Happiness is nothing but total relaxation.
And that is the super bright sun, its going to warm me up to a lovely 78 degrees this afternoon! I will aim to be totally relaxed while working today.
I finally got a complete FAQ section set up! Hopefully it will answer the vast majority of questions that customers have. Its posted in its entirety on the Policies page of my etsy wedding shop and most of them are on the same page of my regular shop. And I thought I might as well post it here too for quick reference! Its lengthy I know, but I have to answer these questions over and over again, I can't believe it took me this long to get it done!
*DO YOU DO CUSTOM ORDERS/DESIGNS:
If a new design is created, a $50 design fee may be added. If a simple alteration is desired, just ask, there is usually no charge for that! Please feel free to contact me either through here or by email: BethCyrWeddings@gmail.com
*DO YOU USE MOLDS FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
No, all of my rings are “made from scratch”. Most designs are made from a huge lump of dark brown soft wax. This allows for any alterations you might like in addition to creating a truly unique ring for each of my customers.
*HOW ARE YOUR RINGS CREATED?
Most of my rings are cast using the lost wax casting method. You can see my full process on my blog - http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/2008/03/lost-wax-casting-process.html
*WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR METAL AND STONES?
All of my metal comes from a supplier, Hoover and Strong, that offers 100% recycled metal. I recycle my own in addition to buying my “fresh” casting grain, sheet or wire from this company.
All of my diamonds are conflict free. I also use some synthetic stones (colored CZs) and will be adding similar options in the future including synthetic diamonds.
*WHAT SIZES DO YOU OFFER AND HOW CAN I FIND MY SIZE?
Ring sizes available 2 - 15 including 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 sizes. Since each ring is made to order “from scratch”, I can make exactly the size you need.
As far as sizing for fit - Most hands do change through out the year, generally a little smaller in the winter and larger during the hottest months of the summer. Time of day can also affect sizing. Personally, my fingers are larger in the morning but after I get up and moving they are get back to their normal size.
Different people like a different fit for their rings. I prefer something as loose as possible but that never falls off. There are times during the winter when it gets close, but never does. And for the summer, its just perfect. I do not like when a ring is too tight - it makes me feel constricted and I find it really uncomfortable. Other people wear rings so tight that they can't come off and they don't find it to be a problem at all. The shape of the finger can have an effect too as to what would be comfortable for you. Some fingers are very slender and it doesn't take much for the sizing to be off. Other fingers are more "curvy" and as long as the ring can go over the knuckle, a full range of sizes will fit and be fine. The width of the ring can also affect the size of the ring. A narrow band can be much smaller and fit just fine, but for a wider ring (depending on how wide you get) The size may need to be 1/2 or even a full size larger. One of my fingers I can wear anywhere from a 5 (very narrow band), to a 6.5 (very wide 15mm+)
The ring sizers I offer are around 4mm which is a pretty standard width for most of my rings (4 - 6mm).
If you are sized at a jewelry store, make sure they use sizers that are close to the width of the ring you are interested in. Or try rings on that are the same width you want.
For the majority of my rings, it is easy to size them up a 1/4 or 1/2 size. Sizing down usually requires remaking the entire ring.
*ARE THEY COMFORTABLE? HOW WILL THEY WEAR OVER TIME?
I do think my rings are comfortable - I wouldn’t want to make a ring that wasn’t. Though many of my designs are too wide or thick for my own personal preference. I have very small hands and wear a 3 3/4 - so large rings don’t make sense for me to wear every day, especially with some of the tools I use! I find that it really is about personal preference. Some people will want a very thick ring, while others like me need something a little daintier. Most of my styles can come in a narrow thinner version to a thicker chunkier version. Average widths are between 1.5 and 2mm thick.
Metal does wear over time. Patinas are sealed with renaissance wax, but over time will wear down as well. It will depend on the person as to how quickly it may wear down. For some, it may look nearly identical 20 years later, for others, it may wear much more than that. Different metals also will wear differently - see next section.
*WHAT METALS DO YOU OFFER AND WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, 7.5% copper. This is a standard sterling alloy. Fine silver (99.9) by itself is much too soft (in my opinion) for a ring. Sterling is much softer in comparison to gold (will wear faster), but the addition of copper makes sterling much stronger than fine silver.
Palladium Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, roughly 4.5% copper and 3% palladium. Palladium is a more precious metal and a relative of platinum. It gives a little added preciousness to sterling and makes it a little harder and a little more expensive. The color is nearly identical to regular sterling, but has a very slightly warmer tone when they are next to each other.
Argentium Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, 7.5% copper and germanium. Though I don’t cast with it often, it is an option. Similar to the palladium sterling, some of the copper is replaced by another metal, germanium. It gives some different and unique properties to the alloy. (different melting temps, tarnish resistant, fuses easily)
All the gold I use are alloys. 24k is close to as pure as you can get with gold and it is very soft. Mixing it with different metals creates a variety of properties and colors.
14k Yellow Gold - a traditional yellow gold. All 14k alloys contain 58.5% yellow gold. The other metals vary per alloy and in amount. I buy all of my casting grain alloyed already, so the make up per % of the rest of the alloys is unknown to me.
14k Palladium White Gold - contains 58.5% gold, and instead of nickel as in traditional white gold, it contains palladium as a bleaching agent. The color is often referred to as “straw white” though I think of it as a “warm steel” color. It is a lovely soft and buttery gray color that is not plated in rhodium as traditional white golds are. If you are attempting to match a current white gold ring, be aware that it may not. It is the hardest of all the metals I use and is more expensive than other 14k alloys. The qualities that give it added hardness as far as wear is concerned, also make it harder to work with. This and the added value of the palladium are the reasons for it being more expensive than the other 14k alloys.
Palladium is in the platinum family and makes the alloy overall and more precious metal. (though palladium is much less expensive than platinum!) If you want the bright white look, you are more than welcome to have your ring plated at your local jewelry store. Most rhodium plating needs to be redone every year or couple years depending on your wear.
Palladium white gold will take a patina, though it is not as dark as the patina on sterling, nor is the contrast as great since the metal is darker and the patina not as dark. There are several comparison shots if you search for “comparison” on my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcyrjewelry
14k Rose/Red Gold - a lovely coppery rosy reddish toned gold - again contains 58.5% gold. Can take a light patina, though wears off more quickly, so starting out with just a little is best.
14k non traditional colors - Though not commonly used, brighter “royal” yellow, green and peach gold - just slight variations of a traditional yellow.
18k - contains 75.2% gold - due to the higher gold content, 18k alloys have a different color than their 14k relatives. Most commonly requested for the subtlety bands, though I can upgrade most styles to 18k instead of 14k. It is a little softer and more expensive.
*IS YOUR METAL PLATED WITH ANYTHING?
No. Rhodium plating is common for traditional white gold and much of the mass produced commercial jewelry is also plated in rhodium for a bright white finish that doesn’t tarnish. Plating WILL wear off over time. I do not offer the service, though most jewelry stores can rhodium plate a ring for you if you want.
*DO YOU USE PALLADIUM OR PLATINUM?
I am not able to personally cast with it in my studio, though I use a larger casting company that has the facilities to cast both of these metals. The melting temperatures are much higher than I am able to do with the equipment I use for silvers and golds. A model can be made in sterling and then sent off to be molded and cast in either of these metals. Generally this adds an extra 3 - 4 weeks.
*HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY JEWELRY?
For rings that get worn ever day, the natural oils from your skin and constant wear should keep it an even color and shine. Certain chemicals like chlorine can cause a bad reaction and dull or even darken the metal. I find that it will wear off again as you wear it, though a polishing cloth can be used to clean it up. It is best if you frequently are around chlorine to take the ring off as it can corrode the metal with prolonged exposure.
For jewelry that gets taken off, with proper storage, your piece should remain lovely for a long time. Air and moisture cause tarnish on silver and letting a piece sit on the bathroom counter will dull it rather quickly (yes I know this by experience!). Keeping it in a bag or box will help to keep this from happening.
Patinas will wear down over time. I seal them with renaissance wax, though if you are interested, you may think of resealing once it starts to wear down, or just let your ring age naturally.
*I HAVE METAL ALLERGIES, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?
Everyone has a different body chemistry and will react (or not react) to different metals or chemicals. Usually an allergic reaction occurs when another chemical is introduced and gets trapped between the ring and the skin. Certain lotions, perfumes or soaps can cause a reaction. While one person may be able to wear a particular metal and use lotion with no reaction, their spouse may have a completely different reaction due to their own personal body chemistry. People are different and not everyone can wear the same metals.
The most common metal allergies are copper and nickel. I have a completely nickel free studio, though there are small amounts of copper in all of the alloys I use. I have had some great feedback for the palladium sterling and palladium white gold. Some customers w/ a slight intolerance to regular sterling have worn the palladium sterling with no problem. Since there is no nickel in the palladium white gold, it is an excellent alternative to customers who have had problems with standard white gold.
Rhodium plating often tricks people in to thinking they are not allergic to certain metals - though as they plating wears off, they may find that they are in fact allergic to the metal underneath. None of my rings are plated with rhodium or any other metal.
*DO YOU WHOLESALE OR SELL ANYWHERE ELSE?
No, at this time I do not do any wholesale or consignment. I like to work directly with my customers, though I know at times this does not allow for seeing the work up close. Some designs may be available for a sample ring to be sent.
I usually work on large batches of rings all at the same time - its more efficient and it means that more people will get their rings faster. I rarely get them all photographed together as the clean up and shipping usually gets spaced out more than the casting. But this week, I managed to get a big group shot and I loved it so much I wanted to share. It makes me feel really productive to be able to see them all together. One big happy ring family - they've all been mailed off now to their new owners.
Today I'll most likely start on a new batch, though I do have a few other small unrelated ring things I need to work on... like getting a form for my county notarized saying I am a US citizen - apparently some new law (GA or county?) passed and all business owners I guess have to do it? It came w/ my business license stuff and I've been putting off doing it.
Tea Tab Quote of the Day -
Life is a gift, if you do not value your gift, nobody else will.
Happiness comes when you overcome the most impossible challenge.
I drink a cup of tea every morning. Sometimes two or three! Most of the I drink the Yogi brand tea. I love the little sayings they have on the little tabs. Today's was particularly sharing worthy - so I thought it might be a nice regular thing for me to post. Short and simple and a lovely thought for the day.
Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too.
I had a customer request something similar to this a couple months ago and since then I've been wanting to create an offshoot of my tree bark collection and call it Redwoods - a heavier and chunkier tree bark texture cast in 14k red gold. EtsyMetal has a new wedding ring challenge and I figured this was a good excuse to create them. I also made a simple twig engagement ring to go with it. I used a chocolate diamond for a nice earthy look with the red/rose gold. A very light patina has been added for a final touch. I really love the look of them and I hope many other people do too!
I often have customers ask about engraving. Though I don't personally do it, I use a local engraver that has been doing it for years. Just the simple, standard engraving. There are two styles - this one is the script style. I finally thought actually posting this would be a help to people interested and that would like to see what it looks like. And I particularly thought these "messages" were really sweet. The next customer that orders the block style - I'll photograph and post here as well.
edited... check out the block style here.
My sweet kitty Nya is laying w/ her "boyfriend" Bruno. She loves him, regardless of her immunity to the catnip with which he is filled.
Wendy of CatsCanJump also made a special "girlfriend" kitty for a gift for a friend of mine. Not only is she one of the sweetest people ever, she makes amazing jewelry and amazing cat toys! So why not buy a little friend for your sweet kitty and you'll make everyone happy!
For those of you not familiar - the blog carnival is a fun thing we do every month with any EtsyMetal member that wants to participate. We come up with a theme, all blog about it, then link to each others blogs so we can see what everyone else wrote too!
This month's theme is: "Create an inspirational 20 things to do, to kick start creativity."
20 things.... lets see, this shall be interesting - I'll probably keep it simple, even if something are sort of related, I'll probably make it two things... Also, since I do some creative things other than jewelry - some of them will seem to be a little out of place!
1. Walk around outside in my yard and look at nature stuff.
2. Go somewhere else like the botanical gardens that would have different flora from my yard.
3. Listen to new music or music that will lead me in a certain direction
4. Look at books on a variety of subjects, depends on what I'm wanting to do, could be technical or completely unrelated to jewelry.
5. Go to the library - I like picking some sort of science subject like "weather" and then checking out a bunch of books to give me some new fresh ideas and photos to look at.
6.Watch a period drama or a fantasy movie that has wonderful costumes. I am incredible inspired by this type of thing.
7. Read a fictional story of the same type genres - creating my own ideas for what the characters would wear.
8. Write a story, either mentally or written or typed.
9. Look around my studio or house for items with interesting textures.
10. Play with wax - mush it around, squish it against different things, drop it in water or on something cold to see if I can get a new patter to develop.
11. Painting related - spread some paint on a canvas and stare at it until I see something I want to paint.
12. Photograph patterns in nature - great for jewelry or painting.
13. Photograph larger scenes that might turn in to a nice painting.
14. Play with materials - melt metal together, hammer it, with no objective other than making something that might end up looking interesting and that could be expanded upon.
15. Go to a lecture - preferably of some one interesting!
16. Travel to a new place - either by car or fly far away - aka: vacation.
17. Take a Bath - what a great place to sit and think
18. Actual meditation - leaving my mind open to wonderful ideas really works!
19. Do something I really don't want to do, like work on my taxes - has the effect of making me want to create!
20. Sketch - this is a last resort.
20! that wasn't so hard at all. I actually deleted one that was less than stellar. And these are in no particular order - except for number 20 - which is meant to be last, b/c it really is my last resort!
Check out the other participants this month!