Monthly Archives: September 2013
Matt here, writing up my first post on the Bonyak Jewelry blog. While Ruth does most of the real work (design and fabrication), I'm mainly responsible for maintaining our website and sourcing gemstones.
The site has gone through a few iterations now. The first version ran on the ZenCart platform, which was pretty capable but also lacked a modern style. The last time I had done any serious website work was in the late 1990s, and I think it's safe to say that the web has changed dramatically since then. So that site lasted a few months, and it became clear we needed something more dynamic and responsive.
The current site is built on VirtueMart, which is definitely more modern and slick than ZenCart, but in many ways still requires a lot of custom coding and hacking. That's a big part of why I'm such a poor webmaster -- I know the website is held together with shoestring and bubblegum and I don't want to make any big updates that could break everything. So the VirtueMart site has slowly decayed, and not been updated the way it should be.
But Version 3.0 is coming. We've decided to move away from the low-cost open source roll-your-own approach and go with something more professional. So we're switching to a Magento-based website. This new site is currently under development and should be ready for primetime within the next month. Our goal is to go live before Halloween.
Ruth has a lot of great designs that aren't on the site right now. In fact, less than half of what she's sold has been featured on the website. Starting with the new site, that will be changing. Our full inventory will be posted and up-to-date. We're pretty excited.
I am definitely what you would call a Pinterest newbie. I have had a personal pinterest account for awhile now. However, I rarely pinned anything mainly because I had not a clue how it really worked. However, once I realized how it worked it was like a big light bulb went off in my head. I immediately was like I wish this was around when I was still a student in fashion design or when I was an art minor as an undergraduate. Mood boards if you are unfamiliar with them are what artists use in the various occupations of art and design to get ideas and narrow focus into collections. Typically you literally pin pictures using square pins onto foam core boards. The plethora of pictures and ease of creating boards through pinterest made me stash away my foam core boards and actual pins for now, while saving on a ton of printer ink. Although, keep in mind you can print them too if you want especially if you need to present your ideas.
I started pinning like crazy on my own personal boards these past couple of weeks, creating boards based on my favorite muses, fashion, nature, and antiques. Then I realized hey I can start a Pinterest for our business that shows what we're inspired by as well as some our own jewelry. I really do believe a picture is worth a thousand words, inspiration can come from all corners of the globe and all periods of history. So its nice to see what other people have shared and liked and also share what we're inspired by as well. If you aren't on Pinterest already I highly recommend it even if you don't think you need one like I did. You can create your own dream vacation board, gardening plans, DIY ideas, whatever your interests just happen to be you.
If you would like to follow us on Pinterest here is a link to our boards. I promise to add more pins. I just started it today so its a little sparse. Now I just need to figure out what Instagram is all about (while I am still on the young side, I do remember the days of dial up internet and boy bands, so please bear with me).
Recently I've been inspired by a wide variety of motifs and subjects. I love anything that has a nod to the past. I love Edwardian, Art Deco, and Retro jewelry and just plain antique jewelry generally speaking. As long as its chic and wearable and preferably a little unique then I am all over it. I am beginning to collect costume brooches from mainly the 40's. An era I am particularly fascinated with. I love looking at dresses and hats from this time period, since there were war time restrictions on amount of fabric there was an understated element of chic meets practicality. In my humble opinion, fashion design requires more creativity especially if you have less to work with. Also I feel there was a sense of glamour that carried from the 1930's into the 1940's with Hollywood ever influencing style. I am thinking about those fabulous veiled hats and also Betty Grable and Veronica Lake as style icons of the 40's. The jewelry is especially interesting from this period too, platinum was needed for the war effort so gold was used more. World War II bakelite jewelry was popular during this time and is sought after by many collectors today. Bakelite is an early hard brittle plastic that is a formaldehyde based resin discovered in 1907 and was considered revolutionary. Bakelite was used in a wide variety applications, but in jewelry subjects included planes, bombs, anchors, hearts, and I've even seen cherries which inspired one of the waxes in the photo. The jewelry was used mainly as a way to show support. I love how jewelry can be used to convey an important message. Here are some of the waxes I've carved recently with many more to come. Thanks for reading!
I used to get so frustrated with sterling silver tarnish till I learned a few tips and pointers when I started doing research on types of metals. Polishing my favorite necklace which had a snake chain and was very hard to clean came to mind when writing this post and also the tea set my mom had when I was a child.
Tarnish as most of you know can be removed by gently using a polishing cloth. There are wonderful polishing pads designed specifically for jewelry that approximately 1 inch by 1 inch that take tarnish off easily and almost feel like rubber. Also, there are the more traditional polishing cloths that you can buy in all different kinds of sizes, but are impregnated with cleansing agents, the brand Sunshine comes to mind. If your jewelry has absolutely no stones and is not mixed metal, the piece can be dipped in a silver cleaning solution, such as Connosieurs which takes tarnish off in just a few seconds. Just a warning though this solution is not the most pleasant smelling and I recommend wearing gloves.
To prevent tarnish from the beginning you can purchase tarnish ziploc bags that have copper in them will help keep your silver jewelry tarnish free, for generally speaking up to a year. Also I like to put a “sacrificial” penny inside my jewelry box and display cases to help prevent tarnishing. When I mean sacrificial I mean a coin of no numismatic or even sentimental value since the coin will oxidize before the silver. If the penny is already pretty oxidized or dirty I suggest rubbing it with a piece of sandpaper to expose the copper surface.
If you just want silver jewelry that is just going to be maintenance free, look for jewelry that is made with the newest silver alloys that are already tarnish resistant. Its seems to be growing more and more in popularity with jewelers. One alloy is Argentium, of which there are several varieties have silver purity levels that I have seen range between 93% and 96 % silver, which is higher that sterling at 92.5%. The difference between this alloy and Sterling is the presence of Germanium. Another alloy to look for is Sterlium Plus which is tarnish resistant up to two years. Fine silver which is 99.9 percent pure silver also tends not to tarnish, however it is significantly a softer metal in comparison to sterling silver which limits its use and is harder to find in jewelry. Also, rhodium plated sterling silver jewelry which is everywhere will keep have a nice bright silver luster and help with surface tarnishing. However, the down side to anything that is plated is that plating does wear off. Hope these tips and tricks help you keep your silver jewelry the color silver. Of course if you like when silver tarnishes and turns black, there is always black oxidized sterling jewelry. Thank you for reading!