copper, gold and aluminum. Embellishments like freshwater pearls and faceted gemstones are used in many pieces and are all hand-selected to ensure that every piece is of high quality. Designs are inspired by natural elements from the texture of tree bark to the colors of flowers. Pieces are sold online at Johnsbrana.com.

 

John S. Brana is the artist behind the collection and the owner of the jewelry line. His career began in law and banking, and he formerly served as a Vice-President for Finance for The Charles Schwab Corporation. In 2003, Brana was inspired to leave the corporate world and begin producing his own handmade fine jewelry. The collection debuted in 2004 and is produced at Brana’s San Francisco studio.

John S Brana Handmade Jewelry

1043 Portola Drive
San FranciscoCA 94127

415-664-9737
[email protected]
http://www.johnsbrana.com

How to Make a Ring Shank and Bezel in Wax

12 carat Citrine Hammered Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring - Bezel Made From Wax Then Cast in Sterling Silver

12 carat Citrine Hammered Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring – Bezel Made From Wax Then Cast in Sterling Silver

Webster’s says that a “fillet” is a concave junction or molding between two surfaces forming a reentrant angle. To this I’d like to add that a nice smooth smillet is highly desirable in a number of places on jewelry castings but difficult to form on the wax model — for me, nearly impossible until recently. I’d dob a lot of wax around the base of a prong or ring shank, and depend on a lot of filing and grinding on the casting to get the desired results. I knew there must be a better way to make a ring shank with bezel, one in which the fillet could be added to the model so that it would make a strong smooth junction, requiring a minimum of finishing operations on the casting. But, in spite of a lot of experimenting with a hot needle point, other tool shapes, and other techniques, I could not come up with satisfactory results.

Then, about a month ago, I started a ring that needed a nice even concave curve between a free form bezel and the ring top, and out of necessity thought of a promising idea after failing twice with wax and a hot needle point. Plastic figures are often burned out for casting replicas. Epoxy is a plastic. Epoxy flows and sticks to nearly everything. Why not try it?

Bezel Formed in Wax then Lost Wax Cast in a Vacuum Casting Machine

Bezel Formed in Wax then Lost Wax Cast in a Vacuum Casting Machine

On the third attempt, I lightly tacked the bezel to its base by barely touching a hot needle point to the junction at a few places. Then I mixed up a couple of drops of epoxy and, with a sharpened toothpick, applied a line of epoxy all around the bezel strip at the junction. To do this, a small drop of epoxy wax picked up on the point of the toothpick and spread carefully along, then another small drop was picked up and applied, beginning where the first drop ran out. I found it was easy to make either a very tiny fillet, or a fairly wide one, by regulating the amount of epoxy used. As first applied it wasn’t too smooth, but the surface tension and wetting action of the epoxy soon drew it into a perfectly smooth and even fillet. It was then set aside to harden.

It worked so well on the bezel that I tried the same idea in attaching the ring shank, tacking it in place and then applying epoxy. Again the results looked better than anyone could reasonably hope for.

So far, so good. The wax model was a dandy, but would it burn out, and cast as nice as it looked. It should, and after impatiently awaiting results, it did. This radically new procedure of combining wax and epoxy passed the test with flying colors. The casting came out so perfect that it needed little work except polishing.

Give it a try. It was a complete and perfect answer to an aggravating problem in wax work. No fooling!

Mass Producing for Lapidarists – Polishing Gemstones

Slab Pile Ready for Cutting and Faceting

Slab Pile Ready for Cutting and Faceting

Doubtless few, if any lapidarists would give thought to mass-producing anything that they’re doing purely for fun. And also, why produce a lot of anything that you have no special demand for? I have found that there are two good reasons: first, it gets you out of a rut and, second, it can improve your technique. And this can apply to anything you do. When you make, or produce, two of a kind, the second is always — or should be — better. Because now you have more experience. If you make ten, then the tenth, if not ten times better, it is at least much improved. Also, ten rocks or gemstones, of a wide variety, are vastly more colorful and interesting than one, so mass producing finished gemstones is definitely worth your time.

That gets us off the ground, now let’s see how it applies and what we may accomplish by working in multiples — no matter what we do. For instance sawing and slabbing. The saw is clean, with oil or proper lubricant changed and ready for work. Instead of sawing a single slab and having to clean up, I plan and do a number of slabs and on different rocks; there is no more work cleaning up than if I had sawed but one. Cutting ten various slabs from various material can become far more inspiring and meaningful than working just one. Also I can now be more selective when choosing the slab for my next project. In this multiple sawing I can also compare materials and decide on future projects. I can now profit by the experience I have gained. This could not be done by sawing one single slab.

I sometimes cut a nodule in half and then continue until I have reduced both entire halves to slabs — all of it now ready for cutting material or whatever. I have done it with only one clean-up job involved or required. Not only time-saving but drudgery-saving as well. And one more thought; when I saw a nodule in half I expose only what’s in the exact center. Many times I find that in getting away from the center, the pattern and color have changed and become something else.

Serpentine Slab Pile

Serpentine Slab Pile

Having thus prepared a “slab pile” (from a variety of rocks) I am now ready to seriously begin a project. I inspect and select interesting slabs and each suggests something or other and I am soon full of ideas for preforms and projects. I outline a half dozen or more designs with the template and move to the trim saw. The difference is that here the saw throws more lubricant and there is even more mess to clean up. Why not do all the trimming and preforming for a half dozen or more projects while I am in business; and while the saw is filled or primed with the proper lubricant. In multiple sawing and trimming you soon get into a rhythm so that the work progresses more easily and before you know it the work is finished. All your stones are preformed and ready for the next step. Much less time is consumed per item than if you did them one at a time.

Of course before I start the grinding, the preforms are all dopped and attached to dowel sticks in six-inch lengths, where the stones remain through the various processes and until ready for mounting.

Cab King Lapidary Grinder, Polisher, and Cabochon Maker

Cab King Lapidary Grinder, Polisher, and Cabochon Maker

I now move to the wet grinder. You hardly get started by doing just one stone. It’s when you start on the second that you really get in the groove, get the feel, and everything just seems to fall into place. Each rounded shoulder or bevel slowly takes shape and the roughness is gone — a cabochon is born — and now ready for polishing. In a remarkably short time they are all finished. And in a much shorter multiple of time than if you had ground and finished one cab each day and cleaned up in between.

After the grinding I now move to the buffer. With each stone dopped, half the work is already done. And you don’t have to waste time polishing your fingernails. Polishing a stone on the end of a stick is both convenient and comfortable. It’s so much easier after the first stone is huffed to a shining lustre; and the second stone can be buffed while the proper abrasive or polishing agent is in use. And soon all are done and finished. There is so much more satisfaction in seeing a half dozen stones finished rather than just one. Mass-producing establishes a motive and then adds new inspiration in seeing it done.

Dopped Stones Ready for Faceting

Dopped Stones Ready for Faceting

Lapping is another operation that is always put off for some reason or other; mainly because of the intermittent clean-up and which is always so important. So why not lap a number of stones with each application and use of the same grit; and instead of changing grit and clean-up three times for one stone, it is reduced to three Limes for three stones; two more stones have been lapped with the same amount of clean-up work. Not only good arithmetic, but it seems to make sense.

The same goes for mounting the stones. I try to keep a supply of various findings on hand (they are cheaper by the dozen) and, when stones are ready, I can mount more than one or I can he very selective in choosing the right stone for a certain mounting. When I have some very special project, or some special person in mind, I use sterling silver or gold, but for the run-of-the-mill projects I use gold-colored or silver-colored metal mountings. These are very attractive as “second best,” and they are also appropriate for antique style mountings. Another reason they are going to look even better is the new look in the price of silver. In a recent order for sterling silver mountings the catalog price was increased to almost double that of the listing. That’s going to turn more lapidarists to the “second best” material for mountings
— except of course, for those very special instances where expense is no object.

Dura-BULL Rotary Rock and Gemstone Tumbler

Dura-BULL Rotary Rock and Gemstone Tumbler

Tumbling is a time-consumer and the very reason that most tumblers stand idle after infrequent use. But why not make it pay — use it. Instead of just tumbling a batch of rock or a common “grab bag” I always make it a point to include a dozen or so preforms or speical pieces that I have cooked up. (My most recent tumbling batch of agate included 29 miscellaneous preform&) This form of mass production can turn out a mass of beauty in stone and many of the select pieces can be used in glue-on mountings. Also many of the most beautiful tumbled pieces can be cut in half and glued to ear pieces with almost startling matched results. Also here can be another byproduct of mass-producing. If you have already been mass-producing with the trim saw then you have an accumulation of odds and ends, bits and pieces, representing all kinds of material and all colors ot mixed colors. Include this riffraff as filler or even as a complete tumbling batch, when you have enough. It will bring surprising results and also it will be different from the grab-bag type of tumbling material; because this is something you found to be pretty and distinctive enough to work with and your interest is already built-in. It will add another dimension to your tumbling prowess.

The same goes for dopping. This is another messy, and sometimes distasteful, job that we are inclined to avoid or more or less put off until we reach that point where we can go no further without it. Why not dop a half dozen or so stones while you have the miscellany of equipment and material all together. And in order to dop a considerable number of stones we have to find them somewhere. And if you have mass-produced a number of stones then you already have them on hand and ready for use. The mass-producing angle follows right on down the line. I find that instead of having one tumbler batch, I have several, and each is a glittering array of polished stones waiting for some possible use. In selecting stones I can now pick and choose.

And the point in mass-producing is not merely to duplicate, which would only be monotonous, but to differentiate and vary what we are producing. I purposely choose a wide variety of stones in whatever angle of lapidary art I choose to indulge in. For instance in an ordinary tumbling batch I might have bloodstone, jasper, pigeonblood jasper, blue ribbon agate, crazy lace, ebony, zebra, mozarkite and aventurine. My next batch then will include something entirely different, or simply a batch of colorful jasper. This is what adds spice to the lapidary routine. Before I start sawing or slabbing I go through my reserve of cutting material and select a few widely different specimens; and when I am done I have opened up an entirely new world of slabs; revealing precious lines of coloring and form that I have not seen before. Because each time I slice a rock it comes out differently; and if it doesn’t, then next time I carefully saw it from a different angle, so that it does.
The most important idea behind mass-producing is to save time, inconvenience and drudgery — any one of which can represent money. Lapidary work is a time-consuming, tedious operation at best; something that requires meticulous care and patience to turn out a fine and valuable end product for use in handmade jewelry. If producing one is good, then producing a half dozen or more is better — as experience will show.

Rough Boulder Opals

Rough Boulder Opals

Ever notice that when you go into the field alone, you sometimes stumble onto something that is really precious. But if there are two of you, the probabilities and the odds increase by that number, so that anything you do more than once will substantially show an improvement. And that’s what lapidary art is; the means of achieving just that. We want to do it better and we want that superlative finish. As an example: setting on my workbench at the moment is a rack for holding dopsticks. On the tips of six dopsticks the following finished and highly-polished oval cabs stand waiting: one turquoise size 24×14, two malachite size 24×14, one malachite size 25xl8, one poppy jasper size 25×18 and one snowflake obsidian size 30×22. All are ready for mounting. But the destiny of each was not, and has not been, preplanned. They were turned out at random and so that I could make selections or have a wider choice when ready to mount the stones. And before I mount any of these I plan to preform another contrasting group and grind and polish them. This way I never run out of projects of ideas.

In mass-producing, instead of having to accept something mediocre because it’s the only one available or all that I have, I can now be selective or pick and choose. This is the result of a technique I’d like to call “mass-producing.” If you’ve never done it you may find it worth a try. Also it can brighten your lapidary  future.

Amazing Handcrafted Jewelry in Seattle

Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Copper Bark Cuff Bracelet

Shopping for an exceptional gift idea for that somebody special, or even yourself? Have you thought about hand-crafted jewelry? There are thousands of well-designed items of jewelry by handcrafted artisans of Seattle.  Right before going to your neighborhood gallery or fine arts festival, take the time to think about a a handful of things. First off, you should always think about what their tastes are like when it comes to fashion and jewelry. Shopping for an addition to their collection can be a great decision, so check through the jewelry that they presently have and look for something which they could be missing, or any metals and gemstones which they would like. An example could be if the recipient has quite a lot of silver earrings, you’ll probably decide to try buying them a silver necklace or silver cocktail ring to add a little spice to their jewelry collection. You will surely find some wonderfully designed handmade silver rings by Seattle jewelry designers.

Don’t Choose Quantity over Quality When Buying Handmade Jewelry

Pink Coral Cinnabar Necklace

Pink Coral Cinnabar Necklace

Always choose quality over quantity every time when shopping for handmade jewelry. If prices are equal between two pieces, always look at the quality first. A larger, poorer made piece is definitely not worth buying just because it looks larger, and thus might be a better value than a smaller well-made piece. Speaking of price, those on a budget simply need to remember that good handmade jewelry is not always expensive. It is the quality and look that truly counts, not the amount paid.

Handmade Jewelry Over the Millennia

Throughout history, jewelry has changed in conjunction with advances in materials. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, from the Iron Age to the Industrial Revolution (and seemingly back again!), styles have transformed, modernized, and then often returned to their most basic forms and essential elements. Even before the age of reason, men and women both adorned themselves with handmade jewelry. Early man employed flowers, hand woven grasses, shells, and stones as adornments to accentuate and beautify the body. We may have been wearing jewelry as far back as 75,000 years ago — 30,000 years earlier than previously believed — according to a recently available report by National Geographic News.

Nu Gold Bangles and Cuffs by San Francisco Jewelry Designer John

Nu Gold Bangles and Cuffs by San Francisco Jewelry Designer John

Today, jewelry is primarily machine made, allowing manufacturers to create uniform jewelry designs much more economically than traditional hand crafting and hand-casting techniques allow. CAD/CAM design and high-volume casting machines allow many Seattle jewelry manufacturers to efficiently turn designs into uniform molds and onto finished jewelry with speed and uniformity. Mechanized punch presses and forges are also employed by many Seattle jewelry manufacturers to simulate a handmade effect. Hand-hammered texturing is one of the more “handmade” looks created by this method, making the production consistent and highly profitable to the manufacturer.

Over the last decade, handmade jewelry has become quite sought after. The jewelry industry has seen a resurgence of demand for handmade jewelry due to a great perceived value of being unique and one-of-a-kind. Given this renewed interest in handmade, many Seattle jewelry designers are seeing greater demand for their talents and designs for unique handmade jewelry. it is not uncommon these days to see your favorite major department store or art gallery devote retail space to designer handmade jewelry. The internet has also made handmade jewelry very accessible to a world wide following. Many handmade jewelry artisans can enjoy the benefits of selling directly to a world-wide clientele.

Red Patinated Copper Tear Drop Earrings

Red Patinated Copper Tear Drop Earrings

The most basic definition of handmade jewelry is that it is crafted by hand as opposed to mechanically made by a machine. In its purest form, hand-assembled does not mean handmade. The consumer should remember that handmade and hand-assembled are unrelated and can be used deceptively by many jewelry designers and manufacturers to label jewelry as handmade, which in fact is hand-assembled. Attaching machine made components to one another by hand does not make the piece handmade. Jewelry designers that pride themselves in making handmade jewelry use old metalsmithing skills such as fabrication and simple tools and an extensive repertoire of techniques to create shapes and forms. One of the key indicators that a piece of jewelry is truly handmade is through observation of dissimilarity. Does the piece have uniform or varied hammer marks? You can also usually sense the cultural individuality, meaning, and even history behind many such designs, even if such information is not provided along with the jewelry. Making marketable and sought after handmade jewelry requires a considerable amount of dedication, skill, and creativity not often found in most mass-produced jewelry. This is clearly evident in a finished piece of handmade jewelry, making artisan designed jewelry a clear stand-out from most cookie cutter mass produced jewelry.

Mass-produced or machine-made jewelry typically looks more rigid and uniform. Although there are some imperfections to handmade jewelry, this does not mean that handmade jewelry is inferior to manufactured. High quality handmade jewelry will last a lifetime. Perhaps surprisingly, machine-made jewelry often breaks more easily than well-made handmade jewelry. Also remember that just because it says “handmade” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s high quality. Many department stores sell jewelry labeled as “handmade” but this doesn’t mean high quality, and also may not even mean handmade, but hand-assembled. More often than not, most mass-production jewelry facilities operate on a quota system that incentivises speed, resulting in short-cuts and lower quality jewelry. Look for handmade jewelry that is not mass-produced — not available in large quantities. Quality jewelry that is handmade in Seattle will not only have the artisan’s mark, but also have the reputation and guarantee attached to the finished piece. The careful observer will always be able to appreciate the uniqueness and quality of a handmade piece of jewelry. With handmade artisan jewelry, quality and uniqueness are typically are apparent to even the most casual observer.

24 CT Amethyst 14K Gold-filled Drop Earrings

24 CT Amethyst 14K Gold-filled Drop Earrings

Handmade jewelry affords the pleasure of unique, often rare designs, which are not-identical, typically made by a true artist, with great love and passion. Jewelry is an art form. This love for one’s work and the art of design comes across in the finished piece. Mass-produced items, whether it’s jewelry or anything handmade lacks this “soul.” Hand-crafted jewelry also better displays the wearer’s personal touch and style, conveying individuality and interest. To wear mass-produced jewelry, of a common style, lends the wearer the style of being somewhat mass-produced. Regardless, mass-produced jewelry usually brings with it no special meaning or history — no story, no life. When you wear beautiful Seattle handmade jewelry, it is a pleasure to be able to explain to admirers the actual story or history behind what you are wearing, or information about the artist, which is often possible with handmade jewelry bought from individual artisans or their representative galleries. Above all, it is simply a joy to wear jewelry that someone has personally and lovingly created by hand.