Archive for December, 2008

Red Tag Sale: 30% off

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Update: Red Tag Sale extended through Jan. 9th!  Full information.

Monday & Tuesday, December 29-30, Rings & Things is having its big annual Red Tag Sale with 30% off items so marked.  Monday started off with a sequel to the snowstorms that we’ve been treated to for a couple of weeks, but the snow has let up.  So come down to the warehouse at 304 E. 2nd in Spokane from 10am-6pm!

One bonus of the snowstorm was that our Photo Grrrl (Val) got a great shot of Frank snow-blowing our parking lot.  It captures the season!

What do turquoise and chrysoprase have in common?

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Both are birthstones of December.  (It depends on which tradition you’re following!)  They span a surprising range of colors you can pick from to brighten someone’s short solstice days!

Chrysoprase, a.k.a. Australian jade, has long been associated with magical powers, from invisibility to being able to understand lizards, not to mention generally balancing one’s mental and emotional state.  It comes in colors from shampoo-green to tan-veined to lemony.  The latter (lemon chrysoprase) is by far the most often available from Rings & Things.  You can find this stone in a variety of pleasing bead shapes, from nuggety chips to cubes,  and from rounds to donuts. 

Turquoise needs little introduction.  Here at Rings & Things we carry several types of turquoise at reasonable prices.  Let’s just take a short tour through a few of these varieties.  There’s Kingman (Arizona) heishi, African turquoise crosses, carved Chinese “double joy” beads,

and (I think literally) tons more in our warehouse.  You’ll have a fine time browsing these under “turquoise” in the Gemstone Beads section of our online store!

P.S.: we don’t carry much ruby or sapphire, two other traditional December birthstones, but here’s a tip.  Go to our store (the “Our Products” section of our site), and search for either of these stone names.  You’ll be brought to a vast selection of beads that aren’t made of gemstone, but which match these colors.  For example, there are some great ruby-colored resin beads and sapphire-colored Swarovski crystals.  Warning: Some of these hues complement each other very nicely.  You might find yourself inspired to combine the various December birthstones into a single design!

Thanks once again to Bruce G. Knuth for his great book “Jeweler’s Resource: A Reference of Gems, Metals, Formulas and Terminology for Jewelers“, which provided some of the information above.  Check it out, it’s a staff favorite at Rings & Things!

On a completely unrelated note, I can’t resist slipping in this impromptu Christmas tree put together by one of our staff on a coffee break.  Hope you enjoy the lighthearted use of Rings & Things stock!  (Can you spot each item?)

Happy holidays!

Jewelry organizing tools from Rings & Things

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Are your beads escaping?  Are your tools AWOL?  We feel your pain!  The end-of-year holidays, and those winter days when you just want to stay in, are a great time to pause and re-organize your jewelry-making stuff.  Let’s check out some helpful antidotes to the insanity.

Beadsmith’s six-compartment storage container not only corrals those beads and findings, but can actually add a neat design element to your work area.  Check out this picture to see what I mean:

If you’re inclined to arrange things carefully enough, you may wind up with some cool color wheels!

A more linear arrangement option is the Bead Caddy, available in various sizes.  Here’s what the 13-compartment one looks like:

These stack up nicely, leaving extra shelf space for other items!

And speaking of space conservation, we also carry Beadsmith’s two-sided storage container, shown here:

This one is nice and portable, since it’s got a suitcase-style handle.  It opens up from either side to maximize ease of access to your stuff!

A similar design that includes a bonus in the form of a built-in stringing board for designing on the go is the Bead Buddy:

Stay tuned for more great bead organizing tools from Rings & Things!

Unique African art is 20% off at R&T

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Through January 1, 2009, Rings & Things presents an African art sale. Get 20% off a wide array of African carvings, pendants and beads at Rings & Things. These unique handmade wall hangings, figurines, finished jewelry and more make great gifts! Plus, find a selection of African metal beads & pendants.

Look for the yellow & red sale icon next to items in our store. Your savings will be visible on your check-out summary (before entering payment info)!

Traditional African arts offer glimpses into a rich variety of cultures. From ceremonial masks

to elaborately beaded belts/wall hangings

…and from finished jewelry to baskets and more, you’re sure to find a variety of unique gifts for holiday giving—or for any time of year!

Handwoven baskets make a great gift-wrap or display option. Plus, choose from a selection of sale metal pendants like these brass fetishes from Ghana

…and beaded necklaces like this one from Ethiopia…

So travel on over to the African-art sale in our online store, and pick up a souvenir or two!

Details:

  • Sale is limited to stock on hand – no backorders will be given the sale price.
  • You can use a road-show free shipping coupon with a sale order.
  • You cannot combine sale prices with other discounts, including assortability.
  • Normal minimum-order and other fees apply.
  • Within the sale’s time frame, order as often as you’d like (by phone, fax or online store).
  • If discount codes don’t appear at the bottom of your summary page during checkout, type the code SALE8LT-20 and click “recalculate” before continuing to payment.
  • For notification of future sales, subscribe to our email sale flyers.

Making time for the holidays

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Before things get too hectic, we want to take a moment to wish you, our readers and customers, the very best this holiday season.  Without you we’re nothing!  Here’s a holiday card from us to you.  It features our famous bead in the likeness of our owner Russ:

Why not stretch the holiday theme a bit, and share one last picture from our employee Halloween costume contest.  Russ is featured here too, dressed up as the Russ bead…

Wishing you a fine winter, rewarding holidays, and coziness all around,

–Dave and the Rings & Things bunch

Stylish new black-lip shell pendants

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Black lip shell from French Polynesia (think Tahiti) has just arrived in our store to heat up your jewelry designs.  With deep-gray to black coloring and occasional white sections, this shell also can exhibit a greenish color or a full rainbow. Black mother of pearl, as it’s also known, is most likely to be cut from a special black-lipped mollusk known as the pinctada margaritifera oyster.  It naturally secretes a black pigment that, depending on the quantity, gives a resulting dark color shading to these gorgeous pendants.

Among the new arrivals is a convex (bent) collar
carved with a floral flourish.  It’s 2 inches by 3.8 inches, and as you can see
it will make a really nice centerpiece pendant.

We’ve also added a Celtic knot pendant, just shy of 2 inches across.  It’s carved in openwork style, with plenty of loops so you can attach it at one or more points depending on the style of your design.

Stylized dragons have also arrived.  Also openwork, these have a nice light lacy feel, considering they’re also 2 inches across!  Like the previous item, this one could be used as a link / connector if that strikes your fancy.

I’ll leave you with one last style of these new black-lip shell focal pieces, a real South Seas starfish (sea star).  This pendant has a 1.5-2mm hole (that’s about 1/16 of an inch), and a fairly intricate carved design on the surface.

We think you’ll enjoy the lustrous shimmer and warmth of these new black-lip shell pieces.  They’ve come along at a great time to brighten up winter for you and for your clients!

Growing your craft jewelry business (part 1)

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Sometimes, some extra money is really welcome.  Make that “all of the time”.  And sometimes you’re tempted to take the leap into being your own boss.  In both cases, a sensible option is to turn your craft jewelry into a business.  Today let’s start talking about helpful resources for growing that business.

(In honor of our readers’ interests, let’s say you can go from a tiny seed bead to a giant trade bead.)  :-)

There are several good books available to guide you from the first steps through the more advanced stages.  Let’s look over a few of them…

If you consider yourself a beginner at jewelry making, you’ll get a lot out of Jewelry Making & Beading for Dummies.  Just don’t take the title personally.  One thing that recommends this book is that it’s part of the respected “For Dummies” series.  Another is that it’s written by veteran crafters Heather Dismore and Tammy Powley.  And best of all, it’s filled with countless friendly, clear tips on every aspect of jewelry making, including chapters on launching your own business.  This is a great all-around resource for jewelry crafters, and makes a fine stocking stuffer.

Viki Lareau has written another really helpful book that’s an official Rings & Things Staff Pick.  It’s Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry, subtitled the Complete Guide to Turning Your Passion into Profit.  A glossy, relatively compact 94 pages long, this little volume covers every conceivable detail of building your reputation, pricing your work, and keeping things growing.  Viki provides very specific points of advice, each in very few words, so every page distills her years of experience into readable form.

Plan ahead — once you’re in business you can save a lot of headaches by setting everything down in black and white.  Business and Legal Forms for Crafts, by arts lawyer Tad Crawford, contains both printed and CD-ROM versions of documents you’ll use for every need.  From copyrighting your creations, to leasing space, to setting up agreements to sell through a distributor, it’s all here.  Every document is customizable to your exact needs, making it easy for you to run a professional business without hassles.

These three books are a good start on getting your craft jewelry business up and running smoothly. Stay tuned; we’ll come back and explore a wide range of resources for turning your hobby (or passion) into a career!

(Part 2: Newsletters)

Gifts that won’t burn a hole in your wallet

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Some like it hot.  Not content to just string beads, some folks need to fire up a kiln to create metal-clay wonders.  Some get their kicks with torches and lampworking.  Others fuse glass.

You know that person.  Reading the Rings & Things blog, there’s a good chance you are that person.  But the rest of us are stuck with the burning question, what’s the hot holiday present for one of these fiery types?  To buy something special enough for a flameworker, will the old wallet wind up with a hole burned through it?  Rings & Things has a couple of new ideas to fuel your gift-giving.

On the lighter side (pardon the pun, and please don’t send any flame emails), we’ve introduced a cute new license-plate frame for your special flame.  Emblazoned with the slogan “Plays with FIRE”, this lightweight plastic frame is a fun personal statement, and advertisement, for the crafter.

Another great gift for the hot-blooded is our four new Art Clay(TM) Silver kits.  Each of these sets provides a great new way to apply designs to metal-clay pieces.  There’s an enameling kit:

For a more hands-off approach, there’s the photopolymer stamp kit:

The silver overlay paste kit lets you add silver stencils and more to ceramic or glass:

And the UV resin kit lets you embellish metal-clay pieces with vibrant color in minutes:

So brighten up someone’s holidays, whether it’s with a car decoration or a kit for exploring a new silver-clay technique!

–Dave
at Rings & Things