Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Great Article by Julia

Crystal Beads - Part II

By Julia

Finishes and Effects

This focuses primarily on Swarovski crystals, sometimes referred to as Austrian crystal. I discussed the difference between a finish and an effect last week, this week I'm going to cover the different finishes and effects available, and illustrate them for you.

Wanna know the rest? Visit: and click on "articles". :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Looking forward to a new and great year with EEJA!

It often amazes me how a group of jewelry artists who live hundreds of miles away from each other can become so close in this place we call cyberspace. A true bonding takes place: we laugh, we cry, we vent, and yes, we even gossip. Each one of us has our own unique style and our creativity appears boundless. Check our website at: and you will simply be overwhelmed! The piece featured above is a personal favorite of mine. It is available in my shop at:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lapidary Start Up Costs by Ahna

One Little Cabochon

By Ahna White
Eclectic Jewelry Artisans
Etsy Dark Art

So, you think you'd like to make your own cabochons? Well, I'm going to tell you what's involved in doing that! This doesn't include faceting gems, that's a completely different subject!

One of the first things you learn in a metalsmithing class is how to bezel-set a cabochon. Because of that assignment, I went searching for some interesting stones to set. That's when I fell in love with rocks! I have over 10 years experience in stained glass work, and the concepts of cutting, shaping and polishing cabochons is very similar to working with stained glass!

I didn't have anyone to tell me what I needed, so I started doing a lot of research into lapidary equipment. I figured out that, at the very least, I would need a Trim Saw and a Cab Machine. A Trim Saw is used to cut down rock slabs (flat pieces already cut from rough rock) as close as possible to the shape of the cabochon. This is a basic machine that uses a blade, and has a water reservoir, used to cut stone. Nothing fancy is needed, you just want to be sure that the surface area on the machine is about 4-5 inches on each side of the blade.

A Cab Machine is used to shape and polish the cabochon. Here, I made a mistake. I found three different machines with very different prices, from $336 to $1600. I decided to go in the middle, and selected a machine that cost $795. The description said it was all I would need, what it didn't say was that you had to change out pads and wheels every few minutes, and had to take off all the wheels to change the saw blade! That was fine for the first day or so, but I quickly realized this was going to be a nightmare! I returned it; top-of-the-line, here I come! I got a Diamond Pacific Finie with 6 wheels and a totally separate machine for cutting the slabs, and it was well worth the extra money! When it comes to cabbing equipment, I don't recommend cutting corners, you will end up wasting a lot of your time!

So, here's a cost breakdown, with tax and shipping:

Trim Saw $425 (only for cutting slabs, not rough rocks)

Cab Machine $1,600

Additional supplies needed: Templates, apron, safety glasses, dopping supplies, coolant, polish, blades, rock slabs

Now, if you really want to start from the ground up, you need a Slab Saw for cutting rough rock;

Cost: $1,700

Additional supplies: 5 gallons of water-soluble cutting oil, sharpening stone

Maintenance Costs: If you do your cabbing at a 'hobby' level, you will probably need to buy new wheels and blade for the Slab Saw about once every 12-18 months. The Trim Saw will require more blades, a good blade for a 6” Trim Saw is $28, and you should have two different sized blades, depending on what you're cutting. Material like Rhodochrosite is soft and easy to cut, but materials like agate are very hard, and will dull a blade quickly. A sharpening stone will help extend the life of the blades.

A word about cabochons... there are two different types. I refer to the first as a 'generic' cab, in which you cut as many cabochons from a slab as you can. You'll get more cabs, and very little waste, which is more cost-effective. Then, there is a ‘Designer Cabochon’, where you select the best pattern or colors on the slab to create a more beautiful cabochon. You create a spectacular piece, but there will be more waste, and a higher cost as a result.

Last but not least is your time. If you are starting with a rough rock, a slab saw will take about 20 minutes to make a pass; the nice thing about this is that they come with an auto-feed system, so while you're cutting a rock in that machine, you can be working on something else. I can usually spent about an hour at the Trim Saw to produce 10-15 cabs, depending on what material I'm trimming. Harder rocks take longer to cut through. The cabbing machine takes the longest, and you don't want to rush in any of these processes. This will need anywhere from 20-50 minutes per cabochon.

In summary, each individual cabochon will take 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours to make. Your basic cost for equipment will be about $3,725, plus the additional supplies and the raw material/rough stone. You will need to produce 150 cabs and sell them for an average of $25 each to pay for the equipment. By that time you'll need to replace some blades, and you can start recovering your costs for supplies and stone. Sorry. . .it will be awhile before you can start getting paid for your time!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Hi! My name is BJ and I’d like to invite you to visit my shop: The Etsy site is full of all things handmade and I myself have approximately 81 items listed. There are numerous categories to visit within and the artists are numerous and extremely talented! Also, I’m a member of EJA (Eclectic Jewelry Artisans) and you are welcome to visit their site @ Please let me know about your Art and yourself along with your website address. I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Crystal Beads by IvorysArts

Jewelry Terminology

By Julia Bryan of Ivory's Arts

The EJA Gallery:

Crystal Beads and Components

In my inaugural weekly column about jewelry terminology, I'm going to talk about crystals, more specifically Swarovski full-lead crystals, also known as Austrian crystals, as they are considered the premiere manufacturer of leaded crystals worldwide. Many of the terms used will also apply to other crystal brands, so they will have a broader range of application than just one brand or type of crystal.

First of all, Swarovski produces an incredible array of colors; some, but not all, are produced in a regular color and a light color (amethyst and light amethyst, for example). However, the range of colors is broadened considerably when finishes and effects are added. This is one of the first distinctions that many people are unaware of. A finish is applied over a clear or colored crystal, while an effect involves elements added to the crystal during manufacture to create an altered color shift. These are differentiated in the crystal name, if the name begins with the word Crystal, it is usually an effect (Crystal Silver Shade, Crystal Moonlight, and Crystal Vitrail Light are examples). If the crystal has a coating, it is added to the color; Amethyst AB, Emerald AB2X and Jet Dorado are examples. However, there can be some confusion, for instance Crystal AB is a coating, not an effect. And Satin is treated like a coating but is actually a more color-saturated crystal which is created during manufacture of the crystal (like other effects), rather than applying a coating afterward.

Next week I'll cover the different coatings and effects, and provide illustrations for those crystals I happen to have on hand.

Musings by StudioBijou

I would like to take a moment to discuss how wonderful it has been to be part of this group. How do you take 50 competitors from all over the world, link them in united purpose (to sell more handcrafted artisan jewelry!) and keep them going, day after day, thru thick and thin, thru miss-read messages, and into the land of harmony? I will be pondering our journey more in the future. For now, I will say it has been a great ride, a short one, and one I hope takes us all long into our futures as we encourage jewelry artisans to take over the world!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New- Featured Jewelry Artisan on our web site.

Each month we will feature one of our members so check it out!

This month: Mandala Jewels - Wonderfully fun jewelry.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ahna announces new fragrances :)

Ahna Announces Two New Fragrances

I’m trying my luck at a few perfume scents. And I must say, I did good! :) One is the Ultimate Romantic Rose blend, a good robust rose scent. The other is for the hippy in me, Bohemian Blend a very earthy yet crisp scent.

If you would like to sample them, please contact me... samples are $1.75 ea. and that includes the postage.

1/3 oz. roll-on silky perfume is $5.50 ea. plus 2.45 postage.

Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, fragrance

Coming up: “Haunted” - A vanilla-musk blend and Incense!!



Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I think I am obsessed with, or either possessed by, the jewelry design spirits. Every waking and sleeping moment visions of daring bead color combinations/designs emerge from my psyche. I want to take my work to another level. My next experiment will be working with enamel, but more about that in another post. You can find my latest designs in my Etsy shop at I am a proud member of Eclectic Jewelry Artisans

Members - please read - Ahna

Please put your shop name in the titles or we won't know who is posting. ;)

Me Fav Poem - Ahna

You loved me for a little,
who could not love me long;
You gave me wings of gladness,
and lent my spirit song.

You loved me for an hour,
but only with your eyes;
Your lips I could not capture,
by storm or by surprise.

Your mouth that I remember,
with rush of sudden pain;
As One remembers starlight,
or roses after rain.

Out of a world of laughter,
suddenly I am sad;
Day and night it haunts me,
the kiss I never had.