new wishbone rave

new rave, same wishbone.

this was just written last week on my Facebook Fan page by a client I’d lost touch with some years ago, about the wishbone necklaces i made for her back then– you’ll see why I want to share it with you now!

18 karat yellow gold wishbone necklace

“Dana and I are still in love with our jewelry pieces from you, Heather. It never fails that I get comments when I wear my wishbone; one of my all time favorite pendants.”

-Susan Brashears Wacker

top holiday gifts? handmade jewelry, of course.

*scroll to the bottom for this year’s special holiday shopping offer for my subscribers!*

the studio is starting to get busy with orders and questions about holiday gifts and gift ideas, so i thought i’d write quickly my holiday gift ideas for you before getting back to new custom jewelry projects and photos.

my holiday gift guides

we’ve re-established my online shop for my handmade jewelry: each of my handforged peace sign jewelry pieces (including the earrings!), rune symbols and wishbone necklacesthat have been my top holiday gifts in past seasons.

online payments for my shopping cart are securely handled by PayPal, where you can use any major credit or debit card as well as your PayPal account.

this year i’m pleased to add a new series of pendants in time for the holidays: the ohm pendant designed for my fellow yoga fans and practitioners.

like my other handmade jewelry, the om pendants are made one at a time on my studio and are available on different chains and lengths to order. my current favorite combo is the 22 karat gold om pendant on rawhide, a nice juxtaposition of purity, luxury and simplicty.

gold ohm pendant on rawhide

in time for christmas?

always!

one of the reasons i recommend the pendants is that they are simple enough to finish and ship quickly, even at the last minute. I usually ship for the holidays up until December 15 or so by my usual means, USPS priority mail with insurance and tracking.

doing any holiday specials this year?

yes!

every year i do a special holiday discount offer for memail subscribers, and this year i’m extending it to my Facebook Fans as well.

this year, its called Gold Friday:  you can save from $60 to $260 on all gold jewelry in my online shop this Thanksgiving weekend only.

so join me on my Facebook page for handforged custom jewelry or sign up for my list below before midnight on Thanksgiving, and I’ll email you the special code along with all of my longtime clients, friends and fans first thing on Gold Friday morning! (screw Black Friday– there, I said it.)

peace sign earrings

i almost forgot about making these entirely, since I don’t wear many earrings myself and I hadn’t had an order for them since we switched over the site from the old marketplace one to the new blog set-up, and the old earring listings came down off the net.

anyway, shortly after we got the peace sign jewelry page of the new shoppping cart set up here with WordPress, I was very happy to hear from a repeat client saying how much she wanted another pair of these! (she had been unable to find my old listings on Google this year and had lost email info, but came across the new site- finally. John assures me this will never happen again…)

so now i like these better than i remember liking them before, so up they go.


peace sign earrings
peace sign earrings

my original small peace sign earrings in sterling, with a simple sterling wire, now available exclusively online at heather-reilly.com!

your pot of gold

finally getting a chance to finish writing out this *great* idea, one inspired by my first custom LifeChain client and brought to you by the price of gold these days.

as we were talking about her individual life chain links and materials and watching the LifeChain videos together (on the phone and online…now neatly republished on my very own jewelry YouTube channel, she mentioned how she loved the idea of “reclaiming” old, treasured gold jewelry that went unworn, and her mom did, too.

(you can see me melting down and reforging gold of my own in the third LifeChain video).

could we make something smaller with their old gold? starting with a particular set of gold bracelets….

now if you follow me and my work and follow the gold market, you know i mean it when i say that it absolutely hurts to quote clients the price of a substantial, hand forged, custom gold piece of jewelry these days. especially compared with gold market of only five or six years ago, and especially as the holiday jewelry gift season arrives.

so it is with much joy that i credit one of my dearest clients with this new way of creating a meaningful piece of custom jewelry. remake your old jewellery into something you will love and wear or create a very unique, family heirloom type gift, just in time for the holidays.

your pot of gold

people always ask me (after they find out i’m a jeweller), what to do with their gold “scrap”:

  • old bits of gold jewelry
  • earrings missing a mate
  • bracelets too twisted to salvage
  • kinked chains
  • jewelry missing jewels
  • old wedding rings

…you know the jewelry you will never wear again.

what’s the gold worth? what can you do with it?

real gold and diamonds have real value, but somewhat diminished if just sitting forgotten in an old jewellery box, and just selling off old jewelry that’s been in your life or in your family forever has always put me off as a concept….

but i absolutely love this.

“do you think she could use my gold to make me something i will actually wear, make something i love
using this gold i’ve had all these years?”

instead of just old stuff, what you really have is your own pot of gold, gold that can be melted, milled, forged and transformed into something that will really reflect her style, something that she can wear everyday, a bangle, pendant, ring or earrings– we’ll find out (that’s the fun part, by the way).

find out more about the “pot of gold” transformation in the Life Chain videos or contact me directly here.

The LifeChain, part 7

John is finally back to editing the rest of this series about my LifeChain custom jewelry project from this past summer in San Diego, just in time to help me illustrate that round of new inspiration from one of my fabulous clients I mentioned yesterday– check it out, and check in again this weekend to read about my first custom LifeChain commission!

jewelry studio inspiration found!

a few weeks ago, after getting the studio set up, the house in order and the kids down for a nap, i sat down to work and…. wasn’t sure where to start.

i ended up posting to Twitter that i was looking for a sign, for inspiration, and calling it a night.

last week, looking over all of my work online with John, i found the inspiration I was looking for right where i always find it, where i should have been in the first place: with all of you, my clients, fans and followers. it was sort of an The Alchemist moment, where after some anguish, and sort of useless expenditure of energies, I found what I needed most right here at home.

on my orginal jewelry blog on Blogger we found this incredible testimonial posted last month from a long time repeat client back in San Diego posted as a comment that neither of us had seen– John quoted it right away on one of my main jewlery gallery pages and I’m quoting here so you can read it.

Heather made our wedding ring, then my wife’s 30th birthday ring and she adores each of them.

Our 5 year anniversary was no different, and I was so excited for my wife but didn’t want to ruin our dinner and spoil the anticipation. We were early enough to the restaurant with few patrons around, but it starting filling up quick. Not wanting the extra attention of a full restaurant, I couldn’t help myself.

BIG MISTAKE!!!! She was so enchanted with her new ring I didn’t even recognize my wife…. she was a little girl dreaming of beautiful rings someday and here it was! Sounds cheezy but it was true… we are not ostentatious in any sense of the word but she couldn’t stop herself all through the night from checking out her new ring in more poses than I could imagine a hand capable of!

And yes, it was embarrassing for us second hand / retro fiends, but if you’re gonna go big, go heather.

Thanks Heather for the tripleLindy on my wife’s hands! I will send some photos soon and I hope your move went smoothly.

Love Jason and Kimball and now Wilson!

i always turn to my custom clients for inspiration when i’m working directly with them on their jewelry, and here was wonderful Jason telling me what i need to hear all the way across the country right when i needed to hear it- thank, Jason and all my wonderful clients.

it seems now the beginning of a trend, with another inspiring set of ideas tumbling out of discussions with a different client over the few days after that– these next up here this week.

we have to go looking for the pictures of this ring Jason commissioned for his beautiful wife Kimball– little Wilson, I can’t wait to meet you!

price of platinum versus 18k palladium white gold

one of the questions that people shopping for custom platinum engagement rings often ask is “given the price of platinum, what is a good alternative for platinum engagement rings or platinum wedding bands?”

my answer in a particular alloy of gold that i love to forge: 18k palladium white gold.

palladium is a member of the platinum family, but unlike platinum, palladium is extremely affordable. when alloyed with 18k white gold, we have a metal that is intrinsically as close to the color and weight of platinum as anything one could custom create.

so unlike regular 14 and 18 karat white golds, palladium white does not need to be rhodium plated to create its fabulous deep color and so will wear beautifully over time.

to give an idea of its versatility, color and luster, here are some photos of different custom jewelry i have designed and created in 18k palladium white gold.

18k palladium white gold pendant, ring and bangle

18k white gold anniversary ring
18k white gold anniversary ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring

silver & gold bangles

I hadn’t made any bangles for a relatively long time, until the old hand forged sterling silver bangle on the

hand forged sterling silver bangle with diamonds
hand forged sterling silver bangle with diamonds


fortunately for my readers, the bangle (even at the really good price through the end of August!) hasn’t sold yet, and you could still get the deal of the year if you like this piece.

fortunately for me, posting this piece up for sale inspired a custom order for a little bit different bangle, which I just finished yesterday in this last round of bench work before packing up the studio for Pittsburgh.

John took a bunch of pictures of all the pieces getting their final polish yesterday, including the platinum ring I posted this morning; here’s the new bangle: solid gold but hammered very thin,with a couple of little 8 point diamonds flush set in the rim near the top:


new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle
new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle

man’s platinum ring

here’s another custom platinum ring project completed this week in the big run up to moving– I have so many projects on the bench that I’ve had to start scheduling jobs for September in the new studio in Pittsburgh!

this is a simple platinum wedding band for a man, a handforged flat bar ring finished again with my hammered and burnished finish, going out to the client today!

new handforged man's platinum wedding ring

platinum rolling rings

This is a really cool challenge I had recently from a new client: create the classic “rollling ring” design in platinum, with each of the three joined rings a different finish: a smooth, polished (shiny) platinum ringjoined to a smooth brushed platinum ring (“matte” finish) joined to a third platinum ring with my trademark hammered and burnished finish.


platinum rolling rings

Not having done a custom ring quite like this, I was somewhat anxiously awaiting my client’s reaction to the finished product, so imagine how ecstatic I was to receive this email yesterday!

“Heather,

Thank you for making my gorgeous ring. I know the rolling movement of the three individual rings was a challenge. But, the finished ring is perfect!

I love the weight of the ring and the way the rings roll over each over – it’s very soothing. Some how, you made a ring that feels like it was always meant to be on my hand.

You rock!!!”

-Susan Evans

Moving the jewelry studio- and the family- to Pittsburgh!

Yesterday we were working on the “moving specials on jewelry” page when we realized I’d made no “official” announcement about our move here on the blog or to my subscribers’ list of friends and fans.

So, we’re moving to Pittsburgh at the end of the month of August!

John will continue a couple of his San Diego projects both online and in person– he’s got an office space he’ll be keeping, and a few other things going on- follow him on Twitter to keep up with all that.

We’re moving on to a big simple mid-century home in the Pt. Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, just a few minutes from where my Mom grew-up and a bunch of my cousins, family friends and their kids, too. (I was actually born in Pittsburgh though I grew up mostly in CT).

There’s a perfect open kitchen and big family room as well as a sweet room for the jewelry studio looking out over the backyard– another great set up for work + kids–> we are very fortunate!

So even though, my jewelry doesn’t take up any space, I started a moving sale online because I have a handful of pieces that have been around for while and I’ve been cleaning up the bench– yesterday I found a ring that reminded me of the engagement ring I just wrote about last week, maybe from the same time period. It has a pretty green beryl set in a yellow gold bezel on a sterling silver flat bar ring, flanked by two little diamonds– check it out!


green beryl ring
green beryl ring

Here’s a partial screenshot of the sale page, click the image to see everything.


screen shot of jewelry studio moving sale page
screen shot of jewelry studio moving sale page

14k gold engagement ring

14k gold engagement ring with sapphireI love this ring– its always so nice to see engagement & wedding ring clients a few years later, and the rings, too.

I made this ring in 2004 before I went to study jewelry in Italy, and just saw it again for a little clean-up while I made them an anniversary ring to go with it!

Here’s the original white gold ring with a central sapphire flanked by little diamonds.

 yellow gold ring with diamonds

and here’s the 5 year anniversary ring in yellow gold with three white diamonds.

message from Semira

I received this lovely message about the graduation-gift custom ring I made and wrote about here a few weeks ago. Semira (the lucky graduate!) wrote this on my old blogspot jewelry blog, so I didn’t see it until just this week.

here’s the picture we posted of the ring before:


custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting
custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting

here’s what Samira had to say:

As I look down at my hand while doing ordinary things we all do every day, I see a piece of joy. This joy is my custom ring. It is flawless, flashy, and unique. The ring I imagined in my head but finer. THANKS HEATHER

thanks, Semira! its my pleasure

My next LifeChain Video

This post was an example John used in his Online Business class today; and he actually put up one of the videos already published (rather than “my next LifeChain video”) because the next one still isn’t fully edited.

Guess what he’s doing tonight?

Back to the studio after Pittsburgh; next LifeChain video soon!

Getting back to jewelry making and blogging about everything going on after a trip to my “extended” family home in Pittsburgh last week.

John took some fun pictures of the kids at the awesome Pittsburgh Children’s Museum but I wanted to post this page that John and I worked up for the LifeChain display at Joe Bedford’s Coalesce gallery at Kettner NIghts/NoLi Notte the Friday night before we left for the ‘Burg.

LifeChain page displayed at Coalesce, Little Italy.
LifeChain page displayed at Coalesce, Little Italy.

Thanks, by the way, to everyone who likes the LifeChain videos, I’m really overwhelmed at the response. John has assured me that he’s editing the rest of the series now, so look for new jewelry videos here soon!

the LifeChain Project, video #3

Here’s part three of the LifeChain video project, where I’m firing some gold scrap down into a new ingot for rolling out in to a link. Check it out!

I’m going to debut the LifeChain at NoLi Notte thid Friday July 10 at Coalesce Gallery in Little Italy.

If you’re on Facebook, check out the opening reception event page and comment, even if you can’t make it.

I hope to see you there.

18k white gold ring

I had a lovely holiday visit this morning from one of my first custom jewelry | engagement ring clients here in San Diego, who brought his daughter to pick up her new 18k white gold ring, custom made to celebrate her high school graduation this spring!

custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting
custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting

Custom jewelry can be a great graduation gift –imagine getting to design a keepsake | heirloom yourself (at least with a jeweller like me!) at a time of life when you’re designing so much else for yourself and your future… great gift, Dad!

the LifeChain custom jewelry project: video #2

the second video of the LifeChain series in the jewelry studio, where I talk in more detail about the LifeChain concept: the materials, sources, and the particular link of the chain i’m forging that represents my bout with colon cancer three years ago.


httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZsEDi9MpJs

custom jewelry testimonial

this simple custom pendant design was a huge hit with the woman it was commissioned for, reflecting very well indeed on her man who commissioned the piece from me! scroll down to read his sweet email to me after he presented her with this thoughtful gift of custom jewelry.

Heather–

She loves it! loves the weight of it, the design,the length, everything….

… I presented her with the ingot and chain you made and the response was extraordinary and surpassed all my expectations.

Heather, you truly captured the essence of what I was trying to say with this gesture, to say nothing of the craftsmanship and beauty of the piece in and of itself.

To me that is an example of the difference between an artist and some one who is good at crafting jewelry you are truly an artist and I believe the result was a product of my just getting out of the way and letting you create once my desire and some background information was conveyed.

Thank you so much and congratulations on a job done so very well!

-Glenn Prickett

wedding rings: client testimonial

I received this beautiful message from my most recent custom wedding ring client– so beautiful I have to share with you here. (this is the seven-diamond wedding ring I posted pictures of here last week)

hand forged white gold wedding ring with seven diamonds

Dear Heather,

Thank you so much for putting so much love, time and hard work into our wedding rings. They are absolutely beautiful.

I love everything about the brown diamonds, they look amazing set in the yellow gold, and I love how the light reflects through them. I know all of that is down to your craft.

You really are a talent, and everyone has been commenting on how gorgeous it is.

Lots of love,

Miranda

new jewelry photo galleries up!

there’s a lot of uploading left to do, but all of the basic photo galleries of my hand forged custom jewelry are now up and running thanks to John and the guys at Dutch Monkey who developed the DM Albums plug-in for WordPress that we are using now–> great functionality, DM crew– we’re very grateful!

These galleries, divided into the same groups as my static portfolio site www.heather-reilly.com, are reachable through the links in the header.

We will be filling them with more pictures and identifying captions over the next few weeks, so really this is a “sneak preview” announcement for anyone paying attention right now– check it out and be sure to comment where you feel like telling me what you think!

the LifeChain handforged jewelry project

Here’s the first of a series of videos we are making in the studio as I develop my LifeChain concept for the “Little and Large” show of jewelry and sculpture opening in July at galleries throughout San Diego. Each link in the LifeChain is a piece ofhandforged jewelry in its own right, with both materials and concept having both a unique individual story and a contribution to make to the LifeChain as a whole.

This countywide show has been organized in honor of the Alexander Calder jewelry retrospective coming to the San Diego Museum of Art this summer.


httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SNCseVDjwM

custom palladium white gold wedding ring

This is the most recent hammered palladium white gold custom wedding ring I’ve created this year utilizing the clustered bezel theme my long time fans will recognize.


hand forged white gold wedding ring with seven diamonds

This particular wedding ring features natural champagne colored diamonds set in yellow gold bezels mounted on a hand forged palladium white gold ring shank that shows off the hammered texture.

WordPress for my online custom jewelry portfolio

custom jewelry portfolioafter a lot of experimentation and research into what works best for publishing pictures and information about my custom jewelry work, and what has worked best for my followers and readers, John and I have decided on WordPress as the best foundation for a complete and easy to use online portfolio of past work, from engagement and wedding ring commissions to my ready to wear peace sign, wishbone, and om pendants, soon to be available online here in clean, easy to use online shopping interface.

the first zodiac sign!

its finally time for the zodiac signs!

the pot of gold idea i wrote about last time is a recent idea that will serve for a long time, i think, but i’m probably more excited right now about the zodiac symbols, handforged sterling silver pendants in the style of my peace pendants or ohm pendants.

my zodiac signs are the other way around: an old idea I’ve really wanted to do for a long time, just recently getting an opportunity to come to fruition, starting with this custom leo pendant. this is one of my most successful jobs ever, because i got it just right for a very thoughtful client.

leo zodiac pendant in yellow gold with sapphire

this note form Mark shows exactly why this was such a successful project for me, because my work for him was such a perfect gift for her.

Hi Heather,

I just want to let you know that I received – and love – the Leo pendant…. Thanks, also, for the personal note that you included….

… turning 21 is a big milestone for us. I wanted to mark it with something special and nothing off-the-shelf would’ve adequately expressed the occasion.

Thank you for forging my feelings into something that will mark and enrich us for the years ahead.

Warmest regards and best wishes,
Mark Morgan

i’ve always been moved by this piece and this testimonial, and as a true to form aquarius, have wanted to share it with everyone else.

forged platinum ring with marquis diamond

platinum ring with marquis diamond

One of my favorite rings ever, this forged platinum ring features a most gorgeous marquis diamond. The diamond was originally set in a 14k yellow gold cocktail ring.

so NOT my client’s style…yet she loved the diamond and wanted something that she would wear everyday.

not wanting to cover the diamond completely with a bezel setting, we opted for this prong setting which would allow maximum light and sparkle to come through.

such a stone deserves such treatment!