Sunday, 7 August 2016

Stocking My ArtYah Shop

Story of the Sapphire

I recently opened a new shop, SterlingByDix, on ArtYah <> I don't know how it will work out but it can't be worse than trying to sell on etsy these days, where a search for "sterling silver earrings" brings up 337,403 listings! Pretty hard to be found in such a crowd. On top of that, "handmade" has become pretty meaningless there so I feel it is time to try a venue that is serious about handmade. Fingers crossed.

One of the items I have listed at ArtYah is a sapphire pendant. Here is a bit about bringing it to life.


Some months ago, a client sent me some hand-cut gems to set for her. Among them, a round zircon and an emerald-cut yellow beryl. This is what I came up with.

Knowing the limit of my skills, I opted for purchased basket settings for the stones (bless supplier RioGrande for those). I had to do some customizing on the one for the emerald-cut beryl so I ordered a spare in case I messed up on that. Happily, my alterations were perfect so I had a basket mount left over. Not keen on waste, I purchased a lab-grown sapphire that would drop into the setting without any adjustments and set about designing a pendant to mount it.

Reticulation Again

If you follow this blog, you know I love the look of reticulated sterling silver. That was what I used on the custom pendant and it really set off the faceted stones, so I chose it for the sapphire, too.

Below, the first step in the process. I had this piece of reticulated sterling on standby so all I had to do was cut it to suit the sapphire (instead of having to do 8 - 10 heating and cooling steps before melting the surface to achieve the texture).

Ready, Set, Set (the Stone, That Is)

I cut the piece, sanded and polished its edges, and mounted the basket setting on it and added a highly polished bail. Below, I am ready to set the sapphire.

While taking photos (for both etsy and ArtYah), I also put the piece on a turntable and shot a very short video. There is always something new to try! I hope it will work here.