Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I've been BUSY!!!!

Hello Folks! Lest you think I've been slacking off by watching game shows and eating bon-bons, I've been BUSY!!! I am launching my first wholesale line this summer, and just got my sample pieces back from the caster. Here's my loot:

I'm now midway through assembling my sample set in order to photograph for line sheets, so I can take my show out on the road and get orders with retail stores. I spent hours cleaning, soldering on bezels and findings, oxidizing, connecting, and setting stones. New pieces will be released soon- watch this space!!!

Those of you familiar with my work and blog know that I make a lot of spinner rings (see above pic). They sell well and are made with patterned silver with a spinning band of Australian opals. To be honest, to be able to wholesale these rings and get the price down so I can offer them at a low enough price, I looked into using lab opal 'stones' instead. You all know I love using natural stones, but honestly those lab opals are gosh darn pretty. And seeing how no one is going to retire on the the sale of these rings, why not try to find some measure of cost-savings that still is aesthetically equal to the original?

Sometimes an artist has to make these kind of judgement calls... it definitely tugs on my moral heartstrings, but I decided to try the lab opals out on some new earrings designs I just got back from the caster. And these pretty stones are 1/10th the cost of the natural stones. 

So this was the sample panel of lab opal colors I received from the manufacturer. Not a lot of naturalistic choices, are there? Still, I chose about 10 colors to try, and then did a sample panel of all of them:

I laid down 4 stones of each color, starting at the left with natural opal. My goal was to match the natural variations of the natural stones, so I was prepared to use a number of colors, mixed together to best emulate natural opal.

I decided on the above color combination. I would mix equal amounts of the above 4 colors, and set them in place to see how they compared:

The first thing I did was to prepare the earring- I used a black Sharpie to darken the inside track where the stones would be epoxied into place. Opals really look best against a dark background.

Then I randomly placed the stones, and compared the color variations and tones to a spinner ring made with natural opals. I was pretty happy with my combo!! They look is very similar.

And here are the finished earrings- stones epoxied in place and only needing earwires to complete! I am DEFINITELY making a pair of these for myself!