Tina Wojtkielo Snyder


Articles and Videos by Tina Wojtkielo Snyder:

4 Tips to Boost Refining Returns

This article highlights some 4 tips to boost refining returns that will prove dollar wise and useful for you. You’ve done your homework and found a reputable refiner whom you trust to process your scrap. You have solid housekeeping practices in…

2013 MJSA Thinking Ahead Award – Mike Joyce

For the past 10 years, MJSA has recognized the technological advances and products that are making a difference in the jewelry industry today and as we move into the future. The honorees are selected with the guidance of the esteemed…

Gemstone Setting Tip: Shape

“You should know what kind of shape you’re in,” joked Arthur Anton Skuratowicz during an MJSA At the Bench Live demonstration he gave last month at the AGTA GemFair in Tucson. While sharing gemstone setting tips for fancy shaped and…

5 Tips for Mass Finishing

There are many paths to the perfect finish. When it comes to mass finishing production jewelry there are a few tricks you can use to keep your pieces looking their best. The following is a series of tips provided by…

3 Jewelers, 4 Tools Testing

Editor’s Note: Want to know how to make a bench jeweler’s day? Send him a box full of new tools and tell him that if he plays with those tools for a month, you’ll let him keep ’em. That’s just…

Jewelers’ Repair Pricing Strategies

Repair pricing strategies used by the three jewelers.

Michael David Sturlin’s Two Strand Crocheted Chain

With the quartz as the central focal point of the ‘Reflecting Pond Necklace,’ Sturlin had to design a chain that could support its weight. He started crocheting 18k red gold wire—75 feet of it to be exact—to create a two-strand chain.

Bench Tool Junkies

What you should be is excited to read this article and see what others just like you have to say about their favorite bench tools. So you have a passion for hardware – loving tools is not a crime!

Maximizing Bench Work Profitability

Jeffrey Johnson has two stores, 18 bench jewelers, and over 100 employees-and he still has time to work at the bench. ‘I wouldn’t be who I am without the bench,’ he says. That’s why he’s got one set up in his office among leather arm chairs, file cabinets, and a desk. When a customer comes into his office, Johnson can sit down at the bench and sketch a design or perform a quick repair right in front of them. It’s this kind of customer service that he says has done wonders for his business-and shaped the culture of his company.

A New Platinum Sterling Silver

It took about two months of experimentation to get the formulas for Platinum Sterling Silver just right – Robinson created alloys containing 5 percent, 3.5 percent, and 1 percent platinum. But he’s the first to admit that combining silver and platinum isn’t a novel concept..

Testing ACCU Carve Injection Wax

AJM recently asked two companies, AU Enterprises in Berkley , Michigan , and Racecar Jewelry Co. Inc. in Cranston , Rhode Island , to test out the new ACCU Carve injection wax from KerrLab in Orange , California . Designed for casters and designers who need to rework wax patterns, ACCU Carve is intended to provide carvability in an injection wax, as well as offer low shrinkage, good flow, and low ash content. Using two different methods, the participants put this product to the test. The staff at AU took an experimental approach, reporting on the wax’s performance in various categories, while the Racecar staff used the wax to fill a casting order for a class ring. The following are the results of their tests.

Jewelers’ Stories About Working with Findings

When a commercial finding isn’t quite right but making the component by hand seems like reinventing the wheel, creative modification comes into play. That’s what designer Jayne Redman of Cumberland, Maine, encountered when searching for the perfect clasp for her Palm Neckwire.

2005 AJM Innovation Awards

AJM Magazine has announced the winners of the second annual AJM Innovation Awards. These awards recognize technologies that are making a difference in the jewelry manufacturing industry today, and will continue to do so in the future.

Organizing a Jeweler’s Studio

For Howard Woods of Eagle, Idaho, a jewelers studio should be a place of beauty – organized beauty – that fuels creativity. An inspiring painting of a Southwest landscape by one of his favorite artists, Lon Megargee of Arizona, hangs above the studio door. The layout and design area of the studio faces a window with northern exposure that overlooks the garden. Music that suits Woods mood of the day can be played on the CD player. And a sense of order and calm emits from his impeccably organized tools. Below Woods describes his bench setup in detail.

Sphearrings: From Concept to Market

One of the newest earring findings to hit the market is showing a little earlobe midriffand it could turn the way people perceive earring design inside out.
Patented Sphearrings insert through the back of the car, leaving more of the lobe exposed. Think of the bare midriffs on a summer beach, and youll come close to the look offered by this new earring design.

Palladium Q&As

Its no secret that palladium has captured the attention of the industry. In 2005, purchase of palladium for jewelry use worldwide shot up by 54 percent, according to Johnson Mattheys Platinum 2006, and this past year has seen a proliferation of articles and seminars about the platinum group metal — specifically 950 palladium — as well as the formation of a new industry group, Palladium Alliance International. Yet with all of that interest has also come questions — about how best to work with the metal, how to market and sell it, and what to expect in the future: Is palladium really here to stay? To offer insights into those issues, MJSA invited several industry experts to share their thoughts on what manufacturers can expect when working with palladium.

Common FAQs for Metals Suppliers

Behold the metals supplier, lord of all things shiny. He fills your crucible with casting grain and makes sure youre always one sheet ahead of the game. But perhaps more important than his ability to make metal magically appear at your door in 24 hours is his expert advice when your solder wont flow, your castings are porous, or youre just about ready to turn off your torch-for good. We spoke with a number of metals suppliers to find out what their customers commonly want to know. From metalworking problems that constantly reappear to recent concerns about new alloys hitting the market, they shared with us some jewels of wisdom.

Color Stories Designing Around a Dynamic Opal

‘I show you an opal. You show me a design.’ That was the deal I struck with the three willing designers whose imaginative jewelry pieces you’ll see on the following pages. Once they accepted the challenge to design around this fabulous opal from DuftyWeis Opals Inc. in Maysville, Kentucky, there was no turning back..

SpeckFINDER HD Takes Magnification to High-Tech Levels

When a maid steals a $250,000 gold and diamond necklace from a famous rappers hotel room, only to find that those diamonds are actually CZs, it puts the hotel manager in a state of panic. Sure, he feels good about recovering the stolen necklace. But how does he prove its the same necklace the rapper paid a quarter of a million dollars for, thinking it had white and canary diamonds set in it?.

Superfit’s Hinge and Latch System

Getting a superior fit on your next custom ring order could be just a few mouse clicks away. Superfit Inc., the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer known for its tailor-fit shanks, recently launched Digital Installations, a program that enables jewelers and custom designers to download a design template online that allows the trademarked Superfit technology to be incorporated into any rings unique construction-regardless of dimensions or contours.

Jim Dailing Crafts Sentimental “Story Rings”

Custom designer Jim Dailing of Bend, Oregon, has been making jewelry for 30 years. For a brief stint during the mid 1980s he did so in a traditional jewelry store that he helped to open. But he soon found that he was not a fan of all the distractions that come with a retail environment, preferring instead to concentrate on the design process and the clients involved in a more intimate setting. His main studio in Portland, Oregon, while mostly workshop space, has a comfortable meeting area for appointments. (He also has a studio in his hometown of Bend, splitting his time between the two spaces.) Although he did not set out to specialize in wedding rings, his business evolved in that direction. For Dailing, the stories his customers share about their relationships motivate his art. During initial client meetings, which usually run from 30 to 60 minutes, talk of jewelry may not surface for quite a while..

Ensuring the Best Refining Experience

Today’s record metals prices have probably encouraged you to be more diligent than ever about capturing every last bit of precious metal dust in your shop. With gold in the $1,600 to $1,700 range at presstime, never before have your old polishing buffs, dust collection filters, and carpets been worth so much. When the stakes are this high, you need to work even harder to ensure that you are maximizing your return. Getting what you deserve out of your refining lot requires more than blind faith. In this excerpt from “Many Happy Returns,” which appeared in the October 2011 issue of MJSA Journal, you’ll find two steps you can take to have the most lucrative and satisfying refining experience.

Tips for Casting Palladium

Some manufacturers jumped at the chance to work with palladium a few years ago, when it made its way into the jewelry industry spotlight. A cousin of platinum, palladium’s color and pedigree won the hearts of casters who were willing to give it a chance. Today, it’s making inroads as a bridal metal, with some manufacturers turning to it as a pure white alternative to white gold. If you are considering adding palladium to your repertoire, ensure success from the start by following these casting tips from industry experts.

Ring Sizing Tips and Tricks

Ask a seasoned bench jeweler how many rings he or she has sized and they’ll probably give you a figure in the quadruple digits. The following is a compilation of tips and tricks to help you perform this mundane task better and faster.

Vermeil Jewelries

Considering metals prices continue to be sky high, it’s no surprise that plating companies’ phones are ringing off the hook. “We’re getting a much higher volume of inquiries from jewelry makers who produce silver or karat gold product and have never had items plated before,” reports Neil Bell, owner of Red Sky Plating in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ring by Cynthia Renée Zava

With textures that echo the Patagonian mountains of Chile, the Torres del Paine Ring by Cynthia Rene Zava of Cynthia Rene Inc. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, tells the tale of one family’s moving experiences on a trip to Chile. Zava tells the story of her longtime client, Mary, whose father is Chilean.

Improvements in Shop Security Technology

When you work with materials as valuable as precious metals and gemstones, you need to take measures to keep them safe — which could mean anything from Rover the attentive watchdog to installing a security protocol that would be suitable for the likes of Fort Knox.
In recent years, however, jewelers have benefited from technological advances that have resulted in new or improved methods of ensuring shop security. What follows are three of those methods. All reduce the risk of theft, and some even offer additional benefits in such areas as sales, training, and overall inventory management.

Modified CAD Design

What do you do when you realize your virtual inventory is virtually impossible to manufacture? With so many jewelry designers turning to CAD to realize their visions, such predicaments are becoming more and more common. Those thin edges, tight settings, and tiny details look great when magnified on a computer screen, but try to translate them to cast metal and the reality of physics kicks in: After the metal has shrunk and worn away under the polishing wheel, suddenly those sharp details have become flat and lifeless-and don’t think about trying to fit a stone in what’s left of the setting.

Hydraulic Die Press

Pressing Matters by Tina Wojtkielo Snyder This month, we asked Lisa Krikawa of Tucson: If you were stranded on an island (that just happened to have a bench in the middle and some metal hanging around), what tool would you want to have that allows you to do things you can’t do with any other tool?.

Revving Up the Burnout Process

The internet has put the world at our fingertips. In minutes or less you can start a video chat with a friend in Hong Kong, download a recipe and ingredient list for Pad Thai to your smartphone, or buy a new HDTV. So why shouldn’t you expect the same immediate gratification when shopping for an engagement ring?.

Retracing Steps to Solve Casting Problems

A design riddled with undercuts and sharp little details just screams casting nightmare the moment the CAD file shows up. But sometimes even the most straightforward looking designs can cause real headaches for the caster. Take for example this three-stone palladium ring design that recently arrived at Jewel-Craft in Erlanger, Kentucky, for casting. It’s a bit unusual, particularly the center setting, which features eight prongs and a raised lip of metal where the stone sits. However, nothing about the design caused alarm.

What to Know About Heavy Metal Testing

Before you submit any jewelry item to a lab to test for heavy metals, you’re going to need to do a little homework. Current state and federal laws regulating lead and cadmium levels in jewelry have mounted hurdles that jewelry makers must clear — and some of those laws pertain to both adults’ and children’s products. It’s important to understand the regulations and your customers’ requirements. If you find that you do need to submit your products for testing, there are a few things you can do to ensure that the testing process goes as smoothly as possible. The more informed you are when entering into a relationship with a lab, the better you can expect your results to be. The following is a collection of general guidelines for jewelry makers to follow when working with a testing service.

Alex and Ani – Positive Energy

For Alex and Ani, booming success points back to manufacturing locally, with love
Pharmaceutical salesperson Kelly Oliver logs thousands of airline miles every year — and she never flies without her St. Christopher bangle, her sacred source of protection. For her 25th birthday, Amy Sonata’s boyfriend, Zach, presented her with several bangles: “A” and “Z” charms standing for their names, a heart symbolizing their love for each other, and two starfish and a Martha’s Vineyard charm representing the beach on which they met.

Novell Design Studio

At Novell Design Studio, efficiency, quality, and service get a jolt of passion
You can hear the passion in Bruce Pucciarello’s voice when he talks about what it means to keep his jewelry manufacturing operation in the U.S. When you walk around Novell Design Studio in Rahway, New Jersey, and witness the company’s 70 employees hard at work — a CAD modeler skillfully designing in Rhino, a machinist cutting a new design he’s conceived into a silver blank, a veteran bench jeweler hand-twisting wire into a braid for a ring insert — you get a sense that his passion is infectious.

Additive Manufacturing in the Jewelry Scene

Did you ever imagine you’d see the day when a finely woven mesh bracelet with thousands of tiny links could be grown in one piece, on a machine, using 18k gold powder? Well, that day has come.
It’s jaw — dropping, really.

Today, thanks to additive manufacturing, an intricate piece of jewelry something that used to take countless days of hand labor to make can now be produced overnight on a laser melting machine. The machine builds up a net shape, layer by layer, much the same way as a rapid prototyping system does only instead of resin materials, the layers are made of metal powder.

Low-Cost Rapid Prototype Systems

Five years ago, if you wanted to buy an additive manufacturing machine to grow rapid prototype (RP) models in your shop, you had to be prepared to shell out close to $50,000. Today, due to technological advances in Digital Light Processing (DLP) by Texas Instruments, you can buy a machine with the same capabilities for under $15,000. This is a major advancement, and one that deserves MJSA Thinking Ahead honors.
Two such machines are currently offered to the jewelry industry at maker-friendly price points: the Envisiontec Perfactory Micro (base price: $14,999) and the Pico Desktop 3-D Printer from Asiga (base price: $6,990). Both products are making a difference in jewelry manufacturing by enabling even the smallest jewelry makers with limited budgets to grow models with complex geometries in-house

Redefining Fine Jewelry

Ask someone to define “fine jewelry” and you’ll usually hear something about gold, platinum, diamonds, and other traditionally “precious” materials. But go to any high-end jewelry trade show today, and you’ll find that the fine jewelry in the cases rarely matches this limiting definition. Designers and manufacturers aren’t hesitant to mix nontraditional materials, such as leather, exotic hardwoods, cords, and unusual gemstones, with classic fine jewelry materials.

Mystery Box Jewelry Challenge

Welcome to the Mystery Box Challenge! You are among the select designers who have received this box of materials, Your mission is to use these materials to create a unique piece of jewelry in four weeks’ time. You must incorporate into your design at least one item from each of the six material categories; beyond that, you can use the materials as you wish. You may also add materials as desired.