Posts Tagged With: silver

And something from Sweden…..

Some of you might know that I’ve just come back from Sweden. I was on an exchange with our parish church – we have a link with a group of churches in Vasteras. I’ll apologise straight away for the bad Swedish names in this post – I have absolutely no idea how to get the accents over the letters (*hangs head in shame at being so English!*).

I had a wonderful time, meeting new friends and getting enthused, but if you ask my daughter what I did she’ll tell you that all I did was look at lots (and lots and lots) of churches. Clearly this isn’t her idea of fun!

So just for her I thought I’d post a photo of something I saw when I was over there. This is the altar from the medieval church in Karbo (spelling again):

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What I love about this is that if you look at the top left hand corner, you can see a depiction of the Ascension – but if you look even closer, tucked right up underneath the frame, you can see the feet of Jesus as he ascends:

Copy of Holiday and sweden 2013 279

 

I just loved that little detail!

I wasn’t going to put any of my jewellery in this post, but now I come to it, it seems quite fitting to show you the piece I finished just this afternoon.

In the pictures above we have the Ascension, the end of Jesus’ time on earth – my pendant today is the beginning of the story!

Nativity necklace 1

 

Thanks for reading x

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Autumn is definitely here!

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I went on a brief walk today, not far, just outside my door and along the road a little way, in search of a few leaves to work with. The sun was shining so I didn’t bother with a coat, but I hadn’t got very far before I wished I had!

Anyway I walked far enough to gather a selection of leaves – some hawthorn, silver birch and ash (complete with its keys) – which I’ve already started work with to create some new jewellery pieces. There will be some pendants and a couple of pairs of earrings too I think.

I also started work on some other new ideas – I can’t wait for the first stage of the clay to dry out so I can crack on! I just want to see how they turn out.

I love autumn – the colours of the turning leaves are inspiring and that lovely smell in the air puts a spring in my step. But sadly it means that the leaves will start to fall too – which in turn means no more leaves for my jewellery for a while! What will I do?!? Looking around today I noticed that the oak is still holding on to its leaves well whilst the silver birch is loosing them very fast indeed. If you’re after a piece of jewellery made from leaves at all – now is the time to speak up. At least I’ll still be able to use holly and ivy though:

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But then comes the spring and we can start all over again! But now I’m just wishing the time away xxx

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To mark or not to mark….. that is the question……

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Today’s blog is all about hallmarking. I’m sure most of you have seen those tiny little imprints on the inside of your ring bands – they’re the hallmarks and they have a purpose!

Hallmarking was first introduced in 1300 under Edward I – and the basic concept hasn’t really changed today. Can you tell by simply looking at a piece of jewellery whether it’s made of gold, or silver? Could you be sure that the gold piece was 18C or only 9C? And is that lovely piece of silver really sterling silver or only silver plated?

Hallmarking is there for the protection of customers. A hallmark can only be applied if the assay office have tested the piece to check that it is indeed made of what you’re claiming it to be made of. There is a legal requirement for hallmarking too! I’m going to talk about silver from now on as that is what I work with, but the hallmarking act applies to all precious metals.

Any piece of silver over 7.78grams MUST be hallmarked before sale if it is to be advertised and sold as being silver rather than white metal. Up until recently all my pieces came in under this weight so I didn’t need to comply, but lately I have been working on several larger pieces that needed to be hallmarked so I took the plunge and registered with the Birmingham Assay Office for my very own sponsor’s mark and recently received back my first batch of hallmarked items.

You’ll forgive me if I do a little excited dance here – it really is quite something to see your own mark applied to a piece of work! So my first batch of hallmarking came back marked like this:

hallmark 1

hallmark 2

It really is quite small and the camera hasn’t picked up the detail very well so I’ve done a little sketch for you all to see (don’t laugh!)

my maker's mark

For any of you who don’t know (and that included me until quite recently) a legal hallmark is made up of three parts. The sponsor’s mark, the fineness (or purity) mark and the assay office mark. The sponsor’s mark is a design containing the sponsor (or maker’s) initials which is registered with one of the four UK assay offices. It’s a bit like an artist signing a painting – any piece can be traced back to the maker from this mark. The fineness mark tells you what your piece is made of. For silver this can be 800, 925, 958 or 999. This tells you how pure the silver is; for example 999 is 99.9% silver and is known as fine silver, whereas 925 is only 92.5% silver and known as sterling silver. The assay office mark tells you which of the assay offices have tested and marked the piece.

uk-hallmarks

So here’s how it all works! I make my piece of jewellery and carefully pack it up ready to send to the Assay Office, filling in all the paperwork required and putting it into the parcel. I then post the package at my local post office. When the packet arrives at the Assay Office, it is checked in, tested and stamped before being re-packed and sent back to me.

Hallmarking isn’t an option for those of us making and selling our jewellery, it is a legal requiement, but that doesn’t stop people from flouting the regulation. So next time you are buying jewellery, ask the seller about hallmarking or look for the Dealer’s Notice in their shop or on their website. This is what you’re looking for:

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And you can see it on my own website at www.moonriverjewellery.co.uk/hallmarking

Hallmarking does add a cost to my jewellery, but I feel happier knowing that I am complying with the law. All of my heavier pieces will now be sent off to the Birmingham Assay Office for hallmarking and some of my smaller pieces as well.

You can find out more about hallmarking from the British Hallmarking Council at http://www.bis.gov.uk/britishhallmarkingcouncil/about/explained

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The Butterfly Effect

Silver Fingerprint Butterfly Necklace by MoonRiver

Available from my Folksy Shop – http://www.moonriverjewellery.folksy.com 

Love is like a butterfly,it goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes” 

“Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush, hold it too loose, it’ll fly.”

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Recently I designed this new piece of jewellery for my silver fingerprint range. I based it on the butterfly. Little did I know that butterflies had quite so many symbolic meanings! It had occurred to me that everyone likes butterflies (except my husband who will not go into a butterfly house) – what person can fail to smile as a butterfly flutters by in it’s ephemeral, here today, gone tomorrow existence. I have a wonderful memory of seeing my daughters face watching as a butterfly emerged from it’s chrysalis – like magic.

People have often remarked to me how butterflies have always turned up at significant moments in their lives and looking through the many associations with butterflies it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Butterflies have different associations in different cultures. In China they are a symbol of long life while in Japan they are associated with marital bliss. They are often considered to be a sign of good luck.

Butterflies are a great symbol of change – how many of you remember the fantastic ending of the Very Hungry Caterpillar? The butterfly’s life cycle consists of four stages: the egg, the caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. These have been compared with the life cycle of a human – in the womb, in life, in death and finally eternal rebirth. Butterflies are a symbol of the soul and resurrection in many cultures including Christianity.

Many cultures have associated butterflies with the souls of the departed. The Ancient Greeks called the butterfly, ‘Psyche’ which means soul and an Irish tradition holds that butterflies are the souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory. In Mexico, the migratory return of the monarch butterfly each year around the time of the Day of the Dead is seen as the souls of the departed returning.

Butterflies also symbolise change and transition, both inevitable and unexpected as we move through life.

When I designed my butterfly piece, I never imagined that it could be so symbolic. It certainly set me thinking about all the times a butterfly has appeared in my life. I wonder now what that butterfly was doing at my wedding! Indeed many people now choose to release a host of butterflies as a symbol at their wedding.

Whether you choose to think of butterflies as a symbol of the changes in life from child into adult, or as the souls of our dear departed, or just a wonderful sign of the beauty and variety of creation you can be sure you’re not alone!

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An Indian Butterfly Legend

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since they make no sound, they can’t tell the wish
to anyone but the Great Spirit.

So by making the wish and releasing the butterfly
it will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

  

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