• Really excited about my new collection with enamelling work

    What is enamelling?

    You may well ask and so did I so here is the explanation:

    Vitreous enamel, also porcelain enamel in US English, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C (1,382 and 1,562 °F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, or on glass or ceramics. The term "enamel" is most often restricted to work on metal, which is the subject of this article. Enameled glass is also called "painted". Fired enamelware is an integrated layered composite of glass and metal. The word enamel comes from the Old High

  • The Price of Gold Is Crashing. Here's Why

    A chart of the crashing price of gold looks like a wedding ring rolling off a table. Gold futures for June delivery closed at $1,361 an ounce on the Comex in New York today, a drop of more than $200 in two sessions. Gold’s fall of 13 percent since April 11 was the biggest two-session decline since 1980.

    Why is gold plunging? The most important factor is that global inflation is falling, reducing gold’s value as a hedge against rising prices. Gold bugs who were betting on an outburst of inflation are scrambling to reverse their bets and exit their gold positions at any price.

    For consumers struggling to make ends meet, it may seem hard to believe that inflation is falling. But the evidence is clear from JPMorgan Chase’s global consumer price index, which covers more than 30 countries that collectively represent more than 90 percent of world economic output.

    According to the JPMorgan index, global inflation peaked at 4 percent in 2011 and has fallen steadily since. Global prices in February were up only about 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the bank’s index says.

    JPMorgan has two scenarios for what happens next. Its main one is based on a “bottom-up” collection of analysts’ forecasted price trends sector by sector around the world. That shows inflation rising very slightly from its current level for the rest of 2013. In contrast, JPMorgan’s “top-down” analysis, which is prepared by the banks’ economists and takes into account prices of commodity futures contracts, among other factors, shows inflation moving down closer to 2 percent in the second half of 2013.

    The headline on JPMorgan’s report: “The slide in global inflation may not be over.”

    Joseph Lupton, a senior global economist at JPMorgan Chase, said in an interview that the inflation decline is partly a matter of supply bottlenecks easing, which is a good thing, and demand growth slowing, which is not so good. Lupton said he’s not in the business of forecasting gold prices, which tend to be whipsawed by speculation more than other commodity prices are. Says Lupton: “Gold is an animal in and of itself.”

    Last week Goldman Sachs warned that the retreat in gold was accelerating after the longest rally in nine decades.

    “Anybody who did some buying before this big drop is probably in some pain,” Donald Selkin, who helps manage about $3 billion of assets as chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. in New York, told Bloomberg News. “The perception is that gold is not really needed as a safe haven. People are looking at the stock market, and they’re stunned, and there’s no inflation. So people are saying, ‘What do we need gold for?’”

  • The future of Vinnie Day Jewellery?

    Could this really be the future for Vinnie Day Jewellery?

    First we need a physical shop but then we are rocking!  A shop with interactive shopping from the window so you do not have the problem of security and the customer can purchase at any time with a touch. 

    Watch this clip:

  • How tech is transforming jewellery

    Chris Vallance discovers how 3D is being used to make precious jewellery

    12th March 2013

    A 3D printing technology will be a "shape changer" for the jewellery industry, according to the leading UK supplier of precious metals to the trade.

    The technology, called laser sintering, is being employed by Cookson Precious Metals to produce jewellery from computer designs.

    Stella Layton, chief executive of the firm, said as a result, high-street shoppers could expect to see more personalised jewellery offered by retailers.

    But others say the approach is relatively expensive, and the pieces produced still require significant work before sale.

    Industrial heritage

    Inside the highly secure Cookson factory in Birmingham's jewellery quarter many machines hark back to the firm's long heritage.

    Large mechanical rollers shape pool-cue sized rods of silver, there's the sound of metal being worked, and the smell of gas in the air.

    Laser sintering is different. The machine that Cookson currently use looks like a large piece of office equipment and sounds like a photocopier.

    Behind a tinted glass panel 18-carat gold powder, laid down by a robot arm, sparkles as a laser fuses the metal into complex three-dimensional shapes, layer by layer.

    Changing production

    Laser sintering has been used in other industries for some time.

    Stella Layton says the firm hopes to offer a service producing designs to order, using the machines supplied by German-based manufacturer EOS.

    But she also hopes to sell smaller versions of the machine to the jewellery trade.

    She sees several advantages to the technology: complex designs can be made rapidly, and can be quickly altered and produced.

    Objects which hitherto had to be cast in solid metal can be manufactured as hollow shapes, reducing their weight and the amount of precious metal used.

    "It's inevitable that this will become an integral part of our industry - as it has in the other industries it's been implemented in - but it's a shape changer to the industry," she said.

    She says the firm has been in talks with major high-street retailers.

    "They think it opens doors for customisation, so that you can take a piece and change it just for you," she said.

    Craft skills

    Cookson believes the sintering process, "puts the power in terms of the computer-aided design rather than the bench skills".

    The Goldsmiths Company, which earned its royal charter in 1327, has seen a few changes in the techniques used by jewellers.

    While apprentices still learn traditional craft skills, others working at the Goldsmiths centre are using 3D printers to produce jewellery.

    Rupert Todd a designer based at the centre prints designs in wax, which are then cast in precious metal.

    But Goldsmiths' Robin Kyte says the laser-sintering technique has its drawbacks.

    Pieces, once printed, would still require finishing before sale, he said. "The cost of the fashioning is expensive," he explained.

    And the process requires a significant amount of gold powder, more gold than might be required initially to make a piece using more traditional methods.

    The 'toner' used in the laser sintering process is rather more expensive than that found in a laser printer cartridge. Eighteen-carat gold powder is worth about £18,000 a kilo.

    Robin Kyte believes mastering the use of 3D printing and computer aided design, is just the latest addition to the skills jewellers should learn, and it won't, in his view, replace traditional craftsmanship.

    "I think the craft skills will still be here, after 700 years they'll still be here," he said.