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  1. Red Jasper, Red Creek Jasper, Picture Jasper, Madagascar Jasper and Picasso Jasper are some of the amazing beads I bought from one of my favourite suppliers yesterday. I can already see these colourful beads made into statement necklaces both for summer jewellery and winter jewellery.

    Blog - Jasper Serpentine and Sea Glass Beads

    Also chosen, were matt finish sea glass chips, chunks and rondelles, Black Amazonite, Serpentine, Honey Jade, Olive Jade and Shell discs, again ideal for statement jewellery. Guess what I'll be doing this week?

    Julie x

  2. The dictionary defines a hallmark as “a mark stamped on articles of gold, silver, or platinum by the British assay offices, certifying their standard of purity.”

    Hallmarking was introduced in the UK as far back as 1300 as a form of consumer protection to ensure that the item met the legal standard for that precious metal. As precious metals are very expensive, there is a huge opportunity for fraud (use of a lesser standard of material or even plated), and this method not only protects the public but also the honest suppliers. You should always be wary of jewellery that is being sold much cheaper than everyone else. It is that price for a reason – be warned!

    There are now only four assay offices in the UK: Birmingham (which I use), Sheffield, London and Edinburgh.

    Although I make beaded jewellery, I do incorporate beads and end fittings made from the precious metal silver, and when that piece of jewellery contains 7.78 grams of silver or more, it is sent to the Birmingham assay office for testing. Once they are happy that it is made to the right standard, it is then stamped with the hallmark, which consists of:

    • Makers mark, which for me is ‘JW’
    • The standard of fineness
    • The assay office mark, which is an “anchor” for Birmingham.

    The Hallmarking Act 1973 states that all dealers supplying precious metal jewellery shall display a notice explaining the approved hallmarks. If you can't see it, ask the dealer to show it you.

    Blog - What is a Hallmark and why have it?

    This subject is well documented on the Birmingham assay office website and makes for interesting reading.

    Julie x

  3. Added this beautiful necklace to the website this week although I could have been tempted to keep it if I hadn’t got as many as I have. Sits beautifully, and the colours in it are amazing: tan, burnt orange, white, cream, light grey, dark grey, black, pale amethyst, pale green. It will go with just about anything and is certainly a necklace that’ll get noticed. It’s made from matt Picasso Jasper and Sterling Silver, and very tactile.

    Blog - Picasso Jasper and Sterling Silver Necklace

    Let me know what you think of it.

    Julie x

  4. Another busy week ahead preparing for the forthcoming event: Derbyshire Open Arts.

    This is an annual event that takes place across the county during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (end May). A large number of artists and craftspeople display their work in separate venues where the public can view and purchase work as well as meet and talk to the artists. I’ll be in the Sports Hall at the Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale.

    Free admission.

    Derbyshire Open Arts 2014

    To view and/or download a copy of the brochure and map of venues please click here.

    Julie x

  5. I’ve had a busy week preparing for the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair this weekend 17th and 18th May 2014 at Elvaston Castle Country Park. We’ll be in the Craft Marquee Stand No. C4.

    I’ve come up with a new display idea using blank canvasses from the local art and craft shop so I’m hoping it’ll work. Today is getting the new displays finalized before tomorrow and if they work, I’ll blog about it next week.

    Blog - Picasso Jasper and Sterling Silver Necklace

    I also have to finish off the back of a stunning, chunky necklace. Here is a photo showing what it looks like. Let me know what you think of it, and if you get chance to come along to the fair, please call by and say ‘Hi’.

    Julie x