Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bijouxbead Reception: Reviewed.

Last Thursday marked 18Karats first reception and the near-end of our first month long foray in the gallery business. (Right - Setting up for the show)

We want to thank everyone who made it out, and especially to Darlene Martin for not only being our first designer to showcase, but also for being such a lovely lady. (Left - Darlene chatting with some eager York University students.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

L A N D S C A P E S Reception.

Just a reminder to everyone who loves that which glitters, especially the beaded beauties of Bijouxbead.

We will be hosting a special after-hours reception in our shop at 275 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Come by to meet the artist and view some truly beautiful pieces.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day at the Auction.

Last night I went to my first jewellery auction.

Excited by the flurry of bids and momentarily parallized in fear of drawing the auctineers attention (especially when the bids edged above the $10,ooo mark with an all bids final policy),
I was interested to see what would be the hot seller, what would flop, and how much I would know about either.

Of course I wasn't immune to the gems, and couldn't help but fall in love with a very lovely cabochon coral ring. I set a budget, calculated final costs after the buyers premium and taxes, and waited – hoping I would be lucky.

Everyone had gold fever, with high carated gold stealing the show as gold prices hover at all time highs.

(But I wondered how practical this venture was – in theory pure gold will take about $1000 an ounce... but add on the above mentioned buyers premiums and the cost of actually getting this new gold assayed and refined will chop off about 10% of your take home profit. So that $10,200 paid for a ten ounce bar of gold will ultimately cost the buyer approximately $13,255. Now, what is the gold value? Let's hypothetically take our 10 ounce gold bar to a refiner.. if it is not sealed in its original case it will have to be assayed to test the gold content with the additional refining cost added. Now we are looking at taking home about $9200.)

It was a little sad to know that some of these old beauties would be melted down, regardless of past history and craftsmanship, but out with the old and in with the new, (at 18Karat we get a lot of customers who use old gold to offset the price of a new creation).

Of course, when my lot came up, my heart started to pound so loudly that I thought my hope of no one noticing lot #113 would be ruined for sure. Of course, it wasn't meant to be and last night was not my night as my lovely red lady's ring went to someone in the back for $70 over my budget.

I have however, been bit by the auction bug, although I know I have a lot to learn.

The most important thing to remember is to do plenty of research (what are similar items selling for 'new') and set a budget you will stick with. No one wants to regret a lovely gem. And of course, you win some and you lose some - so enter an auction with an open mind and a light heart. Go because you love a piece for what it is and leave the business to the professionals - they know a good deal when the see one and they know when high is high enough, so don't get caught up in the adrenaline rush of a bidding war.

Happy bidding!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How you do that thing you do.

As our subscribers and followers are well aware of, this month 18Karat is featuring the work of Darlene Martin of Bijouxbead. Over the last couple of days I have started to get to know each of these intricate pieces, many of which feature elaborate lampwork and I couldn't help but ask – how do they, lampworkers, do that thing they do (Pictured left: close-up of Artist's Brush by Bijouxbead?)

Lampwork is a form of glasswork in which rods and sheets are melted and formed using a variety of tools, combined with blowing techniques and hand movements. It is a technique also referred to as flamework or torchwork as the traditional gas-lamp is no longer used.

Although its origins can be traced long into ancient times, it was in Murano Italy during the 14th century when the practice began to spread and grow in popularity. Lampworked beads have since remained the provenence of the Italians who have closely guarded their techniques.
Within the last couple of decades, North American artists have also begun to incorporate lampwork into their portfolios – these attempts have however been regarded by most as crude, until recently. Take a peek at a little bit of what it takes with a great short video here.

We are thrilled to have these pieces in the shop, so don't forget to stop by!