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MJSA Journal Cover Image and ArticlesMJSA Journal

Every month, the award-winning MJSA Journal offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.

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This Month: October 2020


Refinery flare


A Clean Sweep

All around the world, jewelers have been scouring their workshops, trying to capture each and every errant particle of gold to send in for refining to take advantage of the elevated metal prices. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering if you’re doing all that you can to recover every bit of metal within your shop. To help you maximize your metal returns, we spoke with several refining experts on their best tips and strategies for jewelers as they undertake their workshop cleanups. By Shawna Kulpa


Pendant created using cuttlebone casting technique


Bare Bones Casting

Cuttlefish bone casting is one of the oldest casting techniques. Although it’s not in much use today within the jewelry industry, it offers clear advantages over other, more modern, casting methods, including low costs and the ability to produce a casting in half an hour. In this excerpt from her Santa Fe Symposium paper, Margaretha Held explores this ancient technique, how it can be applied as an element of art to reproduce a piece of jewelry, and the many design options and structures that can be created. By Margaretha Held


diamond and gemstone bracelets

Jewelry Trends

Looking Up

After months of home confinement and a lot of uncertainty, consumers are looking for ways to find comfort and to treat themselves. Based on recent surveys and industry reports, it looks as if fine jewelry could fare well this upcoming holiday season. Diamonds and silver are among the product categories leading the way toward a positive outlook for fourth quarter sales . By Deborah A. Yonick


Diamond engagement ring and grid illustration

Industry Trends

Snapshot: The Latest Jewelry Industry Statistics

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 related disruptions, positive business signs are starting to emerge. While sales data shows the jewelry industry took a much deeper decline than total retail, it also show a unexpected level of resilience through the peak months of the pandemic. By Howard Dupuy, FGA



Fear and denial illustration

Business Strategies

Attitude Adjustment

These are confusing, even scary, times, and it’s only human to go through a range of emotions as we encounter new challenges and consider a future of both social and financial deprivations. But once you cycle through those emotions, it is important to come back to this thought: The only way to fare well during times of duress is to be flexible, accepting, adaptive, and curious. By Andrea Hill


Brooch by Judith Kaufman

Creative Design

Celestial Glow

When Connecticut-based designer Judith Kaufman came across a donut-shaped periwinkle druzy quartz at a Tucson gem show, she started seeing stars. Discover how Kaufman used that gemstone as starting point to create a stunning celestial brooch, evoking a familiar motif from her 40-plus year career. By Tina Snyder


Cuttlebone casting

At the Bench

Old School Casting

A centuries old casting technique, cuttlebone casting uses the calcified remains of the cuttlefish and can be used to accurately create an array of designs. One common technique imparts a beautiful and natural wood grain texture on the cast piece thanks to the cuttlebone’s growth lines. Learn how to employ this ancient technique in your shop. By Tony DeLuca 


Design Challenge 2020: Betsy Cross

Design Challenge 2020

Responsibly Sourced Designs: "A Home Away From Home"

Check out this month’s entry from Designer Betsy Cross and read about the inspiration and process behind her pendant necklace design.


New Products

The Latest Tools & Supplies from MJSA Members

Fretz Spinner Ring Jig
Designed by Bill Fretz, the Fretz Spinner Ring Jig can be used to form smooth, symmetrical concave bands for spinner rings. It consists of a concave curved stamping mandrel and a two-hole steel faced block. The mandrel is designed to curve the band’s edge one side at a time while the block supports the ring. To use, simply hammer the mandrel’s end to gently flare one side of the ring, counting the blows so the other side of the ring can be done with the same force to maintain symmetry. Spinner bands can then be slipped over the non-flared end of the band before the flaring is repeated, locking the spinner on. Contact: Rio Grande, 7500 Bluewater Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87121; 1-800-545-6566; fax 800-965-2329; e-mail info@riogrande.com; riogrande.com. MJSA Member and Expo Exhibitor

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Durston Ring Shank Bender
Featuring a unique gearing system to make bending effortless, the Durston Ring Shank Bender is suitable for bending material up to 1.25 mm thick. It comes with eleven sets of dies (nine rounds [8 mm to 24 mm], one square, and one rhombus). Made from tool steel, the precision-made dies have been hardened and polished. Each round die has a radiused edge to minimize any damage to the material being formed. With a space-saving design, the top die holding tray swivels out of the way for easy access to the bender below. The compact system can be mounted to a worktable by clamps or by bolts through the mounting holes. Contact: Otto Frei, 126 Second St., Oakland, CA 94607; 1-800-772-3456 or 1-510-832-0355; e-mail info@ottofrei.com; ottofrei.com. MJSA Member and Expo Exhibitor

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Durston Planishing Press/Hammer
Designed to be easy to use, the Durston Planishing Press/Hammer is constructed of heavy cast iron to support the weight of the striker blows. Users lay metal on the planishing block and strike the top of the knob sharply and quickly with one hand; heavy-duty recoil springs bring the striker back up and ready for the next use. It is suitable for flattening a variety of metals, including gold, silver, copper, brass, platinum, palladium, and titanium, after cutting, rolling, and other fabrication applications. In addition, the tool can be used to emboss patterns onto sheet metal. Weighing 51.2 lbs., the tool measures 5.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches deep by 21 inches high (140 mm by 216 mm by 533 mm). The top plate is 80 mm in diameter while the bottom plate measures 100 mm and has a Rockwell hardness of 50. Contact: Paul H. Gesswein & Co. Inc., 201 Hancock Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06605; 1-203-366-5400; e-mail info@gesswein.com; gesswein.com. MJSA Member and Expo Exhibitor

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