#259 How to Crash Your Business to Reach Your Goals with Jason Ayers


Crashing your business is probably the last thing you want to think about right now, yeah?

But what if I told you that understanding how to tank your business could actually be your ticket to reaching your goals?

I thought it was crazy at first too, but stay with me…

This exercise is called inverse thinking, and it can be traced all the way back to ancient philosophers.

The idea is that you imagine the worst possible thing you could do in a given scenario, and then do the exact opposite of that.

It helps you clarify exactly how to achieve your desired outcome.

Still not sure about this thought experiment? That’s okay. Let’s walk through it together.

Click here to download the show notes

Pick One Area of Business to (Hypothetically) Crash

This doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Just pick one scenario to get started.

For example, imagine a customer emails you because the necklace they ordered arrived broken. They want to know if it can be fixed or exchanged.

Here are a few ways you could absolutely blow it:

  • Don’t respond for weeks.
  • When you do finally respond, be rude and unprofessional.
  • Tell them you won’t fix it and you won’t offer a refund.
  • Ignore any further emails.
  • Reach out a month later asking them to recommend your brand to a friend.

What are the chances that customer will be buying from you again?

Inversion: Do the Exact Opposite

That’s a pretty absurd way to treat a customer. It’s not a strategy I would recommend. 

But now that you know the worst way to handle the situation, it should be that much easier to identify the best way:

  • Respond within 24 hours.
  • Be optimistic and friendly. 
  • Apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Provide solutions for their problem.
  • Offer them something nice to make up for it.

A customer service scenario like this is pretty cut-and-dry, but this exercise can be applied to any area of your business to help you clarify the best path forward.

Don’t Overthink It

This exercise should not be used as an opportunity to indulge your fears and catastrophize about every little thing that could possibly go wrong.

It should be centered on what you can control – your behavior.

When I first heard of this concept I was like, “uh, no thanks.” But what surprised me the most was it actually made me less anxious about things going wrong.

So what do you think, are you gonna give it a try?

xo, Tracy

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A Guide To Engraving The Inside Of A Ring


 

Engraving the inside of a ring is a popular technique amongst newlyweds and jewellery makers. It’s a way of personalising the rings so that they aren’t just regular wedding rings, but they’re your wedding rings. Engraved rings are also popular amongst those who are celebrating the life of a loved one, by engraving a special message, date or symbol into a gifted ring. The benefit of engraving the inside of a ring (over the outside) is that the message will not fade away on any choice of metal – no matter how long you wear the ring on your finger.

engraving on inside of ring

But how much does it cost to have a ring engraved exactly? And how can you engrave the inside of a ring if you decide to do it yourself? We’re here to answer all of your questions – including a step-by-step process on how to engrave a ring by hand, using the Presidium mini engraving machine, plus some ideas for what to get engraved on wedding rings.

What to get engraved on wedding rings

Wondering what to engrave on a ring for him or her? Engraving a ring can mean anything from etching a couple’s wedding date and initials inside the shank, or opting for a special message or quote when celebrating the life of a loved one. Some people also like to engrave intricate, decorative designs onto the outside of the ring to add a personalised touch. Some ideas you may take inspiration from are:

  • Yours and your partner’s initials, including the date of your wedding
  • A memorable quote that you share(d) with a loved one
  • One simple word or phrase, such as “I love you”, “Always”, “To my soul mate”

How much does it cost to have a ring engraved?

First things first, as a newlywed you might be wondering how much engraving the inside of a ring costs. In a jewellers’ this will typically cost up to £25, often with a character limit – so if you go above that limit, you’re likely to be charged more. This is perfect for loving couples who are looking for a one-off piece. But if you’re a jewellery maker who designs rings for a living, it may be worth learning how to engrave a ring to add it to your repertoire.

How to engrave a ring

As a jewellery maker, you may be wondering how to start your own engraving business – so you can share special messages between loved ones. Depending on your level of skill or the design you wish to engrave, you can take different approaches. For example, laser engraving is a popular method amongst many jewellers, and involves burning the surface of the ring, rather than scratching it. But if you’re just starting out, you’re probably looking for something that’s a little simpler, and cheaper. Find out how to engrave a ring by hand below.

How to engrave a ring by hand

Looking for something more precise? The Presidium Inside Ring Mini Engraving Machine is a small, reliable manual engraving machine that offers consistent, single letter engraving. When engraving the inside of a ring with this machine, you will need a ring that’s around 2mm at its narrowest point.

To set up the Presidium engraving machine:

  1. Turn the knob anti-clockwise to expand the three jaws at the top of the machine.
  2. Place your chosen ring in the grooves of the three jaws and secure tightly by turning the knob clockwise. Looking from the side, make sure that the ring is lined up properly to ensure that your message is straight when engraving the inside of a ring.

Top tip: If you’re using a thicker band, release the jaws and turn them around to reveal larger grooves that are suitable for larger rings.

  1. To adjust your letter spacing, loosen the wing nut to turn the adjusting screw to reach your desired spacing – you can set your adjustment from a 3-6 teeth movements. Then, tighten the wing nut to lock the adjusting screw in place.
  2. To change the engraving dial, loosen the screw and then pull and hold the silver lever to its side. This will disengage the connection and allow you to lift and remove the dial. Replace or change your dial to the reverse side and then release the lever, re-engaging the connection and securing the engraving dial in place. Then re-tighten the screw.

Your machine is now set up, but what’s the process behind engraving the inside of a ring?

  1. When your machine is set up and your ring is secured, choose your first letter by pulling on the bottom lever and spinning the dial.
  2. Then, pull out the stylus from the middle of the machine, and press down on the top to reveal the tip. Press down until the stylus tip reaches the letter on the dial.
  3. Take the lever with the ball point and pull it down, lifting the ring so that it reaches the diamond engraving point.

Top tip: If you pull the ball point lever down too tightly, you’ll risk breaking the diamond tip. So make sure the connection isn’t too tight.

  1. Still pressing down the top of the stylus, trace out the letter on the engraving dial. The diamond tip will mimic its movements and engrave the letter onto your ring.
  2. Release the ball point lever and then push it upwards to move on to the next letter space. Do not take pressure off the top of the stylus until you have done this to avoid scratching the surface of your ring.
  3. Repeat the process from step one, choosing your next letter or symbol and engraving it onto the ring, until your message is complete.

If you’re looking to engrave at opposite sides of the ring, lift up the ball point lever to spin the ring round and start engraving in a new position.

And that’s how to engrave the inside of a ring using the Presidium ring engraving machine! It’s simple and creates precise, quality engravings – suitable for any wedding band. Who knew that engraving the inside of a ring could be so easy?

Looking to add some extra detail to the outside of your ring? Check out our range of GRS jewellery tools – designed to speed up the process of engraving by hand – including a wide range of gravers, clamps and vices. Pick up all the jewellery tools and supplies you need for Cooksongold today.



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Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers


Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers is a large format, paperback book produced by Search Press, the aficionados of art and craft publishing. It is spread across 192 pages and split into three separate sections covering; Tools and Materials, Settings and Techniques and Resources.

The first thing that grabs your attention when you pick up this book is the amazing gallery of images which is interspersed throughout the text as well as spread across the cover, giving you a real sense of what to expect; from standard to unusual, to out and out Avant- garde, it’s all in here!

The first section, Tools and Materials covers Equipment in chapter 1 and Choosing Stones in Chapter 2 and both are covered simply, whilst providing a good amount of information. The stone section in particular makes an invaluable resource as it assesses a selection of popular stones in terms of their suitability for setting and includes information such as; colour, cut and hardness but also other important considerations such as potential problems and complimentary metals. E.g.

Moonstone – Considerations: ‘Great for learning cabochon setting, it’s glass-like quality is complimented by silver, but be wary of horizontal cracking’ – from Tools and Materials section, Chapter 2

I found the explanation on Cabochon Cuts particularly interesting as it describes the different options encompassed by that broad title which are sometimes overlooked and can be tricky to deal with if you lack experience.

‘Select a cabochon carefully: check that the underside is truly flat, otherwise it could rock in its setting’ – from Selecting a Stone, Chapter 2

The bulk of the remaining text is devoted to Settings and Techniques and covers a range of both ready-made and hand-fabricated settings. Each style featured has an informative introduction, a step by step tutorial with images, followed by a gallery of examples to whet your appetite. The skill levels required for each technique are varied, but are clearly marked either beginner, intermediate or advanced so you can easily identify the level before you start. Techniques covered include; prong and snap setting, setting stones into PMC, bezel setting, collet setting, gypsy setting, tension setting, channel setting, claw setting, pave setting, bead wrapping and also the use of irregular shapes and unusual materials which looks at hinges, rivets and end caps.

The format for each tutorial is accessible and easy to follow and has a full equipment list along with useful pro tips which will help to iron out any problems you may have along the way.

‘Prevent a stone getting stuck in its setting before it is finished by lying a long piece of cotton or a strip of paper inside first’ – from Settings and Techniques, Chapter 6.

The remainder of the book contains invaluable Resources such as an imperial and metric conversion chart, a ring sizing chart and a fabulous collet template which is going to save you hours of frustration and wasted metal!

Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers is one of our bestselling books here at Cooksongold and rightly so; It is a well-rounded guide to stonesetting which will guide you on your way to many successful makes.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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#258 Birthday Episode – Change Your Story with Jason Ayers


Happy Birthday to Flourish & Thrive Academy!

8 years ago Robin and I committed to demystifying the jewelry industry and helping designers find their spark and build businesses that support their creativity.

Since then, F&TA has undergone a LOT of transformations, because we’re always staying on the cutting edge of the everchanging jewelry industry.

And we have even more big changes in store…

So, I wanted to do things a little differently this week, something that aligns with our goals to continuously improve as a brand.

I invited my man Jason Ayers back on to talk about how to shift your mindset to benefit your success.

Part of our transformative plans for F&TA means Jason will be joining our Momentum Mastermind Program (formerly SOS) as a Success Mindset Coach.

Because even if you’re doing everything else right in business, a negative headspace means you’ll always be getting in your own way.

Click here to download the show notes

Be Honest With Yourself

Humans are meaning-making machines. We’re designed to generalize and tell stories; it’s part of our survival.

Here’s the thing, the stories we tell ourselves, the generalizations we make, they’re not always true. But we often accept them as truth without checking the evidence.

The story you’re telling yourself, the generalizations you’re making, are you certain they’re 100% true? Most likely not.

Do The Thing That Scares You

It’s these untrue stories that create the fears holding us back.

Whether you’re afraid of getting rejected, what people will think, failing, etc… your brain is telling you these potential negative outcomes are worse than not doing anything at all. 

But here’s the beautiful part: you get to control the stories you tell yourself. Getting rejected just means that person wasn’t your Dream Client. Failure is just an opportunity to reevaluate and try again.

Upgrade Your Thinking

You’re in control of your stories.

That means there’s endless opportunity for you to change the stories that are holding you back and make this positive reframing process a part of your daily habits.

Easier said than done, I know. But we’re here to walk you through it.

Listen to the full episode above to go through an exercise with us that will help you let go of negative stories and push you closer to where you want to be.

xo, Tracy

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Episode #255: From Burnout to Business Bliss with Jennifer Dawes

Jennifer Dawes

Marcia Newquist

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Designer of the Month – Lydia Taylor | The Bench


July’s Designer of the Month is Lydia Taylor. An artistic silversmith that enjoys working with copper and silver, as well as sculpting with metal clay. Learn more about her, her background, what inspires her and what she thinks will be the next trend to take off with jewellery makers in this month’s Designer of the Month.

Let us know a bit about yourself, detailing your background, study and training in the jewellery making industry.

I have always been artistic and had always made jewellery as a child; first it was sculpting polymer clay, then creating paper beads. It was something I kept coming back to. Then whilst on maternity leave from being a primary school teacher, I was looking for something to do as a night class and booked myself onto a silversmithing course. I loved every minute, working with Copper and Silver, with a group of like-minds.

It was 2 years later, after a family move to Wales, that I received a gift certificate for a metal clay workshop. After this, I signed up for some online learning with the Jewellers Academy, read every metal clay and silversmithing book the library had to offer and began making pieces for friends and family. I was totally hooked and knew I would have to start selling the pieces I was making. Out of this, The Creative Phoenix jewellery brand was born.

Tell us about your work – are there any particular materials or techniques that you favour?

I use traditional silversmithing techniques and combine these with metal clay. I really try to exploit the benefits of each technique to combine effects to make the most interesting pieces possible. Metal clay is easy to texture and is a fabulous material to sculpt with, but I like to use silver sheet and wire to give strength to some of my pieces, especially when making rings and chokers.

How would you best describe your design style?

Eclectic. I create many sculptural and lifelike pieces such as my red kite, and detailed landscape pieces. But also pieces with bold shapes, eye catching textures, and polished finishes. All of them can be traced back to be firmly rooted in nature somehow.

Where do you like to get your inspiration from for your pieces?

I now keep a little notebook by my bed as inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient moments, when my brain is quiet. Often thoughts around jewellery come from nature, the sound of the sea, patterns in the sand, flora and fauna and their many varied textures. I think part of this being drawn to nature, is that we can become very removed from it.

There is something pretty special about the feel of icy cold sea water and sand between your toes. Since having my own children, it has really re established that connection with nature and reminded me how great being closer to the natural world makes us feel.

Do you have a piece that you have made which you favour or are particularly proud of?

My favourite piece would have to be the piece I am most known for, my fine and sterling silver mistletoe choker with mother of pearl berries. In the words of one customer ‘I recognised the choker, before I recognised it was you.’ This was the piece I created on the Channel 4 craft show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’.

It is not the fact that I won the competition that this piece is so special, but what it represents. It reminds me of every failure, every redesign, every sleepless night on the journey to making that one perfect piece. (But winning the show, was most certainly icing on the cake)

What is the one item in your jewellery making workshop that you couldn’t live without?

Without a doubt, it would be my blow torch. It is used in some way for every piece of jewellery that I create. I don’t really have an expensive torch set up, using the Go System torch my husband bought in a hardware store after I managed to wear out my crème brulee torch.

The torch I use has carried me from hobbyist working out of my kitchen, torch firing the odd piece of silver metal clay, to transitioning into my home based workshop, torch firing, soldering and annealing metal, to create jewellery for customers. It is a real workhorse of a thing.

What upcoming trends do you see being popular soon?

I really see metal clay becoming more and more popular with British crafters and jewellers, because of the little amount of tools needed to produce some stunning pieces of jewellery. Before lockdown it was noticeable the increased number of metal clay workshops that were being advertised.

There are some incredible British jewellers using the material and teaching students and who are definitely raising the profile of it. It is still a surprise to many customers at present though, when I explain that the silver I use starts in a clay form, but that it is turned into assay quality pieces. Whereas, in the US metal clay has been around and popular for much much longer.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from your time in the jewellery making industry?

Two lessons really. The first, that you don’t need to fit the same profile as your customer. It has taken a while to realise that. The things that I like to wear are not necessarily the same as the things my target audience would buy. This has really made me consider my design choices much more carefully. The second is that learning in this field, like many others, is never finished.

There is always a new material, new tool, new technique to learn. So even though I would consider myself a jeweller, rather than hobbyist now, I know my learning journey will never be complete.  I think if the moment ever came where I began to think I knew it all, it would be time to hang up the hammers and torches.

Do you have any particular advice that you would give to up and coming jewellery designers, or someone interested in getting into jewellery making?

Really, just to do it. Throw yourself in. There are such a wide range of jewellery making techniques, from beading and soutache, through to wire wrapping, metal clay and silversmithing. There is a style and technique to suit everybody with an interest in jewellery. I would positively encourage booking on to some courses, have a go and see what you think. But be warned, it is a little addictive.

Finally, time for a bit of fun in our quick-fire round!

Tell us your favourite…

Colour – I should say silver…but no, at the moment it’s yellow
Biscuit – Pink wafers. They were always in the biscuit tin at my Grandparents’ house
Drink – A large mug of Earl Grey tea
Place – Isle of Anglesey, the beaches and the mountains nearby. It feels like home. There is nothing not to like.
Animal – Butterflies. The children and I looked after a group of caterpillars recently. It was an awe and wonder moment for us all, watching the transformation.
Gemstone – Lapis lazuli. My favourites change. There are ones I love to wear and then there are ones I love (or really dislike to work with)
Food – I love the delicate flavours of Thai food
Sport – I would probably have to say hockey. I was either drawing, or on the pitch through school years.
Film – I can only choose one?…that’s too hard. A different film for different moods. ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ with Rick Moranis, a quirky comedy musical and ‘Labyrinth’, an 80s children’s classic.
City – Venice. It is such an inspiring place, with so much art, culture and the atmosphere, which is unlike any other place I have visited.

Many thanks to Lydia Taylor for being our Designer of the Month this month and for sharing this information

Want to discover the work of other jewellery makers?

Take a look at our interviews with even more Designers of the Month to learn more about their designs, inspiration and more.



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What Are Huggie Earrings and Why They Are Great


huggie earrings

Huggie earrings save time, are comfortable and can be slept in. Basically that’s the blog post. But I’m a chatty gal and have more to say about them.

No More Earring Backing Problems

Hair can catch on your earring backs.

Do you have long hair? Has your hair ever gotten wrapped around the post of your earring? Knotted up around the ear backing? That’s a nightmare I’ve been told about for years. This is especially problematic if you have fine hair. It defies gravity and fixates on your earring backing and post and can result in a bit of hair-pulling before you get your earrings off.

Huggies Don’t Use Earring Backs

The original huggie earrings hugged the earlobe, hence the name

Some wonderful jewelry designer, knowing how much women love hoop earrings, came up with a brilliant idea. They made a hoop earring with a hinge at the bottom. The post of the hoop is locked to the back of the hoop, closing the circle when the earring is clicked shut. Because no backing is needed, and the earring itself holds onto the post, a unique earring was born.

The original huggie earrings were quite small and literally hugged the earlobe. These earrings were so beloved that the next step was to make larger ones.

Huggies Look More Seamless on Your Ear Then Most Hoop Earrings

Regular hoops on left, hinge on top. Huggies on right, hinge on the bottom

Most hoops have a visible hinge in front on top where your ear hole is, which can take away from the pretty and clean look of a hoop. Especially with smaller hoop earrings, the way the earring connects with your earlobe, affects the beauty of the overall look.

Since the hinging area is down below, a huggie offers a clean line from earring to lobe.

Huggies Offer Fancier Looks

earrings with square emeralds bezel set in Etruscan design

Huggie earrings in the Etruscan style with emeralds. I loved making these.

Once I realized how comfortable huggies were, I wore my post earrings less. The jewelers who make huggies got the message and started being very creative. They realized that what we really wanted was the hinge and not to mess with backings. But we still wanted choices, and happily we got them.

Telephone Friendly Huggies

Don’t get stabbed by your earrings when you talk on the phone

Do you wear post back earrings? Ever get poked in the neck by your post? I have, and once I even bled, when I got a very vigorous hug at a wedding. I believe drinking was involved. I now always wear my huggie earrings at weddings.

When you grab your phone and lean it into your shoulder as you multi-task, if you wear your huggies, it won’t hurt. Your chiropractor will still be your best friend if you do that, but at least you won’t get stabbed into the bargain.

Read about other telephone-friendly earring styles.

Sleeping in Huggies

I always recommend against wearing earrings to bed. But let’s be real. Some of us do it. Mmm, maybe I do it. Huggies will never jab you. So if you catch me sleeping in earrings, it’s always in my huggies.

Adjusting Your Huggie Posts

You may sometime find that one or the other of your huggies is not closing properly. If you’re in a rush and maybe push the back section of the huggie too vigorously onto the post, it may push it out of alignment. You should be able to feel or hear the click sound as your huggie snaps onto the post. I feel for it when I put them on. If you don’t feel it click shut, don’t wear them till you adjust them.

I’ve gotten calls to adjust huggies and thought it might be a good idea to share how to adjust them at home. Here’s my video on How To Adjust Your Huggie Earrings.

Steps to Adjust Your Huggie Posts

1) Pull out a pair of needle-nose pliers.

2) Note where your huggie post is notched. This tells you which direction it will lock into the back of the earring.

3) Slowly close your huggie in front of you, and see if the notch is too low to come in contact with the back of the earring.

4) Use your needle nose pliers to grasp the post. If you want to avoid leaving a tiny mark from the pliers, put a little strip of cloth on the post.

5) Grasp the front section of your huggie between your fingers.

6) Grasp the post with your needle-nose pliers.

7) Slowly and gently lift the post up a tiny bit.

8) Test the closure to see if it now clicks.

9)Repeat the process until the notch clicks properly into the back of the huggie earring.

It may take a number of tries to get the adjustment just right.

Always use slow and gentle movements so as not to snap off the post.

Getting Fancy and Custom Making Huggies

Custom made huggies

I just wanted an excuse to show you one more awesome huggie pair of earrings. My client wanted blue diamonds and loves hand engraving. Oh yeah, she loves huggies. I loved making these so much it was hard to deliver them!

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla

 

 



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How To Make Jewellery Display Stands For Less


You’ve got the jewellery, but what comes next? Whether you’re planning your next craft fair or upgrading your in-store display on a budget, we’ve got some DIY jewellery display stand ideas for you to try. From how to make a jewellery stand out of wood and dowels, to how to make cardboard necklace displays, find out how to make jewellery display stands today.

how-to-display-jewellery-at-a-craft-fair-to-boost-sales

How to make Jewellery Display Stand out of Wood

This design is simple and only requires three pieces of wood. Suitable for both necklaces and bracelets, you can choose your measurements to suit your needs. When learning how to make a necklace display stand out of wood, you will need:

  • One thick piece of dowel (dowel A)
  • One smaller piece dowel (dowel B)
  • A rectangular piece of wood for the base
  • Hand drill
  • A hole saw or Forstner bit (the size of your smaller dowel)
  • Wood glue
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Finishing tools

The size of your dowels and wood will depend on how big or small you need your jewellery stand to be. If you’re looking to hang necklaces, make sure that your dowel B is longer to make your structure stand taller.

This stand can be built in just a few simple steps:

  1. Lying dowel A on its side, take the ruler and pen and mark the centre. Then, mark the centre of the rectangular piece of wood.

Top tip: make sure that dowel A and the piece of wood are both wide enough to attach to dowel B and create a secure structure.

  1. Once you have your centre points, drill a hole around 1-2cm deep in both dowel A and the piece of wood. Make sure you don’t go too far through to the other side but make sure your hole is still deep enough to secure dowel B in place.
  2. Take the wood glue and secure dowel B into the two holes, creating a T-shaped structure with a stand on the bottom.
  3. Once the glue has dried, finish your DIY jewellery display stand by sanding down the edges, priming and then painting in your choice of colour. Or simply leave with the wood finish for a more rustic look!

With a little more time and money, this design can also be curated using metal rods and soldering equipment – the choice is yours.

How to make a Necklace Display Bust

Find out how to make cardboard necklace displays on a budget below. While this design may not be suited to continuous use, it’s cheap and easy to make so you can do so over and over again!

You’ll need:

  • Paper or a ready-made necklace display pattern
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • A pen
  • Hole punch
  • Hot glue gun
  • Elastic or string
  • Velvet sheet
  1. Take a homemade necklace display pattern, then trace it onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out – leaving the inner fold lines as you’ll need these later on.

Top tip: standard patterns are around 25cm high x 25cm wide, but you can make your DIY jewellery display stand taller or shorter than that by tracing the bottom of the pattern further down your board.

  1. Using the cardboard cutout, trace the same design onto your chosen fabric or velvet sheet.
  2. Align the fabric and cardboard pieces and then glue them together – with the top of the fabric facing outwards.
  3. With the hole punch, put a hole in the two bottom corners.
  4. Using the back of your scissors, score over the fold lines indicated on your display pattern – this will ensure a neater fold.
  5. Fold back the sides and top of your DIY jewellery display stand.
  6. Take your elastic or string and thread it through the two holes you punched and tie the ends together. This will help hold the sides back and make your stand stay upright.

Alternatively, cut around the fold lines, leaving you with the face of the bust and create your own stand to keep it upright using wire or an extra piece of card!

How to make a Necklace Display Board

Perfect for jewellery fairs and empty wall space in-store, learning how to make a necklace display board is one easy step towards upping your jewellery display game.

You’ll need:

  • Hardboard, or wallboard for something more robust
  • Your choice of fabric – use branded colours where possible for more consistency
  • E6000 glue
  • Wire cutters
  • A craft knife
  • Various pins and hooks – pick out some decorative pieces for more originality, too
  • Push pins
  • A stapler
  • Wire mesh – for earring displays

How to make a necklace display board in a few easy steps:

  1. Place the fabric on a flat surface with the pattern faced downwards, then place your hardboard on top.
  2. Fold the edges of the fabric over and staple them into the hardboard to secure them in place.

Top tip: make sure the fabric is tight and staple each edge in the middle first to ensure a smooth finish on the underneath. Then, staple the rest of the edges.

  1. Take the wire mesh and using the wire cutters, cut out a small section that will be used to hang your drop earrings. Make this piece as big or small as you require.
  2. Fold over or file down any sharp edges of cut wire and secure the wire mesh to your board using push pins. Make sure it isn’t too tight and that there is some give so you can hang your earrings safely and easily.
  3. Then, attach your chosen pins and hooks to the board in any formation – considering the lengths of any pieces that you will be hanging.

Feel free to use any additional decorative pieces that you wish to add your own personal twist – from ribbons and sequins to picture frames that form borders around your designs.

And that’s how to make jewellery display stands on a budget! Not sure which design to pick? Check out our blog on the top 5 jewellery stand display ideas to help you decide which one might be right for you.

Looking for something a little more permanent? At Cooksongold, we offer a wide selection of jewellery displays and sundries, suitable for a range of designs – so you can showcase your pieces in the way they deserve.



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Tutorial: Rainbow Necklace | The Bench


Inspired by my reading of ‘Beading for the Absolute Beginner’ by Liz Thornton and Jean Power (999 A160), this month I have decided to make a rainbow bead necklace in honour of our wonderful NHS. In true lockdown style, I used the materials I had to hand, so similarly tailor your design accordingly and adapt and change where necessary.

You will need:

silver wire approx.0.7 – 0.8mm (I used HSA 080, around 100cm)

jump rings 5mm and 6mm (I used NVH H50 and NVH H60)

strong silver clasp (I used NVF L11)

iridescent glass beads 6mm

plastic rainbow coloured beads 8mm

wire cutters

parallel pliers

flat nosed pliers

round nosed pliers

snipe nosed pliers if possible

small needle file

This project uses a series of double ended, wrapped loops which are joined together to create a necklace. Obviously, the necklace can be any length you choose, just add or takeaway components to achieve the look you want. My necklace is choker length and uses a total of 12 double wrapped loops, but remember the number of loops required will depend on the size of beads you use and the length of the components you create; mine were on average about 3cm in length.

To make:

  • Thread your chosen beads onto the wire and cut it to length, approximately 8cm longer than the beads. (I chose to cut the wire once the component was complete to create less waste, but this does make the whole process much more difficult).

 

  • Leaving around 4cm excess, using snipe or flat nosed pliers, bend the wire at a right angle.

  • Hold the wire in your round pliers and bend it round to form a loop. You can do this with your fingers or by pulling it with a pair of flat pliers. Pull the wire round until it crosses over fully.

 

  • Change hands so you are holding the round pliers in your less dominant hand and clamp the end of the wire in your flat pliers. Bring it round the shaft of the wire, wrapping it tightly at the base of the hoop you have just made. Continue to wrap and pull tightly until you reach the beads.

 

  • Cut off the wire, smooth with a file if needed and push the end in with flat pliers so it is neat and doesn’t stick out. I found parallel pliers better for this as I don’t have snipe nosed pliers but if you have crimping pliers, these are ideal.

  • Repeat the process using the opposite end of the wire to secure your beads and complete the finished double wrapped loop.

  • Once you have made a second wrapped loop component, join them together with a jump ring and you can begin to work out how many you will need to complete the necklace.

 

  • When the required length is reached, add the clasp to one end using a jump ring and stand back and admire your creation!

 Hints and tips:

  • Experiment with different sizes and types of beads, this will create a more interesting result. My glass beads are iridescent so they catch the light nicely, whilst the basic plastic examples provide the rainbow of colour I was after.
  • Heavy jump rings give much more strength to the finished piece and are less likely to be pulled open when the necklace is worn.
  • Always ensure your wire will go through the hole in your beads.(Sounds obvious but some internal holes are tiny). Check the details before you commit to any purchase.
  • Don’t worry if your wrapped loops are not perfect. Mine are not perfect but the finished result is still pretty and effective.
  • Enjoy the process. Chain making is extremely therapeutic and the perfect activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon. There is no need to rush as you can always pick up where you left off at a later time.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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#257 How To Makeover Your Home Office for More Productivity with Toby Fairley


Whether you’re working from home for the first time or trying to improve your established home office habits, this is the episode for you.

Finding your groove while working from home has been a creative challenge facing jewelerypreneurs (especially if you have kiddos running around!) on a massive scale.

But as a life coach and interior designer, Tobi Fairley has been helping creatives like you tackle this challenge long before stay-at-home orders were in place.

She’s one of those gifted entrepreneurs who know that your creativity is your greatest strength in business.

Tobi recognizes the connection between a well-designed space, a thriving business, and a fulfilling lifestyle that gives you space for all your dreams and passions.

With so many people working from home, she sat down with me to talk about how to makeover your home office (and your time-management habits) to maximize your productivity at home.

Click here to download the show notes

Show Up for Yourself

Time blocking and creating a schedule for yourself is crucial for working efficiently and effectively. 

Mapping out your schedule and creating a color-coded calendar feels great. Problem is… you usually don’t want to follow through when that time block rolls around. 

As Tobi puts it, we need to manage our expectations for ourselves, be realistic, and push through that natural resistance.

That also means being kind to yourself and remembering that working from home is going to be a learning process all in itself. It’s not fair to expect your schedule to be the same at home as it was in the office.

Redesign Your Day

Tobi invites you to tap into your designer intuition when planning your day.

What are your most pressing tasks? What is the optimal space for you to complete those tasks in? How can you coordinate your schedule with the other people in your house?

Think of it as a puzzle. These are all pieces that need to fit together for you to get the most done in one day.

Experiment With Your Workspace

Where are you most creative?

If your environment isn’t comfortable and appealing, you”re probably not going to want to work there for very long.

If you’ve been working somewhere for a while, remember to check in with yourself and see where you’re holding tension. 

Maybe your chair isn’t very comfortable, or you’ve been sitting too long. These are small things that when remedied can go a long way for your own productivity!

Working from home brings both challenges and freedoms and it’s up to you to decide how to utilize them. Try something and if it doesn’t work, try something else!

xo, Tracy

Links:

The Design You Blueprint Download

Tobi Fairley

Follow Tobi on Instagram!

Need Guidance? Check out our programs!

Participate in the State of the Jewelry Industry Report

Facebook

Instagram

Listen on Apple Podcasts!





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How to Work with Sheet Metal


Sheet metal is one of the most versatile materials in jewellery making. Whether you’re making bangles, forming your own rings or designing pendants, sheet metal is great for all of types of jewellery.

jeweller working with sheet metalBut with so many different options to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for your project? Do you get it fully annealed? And which thickness is best? Don’t worry. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about how to work with sheet metal for your jewellery making projects.

Essential Sheet Metal Tools

Let’s start simple. What sheet metal tools do you need to pick up ahead of your project?

We’ve listed all the essential pieces of equipment for working with metal sheets below:

How to work with Sheet Metal to Create Designs

Ways of working Sheet Metal

Cutting

To start, you’ll need to know how to cut sheet metal if you want to use it in your designs. And there are two methods – cutting with a jeweller’s saw or cutting with a Dremel tool. If you want to start by using a saw, make a mark where you want your first cut to be and map out the rest of the shape. Start slowly, and make your first cut by creating a small notch at first, and then gradually building up pressure to cut the rest of the shape. Blade keep getting stuck? Use some lubricant to ease it up again.

Or if you’re already a pro with a jeweller’s saw, why not use your Dremel tool? It speeds up the process so you can focus on finishing your designs to the highest possible standard. Learn how to cut metal with the Dremel 300 in our blog on how to use your Dremel 3000 rotary tool.

Bending 

There are a number of ways you can manipulate sheet metal. Whether that’s with a doming tool or simply a rawhide mallet. Let’s say you want to make a band ring: the two key sheet metal tools you’ll need for this are a rawhide mallet and a mandrel. Simply place the strip of sheet metal on the mandrel and hammer at each point where it isn’t touching the mandrel. Keeping the straight end horizontal, continue moving the metal forward across the mandrel until you have bent a third – then turn around and finish off the other end.

You can also use a metal forming tool like a doming dapping set. With this kit, you can quickly transform the shape of a pendant into a domed shape – although it does work best with softer metals.

Texturing

Someone who works with sheets of metal will know that one of the best ways you can use the material is by texturing it. For a real rustic, natural look, try creating a patina with liver of Sulphur. Or, you can create texture by making indentations in the metal and you can do this by already using the tools in your workshop. For example, repeatedly striking the metal with the flat edge of a jeweller’s hammer creates a linear effect, perfect for more rectangular or square designs. Another popular method is using the rounded edge of a repousse hammer to create a softer, hammered effect.

If you’re looking to add a specific shape or design to your jewellery piece, there are a variety of different stamps you can use. Find stamping sets with letters, numbers and shapes at Cooksongold – ideal if you want to add a personalised touch to your work.

And there you have it! Feeling more confident about how to work with sheet metal? Whether you’ve been inspired to pick up some new sheet metal tools or try out a different technique, be sure to pick up all the jewellery tools and sheet metal you need from Cooksongold.



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