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My wife of 35 years, Patty, was diagnosed with Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer in early March 2014.  She had surgery and completed chemo and radiation treatments on September 12th, 2014.


Patty and I have been through a lot in our 35 years of marriage, but the last 7 months has been the most arduous of all.  She is on the mend but still needs care, monitoring, and ten years of medication.  We remain positive and hopeful for a bright future.


We have been incredibly fortunate to have the love, compassion, help, and financial support of complete strangers, acquaintances, friends, special friends, co-workers, and family.  We are awe struck and simply cannot thank everyone appropriately enough.


As you visit my web site today it is my hope that you realize that life is short and that one day you will die.  Please take a moment to really think about how important it is to show others, all others, your gratitude and love.  Acknowledge, appreciate, and validate your loved ones, friends, and anyone who impacts your life in a positive way.


Peace, Love, and Blessings.

~ Raymond


Details of our story and fund raising campaign, and the link to my free eBook, can be found at the following link:

New! A unique and proprietary design style featuring Pendants, Necklaces, Bracelets, and Rings inspired by forest nature. Forest Realm Designs

Do you have a crystal or stone you'd like wire wrapped for yourself or a friend? As with all my work, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to custom orders.


Email for more information.

What's the best wire to use for making wire jewelry? Click to find out.


New to wire wrapping? Need help? This article has wire and tool info you will need. Click here


You only need three wire wrap tools to get started. Know which ones?

Looking for instruction on how to wire wrap a heart shaped stone?  There's not much out there huh?


Well, even though my wire wrap guide is not specific to heart shaped stones it is easily adaptable to one.  You see, with my wire wrap eBook you'll learn how to wire wrap a crystal, but in reality it prepares you for anything, including heart shaped stones!  The Tiger-Eye stone pictured here is not a carved heart, it's naturally shaped that way.  It's one of my earliest pieces.  But I imagine yours will be better.  Your first project could easily be worth three to five times the price of my eBook or more!


I feel the need to explain something until my New eBook gets published:


My eBook is offered exclusively on Amazon because I am in the process of writing a new book.  If you can't live without my current edition, please head over to and download it.  It's easy and free to create an Amazon account as is the Kindle eBook reader.  If you do not want to do that I totally understand.  But you'll have to wait until my new book comes out.  I won't say when though.  But soon.


This incredible wire wrap guide is available exclusively from Amazon.comDon't have a Kindle?  No worries!


You can buy and read my eBook on your Mac, PC, and other devices with a FREE eBook reader from!


Go now and buy my eBook wontcha!  If you do please click LIKE, or better yet, write a review, all are appreciated.  Thanks!


Hey!  Send me a note if you have any questions:


Instantly know how to wire wrap stones, sea glass, beads, slabs, cabs, coins, and more!


A Single Wire Wrap Project.  Unlimited Possibilities.  Create A Treasure, Make Some Cash!™


Pop With Pizzazz Jewelry ~ A Crystal Clear Wire Wrap Guide


If you understand the basics of bead stringing, then you'll be amazed to discover how easy it is to take your beading to an astonishing new level with my wire wrap instruction eBook.

Your family and friends, and even casual observers, will marvel over your talent, praise your skills, and fall in love with your wire wrap art.  And you might even turn them into customers!


Even if you're new to wire wrapping jewelry, or feel you don't have the knack or artistic talent, it doesn't matter, you'll quickly absorb over 100 full color pictures in this easy to read and understand 60 page electronic book.  You'll be making handmade sterling silver jewelry in about the same time as it takes to watch your favorite movie!


The eBook is alive with detailed color photos, hand drawn illustrations, and plain talk.  You'll feel like I'm right there with you, guiding you through the creation of a beautiful wire wrap crystal pendant in a personal, one-on-one, step-by-step process.


The lesson is focused on a single project and reveals advanced wire wrap techniques that you simply can't get unless you pay 3 to 5 times the eBook price for a live class.


But whether you're into wire wrapping quartz crystals or not, by the time you finish this eBook you'll have made a pendant and learned secret techniques and special skills that you can easily apply to wire wrap just about anything, including rocks and stones, shells, sea glass, large beads, slabs, cabs, coins, and a host of irregular objects.


The simple project in this eBook is extremely visual.  With a mere glance you'll own the skills to create exciting custom wire wrap jewelry you can be proud to wear yourself, give away as gifts, and even sell for profit!  Everyone will simply fall in love with your jewelry!


Better than a start and stop DVD or Video and even better than a live class.  Go from picture to pendant with wire wrapping instructions so easy you'll pass with Pizzazz!


Join people from around the world who enjoy creating handmade jewelry that Pops with Pizzazz!

Worth up to $50 dollars...this Fantastic, Globally Popular, Electronic Book is yours from for only $4.99!


This incredible wire wrap guide is available exclusively from Amazon.comDon't have a Kindle?  No worries!


You can buy and read my eBook on your Mac or PC with a FREE eBook reader from!


Go now and buy my eBook wontcha!

Hey!  Send me a note if you have any questions:

My unique wire wrap guide is exclusively available for your Kindle, Mac, or PC with a FREE eBook Reader from

The lesson is very effective. Check out these reviews!


Endorsed by Lapidary and Jewelry Maker John Moe (Pentaluna Jewels): Raymond Ihrig's eBook...contains everything you need to do beautiful wire wrap work, and more! His clear explanation of the details of wire wrapping, together with many beautiful and clear photographs, guides the beginner (or the expert!) through the intricacies of wrapping a crystal so that it becomes a work-of-art piece of jewelry to be treasured for generations.  Read John's complete review.


Endorsed by fellow artisan and successful jewelry maker, B. Burkett: "I like to wrap free form gemstones.  But it would take hours of work before I could figure out how to balance the artistic and the practical, securely holding the stone.  After studying Mr. Ihrig's versatile technique, I can adapt it to any shape of stone."  Wearable Works of Art:

Feedback and Comments

Jesi E. from Texas USA, "Ignore the crappy emails. Your eBook does what you intended and has helped a lot of people to create jewelry for fun and profit. What an excellent reference! I can feel more confident when approaching irregularly shaped stones and crystals. ...I can put this book on my laptop, carry out to my studio and have a great time!  Thanks so much!"  Jesi, your kind words are appreciated beyond measure.  Thank you.

 Examples from a couple of first timers...


Tim D. from New Jersey was excited about his very first project:


" worked! My crystal piece turned out beautifully! Thank you!"


Tim created this piece with sterling silver on his very first attempt after reading Pop With Pizzazz Jewelry!  Thanks for sharing Tim.

Within hours of reading my eBook Shannon P., from Australia, made this quartz crystal pendant using Copper Wire.  Shannon says,



" first wire wrapped crystal...turned out rather pretty..."



Yes it did Shannon, I totally agree.  Thank you for sharing.


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A few Wire Wrap Tips:


Basic Characteristics of Soft and Half-Hard Wire.


Soft Wire makes it easy to create nice rounded bends.  Soft Wire works very well for creating fancy loops, swirls, and to do collage work.  It allows for easier forming and following contours of stones, beads, and irregularly shaped objects.  It also dents and can become mashed very easy.  If you're not careful the dents will be deep and require heavy dressing with a file to smooth them out or make them less noticeable. You have to remove material around the dent which also makes the wire thinner thereby weakening its strength.  Heavy polishing is then required.


Half-Hard Wire is more conducive to creating sharp angle bends.  It does not dent as easily as soft wire, but it does require strong pressure with tools and a firm grip to bend and form it.  Half-Hard Wire makes great loop bails, hook~n~loop closures, transition elements, and is the preferred material for capture or spiral wrapping crystals.  Spiral wraps are quite stiff and secures objects very well if done properly.  It allows for strong durable bails.


In other words, there are trade-offs between Soft and Half-Hard wire in what can be achieved.  Elaborate designs are easier with Soft wire, but often durability is sacrificed or compromised if you don't have the skills needed.  Simple, extremely durable, designs can be achieved with Half-Hard wire.


Soft Wire is easily formed around an object, but makes it difficult to achieve the strength needed to secure them, and making simple loop bails requires special skill and attention to the process.  This is why you often see double loop and crown shaped bails, twisted wire elements, weave style, and collage designs.  These designs require more wire because additional wire is needed for strength and durability.


While it's more difficult to form Half-Hard wire around objects, typically less wire is needed to secure them.  And making nice round bails with tight loops is a breeze with Half-Hard wire.  Half-Hard is also a great material, or medium, for linking beads together, like a Rosary style chain.


I often combine Soft and Half-Hard wire in a single design.  Half-Hard for framework, binding coils, large loops, bails, transition points, and then Soft wire for capturing objects, creating design and additional structural elements around stones and within the frame.


Let your imagination run wild, and...



Happy Wrapping!




To increase profit, control your precious metal waste.


Measure the wire before you begin wrapping, then measure the left over cut pieces and you will know how much wire you used.  When you make a similar piece you will know how much wire to cut for the project and you won't waste so much.  Less waste means you can make more items with less wire and your profits will grow.


Happy Wrapping!




Use a common household rolling pin or rolling dowel to form and measure bracelets.


A great alternative to a jewelers bracelet mandrel is a very affordable wooden rolling pin or dowel.  An ordinary household pin is made of hardwood with an average circumference of about 7.5 inches, which is a common bracelet size.  A rolling pin works very well to form wire or sheet metal into a bracelet hoop.  Mark or score the pin all the way around in 1/4 inch increments to quickly measure leather cord, flexible bead wire, and other common bracelet material.


Happy Wrapping!



There's a ton of wire wrap info here that took me years to learn and accumulate from numerous sources, some I paid for and others through hard work, trial, error, and a ton of wire. If you find any of it useful and helpful, then please consider showing your appreciation through a donation. Proceeds help me keep this website up and running.

Your Donation through PayPal will be greatly appreciated. PayPal is fast, free, and secure.  Enter any amount you wish:   Thank You!


What's the best wire to use for wire wrapping jewelry?


It is my hope this guide will help you choose an appropriate wire to get you started and save you from the pain and disappointment of costly and time consuming mistakes.


So what "is" the best wire to use for wire wrapping?  This is a common question for most new and aspiring wire wrap artists.  There are many different types of wire, so the best choice then becomes subjective.  This article expresses my personal preferences, which should help guide your own choices.


Ideally the "best" wire to use is wire that's appropriate for the design or project you want to create, but not always.  You'll understand this better shortly, and with experience.  Most artists will experiment with different size and shapes of wire in an effort to capture their vision or ideas or to create that new and / or unusual design, then they end up choosing their favorite, which dominates most of their work.  That is until something else piques their interest.


Until you get to that point you should know there are many types of wire from Stainless Steel craft wire to Solid Gold wire.


The most popular for costume wire jewelry is single strand craft wire, available in a rainbow of colors.  Then there are multi-strand varieties used primarily for beading, usually coated with colored or clear vinyl.  This coating is like a sheath that protects the wire, beads, and wearer.  Multi-strand varieties, depending on brand and price, are quite durable and flexible, which is most desirable for beading.  There is also solid or thick single strand stainless steel spring wire used for a lot of popular bracelet and necklace designs.


On occasion I use gold filled and solid gold wire for some of my work.  But my favorite, which happens to be the most popular for a variety of reasons, is sterling silver.  Copper wire is the second most popular wire used for making wire wrap jewelry.


Wire, including Sterling Silver, is available in many shapes like oval, triangle, square, and round profiles.  Each profile lends itself well for their intended use.  Silver wire comes in other shapes or profiles, but those listed above are the most common.


Like different shapes, wire also comes in different thicknesses or Gage.  The range of thickness is from 2 gage to 32 gage with 32 being the thinnest; which is about the thickness of human hair.  The range for most wire wrap projects fall between 16 and 26 gage.  I use 18, 20, and 22 gage for most of my projects.


Hardness characteristics, also known as Temper, is the malleability or flexibility of wire irrespective of gage.  Thicker gage wire can seem more rigid than it's actual Temper.


Temper for precious metal wire is separated into four (4) categories:


1.) Dead-Soft = DS

2.) Soft = S

3.) Half-Hard = HH

4.) Hard = H


The precious metal itself is identified by code in either Caps or small letters sometimes stamped directly on the metal like this:


Sterling Silver = SS

Argentium Silver = AS or AGS

Fine Silver = FS

(Note, fine silver is .999 percent pure silver with no metal alloy, like copper or Argentium, added for hardness. Fine Silver is very soft like lead, it's pure.)


The industry standard for identifying gold content in gold fill wire will usually read this way:


14/20GF = 14 karat 20 percent gold fill


18/20GF = 18 karat 20 percent gold fill


Which means 20 percent of the metal alloy is either 14 Karat or 18 Karat Gold.  The Karat Weight is always listed first followed by a slash and then the percentage of the Karat Weight of gold used in the metal alloy.  In other words, wire manufacturers will make a metal alloy using any number of known metals and then add either 14 karat gold, 18 karat gold, and so forth, to the melted metal alloy.  While not scientifically accurate of gold content, it is an accepted standard.


Sometimes you'll see the gold color designated in the code:


Yellow Gold Fill =YGF

White Gold Fill = WGF

Rose Gold Fill = RGF


Here's an example:  14k/20YGF or 18k/20WGF or 14k/20RGF.


Gage and Temper designations for Gold Fill Wire is listed separately from Karat Weight.  The wire Gage and Temper will usually appear somewhere along side the gold content stamp or designation and there is not a format or standard for the way the wire gage and temper are listed.  It may be noted as: HH18g/14/20GF or 18/20GF24gDS.


However, the industry accepted standard format for gold fill wire is 14/20GF.  Any letters and/or numbers associated with it will usually be the temper, gage, and perhaps color.  So as long as you know the acronyms you should be able to identify the metal, its temper, gage, and color.


Often when ordering wire you'll see it designated like this: ds18gss or ss18ds.  Which means Dead-Soft 18 Gage Sterling Silver or Sterling Silver 18 gage Dead-Soft, respectively.  There is no standardized code format so you may see these identifiers in any order.


Soft and Half-Hard are used more often because typically Dead-Soft and Hard have specialized uses and are not needed as frequently as the other two.  Dead-Soft wire dents and/or scratches very easily and does not hold its shape well when used for wide looping or elaborate designs, so I stay away from it for this reason.


Although you can stiffen Dead-Soft wire by pulling it through the nylon coated jaws of flat pliers or even your fingers several times.  The heat caused by friction actually stiffens the wire.  There are other methods of hardening wire including heat treatment in your own oven at home.  But for me doing so adds steps or a process that is quickly and easily skipped by using Half-Hard wire.


Depending on design, Half-Hard wire, especially  in thicker gages, is very difficult to use.  And definitely easier than Hard temper which is extremely stiff.  Hard temper is like a coat-hanger, knuckle busting, face whipping tough.  Only the brave, highly skilled artist, should attempt working with hard wire.  Hard temper in thinner gages from 24 gage on down works well for some designs and is a bit easier to manage since it's so thin.  However, it is not recommended for the novice in any gage.  No joke, this is seriously tough stuff.  You'd do just as well with spring steel.  But if you have a robotic grip, industrial tools, and you're feeling brave, then "never mind!"  Just be sure to wear eye protection.


Note: Hard, and even HH, wire is brittle and cannot tolerate repeated bending in the same spot.  In fact, I've had Hard wire break apart after trying to straighten a single bend - ungood.  Hard and HH wire can also become nicked, scratched, or gouged since strong pressure is required to form it.  Damage occurs when the tool slips or "snaps!" off of the wire when too much pressure is applied with tools.  And with hard wire that's also easy to do. 


While challenging at times, I still prefer HH wire because I want my work to last a long time.  Yes, it's a bit more difficult to use, but once it's bent, it's done!  Sure I make jewelry for the enjoyment of the craft, but I also make it with the wearer in mind; hence HH wire is durable.


I mean what's the reason for making jewelry if it falls apart, breaks, or is easily damaged after a short time?  I am not out to make a quick buck at my client's expense.  My work may cost a bit more, but then you get what you pay for.  Even though I may never see a client again after a show, my name and reputation go with them.  I want my clients to be happy with their jewelry and enjoy wearing it for many years after they walk away from my booth.  And that is certainly possible when HH wire is used; it will usually not get damaged through normal wear.  "Durable" is a great way to characterize it.  Pieces made with HH wire should last for generations and even become heirlooms.  And that's a nice thought.


I'll use Hard wire too.  But only for making hooks and loop closures and sometimes jump rings.  Closures like hook & loop, lobster clasp, and jump ring transition points, receive the most stress on a piece so they need to be extremely durable if you want the piece to last.  Hard wire is best suited for these tasks.


Important Note: Make no mistake, Half-Hard wire is difficult to use and can seem uncooperative, especially in thicker gages.  That's why I feel it's incredibly important for new wire wrap artists to seriously consider user friendly SOFT wire for first attempts.  Frustration, even failure, is quite possible if you use Half-Hard wire to start with.  You can also use Dead-Soft, but like lead, it can bend under it's own weight.  Designs made entirely with Dead-Soft is discouraged as they can easily pull apart or become mashed or deformed through normal wear.  The bail (wide loop) made for hanging your pendant on a chain or other necklace material can elongate and even wear right through and break.  Personally I never use Dead-Soft wire for anything but weave or collage work.  In other words, DS wire is used for special effects, embellishments, or windings, nothing structural.


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Almost all of my work is made with 18 to 24 gage Half-Hard Sterling Silver and/or Argentium Silver "Round Wire."  Round also happens to be the easiest to obtain and is sometimes less expensive than other profiles.


My ultimate goal, or personal preference, is to create a unified piece not dominated by just the wire or wash of color infused by stones and other elements.  I simply prefer creating soft, smooth flowing, designs with artistic confluence, or balance, between wire and stone.  Part of my goal is to invoke feelings or set a mood, like an abstract painting or figurative art, only without shocking contrast or sharp lines.  I want my work to be subtle, not poke you in the brain with meaningless eye candy.


Considering I use a lot of natural crystals in my work it's sometimes hard to achieve the subtleties I appreciate and want to create.  So contrast for me requires that I soften their rigid form with illusion through gently bending light and molding form with round wire.  Round wire seems to be the only medium that allows me to capture my visions and design goals.


On the down side, round wire makes it more difficult to achieve the strength and durability I demand in my work; a quality that is lacking in most wire wrap jewelry on the market these days.  I deeply desire to create jewelry that will last lifetimes.  And in order to do that I really have to focus on melding the artistic with design strength while integrating stones, beads, and other objects.  That means I devote special attention to maintain the overall integrity of the piece.  I consider every aspect of the design from concept to finished product.  You'd be surprised how much thought and preparation goes into the simplest designs I make using only two elements; silver wire and a quartz crystal.


In a quantum leap from my own work (my opinion), many wire artists use square or triangular wire.  While it has its benefits for particular designs, I feel that the sharp lines and additional light dispersion properties of angular wire are a distraction to put it simply.  For me using angled wire would make it all to easy to screw up a good design; like painting a brilliant diamond necklace on the Mona Liza.  Such a thing would literally destroy an otherwise stunning achievement.  There comes a time when one more brush stroke or dash of color will ruin a great work.  Angular wire is more like a temptation to keep painting when I know I should stop.  So I don't use square or triangular wire.  This is personal preference here you understand?


However, square or angular wire seems to hug the surface of stones better than round wire and is the perfect product for certain designs.  But to keep a flat side straight against the girdle of a faceted gem stone, or coin for instance, requires extra special attention while working with it.  And for me it's just way too difficult.  If square or triangular wire is twisted to create a spiral length, then working it is about the same as round wire, but the edges of angular wire can become mashed or flattened without much effort.  Again, another reason why I stay away from it.  And two, because...


I can be impatient at times and have the need to see results rather quickly, so for me, a well thought-out and crafted round-wire design is not only essential to maintain my design goals, but also to produce quality work in a shorter time.


The main thing to consider is to "follow your bliss," or work with material that gives "you" the most pleasure.  If you're attracted to square or angular wire, then by-all-means use it.  Who knows, you just might be the Andy Warhol of wire artists?  Stunning, incredibly beautiful, jewelry can be created with angular wire.  And since it requires a special hand and eye to make such pieces I really admire artists who can work with it.


For Earrings I use 22 and 24 gage HH Sterling Silver or Argentium wire.  Although I sometimes use thinner 26 gage to incorporate small beads and other materials as part of a larger overall design project.  (26 gage is comparable to sewing thread.)


The Pendants I make span the gamut and depend on the size and shape of stone or other material that I am wrapping.  However, almost all of the Pendants I create these days are made with 18 and 20 gage sterling silver, Argentium silver, or *14/20 gold fill wire.  But I have used heavier 12, 14, and 16, gage wire when my design objective does not include beads or stones as a focal point.


And depending on the piece, 18 gage works very well for bails, hook & loop closures, split or jump rings, and figure-eight links.


If you can maintain a sharp picture of your design clearly in mind, or draw out a rough sketch on a piece of paper, plan your steps in advance, and start out slow and deliberate, then you will achieve wonderful results.  Don't be discouraged with failed attempts though, that's how you learn.  To get better faster you must persevere and pay close attention to what you are doing.


If you find this information useful or helpful please consider a donation through PayPal.  It's fast, free, and secure.

Your Donation will be greatly appreciated.  It will also help me get published.  Enter any amount you wish: Thank You!


This reminds me of something that bares mention.  So I am going to take you on a philosophical tangent.  Please indulge me if you can.  If not, skip past the next divider line and pick up where I left off above.


I suppose this subject is more important to me than anyone else.  But I have posted it here because there may be some reading this that, even though they have just started, already take their work seriously like I do.  For this reason I feel it's important for those of you interested in this art form as more than just a fun hobby to understand a distinction between what we do and what is considered in modern terms as Arts & Crafts.


Wire wrap jewelry falls into two primary categories in my view.  1.) Craft Jewelry, and 2.) Artisan Wire Jewelry.  One is considered Arts & Crafts.  The other is skillfully crafted wire art.


If you are serious about making wire art jewelry it is critical to pay attention to what you are doing in the processes of bending and shaping wire.  If you want to improve your skills you have to avoid thoughtless repetition.  Do not make a wire loop without noticing just how you did it.  Yes, going through the same motions will produce similar results.  But the "art and craft" of it depend on...


Consistency.  Consistency is a key to creating beautiful, well made, quality products.  It defines your work.  And to a lesser degree, you.


Michael Angelo had precise control with his mallet and chisel.  Repetitive blows against a marble block provided understanding of the materials' properties and enabled him to make tiny adjustments in force, pressure, and angles to create a beautiful sculpture instead of an ill defined lump of rock with piles of gravel at his feet.  He provides us with the perfect example of one who had a burning desire to imitate life through his art.  He cared a great deal about his work which forced his attention to detail.  If he hadn't been so focused he would be known today as a man that wailed against great stones as a maker of expensive sand.


It is precisely why automakers evolved the use of computer controlled robots to make their vehicles.  It's about Control.  Without control you cannot achieve a consistent level of workmanship and a product of beauty and lasting quality.


Make a bend in preparation for creating a loop, but notice where on your tool you placed the wire before you make that bend.  Try to use the same spot on the tool and the same motion and pressure to create the same type of bend over and over again to achieve consistency of form.


People are naturally drawn to balance and symmetry.  And the only way to achieve it is through close observation of methodology so that it can be repeated with calculated consistency.


To make wire wrap jewelry does indeed require repetition.  But the distinction is calculated repetition over mindless repetition.  It is all to easy to become complacent when performing the same tedious motions over and over again.  Especially if you are making a beaded link chain necklace, like a Rosary; which requires a seemingly endless series of loops and repetitive motion.  Mindless repetition after just a short time cultivates undesirable habits.  It then becomes even easier to slop pieces together or make a bird nest jumble of wires - a category of Arts & Crafts that is simply not me or you.  And I say "you" because if you were not interested in this aspect I doubt you'd have read this far into my little foray.


If you find this information useful or helpful please consider a donation through PayPal.  It's fast, free, and secure.

Your Donation will be greatly appreciated.  It will also help me get published.  Enter any amount you wish: Thank You!


The phrase "Arts & Crafts" has lost it's true meaning.  Certainly not on purpose.  The phrase was simply redefined over time.  It reflects how our American culture has changed.  And there is certainly nothing wrong with that, or Arts & Crafts.


But to categorize my work into this space does not correlate at all with the modern vernacular.  I do not consider the work I do Arts & Crafts.  To do so implies a host of activities people do as a fun hobby to keep one busy or help children develop their motor skills and a means to experience creativity, and all for plain ol' fun through the Arts & Crafts vehicle of social development.


It is a phrase less associated these days with the Arts and skilled Craft and more to do with childlike busywork.  Arts & Crafts is absolutely necessary for human development though.  I certainly can't imagine child development not including Arts & Crafts!  And it's incredibly fun for adults too!  It is after all a really fun activity.  Arts & Crafts in modern terms is then defined as something one does prior to, or in place of, apprenticeship, trade school, the fine arts class, or a personal endeavor to achieve a skilled discipline.


Separate the words: What does the word "Art or Arts" mean to you?  To me it means disciplined use of materials and intellectual skills expressed through form or figure, a manifestation of design and thought provoking creativity of substance, of cultural awareness.  There is something of the higher-self that is poured into an object that becomes greater than the artist and the medium of expression; it becomes, and is, Art.  Sculptors and painters, and even poets, are considered craftsmen, or crafts-person, in "The Arts."


Now think about the word, Craft or Crafts.  What's its meaning in this context?  Again, from my perspective it is a skill of practical arts, skilled work or practice, a trade learned through applied, diligent, practice or apprenticeship.  The Blacksmith or ancient Shipwright are considered "crafts" men.  They ply hard earned skills and personal technique into useful forms.


When thought of in this way, the modern definition of the phrase, "Arts & Crafts," has meaning more closely aligned with the old world definition.  A "work," or applied skill, to create Art (a thought provoking form or expression).


When one looks at a sculpture it is seen as art.  When looking at "art" one naturally heightens their own senses becoming attuned to details, of flowing symmetry, a noticeable mark or line is seen as intelligently placed to bring out contrast, color combinations for dramatic effect, space created in negative enhances the positive.  Form creates feeling that touches our emotions.  It is admired in detail and as a whole.  It is the product of the Craftsman and the Artist.  Art is admired and appreciated, then emotion of form builds creating a link to the artist as something greater than the parts.


If you find this information useful or helpful please consider a donation through PayPal.  It's fast, free, and secure.

Your Donation will be greatly appreciated.  It will also help me get published.  Enter any amount you wish: Thank You!


Wire wrapping can take some time to learn.  Careful observation while working with different types of wire is crucial to becoming familiar with its physical characteristics.  Practice exposes strengths and limitations in both the artist and the material.  Familiarity builds knowledge, establishes confidence, and hones skills needed to work with each kind of wire; to understand the properties of the material and how to work with it as a medium of creative expression is what the masters do.  Without even a basic understanding of how the chosen medium behaves while being manipulated through applied methodology one cannot hope to create anything of consequence.


Also, learning how to estimate the amount of wire you will need for each piece can be a challenge; but there's a tip farther down that will give you an edge that few people have, or even understand.  A skill that should put you miles ahead of the overwhelming majority and one step closer to mastery of the Art.


Becoming proficient with this art form is no accident.  Since I am self taught, many hours have been invested into experimenting with wire and learning its character.  I have also trashed some incredibly expensive material during real production runs as well.  That is because I pushed myself too hard and attempted designs that were beyond my skill level at the time.  However, there are times when you simply have to take a leap of faith in yourself and attempt things out of your comfort zone.  Pushing on established limits is one good way to evolve your work.


Please note; no matter how advanced you become, mistakes "will" happen.  Mistakes are inevitable and often unavoidable.  But you can reduce mistakes, minimize waste, learn new methods and techniques, improve designs, work quality, productivity, discover hidden talents, develop creativity, and evolve, consider...


...practicing with copper wire!  It will most certainly save you from costly errors in the beginning stages of your learning process, and even later as your designs become more complicated.  I am not referring to the multi-strand copper wire used for lamp cords, but electrical wire like the type used for light load household wiring applications such as a new light fixture for your garage or out-door speaker installation.  These wires can be purchased at major hardware or building supply stores.  Electrical wire such as single conductor AWG 14 is a good place to start.


Then later AWG 18 to 24 gage **ROMEX works well and is a common brand of 3-conductor (3-wire) solid copper wire.  The profile is a flat oval due to the 3 round wires inside the outer white or black plastic sheath.  Typically, in a three conductor configuration, two of the inner wires will be insulated with either black, white, yellow, and / or green plastic and one will be bare or not insulted at all.  Using the non insulated bare ground wire will save you time.


All that's needed it to strip away the outer insulation enough to get a firm grip on the bare wire, which will act as a zipper of sorts, and cut the outer insulation as you pull on it.  Zip out several feet and coil it up for use.  Romex wire can be difficult to use, it's stiff and not at all easy to work.  However, if you can get comfortable using it, then working with silver will become a breeze.  There are several reasons why it is worth the effort.


I use copper wire for some jewelry.  But mainly when I want to work out a new design I'll make a mock-up or prototype with copper wire first.  That way I can work through design challenges and reduce possible mistakes before taking to the silver or gold.  I use single conductor 14, 16, 18, and 20 gage speaker wire to experience how a design will come together.  You become acutely aware of assembly processes and creative details as you work through it in practice.


What you envision can be totally different than what actually comes of it.  So making a prototype can be very helpful to eye-ball the actual look and feel of a design.  It's also much less disappointing when that seemingly fantastic idea turns out to be an Object De' Junk better suited for the scrap pile.  I can't tell you how many times a concept ends up being a really bad design.  Conversely, while the prototype may be horrible, the design may in fact be a good one.  Only now there is understanding of the failure and what is needed to get it right.


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Another reason to practice is to get a firm grasp of material usage, waste, and cost, which ultimately leads to maximizing profit.  Being conscious of these things puts you in control and is of great benefit in many ways.  One of the first things I noticed as a new wire wrap artist is how fast the wire disappeared.  It's nothing for me to burn 6ft. of wire on a single piece of jewelry, sometimes more!


Few people truly understand how to account for their time and inventory, or know what drives cost and how to control it.  It's critical for me keep a handle on these things because I cannot afford to waste any of it; waste is money down the drain.


Using copper or silver craft wire for practice and to make prototypes has great value beyond simply learning the ins and outs of wire wrapping.  If you can control waste and wasteful practices you will save money, make more pieces with less material, and maximize profit.  For this reason I developed a simple trick for calculating usage.


Pulling out more wire than needed is easy to do.  Especially copper or craft wire because it's cheaper than silver, or free in some cases, so waste is of little consequence.  Right?  Perhaps so, but you also unconsciously cultivate very bad and costly habits.  Not to mention time to process the waste, which is actually valuable scrap metal, in order to redeem it for usable material later on down the road.  The less you end up having to send to the foundry means you've done well at managing your scrap metal waste.  Chances are you will have paid more for usable silver than what you get back when selling your scrap; this is called shrinkage, or actually money lost.  Understand?


When making a mock-up I measure the practice wire I will use before I start.  I save all the trimmed or cut pieces to one side.  Then when I am finished with the piece I line up all the left over segments and measure them.  Then subtract that amount from the original measurement.  This provides a total amount of wire that was used to make the prototype.  So even if I unrolled 24 inches of copper, have 8 inches of wire trimmings, I know it took 16 inches to create the mock-up.  Now I know how much silver wire likely to be required for a particular actual production piece.  But I always add a little bit to that figure because there are always slight differences from item to item.  The process, while not exact, achieves three "primary" goals, 1.) minimizes waste, 2.) increases the number of pieces that can be made using less material, thereby 3.) increasing overall profit.  Oh, and 1a.) less time, effort, and money, processing scrap metal.  Capiché?



Pricing Your Work.  A detour in Philosophy.  Skip down to the next divider line if you wish, or not...


I have not yet found one single set of instructions, guide, how to book, DVD or Video, tutorial, eBook, reference, lesson, instructor, teacher, or online resource, that adequately addresses the waste management issue, not one!


In fairness I've not seen all references or read all material.  But of those I have read, or been exposed to, none of them talk about waste management and the associated consequences of poor inventory control.  I think of these things as a matter of business training, but also because I'm absolutely anal about wasting things, especially money.


Pricing is a subject with a straight A to B line to waste management: Did you know that Waste has direct impact on Pricing?


Few talk about pricing and/or "How to price your jewelry" outside the perspective of comparing your work with others.  Those that do, charge for the information.


I've even found an entire eBook devoted to this subject titled, Real World Pricing, for $14.95.  I have not read it, but I have some idea of its content.  Pricing your work can be difficult and poses a huge dilemma for the majority of wire artists.  There are secrets to successfully pricing your work just like there are in making it, or anything else for that matter.  I sincerely hope the author of Real World Pricing eBook was diligent to relay facts through true understanding of this aspect of the trade.  If so, she is well within her rights to charge for it.  The information has value.


It should involve real business sense, not some basic concept or common practice that everyone is freely talking about.


Pricing has a profound effect on the wire wrap industry as a whole.  It trickles all the way down to, yep you guessed it, you!  And me!  Yet few talk about it beyond common sense generalizations or the affects on wire artists.  Pricing through ignorance or strategic industrial manipulation has resulted in creating in people a harshly unfair perspective that is completely unbalanced and perpetuates ignorance that is actually damaging to those of us who produce quality, handmade, work.  It compromises recognition of quality and dilutes the real value of great wire art.  Those with warehouses full of unfairly compensated workers whose sole purpose is to produce quantity for quick volume profit creates an unfair advantage and pulls everyone down to an undeserved level.


The most common recommendation "out there" is to compare your work with the competition, other wire artists.  While this does have value, it should not be the "rule of thumb" for pricing your work.  Ever!  There is more to it than that of course.  Anyone following comparison pricing without knowledgeable observation has engaged in a flawed process.  But you gotta do something I suppose?  It certainly seems to be the easiest thing for most folks to do?


But until you become involved in actually making wire jewelry and gaining knowledge through experience you really don't know what to look for.  So I encourage you to go and look at other wire wrap work, the artists, and their prices.  Make the comparisons best you can, learn about all the stuff out there.  This is a must do activity if you want to get a feel for the work and the industry.  However, a feel for it is much different than knowing what drives prices.


There are a great many things to consider that go well beyond opinion.  That is why there are books on the subject.


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Not only is there actual cost value in time and materials, there is intrinsic value, design quality value,  perceived value, human behavior and emotional attachment value.  Any consideration beyond actual costs, from obtaining materials to the finished product, should only be considered if you are an expert marketer, advertising agent, brand development professional, etc., because doing so moves your work into the realm of high stakes speculation.


I say high stakes for a different reason than you might think.  This reference has more to do with personal evaluation and other closely related aspects than the "big money" game.  For a single proprietor wire wrap jewelry making enterprise the smallest mistakes can have a very negative impact.  So...


Do yourself a favor, be very careful NOT to look at the work of others and try to access the value of your own work based solely on what you observe or think you know.  If you notice a piece similar to yours don't immediately assume it's over or under priced and begin to think you can price it accordingly.  Take your time and really scrutinize the work.  There will almost always be differences, some subtle and some invisible, that may or may not have merit.  Because...


Evaluating your work has hidden aspects that cannot be seen on the surface through uninformed or ignorant observation.  Without specific knowledge you can easily make an invalid assessment.  Or worse, I have seen people make casual observations and then fall into a mental trap that leads them down a single path to accessing the person instead of the product.  Not only is this incredibly limiting and personally harmful, but it's completely the wrong perspective when assessing the value of your jewelry.  Generalizations may be the path of least resistance.  But it is a subjective data set that can lead to confusion and crush the life out of any enthusiasm you may have for your endeavor.


While there is almost always a measure of who you are that comes out in your work, you "must" separate the object from the person in order to adequately and fairly price it.  Emotional attachment to your work is natural human behavior and there is not a thing wrong with it.  Where the mistake is made is when people price their jewelry as if it is an extension of the self.  And the self will always have a naturally higher value than the object the self created.  That is the last thing you need.  If your work really "is" that good, then you should consider hiring a marketing professional.


Most of us, without really thinking about it, depend on our own unskilled assessment, which is one reason there is such a wild diversity of prices on similar works.  Some people are so self aggrandized and arrogant that they price their work off the chart expensive - reflective of an overestimated sense of self-importance.  On the other end of that scale are folks who think less highly of themselves so they price their jewelry accordingly - way too low.


Are you beginning to see part of the picture?


My imagination conjures up designs that I see in my minds-eye.  But my jewelry rarely turns out the way I envisioned it.  While a piece may be beautiful, it's almost never the same as the idea rolling around in my head.  In fact, it is usually only a shadow of what I imagined.  This is the impetus that challenges me to improve.  For some it can be discouraging to say the least.


You can be inspired by the work of others, but you can just as easily second guess yourself, your work, and be overly critical.  This is what happened to me and is something that is indeed easy to do.  I think as human beings we are naturally hard on ourselves.  Feelings of inadequacy can creep in because no matter what you think of your work you will eventually encounter someone whose work is better than yours; in your assessment.  Here's the chink in the armor, often the assessment of superior work is merely in our own mind and may not be the case at all.  This can push you to do better or it can kill your enthusiasm, squelch your desire, and create a poor self image that may in fact not be true or accurate.


You are valuable as a human being.  You are important and make a difference in the world and in the lives of other people, realized or not - period!


People have different skills and abilities, talents, and creative horsepower, hence the wonderful diversity of wire art.  There is a market for your work, regardless of what you "think" about it or how you "feel" about yourself.  It is as simple as that.


The issue is untangling the value of your work from the value of the person.  You are not the thing you make.  Sometimes it's hard to separate the art from the artist - hence, so many a Prima Donna and over priced wire art, and equally underestimated sense of self-worth can lead to under priced jewelry.


Pricing your work is not complicated.  But requires a deeper evaluative process or understanding that involves more than simple product comparisons.  A balanced perspective is essential to accurately and fairly price your work.  Tipping the balance just a little one way or the other is not fair to you or other wire artists.  I consider it my duty to do diligence because I personally do not want to inadvertently cause another wire artist any negative effects if at all possible.


I may address this subject in more detail in another publication, but I have already provided basic elements to consider if you've read this entire article.  I cannot put a price your work, only you can do that.  But as a former professional appraiser I have the knowledge and ability to evaluate works and determine an estimated value based on valid criteria and the current market, this figure may be different from what I feel it's worth to me.


However, that assessment does not involve what I can afford to pay.  While I may know what an item is worth to me, I still might not be able to afford it.


That's why...


I never demean another artist or their work by disguising my ability to pay with an arrogant declaration that the work is "over priced" just to make myself feel better about not making a purchase or to save face as I walk away from their booth or sales outlet.  That would be a cruel and inhumane act.  Such attitudes are prevalent though, I've seen it real time and I've experienced it first hand at trade shows.  And I can tell you it hurts no matter how strong willed you are.


People often recoil when they learn the price of some of my pieces.  This happens for two basic reasons, 1.) they simply can't afford it, and / or 2.) they don't understand what they are looking at; pure ignorance.


Sure, I'm proud of my work.  But pride is influenced by what I know is available on the market compared fairly with what I produce, and not by an aggrandized sense of self or over estimate of my importance.  I understand wire jewelry and what goes into making it.  I know when I see quality.  And I am proud because I do not consider my work as Arts & Crafts as defined in modern terms.


I try to educate my clients on the finer points of quality.  That is not so hard to do here on the web site if people would only take the time to read.  But is quite difficult in a trade show setting, there is no time.  People are in a hurry to see everything so they breeze by and usually only stop if they see a price they can afford, something catches their eye, a piece is truly worth admiring, or perceived value is greater than the price.


In a trade show venue it is important to offer clients a wide range of price points.  Booth decor is also critical; another subject that influences sales, it's called marketing.


While you are encouraged to make comparisons to help you evaluate your work and get an idea on pricing, it is a much broader and deeper subject worthy of your time and effort to study in detail.  An accurate assessment leads to fair and respectable pricing, sustained success, and keep you in the black.  A fair assessment will help you and other wire artists carve out their own space in the trade, earn a respectable and honorable living, and improve the industry as a whole.


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Almost done...


*Romex is a brand name and copyright is held by the Romex company.  This is not an endorsement, merely a guide.

**Romex is also mentioned because it's usually less expensive than single conductor solid copper wire that is used for special applications.  And, you can often find rather long pieces at new construction sites for free!  Just be sure you have permission from the property owner, project foreman, or the general contractor, before removing anything from a construction site.  Never, go roaming around a construction site on your own or without permission.  Aside from such activity being illegal, not so with permission, construction sites are often dangerous places to be and you could get seriously injured.


*Gold Fill (14/20/GF) wire is made with specific percentages of silver, nickel, copper, and gold, and should not be confused with Vermeil; explained in a minute.  The numbers 14/20 denotes that 20%, or 1/5th, of the wire is 14 karat gold - previously explained.  You can also obtain 18/20 and even 20/20 GF wire, but the price goes up exponentially.  The metals for Gold Fill wire are melted together and poured into ingots and then pulled or drawn through a series of successively smaller holes in steel blocks, called a drawing block, while the metal is still soft.  The drawing or pulling process is the same used to create all wire and begins with the largest diameter hole and progresses through smaller and smaller holes until the desired gage or wire thickness is attained for a given length of wire.  The high friction also keeps the metal hot and malleable throughout the process.


*Vermeil is simply gold plated silver.  The technique of making thin sheets of gold and rolling it over silver is no longer used.  This dated "rolled-gold" process requires high heat to bond the metals together.  Aside from the time consuming expense, rolled plating creates enormous waste.  Today, Vermeil is made by either running wire through, or submerging a silver piece in, a mild acid bath infused with gold.  A very low voltage electrical probe is inserted into the liquid gold-acid solution creating a negative charge, while the silver is positively charged, or visa-versa.  Gold molecules are attracted to the silver which creates a molecular bond between the metals that is far superior to any rolled plating process previously used.  It only takes a few seconds of exposure to achieve beautiful results.  Longer exposure in the bath creates thicker plating.


Sterling Silver and Copper become tarnished over time since air causes oxidation; to keep its luster longer store it in zipper style plastic bags, just press out as much air as possible.  This is a nice way to keep your wire shiny for a longer period.


For long term storage, say over a year or more, use a vacuum sealer like a Seal-a-Meal or Food Saver system to store your wire, jewelry, silver coins, and even sterling flatware!  You can place your items in vacuum bags or reusable vacuum storage containers!  I use both bags and containers.  My preference is a thin vacuum container designed for sandwiches or small lunch items.  They're the perfect size for necklaces and other items and their small, stackable, and easy to store.




and always,

Happy Wrapping!

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DOWNLOAD FREE WIRE WRAP INSTRUCTIONS:  How to "capture" or "coil" wrap a crystal point.  There's also an image of some basic tools you'll need. The file is in PDF format.  Pass it around, share this file with your friends, it's FREE!


·..·:*¨¨*:·..·:*¨¨*:·.Click the image to get your free wire wrap instructions..·:*¨¨*:·..·:*¨¨*:·..·*

Leather?  People have asked me how to create a Hook & Loop closure for leather.  Here's a photo (click for larger view) of a closure for a necklace made with 3mm round leather cord; a design I use most often because it's durable, attractive, and easy to use.  Instruction on how to create this closure coming soon.  Until then you should know...


Several basic design elements, when incorporated into each piece, will set your jewelry apart from the rest.  This hook & loop closure is a great example:

  Designs should be durable without sacrificing style and/or beauty.

  Durability requires intelligent well crafted work and high quality materials - good stuff in, good stuff out.

  Pieces must be comfortable to wear; no pinching, binding, or sharp edges.

  Ease of use.  An example is the closure featured here; it has to be easy to hook and unhook.

  Transition elements, like closures, links, jump rings, spacers, etc., should be attractive or add to the overall design.

For wire wrap jewelry to be functional you must learn how to make a basic wire wrap loop.  Here's how...


This simple design technique can be used to create a bail for pendants, link beads and stones together for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.



Click for larger pic.  This photo is clear and easy to see the loops.













Healing Stones and their Metaphysical Properties


Over time I collected a list of common stones and gems with a brief description of the metaphysical and healing properties of each stone in the list.  I decided to offer this list as a free PDF download.  I hope you enjoy the knowledge and making jewelry as much as I do.


Click the icon below to download your free list.


If you'd like to contribute to this list, by all means please do so.  If there are errors or you wish to make comments, your feedback is welcome.  Any contribution will be appreciated and will serve to help others understand the very real unseen forces of our natural universe.

Meditation With Stones:

Look at the stone of your choice and notice its color and variations, read the description from the PDF above and pay special attention to the metaphysical and healing properties of that stone.  Then hold the stone or stones in one or both hands - gently hold the stone comfortably.  Sit in a relaxed comfortable position in a quiet place where you will not be distracted or disturbed for at least 15 to 20 minutes, and then close your eyes.  A great time for this practice is right after you shower in the morning before 10 AM - earth energy at this time of day is gentle and nurturing.  Concentrate on the stone and its benefits and focus your thoughts on absorbing the energy and colors of the stone as you take deep breaths in.  Then with pure intent visualize yourself achieving the outcome intended by the stone.  For example, Amethyst has many benefits, one is contentment.  But its color is also associated with the peaceful healing violet flame of St. Germaine.  As you sit with an Amethyst stone in your hand, visualize yourself completely content with your life and your body in a totally healthy state.  If your mind wanders, and it will (it gets easier with practice), bring yourself back to the visualization of health and contentment.  Do not think about anything else, just be healthy and content regardless of what is going on in your life.  Put your troubles or personal issues away for these few minutes and just be.  There is no need to visualize yourself working out at the gym or think about how you will become healthy and content.  Just imagine yourself in the state you want and believe it is already done for you.  Bring your mind to a state where you can feel healthy and content and know it is so.  Ask Spirit to give you what you need by affirming the following prayer, "Dear Spirit, give me what I need and I will sit and be loved."  Then clear your mind and sit there peacefully and allow yourself to be loved by Spirit for the next few minutes and then stand back!  God and Spirit Loves you unconditionally, your higher-self and your spirit guides will understand your intent and are eager to take action upon your asking - all they need is your permission to help you, and they will!  Practice this affirmation and meditation for a few minutes each day and then let it go - even 10 minutes per day will serve you well.  You are dearly loved, it is so whether you believe it or not...


Peace and Blessings,

Raymond Ihrig

Care and Cleaning of Your Turquoise Jewelry

On the Mohs hardness scale of 1 to 10 (1-talc or chalk, 10-diamonds), gem grade turquoise measures between 5 and 6, and is quite porous.  Even though turquoise is fairly hard, it can scratch easily, especially if you store or wear your turquoise jewelry with other gemstones - to avoid pitting and scratches just don't rub or bump them together with other jewelry.  Pits are caused by bumping against other gemstones.  You can place your turquoise jewelry in a silk, natural leather, or felt pouch, before storing in your jewelry box.  Some people wrap turquoise necklaces in a silk scarf, or soft cloth, before hanging.  This is a perfect way to keep your turquoise.  Just be sure the cloth is white to avoid color dyes from staining or leaching into the turquoise.


Additional Precautions: Turquoise can be damaged by household chemicals, cleaners, oils, perfumes, and even toothpaste - avoid these at all costs.  If you use perfume, just apply it and allow to dry for a few seconds before putting on your turquoise jewelry.  Do not apply hand moisturizers or oils to your skin and then handle or wear turquoise as these can soak right in to your turquoise jewelry causing damage and/or unnatural discoloration.  Also keep turquoise away from high heat.  If you use a local jeweler to clean your jewelry, be sure to ask how they will clean it.  Make sure they will not use high pressure steam or an Ultrasonic cleaner.  Many commercial vibrating baths also use heated cleaning solution, avoid these too.


Standard commercial cleaning methods should be avoided because turquoise really is delicate and porous and can easily be damaged by chemicals, steam, and the super high vibration of ultrasonic machines.  Turquoise often has tiny natural cracks or fissures, some visible as darker, even black, natural veins, and some invisible to the naked eye.  These natural cracks or fissures are called inclusions.  There is no way to tell how deep the inclusions are, some run just below the surface, while others may actually run completely through the stone from one side to the other.  Hot steam can penetrate the pores and natural inclusions, heat the stone up, and cause it to expand and crack or break apart.  Commercial ultrasonic vibrating baths can have the same effect, especially those using hot liquid cleansers or chemicals that can penetrate inclusions and soak into the stone.  The heat and vibrating action can loosen small, formerly stable, particles within the fissures and the stone will break or permanently weaken the stability of your turquoise.  Even high quality turquoise with uniform color and no visible inclusions can become damaged through commercial cleaning processes.


Bottom Line: DO NOT use commercial jewelry cleaning methods to clean your turquoise jewelry.  These products are great for most jewelry, just not turquoise.  Your local jeweler should know and understand these concerns and should be happy to explain their cleaning process to you.  If they don't, or cannot explain in precise detail, politely walk away.


Cleaning Your Turquoise: Here's a safe and simple way to clean your own turquoise jewelry.  Take a small, clean, cotton cloth, or towel with a short nap, and soak it in warm water, then fold it several times, press out a little of the water but keep it soaked, and lay it on a flat surface; your kitchen counter is fine, but the cloth will leak water.  You might want to use a tray with a slight lip to avoid leaking water all over the place.  If you're cleaning a necklace, open the clasp and lay it lengthwise on the towel or cloth.  Now take a soft bristle toothbrush, run a little water over it and put a few drops of "clear" plain dish soap on the brush.  Either press one end of the necklace down with your fingers or hold about 1/3rd of the necklace in your hand.  Then rub or brush the necklace in the opposite direction, or away from you, using a scraping motion - kind of like peeling a potato.  Apply some pressure and make smooth strokes down the entire length of the piece, past the end.  You can add a few more drop of dish soap to the brush after a few strokes if you want to.  Suds will form the more you brush since the cloth is wet, this is a good thing, and lather it right up.  Roll, rotate, or turn, the piece over and do the same on the other side.  After several seconds or minutes of brushing, your choice, flip the piece around and hold the other end and do the same thing.  Rinse the necklace in warm running water and take a look.  Don't dangle the necklace over the sink lest you drop it down the drain - yikes!  Coil it up in your cupped open hand and run warm water over it until all the soap is washed off.  If you feel more cleaning is needed, have fun.  When you're finished, immediately lay the necklace on a clean dry cloth and pat it completely dry.  Leave your necklace out for several hours to be sure all the water has dried before storage.


Note: Since turquoise is porous it will change color the more it is worn and over time.  This is due to the natural oils in your skin and is often the reason well worn turquoise has a deep green color.  This is a natural process and is what makes turquoise a special and personal adornment.  So with some thoughtful and careful cleaning and handling you can avoid scratches, pitting, and other damage, and you will be able to enjoy your turquoise jewelry for a lifetime.


Enjoy Your Turquoise,

Raymond Ihrig


Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness:





Talcum Powder / Talc


Gypsum - Used to make sheet-rock and plaster of Paris.


Calcite - Limestone and the majority of sea shells have Calcite.


Fluorite - A beautiful translucent stone, some have multi-color banding. And is also used in toothpaste.


Apatite - has nothing to do with being hungry.


Orthoclase Feldspar


Quartz - Used in electronics and Piezo Electric devices.


Topaz / Aquamarine and Emerald are varieties of beryl which also has a hardness of 8.


Corundum / Sapphire and Ruby are varieties of Corundum and are twice as hard as topaz.


Diamond / Four times the hardness of Corundum.


Hardness of some other common items for comparison:




2.5 – 3

Gold, Silver


Solid Copper Penny

4 4.5


4 5



Average Knife Blade

6 7



Iron Pyrite


Hardened Steel Spring or File

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