Sunday, November 8, 2015

Post Script

The 31 Days Challenge has been a wonderful learning tool for me. Writing the series on Jewelry-From Concept to Sales reminded me that I can make a schedule keep it, and enjoy writing daily... which I had honestly forgotten. 2014's challenge was full of challenges in itself, so I didn't actually get the full feel for the experience. I allowed life's little problems(and sometimes huge problems) to get in the way. This year, I vowed to give myself the time to get the task done, and to allow other areas in my life to manage themselves.

My 13 year old son was one of those areas in my life that I allowed to manage without my full attention. This is a good thing. I feel that I micromanage way too much, especially when it comes to him. He is old enough to figure out chores, schoolwork, and athletics without my constant supervision. It worked out fine. There were no fires in the house, the trash didn't pile up, the laundry was neatly piled and waiting for me.... OK, so I haven't taught him that chore yet... but, he did amazingly well when it came to working out problems without my intervention at each step. I have learned that my stepping back and letting my son figure out for himself that completing tasks is to his benefit, and part of the growing process... which is what I'm trying to accomplish all along, isn't it? He is learning and maturing, and that's my whole goal with him, for him to grow into a competent and mature adult.

So, I'd say this was a chance to learn for not only myself, but for my son as well. He saw the dedication to working with other people, not just writing itself. Having guests on the blog that I interviewed was a nice challenge within the challenge. I could have chosen to write for 31 days about myself, about jewelry, about working with jewelry, or the whole sale of jewelry, without ever talking about someone else.  But that would be so boring and you know me, never boring!

I am such a fan  of the people that I interviewed. I have either taken classes , tutorials, or just plain admired them for so long, that I wanted to show them to everyone and say, ...Hey! these people are great... look at their wonderful work! I hope that each and every one of the featured jewelers has views on their websites from this blog. People need to see their work. Whether it is the simple, rustic work or the diamond encrusted beauties... each has a wonderful place in the jewelry world. Each a master in his own right... each person featured is a treasure.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank each person that helped with this blog series. Without their help, I wouldn't have been able to finish the series. Each was a pleasure to work with, and I learned so much along the way. Richard Salley, Al Martinez, Lorena Angulo, Lea Avroch, Ginger Davis Allman, Cristina Hurley, Scott Screiber, and the people at Brian Gavin Diamonds, especially Emily Henson, without who's help I would have never gained access to one of the largest jewelers in the world.

This has been a wonderful experience and I really hope to participate again next year.Throughout the coming months, I will have more jewelry, more tips, more interviews. My hope is to continue this blog, after a short break for holidays and family time, and to continue, monthly, sharing artists, their work, their stories, more indepth stories about them. Having a bit more time to delve into each artist's work will be wonderful, I might be able to post several posts about each artist.

So far, I have in store a unique young man from England who's story is rather unusual, his ties to jewelry are amazing, and I think he will be an appropriate start to the followup to this blog. I hope you will join me starting the middle of January.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you have enjoyed this series, please stop back again!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beauty and the Business

The founder of the Origami Owl, Bella Weems has made a literal fortune at making jewelry... and she is now 21.  This entrepreneur started making jewelry at a young age, but got serious about the venture when she wanted a new Jeep for her 16th birthday. She began selling her items "Living  Lockets" at the local mall in a kiosk, and skyrocketed to fame and yes, fortune, by marketing her idea. She has been highlighted in Teen magazine as well as featured by Swarovski who have a very strict and unwavering criteria for allowing their branding to be used.

She did this, because she really enjoyed it. That about sums it up...
You do what you love. If you are lucky, have a good support team, and a lot of energy, you can make it big, but what do we mean by big?  I am a small business...and I feel like I have made it big... I don't make a lot of money, but I am so in love with what I do, I am so in love that I am able to create every day... I feel that I have hit the big time, but.... I actually am just a tiny speck in the business world.

I have shown examples of people that create and make what they love, some are masters of their work, like Scott Schreiber or the jewelers at Brian Gavin, they are true masters of their trade... but what about the people just getting into the jewelry business that are simply in it for the love of creating a piece of jewelry, sharing it with the world?

To me... that is the essence of the jewelry artist.. that passion, that joy of making, that love for all that glitters... and the things that don't... but make a beautiful piece of jewelry.

If we all worked in a cubicle all day long, every day, life would be so boring... for those whose calling it is to do the paper work, the thinking, the correlating information about all things that are to me, boring... I salute you... you keep the world running, and all the rest of us... are truly grateful. I know that I could never do that... and people that have retired and left that part of their lives... and come over to some type of craft.. I know that they salute you as well.... You truly keep the world in proper order.

It is terribly hard for a creative person to be in the constrains of working a desk job, doing monotonous things, but... Many people do every day... it is called a job, and it is one of those things that most people do so that they have the necessities in life, like food and shelter.... And it is how most of the world makes a living.But there are those of us that just can't sit at a desk for 8 hours, shuffling paper. Some of us would rather sit at a bench for 16 hours a day, hammering and sawing and soldering burning our hands, simply for the love of creativity.

So what do you do if you really want to break away and work in the arts full time, specifically, in the jewelry industry?

First, education is always the best answer. Finish High School, apply to college, and start your training. There are listed colleges and trade schools in the blog that are a start... if you are working, take a workshop and see if you like it. Jewelry making is not for everyone... or a part of it possibly, there are so many sides of the jewelry industry... like Lea Avroch, who makes glass beads, or like the gem cutters at Brian Gavin, or those that work in wire, or casting... it is diverse... try it out. See if you like it... Some people find that it is not their calling. It is better to find out before you expend time and energy as well as the finances to truly get into the business....
If you do fall in love with any of the parts of jewelry making,  consider going about learning in a serious manner. Attending an accredited school is probably the best route... but there are so many other ways.

Many people go to workshops to get them started. There are many places you can start out... like Bead Fest, Bead and Button, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show... the list goes on and on... if you check you local college, they may give workshops in their Continuing Education courses.  There are many dedicated workshops that teach short courses... like Roadhouse Arts, in Bulverde, Tx, or Chris Nelson, with his gold fused steel workshops at Urban Armor, in Pagosa Springs, Co.

There are so many to choose from, workshops are everywhere... but so are online tutorials, some are for money, some are for free. There is a plethora of videos on everything from setting up your workspace to soldering prongs and cutting gems.  Some of the teachers are extraordinary, There are beadwork teachers, there are blacksmith teachers, there are silversmith teachers... pretty much any area you want to learn, you can find a tutorial or a place to start.

That is not to mention even the books that you can read. There are wonderful, very available books that teach everything you could want to know. Most can be accessed through your public library, or if you want, you can purchase them, some at very reasonable prices. Many can be purchased second hand, though it is harder to find the good books second hand, since they are coveted by their owners...

Lastly, you can apprentice. Many jewelers will take on an apprentice to be able pass on their skills, most jewelers in the past actually learned this way, working on the bench for years, learning the skills that their teachers had learned the same way. Tried and true methods of learning to work with silver and gold and gemstones.  In times past, apprentices were taken on by the tradesman in exchange for money from their family, or the indenture of the person apprenticing. Serving as some what a slave to be able to learn the trade...

If you are serious about going into business for yourself, it is required by most states that you register your business for tax purposes, and if you sell, you need to have a tax id number. You must above all, be prepared to claim what you sell, and pay taxes on the goods.
You must treat the business as just that... a business. If you do not, you will fail, miserably.
Taking courses in business, in accounting and even possibly public relations is probably a really good idea.. or having a mentor. Someone who can  show you the ropes of how to run the business from day to day, keeping track of inventory, of goods and especially, of money.

My late husband was partners in a business, and had a side business, I learned a lot from him over the course of time. I worked in another industry and managed a couple of businesses and taught before I got into making jewelry. I had a bit of practical experience before trying to set up a business. But I can tell you, it was nothing like what I thought it would be. It is rewarding, but... the sales are tough for me. I am pretty much an introvert, and the thought of being in the public is nerve-wracking. I do most of my sales in person, though. I sell at faires and festivals and love it. I love meeting people that like what I make.
Though, the internet takes away many of the problems of selling in person. A brick and mortar shop isn't what everyone wants, nor the trips to art shows and fairs and festivals.  Having a website or an Etsy or other type of selling site is the way to go for people who want to sell their wares, but are not into going out and actually setting up in public.
There are those who love selling in person, but also have websites and Etsy shops, they want to broaden their audience, sell to the world... and that is a huge boost to sales.
Advertisement, advertisement, advertisement... that's the key. If no one sees your art, no one will buy it.
Social media, great advertisement! Use of  social sites such as Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress, Instagram, Pintrest, Hi5, Flickr, and a plethora of others. Posting your work gets some attention, having a dedicated page even more, and then there is the group pages that offer selling or auctioning which is a boon to any jewelry maker.

Selecting the way to run your business is very personal, but the input from other jewelers is very helpful. Most are very helpful, and the range of ideas varies from what type of work they do and how they sell... Asking about business ideas in groups such as Facebook's Jewelry Booth's and Displays. They are a great group and answer questions freely.

Jewelry has such intrinsic value and is at the same time superfluous, that it is hard to know how to price, what you pay yourself, how to stock, do you stock? How to sell it... Do you sell at a brick and mortar store, trade show, in a gallery, online, a combination of two or more?   .... it is very difficult to get your store seen... noticed in the vast sea of online stores, it costs money and time to do faires, festivals, and trade shows, it is grueling to be in a brick and mortar store every day, keeping it stocked, paying someone to help you, the extra utilities, the insurance, etc... it can be daunting.

But if you have the passion, you have the stamina, and you have well made, timeless jewelry... you can make it!

Friday, October 30, 2015

So, I have some jewelry, how do I sell it?

Making jewelry might just be the easiest part of the jewelry business... Really, the thought of mining for diamonds or gold... and the sales of jewelry are the two hard parts... and probably with modern equipment? It might just leave the sales as the hardest part.
For the individual that creates a piece of jewelry, it might be a long and hard road to selling. Many avenues are available, especially with the advent of internet sites such as Etsy , Zazzle, and Joyous, in which to sell jewelry or other hand crafted wares. Many prefer the face to face transactions that can be found at art shows, faires and craft shows. One of the larger events is the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show, a two day event held in Atlanta, Georgia at their new home at The Atlanta History Center. Featuring jewelry artists from around the country, the show provides a gathering place for some of the most innovative and inspired craftsmen.

You say you don't want to try to make it into a High Art show? no problem, there are craft shows and fairs galore! A quick look on the internet garners a hundred different shows, The site, ,has a plethora of craft shows, Music Festivals as well as art shows.
Still not feeling it? Local businesses sometimes allow vendors to set up a table in their extra space, for a fee usually, but if you know someone that has a business, and has a bit of extra space, and are not in their busiest sales time of the year, you can approach them with an offer of a percentage of the sales or an out and out offer of compensation for allowing you to set up a table with a sampling of your jewelry.
Family and friends are great in spreading the word of your jewelry prowess. If you give or sell someone a piece of jewelry, say a necklace. Give them a few cards with your particulars to give out when they are asked about the piece. Many people stop and admire a nice necklace or a fanciful bracelet. Make it a habit to wear your own jewelry, and to carry extra business cards. You are your own walking billboard.
Family and friends are also a great source for lending space for a booth... remember the days of Tupperware and Avon parties? Why not have a party in the theme of this tried and true method? Many people do this with mass produced jewelry, but the attraction of hand made, one of a kind jewelry is a huge draw.

Faires and festivals are always looking for vendors. Art shows, galleries, are all places to start with. Booth costs vary from festival to festival, some are free, others can cost hundreds of dollars, but generally are worth the money. There are many drawbacks to showing your work in a faire or festival and some trade shows.
If you are doing an outdoor show, you probably need a tent, or some type of covering. It gets miserable in the open especially in the middle of Summer. Tables are a necessity, and can at times be rented from the venue, but not always. To look a bit more professional, table coverings are a must. Neat, tidy table cloths, that do not drag the ground, nor are they too short, should be used, or some type of covering that will not distract from the jewelry.
Spring Booth setup
If your tent is dark, lighting is sometimes necessary. My booth is always dark, no matter where I have it, so I always have lighting. That means having electricity. If you are at a show that does not provide electric outlets (which are an added cost usually) then you will have to provide your own, which can be a bit tricky. Generators will give enough power usually to light a tent of about 10x10feet. Anything bigger and you need a larger generator or two... which can get noisy. There are times when you may want to forgo having light, which means you need to forgo the sides of the tent. I like to keep my tent walled... simply because It helps me feel a bit sheltered. I have this problem being out in public places, in crowds... I really need to have a retreat to be able to be 'away' from the crowds. Also, I use the walls to hang items for sale. If I didn't have electricity, I'd have to go without the walls because it is simply too dark.
I have seen people that have replaced their tent tops with lighter tops, even one made from burlap, which let in a lot of light... but they miss the point with the reflective properties of the tops that come with tents... They keep out light, or mostly uv light. You can and will burn if you do not have that protection.

Long story... but it is noteworthy...

Brick and mortar shops...

If you want to start your own business, and have a small inventory, can't wait to open the business... brick and mortar... there are a few items to stop and think about...
Can you afford to open the business? Do you have a good financial plan in place? Do you have something to fall back on if the business doesn't take off right away? Most people that open their own stores will have a solid business plan, they have taken into account their pay, the amount for the building, utilities, insurance, all the things that go along with having a store... including the fact that you will have days that are busy, and you will not be able to sit down at the bench for hours at a time. This can be hard on a person that needs to be at the bench. If you have schedules and commitments for pieces to be ready, you have to be able to sit down and actually do the work... Can you hire someone to help?  If you do, can you promise them steady employment? Will they need to work part time or full time? Can you provide the insurance you need to? What about vacation and sick leave? Can you depend on family and friends to help? Will you be able to sustain your business and even grow it?
Do you have health insurance?

No matter what you do, going out on the limb and starting a business is a daunting task, but it can be done... and can be fulfilling.
Take the time to actually look into what it takes... and remember, you can!

enamel on steel with crystal eye and acrylic collar

enameled copper, silver, glass beads and acrylic charm bracelet

felted bib necklace

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The future of Jewelry?

We know that jewelry is old, the history: vast. But what lays in store for jewelry? Jewelry makers use basically the same tools as have been used for centuries, though design is easier with computers, torches and electric rolling mills are wonders but are really not anything 'new'... so what is new?

 3D Printing! Such a fantastic invention, with handy, everyday items being made with the technology, as well as the oddity, like dresses that can actually be worn. What a boon to the designer, who wants to see a finished product without the pains of actual manufacture!...
Machines can make just about anything you can dream.
Envision TEC has a 3D printer that is  made by Texas Instruments that is pretty cheap and will make general purpose master models, castings, has capability for high temperature molding, with a photo silver high temperature  application for fine detailing.
Dremel even has it's own version of a 3D printer for around a thousand dollars. while the filament used costs around $30/ spool. Not bad, really when you think of the applications you can use it for.

If you would like a read about the subject, check this out: What is 3D Printing?
       3D Printed Gold Collection Set to Transform Jewelry Industry

Is online selling part of the future? We have seen an upsurge of online stores like Etsy and
Studies in 1999 showed that consumers picked "Independent Jewelers" over Department store jewelers, by 53%, however in a 2008 study, 41% said they chose Independent Jewelers over Department Store.  Now, other indicators show that this trend isn't quite what it seems, and it was done before some online stores really took off in business. The future studies will show, but with online sales by independent jewelers at an all time high, and the new lineup of Amazon hand made... the trend towards more exclusive or independent jewelers should rise.

With new independent jewelers, comes the upgrading of the tools they work with. Not everyone is interested in having 30 different types of pliers,or a new computer aided drawing program, but... many are. The software should grow over the next few years, bringing the price down for more people to be able to afford.

Schools, or workshops spring up all across the United States and around the world, as people are more and more interested in the craft. Shows like the Bead and Button show and the Bead Fest, where teachers are readily available in areas from metal work, enameling, silverwork, and beading, it is easy to imagine that many new students will be entering the field.
Does that mean anything for the field? Possibly for costume jewelry. The price for costume should go down, the price has been inflated recently, people wanting to make a lot of money, thinking that because they learn a bit, they should earn a lot for their time... but for goldsmiths, and diamond cutters, the trend will probably not touch their work. It takes time and practice, good tutelage as well as the investment not only in time, but the monetary investment as well, that will set apart these masters.

  (see “The JCK–Harrison Group Consumer Jewelry Study,” JCK, July 2008, p. 65).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A look at Brian Gavin Diamonds

 There are jewelers that are interesting, but few take time to really communicate how they actually make their jewelry and even fewer take the time to educate customers.
I happened onto the page of Brian Gavin Diamonds  and the blog, "The Diamond Cutter's Blog" and found that the company  does actually show their CAD renderings, as well as answer questions about the 3 C's of diamonds (Cut, clarity and color) as well as hints for buying diamonds and custom made jewelry.
I wrote to the company, on the off chance they might actually read questions from their blog... and they do! I had a timely answer, and a followup letter, then... they allowed me to send my questionnaire.

Brian Gavin is a master Diamond Cutter that grew up in South Africa, his father was a master Diamond Cutter, living in South Africa,  His Grandfather was a master Diamond Cutter, and lived in Amsterdam, his great grandfather, and great great grandfather were also Diamond Cutters...
Mr Gavin says that when he was a child, he played marbles with rough diamonds... he was surrounded by art, design, music and that this is what shaped his interest and passion for design.

Being a fifth generation diamond cutter, he started out at around five years old, when he would go to the factory with his father, when he had his first real exposure with gemstones. He says he was always intrigued by the ability to take a rock and after time, shape it into a magnificent diamond masterpiece. Before he went to university, he started spending time at a different factory, where he started his apprentiseship, marking and handling rough diamonds.  He was in charge of deciding what was going to be cut out of the rock and how it should be cut. This was of course before there were the sophisticated machines to help in that determination.
Hearts and Arrows

Like so many other artists I have spoken with, the one thing that resonates with all of them, Mr Gavin says, is that practice makes perfect.  But practice in the diamond business can become very expensive!

Becoming an expert takes time, and that it comes with learning and failing in real world situations.  Having a degree in something doesn't necessarily make you an expert. The term "journeyman" is used to describe an apprentice because an apprentice is one that must go on a traveler's journey to feel the highs and lows.Because it is not just about theory, it is about experience. What you 'know' might not be the correct answer, it is the experience that shows you the way. Mr Gavin says that it wasn't until he was in his late 30s that he truly understood not only what he was taught, but how to apply that knowledge to real world situations.
Mr Gavin also stated that he doesn't thing that he has reached the pinnacle, yet. That there is still a lot more for the brand to offer. They have has some great milestones, and have built a successful business that is well known in the jewelry industry, but that there is more in the future.

Recently, the business brought in Jeff Cooper into their 'family' along with his hand made pieces. He is a jewelry legend in his own right. Offering wedding and engagement rings, each handmade....each one is hand made... one at a time (that is significant!) and has the same care given on inspection as the other Brian Gavin diamonds. Cooper's branding gives 40 years of history that brings with it his timeless style and elegance.

The details and the very high quality and craftsmanship are a very fitting match with the Brian Gavin Diamonds' family. They look for the higher standard, and found it with Mr Cooper. His ornate details and old world craftsmanship brings together the style that they describe as "post vintage".
Lilly Yellow Gold

One line of Jeff Cooper rings is the "Lilly" which is designed for the woman with an 'admiration for all things vintage". The band  is a teardrop design that articulates each segment with attention to detail, the round diamond as the focal is the trademark hearts and arrows cut diamond, it is an exquisite look. Very vintage, very lovely.

One of the main goals in diamond cutting is the perfect proportions, or the "ideal" mathematical proportions that make the diamond sparkle and shine at it's most brilliant. The balance between the optimum brilliance or the"return of light" and the scattering of light, or the "fire" which is the prism effect that separates the spectrum of color.
Each facet must be placed in the perfect place, the exact angle, to create the sparkle you see, and the refraction of the light that is pleasing to the eye.

Each cut that creates this brilliance, also loses carat weight and will yield a smaller stone.
However, the expert diamond cutter is able to see the exact place where he will cut the diamond, there is no doubt that each cut is placed with intent.
The "Hearts & Arrows" cut was developed by Japanese cutters back in the 80s, when they cut exactly the facet to create overlapping kaleidoscope patterns. The diamonds created a pattern of 8 hearts and 8 arrows, when viewed through the pavilion and the table -up position. This effect was also called the "Cupid Effect" and the diamonds became known in the trade by the name Hearts and Arrows.
Benjamin Gavin, the father of Brian Gavin, and Brian began to research and refine the Hearts and Arrows design in 1997. They combined their knowledge in the field of cutting and light performance and they improved on the design, improved he reflective qualities to be viewed under all lighting conditions, which set a new quality benchmark and also a new grading system for the worldwide standard of that particular pattern cut.
These improvements earned Brian Gavin the reputation as "The Cutter". Also, this cut is the standard that other companies try to imitate. However this is the signature cut of Brian Gavin Diamonds. He launched it in March 2009, with diamonds that are cut to even more exacting standards for quality and brilliance. Each has earned the AGS 0 grade, for light performance and comes accompanied by the AGS Platinum Diamond Quality document, that was introduced in January of 2009.

 As David says, "to be able to capture all of that in a very refined, simply, and clean piece of jewelry – it's a passion and a pursuit."

Please visit the website,
to see the collections of different designers, and see the "Hearts & Arrows" for yourself. Each diamond is spectacular, and the designs are magnificent. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guilds- The Fellowship of the Ring (Makers)

Guilds have been around for centuries, maybe millennia? A group of craftsmen get together to share their experiences, secrets, just to have a group that understands their trade..and a place to go on Thursdays to get away from the spouse?

Jewelers are a bit different I suppose, they probably trade their soldering techniques and pictures of their hammers... or their new leather buffing pad?

No, I'm not making fun... I'm kind of jealous. I've been member of other guilds... sewing, quilting, and other thread type or craft guilds... but not so far am I a member of this somewhat dauntingly elite group. The Goldsmith Guild...

During the middle ages, there were goldsmiths that did work exclusively for churches, there were goldsmiths that worked outside the church, and they  both were members of guilds. The smiths that worked for the churches ended up working for Royalty as well, and they were compelled to belong to a guild. They were organized, they had their prices regulated, and they were taken care of... or protected, kind of like unions today... they were under the protection of the guild, as well as having their work regulated and training duration set, etc.

Livre de metiers - or the Book of Crafts was written by Etienne Boileau around 1268, he was the mayor of Paris. This book outlined the regulations for the quickly growing goldsmith trade. In 1292, there were 116 goldsmiths and jewelers in Paris alone, according to the census from that year. The number grew until the Black Plague in 1348 decimated so many people, and the number of craftsmen declined. The number once again rose after the plague had subsided, and by the 1400s, their numbers had again risen. In 1465, there were more than 400 goldsmiths in London.

Over the centuries, guilds have been a way for members to be able to organize their work, to attain apprentices, to keep prices level, to keep an eye on each other,  and to keep each other honest so to speak.  The guilds served as a regulator for commerce and as a quality control. Tney were a necessity, just as they are today. Jewelers need to keep abreast of latest trends, of business helps, and of new regulations or just understanding those that have been in place. The associations, guilds, societies or whatever they might be called, help their members do all of these.

There is a very handy resource for finding guilds and organizations in the US and around the world, called metalcyberspace any chance you have to  check out some of the organizations leads to an adventure, as there are so many pages to view.

There are committees like the Jewelers Vigilance Committee , VCA, that helps jewelers through the maze of minor details such as making sure you comply with  anti money laundering under the Patriot Act... or guiding through the intellectual rights laws, or even appraisals...

Another organization that is helpful is National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NSAA) which helps you find Art councils near you. The map has links to each state and to the regions that will take you to the council you are looking for. You may think in the jewelry business that you wouldn't need an art council at all, but they are a wonderful resource for marketing, publicity, advertising. Most have online resources in PDF form that help in these areas, whether you are a non-profit organization or for-profit business, the information can be adapted to your needs. Also, they offer a wonderful opportunity for the artist in you to submit your work for exhibit. Texas Council for the Arts always lists calls for artists on their home page  as well as grant opportunities that are available.

There is probably a guild for every facet of jewelry making... Goldsmiths, Silversmiths, Redsmiths, Gem Cutters.  All are represented with guilds, some overlap, such as the Redsmiths, who were a guild all to their own until 1959, when they renamed themselves the National Union of Sheetmetal Workers.

Odd and unusual jewelry is covered as well... all types of guilds and groups can be found, specialize in working with Turquoise, that's got a group... Victorian Hair Jewelry is even covered...

Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Central European University  Dress, Jewels, Arms and Coat of Arms: Material Culture and Self-Representation in the Late Middle Ages

Monday, October 26, 2015

Scott Schreiber Jewelery Design

Mr Scott Schreiber's  work is beautiful and ingenious, fresh and timeless...He is a true craftsman as well as an artist. He is a goldsmith with 42 years of experience... and it shows. His work is crafted with exacting standards.
I asked him to be interviewed... knowing that he is very busy, hoping beyond hope that he might have time to submit to my grilling... and he said yes! fell in love with his work with this piece...
it is 14k white gold architectural design ring, with diamonds set around the band with scroll-work cleverly carved along the lower sides of the band, where it is seen on the palm side of the hand.  . It is the ring that makes your jaw drop.

Mr Schreiber specializes in the custom work like this ring, as well as a host of pendants, earrings, and the most wonderful bracelets. Each piece of work is one of a kind, magnificent, and timeless. Each piece is a work of art.

I asked where he learned his wonderful craft, and he said that he happened into the job. While in High School the local Chamber of Commerce had a Work-entry program, he was offered a job in a jewelry store just before his 16th birthday, and he took it. He ended up working there for eleven years!
He learned the trade from the two goldsmiths that were working there, and later took night courses from the Municipal Arts Council, and at 19 he took classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, where two of his teachers were Alan Revere and Abrasha Staszewski. He also took a jewelry rendering class at GIA(the Gemological Institute of America) in Santa Monica, California...but since then, he has been mostly self taught. And boy... did he learn!

"The Sisters Caryatid" - Earrings-  Scott Schreiber

Green Beryl, Aquamarine,18K Rose and Yellow golds.
5.05 grms, 5.13 grms.
2 7/16" total length.

Scott says that the pieces of work that are his favorite, are the pieces that have pushed him to 'new places'. About 98% of his work is commissioned pieces and he says that  trying to decide on his favorite piece is like trying to choose which child a parent likes best. But he also adds that, he really likes the ones that have proved to him that proceeding forward, even though he didn't have a clear view of the finished piece until it was actually finished... the ones that made him trust himself in that any commitment to quality is what will save the day...and those pieces where he knew that he had given them his best.... those are the favorite pieces. and he says that his "...Best work has all those qualities".

Tsaritsa Earrings--Scott Schreiber
  18k Gold / Platinum
Spinel / Diamond
32mm.........4.74 grams
Hand Fabricated

I personally don't know if I could choose a favorite piece. Each and every one of Scott Schreiber's pieces of jewelry has to be the best piece. Each is unique and a work of art. Each has a timeless quality and has the enduring workmanship that a true master brings. The craftsmanship is outstanding.

I think the use of such beautiful stones in each of the pieces is a huge plus. To me, they are used with grace and elegance. Each setting shows off the stone in the best light and with precise and detailed finishes.

One necklace that Scott remade for a client included a different clasp made by him, which he balanced and made sure that it worked perfectly; trying it over and over to make sure it opened and closed smoothly... that is attention to detail. 
18Karat colored Golds and Platinum are what Schreiber prefers to work with, since they are Nobel metals (inert) they are easier to use, he says. that when you learn to work with them, you ..."give yourself over to them wholly..." and that is the trick to learning their properties.

He also prefers to use only the best stones available. High quality stones that saturated with color are his favorite, though he says he has a penchant for cabochons as well , Since his work is exacting, and most of the settings he makes are bezels, because of the durability of that setting, it is better to use the best stones available. 
He also says that each piece of jewelry that he makes he tries to employ a specific technique that he's not used before, that the learning process is never ending. 

I asked Scott Schreiber what he would like to say about his work... and I thought it best to put it here as he wrote it... 

 My work is my avocation...through it I learn about myself, and about life and existence in general. It's very personal and integral to who I am, what I am and a metaphor to me for the journeys that we all must take in our lives. It enables never-ending growth and personal introspection. It tries me, bleeds me, and feeds me....both literally and figuratively. It's been a worthy path for me...and quite humbling at times....which is a good thing for me. It brings great joy and gratification as well. It's said as a truism that the customer is always right. Not so for me...I've found that my first loyalty is to my craft; and to all those long-dead mentors upon whose hard-learned knowlege that *my knowledge* is sourced. If I'm true to that...the quality of my work is better... and thus my clients, are indeed, better served.

Please go by the links for Scott Schreiber, to see his work and to get to know him. What a wonderful and energetic person he is!
He takes commissions, and you will never be disappointed in his work.


One more look at that beautiful ring!  I really love this one!