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Posts Tagged ‘creating jewelry

Mar
11

Congratulations to Laura Jensen from Fort St. John, British Columbia, February’s Random Review Winner! Laura has won a $100 Cool Tools Gift Certificate for reviewing some sanding pads that she purchased from us! Each Random Review Winner gets their choice of Metal Clay or a Gift Certificate!

Laura shared photos of her work, told us a little about herself, and was very excited to have been selected!

“Yay!! That’s nice~ thank you!! I’ll take a Gift certificate please!!

Here’s a little about me:

My grandfather was a diamond appraiser and jeweler in the ‘burbs of Toronto in the 1950′s. When I was born much later, I spent my visits sneaking down into his basement shop to quietly watch him across the tall expanse of his battered work station. Making. Creating. Inspiring.

That’s where this really began for me and though I’ve graduated from pony-beads, gimp and Fimo, to PMC, fine silver and gemstones, the love and desire to create something different and beautiful has never wavered. You’ll find me with a fresh brewed pot of tea, sitting across the expanse of my battered work desk with at least five Cool Tools products in reach. I may never inspire as my Grandfather did, but I’m always making and creating.”

The top photo is a pair of Emerald Earrings made with Silver Clay. The bottom photo shows a forged necklace Laura made using our fine silver wire. We hope Laura’s work provides everyone with some inspiration!

Every time you purchase a product from Cool Tools you are asked to review and offer us your opinion of the product. Your reviews help us improve our products and keep fellow jewelry artists informed about tested products! A Random Review Winner is selected every month! The more items you review, the more entries you get and more chances to win!

Keep reviewing products and help us congratulate Laura!

Mar
7

Congratulations to Rosemary Mancillas, the winner of February’s Survey Drawing! Rosemary has won a $100 Cool Tools Gift Certificate simply for taking our survey.

Rosemary was excited and told us a little about herself and her work:

  • “Nice to get good news for a change!  I love Cool Tools, but I love you even more now! Thanks so much!

    I have been a full time RVer since 2002 and a jewelry designer for about 4 years. I started with beading, progressed to silversmithing and lapidary, and decided to take the leap to metal clay a few months ago. Not having the resources to take classes, I read everything I could find on your website and many others, as well as the many books by Tim McCreight and CeCe Wire and others.  Since I learned to drive a 40 foot diesel motorhome, I’ve traveled all over the United States in my home on wheels with only my beloved standard poodle Sasha to navigate.

    I am currently in Tucson, where I have been working with BRONZclay, learning my kiln, and all the quirks and pitfalls as well as the joy of working in this medium.  I have never worked in clay before of any kind, so this has been a completely new experience.  I am dreaming of the day when the price of silver goes down so I can work with PMC.  I am thrilled to work with BRONZclay and love the look of it.  I will enjoy combining my beadwork, lapidary, silversmithing, (mostly copper now…) and now metal clay in my jewelry designs.  I am still a beginner, getting used to working with this medium.  I am inspired by the many beautiful works I see by so many wonderful jewelry artists who are so kind to share their creativity and knowledge. The possibilities metal clay and PMC add to jewelry art are infinite, and I love the challenge.”

After making a purchase at Cool Tools, we send out a survey so you can let us know how your experience was. The survey is short and easy to complete with a few clicks. Every time you offer us your opinions by taking our survey, you are automatically entered in to a drawing for a $100 Cool Tools Gift Certificate. We select a winner every month. The next winner could be you! We appreciate the insight and are always looking to improve our site and your purchasing experience.

Mar
4

Introducing our new downloadable project guide available in our Learning Center for free - The Royal Treatment Pendant.

The Royal Treatment Pendant features a bezel set faceted stone with sterling gallery wire and fine silver clay. It is easily modified for any type of metal clay and adds a touch of sophistication and royalty to your designs.

The Royal Treatment Pendant was designed by our official Project Designer – Lisa Barth. Lisa’s work is featured in our Jewelry Design Gallery and has now joined the Cool Tools team to help inspire others to create beautiful jewelry. Lisa Barth is a wire jewelry artist and metal clay instructor from Atlanta, Georgia. She teaches wire artistry and metal clay and draws her inspiration for her designs from the stone she is using.

Lisa uses a bezel set faceted stone with Sterling Gallery Wire. The texture on the Royal Treatment Pendant was made using our Jewelry Artist Elements Texture and cut out using a Jewelry Shape Template. This particular piece was made from Art Clay, but the project can be easily modified for any type of metal clay.

Find this project and many more available right here at Cool Tools. Keep an eye out for more free projects and many more to come from our new Project Designer, Lisa Barth.

Start getting the professional results you desire, and as always:

Learn. Create. Inspire.

Mar
2

Cool Tools is proud to announce our new Creative Rewards program for Cool Tools customers! With Cool Tools Creative Rewards you earn rewards points on every purchase you make. You’ll receive points based on your total product purchase amount. Your account will be automatically credited with one point for every dollar you spend (not including shipping and taxes). With Cool Tools Creative Rewards it’s easy to get rewarded for your creativity!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Once you’ve placed your order and it has shipped, your Cool Tools Creative Rewards will be redeemable the next day!
  2. To view your Cool Tools Creative Rewards, return  to the “login / my account” from the top right of any page, then click on Creative Rewards. Your points will be displayed there.
  3. To redeem your points, enter the total amount (in points) you’d like to redeem (50 points = $1).
  4. When you’re done, a confirmation will be sent to your email address.
  5. You are now ready to save on your next purchase. Upon placing your order, your available Cool Tools Creative Rewards will automatically be deducted from the total purchase amount.

Cool Tools now offers an amazing rewards programs to go along with our Free Shipping on all orders over $150. Add in our FREE project guides, how-to videos, and jewelry making articles, to go along with all the tools, resources, and expert advice you need, you’ll come up with the best place to shop for your next creation.

Get rewarded for your creativity.

Feb
21

It’s no secret that the price of silver clay has been going through the roof in the last few years. Even jewelry artists new to metal clay have noticed the rapidly rising prices in the last several months and are asking, “What’s up with the price of silver clay?”

The answer is easy. Silver clay is getting more expensive because the price of silver is going up. Since fine silver is the main ingredient in all PMC and Art Clay silver products, any fluctuation in the silver market can make a big difference in the price of silver clay.

Mitsubishi Materials introduced silver clay in the United States in 1996. At that time silver was hovering around $5 an ounce. The price of silver clay was fixed in those days because silver prices were steady and had been for many years. The fixed price meant that no matter how the price of silver fluctuated in the market, silver clay prices were firm. You knew what you would pay and it did not change.

This silver honeymoon lasted all the way through 2003 while silver floated between $4 and $5 per ounce. But then, in 2004, the price of silver started to creep up. Every month a new high in price was set and by December, 2005, silver had closed as high as $9.23 per ounce, more than double what it was just a few months earlier.

The following April a new silver-backed ETF fund was introduced allowing investors to trade silver funds in the stock market, something that had never been done before, and rumors of the coming ETF had probably fueled the run-up in price that began the previous year.

In 2006, the year started out with silver at $8.79 per ounce. On the day the new Silver-backed ETF went on sale, it gained an astonishing 7%. Silver then closed out the year at $14.85 for an incredible one-year gain of almost 69%; an unheard of return on an investment of any kind.

At this point the price structure of silver clay was changed and silver clay began to float with the “spot” price of silver. That meant that when the spot price of silver went up, silver clay went right along with it, and it’s been that way ever since.

For example, a 50-gram package of PMC 3 clay nets a total of 50 grams of fine silver. 50 grams of fine silver equals 1.608 troy ounces*. At a spot price of 30.00, the silver value is $48.24. To give you some perspective, that same lump of silver clay had an average silver value of $8.04 from 1996 through 2003.

So what is the “spot” price? The silver “spot” is the daily price of silver. Because silver is a market commodity, the price changes each day. In London a group of 5 bankers sets or “fixes” the spot price for fine silver bullion and coins each morning.  The price set in London is called the “London Fix” price. In the US, a company called Handy & Harmon sets its own spot price called the “New York Spot”. In the US most dealers follow the New York spot.

Note: When looking at current prices or historical charts, be sure to notice whether the prices are London or New York. This information is usually noted in the title or footer. The two spot prices vary.

Since 2004 silver has continued its aggressive upward march in price and according to most pundits, it’s heading higher. Although I personally believe that silver-backed ETFs have played a large roll in the volatility of the spot market, it’s certainly not solely responsible.

Here are just a few reasons that have been argued as contributing to the rise in silver prices, and why silver is expected to continue moving upward:

  1. Silver supply is short of what it is contracted for. In other words, more people have notes that say they own silver than there is actually silver to cover those notes.
  2. Silver is being used in more products and industries than ever before, and the demand is forecast to continue increasing at a very fast clip.
  3. Silver is consumed in industry. Most of it is used in such small amounts that it is not recoverable. Consider that every electronic thing you own or use or have thrown out contains silver that will never be recovered.
  4. Silver is undervalued based on the historic gold/silver ratio.
  5. Silver has gained attention with its huge gains prompting many new buyers, setting the scene for a bubble.
  6. Depleted world stockpiles = less available physical silver.
  7. 75% of silver mined is a byproduct of base metal as base metal production declines, therefore less silver is being produced.
  8. Mining for silver is presently too costly to make a profit. More mines are closing than opening. (But this will soon change)
  9. Worldwide economy has driven investors to hold silver (and gold) as a store of wealth.
  10. Price manipulation. Bart Chilton, Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said, “I believe that there have been repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver markets.” Many others agree with him, so it warrants mentioning. Don’t believe it? On Jan 18, 1980 the price of silver hit an all time high of nearly $50 per ounce due to the attempt by Nelson and William Hunt to corner the market. (More on this in a later article.)

Lots of people have an opinion on where the price of silver will go in 2011. I’ve seen predictions as high as $65 per ounce and as low as $21, but most seem to think $35 is the number that we’ll settle at. There are some who argue that silver will be upwards of $100 per ounce. It sounds outlandish, but then so did $30 when silver was trading at $5. My personal prediction is that it will continue to move upwards in its currently volatile pattern. I would not be surprised to see it over $40 by the end of the year.

Even with a rising price, silver is still a great bargain as a jewelry making material. Whether you are working with silver in clay form or by traditional means, a rising silver price means more value to every piece of jewelry you make in silver (and everything in your current stock as well). And as the price goes higher, silver becomes more precious in the mind of the consumer. So a higher price means that more thought and care will go into the use of silver and silver clays.

Here are some ways of keeping the cost of silver down:

  1. Design your projects before opening your clay. Have a plan of action when the clay is open so you make just the components you need without allowing the clay to be exposed to the air.
  2. Incorporate sheet and wire into your projects. Everything doesn’t have to be made of silver clay. Fine silver sheet and wire is much less expensive and can be fused to the silver clay.
  3. Use thinner slabs. If you normally make slabs 6 cards thick for a pendant, make it 4 cards thick. The clay will go much further.
  4. Try making your item from the new PMC PRO alloy clay. This version is much stronger than fine silver clay. You can make shanks as thin as 2 cards thick and still maintain the strength needed.
  5. Try adding other metals to your creations. Use brass, copper, aluminum, titanium and other metals in sheet, wire, stampings and castings.
  6. Learn to saw, solder or form metal wire and sheet so you can incorporate more money saving techniques in your work.

For those who are feeling squeezed by the price of silver and are looking for less costly ways to work in silver clay, PMC PRO offers a very strong product that is 90% silver and can be used in much smaller quantities due to it’s strength. There is also a new and more reliable version of bronze clay called FASTfire BRONZclay that is very affordable. Copper clays are also much lower in price than silver, and copper clay can even be fired with a torch. And since base metal clays are ideally fired in a kiln, consider that a kiln can be had for less than the cost of 300 grams of silver clay.

Learn more about base metal clays in the Cool Tools Learning Center at www.cooltools.us

*Did you know? A troy ounce is not the same as ounces used for weighing food and other commodities. A troy ounce is a unit of measure reserved mainly for precious metals and gemstones. A “regular” ounce is what is used for dry measurements and is called an “avoirdupois” ounce. Isn’t that a beautiful word? Avoirdupois. It’s pronounced “av-wah-dew-pwah

Avoirdupois vs. Troy Ounces                          Avoirdupois vs. Troy Pounds

1 avoirdupois ounce = 28.35 grams                            1 troy pound = 12 troy ounces

1 troy ounce = 31.1 grams                                         1 avoirdupois pound = 16 avoirdupois ounces

Be sure you always weigh your metal clay with a scale that weighs in troy ounces for an accurate measurement of the silver weight.

Why Are Silver Clay Prices Going Up? © 2011 Mardel Rein / www.cooltools.us

Feb
18

Introducing our new expanded selection of Metal Design Stamps. Over 100 new stamps to design and impress in your metal clay and jewelry projects.

All of our Design Stamps (punches) are made from heat-treated tool grade steel and are a great way to add unique designs and impressions to your jewelry projects. Our new selection offers hundreds of designs, symbols, patterns, shapes, and emblems to choose from.

To work successfully with Design Stamps and punches, place the metal you want to stamp on a hardened steel bench block. The bench block must be on a firm flat surface. Do not use a sand bag or any other padding below. The bench block needs to rest directly on a flat hard surface. Hold the punch perfectly straight. Use a 16 oz utility hammer to hit the end of the stamp. Ideally the impression should be made with one blow so practice on copper until you’ve got it.

Find all the tools you need to inspire right here from Cool Tools.

Feb
10

Congratulations to Nancy Graves, our winner of the $200 Cool Tools Gift Certificate Contest!

In January, a survey was available which automatically entered survey takers into a random drawing to win a $200 Cool Tools Gift Certificate. We got an amazing response from our loyal customers and loved reading all the comments. Nancy is our lucky winner this month!

Nancy was excited to hear she had won for answering 5 easy questions and wrote us; “Thank you so very much for the $200 gift certificate. You have certainly made my day!!!! I am very excited about the gift certificate and I used it toward a purchase I made for more clay. Thank you sooooo much again!”

Nancy teaches three jewelry classes and two painting classes a week at Hill Institute in Florence, Ma. She has been married 44 years and has two children and five grandchildren. We hope Nancy will keep inspiring her students to create beautiful art and jewelry and are glad the Cool Tools Gift Certificate went to good use.

Nancy submitted photos of her work featuring a necklace she created with silver clay, a Texture Tile and a lavender teardrop CZ purchased from Cool Tools. The bottom photo is a picture of Nancy wearing earrings made from silver clay with an opal drop.

Here at Cool Tools, we are always interested in what you have to say. We take pride in offering the best products, selection and customer service and will continue rewarding our customers for their inspiration and participation in our community.

Keep an eye out for more surveys and more chances to win!

Feb
4

Introducing our all new selection of Stringing Materials for your unique metal clay and jewelry creations. Pendant Necklaces. Organza. Leather Cord. Coated Cable. Jewelry Wire. Neck Wire. Velvet Cord. Everything a jewelry artist needs.

Our all new Pendant Necklaces offer unique ways to display your custom jewelry elements. Find new braided, ringed, webbed and turn-around Pendant Necklaces featured in an array of colors. The Pendant Necklaces offer fast and easy ways to string your jewelry.

Organza offers beauty and class to the jewelry it’s added to. Our all new selection of Organza Ribbon is available is several colors and come in spools or assorted colored packs.

Leather Cord offers strength and durability when added to jewelry projects. Our new selection of Leather Cord features several new colors in assorted color packs with lobster clasps attached. Find Greek Leather Cord available in natural, black, and brown.

Coated Cable is fast and customizable for finishing your jewelry projects right. Our selection of Coated Cable comes in several assorted color packs and clear. Our Coated Cable can be sized to fit any jewelry piece and come with screw clasps.

Jewelry Wire features stringing material for any project. Find Jewelry Wire with 1-5 Strands linking to the clasp. Our Neck Wire, available in silver and gold, are perfect for sliders and create an instant fit to any jewelry element.

Velvet Cord offers the comfort of velvet with the versatility of other stringing materials. Our new Velvet Cords come with a silver base lobster clasp and chain extentions to fit any project.

Bring any jewelry making project together fast and easy with help from our new selection of Stringing Materials right here from Cool Tools.

Jan
28

Creative Metal is a new line of products that offers custom tools and metals for endless possibilities. Our Creative Metal products are one of a kind. The unique and decorative soft metals, available in brass and copper, allow inspiration to take hold and can be embossed, detailed, antiqued, adhered to various surfaces, and used as texture for metal clay. These metals are available in rolls and sheets in various sizes. There is no limit to what you can create using these workable metals as an open canvas.

Creative Metal also offers a variety of custom tools for texturing, engraving, forming, and stamping. The rolling tools easily help create unique and custom texture to fit your metal designs. The texturing tools are versatile. They can be used on any type of metal clay or any other soft and pliable metals.

Creative Metal also offers custom designed texture sheets. These unique designs can be used just about anywhere. The design sheets feature checkerboards, bricks, grids, floral patterns, geometric designs, Celtic symbols, Victorian inspiration, cobblestone patterns, Vines, Hearts and much more. These designs are available in several sizes and styles.

Starter Kits are available featuring what you’ll need to start creating today. Creative Metal is also sold individually allowing you to customize your order to your design needs.

Get creative with your metal right here from Cool Tools.

Jan
21

Cool Tools Patina Gel is a unique stabilized form of liver of sulfur formulated by a metal clay artist, for a metal clay artist. Patina Gel is not only the most convenient and easy way to use liver of sulfur but amazingly it does not degrade in light and air the way the old fashioned lump form does. Cool Tools Patina Gel is stable so even if the container is left open the gel remains fresh.

Cool Tools Patina Gel is a tested product with proven results. Jewelry Artists are discovering the benefits of Cool Tools Patina Gel and Art Bead Scene writes “It’s a dream come true!” The Cool Tools unique Patina Gel chemistry makes it non-flammable and safe for international shipping. It mixes quickly and easily in water, or it can be brushed on full strength directly from the bottle. Cool Tools Patina Gel is economical. Use only what you need. No more digging for the right sized chunk or wasting pieces that are too large. No more throwing out a whole container because the lid was not on just right. Patina Gel is always fresh and always ready to use. Just a few drops are all you need for a batch of patina solution.

The convenience and long life of Cool Tools Patina Gel speaks for itself. Patina Gel oxidizes just like any other sulfur-based oxidizing agent, but it has an extended shelf life, lasting years, even uncovered. Cool Tools Patina Gel is not only a stable form of liver of sulfur but saves you time and money while delivering fantastic results.

As the largest manufacturer of metal clay tools in the United States, Cool Tools has had a long history of developing and refining innovative products. Known worldwide as a leader in creativity and productivity tools for jewelry artists, Cool Tools has created an instant staple in Cool Tools Patina Gel Stabilized Liver of Sulfur. Patina Gel is an example of taking a difficult and inconvenient task and making it simple and easy to use, something Cool Tools works at every day. Cool Tools Patina Gel offers you the ability to get any finish you desire on silver and any other metal clay.

Cool Tools offers FREE patina videos showing you tips, tricks, hints, shortcuts and expert advice. The Learning Center also features FREE down-loadable instructions on how to use Cool Tools Patina Gel as well as A Jewelry Artists Guide to Liver of Sulfur Patinas with unique patina recipes. Discover the difference that Cool Tools Patina Gel can make on your jewelry making projects.