Tuesday, December 31, 2013

January 2014

Hi everyone,
How was your Christmas?  Mine was spent baking, completing jewelry custom orders and caroling with my church choir.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly but am also glad it's time for a short break before my jewelry shop opens again on January 6th 2014.  During my break, I will be planning for next year's collection and classes.

I will be planning jewelry making classes as well as an open house in January before Chinese New Year.  I will let you know once I've finalized the dates.

In the meantime, have a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Orders for Christmas

Dear friends,
Christmas will soon be upon us in 46 days! Some of you have already started buying your Christmas gifts from my shop and some of you have already put in your custom orders.  If you have plans to get in touch with me, a reminder to please do so soon as possible as I will be taking in my last orders for Christmas on 1st December.  Orders will be completed and ready for collection by 15th December.

Please note that I will not be taking any more bead embroidery orders for Christmas.

If you would like to visit my shop (and bring your friends), do send me a personal message.  Hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Back at Work

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your support at my recent Home Jewelry Party!  To me it was a success because all of you who came appreciated my work (and bought many pieces, thank you!) and encouraged me to test new waters as well.  In the months to come, I shall be doing just that.

Right now, I've more than 400 pairs of ear-rings available for sale at any one time.  Necklaces and bracelets top 200 pieces as well.  You can come and just pick out whatever you like and own them immediately.

Custom orders (that is, if you see a design you like but fancy another colour or would like me to modify the design or would like me to design from scratch) take more time because I need to sit down to design the piece,  spend time to order in new supplies or shop around to pick out what you may specifically want.    In view of this, there will be a waiting period of 3-8 weeks and an extra charge for special services.  Usually, 10-30% on top of the price of the jewelry piece. 

Drop me a note if you would like to visit and see my collection!  I'll be posting photos in the near future so do check back regularly.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jewelry Home Party!

Hi everyone,
It's been a LONG time since I lasted posted on this blog.  I've been more active on facebook.  Apologies.

I'll be hosting a jewelry home party on 30th April Tuesday 2-9pm and 1st May Wednesday 9am-5pm and those of you who live in Singapore are warmly invited to come.  Please send me a comment if you'd like to, and I'll give you directions separately.

You will find more than 400 pairs of earrings, lots of necklaces and bracelets looking for new owners!  Most are unique, one-of-a-kind designs using gold filled, rhodium or 925 silver findings with Swarovski crystals, pearls, Czech glass beads, Japanese glass seed beads as well as semi-precious gemstones.  Prices start at S$15.  Payment in cash or cheque.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Ear-ring designs for Saturday 30th June workshop

Hello again!  I managed to take a couple more photos of projects you can select on Saturday.

 #6 Swarovski crystal ovals with Swarovski bicones.  You may choose to use Swarovski pearls instead of the bicones.  Colours available: Teal (as in photo), brown and beige.

(Taken by Cindy.  Only large ovals available)
#7 Gold-filled elongated ovals with freshwater pearls, Swarovski bicones and gold-filled chains. Colours available depending on stock on Saturday.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ear-ring Designs for Jewelry Making Workshop on 30th June 2012

Dear Friends,
I'm really looking forward to spending the afternoon with you on Saturday!  I've designed a few styles of ear-rings for you to pick from.  As you know, 3 hours is a short time and I've selected ear-rings that are manageable for that time slot.  I've added more wirework ear-rings and a couple of beadwork (you will use metal threads to sew together tiny beads) for you to work on.  There are thousands of designs you can possibly make using these techniques and I hope this will encourage you to explore further the creative side of you!

Some of you have decided on gemstones or freshwater pearl ear-rings.  I will leave you to design and experiment when you come!

Below are the photos and the colour choices of some designs available on that day.

 #1 Swarovski graduated rounds of either crystals or pearls with 3 chain dangles.  
Elegant and suitable for evening wear.

#1 Colours available (clockwise): powder rose, bronze,
olivine green, platinum, brown, copper, purple.

 #2 Swarovski pearl flowers using Japanese Delica beads, 
as well as beadwork and wirework techniques. For those who would like a challenge.

 #2 Colours available (clockwise): rosalind pink, powder rose, purple,
green, creamrose, bronze, peach, coral.

 #3 Swarovski pearls stacked 12mm, 10mm, 8mm and 6mm.

 #3 Colours available: Creamrose, light gray, rose peach and crystal white.

 #4 For those who really love a challenge, here's a caged 12mm Swarovski pearl with lots of 
3mm Swarovski bicones for bling galore!  

 #4 In another colour. (My personal favourite!)

 #4 Colours available (clockwise): creamrose, purple, peach, crystal white,
rose peach, copper, platinum.  You can select your own Swarovski bicone colours when you come.

 #5 Swarovski grape clusters using 6mm and 4mm pearls.  You will get lots of practice making loops for this project!  Suitable for day or evening wear.

#5 Colours available (clockwise): yellow, rosalind pink, blue,
copper, powder rose, green, rose peach.  

I do have a few more designs you can choose from when you come on Saturday.  If I have time, I'll upload them for you to see.  Until then, shalom!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back from my Beijing Break

The Hubby, Son and I spent 6 days in Beijing this past week. We had a grand time climbing The Great Wall, visiting the Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. The only thing missing was the presence of the Daughter (she had school). We plan to go back during the winter months to experience something different. Maybe even visit inner Mongolia! I selected a few photos of our visit to share with you.

Our visit to the MING TOMBS. Beautiful cherry blossoms and crab apple blossoms.

I really loved the flowers!

We went on a full day tour to THE GREAT WALL with two other couples(one from Italy and another from Germany)and had a grand time. Since it's spring, the crowds were not too bad. I hear that in the summer it can get really crowded.

It was really chilly with strong winds blowing (hence the bad hair do!). I think it must have been about 10 deg C. The Son almost became an ice sculpture!

I decided to walk the slightly more challenging route up to the first watchtower while the Hubby and Son attempted the walk to the third watchtower. They apparently didn't make it because it was COLD and quite steep.

Behind us was the less challenging walk so there were more people. As you can see, it was a misty day.

This was the route we walked. Not too many people!

THE FORBIDDEN CITY. It is HUGE!! We only walked the outer courts (where they film the movies) and it took us a long time. When we go back for another visit, we plan to explore the 9,999.5 rooms (at least the ones that are open for visitors)!!

Hair pins worn by the Empress. Beautiful handmade jade pieces.

The Emperor's Throne.

The longest unbroken stone carving that exists in China today. Beautiful workmanship!

The view outside our hotel. Very misty all 6 days of our visit. Visibility was about 1km or less.

THE SUMMER PALACE. It was just after lunch and the crowd was forming.

At the Summer Palace, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi would walk along this corrider after dinner. It's supposed to be the longest in the world, almost 1km.

I absolutely loved the painted designs and intricate artwork on almost everything.

Each section of the corridor had a different painting. It was beautiful!

The marble boat. Yes, completely carved from marble! Exquisite!

THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN. As we walked towards the temple, there were hundreds of people gambling (everyone on right side of the photo were gambling!), many singing and others dancing. Reminds me of an account in the New Testament of the Bible.

I was really excited to be on site at the Temple of Heaven. So much history and architecture.

This was the hall in which the Emperor would make blood sacrifices to the God in Heaven.

What visit would be complete without a trip to the pearl factory?! This is a cultured freshwater mollusc which can yield more than 40 pearls at a time! Note the different colours in one oyster!

A closeup of the oyster. Beautiful pearls! Pearls can be expensive because time is spent sorting them out according to colour, grades and sizes. In order to make a necklace of all the same pearls, it takes quite a while to match them up.

I wanted to show you a large bird's nest in the tree. There were many and the only reason I could see them was because the trees were not filled with leaves yet.

I had heard horror stories of flight delays because of traffic buildup at Capital International Airport. Everything was true! We had to wait for half an hour before take off and there were more than 12 planes behind us (I could only count 12 because visibility was not good!).

So there you have it, a few photos from my trip. Now I'm back to work. And Mothers' Day is coming! If you need special jewelry made for your Mum, do email me. Alternatively, make an appointment to visit my gallery. Lots of ready made one-of-a-kind pieces available!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Short Vacation

This week the hubby and I will be going on a short vacation and business trip to Beijing. Besides enjoying the sights and personal shopping, I am hoping to find some good quality gemstones and pearls to make my next collection of jewelry.

So until I blog again next week, enjoy life and take time to smell the roses!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Take Care of Your Jewelry - Pearls

Almost everyone I know has at least one pearl piece in their jewelry cupboard be it a ring, bracelet, necklace or ear-rings. So for this "taking care of your jewelry" series, I thought I'd start with pearls.

Pearls are organic materials made up of calcium carbonate which means they need special treatment if they are to continue to look beautiful as part of our jewelry collection. When pearls come into contact with chemicals like perfume, makeup, hair products and even household cleaners, they tend to deteriorate and discolor.

Their surface is soft and easily damage as well. Rings and bracelets made from pearls are especially prone to scratching so it's not advisable to wear them on a daily basis. My advice is to keep them for special occasions.

As a rule, pearls are the LAST thing you put on and the FIRST thing you take off.

Strands of pearls should be stored separately since they can scratch each other. Use a silk bag, velvet box or a pearl folder. Never ever store pearls in a plastic bag! Some plastic emit chemicals and will cause the pearls to discolor and deteriorate. Don't store pearls in a safe deposit box. The dry air (which protects papers) will cause the pearls to dry out, causing tiny fractures. Store pearls flat so that the threads will not stretch.

Stringing and Knotting
Stringing is recommended for pearls 5mm and above. Strands need to be restrung every 2-3 years (every year if you wear your pearls often). Knots are made between each pearl to prevent them from scratching each other. Knotting also prevents dust and dirt from entering the drill holes of the pearls as well as offers security so that if your strand breaks, you will only lose one pearl. Usually silk or nylon threads are used. Good knotting hangs well.

Use a mild soap diluted in warm water (I like to use Woolite) and use a soft natural bristle brush to gently brush the pearls. Rinse in cold water for at least 3-5 minutes. Allow the pearls to air dry at least 24 hours before storing.

Since pearls are organic, they will naturally darken slightly with age and wear. Sometimes they get creamy stains which cannot be removed. So if you want your pearls to last, do take a few minutes to take care of them and they will serve you for a long time to come!

Here at Rebecca Yam Jewelry, I offer restringing and knotting services. I will clean your pearls for you when I do the restringing. Do contact me if you need my help with your pearl jewelry.

Next week, we will learn about the different kinds of pearls available and how to select them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Metals Part 2 - Silver

Silver is a white-grey metal that is less expensive than gold, platinum, titanium and rhodium. It is prone to oxidisation when exposed to air which causes the silver to turn black. However, it is easily polished back to look new.

There are basically two types of silver:
Fine silver (99.9% silver) - this is really too soft for jewelry. Industry standard has 0.1% copper added for strength. Also known as .999 fine silver or 999 silver. Usually with 999 fine silver, rhodium is added to give it shine and strength. This of course will bring the cost up.

Sterling silver (92.5% silver and 7.5% copper). It is also known as .925 silver or 925 silver. Most of the ear-rings and jewelry sold in stores are made with 925 silver.

Some silver is plated with gold. This means the silver is used as the base metal and fine layers of gold are plated on top of the silver. Problem is after a while, the gold layers tend to flake off.

Rhodium is white and in the platinum family. It is very strong and hard, and often used to plate sterling silver jewelry to prevent tarnish.

Some of my customers complain that they are allergic to the costume jewelry bought from stores so they resort to buying expensive gold jewelry. Even so, they still experience some kind of skin reaction, especially in ear-rings and conclude they are allergic to gold. Well, yes and no... because sometimes nickel is added to these jewelry (yes, even expensive jewelry!) and their reaction is to the nickel. Some places sell hypoallergenic ear-rings but are made from stainless steel which also has minute amounts of nickel!

Here at Rebecca Yam Jewelry, I use rhodium plated findings (hooks, clasps, wires, ear wires, headpins etc) with silver as the base metal. I have always made sure I stayed away from anything with nickel. So far, there have been no reports of allergies. I am very careful when I buy my supplies, making sure I only get them from reliable suppliers. This also means I do not buy findings from street vendors in Singapore or when I travel no matter how cheap they are! Surgical steel and niobium ear wires are available on request but will cost a bit more.

I hope this simple write ups on gold and silver helped. Next week I'll begin another short series on how to take care of your jewelry. Check back again!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Metals Part 1 - Gold

When you buy jewelry, are you aware what metals are used and what you are essentially paying for? Why are some jewelry extremely cheap and others more expensive even though they look similar? For the next couple of weeks I'd be blogging about this and hopefully provide some answers to your questions.

Today, let's begin with GOLD.

Carat is the measurement of gold content. (Please note that the measurement of diamonds and gemstones, even though the term carat is used, are different measurements from gold). 24k gold is 100% gold. However, 100% gold is too soft to make into sturdy jewelry so other metals called alloys are used. Different metal alloys used will give the final appearance and colour.

Now back to carats... also seen as ct, kt or k. 14k gold is 58.5% pure gold or 585 parts gold per 1000. 18k is 75% pure gold or 750 parts gold per 1000.

Nowadays, gold is available in several different colours: yellow, white, rose, bronze, red and even lime gold! The difference in colour is determined by the metals used in the alloy mix.

Yellow gold - pure gold mixed with copper or zinc.
Rose gold - pure gold mixed with copper.
White gold - pure gold mixed with silver and palladium. White gold finish is greyish in colour so is usually coated (called plating) with a silvery white metal called rhodium to make it look whiter. Rhodium is very hard and sturdy, part of the platinum family and one of the most costly of metals.

Nickel was used traditionally in white gold but caused allergies in some people so is no longer added to white gold.

Gold filled is also known as "rolled gold." It is a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a bass metal such as brass, and sometimes to silver though not as common nowadays.

High quality gold filled pieces look exactly like 14k gold. All 12k and 14k gold filled pieces have a stamp on it for identification. 12k GF and 14k GF. They have to meet the 1/20 minimum requirement. Gold filled pieces are 50,000 to 100,000 times thicker than gold plating. Even with daily wear gold filled jewelry can last from 5-30 years.

Gold plating is a thin layer of gold deposited onto the surface of another metal such as silver or copper. Needless to say, this will wear off quickly.

At Rebecca Yam Jewelry, I only use gold filled findings (wires, rings, hooks, clasps and ear wires) which is why my pieces cost a little more. Not only are you assured your pieces are one-of-a-kind (OOAK), you now know that I used good quality materials as well!

See you next Monday for more on metals, specifically SILVER.

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Items Available!

Thank you to my dear customers who have been visiting my new studio and gallery the past few weeks. It's been fun having you around to try my jewelry and of course, buy them too! Thanks to many of you, the custom order pieces are keeping me from having idle hands! In between making more pieces to add to my collections, I've also been looking at more business opportunities which will be exciting in the next half of the year. I'll let you know more at another blog.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to visit, do call ahead to make an appointment, preferably with 1-2 days notice. This helps me plan my customers' visits (making sure it's not too crowded) as well as my schedule.

My gallery hours are:
10am to 9pm (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)

Do note that the jewelry pieces you see on my blog are not comprehensive. Items do get sold out and new ones are replaced in my studio and gallery.

Please check back here next week when I'll begin a short series on metals like gold and silver. What's the difference and what I use for my jewelry.

Hope to see you soon!