I have been so busy getting my new sterling silver jewelry collection ready for fall! I am very excited about it but don't want to give away too many hints before I introduce the entire new collection later this month.
The photo to the right is a new shape for me - I am thinking of it as "pod" earrings. It is a little tricky to solder all those little connections but I think it's worth the trouble, how about you? These still look a bit rough because they haven't been cleaned and polished yet; they will look a lot different when they are properly finished!
Here are some of the simple "hand" tools I use to polish a piece of sterling silver jewelry before it leaves my hands for its permanent home. These are really made for polishing and finishing fingernails but they work quite well to smooth and polish sterling silver jewelry. I use lots of tools but these are some of my favorites. I'll show you more next time!
It is finally back to school time here in south Louisiana - the schools were in session for only one day before the floods came and now the schools are slowly getting back up to speed.
Back to school time also heralds the eminent arrival of fall, which is never far away once the kids get back to school. We are looking forward to cooler weather and cozy inside time with with friends and family.
At this time of year there are also lots of articles and blogs that talk about jewelry and fashion "trends" for fall/winter, 2016-2017. I, for one, enjoy looking at trending fashion but rarely follow it; I am much more comfortable depending on my tried and true classics to get me through my days.
As it happens, one of my favorite "trending" pieces this fall is pearl jewelry. Both classic and trending, best of both worlds! Pearls go with everything in your closet and are easily dressed up or down; but you knew that, didn't you?
Another trend this season is stacking rings, which many of us have worn and enjoyed for years; so we can wear our favorite classic jewelry pieces and still be in style! It's a win-win!
There are other trends, to be sure and we can all enjoy and be entertained by them. As for me, I will stick to the classics! How about you? Do you have a favorite trending jewelry piece or do you set your own trend? I would love to hear from you!
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In Step 1, we talked about managing all that jewelry you have as part of your overall plan to simplify your life. Don't we all need to think about simplifying our lives? I know my life could sure use a touch of simplification! We talked about sorting your jewelry info four categories: jewelry you love (for whatever reason), jewelry pieces that are your "staple" items (that you wear over & over), jewelry you no longer love and, finally, jewelry that you never loved (& still don't).
In this post, we will talk about what to do with those four piles of jewelry that you now have on hand - or, maybe more correctly, how to think about the jewelry which will lead you to think about what you want to do about it.
So, it's probably evident by now that jewelry categories 1 and 2 are your "keepers". We will look at those again later but for now, let's focus on categories 3 & 4.
#3: Jewelry you once loved but don't love anymore. You might think about this jewelry as simply something that needs a new home. Sure, you don't love it anymore, but someone else might so it's time to release it into the universe and give someone else a chance to love it. So, you might decide to donate to a charity the pieces that have little monetary value. But what about the pieces that were expensive and include precious metals and semi-precious stones? In that case, do you have a niece, granddaughter or dear friend who might cherish a gift of one or more pieces of this jewelry? What is no longer "right" for you, might be a wonderful gift for someone you love. You could also consider donating a piece or two to one of your favorite charities for their fundraising auction.
Now let's look at #4 - Jewelry that you never loved and still don't. Well, if you didn't love this jewelry when you got it and still don't, what are the chances that you will suddenly "love" it? Pretty slim, right? So, do the right thing and pass this jewelry along so that someone else can love it and wear it. There are many charities that take donations of all sorts of accessories and clothing. Take your pick, gift them your jewelry! It's a win-win.
Bye for now! Next time, let's take a look at your "keeper" jewelry with an eye toward building a perfect "jewelry wardrobe"!
The heart shape has been a part of human culture since the very beginning. It’s found in early cave drawings, though no one is exactly sure what its meaning was then. Ancient Egyptians associated the heart with life and mortality, and for Greek philosophers, the heart represented thought, reason and emotion. Hearts are abundant in the natural world in flowers, fruits, animals, and leaves. In the Middle Ages, heart shaped leaves began to show up in paintings depicting romantic love, and eventually shifted from green to red, a symbolic color of love and passion.
In the modern age, the heart symbol has become one of the most recognized on Earth. It evokes thoughts of love, affection, and loyalty, and is depicted especially at Valentine’s Day on everything from clothing, to stationary and cards, to chocolates and jewelry. The Cherish Collection has captured the heart and essence of its meaning in rings, earrings, and necklaces. The sterling silver wire used to craft these pieces allows for simple and elegant interpretations of the shape, letting it stand on its own. Freshwater pearls, believed on a metaphysical level to inspire love and acceptance, are the perfect match for the hearts in this love-inspired jewelry. Whether your Valentine is a lover, a friend, a daughter, a niece or a granddaughter, she will delight in wearing a piece from the Cherish Collection any time of year.
Some of my newest work. Here is my partial inspiration for these pieces. The truth is that sterling silver is so very expensive, the result being that I have quite expensive jewelry when you look at my bracelets and necklaces. What I have needed to do is design a "line" or a collection of pieces that are in the middle price range, between my earrings, which are roughly $20-$30 and the upper end for bracelets and necklaces. Sterling silver is a must, of course, so the trick is going a bit lighter on the expensive metal and incorporating some other interesting components to round out the design - such as these wonderful freshwater pearls which are just so yummy with sterling silver, IMO! These hit exactly at the price range I was going for - $35-ish for the earrings, under $100 for the bracelet and under $200 for the necklace. Hope you love them!
Well, the fall season is really going by quickly and I am staying very busy with special orders, requests for quotes (wedding and other special occasion pieces), web orders and, last but not least, craft shows! Fall is always a busy time of year for any craftsman/artist but this all is particularly so for me since we have a "new kid in town" with the Lafayette Horse Farm Market. This market is less than an hour from my house and is open EVERY Saturday. That is a serious commitment from the organizers! So, I signed up for a few Saturdays this fall; I do believe now that I have every weekend from now until Christmas booked with shows.
Wanted to share pics of the Festival Acadiens last weekend and a minor disaster. First the pics.
So, here is what happened. Big storm came through unexpectedly Saturday night...we innocently went by to check on the tent after dinner Saturday night (after a long but wonderful day at the festival that day) and, OMG, the top of the tent had peeled back in the storm and it was just pouring rain into our space. HUGE mess but we put the top back in place (in the rain) and arrived early the next morning to clean everything up....including about 2 inches of mud & dirt on our rug. We recovered, had a great show on Sunday - left the tent with a friend in Lafayette! Above right, pics of the tent sides drying out in our backyard after returning home. Oh, man - hope that experience doesn't get repeated anytime soon.......gotta love outdoor craft shows!! Carry on!
So, that's a simple answer. As a little bonus, here is a photo of plated vs. "filled" jewelry. Pretty big difference. If I couldn't get a solid metal, I would go with filled as opposed to plated - easy to see the difference with this photo, right?
Ok, this is an absolutely wonderful way to clean sterling silver using ONLY things you have around the house - no chemicals! yay!!! Best of all, it really does work great. Just to prove it, I did a little experiment this week with some pretty grungy sterling silver jewelry - you can see what I started with at left - nice earrings but boy are they nasty looking! Let's see if we can clean them up a bit! Following are the results of my effort! Click here to see the previous posts on cleaning your jewelry!
WHAT YOU NEED:
1. baking soda
3. aluminum foil
4. boiling water
That's it. You are ready to clean!
Scrunch up the foil (is scrunch a word??) and put it in the bottom of your container. Just make sure the foil is bumpy, NOT smooth. The silver will get cleaned where it touches the foil so you want a lot of "surface" foil for the silver to lay against. With me so far?
Sterling silver on top of the foil - it's kind of hard to see the earrings here but they are laying on top of the foil - sort of nestled down in there - see??
NOW, we get to the fun part. Sprinkle baking soda on top of the jewelry. This is not a science....I am liberal with the soda. Just dump some on - you can add more later! Then pour boiling water on top, just to cover it. It will immediately start to bubbly & fizz & you may smell a sulfur type of smell - getting rid of the oxidation - hurray!! Move the jewelry around a bit with a wooden spoon or chopstick - whatever you have on hand. Remember that it gets cleanest when it comes into contact with the foil. At this point, I let it do it's fizzy thing, then I add a little more water & maybe some more soda - I want it to fizz as much as it can & baking soda is cheap so I keep adding it with water until it stops fizzing & bubbling - then, rinse well and........
WHOA! Check it out! I would probably now use my sweet little Sunshine Polishing Cloth to finish it off but it is not really necessary - these babies are clean & shiny!
So - that's it - so easy, so cheap, so GREEN - Give it a try & let me know your results!! :D
Ok, Bright Idea #3 ------ this is really the simplest of all, although you may have to go buy it; the very easiest way to clean silver back to it's "bright & shiny", like new form, is silver "dip". There are several on the market - easy to find. Jewelry stores & just about any place that sells jewelry sells this stuff & it does work great. HOWEVER, it can damage your silver over time so only use it occasionally. Hagerty's Dip and Spray Polish for sterling silver do a really nice job so, if you want to go the "dipping" route, pick up one of those products & give it a try. Go here to see the final suggestion for cleaning sterling silver jewelry with things you already have on hand!
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Bright Idea #4
This idea is an oldie but a goodie - good old baking soda! Everybody has baking soda around the house & it's good for cleaning all sorts of things, even sterling silver! Make a paste of baking soda and water, rub it GENTLY into the sterling silver piece you are trying to clean, rinse WELL and repeat as needed. You can use your fingers, a soft cloth (cotton is best - think old tee shirt.....) or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Same warning as with some of the other methods - baking soda, used in this way is somewhat abrasive so you don't want to use it often. Next tip includes baking soda but in an entirely different way. Look for it!
"Love your jewelry - how do I keep it clean?"
I get this question often from happy customers - over the next couple of days, I'm going to post about several really good ways to clean silver jewelry or anything else silver. I'll start with the simplest ways & move on to ideas that are slightly (but only slightly) more complicated.
Ok - Here is Bright Idea 1:
Wash your jewelry gently with warm water and soap now & then AND then use a really excellent polishing cloth often to keep the metal really nice & shiny. Personally, I prefer the Sunshine Cloth and here is the reason - it cleans all metals, not just silver. That's right - it cleans silver, copper, brass, even gold (even though you didn't know it was dirty!). You can purchase a Sunshine Cloth here. A free Sunshine Cloth comes with every bracelet or necklace purchase from Laura Teague Jewelry.
Ready? Bright Idea 2:
You can do a pretty good job cleaning your silver using toothpaste -just plain old toothpaste - you have some of that laying around, right?? :D Be sure to use non whitening, non gel toothpaste. Rub it on (and into all the little crevices with your rings, a soft cloth or a soft toothbrush, rinse, repeat as needed. Toothpaste, of course, is slightly abrasive, so you don't want to get too enthusiastic with this nor do you want to do it everyday. But, it does work - give it a try!! Nothing to buy, nothing to lose - see what you think & let me know your results in comments below! Go here for more information about caring for and cleaning your jewelry!
Laura lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and creates jewelry inspired by ancient and contemporary designs and motifs.