Yesterday, I completed a project that was a long time in the making.  332 years in the making, to be exact.

Like many people, I love history in general, but there is a specific time period that I’ve been particularly enamored with since I was a teenager.  That was about the time that my mom told me about a book called Forever AmberAfter reading it, I was forever hooked on Charles II, Restoration England (1660-1685) and all things London.

Over the years, I have read and collected many reference materials on this time period.  On a trip to London I visited the grave of Charles II, which is rather hard to find in Westminster Abbey and quite over-shadowed by the effigy and tomb of his great-grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots.  I have delighted over streets and locations that appear in the book.  And about six years ago, I purchased a silver crown coin from the period–1676.

I had started making metal jewelry around the same time I bought the coin, and one of the first projects I planned was to make a pendant out of it.  I brought it to the studio and my instructor told me what I needed to do.  Somehow, I couldn’t get excited about making it and I soon gave up and started something different.  The coin sat in my desk for the next six years.

Recently, I mentioned that I was writing a novel (which I’m happy to report I’m making slow, but steady progress on).  I haven’t said much about it but I will say now that it is a historical mystery, set in–you guessed it–Restoration London.  In light of this, I decided it was finally time to give that coin a home in a nice handmade pendant and yesterday, that’s just what I did:

This pendant was actually much easier to make than I remembered when I first tried to make one so many years ago.  I guess that means I’ve improved!  The basic design is a thin bezel which fits tightly around the coin.  Then you cut four prongs that are soldered to the sides.  I then added a bail and inserted the coin.  For me, the fiddliest (hey, I think I just made up a word) was soldering the jump ring to the top.


It should be said that when I originally purchased the coin, it looked a lot like this (note that this is not the same coin I bought–mine had less detail to begin with than this one does):


Much to the chagrin of many a coin collector, I put the coin in my tumbler and almost every trace of history was wiped from it in about five minutes.  I’m not sure I’m happy about that decision, but I do think the finished pendant is lovely, and since it’s meant to be jewelry I suppose I can deal with it.  I absolutely love this pendant and it will be a reminder to me of my love of this time period and my commitment to write this novel.

A few things.

First, my husband is really smart.

Second, about a week ago I sold this ring to a very nice woman in the UK:


The cool thing about this particular sale was that she was recently engaged, but she and her fiance had some big expenses coming up and he couldn’t afford to get an engagement ring at the moment.  They both agreed she should have something in the interim however, and she chose my ring as her temporary engagement ring.  That makes me happy.

Third, I now have a page on Facebook specifically for my jewelry.  If you’re a member of Facebook and you like my jewelry, I’d sure like it if you became a fan by clicking the “Become a Fan” link on the page.

Finally, I was recently tagged by Candace, a very talented jewelry designer who sells on Etsy and also blogs.  She has some lovely pieces, so please check her out!

1) Are your parents married or divorced?
Married for over 40 years

2) Are you a vegetarian?
No, but it’s something I’ve considered

3) Do you believe in Heaven?

4) Have you ever come close to dying?
Not that I know of!

5) What jewelery do you wear daily?
Simple gold hoop earrings and two studs.

7) Do you eat the stems of broccoli?

8) What is your hair styling agent?
Bumble & Bumble Styling Lotion

9) Ever have any surgery? If so, what?

10) Do you color your hair?
Yes, usually every 6-8 weeks

11) What do you wear to bed?

12) Have you ever done anything illegal?
Yes, of course

13) Can you roll your tongue?

14) Electric razor or blade?

15) What kind of shoes usually?
Flip flops, running shoes, or barefoot

16) Do you condone abortions?
I’m pro-choice, not pro-abortion

17) What is your hair color?
medium brown

18) Future child’s name?
No children

19) Do you snore?

20) If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

21) Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
No, but a dog sleeps with us every night

22) If you won the lottery, what would you do first?
I honestly don’t know.

23) Gold or platinum/white gold?

24) Hamburger or hot dog?

25) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tuna Crab Eggrolls from Monsoon

26) City, beach or country?
City and Beach.  That’s why I live in Santa Monica.

27) What was the last thing you touched?
My keyboard.

28) Where did you eat last?
At my computer

29) When’s the last time you cried?
The other night we watched a documentary called “Coma” and I got a little teary

30) Do you read blogs?

31) Would you ever go out dressed like the opposite sex?
Of course

32) Ever been involved with the police?
Not in any serious way

33) What’s your favorite shampoo and soap?
Bumble & Bumble Super Rich & Johnsons Baby Wash

34) Do you talk in your sleep?

35) Ocean or pool?

38) Window seat or aisle?

39) Ever met anyone famous?
Yes.  A famous songwriter/musician lives in my building.

40) Do you feel that you’ve had a truly successful life?
Yes, so far, but there is still much to accomplish

41) Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?

42) Ricki Lake or Oprah Winfrey?
Ricki Lake

43) Basketball or Football?

44) How long do your showers last?
10 minutes

45) Automatic or stick shift?

46) Cake or ice cream?
Ice cream

47) Are you self-conscious?

48) Have you ever drunk so much you threw up?
Of course.  I am a wino.

49) Have you ever given money to a beggar?

50) Have you been in love?

51) Where do you wish you were?
I’m happy to be where I am.

52) Do you wear socks with your shoes?

53) Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

54) Can you tango?
No, but I totally wish I could

55) Last gift you received?
I honestly don’t remember!

56) Last sport you played? It’s been to long.
Does Wii Tennis count?

57) Things you spend a lot of money on?
Jewelry supplies

58) Where do you live?
West Coast

59) Where were you born?

60) Last wedding attended?
My friend’s brother’s wedding

63) Most hated food(s)?
onions & bell peppers

64) What’s your favorite?
Italian food

65) Can you sing?

66) Last person you instant messaged?
My husband

67) Last place you went on holiday?

68) Favorite regular drink?

69) Tag 2 friends: Creatress, Morgan

70) Current Song?
I’m liking Edele lately.

I always start to feel a little guilty when I know I’ve neglected my blog.  ‘Cause you know, the five people who read it regularly are really waiting for me to say something.

Wait no longer, peeps!

Today in jewelry I made a rad new ring:

Whiskey Quartz Ring $90

It kind of took me back to my jewelry “roots,” as I’ve always been into making rings with big ol’ stones in bezel settings.  This one is whiskey quartz, and it’s a stone I’ve had in my stash for at least a year.  Lately though (actually, since I started selling on Etsy) I’ve moved away from making this sort of thing because it’s pretty labor intensive.  I started thinking, well, even if it is a lot of work, if I love doing it, then who cares?


That said, I did make a pretty delicate ring today (I was productive!) that I absolutely love:


I haven’t listed it on Etsy yet but I couldn’t wait to post it here.  It is a lab created alexandrite in a bezel setting.  In this photo it looks a lot like amethyst but the nature of alexandrite is to change color slightly depending on the angle.  I have a few of these stones so I will definitely be making at least one more so I can list one on Etsy and keep one for myself.  One of the perks of being a jewelry maker!

For some reason I made a lot of rings this week.  In fact, I’ve been making a lot of rings the last few weeks.  I think I’m subconsciously trying to make up for not having any at all in my shop during the first few months of its existence.

One of my favorites, is the Golden Waves Ring, pictured below:

Golden Waves Ring $55, 10k yellow gold

This is actually the second version of this ring.  I made the original many years ago in 14K yellow gold and sold it.  The new one is different in that it only has three rings, but I think I actually prefer a stack of three because it’s a little more comfortable to wear.

The construction of the ring is rather simple.  I made three bands of gold and bent each of them in the middle so that the sides came up.  Then I stacked one on top of the other and soldered them together where the bends are.  Finally, I used my jeweler’s saw to gently define where I soldered the bands together so they appear to be separate, even though they are soldered together.

I am thinking I will have to make a version of this in silver…

I am excited to report that I got a new toy today:  a magnetic tumbler.  I love anything that makes my job easier!

It is very easy to use.  The first thing I did before putting any jewelry into it was clean the magnetic tumbler pins.  To do this, I put a small amount of pins into the air/water-tight plastic container:

Next, I put about an inch of water into the container:

I then put a very small amount of liquid soap (purchased from the jewelry supply store) into the container.  You can eyeball this but really, just put a very small amount, like a quarter ounce.

It’s hard to see the soap in this photo, but it will help give you and idea of how much to put in:

Next, pop the top securely on the container and place it on top of the tumbler.  You will feel the magnetic pull.  Set the timer for about 30 minutes and flip the power switch up.


After the 30 minutes is up, you will need to rinse the container and the metal tumbler pins.  You might want to use a strainer for this, although it’s not necessary.  Pour out the soapy water and rinse until the water runs clear.  You can also take a paper towel and wipe the sides of the container if there is any leftover debris.

The process for tumbling jewelry is exactly the same.  Fill the container with the clean tumbler pins with water and soap, then put the jewelry you want to clean into the container.


In this case, I put some headpins I wanted to clean, some finished jewelry (including chain), and even some stones.  I wouldn’t put anything too soft (like turquoise or coral) into a tumbler but in this case (quartz) it’s okay.  If you have any doubt about a stone, don’t do it.


Set the timer for 30 or 40 minutes, and flip the power switch.  When the jewelry is done, you will need to rinse it and dry it.

Here are some of the finished pieces that will be going into my Etsy store later!


When you are not using it, be sure to take the plastic container holding the tumbler pins off the base so they don’t become de-magnetized.  It’s also a good idea to unplug the machine when not in use.  To prevent rust, store the pins in the container with water and rinse them (as explained above) before using the tumbler again.

I got my tumbler at A to Z Jewelry Supply in Downtown Los Angeles, but there are many different online retailers and brands to choose from.

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to start including some interviews on my blog since I am very interested in the creative process of other artists.  To begin, I decided to “interview” myself.

Where do you sell or display your work?
Online at

How long have you been making jewelry?
I have been making jewelry off and on for about twenty years.  However, I didn’t get serious about it until 2001, when I took my first handmade jewelry class at UCLA Extension.  From the course description, I wasn’t sure what it entailed, and boy was I surprised to learn our first project was making sterling silver wire from scratch.

How did you learn to make metal jewelry?
I guess I kind of answered that question above, but I’ll elaborate here.  From the beginning, I learned to make everything from scratch, down to adding alloys to pure gold and silver (although this is something my jewelry teacher does for me–I don’t think he trusts me with that much heat).  From that first class in 2001 I’ve continued taking classes with the same instructor, however now I rent space in his private studio.  He’s there to offer support and instruction when needed but generally I work on my own.

Now that I know the basic techniques of metalsmithing, I’ll often save time by buying wire, sheet, jump rings, et cetera instead of making them myself.  However, knowing how to do it is invaluable in my design work because I can construct things to my exact specifications when needed.

What is your favorite metal to work with?
I absolutely love working with 18k yellow gold.  When I first started making jewelry gold was at about $340 an ounce and now it’s over $900 so I use it sparingly.

Most of my work is in silver these days, which is another metal I love to work with.

What are some of your other favorite materials?
I love gemstones, especially beads.  Some of my favorites are rhodolite garnet, swiss blue topaz, and lemon quartz.  I also love andalusite and all colors of tourmaline.  As for diamonds, I don’t work with them very often, but I do love the look of rough cut and “champagne” diamonds.


Is your studio at home or do you rent/own separate studio space?
I have an almost fully equipped studio at home, but as I said above I also rent studio space once a week.

Since I live in a condominium I am limited in a couple of ways with regard to my studio space.  First, I am still using a small butane torch because frankly, I don’t trust myself with anything stronger at home.  Second, I don’t have a rolling mill because there is nothing I can bolt it to.  This is one of the reasons I still rent studio space.  There I have all the equipment I need and I don’t have to worry about maintaining it myself.  I generally do larger, more advanced projects there and save the small stuff for home.

What is your favorite tool/equipment to use in your work?
I love my flexshaft!  It does so many things, I couldn’t make jewelry without it.

What is your dream piece of equipment?
For some reason I am having trouble answering this.  I suppose the answer would be casting equipment, but I will never do that.  Too dangerous!

What is your favorite technique?
I really like setting stones in bezels.  And who doesn’t like the stress-relieving activity of hammering metal?


What is your least favorite technique?
There are two:  drawing wire and sawing intricate shapes or thick pieces of metal.  I am also not a big fan of making tubing or tube settings, and I rarely do it.

What technique do you find most challenging?
I still have a lot of trouble with prong settings, even though I love to make them.

Is there a technique you don’t know yet that you’d like to learn?
I’d love to learn pave.  I’d also love to learn wax carving and casting (I’ve dabbled in wax carving but for some reason didn’t take to it.  I’d like to give it a second chance).

How does the design process work for you? For example, do you sketch your ideas first, or do they just come to you as you work?
I will sometimes sketch designs before I make them, but not very often.  I mostly do that if I have an idea that I don’t want to forget so I do a rough sketch.  Many of my ideas come to me in the moments between wake and sleep.  I think my mind is freer and more open for creativity then.  A lot of my ideas come from the metal itself and the techniques I use to manipulate it.  Sometimes I’m not sure what I want to do so I just start cutting or hammering or bending and the design creates itself.

Do you have any resource recommendations (books, websites, etc) for people who want to learn to make metal jewelry?
I think Jewelry Two Books in One:  Projects to Practice and Inspire by Madeline Coles is a good entry level jewelry making book.

I have a number of interviews lined up to post in the coming weeks/months.  Should be good reading!

If you are interested in being interviewed and fall into any of these categories, please email me.  I’m also interested in interviewing design, PR, and marketing professionals.

And speaking of artist interviews, here’s a great one with Chris Parry.  He’s a jewelry maker that really inspires.

When I posted about these earrings on Friday, my intention was to feature the earrings pictured below on Monday (today), since the techniques I used to make them were similar:


These earrings sold on Friday, so I won’t put a link to them in my Etsy store.  I still wanted to include them in my blog, however, because I plan on making more in similar styles, and what the heck, they are very pretty!

I explained how I made the hoops in Friday’s post.  These earrings have an additional element:  lovely peridot briolettes.  I soldered a small jump ring to the bottom of each hoop and wire-wrapped the peridot beads to hang off the ring.  The result is simple, but the earrings are eye-catching nonetheless.

A note about this particular sale:  I try to update my MySpace and Facebook pages regularly with photos of my jewelry and links to my Etsy store.  Most of the time it doesn’t lead directly to sales and I kind of look at it as a fun little diversion and a chance to keep up with friends and acquaintances.  However, in this case, it did.  The buyer (my lovely neighbor) saw the photos of the earrings on my Facebook page and ended up buying them.  I’ve gotten a few other sales over the last six months in this manner as well.  I wouldn’t say that these methods of promotion are in and of themselves worth the time, but it’s all part of a larger “marketing strategy,” and hopefully, all the things I do in this regard add up to more sales.  As I also posted on Friday, I’m working on being more consistent with this.

After making jewelry for over 6 years, I finally got my maker’s mark made (tee hee, say that three times fast).  Back when I had my logo designed, I also asked them to design a maker’s mark, but for whatever reason, I never actually got the stamp made.

Most of my jewelry making friends have stamps so I decided it was time to get mine made.  I contacted Rio Grande, sent them my artwork, and patiently waited about 4 weeks while my custom stamp was made.

Yesterday, I used it for the first time:

I’m quite pleased to have it.  It’s a little awkward to use, but I think now that I’ve practiced a bit I’ve got it down.

Most of all, I’m glad to have a unique stamp that shows the world that my work is my work.  There is kind of a sense of pride in that.

Meanwhile, after some success at selling on Etsy, I am making jewelry like a mad woman.  Stay tuned for more new pieces this week, including a little custom work.

Well folks, I thought I’d gotten away from using peace symbols in my jewelry, but apparently I was wrong.  Today in the studio I made a couple of necklaces featuring the peace sign.

The first is a tassle-style necklace.  The tassle can hang in front or back of the peace sign, and although the necklace tangles easily in storage because the chain is rather delicate, it hangs beautifully when worn.  It’s a sexy necklace.


The second is more rustic looking:

In this version I used a nugget of labradorite as an accent.  Labradorite is a lovely stone, and in the last couple of years I’ve seen it used more often–most notably in the Sundance Catalog.

The necklaces feature fabricated clasps:


Both necklaces are available for purchase in my Etsy store.

If the diamond in this pendant was a cat, it would’ve lived three of it’s lives already.  It began as one of a pair of stud earrings.  One of the earrings became this ring (center) and the other became another ring… which I don’t think I ever took a photo of.

I’m not sure why, but I never took to that ring.  Since one of the perks of being a jewelry maker is being able to re-use materials, I sawed the band off the ring and came up with this pendant:

It’s hand fabricated in 18k yellow gold and bezel set.  I strung it on this very pretty sterling silver chain (I love mixing 18k gold with sterling) and added an 18k gold hand fabricated clasp:

I feel certain that this diamond has at least one more life to live, but for now I think I’ll enjoy this necklace.