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Save The Bees

Amber Reed

         These two bracelets both have hexagon buttons that I cut, sanded, & polished. Both are also stamped with my signature on the back.  The loop that goes around the copper hexagon to secure the bracelet is hematite. Hematite isn't a hard solid when its mined. The variety of shapes and looks you see hematite in are actually machine pressed, cut, & polished, similar to lapidary work but they are heat treated to form a solid. You can find hematite in ancient spiritual drawings as it was a sought after powder used for painting.

       Did you know the red stones aren't stones at all?  They're coral! Red bamboo coral, found in the Philippines. They are very popular in tribal and modern jewelry. It naturally comes as a whitish creme color. Before red bamboo coral, Mediterranean coral was extremely popular however, due to unregulated over-harvesting, the coral was not given the proper time to rejuvenate. So as a great substitute,  red bamboo coral has been used as a replacement and takes on color fairly well. If the bamboo coral is dyed in an oil base the longevity of the red pigment lasts much longer.

 

I have a few dyed bamboo coral care tips & tricks for you.

  1. Don't leave pieces out in the sun for long periods of time. This will cause the red color to fade. 
  2. If you purchase a strand of bamboo coral there is a trick to see if it is properly dyed. Place the strand in a glass of room temperature water for an hour or so. If the water is red it was poorly dyed. If the water is light pink thats fine because most beads and shells don't go through a thorax cleaning processes. (I always clean and check the coral I purchase and it's dye job. If it is a poor, it isn't used in my jewelry pieces). 
  3. Coral is strong but can be scratched & also break when dropped. Be careful.
  4. If you want your red coral's color to fade into a pink color. You can lay it in the sun for an hour on both sides. Just keep an eye on it so you can get the color you desire.  Note: some coral is dyed so well it could take years for the color to fade. 

      I hope you enjoyed the tips above & learned something new! I really enjoy sharing everything I've learned over the years. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

 

 


 

The Buzz...

          As you know a few different types of bees are on the endangered list. Bees are a crucial part of to our delicate eco-system, we need them for food, clothing, & eco fuel to name a few. I created a jewelry line called Bee Kind March 12, 2016. I was blown away by peoples love for the line and I donated 20% of each sale to a non-profit bee sanctuary where their goal is to share their knowledge to make the public aware of whats going on and revitalize & help the bee population thrive.  

Donate to the bees longevity here

"It all boils down to the question of whether we dare to consider the bees' own needs or only our own. The difference is vast. A healing won't be accomplished without sacrifices on our part."

--Gunther Hauk, author of Toward Saving the Honeybee

Informative and simple break down of why we need to save the bees

Informative and simple break down of why we need to save the bees

 

I hope you are having a lovely weekend with your friends and family! Phoenix is full of awesome exciting events; Phoenix Pride parade, March Madness: Final Four, Free concerts, Farmers markets, & other great family events. If you are in the Phoenix area I hope you take full advantage of all the free activities! Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog, commenting & sharing it. I read all your comments and will respond shortly if I haven't yet! 

Much love,

Amber Marie 

Follow your heart

Amber Reed

         I chose this faceted moonstone & picked out the materials needed to design this piece the night before. I have a few of these pebble shaped faceted moonstones to work with so this won't be the last time you see this beautiful rainbow iridescent stone. I picked these beauties up at the Tucson Gem Show in February, 2016. The seller I purchased them from is a Gem distributor out of California and they are a family owned business. They are at the Gem Show every year with rows and rows of glass trays holding beautiful pieces of Mothernature's art just waiting to be treasured for years to come. I've been buying from this seller for the last four years & I am never disappointed with the quality of their stones. 

         If you haven't experienced the Gem Show in Tucson, Arizona it should be on your bucket list. There is a little bit of everything for everyone, for example; every fossil you could think of, stunning high end jewelry, 100,000+ strands of gemstone beads, jewelry classes & guest speakers, singing bowl healing rooms, the most popular to rarest minerals you could ever lay your eyes on, & yummy local food & spirits food trucks. Plus, plenty of places to sit while you wait for your bright-eyed shopping family and friends. 

      Buyers and sellers come from all over the world to Tucson, sharing their goods, passion, life long collections, & knowledge with each other. It is truly a beautiful sight to see and be a part of. The Tucson Gem Show is Jan. 27 - Feb. 11, 2018. I'll be there next year and would love to see you there! 

I really enjoyed making this moonstone ring. I didn't have trouble with the cute little heart found on the back of the stone. As you know, when sawing through small spaces there's always the chance of over cutting. This ring has a nice light weight feel to it, so you can wear it while you are doing every day activities without it getting in the way or catching on things. The ring-band is dainty but not delicate. I work-hardened it so it won't become flimsy. The photo below is the best photo I could get of the moonstones glistening rainbow colors. 

Moonstone ring Size: 5.5

Moonstone ring Size: 5.5

I'll be posting a new handcrafted jewelry piece every day! Thank you so much for following, sharing, and commenting on my blog. I really enjoy sharing my art with you all. Enjoy this beautiful weekend with your loved ones. 

Much Love, 

Amber Marie 

Intro

Amber Reed

        Working at my bench this morning enjoying a cup of warm green tea & the nice light breeze coming from the open sliding door.

        After pulling out all the tools I needed to get started, I looked at the variety of shapes and sizes of stones I have to choose from. I chose this beautiful turquoise silica egg shaped cabochon. I got this turquoise stone from a local native supply man named Koomer.

       Koomer is a cherokee native, he was in the Navy many moons ago & his art work is absolutely amazing. If he had a site or was online I would post his info. He has pristine labridary (stone cutting and polishing) skills too. He mined & hand-cut the turquoise stone I picked out today. Are you a local in the greater Phoenix area? He sells at the Mesa flea market. I love going through his wares because he carries mainly local gemstones & about forty percent of them are cut and polished by him. I'm a big believer in supporting the local economy. Plus how cool is Koomer? I'm grateful for the friendship and business relationship we've had over the years.

 A short step by step of the jewelry making process for you to enjoy;

  1. Pick out the stone
  2. Draw out the design 
  3. Choose metal material for the stone and the ring shank. Hand saw/cut to appropriate size
  4. File all rough edges especially where the solder needs to flow 
  5. Clean metal before soldering *also make sure heat block is clean 
  6. Solder all pieces in solder temp. order (Hard. Medium. Easy.) Use flux to guide your solder flow lines
  7. Use pickle after piece cools and repeat solder if needed. This cleans off fire scale 
  8. After pickle and soldering, it's time to polish with four different sandpaper grits. Each grit removes scratches, solder marks, deeps marks, fire scale & whatever small damage done during the above steps (may have to start over if the damage is to bad) 
  9. Place the stone in the bezel setting & set it carefully. Sand and polish down the sides to remove any marks the bezel tool could of made
  10. After high-polishing is finished. (carefully polish around the stone) Patina is an option. There are many patina colors available. Each one has its own directions on the box. 
  11. After patina. A final polish 

     I may have missed a couple of steps in between but I wanted to give you an idea of what the process entails.

 

       I treat polishing like a meditation practice because, at the time, my mind isn't wandering and I'm focused on only two things; detail & keeping a steady hand. Meditation is all about finding stillness and peace throughout our daily lives. Metalsmithing makes me still which is good because my nickname is Hummingbee. I received this nickname because I'm a doer and a go-go-go type-A personality (bumble bee) with a calm/peaceful demeanor most of the time (humming bird).

Day One : Turquoise silica ring 

Day One : Turquoise silica ring 

This is my very first blog post & I'm so excited to share my creative process with you. I will be posting new designs 3 times a week! Blogging as often as I can. Let the ideas and solder flow! Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a lovely day! Comment and share if you like my blog.

Love, 

Amber Marie