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Getting in a few new pieces before the holiday rush!

It's already mid November.  How is this even possible???  This year flew by as they always do and this week I realized how very close the holiday rush is.   For us, the holiday rush is 5-6 weeks of working around the clock, working harder than we think is even possible.  Most of our items are made to order, throughout the year this keeps us steadily busy and we work about 40-60 hours a week.  In addition to filling orders, we make new designs and take a few days each week to photograph and list things on the website.  We also take one day off each week.  From late November until December though, this two person handmade business gets CRAZY.  We work 7 days a week about 12-17 hours each day.  No new stuff is designed and made, no website updates or listings, we are just keeping up with orders that come in each day.  Knowing this is around the corner is pretty exciting, I look forward to the rush every year.  In preparation for this, we are stocking up on some quick microwave foods and coffee so we can stay in the studio and focus on work.  And more importantly we need to stock up on some one of a kind pieces that will be ready to ship.  That way if we get too busy to keep up and have to take down some made to order items, we will still have an inventory of ready to ship designs.  So this week I challenged myself to work a few long days and get some really nice designs made and stocked online before we really get slammed.  First up I wanted to make a moonstone pendant.  Something simple that really highlighted the stone and could be worn everyday.   These are the stones I picked out:

Moonstone Jewelry

Normally I would narrow it down to one stone and create one pendant.  But I liked them all!  And then I realized that my goal was to get stocked up with some ready to ship pieces, so I made 8 of the pendants.  I don't normally work like this but it was fun!  It was kind of hard to keep them organized since each bezel has to be handmade to fit the stone exactly.  I made them all in steps and kept them numbered throughout.  This is how the walls of the setting are made.  I measure and cut the strip of silver to fit around the stone.

handmade moonstone jewelry

Here are all of the stones with the bezels all soldered to fit them.

sterling silver and moonstone

I wanted to have the back open because the blue flash is so pretty when light is able to shine through.  I created flat open circles and also soldered bigger heavy circles that I wanted to use in the pendant design.

handmade jewelry

Then I hammered the larger circles and set up the pendants to be soldered together:

hammered silver jewelry

Next comes stone setting and polishing.  And finally, they are all done!

rainbow moonstone pendant necklaces

They took up most of the day to create and I love how they came out! I like that there is a moon shape within the circle.   

I couldn't wait to use these aquamarine rose cut stones I got at the gem show last weekend.  

aquamarine

I decided to make 3 necklaces and 2 rings.  I got started creating the settings for the freeform shaped stones.

handmade aquamarine

handmade silver jewelry

Forming the ring bands...

handmade silver rings

handmade sterling ring

Sawing off the excess silver around the settings...

handmade sterling silver jewelry

all done!

aquamarine rose cut rings

handmade aquamarine bar pendants

I really loved working with these aquamarines, they are rose cut which means they are flat on the bottom and faceted across the top.  They also have a freeform shape which I prefer over a perfect oval or circle.  Stones that are cut like these are a bit hard to find.  Paul and I will be going to the Tuscon, AZ gem show in the beginning of February and my goal is to stock up on rose cut stones.  We have never been to Tuscon before but have heard it's the biggest gem show in the world, it takes up most of the city!  I don't think I have been more excited than I am to get there.  I will probably get there and then just get completely overwhelmed but I am at least hoping to find lots of rose cut stones first :)  

I didn't take a whole lot more in progress pics from this week's new designs.  I was on a mission to get a lot done and I kind of got in the zone and forgot to take pictures.  I was really proud of what we came up with!!!  The orders are starting to roll in steadily now so I can't say for sure if we will have time for making new designs in the upcoming week.  I am going to try and keep Wednesday open for that but if we fall too far behind, we will be making orders instead.  

handmade labradorite jewelry

silver jewelry making

We did our photoshoot outside again this week.  It was pretty cold but the fall colors are just still so pretty.  We were running late on Friday and didn't get outside until after 4pm.  I thought we had missed the window to take the pictures with enough sun but the light that the sunset was giving off was so cool! Taking photos of our jewelry is a task that we are learning to tweak all of the time. I really loved the lighting this week and thought it reflected off of the silver really beautifully. 

unique handmade sterling silver jewelry

handmade aquamarine jewelry

handmade silver jewelry

If you don't hear much from us in the next few weeks it's because we are working hard and focusing all of our energy on filling orders and shipping out on time.  We are a two person show over here so when we get slammed, we only wear the one hat of jewelry maker.  We may not be able to keep up with social media or website updates.  But be sure we are creating your holiday order with care.  Hammering away in the studio until the early morning hours then sleeping a few hours and getting right back at it.  Thanks in advance for your support!  I know many of you get a piece of jewelry from us to give as a gift for the holiday season and it means so much :)