Monday, August 24, 2009

Squeaky Clean Jewelry

We all want to keep our beatiful baubles in tip top shape. Whether you are selling or buying jewelry it's always a good idea to know how to clean your metals and stones so your investments don't go down the drain!

A little bit of care goes a long way in keeping your jewelry looking its best. Here is some helpful cleaning info you should know:

Soap will cause a dulling film to form on gold jewelry so always remove before bathing. Chlorine bleach and other harsh chemicals can damage or discolor this precious metal so never wear your jewelry when cleaning your home, doing laundry or swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
To clean, you have a few options. Mix a few drops of ammonia with water and gently scrub piece with a soft bristle toothbrush. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth. There are also many commercial cleaners available. Have a soft chamois cloth at hand to give your piece some extra polish.

When wearing silver avoid chlorinated water and harsh chemicals.
To store, wrap individual pieces in a soft cloth or place in a tarnish-preventive bag to prevent scratches and exposure to light and air which can cause it to tarnish.
To clean, use a mild soap and water solution and pat dry with a soft cloth.

Platinum jewelry is quite durable but it can still be scratched. A professional cleaning twice a year will keep it looking new. Store separately or wrapped in tissue to avoid touching other jewelry.
Though a diamond is one of the hardest substances known to man it can still be chipped by a harsh blow so avoid wearing when it could get hit or damaged. Also, remove diamond jewelry before doing any housework involving chlorine bleach or other harsh chemicals since they can damage the setting and cause you to lose your stone. Always remove before swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
To clean, combine ammonia and water in a small bowl. Dip jewelry in the solution and use a soft toothbrush to gently dislodge dirt from under the setting. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry.

After each wearing, wipe pearls carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of makeup, perfume or hair spray which may have transferred to your jewelry. Always apply any beauty product before putting on pearls. If necessary wash with mild soap and water as anything harsher can damage them.
Pearls are soft and can be easily scratched by other jewelry so always wrap in tissue or place in a chamois bag before putting away. Also, have your pearls restrung by a professional jeweler once a year. The knots between each pearl prevents loss if the string should ever break.

Colored Gemstones
Don't expose gemstones to salt water, harsh chemicals, hair spray and fragrance which can harm the surface of your stone. Always apply cosmetics and beauty products before putting on jewelry. After removing, wipe thoroughly with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth to keep stones from losing their luster and store individually in soft pouches. Also, try to avoid sudden temperature changes and activities where the stone could be damaged from a blow.
Consult your jeweler on the care of your particular gemstone. Most gemstones should not be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners. Instead, use a mild soap and water solution and a soft toothbrush.

Fashion Jewelry
Jeweler's cement and glue is used to create many fashion pieces. Never soak in water or use commercial or ultrasonic cleaners. Instead, gently wipe with a damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth before putting away.

-Don't store your jewelry together where it can be scratched or become tangled.
-Don't wear your jewelry when doing the laundry.
-Don't wear your jewelry while doing cleaning with chemicals or doing heavy lifting.
-Don't wear your jewelry when going from one extreme temperature to another.
-Do visit your jeweler every 1-2 years to make sure the settings are secure.
-Do put your jewelry on after you've applied your body lotions, hair spray and cosmetics.
*If you're still uncertain about a particular piece see your local jeweler for advice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Miss Piggy's Diamond Ring

I wanted to share this crazy story with you all......
Last week, Anne Moon, a British grandmother lost a diamond when she went to pet a 10 week old pig named Ginger. Ginger evidently thought she was offering something tasty. Mrs. Moon said she was petting the piglet at the Easingwold Maize Maze Farm, near York, England, when the swine used its mouth to slip off her beloved jewel. It clamped its mouth around her hand and swallowed the biggest diamond off her $2500 ring! The ring was a gift from her husband thirty years ago and so had great sentimental value. The upset Mrs Moon said, "If the pig wasn't so dirty I think we would have put him in the back of the car and taken him home!" So the farmer who owns the pig had to wait for nature to take its course. It's not like looking for a needle in a haystack. It's looking for a small gem in a pile of pig poo. Carefully. Without breathing. No word whether he succeeded or not....

This has me wondering...What would it take for me to sift through a big pile of piggy poop? It has to be a extremely important personal belonging, I'm sure about that!

I'm also wondering how many of you would get your hands dirty? Think of your most prized posession...would you sort through pig poo for it?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ode to the Plastic Pink Flamingo

This weekend,while at my parents house celebrating my Father's birthday, I noticed the plastic pink creature in their garden (It was a joke gift my brother had given to my mom a few years back). It got me wondering about the fascination people have for this American icon. The story I found to be very interesting, so I thought I would share it with you!

Love them or hate them, the plastic pink flamingo is an American icon that is here to stay. This easily recognized piece of lawn art began its history in 1957, when they were first created by Don Featherstone (fitting name, Huh?) of Union Products in Leominster, Massachusetts."Phoenicoptertis rubber plasticus"; a new avian species otherwise known as... The Plastic Pink Flamingo! He used photographs from a National Geographic for his design. The original design called for detailed wooden legs, but they proved to be too costly and were replaced by the metal ones still seen today.

The late 1950’s just happened to be perfect timing for the flamingo. America was moving to the suburbs. Industry was convincing America that a natural lawn was one that was mowed and treated with chemicals. And, every lawn needed a lawn ornament! Pink was the hot color...from refrigerators to cadillacs! The pink flamingo stood for two things, wealth and pizzazz. Anyone who could afford to vacation in Florida had one! And so the frenzy began!

The 1960’s were not as friendly to the pink flamingo. There was a rebellion against everything man made. It was a time to go back to nature. The plastic flamingo quickly became the prototype of bad taste and anti-nature.

By 1970, even Sears had removed the pink-feathered bird from its catalog. It looked like our fake-feathered friend’s days were numbered. But time was on this bird's side. Some people just love to do things that annoy people. You know: If you are not supposed to do something, you do it just to annoy others. If pink flamingos were the ultimate in bad taste, then people were sure to place them on their lawn to bug their neighbors. And they did so in great numbers.

In 198o's, Miami Vice kicked the sales of pink flamingos into full throttle and today they are sold for just about every purpose. They are purchased for use as wedding decorations, housewarming gifts, and as replacements for reindeer at Christmas time. Some people actually even travel with their pink flamingos. The plastic birds go camping, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking! Entire web sites are devoted to the travels of these artificial creatures.

Would I put pink flamingos in my garden? No.... Never. Okay..okay....I did, once! Then I decided they're too tacky and plasticky for my taste. But I have to admit, when I see them in other people's gardens or lawns, they make me smile. Their sheer absurdness amuses me I guess. (But please, people, keep them on your own side of the :) )

I have a funny feeling we ALL have a personal story to share about these "Pink Embassadors" of the yard!
What's your story? We could all use a smile, so share it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Picture Perfect!!

With the growing trend of online sites to sell your handmade goods from the comfort of your home comes the compelling question of.."How do I take a great picture of my designs?" Yes, ladies, not only have you started your own "niche" in the beading world but now you have to become a professional photographer too? NO, Don't worry, you can do it!!

Jewelry is one of the most difficult objects to photograph. Reflections, Shadows, and Lighting are just some of the biggest problems, when taking pictures of your homemade goods. But with these tips you'll have others asking how do you get those great photo's?

Step 1
First, you must understand your camera features. It will be MUCH easier to take pictures of jewelry if you have a good macro zoom. This will make your pictures crisp and clear, and not blurry. This macro zoom is usually defined by a little silhouette/icon of a tulip or flower and is used most often for close-up pictures of small objects. Turn this feature on if you have it.

Step 2
You'll also want to purchase a tripod to take jewelry photographs. A tripod is important for holding your camera steady. This allows your images to come out sharp and clear. You may think you can get by without one, but even taking a shallow breath during jewelry photography can cause the camera to shake, ruining your beautiful image. Tripods are generally quite reasonable in price and can often be found for under $30.00.
Step 3
Many people are tempted to use the flash because they think it will make their beads and/or diamonds shine brighter. And they couldn't be any more wrong. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT ever use the flash. Natural light is your best bet. Although it isn't extremely consistent, with flash all you will get is ugly reflections and darkened backgrounds.

Step 4
Choose a background. It can be a piece of a material or a piece of scrap-booking paper. A light pattern is perfectly fine, but make sure that when you put the jewelry item on the background, that the background doesn't take away from the item. Some people prefer a solid background. It can even be the traditional black, white, blue, or red.

Step 5
Now the hardest part, lighting! Lighting is a very big obstacle during photography like this. The best light, like I said before, is natural light, but if you live in the north pole where there is no light 10 out of the 12 months, than you have no choice. The best artificial lighting is a natural sunlight bulb. Never use fluorescent lights, as they tint everything green and tend to make things appear darker. Some people may purchase and use a "lightbox" or
make their own. It provides a soft, all-around light source that will help you eliminate shadows while still giving you the perfect coloring and they are very inexpensive.

Step 6
Haha! the fun begins! Turn on that macro, make sure the light is even, and shoot away! Do all different angles. From the side, from the top, the bottom, the chain, the gems, everything. Don't even think about it. Just shoot. Take around 15 shots for each piece because it's guaranteed that you will not use half of them.

Step 7
After you've taken your pictures, don't delete any of them directly off of your camera just yet. Take time to look at them on a bigger screen, your computer monitor, that is. Go into your editing program and brighten, change the tone, or sharpen your photos if need be.

Step 8
Ta Da! And Happy Selling!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beading Charts "SMARTS"

When buying beads for a specific design it is important to be sure that you have purchased an adequate amount of each bead to complete your design. There is nothing worse than having nearly completed a project and finding out that you need more of a certain bead! UGGHHH!!!!...kinda makes you lose your inspiration, huh ladies? I know we've ALL been there!
Often you will find that the item is no longer available or, you may be able to order more, but it is not an exact match. Gemstones, because they are natural, will always vary from strand to strand. If you are working with vintage items, these are very limited and because they are vintage we are not always able to get more. If an item is dyed it is important to remember that the color may vary from one dye lot to another. I believe that it is always better to have a little left over, than to find yourself in a situation where you are unable to complete your design. Actually, isn't it great to find out that you have enough left over to make a pair of earrings! My motto, One can never have too many earrings!
I thought this "Beads per Inch" chart might come in handy to you all. It gives you a better idea of exactly how many beads you'll need by the size bead and length of your desgn. Hope you find it helpful!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Handy "TIPS" on Storing your Jewelry


1. Never hang threaded, or knotted pieces.

Silks and stringing wires have a life span, and nearly all jewelry made with these mediums will have to be restrung one day. Hanging these kinds of jewelry will speed up the rate at which the silk or stringing wire stretches, and you may find they break or lose shape much faster. Instead lay them out flat on a soft velvet, or cushioned surface. If possible, try to lay them out rounded, as though they were being worn. This will reduce the chances of kinks.

2. Chain and wire jewelry

Chain and wire jewelry, or designs that are prone to tangling should be hung up. You won't end up with a nasty tangle of chain in your jewelry boxes, and you won't risk bending the wire wraps.

3. Earrings should be hung if possible.

Again, there's less risk of tangles, and you won't find yourself with a drawer full of singles if you always keep them together. And earring stand is obviously the best choice, but you can be quite creative with storage. A vase or glass makes an excellent stand: just hang wire around the edges. For posts, try punching small holes in a piece of card with a nail, then tape the card to a stand, cup or something strong enough to hold it upright so the earrings can hang once attached. If you don't want to punch holes, buy some cheap notebooks with spiral spines, and gently untwist the spines. Plastic covers will last better, but card will work fine too.

4. Do you need to transport your jewelry while you travel or move?

Buy some plastic zip lock bags and store each piece individually to avoid tangling. The air tight bag will also stop tarnishing, meaning your jewelry will look just a good when you unpack it. For fine chains, delicate earrings and other pieces that will tangle on their own, catch the hooks of earrings, or the clasp of necklaces over the top of the bag before zipping it closed. It should be caught securely in the zip, and you jewelry should now be safe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What makes YOU feel like "Queen of the Castle?"

I came across this pic from a trip my Husband and
I went on to Ogunquit, Maine.It always brings a smile
to my face and reminds me of a poem.......

"Queen of the Castle"

I dug in the sand and I carefully made
A big sand castle with my pail and spade.
I felt like a queen in a golden crown
Until the blue sea washed my sand castle down.
So I dug again in that sandy shore
Until I had a bigger castle and was queen once more!
-Author Unknown

So Ladies, ask yourselves...what make you
feel like a queen? And when you figure it
out...make the time and treat yourself however
foolish it may seem. Do it for yourself!
You deserve it!

More BLING for your "CHA CHING!"

This one goes out to all those smart shopping beadaholiques!
Swarovski, that staple name we all love and trust for high quality and blingability, is improving their bicone bead. Yes, my friends, more bang for the buck! CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements introduces the NEW 5328 Xilion bicone bead, which will be replacing the discontinued 5301 bicone beads! The 5301 and 5328 bicone beads are designed to be used interchangeably, as their dimensons and geometry are complementary.
CRYSTALLIZED™Swarovski Elements will transition one color at a time as their supply runs low. During this transition period, if the 5301 bicone beads is not available, the new 5328 Xilion bicone will ship in its place. Gemorama will be one of the first US suppliers to receive the new 5328 Xilion bicone beads!! So get out your beading wire and slip on your sunglasses! These beads are high fashion flashin' !!

5328 Xilion bicone bead offers:
• Unique Xilion brilliance
• Increased number of facets
• Alternating large and small facets
• Higher brilliance and intense light reflection
• Slightly rounder girdle for added comfort in wearability

Are you "Hip" with what the "little birdy" told you?

I have recently found myself in the "Twitter" Universe and I am fastly learning the lingo.The unbelievable response we have had in such a short time is overwhelming! It's a marketing genius! Really, Beading Diva's, if you don't have a twitter should definately look into signing up for one! It can definately help you sell your creations...especially if you have an Etsy or Artfire account. You can link it to your twitter account and promote yourself everywhere! Don't fear, you don't have to be a computer wiz, it's simple to set up....AND..... All the cool beaders are doing it! Happy tweeting!

Our Goal

"The Need for Beads" Blog is here to keep you informed and hopefully bring a little sunshine to your day! I will bring you info on new products, current trends, Gemorama news, upcoming sales, feature and explain certain items, talk about daily tidbits I come across, give you advice about what I've learned along the way and well, probably blab about things that happen on the weekend in my daily life or someone I know! You might even get some jokes, quotes or thoughts of the day. Whatever the content, it is sure to keep you entertained and informed! So check back often. You'll be happy you did!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Look Mom..I'm Blogging!!

So...I find myself delving into yet another project here at Gemorama... A Blog!!

I am a glutten for punishment but, don't get me wrong...I am the typical "overachiever" and have noone to blame but myself for such chaos. By the way, did I mention...I love new adventures! I must admit, I feel like I'm back in junior high and I have to get in front of the entire class and read my essay....sweaty palms, heart pounding, trembling "jello" legs, everyone watching and listening to ME...What if I mess up? What if people don't like what I say? What if my content isn't interesting or cool enough? Will I be a total failure?....................
Then I think of a famous quote by W.C. Fields: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it!"

Hope you take this journey with me...................