Friday, October 1, 2010

The Secret to Getting Just the Right Size

How long is that bracelet or necklace?

Well, that depends on what measurement you're talking about. A necklace or bracelet with large beads or other bulky components has a much smaller inner circumference than its length when measured stretched out flat. For example, the necklace in the photo is 20 inches long when stretched out flat but 18 inches when worn. Similarly, the bracelet shown is 8.5 inches long when stretched out flat but 7 inches when worn.

What size do you want?

One of the great advantages of ordering handmade jewelry from the artisan is being able to have your bracelet or necklace custom sized. Most artisans offer this service at no additional charge whenever possible.

For bracelets, I always suggest that you start by measuring your wrist. For a snug fit, I figure on an inner circumference 1/2 inch greater than the wrist measurement, one inch for somewhat loose fit, and 1.5 inches for very loose fit. I think most are comfortable with the "somewhat loose" fit. For necklaces, I suggest that you measure the length of a thin chain that falls on your neck where you want the chosen necklace to fall.

Sizes can be adjusted after purchase, but it's easier on everyone to get it right the first time. Of course, gifts involve much more guesswork!

Jewelry makers who are interested in the EZ Necklace and EZ Bracelet cones shown in the photo may find out more about them here:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Silver and Silver Care

Types of Silver Used in Fine Jewelry

Silver used in fine jewelry varies in its purity and tarnish resistance. Fine silver is 99.9% silver, Thai Hill Tribe silver is 95-99% silver, and sterling silver is 92.5% silver. As the purity of the silver decreases, the problem of corrosion or tarnishing increases.

Fine silver is very bright and highly tarnish resistant compared to sterling silver. It is softer than sterling silver and, in wire form, is used for crochet work and wire wrapping. Fine silver can also be seen in items made of precious metal clay (PMC) which is shaped and heated to form a solid metal.

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Argentium silver is a variety of sterling that replaces copper with germanium for increased tarnish resistance.

Causes of Silver Tarnish

Compounds containing sulphur in the air, hydrogen sulfide and sulphur dioxide, cause silver to tarnish. High humidity levels will also accelerate the formation of tarnish. Some examples of tarnish-causing elements include paints, fabrics containing wool or felt, rubber bands, latex gloves, and foods containing eggs, onions, or citrus. The oil in our fingers can also lead to corrosion patterns if not removed.

Silver Care

Twinkle is a very mild and effective silver polish that is recommended by silver experts and is widely available. Storing your silver in Pacific Silvercloth can keep your silver tarnish free for a very long time. The photo above shows a small pouch of Pacific Silvercloth that takes only a few minutes to stitch.

Pacific Silvercloth is a cotton fabric embedded with thousands of particles of fine silver. These particles catch the tarnish-causing gases before they reach the silver article stored inside. Authentic Pacific Silvercloth is always brown and turns various shades of brown as the embedded silver tarnishes. Other manufacturers' products are not embedded with silver but are treated with other metals, such as zinc, and do not discolor. Also, authentic Pacific Silvercloth is 36-38" wide, whereas other products are always wider. Washing Pacific Silvercloth will destroy its ability to prevent tarnish.

For more information and Pacific Silvercloth products, see:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Complex Beauty of Iolite

This collage showcases some of my jewelry highlighting one of my favorite gemstones, iolite.

Iolite is the gem variety of the mineral cordierite. The name "iolite" comes from the Greek word "los" meaning violet. Another old name is dichroite, a Greek word meaning "two-colored rock", a reference to cordierite's strong pleochroism. It has also been called "water-sapphire," because its color is akin to blue sapphires, and "Vikings' Compass." When Viking mariners sailed the ocean, they used thin pieces of iolite as a polarizing filter. Looking through an iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun on overcast days and navigate safely.

Pleochroism is very pronounced in iolite and is seen as different color shades in the same stone. In the viewing an iolite stone, the colors violet blue, yellow gray, a light blue, and even a green brown can be seen, all a result of pleochroism.

Pleochroism is caused by the absorption of different wavelengths of light traveling through different directions in the crystal. If in one direction, all wavelengths but yellow and blue are absorbed, then the crystal will be green (yellow and blue make green). If in another direction, all wavelengths are absorbed but blue, then the crystal will appear blue. If the crystal is turned from the first direction to the other, then it will change its color from blue to green.

The major sources of gem grade iolite are Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma. Iolite's beauty is complex, and yet the stone remains very affordable.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to Lumina Jewelry! A little about myself and about Lumina handmade jewelry....

I learned about elegance from my mother, and that is what I strive for in my surroundings and all my endeavors. My mother had a beautiful collection of jewels from classic George Jensen to pearls by Cartier, and she shared her love of precious objects with my daughter. It was through my daughter that I began to design and craft jewelry. As she learned ancient techniques of metalsmithing, she taught me how to wire-wrap. I discovered a talent and strong affinity for the finely detailed work.

Design, workmanship, and value - these are the qualities that I measure when I shop for myself and when I make jewelry for others. I have little tolerance for shoddy workmanship and over-priced goods. My favorite designs are simple, classic, and elegant. Those who most appreciate my work are those who want understated jewels in luscious colors that look extravagant but are modest in cost.

I currently sell my jewelry on Etsy. Here are my shop link:

You may contact me at LuminaJewelry (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Blogs are new for me, but I can see how easy it would be to spend a lot of time in the blogging world. I plan to write a bit about the elements of jewelry- materials, design, care, and will probably move farther afield.... we'll see what evolves!