Saturday, October 24, 2009
So here's what happens to pictures when you get a professional involved. My good friend Lorrie, who is perhaps the single most talented person I know, did a little work to my picture and Voila! you can actually see the darn things and the way they really look. Lorrie, incidentally is a jeweler, photographer (she takes all of my advertising photos and some of my website ones), graphic artist (she designed my logo), weaver and then she has some kind of a regular day job too! I may have left out some of her talents as every time I talk to her I find out about another. One of my best new (relatively speaking) designs for earrings I did for her originally:
I had another happy, newly engaged couple in the other day. The young man had come to me to get this engagement ring for his girlfriend who was in Israel at the time. He picked out the design and we started talking about how he was going to propose. He was picking her up at the airport so he thought that would be a good place to do it. When she came out of customs, he was down on his knees with flowers in hand. She says that she thought he was just so emotional about seeing her that he had fallen to his knees and she kept telling him to get up...until he pulled out the ring! And then she was speechless. This is a great business to be in.
I promised I would talk about my "green gold" in this posting so I'd better get into it. First of all "green gold" shouldn't be confused with green gold, which is gold that has been alloyed to have a greenish cast to it. All karat gold used in jewelry is an alloy of pure gold and various other metals. In most cases it is alloyed with copper and silver and in order to get a red (pink or rose) gold it has a high copper to silver ratio, a yellow gold will have approximately equal amounts, and a green gold has a high silver to copper ratio. White gold is an entirely different story but I'll get to that in another posting.
Anyway the "green gold" I'm talking about here is environmentally sound, preferably recycled, gold. A number of gold mining companies have recently changed their mining practices to reduce damage to the environment as much as possible, but there is a huge amount of this resource already mined from the Earth and the less we have to mine, the better it is. Unfortunately mercury is often used in the gold mining process and it is a major and dangerous pollutant.
A number of years ago, my primary gold supplier began selling only recycled gold for their mill products and they are active participants in the No Dirty Gold Campaign. Additionally they have spent a large amount of money to upgrade their refining facilities so that they meet or exceed all federal, state and local laws regarding pollutants. For their finished products (none of which I buy as I only sell jewelry I make) they do have to purchase some metal but they follow these guidelines when they choose the suppliers they use:
1) Appreciation of basic human rights outlined in international conventions and laws.
2) Free, prior and informed consent of communities effected by mining operations.
3) Provide safe working conditions, respect for workers rights and labor standards.
4) Keep operations our of areas of armed or militarized conflict, protected areas, fragile ecosystems or other areas of high concentration value.
5) Do not force communities off their land, dump mine waste into water or generate sulfuric acid.
6) Disclose information about social and environmental effects of projects.
As you can see they are in the forefront of this issue and I'm pleased that I can offer their mill products in my jewelry. Unfortunately, my casters do not offer the same guarantees (although I believe most of their metal is also recycled) so I can only offer this option on hand built pieces, or pieces that I have cast in the past, but can hand build. It's just another small step we're trying to do to help out in the environmental mess that humans seem to have done such a good job of creating.
If you come into my shop please feel free to ask me about the "recycled gold" option.
By the way, for those of you interested, the Philippe ring is now out in my shop (albeit with some minor variations). If I can get Lorrie to take a picture of it, I'll post it, but the difference in the two colors of white metal is something I don't think I can possibly show.