Archive for April, 2010

Featured bead: very vogue Vintaj®

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Very vogue Vintaj®

Vintaj findings: natural brass jewelry components at Rings & Things

All the vogue!

We’ve fallen in love with Vintaj. It’s not just that this is a well-known name you can trust. It also has to do with the strikingly high quality of these “natural brass” findings. And the ingenious, carefully worked-out designs

I just have to focus in on a big favorite of mine. (Out of dozens of Vintaj items we’ve added!) There are a number of filigree beads they make that open up like petals, and close again if you want. Imagine the different ways you could use this and similar beads:

Vintaj® round filigree beadsVintaj® round filigree beads (open)

Surf the link at the top of this article to be treated to more great brass than a marching band.

And by the way, we’re adding exclusive designs using Vintaj items in our Design Gallery, so a search there will be rewarding too.

Have a Vintaj favorite? Let us know!

New free technique sheets!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Technique sheets: learn all the hottest jewelry craft tips.  They’re now right in our online store!

Print them right out there, as high-quality PDFs — Or, click to add any technique sheet to your order for free.

Basic technique sheets now offered include these fun fliers:

ITS Image Transfer Solution technique sheetITS™ Image Transfer Solution

Gluing to metal, a technique sheet for jewelry makersGluing to metal

Metal stamping

Epoxy resin

Stamping on resin

And that’s just a sampling.  Check ‘em all out! Grow your business with a new skill or two.

Let us know if you have a request for guidance in the form of other technique sheets…

Featured bead: washers

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Washers may be a new term to some of you…but check out how useful these are!

Washer beads

Your basic washer bead

When you hear about washers in connection with jewelry making, it doesn’t usually mean those flat, round donuts of metal that the hardware store can sell you.

‘Washers’ usually means heishi beads. Rings & Things’ enjoyable Bead Shapes Glossary gives this definition:

heishi: a type of disk bead that is usually flat, but sometimes slightly puffed. Traditionally, this shape was achieved by drilling flat chips, stringing them and then grinding the strand against stone to gradually wear the edges into smooth, flat-edged circles. Pronounced hee-shee, this shape is also known as a wafer, wheel or spacer.

A couple of examples of washers…

Tim Holtz 'Idea-Ology' washer pack

Tim Holtz 'Idea-Ology' washer pack

Copper trade bead washers

Copper trade bead washers

So, now you’ll recognize a washer if you see one. (You could even use a Chinese coin, couldn’t you?)

Well now, what are these washers good for?

Cold connections! Riveted metal jewelry. Steampunk designs.

How do you use washers?

“Round out” your designs

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Rondelles “round out” your designs!

Get the shimmer with a trimmer glimmer…

Suchlike rondelles by CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements are a shape that fits many of your designs where you just can’t roll with ball-shaped round beads.

Head & shoulders above your leader's crystals: robot rondelles
Call ‘em rondelles, roundelles, or rotunds, but they all come in the 6mm and 8mm sizes so popular among robots.  That’s about ¼ inch and inch, American :)

Click on thru to take in the view: a spectacular spectrum of colors is available in “style #5040″!

Only at R&T, only the best: sterling ring blanks

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

They’re a bestseller, but you can only get them here: our featured finding is exclusive, adjustable, sterling ring blanks!

Only at R&T, only the best!

Only at R&T, only the best!

As a wise colleague says, “Don’t settle for gumball-machine quality rings.” While these ring blanks are affordable, they make for a pro look, resulting in upscale jewelry of your own making.

Four of these R&T-exclusive ring forms have gluing pads that are textured for the securest possible bond with your baubles. In contrast, the bezel cup styles shown here are tailor-made for adding cutout images and for “resin-ating”.

Eager for more options? While you’re with us, also check out new styles of silver-plated rings and our full line of finger ring blanks.

Some ideas for using R&T’s ring blanks:

Get a great look easily. Glue a glass cabochon or other handmade bauble onto your ring blank:

"Blue On Blue" Ring

"Blue On Blue" Ring

Bezel-cup ring blanks make wonderful showcases for your handmade glass, cutout images (paper), and cast resin designs, among other things:

"The Grass is Always Greener" Ring

"The Grass is Always Greener" Ring

Get all medieval with a gemstone–it doesn’t take any sorcery:

"Saxon Shield" Ring

"Saxon Shield" Ring

You might enjoy checking out the rest of our Rings & Things exclusives

Two great inspirations

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Two great inspirations! You may have seen these in recent magazines…

Here’s a pair of creations by R&T jewelry designer Mollie Valente and graphic designer Selina Shehan:

Click for fullsize version!

Click for fullsize version!

The ad above features a necklace called (click the title to view a guide to making one) Cross my Heart.  Below is another of Mollie’s necklaces, As the Crow Flies.

Click to see the big version

Click to see the big version

Did you know?  Rings & Things ads often feature jewelry from our Design Gallery, where you can learn how to make each design — and shop for the components “with a click”.

Spring supplement

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Coming to a mailbox near you:

The Spring 2010 supplement, from Rings & Things!

Click to browse. Go on!

Click to browse...and shop!

Not only is the “Spring supp” pretty, it’s packed with great new stuff!

Just randomly picking neat things I see in the supp, we bring you banded agate slabs, red creek jasper, shell pearls, donut holders, BeadAligners, a snazzy zebra-striped tool set, and (pause to breathe) tons of neat new designs showcasing our new items!

Plus, we’ve put an electronic version online.  Use your mouse to “flip” through the pages, and click right on each item that you want.  It gets added to your R&T shopping cart, just like that.

Do check it out — and come back here to tell me what you think!

It’s 40 pages of fun shopping for beads and jewelry-making supplies.  Don’t miss it!

Trade beads on CNN?

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

As seen on CNN:

There was a really neat story on CNN the other day about how traditional beads are making a comeback in Ghana (West Africa).


There were several interesting points made by Ghanaians interviewed in the story.

• Wearing beads is seen as enhancing one’s femininity.

• The Ghanaian bead industry is a good example of recycling. It turns soft-drink bottles into wearable art! (Learn about more recycled glass beads.)

• Each bead color has a traditional meaning: gold for wealth, blue for purity, and more.

Rings & Things’ confessed bead addict / owner, Russ Nobbs, had a few observations about the story:

“Many of the Ashanti powder glass beads we carry in the ‘African and trade bead‘ category are the sort shown in the video.

“The multicolored beads shown in the video include a lot of ‘writing method’ beads where plain beads are decorated with ceramic colorants to resemble old European and African beads. This technique has expanded in both quality and variety in recent years.

Powder glass beads are often referred to as ‘sand beads’ although they are not made from sand. Instead, they are made from crushed and powdered glass fused or sintered into beads. The powder glass industry is an important source of income for this area of Ghana.”

You’ll find plenty of glass African and trade beads in Rings & Things’ online store, as well as at our popular BeadTour bead shows. You may also enjoy our offerings of metal and natural-material beads from Africa!