Corey's Guatemalan Jadeite + Moonstone Flower Remix

November 01, 2015 0 Comments

Production date: 8/29/2011 and 9/2013
Materials used: Olmec Blue Guatemalan Jadeite, Moonstone, Silver

In late 2011 Corey, one of our local Richmond, Virginia customers, came to us wanting a pair of our four petal "Maya Flower" plugs from a rare pale blue Guatemalan jadeite. We carved those pieces for him in 8mm (0g) and he happily wore them until he started stretching again and they would no longer fit.

While in the studio one day he mentioned in passing that he would like to be able to use them again at some point, so we started brainstorming ways that we could make that work for him. Fast forward to 2013 and Corey has reached 13mm (1/2") and brought in his flowers so that we could work on creating a new project for him. Because we do not use glue in any of our mixed-media constructions or inlays, it was necessary to come up with a way to attach the two pieces together.

After some discussion we decide that a gem setting in the center would look amazing. We sometimes follow design concepts in line with the agricultural principles of "Permaculture," which among other things dictates that all parts of a system should have multiple functions to ensure simplicity, account for the needs of each component, and eliminate extraneous details. Thus, very perceptive fans of ours may have noticed that we very frequently design our gem settings and sometimes the natural materials themselves to be a key connective component in mixed-media work. The gem setting for this project serves two purposes - it holds the gemstone, but it also serves as the method that connects a new jade plug to the cut-off faces of his original jade flowers.

The final specs for the project involved creating a standard double flared plug from the same jadeite at Corey's current size with the front modified to accept his original flowers, not just as inlays but as a continuation of the front flares of his pieces. Corey and our staff all agreed that Moonstone would be a gorgeous addition to these plugs, with the milky color wonderfully complementing the pale blue jadeite.

The first step in production was to cut the faces off of Corey's old jade flower plugs. We cut them at the middle of the wearing surface to give enough room on the backs of the flowers to carve a 'post' or 'foot' onto the bottom which would snap into the front of the new plugs. The backs were perfect for beads so we finished those off and handed them over at the end of the project.

We generally do mock-ups and illustrations prior to beginning a project, but because this project involved hands-on reuse of preexisting components that needed to be modified, this was more of a design as we go project. Test fitting the faceted moonstone into the pre-existing hole in the flowers gave us a good starting point for how we were going to need to carve the flowers to accept the gems and connective hardware.

We decided that a four prong setting that followed the pre-existing lines would work best, so the next step was to build the setting itself so we would have a component to work around while modifying the flower. The prong setting is a simple basket style setting built from silver wire using a wonderfully simple method. Pieces of wire are bent and soldered into X shapes and two tiny rings are made to serve as the basket. The rings are soldered to the top and bottom of the X at center (the smaller ring surrounds the point at the bottom of the stone and the girdle sits atop the larger), the middle X is cut away and the arms bent up and soldered to form the prongs. Unfortunately, I neglected to take photos of the construction steps so please use your imagination.

With the setting built, the next step was to do some design thinking and modify the flower to accept it. We can't just have settings poking willy-nilly out of the faces of jewelry, because it's inelegant and it's poor design. Things that protrude get caught, bumped, and inevitably damaged. Moonstone is soft and it needed some protection. You can see from the photos that as it sits, it would be unacceptable.

We very carefully hollowed the interior of the flowers so the settings would sink down and deepened the dividing lines between the petals so the prongs would seat nicely and look like they'd always been there. The result is shown below.

Note also in the above photo the 13mm (1/2") plug that has already been created, but the front has not been modified to accept the "foot" from the flower and that is why it appears to be floating above. The size of the front flare on the 8mm (0g) "Maya Flower" design was about 6mm making it around 14mm (9/16") in size, which happens to be exactly the size of a standard ~1.5mm double flare on our pieces, so in the end these plugs ended up shaped just like standard double flares.

Because we were rolling on getting these finished, we did not snap any photos of the connective hardware or the making of the base plug itself (we need to be more mindful of that in the future), but there are many photos of grinding stone in our other Production Stories, so take a peek at those for more info. The finished shot of these pieces is shown below, with all components set and the prongs shortened and polished. This project was a great success - our customer got a gorgeous new pair of plugs using his old pieces and we had a lot of fun utilizing one of our greatest strengths: problem solving with natural materials.




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Holiday 2018 Shipping and Closure Info

December 11, 2018 0 Comments

I am currently working hard to get all pending orders for standard made-to-order (non-custom) jewelry that have come in through the website finished and shipped in the days leading up to my holiday closure on Friday 12/21. This includes orders from the Holiday Guaranteed collection on my site placed up until Monday 12/17. 

After 12/17 I can guarantee shipment of orders for in stock and ready to ship jewelry until the afternoon of 12/21 when the last mail shipment goes out. Orders for made-to-order or custom jewelry not included in the "Holiday Guaranteed" section of the website will not begin shipping until after 1/1.

As of today Tuesday 12/11, I strongly suggest Priority or Express mail service to ensure any orders that are gifts or otherwise needed for Christmas to be delivered on time. I guarantee that we'll get it in the mail, but I can't control the shipping time.

My workshop will be closed from 12/21 to Tuesday 1/1 so I can rest my hands and spend time with my family. I may be in the workshop cleaning or prototyping but nothing will ship during this time. Correspondence will happen periodically, just be patient.

I'll be back in the workshop making jewelry and getting on with business as usual the week of 1/1/19. Thanks to you this business is now 16 years old. I appreciate your support. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Jared Karnes, Owner/Jeweler

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Submit your wear photos for $$!

December 07, 2018 0 Comments

Over the years I have made some fantastic ear weights, one at a time for one customer at a time, and promptly sent them off to homes without the ability to show them in their natural environment - being worn by truly unique people!

Some of the pieces I make have unusual insertion methods (Ghost in the Shell) or wearing surfaces that can be difficult to describe (iona) but are easy to show in a photo. I want to gather some beautiful photos of my customers showing off how you incorporate my work into your one of a kind style. As thanks, I would like to offer you $30 in credit toward your next order and a chance to win $100 in credit toward your next set of handmade ear weights.

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Alchemy with Stone: Doublets and Triplets

August 26, 2018 0 Comments

I've been experimenting with a new process that allows me to create unique, one of a kind gemstones with a modern aesthetic that embraces the distinctive color and light play characteristics of each stone. These gems are combinations of multiple stones laminated together and are named for the number of layers of stone in the completed piece. Two layers is a doublet, and three is called a triplet.

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Sizing Chart
Size chart includes the sizes we make, and default flare size & wearing lengths.
We are happy to make pieces in odd sizes or with custom flares or wearing lengths.
Jewelry Size Flare Size Wearing Length
1.0mm (18g) 1-1.5mm 9mm
1.3mm (16g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
1.5mm (14g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.0mm (12g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.5mm (10g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
3.0mm (8g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
4.0mm (6g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
5.0mm (4g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.0mm
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.5mm (2g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
7.0mm (1g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
8.0mm (0g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
9.0mm (00g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
10mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
11mm (7/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
12mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
13mm (1/2")
1-1.5mm
10mm
14mm (9/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
15mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
16mm (5/8")
1-1.5mm
10mm
17mm (11/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
18mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
19mm (3/4")
1-1.5mm
11mm
20mm (13/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
21mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
22mm (7/8")
1-1.5mm
11mm
23mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
24mm (15/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
25mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
26mm (1")
1-1.5mm
11mm
27mm (1 1/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
28mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
29mm (1 1/8")
1-1.5mm
12mm
30mm (1 3/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
31mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
32mm (1 1/4")
1-1.5mm
12mm
33mm (1 5/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
34mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
35mm (1 3/8") 
1-1.5mm
12mm
36mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
37mm (1 7/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
38mm (1 1/2") 1.5-2mm 13mm
39mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
40mm (1 9/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
41mm (1 5/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
42mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
43mm (1 11/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
44mm (1 3/4")
1.5-2mm
13mm
45mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
46mm (1 13/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
47mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
48mm (1 7/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
49mm (1 15/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
50mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
51mm (2")
1.5-2mm
13mm

Wearing length is the area of the jewelry that fits inside your piercing. 

Overall length (sometimes confused with wearing length) is the total measurement of the jewelry from face to face, including any additional flare or face area.

Diagram of jewelry styles with wearing length marked in green and overall length marked in red.

1. Flat face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overall length is measured from face to face.

2. Convex face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overal length is measured from face to face.

3. Flat face double flared plug with flat flares. Wearing length is measured from inside the flare edges (the piercing cannot rest on the flat flare areas). Overall length is measured face to face.

4. Trumpet flare style plug. The dotted line denotes where the wearing surface ends on the front, because the larger portion of the slope cannot fit inside the piercing. Wearing surface is measured from inside the rear flare edge to the area on the front flare with the same diameter measurement. Overall length is measured from face to face.

5. Sloped single flare plug. Wearing length is measured from where the slope of the flare ends to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

6. Top-hat style single flare with convex face. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

7. Top-hat style single flare with curved rear. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the beginning of the curve (the piercing cannot rest on the slope). Overall length is measured from face to face.

8. Top-hat style single flare with groove for an o-ring. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the groove (the piercing cannot rest on the groove). Overall length is measured from face to face.

9. Labret (round or oval) with a standard concave t-back. Wearing length is measured from where the wearing shaft meets the wing to the end of the flat portion (the piercing cannot rest on the slope).

Overall length is always longer than the wearing surface because it includes other sections of the jewelry that do not rest inside the piercing. If you are ordering a piece of jewerly and you specify an overall length instead of a wearing length, your jewelry will not fit properly. Order using "overall length" at your own risk. Knowing your ideal wearing length, which can change as you stretch your piercings, ensures you're able to order jewelry that will fit well from every vendor, every time.