Author

Shawna Kulpa

Website: http://www.ajm-magazine.com


Articles and Videos by Shawna Kulpa:

Tooling Around

A look at a few jewelers who refuse to use tools the way they were designed Jewelers love their tools…but they’re rarely content with using them without alteration or even for the original intended purpose. They file and grind and…

Next Generation Metal Trends

Discover the top jewelry trends in gold, silver, and platinum—and what you can expect to see in the metals markets this year   Gold Trends Layer It On “We’re seeing a lot of stacking and layering,” reports Jamie Cadwell Gage…

Shipshape Shop

Equipment maintenance guidelines     Editor’s Note:   You pride yourself on your pristine shop. Your equipment is laid out for maximum efficiency, your tools are stored in a logical, user-friendly manner, and you can monitor workflow effectively because you…

When the Dust Settles

Tips for recovering precious metal particles Most jewelers know how to handle their precious metal scraps: they separate their scraps by metal, dry out ultrasonic solutions so they just ship the metal-infused sludge, and they keep their bench sweeps separate….

Functional Designs

Designers showcase components as the focus of their designs When most folks think of findings, they’re likely to think of jump rings and necklace clasps. After all, findings are there to serve a basic function, such as securing a piece…

One Last Idea Blow It Out Your Flask

Anyone who has cast 3-D printed photopolymer resins will tell you: They don’t cast like wax. One of the problems with these resins is that rather than melt during burnout like wax, they combust, leaving behind ash that creates negative…

Communication for Customer Satisfaction

In the quest to get some insights into designing and marketing customized jewelry “customer whisperers” agreed that communication is the key to customer satisfaction. Read on for a deeper understanding of this discovery. Shopping for jewelry used to be an…

Remembering Lee Marshall, 1935-2017

Founder of both Bonny Doon Engineering and Knew Concepts, Lee Marshall—who passed away June 25 at the age of 81 after a brief struggle with cancer—was an inventor and tool designer whose numerous creations are sure to have a place…

Paraffin Wax Treatment

The holiday season can be rough on jewelers. The long hours spent toiling at the bench trying to fulfill last minute orders can take a toll on the body. To help get through this tough season, it’s important to make time…

Discussion on Refiner Methods

Shawna Kulpa takes a look into the assaying methods refiners use to determine the value of a lot. This article is a discussion on refiner methods from the journey a piece of metal goes through to how much they are worth….

Tackling Chain and Finding Repair

Ask most jewelers about repairing a chain or finding and they’re likely to offer you their best Charlie Brown impression: Good grief! And it’s an expression that’s somewhat warranted, given the risks involved in working on the tiny links of a…

Zoe Zong – Sky Is the Limit

Zoe Zong ZoeZong LLC McKinley, Texas First Place, Professional Design Excellence (1-3 Years in Business) “We’re born, but we make changes along the road of life, perfecting our lives again and again.” Custom jewelry doesn’t just allow customers the opportunity…

Splendor Jewellery – A Labor of Love

Orsolya Ráski Nagy and Daniel Nagy Splendor Jewellery Budakeszi, Hungary First Place, Professional Excellence (4 or More Years in Business) “We saw the ring having a tangled, jungle-like effect while retaining balance and harmony.” So much of jewelry relates to…

2017 Top Jewelry Trends

Discover the 2017 Top Jewelry Trends in gold, silver, and platinum—and an update on the metals markets as compiled by Shawna Kulpa. Gold Trends Flowers, Well-done Buddha Mama With darker colors and heavier fabrics gracing the fall runways, Amanda Gizzi,…

Eliminating Ash Residue Defects

The casting department at Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been experimenting with casting photopolymer models, and it has found a way for small shops to eliminate the problem of ash residue defects: Adding vents to the casting tree. Anyone who…

The State of the Jewelry Industry

Trends and challenges in 2017 By the time you’re reading this article, the 2016 presidential election will be over. And if you’re anything like the folks we spoke with about the state of the jewelry industry, you too will be…

Tips for Recovering Precious Metal Particles

Most jewelers know how to handle their precious metal scraps: they separate their scraps by metal, dry out ultrasonic solutions so they just ship the metal-infused sludge, and they keep their bench sweeps separate. But what about the precious metal…

Equipment Maintenance Guidelines

  You pride yourself on your pristine shop. Your equipment is laid out for maximum efficiency, your tools are stored in a logical, user-friendly manner, and you can monitor workflow effectively because you are so organized. But when was the…

Tool and Equipment Checkpoints

Maybe you’re shopping for the latest technologies—the newest developments in CAD/CAM to produce life-like renderings, a laser to engrave your rings, or a casting machine engineered to maximize fills. Or maybe you want to upgrade your old work-horse flex-shaft system,…

CNC Milling vs. 3D Printing

For someone new to the jewelry industry, the sheer assortment of tools and equipment in the typical workshop can be overwhelming. That’s especially true when it comes to technology, which changes so rapidly. If you’ve invested in your own computer-aided…

The Future of the Jewelry Industry in 2016

Editor’s Note: This following is an excerpt from Looking Ahead, which appeared in the December 2015 issue of MJSA Journal. To obtain a copy of the full article, contact MJSA at 1-800-444-6572 or via e-mail at info@mjsa.org. Industry leaders share…

Jenny Reeves’ Layered Ring

Although a Philadelphia native, designer Jenny Reeves loves her adopted city of San Francisco. When a local jewelry organization held a San Francisco-themed design challenge, Reeves joined in, eager to create a piece that would pay tribute to her city….

6 Tips for Refining Returns

When it comes to your shop, cleanliness is next to godliness. At least it should be when you’re dealing with high value materials. But whether you’re a neat freak or fall a little more on the slob side, it’s imperative…

Modified Super Tools

Down on your bench, look: It’s a file. It’s a bur. It’s Super Tool! At first it seemed so ordinary. You went to use it for a project you were working on, but for some reason it didn’t work so…

3 Ways to Avoid Production Obstacles

Some production obstacles are unavoidable, but many can be overcome by addressing a few key areas of your business Whether you’re a large manufacturer producing hundreds of pieces a day or a small shop turning out a couple of pieces…

Safer Pickle Alternative

Procrastination can sometimes lead to wonderful discoveries. Tom Arnold, owner of Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Virginia, found this out first hand, when his avoidance of a particularly nasty sizing job led him to whittle away some time on a…

5 Classic Casting Tips

These slow, quiet days of summer are always a good time to review your shop practices before the busy holiday season kicks into high gear.  To help you prepare to successfully cast all of the pieces you hope will be…

5 Holiday Casting Process Tips

The hazy days of summer aren’t too soon to begin thinking of designs for the holidays—and how to best cast them. During these hot summer days, the last thing you want to think about is the cold winter that’s just a…

Award Winning Ring by Ryan Roberts

He just couldn’t help himself. When Ryan Roberts sat down to create a piece to showcase a 3.46 spessartite garnet cut by Stephen Avery, he started with the idea of making something a bit more understated and less expensive than his…

Genevieve Yang – Lunar Cycle Necklace

They say inspiration strikes when you least expect it. For designer Genevieve Yang of Santa Rosa, California, the inspiration for a new phase of her career all started in the cold, dark wilderness of Wyoming. An outdoor enthusiast, Yang participated in a month-long winter wilderness expedition with the National Outdoor Leadership School. She admits that it was the most challenging outdoor adventure she’s ever experienced, noting that it involved snow camping, cross-country skiing, and building her own shelter. And that was just during the daytime.

Ion Ionescu’s Mon Cheerie Ring

Mon Cheerie By Ion Ionescu. Winner. First Place, Evening Wear. 2012 AGTA Spectrum Awards. You could argue that a little birdie told him to do it. While out running errands on a hot day, Ion Ionescu of Ionescu Design in New York City came upon an injured baby sparrow that had fallen on the ground at a bus stop. An experienced rescuer who routinely helps injured birds of all kinds (from finches to even a red tail hawk), Ionescu scooped up the little sparrow and brought her to his office, which, in addition to his bench and tools, contains cages of all sizes. Cheerie, as she would soon become known, was severely dehydrated and had a deformed wing. A vet at a wildlife center stated that her parents probably threw her out of the nest because of her malformed wing.

Gregore Morin’s Studio Makeover

Many jewelers modify their studios to be more efficient. Gregore Morin renovated his studio not only for efficiency, but also for beauty and tranquility. With walls only partially dry walled and a ceiling with no drywall and insulation hanging down, Morin found the juxtaposition between what he makes and where he makes it humorous. But he recently decided that enough was enough and that perhaps it was time to spiff up the place a bit. Here’s what he did…

The Future of the Jewelry Industry in 2015

No one has a crystal ball to predict the future, which can make business planning a challenge. To help make that task a little easier, we recently spoke with leading members of the industry to hear where they thought we’re headed in the coming year and beyond. Obviously, everyone can base their opinions only on their own experiences and observations, but in reviewing their views of the future of the industry, you’ll see several similaritiesmost notably that the industry will continue its slow but steady growth. So as you read through these musings, think about how their predictions will impact your business, and what you can do now to take advantage of the coming trends.