Wednesday, December 15, 2010

24K Gold-Plated versions are available

First off the oven is the full rose ring plated in 24K gold. This is done over sterling silver. But the final on sale version will be done over brass to keep the price point similar as the sterling silver version.

I like the roses in gold even more myself! They are so adorable isn't it?

I hope to post the pendant and earrings in 24K gold plating by Friday. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Reclaimed Silver" - is it a marketing gimmick or real Green effort?

I have recently researched a bit online and found out that most jewelers claim to be environmental friendly just because they use reclaimed silver. I love nature but I don't like people using Mother Nature as an excuse to sell. Consumers should be educated on what they are buying.

Here is a summary of what I found online and why I think it makes sense or not. Hope this will be a good reference. 

What is reclaimed silver?

First,  let's talk about silver.

Fine silver is at least 99.9&% pure. Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver, and a variety of alloy that makes up the rest. Mostly copper to increase hardness.

Some sellers claimed that "fine silver is actually 'reclaimed' silver from the tech industry" because it is created of PMC (metal clay) consisting silver particles recycled from other sources.
So NOT true. PMC is invented only in the past decades. Silver is primarily produced through electrolytic copper refining, gold, nickel and zinc refining, and by application of the Parkes process on lead metal obtained from lead ores that contain small amounts of silver.

Surprisingly, only 1/3 of all silver comes from silver mines. The rest comes from mines of other precious metals like copper, gold and zinc as a by-product. So by rebuking silver mines, we are only looking at 30% of silver supplies.

However, metal mining is one of the world's most environmentally destructive industrial sectors, not to mention all the harmful emissions, landscape damage and human rights issues. But the good thing is that, the silver industry recycles most silver for industrial or consumer uses. For example, the findings that we use in our jewelry are made of mostly reclaimed silver.

Once silver has been reclaimed, it can be used to make jewellery in one of two ways: (a) via conventional silversmithing techniques, or (2) via materials such as precious metal clay (PMC) and Art Clay, which is usually softer and less preferred to be used in structured pieces or jewelry that will be constantly subjected to pressure, such as bracelets or rings.

Reclaimed silver used in jewelry casting comes from various sources. It could be bought from suppliers, whose source may be hard to trace back. So can recycled silver jewelry itself ever be truly ethical if we're unclear about the original source?Without certification on silver sourcing, or proper criteria of quality control over the refining process, can we really say reclaimed silver is more ethical? 

Pros of reclaimed silver

One could argue that recycled silver is more environmentally friendly than newly mined silver, because at least you haven't had to dig up any more of the earth's land to get at it.
I have to say I agree. But we need to beware of the implications of using reclaimed silver. And note that reclaimed silver is only preferred if it's refined properly. But again, the refining process is not totally environmental friendly so as a wise consumer, you have to question yourself, should I believe this seller is green just because "reclaimed silver" is used 100% in their collection? Where do they get these silver? And how is it treated?

Also I have to wonder if there is better way to recycle precious metal ourselves through everyday practice. See more below.

Cons of reclaimed silver

Myth #1:
Precious metals can be recycled repeatedly with no degradation in quality, they are a naturally renewable resource.
NOT necessarily so. Precious metals that have been recovered can't usually be directly melted and reused without going through the process of refining. Otherwise they get contaminated with elements that destroy their properties, or the base metals get oxidized from repeated melting, creating porosity in the end
In the process of casting, the rule of thumb is always to limit the use of recycled silver to a maximum of 30%. When jewelry makers said they are proud to be using 100% reclaimed silver, you have to wonder what the quality of their products are.

Myth #2: 
Some sellers claimed, "because our reclaimed gold, silver, and platinum are re-refined back into their pure elements, they are of identical quality to newly mined metals."
NO. Repeat recycling of precious metal could deteriorate quality of certain metal if the metal is not treated properly. As I pointed out just now, repeated melting causes the metal to be porous and contamination of metal could either create silver with different properties. Such as the mix of nickel could cause allergic reaction to some wearer.
In addition, repeat firing of silver causes something called "firescale" or "firestain". When subject to high temperature, the surface of silver and copper will appear to be stained with red or purple. It could be removed by sanding but if you are buying online, beware of this.

Other ways of recycling silver

Scraps of silver can be collected to create beautiful jewelry.
Silver powder can be melted on silver pieces to create textured finishing.
Silver pieces from casting can be hammered and soldered to form new jewelry.
There are many ways to be environmental friendly. You just need to be creative. Being green should not be a marketing gimmick but should be in what we do everyday in our lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Launch Party~!

Finally, the store is open on Etsy.  From now to Dec 19, celebrate the launch of the Rose Collection with me and enjoy free shipping with insurance.*

Find a gift for yourself or your friends. Hurry now as each item is made to order and takes about 2-3 wks to deliver. And I ship with USPS so watch out for the shipping deadline.

Click here to for more info. E.g., USPS cut off for US domestic is Dec 20, 2010.

Expedited shipping options are available but email me first so I can give you a quote for approval.

For those of you who are not familiar with Etsy, it is a community of sellers and buyers who are interested at handmade products. It is easy to register for buyers and you can purchase everything with paypal directly for maximum security. And Etsy does not sell your info to external parties or spam your mailbox. Find out more here.

*Insurance is applied automatically for orders of $100 or more. For anything below $100, please request for insurance and get a quote before purchase. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer. To redeem other offer, please email me for a custom listing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rose Collection are on Flickr and here are the prices

The rose collection just debuted yesterday on my flickr photo album with closeups included.

This collection features sterling silver roses in rings, earrings, pendant, and a bracelet is coming soon. Each rose is unique and one of a kind, as each one of them is carved, fused together to form the jewelry pieces, polished and tarnished manually, all in a NY studio by myself. So you can be sure they are not only beautiful, but also unique.

As they are tarnished to give the roses depth that mimicks real tea roses, further tarnishing will look natural and the jewelry does not require much maintenance. Also, I uses renaissance wax, which is widely adopted by museums to preserve antiquities, so the pieces are protected from the usual color change.

The series will be available officially for purchase on on November 22, 2010.  But if you would like to pre-order them now, just email me.

Check out the attached price sheet for more information. Or click here to the flickr album for the lookbook. Enjoy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Introducing the new logo!

Finally, the logos are done. The typeface is still san serif but with a little angular to it. That goes well with the bunny-shaped ampersand, which is also the "icon" of the brand. Next I need to get a jewelry stamp made with the icon so all the pieces moving forward will carry the brand as well!

Also a headsup, the full lookbook will be ready soon. It will contain not only the model pictures but closeups. Those that receive the lookbook will get a chance for pre-ordering with a good discount. Delivery date for the pieces will be sometime mid to end Nov. My Etsy shop will start carrying the Rose collection from mid-Nov onwards. So watch out for an email from me. If you have not subscribed to my list via fb or here, do so immediately!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One of a kind

Some of you may have heard about this statement bracelet already from my other blog. From wax model to final sterling silver, this rose has been nothing short of a spectacle. Capturing the transient beauty of a full-bloom black rose in eternity, this rose is not only romantic, it's BOLD. Because it's actually close to the life size tea rose, and is meant to be a bracelet that almost looks like a corsage. I will post the final bracelet when it's completed.

What's amazing is that this cannot be replicated in a commercial mold so everytime I make it, it will be unique and one of a kind. Because of that, this rose bracelet will not be available in my etsy shop. If you are interested, I can custom-made one for you. Just email me for a quote at my Etsy shop.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Debute of the Sterling Silver Rose Collection

A quick snapshot of the new collection inspired by roses. 

Carved in wax and made of sterling silver, the rose collection includes pendant, earrings, full rose ring and an adjustable rose ring. A full bloom black rose bracelet will be ready soon.

Come back again for more pictures. The collection will be available for purchase in November on my Etsy store.

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This is still under construction right now, but come back in a few days and hopefully everything will be up and running! Check out my other websites (shown on the left column).