Friday January 4th, 5-9pm
We're thrilled to announce that Anneville Jewelry Lab is now officially open! We've been working hard on San Diego's newest jewelry maker co-work space so come by and help us celebrate with music, nibbles & sips and a raffle with all sorts of cool prizes (including free passes!). We'll also be offering exclusive memberships and discounted packages so you can ring in the New Year by making your art a priority. At The Jewelry Lab you'll find a space dedicated to creative focus and stocked with the top notch equipment needed to hone your craft. But Anneville is more than tools, it's a friendly, growing metal arts community. So stop by to have a look and help us celebrate!
Friday, December 7th from 5-9pm
A lot has happened since we took this photo! Join us to check out our progress and warm up the new Anneville Jewelry Lab. If you are a metals or jewelry person, you'll want to check out San Diego's newest jewelry/metals teaching and co-work space. Phase One is done and we're celebrating with music, nibbles, tours of the lab and free prizes. Everyone through the door between 5 and 8 gets a raffle ticket to win free lab passes, gift cards and holiday-themed goodies. Drawings will take place at the top of the hour. No purchase necessary but you must be present to win! Directions.
November is bringing big positive changes to Anneville. I've just signed a lease with the Arts District at Liberty Station to more than double Anneville's square footage. The best part is, the new suite is just across the hall. My current suite (209) will remain my personal studio and mokume gane central - fusing, ring-making, vessel raising, meeting with ring clients, etc.
The exciting new addition will be just across the hall in suite 212; envision a dedicated jewelry classroom with 7 fully-equipped workstations. A new space deserves a new name, so as of November 1, please welcome the Jewelry Lab as part of the Anneville family. The Jewelry Lab will enable a new jewelry/metals community to thrive here at Liberty Station. There will be workshops (mokume gane and otherwise), 8-week general jewelry metals classes for all levels, hourly bench rental, visiting artist workshops, exhibitions and lots more!
Sign up for Earlybird special offers and be among the first to know all the Jewelry Lab news!
If your interest is piqued by this new venture and you'd like to receive special offers, early notification of when registration opens for classes, etc., consider signing up on my new Jewelry Lab interest list. To sign up, go to my contacts page and fill out your details - be sure to check the box that says "Earlybird info on the new Jewelry Lab" and click submit. That's it! Then you'll be in with in crowd. :-)
Sneak peek alert - come by our monthly open studio this Friday November 2, 5-9pm to check out the new space!
As a person who spends much of her life obsessed with mokume gane, it has long been a dream of mine to meet Norio Tamagawa - living treasure of Japan and by far the top mokume gane artist in the world. Mr. Tamagawa taught Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski about mokume back in the 1970's (she subsequently brought her knowledge to art schools across the US). I recently returned from my first visit to Japan, and while there I had the honor of spending a few hours in his studio.
Here's just a little background so all can begin to understand how amazing he is: Mr. Tamagawa lives in Tsubame, a small city in Niigata prefecture that has been the center of metalwork production in Japan since the 1600's - they make everything from nails to scissors to copper teakettles. After working 50 years for his family company Gyokusendo, he retired about a decade ago to work on his own art vessels. He fuses his own mokume, spring-hammers the billets into 12-16" 3mm thick discs, then raises the 3mm discs by hand. At age 76, he still makes about three of these vessels a year.
We drank tea, shared the worry of there being only one rokusho maker left in the world, polished and patinated spoons, exchanged gifts, and watched an amazing video about his life "Tankin: the art of Tamagawa Norio." The day would not have been possible without the help of a superb local guide and translator named Yasushi Kawakami. Look him up if you head to the Tsubame-Sanjo area, he's great! Photographs by the fabulous and patient Ame Stanko, who was by my side the whole time recording the event and making sure I didn't do anything too foolish.
Ame and I left feeling in awe of Mr. Tamagawa and his wife Keiko - they are generous, gracious and fun-loving souls. Many thanks to them for extending their hospitality and putting up with us bumbling around in their beautiful house and workshop. Lots more info about the day in the photo captions.
Most jewelry is made with not just one metal, but 2 or more melted together in specific proportions to form an alloy. By adding metals like copper, palladium, zinc, and the like, jewelers (and their refiners) have learned to create a rainbow of metal alloys with a wide variety of strengths, working characteristics, melting points, etc.
For instance, sterling silver is the standard metal for silver jewelry. It is an alloy of elemental copper and silver - 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The copper increases the strength of the silver, making it stronger and more durable.
Gold is similar in that it is rarely used in its elemental form - pure gold is quite soft and malleable. Remember those TV shows with pirates or cowboys biting down on the gold coin to see if it is real? Pure gold you really can leave a mark in with your teeth.
The most common alloy of gold is 18k yellow gold. The 'k' stands for karat, and tells us the percentage of gold in the alloy. 24 karat = pure gold. 18 karat is 18 parts of 24, so divide 18 by 24 = 75% gold. So, 18k gold is 75% pure gold. What's the rest of it, you ask? To keep the color yellow, usually equal parts copper and silver make up the other 25%.
Is gold always yellow? Technically .... yes! Pure gold is always yellow; other colors of gold are actually gold alloys - created by using different metals in the non-gold part of the alloy. For instance, 14k rose (or red) gold is a common alloy - it contains 58.3% gold (14/24 for you mathy types), with the balance (41.7%) mostly copper. That's why rose gold is coppery colored! It is still a stable, precious, non-reactive metal though, because of the stabilizing properties of the gold. Any gold alloy containing 50% or more gold will be stable and non-reactive, suitable for jewelry and use in mokume gane.
The real question - what is palladium white gold?? This entire post is actually a lead up to answer a question I get all the time - what is palladium white gold?? Is it palladium, or is it gold? By now, you can probably guess it is an alloy of both. I use 14k palladium white gold all the time in my mokume gane because I love its dark gray color and its strength. It is 14k, so we know it has to be 58.3% gold. The balance is mostly palladium, a dark gray precious metal used in jewelry but also in catalytic converters.
Bonus question - Is all white gold made with palladium? No! It is much cheaper to make white gold with nickel, a light gray inexpensive base metal. However nickel white gold is banned in many countries because up to 25% of the population is allergic to it. This (and the color) is why most nickel white gold jewelry is rhodium plated. It's more expensive, but for many reasons palladium white gold is the right choice for mokume gane.
So, with all that information, look at the photo of the billet on this post, and see the 3 colors in a new light - you are looking at 14k palladium white gold (gray), 14k rose gold (red/rose) and sterling silver (white). Does anyone want to guess what percentage of gold the billet contains? (by volume, not by weight - that's another blog post). Hint: half the billet is 14k gold of one color or another. Give it your best guess in the comments below. First two correct answers get a $40 gift certificate good on classes or jewelry!
Update: thanks to those who played! The correct answer was 29.15% . The billet is 50% 14k gold. 14k gold is 58.3% gold, so, 50% of 58.3% = 29.15%
Congratulations to the first two correct answers - Chris L. and Ben B. I'll be emailing your $40 gift certificates. Yay!
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.