Archive for August, 2009

Featured bead: Hollow sterling beads

Friday, August 28th, 2009

“Hollow” means a lot of different things when you talk about beads and findings.  Let’s look at hollow sterling beads…

Hollow sterling silver beads all have one thing in common — they’re light in weight and they’re more affordable than solid silver beads.

  • There are organic-shaped hollow sterling nugget beads.  They’re hollow because they’re a continuous surface like a pebble, only empty inside:
hollow sterling nugget beads


hollow silver roller beads


  • Silver teapot charms are hollow because they’re shaped like a real teapot, with room inside for a tiny drink:
hollow 3-D silver teapot charm


If you really think about it, “hollow” could mean even more things…how about those deeply pockmarked lava beads?  Leave a comment to suggest more ideas about hollow beads!

Dapping tools and why you need them

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Do you use metal clay?  (Like Art Clay Silver and Gold.)  Or metal sheet?

dapping tool set

If you do metalwork, making a smooth finished product is a major goal.  Dapping punches with their ball-shaped ends are a huge help.  They’re used to “dome” metal.  (So some call them “doming punches”.)  Think of adding depth to pendants…or making each half of your own unique bead!

“Dappling” punches (as we’ve also seen them called) are usually used in an affordable set with another dapping tool

dapping block

Dapping blocks are a block of wood or steel with domes (half-spheres) of various sizes indented into the sides.

You just place the metal, or metal clay, against one of the dimples in the dapping block.  Then you work it smooth, rounding it by “dapping” at it with the punch.

Dapping blocks are also wonderful for forming a domed filigree, as Mara Marlow did in her “Eglantyne” necklace for the Rings & Things Your Designs Rock design contest:

Domed filigrees made with a dapping block

Domed filigrees made with a dapping block

Share dapping ideas — leave a comment!

Happy alabaster anniverary, Rings & Things

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

I found a website that says your 37th is your alabaster anniversary…

mint alabaster

Happy anniversary to Rings & Things!  We celebrated our 37th “birthday” this last weekend.  It was a big, fun bash.  I wanted to share a couple quick photos!

A wire-wrapping demo with the EuroTool ladies

A Wubbers & wire (wrapping) demo with the EuroTool ladies

Visitors took in lots of demos: wire-wrapping, SoftFlex stringing with Sara, and metal-stamping “make & takes”.

Finding fun Czech beads was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel...

Finding fun Czech beads was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel...

We had absolutely piles of great new beads that you haven’t seen in our catalog!

Dyed composite magnesite beads were an attention-getter!

Dyed composite magnesite beads were an attention-getter!

For another fun perspective on Rings & Things’ big event, read SoftFlexGirl Sara’s blog…and mark your calendar for 2010 for our tourmaline anniversary.  (I think we can provide some special anniversary beads for that one!)

…Got a jones to check our shows?  If you live near Rochester, Boston, New Haven, northern New Jersey or Philadelphia, put in your name to be our Guest Bead Helper the last week of September!

Start conversations…about your craft jewelry

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

From a thread of conversation over at Twitter.  Thanks, tweeter friends!

Craft business tip (1):  Always carry your business cards with you.

Craft business tip (2):  Wear your craft jewelry wherever you go.

Craft business tip (1+2=3):  Wear your jewelry and hand out your business cards.  It’s amazing how many people have told me about someone approaching them asking “Where did you get that great jewelry? Oh my gosh, you made it??”  The next step from there is obvious: snag a new customer.

Craft business tip (3+1=4):  Make a t-shirt that artfully invites, “Ask me about my jewelry!”  How about a button too?

Ask me about my etsy store

Ask me about my etsy store!

It works.

Share a story about “conversation starters” that led to sales–leave a comment!

Love our bead shows? Win a ‘Guest Bead Helper’ job!

Monday, August 10th, 2009

If you live in the Northeast USA and can attend one of our late September bead shows, you could be a winner!

We’re scouting for our first-ever Guest Bead Helper!  You could be an honorary BeadTour bead-show worker, with all the fame and glory that come with that honor.

Who set that table so nicely?

Who set that table so nicely?

For our first foray into roadie recruiting, we’re looking for someone who can say “Yes” to all of these questions:

  • Can you leave a comment below, to enter?
  • Can you attend one of these bead shows?
  1. Rochester on Sept. 24
  2. Boston on Sept. 26
  3. New Haven on Sept. 27
  4. East Hanover NJ on Sept. 29
  5. Philadelphia on Sept. 30
  • Can you “set tables” with trays of beads?
  • Will you let us buy you lunch and give you a goodie tote?

Other perks of the “job” include meeting our friendly crew and getting a behind-the-scenes look at how bead shows are put together — not to mention getting to start bead shopping before we open the doors to the public!

PS:  It’s a bonus if you’re an active Facebook-er, Twitter-er or blogger.  We’d love it if you talked online about your roadie experience!

We’ll announce our winner on Wednesday, September 16th. Good luck to everyone who enters the drawing!

So enter by leaving a note below…mention which city you’d like to help us in!

R&T follows the Yellow Brick Road

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Also known as Garland Street (in Spokane)!

Two Rings & Things artisans are featured in an art show celebrating the 70th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz”.  Appropriately held at the stalwart Tinman Gallery in Spokane, this OzVitational exhibit showcases artists’ unique takes on the legacy of Dorothy and friends.

Sondra Barrington, our Sales manager by day, mixed found objects with quality vintage-feel findings for a steampunk bracelet titled “Flying Monkeys”.  Like a wearable video clip (from the scariest part of the film!), this piece sports stills from the classic movie transferred onto copper stamping blanks.


When monkeys fly out of film onto charms!

Some R&T stock used in the bracelet:
…and some Tim Holtz Idea-Ology items, plus a “cash & carry” strand of smoky quartz nuggets as sold at Rings & Things road shows and in our showroom.

Kurt (Metalman) Madison is our Art Clay Silver certified expert.  He and partner Margot Casstevens created a collaborative print/sculpture/jewelry piece that the Inlander newspaper called

“one-of-a-kind pendants — ruby slippers, a yellow brick road, the heart so sought after by Tinman himself — hang[ing] from inside their gray weathered box. A knothole in the wood becomes the “O” for Oz and the wood itself is said to be from Dorothy’s Kansas farmhouse…if you let yourself drift to where childlike wonder lives, you can almost believe.”


The exterior of Kurt & Margot's "OZ BOX"

Many other gifted artists are in the show, too.  So if you’re in Spokane any time this month, head to the Garland District for a visual treat!

Big contest, lots of winners!

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Announcing the lucky winners of our ‘Review a Product’ contest

Pick. Buy. Review!

Pick. Buy. Review!

  • Mara Nesbitt-Aldrich
  • Maneki
  • Christy Minnis
  • Jody Blackwell
  • Dawno

Congratulations!  Each of you was randomly selected to win a $50 Rings & Things gift certificate. Just get in touch with me (Dave) on Twitter or Facebook to claim your prize.

Thanks to the dozens of you who entered, and be sure to keep reviewing items in our online store. Did you know?…according to a Nielsen poll, most people trust product reviews as the most reliable source of information about an item they’re thinking of buying online.

September’s birthstone as a trade bead!

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Carnelian is an established birthstone for September.

I’ll let you browse our awesome stock of carnelian beads at your leisure…but before you click that link, let’s focus on a rarity: a carnelian trade bead.

Carnelian cubes - a rare tradebead treat!

Carnelian cubes - a rare tradebead treat!

You don’t see these every day, even if you’re an African-bead connoisseur.  Five corner-cut beads to the strand, a reasonable price, and the joy of finding something really unique!

Have a favorite birthstone bead choice for September babies?  Talk about it in a comment!