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Sunday, December 8, 2013

2014, The Year of the Horse

This pendant was created as a Christmas present for my niece Breanna.  She loves horses, but also being a teenager she can be kind of hard to shop for. So, I decided to make her something, because that's what I do.

It came together under a spell, it would seem. I was totally focused, I worked non-stop for only two and a half hours before it was completed. Some of the things I make take days to complete, but the stars were perfectly aligned this time. I was in a zone, which is awesome and rare.  There's nothing like the high you feel when you get to this place.

After Christmas a friend on Facebook contacted me about a contest being held through  Rio Grande, a very well known jewelry and metal supply company. This is the premiere jewelry supply company, used by many jewelry makers the world over. They have over 30,000 fans on Facebook.  The contest was for horse jewelry.  She thought I should enter.
 A few days later I got an email from Rio Grande saying that my pendant would be featured on their blog, and I was interviewed.

I am honored to be recognized by such a well known and prestigious company, and to be among the other amazing talent who were also featured for their horse jewelry.

Have a happy and healthy 2014!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coloring Outside of the Lines

A few months ago my aunt requested I make her a cross necklace for Christmas this year. Inside I groaned. I have never made a cross necklace and I didn't want to invest hours of my time into trying to figure it out. So, for the first time EVER, I bought a tutorial.

I had seen Copar Aingeal's "Urban Cross" a few times in the wire-wrapping group I belong to.  I've seen it on the artist Julie Lockhart's Facebook pages and on Etsy. I loved it and I knew it would be perfect.
It has been in my mind to purchase the tutorial, just to make things a little bit easier.

Easier? HA!  It turned out to be one of the most difficult and challenging things I've ever attempted in wire-work. First of all, I am terrible at following directions. I want to jump ahead. My eyes bounce around. I have horrible reading comprehension. This is a problem that has riddled me since I was a little girl, the teachers would always say that I was unable to color inside of the lines.

While I was trying to follow the instructions I found myself feeling blind, I didn't know what was going to happen next or what I was going to do once the next step was complete, even though it was right there for me to see. And, this is not a reflection on the teacher. She is wonderful. She did a great job of explaining the process, step-by-step. It is a testament of my own short comings.  I have a really hard time learning things in this manner. The way I learn is to submerge myself in a subject and let it stew around for a few days/weeks/months until something inside "clicks".This is hardly conducive to following a step-by-step tutorial.

So, I gave it a day.  I thought about what I had done so far and the parts that made up the pendant. I thought about how I could make it work using my own style of wrapping, my own weaves, and using hers only as a guide I was able to make sense of it.  The end result was based on the "Urban Cross" but it was my own. I don't know if the fact that I am unable to make a replica is simply a reflection on my inability to learn, or just my sensibility as an artist getting in the way.

And, so, here is the Copper Cross Pendant, inspired by Copar Aingeal's "Urban Cross."

There's one more thing I'd like to add, it's something I posted in the groups that I belong to on Facebook. It's a message for people who are new to wire wrapping or may be struggling to learn.

Please don't think for one minute that your skills as a wire wrapper are at all determined upon your ability to follow through with a tutorial. If you are relying on a tutorial you may be missing out on your true skill as an artist. I say this because I am self-taught, I cannot follow a tutorial to save my life. If I would have started by using a tutorial I would have given up a long time ago. If you're stuck put the tutorials away, sit down with your wire, and see what you can do on your own.

These things work for some people, but they aren't for everyone. I don't want anyone to give up because I would have.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Custom Made Labradorite Daenerys Targaryen Necklace

This huge labradorite pendant necklace was made for a customer who wanted a Game of Thrones inspired piece. I have never seen the show, but she did send me some pictures of the character this necklace is suppose to represent. 

I used raw brass and raw copper wire to create this necklace. The brass scrolls represent the character's filigree jewelry. The copper ribbons look like those that would adorn a Medieval crest. The reptilian wire weave around the sides of the stone represent the dragon eggs that the character collects. The hand forged hook and eye clasps are made of recycled copper wire. At the back hangs a brass and copper "dragon egg" charm that I made from howlite and yellow turquoise stones. It is suspended on gray silk ribbon and double raw copper rolo chains. 
I don't think I've ever used my torch this much in the creation of a piece of jewelry, but it sure was challenging and FUN!

I don't think I've ever used my torch this much in the creation of a piece of jewelry, but it sure was challenging and FUN!

This is a close-up picture of the mini dragon's egg charm that hangs on the back of the clasp. The inside of the egg is yellow turquoise stone, the ball is white howlite with a little time in the flame to give it color gradient.

Please check out Pumpkin and Poppy Cosmetics on Artfire and like Veggie Beauty on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Goddess Pendant with a Gothic Twist

I've been trying for weeks to wrap these gorgeous labradorite stones that I purchased.  They are stones, not cabochons so they bring forth quite a challenge for me. They're not uniformly thick and that lopsidedness has caused quite of bit of frustration for me. I think I've attempted six different wraps and each one of them just wouldn't hold the stone or looked terrible. But, in my attempts I have managed to make some pretty good stuff with other stones. Sometimes I'll be starting to wrap one of the beautiful labradorite stones and I'll realize that even though it doesn't work with that stone it works well with another stone. This is how this particular pendant came to be.

The weaving started as a possible bail for a labradorite but this red poppy jasper donut was too irresistible.  I fit the wires through the hole and I knew it was meant to be.
I added some more weaving, and some criss-crosses and a few swirls.  On the reverse is a goddess reaching toward Heaven.

The pendant is suspended on hand-woven viking knit chain.

Everything here is handcrafted by me, except for the link chain (which I buy from a fellow artisan who lives in Maine.)

I am particularly proud of the hook and eye clasp I forged. These strong 12 gauge wire clasps are made from recycled electrical wire (as all of my wire is recycled), heated, formed and hammered until they're virtually indestructible.

If you're interested in purchasing this necklace or to inquire about a price please send me a message by using the form on the left side of my blog page.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Traditional Cab Wrap

For as long as I have been making wire wrap jewelry I have had issues with what I like to refer to as the "traditional cab wrap."  I just haven't been able to master it.  Part of it is that I tend to make a lot of my own designs, meaning that I make up techniques and that I am self-taught and this is kind of an established technique.  Unlike viking knit I just could not get the hang of it, even when my good friend Cindy from CCJ Designs made a pictorial just for me. Well, you may or may not know this but I'm HORRIBLE at following tutorials, even good ones.

This tiny little Botswana agate has been sitting in my stone pile for quite a while, and on a break from wrapping this HUGE labradorite I decided to try the "traditional cab wrap" again. Usually ending up frustrated, this time it worked.  I wonder if it was the smaller size that made it easier, or like wire-wrapping in general did it just finally "click?"

Here is the end result.

Not <i>too</i> shabby.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chinese "Turquoise" Donut Pendant on a Viking Knit Chain

This is a bit of a departure from my usual style. It decided to keep things simple this time.  The weave around the donut is done with 19 gauge recycled copper and it hangs on a handcrafted viking knit chain. Of course I hand forged the end caps and hook and eye clasps.  This necklace is virtually indestructible!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

More Jewelry for November 2013

Recently a friend from town who also is a member of the wire wrapping jeweler's group I belong to clued me in on a gem trunk show at a local jewelry supply and bead shop, Fishlips 3. I found such gorgeous specimens, including this lovely agate donut (napkin ring) with tons of vibrant and (according to the man conducting the trunk show) natural undyed colors. A customer requested matching earrings.
This next piece was one of those that I was so frustrated with, I was about to give up. I had woven a base but had no idea how I was going to apply it to the stone.  It was getting late so I went to bed.  In the morning I had my eureka moment.  I finished it that morning and it's turned out to be on of my most intricate and favorite pieces to date.

This next piece one that includes one of the coolest looking stones I've ever had the pleasure of working with. It's an "Ocean Jasper."  I got it at the gem trunk show, but it was on a strand of other stones. There were a lot of strands, but I could only choose one, and the choice was a very difficult one.  After much deliberation I chose the strand with this baby.  And, I was finally able to put the pink and gray silk ribbon I bought months ago to good use.  I am very happy with this piece.

I'm kind of on a roll this month. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It Should Be Called 'Jeweler's Elbow' and BIG News!

October was rough. I only managed to get one set done.  If I could have I definitely would have made more jewelry but I was nursing severe pain in my elbow that radiated through my arm and down to my wrist, and weakness. I couldn't grasp the steering wheel in my car let alone a hammer. Finally I went to the sports medicine clinic where they diagnosed me with tennis elbow, AND golfer's elbow, and to add to that, nerve damage.  I was ordered to step away from the work bench for a while to let it heal.

During the month I started on a project, just to keep my sanity. I got an arm brace and I worked very gently.  My mom came to visit for two weeks from Florida so that kept my mind off of jewelry, but a a few minutes every few days or so I'd do a little more. Ideas flowing, I just can't let them expire.

It took about three weeks, but here is my October creation. And, it sold!

It's a blue agate with a crystal druzy center. I also made my FIRST pair of earring to complete the set.

November has proven to be a pretty productive so far. The elbow is feel better with rest and the purchase of a nifty elbow brace that puts pressure on both sides of my arm to alleviate the pain of Jeweler's Golfer's/Tennis elbow. I made a beautiful necklace with a Carnelian leaf I bought at the Des Moines Gemstone and Fossil Show last month. I used wire weaving and complimented the ruddy orange pendant with blue and green accents, it really popped!  I even crafted the chain with agate donuts and the same blue/green stones.

It sold immediately, like, the day after it was posted.

Currently I'm working on this. I have the pendant done, but I'm still trying to figure out what to suspend it from, I'm toying with the idea of dark brown leather cord and chain, but I need to figure out how to make it hang right.  Here is a preview:

If you come across my blog and you're interested in purchasing any of my jewelry please send me a message via my Facebook fan page Leah Hoffman Jewelry on Facebook or you can email me at

Now, I have HUGE news for my blog readers.  I have had to move my work space from a sunny green room with my workbench facing a window with a pretty view of the back yard to... the dank, gray basement with a pretty view of the wall. But I can't let the baby sleep in the basement, so the spare bedroom which was being used for my workspace was the obvious choice for a nursery. My husband and I are expecting another baby, due in June.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More New Jewelry for September

 I'm having a creative streak this week and I hope I can keep this momentum going throughout the month of September.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Jewelry for September

I love wire weaving and one day I had the bug so I sat down and created this beauty.

 It sold immediately. 

The stone is a yellow agate, it also included a little yellow agate charm that I made to hang from the back of the hand forged copper hook and eye closure.  

My jewelry is always a product of my own vision. I don't rely on patterns and I've never used a tutorial (except at a glance).  I just sit down with a stone, and start creating. Everything I do is freehand. I probably waste a lot of wire on experimentation, but I also learn a lot of new tricks that way.  I probably spend more hours trying out techniques and failing at times, but all of those mistakes help me learn new ways of doing things and from the experience I get better at my craft.

I'm also always trying to find a way to make a low cost line of jewelry. Since my signature is my Bold Swirl Ring I thought why not make a simple swirl, not smoothed out from 18 gauge wire and sell those. I know there have been a lot of tutorials and a lot of folks sell swirl/spiral rings (not the Bold Swirl) on Etsy, but my Simple Swirl Ring is different different in the attention to detail that I give each piece. I use a precision jeweler's file to smooth out the ends of the wire that is tucked in so it is as comfortable as possible for the wearer. I hammer the band for strength and texture. Each ring is tumble finished for eight hours for a smooth, professional finish. After that I add patina and hand polish each ring individually. It's not just a swirl ring that's thrown together in a few minutes. It's a STRONG, sturdy ring that will last a very long time. Despite its small, 18 gauge size it is comfortable and will not bend.  You can click on the photo to order through Etsy, or "like me" and then send me an email on my Facebook page for an exclusive discount.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Can't Get Enough of these Agate Slices!

These agate slices are colorful, beautiful, affordable, and they have become one of my favorite things to work with.

I made a necklace for my mom's birthday.
I really like how the bail turned out. My mom really liked it too.

I made a necklace that I donated to a silent auction benefiting Outward Bound for Veterans.
I made a couple to sell at Green Goods for the Home
This next one is my absolute favorite though. The reason why is because of the bail. It is very ornate and symmetrical. I have never made anything with a freeform focal that has had such an intricate bail. It was so much fun to make, and I think it's one of my best pieces to date.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Treasure Hunt

Now that I live on the South side of Des Moines there are all kinds of fun new places to explore. This is where we lived when we first moved here five years ago, but after a year or so we moved to West Des Moines where chain restaurants and strip malls rule.  Now, we're back in the old town (and, with the best view of the skyline.) There are a lot of old shops, thrift stores that actually charge thrifty prices (sorry Goodwill), run down little hole in the wall places and a couple of permanent flea markets where people rent spaces to sell their old "junk."

  I love these places. One day while wandering I discovered a glass enclosed cabinet filled with fossils, geodes, different cabochons and polished stones, semi-precious, and lots of other goodies underpriced and just begging to be wrapped up in copper wire. I've been back three times.  One particularly great score has been dyed agate slices. I'm not usually one for...unnatural or dyed stones, but these have proved very popular and once they're wrapped I love them too. And, they're so fun to work with.

 I came up with this design on Thursday and sold the piece that very night.

The next day I went back and bought a few more including this purple agate slice.

If you're interested in any of my handcrafted jewelry, please check me out on Facebook or send me a comment. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Click here and give me a thumbs up! Leah Hoffman Jewelry Design on Facebook
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I'm also on Pinterest:  Leah Hoffman on Pinterest

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Work in Retail...

I've been aching to get my jewelry into a retail setting for a while now.  But,  I wasn't really sure if anyone would want my jewelry on their store shelves.  I can be so afraid of rejection.
 I asked a friend if she knew of any retailers locally that did consignment for artisan jewelry.  She mentioned a place in downtown Des Moines, a little boutique called Green Goods for the Home (however, if it were me I'd call it Green Goods for Yourself as the bulk of their merchandise seems to be accessories, jewelry, lotions and really cool bags to keep your stuff in.)  They specialize in fair trade items, local art, natural products that are earth friendly.

So I decided to take a chance. A cold call, if you will.
I sent the shop owner an email along with a few pictures of some of my latest work.
I quickly got a response.  A very positive one. Her sister-in-law is the in house artisan jeweler and she wanted to talk it over with her.  As luck would have it, she loved my jewelry as well. She asked me to come in with my jewelry and we agreed on a time.  That evening, I went to a craft store to buy a few things for my display when I was approached by a nicely dressed woman. She asked me if I made the jewelry I was wearing. I told her yes. She explained that she owned a store and that she loved my style and thought my jewelry would be a perfect addition to her shop.  I gave her my card.

When it came time for my appointment at Green Goods I brought all of my jewelry to the counter and I talked about each piece.  I got a lot of positive feedback.   While I was talking to the shop owners about my jewelry a woman came up and bought one of my Viking Knit bracelets.  I think that's a good sign. They took me upstairs where I was shown a lit display cabinet where all of my jewelry would be displayed. It was far more than I ever anticipated. I spent the next two hours setting up my display. RAGBRAI is coming through Des Moines this week, I hope I can sell some jewelry to some of the folks who are passing through.

If I can keep this momentum going, I will be a very happy lady.

Some FACTS About Copper (Courtesy of Oak City Gallery)

I ran into a great site, Oak City Gallery. It's the website of artisan jeweler Julie Teeple and she's carved (literally) a niche in the metal clay jewelry market.   One thing in particular that I wanted to share was her Q/A about copper.  As you know, copper does tend to tarnish and it does tend to turn (some people's) skin green with prolonged contact.  I do not coat my copper, I leave that to the customer. It's a personal preference. I have found that using lacquers take away from the natural patina and shine that I work so hard to get.  If my customers want to coat the inside of their ring bands with clear nail polish, that's their decision, but I've found that coating the jewelry itself it just tarnishes under the clear coat, and looks dull and it eventually flakes off.  With wire weaving, the clear coat can settle in the intricate pattern and bubble. It ends up taking away from the beauty of the piece, and when it starts to wear off those flakes can get stuck in the weave.  That's why I don't coat my copper.  HOWEVER, I'd love to try the "Renaissance Wax" that she speaks of in the article.  This stuff seems like it would be awesome.  Anyone have experience using "Renaissance Wax" please comment below.

From Oak City Gallery:

Copper is antimicrobial and doesn't harm the skin in any way. What's "antimicrobial"? An antimicrobial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoan's, as well as destroying viruses. Copper is also an antibacterial as well as an antifungal agent and used in the treatment of skin disease and wounds today as it was thousands of years ago. Of course thousands of years ago they didn't know all of this; they simply used it because it helped. Copper is also used in UD's for birth control because of its factors.
Copper is a trace element needed for healthy growth and function of bones, collagen, the brain, the heart, the skin and immune system. Copper is contained throughout our bodies and in our hair.
Fabrics have been impregnated with copper and used in everyday applications.

Hospital uses
Bandages, dermal wound products and gauze. Used in bedding, gowns, uniforms, towels, catheters, gloves, curtains and masks.

Military Use
Used by the military and police services worldwide in their uniforms.

Used in underwear, socks, and other items which need protection against degradation by fungus and bacteria and thus reducing odor, stains, and deterioration which is caused by fungi and bacteria.

Copper is used in many cosmetic products, as well as in cosmetic applications.
Copper bracelets have been worn for hundreds of years in the belief of reducing or helping Arthritic and Rheumatic diseases. People also look to copper for its healing properties in improving the circulation of blood, increasing energy, detoxification, reducing inflammation, stabilizing metabolism and improving oxygen use. While research information I checked numerous medical sites and found that copper is used extensively for the aforementioned.
Understand that I lay no claim to being an expert on the healing properties of copper. I've simply gathered a few reverent facts about copper to help you feel at ease with wearing copper jewelry.
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Let's review some basic information about copper or any other metal turning your skin green.

If it hasn't happened to you yet, sooner or later a piece of jewelry that you may wear will turn your skin either greenish or some other unsightly color. The worst jewelry that stains your skin is plated jewelry, especially gold plated. It's because base metal (mostly the inexpensive kind) is plated with gold or silver, or copper. The plating will eventually wear off the metal; it's the metal which begins to oxidize. The better or thicker the plating the more time it will take to wear off.
So why can or does your skin turn green while wearing copper? It's known as the oxidation reaction. The copper reacts with oxygen in the air, your sweat and skin oils creating a green layer of copper carbonate on your skin. Relax; it shouldn't be anything to be concerned about, it just looks terrible. Most likely you're not allergic to the copper, very few people are. Simply keep your copper clean and dry and remove any oil or sweat which may be on your jewelry. It's as simple as that.
If your skin does turn color from jewelry, you may notice it more on different parts of your body. Rings which are worn close to the skin are the worst because of no air circulation between your finger and the ring. Your finger sweats and produces oils which are trapped between your finger and the ring.
Bracelets have air circulation between your wrist and the bracelet thus doesn't seem to produce as much discoloration of your skin. If you wear a copper bracelet or cuff that is tight against the skin, then most likely you'll have discoloration much like a ring.
Pendants worn over your clothes won't discolor because they aren't in contact with your sweat or skin oils. Pendants worn against the skin tend to move causing air circulation between the pendant and your skin. Unless you're a sweaty and oily person and jewelry tends to stick to your skin, you shouldn't have any discoloration.
There are plenty of people who wear copper pendants, chains, or bracelets almost every day and everywhere including the shower and seldom take their copper jewelry off. It doesn't turn their skin colors, why? Simply put it's because they are keeping the jewelry clean by showering in it; cleaning off any oxidation caused by your body.
Keeping your jewelry clean will help in the prevention of oxidation turning your skin green. Take off your copper jewelry every night. Wipe your jewelry with a clean soft cloth when you remove it. Doing this will clean any body oils or sweat off your jewelry. The cleaner you keep your copper jewelry the less likely your skin will discolor from oxidation.
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There are several recommendations on "coating" copper jewelry to prevent skin discoloration. Here's my opinion on some of them.

Applying a thin coat of clear nail polish to your jewelry
Don't do this; it looks terrible, it's time consuming, and the nail polish will flake off making your jewelry look cheap. Over time applying layers of nail polish over existing flaking polish will look and feel so bad you won't want to wear your jewelry any longer! If you must, this method does work, for a while.
Spray your jewelry with a clear sealer
I don't recommend this either, it's just like applying clear nail polish to your jewelry. This method does work if you choose to use it.

Apply a coating of car or jewelry wax to the jewelry piece
This works very well. It also prevents your copper from tarnishing and keeps your copper jewelry nice and shinny. Eventually it will wear off (not flake off) depending on how often you wear your copper jewelry. Simply reapply the wax, let dry then buff your jewelry with a soft cloth.
Wipe your jewelry piece with a soft cloth before you put it on or after you take it off
Yes! This is the cheapest, easiest way of keeping your copper jewelry clean and to protect them from oxidation. Oxidation is what turns your skin colors. Keep your copper jewelry clean, it's as simple as that! Treat your copper jewelry as you would your expensive pieces of jewelry; wipe it with a clean soft cloth before putting it on or after taking it off. This helps remove the sweat and oils from your skin which causes oxidation. Keeping your copper jewelry clean will prevent it from turning your skin colors.
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(Leah Hoffman says:  I do not recommend cleaning copper jewelry that is patina'ed in this way. Those dark crevices are what adds visual texture to the pieces, and by using lemon juice or vinegar you may completely change the appearance of the piece. I keep my patina'ed copper jewelry clean by using a polishing square or buff/polishing block, or rubbing with a jewelry cleaning cloth.)

Wet your copper jewelry piece with lemon juice, sprinkle with a bit of table salt then rub with either a soft cloth or your fingers until tarnish is gone. Rinse with water then dry thoroughly. To maintain a beautiful finish and protective coating after cleaning, you can apply a thin coat of car wax, let dry then buff with a soft cloth. The car wax is an excellent method of avoiding tarnish on silver and bronze as well.

Easiest method
Fill a small glass or plastic (don't use metal) cup with white vinegar, place your copper jewelry into the glass of vinegar making sure the vinegar covers the jewelry. You can add a sprinkle of salt to the vinegar if you'd like. Walk away for several minutes. After several minutes remove your copper jewelry from the cup, rinse with cold water, dry your jewelry with a soft cloth. You may then apply a thin coat of car wax, let dry then buff with a soft cloth.
Cheap but messy method
This gets a bit messy but it works fairly well. Use a dab of ketchup on an old soft toothbrush. Apply to your copper jewelry and rub lightly with the toothbrush. Rinse clean and dry with a soft cloth. The acid in the ketchup dissolves the tarnish. After cleaning you may apply a thin coat of car wax, let dry then buff with a soft cloth.
Commercial cleaners
Using a commercial jewelry polishing cloth is a good way to keep your copper jewelry shinny and clean. If your copper jewelry has an added patina, avoid using the commercial polishing cloth as it may eventually rub the patina off the copper depending on how the patina was originally applied.

Commercial copper cleaner especially the powder types, aren't made for copper jewelry and may be abrasive leading to scratches in your jewelry; we suggest you avoid commercial copper cleaners unless it's made especially for copper jewelry.
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Yes, absolutely! Each of our copper jewelry pieces is specially coated with a specialized protective wax to prevent oxidation and discoloration; which in turn prevents your skin from discoloration. Each piece is treated with several coats of Renaissance Wax. Renaissance Wax polish was originally formulated in the British Museum research laboratories in the early 1950’s. It is free from acids (pH neutral) and will not damage even sensitive materials. Renaissance Wax has a unique quality and is ideal for protecting copper surfaces from environmental attack and handling. It dries hard and does not, like oil, remain sticky and attract atmospheric acidy making it ideal for copper.
With prolonged use Renaissance Wax will wear off however, you can maintain a comparable finish by simply applying a thin coat of good quality car wax; either paste or liquid to copper jewelry. It will leave a beautiful high polished finish as well as protect your jewelry from your body oils and prevent oxidation. The lack of oxidation will prevent your skin from turning green. The key is to keep your copper clean, wax coated or not. Dirty copper means eventually your skin may turn green. Not to worry; it’s not harmful in any way; just annoying and can be avoided. By following our suggestions on keeping your copper clean you shouldn’t have a problem. Keeping your copper jewelry clean is the key to keeping your skin from turning green, period.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flickr Flickr Flickr

I have a Flickr account!

  I just started it today.  I posted a bunch of pictures of my jewelry for all the world to see.  Please add me to your contacts.

Click here:  Leah Hoffman Jewelry on Flickr

AND, please don't forget to follow me on Instagram.  There I regularly post pictures of jewelry as well as some personal pictures.  I'm @Leahhoffman78

Mixed Metal Wrapped Intarsia Pendant

I've had this intarsia bead laying in a drawer for a couple of years. I've never felt inspired to do anything with it.  It's a rhodochrosite surrounded by obsidian.  Suddenly I had an idea. I had to do something that wouldn't overshadow the natural lines of the rhodochrosite, something that would compliment the rectangular shape of the bead. I decided to go for a very feminine form, the curve of a hip, the wisp of a waist.  This is the result.  The pendant features both upcycled copper as well as .925 sterling silver.  Its suspended on a fine 2mm leather cord. The clasp is handmade hand forged sterling silver and the eye hook is hammered copper in 12 gauge.  Everything but the bead has been hand crafted by yours truly.  It's one of my favorite pieces so far. And, it hangs beautifully.+

Monday, July 15, 2013

Up-cycling (Letting the Cat out of the Bag) and an Ode to Iowa

Did you know that some of the copper wire that I use to make my pieces is actually scrap copper that my  contractor father-in-law gives me? It's called "upcycling" and it's about taking something that would otherwise be discarded and breathing new life into it. He brings me buckets of old cords and wires he pulls out of construction jobs. I strip, clean and measure the gauge of the wire. Then, I use that wire to create the very jewelry you see here on my site. It's Earth friendly. At first I was advised not to let my customers know this, but in my heart I know that most people will appreciate will actually think it's really cool and appreciate that in another life your necklace, viking knit bracelet or Bold Swirl Ring might have had a current running through it, giving power to somebody's home.

Here is a new creation, a Geode pendant on a handmade viking knit chain.  The Geode is the Iowa state rock.  Being an Iowa girl, I thought it'd be great to make a necklace featuring this beautiful stone.

I am also posting a picture of the wire Iowa 80/35 Des Moines pendant I made.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Bold Swirl Rings and a Super Rosette

 All of these rings have been spoken for, but if you're interested please send me a message. I'll be happy to custom make a ring in your size and metal.