Archive for January, 2009
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This week the designers of Cookson look at the essential hand tools required for those starting jewellery making.
Perhaps the most important decision jewellers have to make when starting is the selection of there first set of jewellery making tools – the backbone to their trade. The basic hand tools needed for Jewellery making have not changed in decades and Cookson provides a full range of Jewellery tools, covering every thing detailed in this article. Everything from basic hand tools, pre packed tool kits, consumables, larger machinery right through to the professional jewellers bench.
A place to work
A jewellers workshop requires only a small area – a spare room is ideal, but it is essential that it is well lit, and has good ventilation. Professional jewellers usually invest in study purpose built workbench, however a normal working desk or work top can be adapted, simply by adding a G clamp bench vice or anvil. The Jewellers Peg/pin can then be held in place securely giving a simple, yet study place to work.
Hand tool essentials
The range of jewellers tools to choose from can initially be overwhelming, however once the basics are in place, additional tools can be added as the jewellers skill improves or their projects demand.
Saws (frames and blades) allow the jeweller to make small and intricate cuts. Frames are either fixed or adjustable. Selecting which grade of saw blade you require is key, the most popular is grade 2/0 which is relatively fine but is still robust, where as grade 6/0 is used for very fine work but is less robust.
Hand drills are less used with the prevalence of powered pendant or hobby drills. However the more traditional hand drill, Archimedes or Bow drill still provides a simple & effect way of drill holes.
Files are essential for removing excess material, with the different sizes available for working large areas or at a more intricate level. To start with buy a selection of shapes containing round, square, triangular, half round and warding. Plus consider the cut ranging from 0 the coarsest, to 6 the finest. For cleaning up your piece after filing or soldering, jewellers tend to use sand paper, emery sticks, or wet & dry paper with a range of grades allowing them to achieve different finishing effects.
Polishing your piece is essential but again a few selected tools & polishing compounds will allow you to achieve good initial results. Polishing sticks (made of felt or leather) when combined with compounds such as Tripoli or rouge will help create a polished finished looking piece.
Pliers allow jewellers to tackle most jobs and work with a wide variety of materials, and are particular useful in wirework. They allow the jeweller to hold, form and shape and it is essential that you have snipe nose, flat, round nosed pliers in your tool box.
Ensuring accuracy in finely detailed work is essential in jewellery making, but marking and measuring tools are often overlooked. Investing in a metal rule, a set of good vernier calipers plus a scriber and punch ensure you can mark and measure accurately and easily.
Although this list is not exhaustive, these tools will ensure that a jeweller will have the basic tools to start their first project. But as jewellery making is such a wide subject very quickly other equipment will be required.. The next step will invariable mean that a heat source is required – such as a hand torch complete with soldering block. As the metal is worked you will need forming equipment – hammers and mandrels, plus as the jewellers skills develop they will have a need for improved and quicker finishing, requiring will mean the introduction of a polishing motor & mops. All this combined with a wider range of other hand tools and other equipment such as files, tweezers, glues, setting & soldering equipment.
Here at Cooksongold.com we pride ourselves on offering the widest range of wedding ring blanks in the UK. This years range also includes new collections of Palladium Courts and Easy-Fits. Also, recieve a FREE multisizer ring gauge with every order containing a wedding ring blank until 24/02/2009.
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In this weeks article our jewellery experts have been taking a look into the role of gemstones in jewellery making as well as providing some great tips for how to use them in a bid to make your pieces both unique and stylish. Please feel free to post a comment or ask one of our experts a question.
Jewellery making is an art form, and the incorporation of gemstones into jewellery goes back thousands of years. But gemstones don’t necessarily mean top end diamonds or rubies – there are a whole range of semi precious gemstones that can be used by jewellery makers for very little initial cost.
Suppliers of gemstones recognise that their products can be used in any form of jewellery, from rings to broaches, necklaces to earrings. The possibilities are only limited by the creator’s imagination. There are so many shapes and sizes to choose from, it may be a little daunting at first glance, but if you plan your piece of jewellery carefully, there is bound to be a gemstone to fit.
The first thing to do is to decide exactly what kind of piece you want to create. Once you have decided on that, you can then narrow your field of choice down regarding shape and size. If you are making a broach with a gemstone in a setting, a cabochon of any precious or semi-precious gemstone can easily be fitted into a corresponding blank mounting. A popular combination is silver and turquoise, giving a beautiful finish for a budget price.
Most silver and gold findings can be bought from jewellery suppliers. Good suppliers will also carry a range of gemstones that are designed to fit their selection of mountings. To use gemstones in your jewellery making, you need only a few simple tools and a lot of imagination. If you’re really serious about gemstones, talk to your gemstone dealer about special cuts and minerals. If you are intending to produce a quantity of gemstone jewellery, the initial outlay of equipment will soon pay dividends, as the uncut gemstones are far cheaper than the cut ones.
Semi-precious gemstones can also be bought as beads, combined with delicate silver spacers and created into beautiful, elegant jewellery.
Creating stylish and unique jewellery is far easier than you think. By incorporating gemstones into your designs, you can even make birthstone-specific jewellery for a particularly individual gift. Each zodiac sign has corresponding gemstones, most of which are relatively common and fairly cheap. Even the more expensive stones, such as emeralds and sapphires, can be cheaper than you expected, especially if you choose a stone that is perhaps of a lower quality, but has its own raw beauty. The important thing to remember when venturing into the world of gemstones is to research before you buy new stones, as each stone has its own unique properties.
Gemstones never go out of fashion, so take a look around jewellery fairs to pick up inspiration and ideas for your own work, and in no time you’ll be adding your own, unique gemstone designs into your jewellery making.