Sunday, November 10, 2019

Because how it's made matters - Annealed Lamp Glass Beads

Why we only use Annealed Beads in our Jewelry and local USA Bead Makers

So you purchase this fun bracelet with lots of colorful beads, some are plastic pearls so they peel, plated chains and charms that turn color, crystals that lack sparkle, but why are the glass beads cracking 3 months later?

Inexpensive and Cheaply Made Lamp Work Glass

Most glass beads from overseas are created cheaply on machinery for a low cost.  While they look cute, over time they are going to start to break apart and crack.  It's all in how they are made.   Here is an example of inexpensive lamp work glass beads.

Glass has Stress Points

Glass has lots of stress points and the proper heat and cooling process must be applied in order avoid a high probability of breakage.  

What is annealed beads and why are they different?
Annealing a bead is a process of heating and cooling a bead with a Kiln or torch to strengthen the bead and prevent stress points and cracking.  It requires a high skill and expertise in working with a Kiln and torch.   These beautiful beads are handmade by a bead artist, KreationsbyKarenK on Etsy.  "All beads go directly from flame to kiln have been properly annealed in a digitally controlled kiln for strength and durability"

PAIR 2 lampwork beads... SRA handmade encased classic frit image 0

How will I know the difference between a cheaply made bead and one that is properly annealed?
Bead makers are proud of the skills it has taken them years to learn and will list that their beads have been properly annealed.  A good rule of thumb is if the beads or  bracelet is under $100 is is probably beads made cheaply.   It's one of the times, you really get what you pay for.

lamp work beads...SRA handmade lampwork beads prism stained image 3

Our Trick or Treat Bracelet with annealed Corn Candy Beads
It is our goal to always offer the best quality in our jewelry.  Here is our Trick or Treat Bracelet crafted by our artists with Corn Candy beads from a local Bead maker.  They are created and kiln fired so as to be annealed for strength and beauty.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Swarovski® Crystal Birthstone Bracelets in a Rainbow of Colors

🌹It started with an idea for Bright, Bold Bracelets bracelets in a rainbow of Swarovski Crystal Birthstones.
🌹I had to add a personalized charm option, of course!
🌹And offer you a Savings of 25%
🌹Plus Quality you've come to expect with our Artisan Crafted Jewelry in Timeless Stainless Steel, for a lifetime of wear!


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Is your Jewelry Turning your Skin Green?

Have you found some really cute jewelry and just couldn't resist purchasing it.  You know how amazing it would be with your wardrobe.  You wore it for a short time and before you knew, your necklace, arm and finger turned green.  Why was that?  There are any number of reasons for your jewelry doing the Green-Thing.

autumn charm bracelet

Falling Leaves Bracelet in Stainless Steel by Dea @ Blackberry Designs Jewelry

The Green-Thing is caused by the metal of the jewelry that reacts with the acids in your skin.  Lotions, Perfumes and Hand creams can increase the reaction to the metal.
What metals can cause this reaction?  Did you know it is not just the Fashion Jewelry that turns your skin green, even jewelry made of Gold or Sterling Silver can cause this reaction.  Gold and Silver in their pure form are very soft metals and they need other metals to harden them.  Hence when sterling is Hallmarked, .925 Sterling, this means 92.5% of sterling is pure sterling but the 7.5% that remains are metals that harden the sterling, like Nickel.

Memorial Jewelry in Stainless Steel by Dea @ Blackberry Designs Jewelry

Some of the offenders of doing the Green-Thing are:
  • Copper
  • Silver Plating
  • Nickel
  • Zinc
  • Tin
Can you already guess the top metal for not having the green around your skin?
Hints on Helping with the Green Reaction to Jewelry:
  • Keep lotions, soap and other chemicals away from your jewelry.
  • Remove rings prior to washing your hands, or applying hand cream. 
  • Remove jewelry before bathing as well as swimming.
Luckily, most people have no trouble wearing jewelry created from sterling silver or gold. For those who must be careful about the metal they wear against their skin stainless steel is the best for any kind of allergenic reaction and contains none of the offending metals.  Because stainless in its pure form is so hard it doesn't really need fillers.

Personalized Engraved Rings in Stainless by Dea @ Blackberry Designs Jewelry

Be our Guest and Get the Latest on New Designs, Great Giveaways, and Amazing Discounts!
Dea at Blackberry Designs Jewelry   left Sterling Silver behind over 20 years ago and has been working in Stainless for over 20 years and is considered an expert in the use of this metal.  If you have questions about your jewelry, I maybe able to help, contact me:

Watch for our next post:  Rhodium Plating, Don't Believe the Hype!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

How our Cuff Jewelry Started?

Take a request from a customer, throw in a artist (well that was your first mistake), some gorgeous stainless steel sheets, add a 25 ton press (this could get dangerous) 😁, mix 1 part laser engraver and ask the artist to make something. When the artist has been described as MacGyver, has an art lab, not a studio, she is bound to come up with something.  But honestly it does take her longer than MacGyver. Viola, we have some amazing cuff bracelets and rings, but we have to personalize them so our customers can have their our story through jewelry.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Is it Real Pewter or Fake Tibetan and Zinc Alloy charms

🌹Did you know about 60% of Blackberry Designs Jewelry charms are cast in Pewter manufacture in America the rest are stainless steel. Real Pewter is an alloy made of 93% tin and a 7% blend of antimony, copper and bismuth, has been in use for centuries. It is considered a precious metal, fourth in line behind platinum, gold and silver. In the Middle Ages it was used in churches and wealthy homes. Pewter unlike sterling silver, it does not tarnish, nor will it rust or corrode.

🌹We use only Pewter from the USA, and test every charm that comes to our studio. If it's not USA Pewter the charm doesn't go on your bracelet.

🌹Why only USA pewter charms? They are regulated here in the USA for toxic metal, they will never turn or tarnish. They have beautiful casting made from molds.

🌹Don't be fooled by Zinc Alloy Pewter, or Tibetan Charms, these are plated copper, zinc and other metals, some are even silver paint over plastic. I have discovered most handmade jewelry uses these charms made overseas, because USA cast pewter can be pricey in comparison.

🌹Here is an article on the toxicity of these charms purchase overseas.

🌹A quick video of our charms as compared to Zinc Alloy and Tibetan charms, they are called pewter but most contain no pewter at all.

🌹So..a bracelet from our customer Ann G. that is over 5 years old with our beautiful USA cast pewter charms. They never turn color!