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The Easy Way to Make Resin Jewellery

The beauty of resin jewellery is such, that it is displayed as adornment on people everywhere. It has even been displayed in shopping malls and centres around the world. When cast correctly, the quality of resin jewellery makes it impossible to tell it apart from real amber, jade, and turquoise.

Resin jewellery has become very popular and even the commercial jewellery makers are excited over the production of new resins, which are safe to use and easy to handle. These new resins have opened up the imagination of artists around the world. Artists are creating wonderfully unique and impressive pieces that the public loves.

The revolution created by these new resins allows an artist to delve past the brilliance of nature and create customized colours, textures, and looks. The new jewellery pieces come in all shapes, sizes, and dimensions. Using silicone artists can reproduce their ideas by making moulds. This alone has given the hobby a pleasing dimension that is limited only by the imagination.

The new resins combined with the creation of moulds means that artist no longer have to wait for new designs. They can simply create them on their own. If you are making and selling jewellery, this means that you can now design and create your own unique beads, pendants, and centre stones. There is nothing that you cannot design when you are able to create your own moulds. TIP: Use the internet to find the best prices.

What has changed is the quality of new resins and the fact that an artist can now make their own moulds. This has added a refreshing and enduring quality to home jewellery making. Those qualities had been missing from the industry. With their addition, jewellery making has become a home based business opportunity for many people around the world.

Polyester resins are not new to the industry, and they are valued because of the glass like quality that they give to cast pieces. They are not used as often these days because of the noxious odour that is emitted by the catalyst MEKP, which is essential to the process. Polyester resins are still essential for all larger pieces above 170gm in size..

An alternative to the noxious polyester resins are the epoxy resins which lack the noxious odour of the polyester resins. These are safe to use and easy to handle. CrystalCast is a brand of epoxy that is usually the most economical to buy. It mixes at a ratio of 2:1 and is fairly translucent.

CrystalCast WaterClear is a new product that has a finished clarity that is about the same as water. This product mixes at a 1:1 ratio, and comes with an added benefit. It is perhaps the resin that is the most bubble free of the clear resins used to cast jewellery. Because of its low viscosity, it rarely requires vacuum bubble extraction and/or pressure casting so often required for clear resins.

One of the most popular resins is one made from polyurethane, and offered by CraftCast. This is one of the newer developments in resins. Craftcast White is safe and very easy to handle. It has a mixing ratio of 1:1, but its advantage is its fast setting time. It hardens in 3-4 minutes and can be removed from the mould in about 10 minutes. The fact that is similar to water when mixed means that it is a perfect resin for picking up all of the fine details of your mould.

Other resins in the polyurethane range are CraftCast Regular which is the lowest cost resin of its type, mixes 1:1 and is tan in colour. Other polyurethane resins are CraftCast Clear and CraftCast Black both 1:1 mixing with rapid demoulding times. The black can be very dramatic when used with a suitable design.

What would Jewellery making be without the concept of creating beads and pieces that are unique and precious. Thanks to the large number of dyes and pigments available, artist now have the option of an unlimited colour pallet. Even the creation of specialized faux gems like opals is possible simply by adding metallic powders to your project.

Because we support the individual artist, we stock a wide selection of pre-made moulds, along with all of the casting products that we have mentioned in this article. For those of you who are interested in making your own moulds CraftSil is a general purpose silicone suitable for most jewellery making designs. Remember silicone moulds can be used to bring your imagination to life.

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The Wonder of Glass Beads

There is archeological evidence of glass-like beads dating back at least 3000 years. The earliest examples are of an Egyptian bead made from a form of ceramic (not clay) that when fired produced a bright blue-green surface. The faience ceramic was made from crushed quartz, sand, calcite lime and alkali which came together and produced the copper pigments it is known for. The end result did not bear the transparent qualities of the glass beads we know today, but the luster of the surface and the color the mixture produced a reflective and delicate product that gave the impression of glass to the modern eye.

When true glass was finally being produced (on purpose), wound glass beads were the first to be made. The method is simple; glass is heated to the point of pliability, laid down and wound around a steel wire. The wire is coated in a runny clay slip to prevent the glass from adhering to the wire while it hardens. From this point different tools and materials may be used to create various effects such as shapes, patterns etc. Even small dabs of colored glass can be added while the glass is still hot.

Drawn beads are another very old form of glass beads. In fact, there is evidence of drawn glass beadmaking facilities dating back to the 2nd century. The main method of making drawn glass beads involves using a ball of hot glass and pulling a strand out and around it creating a glass tube. Some cultural differences in the method include the use of a hollow metal tube or a tool called a puntile. The common denominator in drawn glass beadmaking was the skill required to pull the strand in such a way that a hole was created while drawing the 'cane' of the bead as long as possible without breaking. Once the cane was drawn out, it could be cut into individual beads. Seed beads were, and are made in such a way; however today it is done mechanically.

Molded beads are very common, and today often associated with low cost of labor and low quality product. While that may be true of some manufacturers, there are a lot of very lovely beads produced from the molding process. Thick rods of glass are heated to a molten form and fed into a machine that essentially stamps the glass. A needle pierces a hole in the middle, the beads are rolled in hot sand to soften the edges and out pops a molded glass bead. Particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries the Bohemian glass bead industry was well known for its practice of copying expensive beads through the molding process. They made ornate glass beads via a cheaper process, thus making the same desirable designs available to those who could not afford the more pricey alternative.

Lampworked glass beads are a type of wound glass bead, but with an extra step involved. During the hard economic times in of the 19th century in Europe it was not uncommon for the lady of the house to take on extra work she could carry out in the home. Some women chose mending or sewing, other did laundry and still others chose lampwork beadmaking. After the wound glass beads are produced in an industrial factory, they were shipped off to home-based piece workers. The ladies would use an oil lamp to re-heat the core of the bead and add fine threads of colored glass as decoration, thus the name 'lampwork beads'.

Dichoric glass beads are the glitz of the high end glass art bead category. More and more designers are seeking out these iridescent glass beads for their unique colors. Wound or molded glass beads have a thin layer of metal fused to the surface of the glass, producing the trademark metallic luster. Any manner of coloured metal may be used, but if it is heated for too long it simply turns silver and burns off.

Glass beads can be so diverse and so luminous in their use that avid beaders often treat them with pronounced reverence, much like a collector would handle a fine work of art. Considering the length of history inherent in glass beads, there is a certain amount of respect required. Lampworked beads especially are not just pretty pieces of adornment, they speak of the sociological and economic struggle of the 19th century European homemaker. The wonder of glass beads is not just in its beauty, it is also in the history of its existence.



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Origins of African Trade Beads

African trade beads owe their unique creation to the need of traders plying the route between Africa and Europe and the affinity of Africans for beads of all types. European merchants created these trade beads to barter items of value from African people. Some of the items found in Africa that were particularly coveted by the Europeans include gold, ivory and palm oil amongst other region specific things.

The history of African trade beads can be traced back to the 15th century, when Portuguese traders reached West Africa and discovered that the people of Africa attached a lot of importance to beads made from a variety of items such as iron, gold, ivory, bone, organic things etc. Simultaneously, the European traders also discovered that the land was full of resources that Europe was in desperate need of.

Resultantly, the shrewd business minds of the traders decided to use beads made from glass as leverage to barter goods and raw materials with Africans. The material of glass was picked out primarily because the continent of Africa was still to discover glass working techniques, and its people were found to be in awe of the exquisite glass beads that the Europeans showed up with. An alternate name for these items is slave beads as they were used to barter slaves in addition to basic goods and services. These African slave beads were also known as aggry beads.

During those times, although the whole of Europe was rushing to produce them and siphon off the maximum amount of African resources, the leading producers were artisans from the city of Venice that is famous for its rare and unique glasswork even now. Other leading African trade beads producing centers of Europe include Bohemia and the Netherlands. The most popular type of African slave beads is the millefiore form that can be translated into the 'thousand flower'.

In terms of the current day and age, African trade beads have become items that have a lot of value owing to their exotic nature and intriguing history. As per some historians, the African slave beads became popular in the western countries during the decade of 1960 which saw a lot of people from the US and Europe traveling to Africa and discovering the beauty and value of these African slave beads. Resultantly, jewelry made from African slave beads was transported back to the western world where it immediately captured the fancy of the majority of consumers.

Furthermore, it should be noted that there was no standard production of African trade beads and they were produced on the basis of particular demands instead. This has resulted in individual African trade beads items that draw their value from the fact that there is no other item like it. Therefore, the originality and the unique workmanship are the driving force behind jewelry made of these famous African beads becoming extremely coveted in the present day.


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