February 27, 2009

Disc Turquoise in Jewelry

The new rondelles (discs) hand rolled by Bill are in the store and questions are coming in asking "how" would you use them. I like them on big necklaces with bead caps on each end strung with leather as in this necklace.

I did a bit of google searching and found a few designers doing some really interesting designs with discs. Here is one. Her name is Sante Me . Amazing designs.

Bead Arts has a beautiful necklace as well with an intriguing design.

Green Roundel Earrings from Heddyjack.

Sassyandabittwised made a bangle along the lines I like.Lots more to see on google. I could get lost for years!
In NO way am I endorsing copying an others style. Just offering up some visuals to get the muse hopping.

February 26, 2009

Copper Tidbits and Facts

The use of copper in jewelry making is growing exponentially, resulting in the quest for more knowledge about copper in general. Below I have included snips and links to many interesting articles gathered near and far on the big wide web, touching on various aspects of copper. From mining and the making of wire to some of the many and varied health aspects.

As in all jewelry making, use proper safety procedures, read directions where appropriate and work smart. Most important - have an enjoyable experience and make pretty things!

Find my bits of opinion on the subject of tarnishing and green skin in a prior post by clicking here.



The major uses of pure, unalloyed copper are based on its high electrical and thermal conductivity as well its good corrosion resistance. Almost all alloying elements are detrimental to the electrical conductivity of copper, making the purity of the mental an important issue. Commercially pure copper is represented by UNS numbers C10100 to C13000. The various grades of unalloyed copper differ in the amount of impurities and therefore do behave differently. Oxygen free coppers are used in applications requiring high conductivity and exceptional ductility. *snip*

click to read more --->>

Copper Production from Ore to Finished Product

4b. Smelting
Several stages of melting and purifying the copper content result, successively, in matte, blister and, finally, 99% pure copper. Recycled copper begins its journey to finding another use by being resmelted.

5b. Electrolytic Refining
Anodes cast from the nearly pure copper are immersed in an acid bath. Pure copper ions migrate electrolytically from the anodes to "starter sheets" made from pure copper foil where they deposit and build up into a 300-pound cathode. Gold, silver and platinum may be recovered from the used bath.

6. Pure Copper Cathodes
Cathodes of 99.9% purity may be shipped as melting stock to mills or foundries. Cathodes may also be cast into wire rod, billets, cakes or ingots, generally, as pure copper or alloyed with other metals.

7. Cathode is converted into:
* Wire Rod - Coiled rod about 1/2" in diameter is drawn down by wire mills to make pure copper wire of all gages.

click to read more --->>


Copper Circuits Help Brain Function; Could Tweaking the Circuits Make Us Smarter? September 26th, 2006 in Medicine & Health / Research

The flow of copper in the brain has a previously unrecognized role in cell death, learning and memory, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers' findings suggest that copper and its transporter, a protein called Atp7a, are vital to human thinking. They speculate that variations in the genes coding for Atp7a, as well as other proteins of copper homeostasis, could partially account for differences in thinking among individuals.

click to read more --->>

Published September 05, 2006 in General Science > Medicine & Health
Scientists Find Key to Copper Absorption, Essential to Life

Humans, animals and plants require copper to live, and scientists have now discovered how cells absorb this mineral that fuels the brain, heart and other vital organs.

Knowing how copper enters cells could prove essential to treating copper deficiencies in humans, said the scientists from Duke University Medical Center who made the discovery. People derive copper exclusively from their diet. The mineral is found abundantly in shellfish, legumes, red wine, nuts, seeds and chocolate, among other sources.

Although too much copper is toxic, copper deficiencies in adults can trigger brain deficits, heart enlargement, visual impairment, anemia (low iron), skin and hair breakdown and other organ damage. *snip*

click to read more --->>

Copper Compounds

It is worth noting that copper is an indispensable constituent of all living tissues and is essential for the normal growth and well being of plants and animals. Where it is lacking it has to be supplied. The minute quantities of copper needed for human health are usually obtained through the normal intake of food and water.

Copper and its compounds are not toxic like some other metals, such as lead or mercury. There are no records of any occupational diseases attributable to copper among people who have worked for many years with the metal or its salts. Indeed it has sometimes been said that such people often appear healthier and generally suffer less from colds and other ailments. Copper bangles and other adornments are reputed to relieve and prevent rheumatic pains. Copper water storage vessels, copper kettles and copper cooking pans have been used for generations.

To trace the history of copper compounds it would be necessary to go back much further than the fourth millennium BC. Records found in the tombs of the early Egyptians suggest that, at least, this ancient civilization employed copper sulphate as a mordant in their dyeing process. Today, more than 5,000 years later, copper sulphate is still employed by the world's dyeing industry in the after treatment of certain dyes to improve their fastness to light and washing.

Another equally early recorded use for copper compounds was for the making of ointments and other medical preparations.

click to read more --->>

Published: 28 March 2008 Researchers at Southampton University - http://www.soton.ac.uk/

- have established that copper surfaces can inactivate the virulent hospital superbug Clostridium difficile.

C. difficile forms spores which are resistant to a range of disinfectants, including alcohol gel, which is recommended for routine use in hospitals. These spores can live in the environment for a long time and are rapidly becoming a major cause of hospital acquired infections.

Lead researcher Prof Keevil said that the new findings are particularly significant. 'We've already shown that copper surfaces can inactivate MRSA microbes. The fact that we've now established that copper also inactivates C. difficile spores, which are resistant to standard cleaning regimes, doubles our conviction that copper can play a significant role in helping hospitals to fight against infections,' he said.

click to read more --->>

U.S. EPA Approves Registration of Antimicrobial Copper Alloys March 25, 2008 NEW YORK-

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the registration of antimicrobial copper alloys, with public health claims. These public health claims acknowledge that copper, brass and bronze are capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria. Copper is the first solid surface material to receive this type of EPA registration, which is supported by extensive antimicrobial efficacy testing.

click to read more --->>

Copper's antimicrobial properties have been known for more than five millennia. The ancient Egyptians used copper pipes to transport water to destroy parasites and other water-borne pathogens. Shipbuilders have used copper for thousands of years to keep algae from encrusting on the hulls of ships. French vintners have used a copper sulfate compound to fight fungus on grapevines for hundreds of years.

click to read more --->>

More articles not quoted

Copper In Human Health


1: Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(3):610-3. Epub 2007 Aug 6.
Could chronic wounds not heal due to too low local copper levels?
Borkow G, Gabbay J, Zatcoff RC.

Copper door handles and taps kill 95% of superbugs in hospitals


Reference Materials

August 14, 2008 Cupron Delivers Copper-Based Technology Products from Israel and North Carolina


PR - How do I get my jewelry business noticed online?

Photo from the Young Entrepreneur

If you don't mind a couple of questions, I have read many of your newsletters and can't remember if this was addressed, but I just opened a "store" on artfire. I was wondering if there is a free way to advertise my site and to drive people to my site.

I did a search and there was a lot there, but I don't want to get pulled into a scam or a site that will use my e-mail to send me a lot of junk mail. I do this as a hobby in my retirement and don't have a large budget.

I do plan to use business cards and distribute flyers, perhaps see if I can have a drawing at a local specialty store....but that only gets me advertised locally. I have also asked all my friends to forward the artfire address to their friends, and have some friends on Facebook who have my link on their wall. I've been up for only a week, so I have been networking already.


Robyn Hawk is answering this question for Anita


Anita - thanks for bringing up this topic -

I have been meaning to write a post covering the Jewelry Marketing info I learned at the Tucson Gem Show...and you have given me the push I needed. So - some quick and easy things you can do:

1. Signature Line - You already have covered - this should be set to auto fill on EVERY email you send...you never know!

2. Web Presence - I happen to be partial to ArtFire - they have all the perks of an Etsy shop (they are a marketing machine) but right now you can still see the individual trees in this forest!

3. Tags or Keywords - this is one of the most important quick fixes - what do you think that someone looking for your jewelry would plug into a search engine to find you?

Be as specific as you can - it doesn't have to be a single word sometime a phrase is better "lavender crystal cube bracelet" or use the actual Swarovski color "Tanzanite crystal cube bracelet". The later would be especially good for someone how just discovered how expensive Tanzanite is and sees your piece as a great option!

This is a balancing act however as the search engines will penalize you for jamming lots of unnecessary key words into your site.

4. Blogging - I know, this can seem intimidating but a blog with your ArtFire shop Widget or a Slide presentation that directs people to your selling site can help in lots of ways. Look at this as your way to "stand in front" of your customer...tell the "story" of your piece - talk about the ancient beliefs about a certain color - tell about new techniques you are learning - show photos of things that inspire you (local weather, colors in a sunset, etc.) and the occasional baby and fur baby photo always makes the human connection stronger.

These posts need a photo and only have to be a paragraph or two - short and sweet! ...don't forget your Tags on your blog! The more often you update your blogs - the fresher the content - the higher your ranking in the search engines.

5. Social Media - there are lots of sites to post opinions, thoughts, etc. - don't limit yourself to jewelry sites - jewelers don't buy a lot of jewelry! FaceBook, MySpace, EONS, topics range from mommy sites to book sites...this is where a good intro and your signature line are important.

6. Press Releases - there are several local newspapers in every town - submit your own press release! It is Fashion Week - send out a release that talks about how your pieces work into the looks that are on the runway.

No paper is too small - and the smaller ones may need a Fashion/Image Editor! So - now that you are completely overwhelmed Anita - LOL!

Just tackle one thing at a time and you will see a difference in the number of hits in your shop!

Freelance PR & Marketing


February 6, 2009

..... but but it's a RECESSION!

Image from Entrepreneur.com

When times are tough it is time to invest, not cut. This comes from years of research... All show that, if we cut marketing during such times, the impact is damaging and it can take you longer to get back to where you were.

Of course, this is easy to say, but harder to do. The Pavlovian reaction is to cut, but the media industry can learn from someone like Rupert Murdoch, who historically has never done that. You'll see him investing in editorial and products at a time when other people are throwing the baby out with the bath water. The talk to do ratio is high, the doing is low. (Marketoo)


This is what I was told when I started in the jewelry industry 20 years ago but in much simpler English. "We folk buy when things are goin' good and buy even more when we are goin' slow." I had to think about that statement for a few years before it made sense. On one level if I am doing great I need to replenish my stock. If I am not I need to get stock people will buy. When people are a bit more resistant to buying I need to trim costs as much as I can and offer better values. In essence, lower price points and more value.

My experience through a number of recessions is the lower priced items sell faster than the middle tier and the higher tier sell well since many people are more selective where they invest their money. I become more creative when things are slow. I look for avenues, venues, new opportunities. This is not the time to slow down.

The people who back off during slow economies leave room for those of us who are willing to work hard, be flexible, and creative. It is an opportunity to move to the front of the crowd while others are sitting still.

I look for the opportunities in any situation. Behind every apparent problem there is always at least one opportunity if not more. I always come out ahead and feel pretty darned good about doing so and if I can then anyone can.

Selling beads now is no different than selling jewelry etc.... I am buying up great deals when I can and passing the savings on. I have been careful and frugal with my business and my money and now I can offer specials to people during these economic times so we can all get through them and be ahead in the end. I have stayed true to high quality when so many others have started buying lower quality thinking people will lower their standards. They won't. They still want good quality and they want it for less!

Jewelry is an investment. It's an investment in metals, gemstones, and it is also an investment for people in themselves. During a downturn people stay closer to home, they focus on reevaluating their values and priorities. They focus on family and things that make life more beautiful in small ways. They take their family to town outings (festivals and art shows), they want to buy those things that are unique and special which is what hand crafted jewelry is.

Yes, the economy is down yet there are many ways to push ahead with a career in the jewelry industry during times like these. Keep focused on client's and what they desire. Hustle a bit more. Advertise more. Give loyal customers deals and secure your relationships. Keep quality high and they will remember you when things turn around. Lay a strong foundation. Get out there and do it! You will be ahead of the pack when the economy turns around this year.
No, I am not saying that you haven't done these things. I know you have. Now is just the time to do it more rather than sitting back waiting for the economy. We "are" the economy.
Where a friend of mine works the young people who own the business are so upset by the economy that they are sleeping in late and playing on their computers when they do come into work. The slow down of jobs coming in has them waiting for things to improve. Hopefully they will still be around when the economy does switch. How many jobs are they missing by not going out there asking for them?
Many people I know still can not find workers. There are opportunities but only for those that go after them.

Here are a few articles I found to back me up. They say the same thing just much more eloquently and with more credentials behind them . (They were just the first hits from a google search in marketing during a recession yet somehow said exactly what I was going to say.)