The Top Two Ways to Clean Your Jewelry At Home

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Organization and cleaning are queen today at the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery.

Who doesn’t like a clean space or beautifully polished jewelry? Last week I spoke about jewelry collections… so how does one maintain this collection? In today’s blog post, I am going to show you my top two favorite ways to clean jewelry.

Speaking of cleaning, this afternoon Mollie and Jenny are organizing the front of 3WJ while a beautiful light fixture is being installed above a display case containing Joanna Gollberg’s work. Our “closet studio” in the back of the house is what I have been getting organized – by the way, did you know that 3WJ has a jeweler’s bench? Yep! Mollie has a passion for creating a warm environment for her customers and her artists. I think that any artist would be happy in the space for some time. We have been joking that if 3WJ were to offer an artist residency that it could be called the “Closet Residency.” Really, though, it is a great name for a residency.

Okay – on to the good stuff!

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Pictured above: polishing a lovely ring by David and Ronnie with a Sunshine Cloth.

One of our favorite ways to polish fine silver is polishing the jewelry with a Sunshine Cloth. Yes “Sunshine Cloth” is actually the brand name. These cloths are magical – they brighten a jewelry piece from the natural patina that occurs, as well as remove natural dirt and grime from almost any piece. If you do not have a Sunshine Cloth and have noticed your pieces starting to tarnish, I highly recommend finding one of your own online. Personally, I keep a Sunshine Cloth in my jewelry box at home and occasionally polish a piece if I feel that it needs a bit more of a shine.

The next solution to taking care of your tarnished pieces is Tarn-X. This clear liquid is the answer to all of the cast elements or tiny chains that need a good polishing. See the before and after image of sterling silver chain below –

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Before & after: polished silver on the right, unpolished silver on the left.

Tarn-X seems to be an intense name for such delicate pieces, but I find that this bottle of clear liquid cleans up the most detailed pieces better than a Sunshine Cloth. Although Tarn-X is not safe for set stones, it is a widely used solution amongst jewelers. Please be sure to protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves while using this solution and read the directions well before using this at home.

These are the top two methods I offer for cleaning your jewelry at home! I hope that you, too, will have beautifully polished, hand crafted jewelry ready to adorn.

Where to purchase these products:

Sunshine Cleaning Clothes and Tarn-x can both be easily purchased on Amazon.

Tarn-x can also be quickly picked up at most Walgreens or Walmart.

 

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Jewelry – A Personal Collection

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Hi again! Chelsea here. Jewelry making and collecting is a multifaceted world that most people have been a part of at some point in their life. Recently I realized that I have started a small jewelry collection of handcrafted pieces from other artists, which is quite an exciting realization for a metalsmith. I realized that I have been curating, or intentionally piecing together, a small collection of handcrafted jewelry. This had me thinking about what it is that makes us want to collect pieces from artists. Is it that sparkle that jewelry always seem to have? Is it a connection to the artist? These are things that I have been considering the reasons why we collect jewelry. I even went to my Facebook friends in my quest to answer this question. You are probably thinking, “well Chelsea, what a simple question to ask. Who doesn’t enjoy a small gift?” But this question intrigues me, so we are going to get into it!

In the lifecycle of jewelry collections, artists and jewelry suppliers both have important roles. Collectors eventually curate a growing collection of jewelry deserving of recognition and metalsmiths and jewelry suppliers are at the beginning of this. These jewelry items have stories – they may be a trade between artists, were gifts from a loved one, or a treat to one’s self. These handcrafted, artisan made pieces are collected for numerous reasons and are given a story by the individual wearing the piece. Jewelry galleries often have a special role in the life of jewelry as well. We are given a glimpse into the life story of the collector.

The Jewelry Supplier’s Unique Role

Within 10 minutes of being at 3WJ today, a man came in asking about engagement ring options for his fiancee. His nervous excitement about his purchase was evident as Mollie discussed the possibilities with our curious customer. How lucky are we, as a jewelry gallery, that we were a part of such an important part of this man’s continuing story with his future partner in crime. Jewelry can be such an intimate, personal experience. I was reading an article the other day by Marketing specialist, Jim Ackerman, that talked about how jewelry stores have a special place in the world because they are able to experience purchases that are often times emotional experiences for the buyers. How true is that! Yet again, another reason why I love working in jewelry and metalsmithing.

The Most Important Player

As you read before, the artist and jewelry suppliers have unique roles in the life cycle of jewelry. The most important role however, is that of the jewelry collectors. Jewelry collectors may be gallery owners or the average person who simply enjoys handcrafted jewelry pieces, but without the individuals who appreciate handcrafted pieces, there would be no jewelry business. I have been asking friends on Facebook why and how they collect jewelry and some interesting things came up! Many people seem to collect jewelry in order to remember an event or an experience, such as traveling due to the size and practical wearability. Others seem to collect specific pieces of jewelry – earrings, brooches, statement pieces or rings. In my Facebook survey I asked friends why they collect jewelry. A friend of mine, Frida Chametz, is an Artist and Architect based out of California. She has been collecting  jewelry for years and was taught by her mother how to invest in jewelry that has meaning. Frida responded to my question,

…Why specifically jewelry? Jewelry is – 1. Small, 2. Valuable, 3. Practical (because it is usable), 4. Something you would actually see and enjoy everyday – everyone loves beauty, huh?

I totally agree. I think that the practical aspect of jewelry is huge! I think that traditionally many people have often gifted jewelry to each other due to the precious materials included in it, but jewelry is quite practical as a gift because of it’s size. Because of jewelry’s wearability, it is a constant reminder of an experience or of another person. Handcrafted jewelry collector, Sarah Enwald said,

It’s an intuitive, personal response to a piece or pieces. Sometimes I find an artist I like and will go back to them. I like to find unique pieces that stand out, but also through the passage of time, become associated with me.

Finding an artist that you really like, and then going back to their work as a part of your collection is a key way to connect with makers as a collector. I think that a reason that many people collect jewelry is because it is a way to appreciate a slower way of living. “Handmade” is the way to go. One jewelry collector said that she purchases pieces that have to do with her interest in helping people, so she purchases jewelry through a Fair Trade company. A metalsmithing friend, Dew Humbert III, collects all kinds of art, but mostly collects brooches in support of other makers and to remember them. Humbert III said,

I find brooches to be extremely intriguing for their ability to be be more creative expressions of work compared to other jewelry forms. Anything can be a brooch and I’m interested in what a person does with all of that possibility.

Artists have a different perspective often times as to why they collect jewelry pieces, and this is an interesting perspective as to why a specific type of jewelry piece may be desirable over another to an artist. Dew is known for initiating trades amongst artist friends, which is another reason why many people collect jewelry.

My Thoughts on Collecting

In my collection, there are timeless pieces I have inherited, jewelry that I purchased on a whim that caught my eye, or in more recent years, more intentional purchases that I appreciate more. I often collect jewelry from artists that I have had a personal connection with or have found inspiring. Basha Harris is a local metalsmith who I went to school with and is someone who I find inspiring in how she not only works with art, but also works in the community. Harris has had a special influence on my early life as an artist, so without hesitation, I invested in pair of her sterling silver silver earrings. I have a pair of black, steel studs from artist Maia Leppo as well. Maia is an artist that I met briefly at the ZOOM Symposium in 2016 and I fell in love with the simple shapes and quirky, cool feel of the designs. My most recent jewelry investment was a pair of earrings from Laura Wood Studios. I was able to take a workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts with Woods and was quite taken with not only the artist, but also the artwork. These are some of the pieces that I invested in intentionally due to the quality, love for the jewelry pieces, and appreciation of the artists. I collect because of personal relationships built with an artist, the feeling I get when wearing the piece, and the desire to support artists who inspire me as a maker.

Jewelry is Universal

In conclusion, I think that jewelry is an experience that is universally felt by many people. It is something that is personal. I do not think that there is one reason why people collect jewelry, but many. I think that jewelry is something that people collect that really does enrich our lives. It is clear through my interviews that people have different reasons for collecting – some for remembering a memory, some for the craft that they see within the artwork, others because of the personal style statements, and more. As a metalsmith working in a jewelry store, I see how fortunate we are to be a part of these experiences for many people.

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Interacting with Jewelry

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Today I have been reflecting on the fact that when it comes to a good environment, I think that 3WJ is up there. After being invited to join 3WJ this Summer, I decided that this warm, yet sophisticated space is an environment I appreciate and had to be a part of. 3WJ does their utmost to serve our customers to the highest standard – today that has looked like designing custom bracelets for an up and coming wellness center.

Remember when I said I would introduce myself to you? Let’s get to it. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the East Side and am currently pursuing my BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing and a Certificate in Community Arts at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In the future, I plan to do production style jewelry work and teach workshops on jewelry and metalsmithing.

Why Metalsmithing?

When I was in High School, I took a Intro to Jewelry class with my art teacher, Deb Mortl. The class was my favorite class over my four year high school career, but I did not realize at the time that there was such a thing as a “Metalsmith.” I moved forward thinking that I would go to school for Art Therapy. I was working at The Cedarburg Coffee Roastery as a barista and I met an amazing Metalsmith named Karen Locher, who invited me to be an apprentice for a handful of months. It is crazy how small interactions with customers turn into something that can change your direction in life. Metalsmithing takes attention to detail and is a very personal medium to work with, as it relates to the body. I love this and I wanted to continue working in this manner. When I took an Intro to Metalsmithing class at UW-Milwaukee, I realized that “metalsmithing,” in fact was a career worth pursuing.

What the future looks like (for now!)

I think that in my future, life will look similar to many of the Metalsmiths that 3WJ carries. This is one of the reasons why I feel so lucky to be working at the 3WJ – I get to see the ins and outs of the gallery world and what galleries expect of metalsmiths. Interacting up close with a lot of the jewelry work has been a beautiful experience so far, and this is one thing that 3WJ sees is an important aspect of the wearer’s experience with jewelry, too. Seeing the impeccable craft and time that many of the artists put into their work and think is something that is not only valuable for myself as an artist, but also for jewelry admirers.

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Here is a face to put with the words you are reading : ) Credit: Caitlin Driver

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Earrings made this Summer.. more to come for the show! Model: Sophie Beck

 

Trunk show in August & Inspiration for it

Come to my Trunk Show in August! Mollie generously invited me to do a Trunk Sale in August as a part of my time here at 3WJ, so obviously I gladly accepted. I have already begun working on a line of earrings for the show and will continue to make, make, make. My work in the past has been inspired by objects I see in the manmade world (such as children’s furniture or the backs of trucks), or objects in the hidden, natural world (such as deep see creatures and fungi).  In addition to this, I have recently been quite taken with the interactive qualities of jewelry and the versatility of certain jewelry designs. The idea of play and interaction with jewelry caused my interest in making different types of chains that are able to be manipulated by the wearer. You can expect a playful show filled with interactive pieces and colors that remind you of Summertime.

I will keep you updated on how the show is coming along in future posts!

Until next time…

 

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Meet Your Intern at 3WJ

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“Come in and play dress up!”   – Owner, Mollie Kiesewetter


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Hello, my name is Chelsea and welcome to my very first blog post as the Summer intern!

So far this week as the new intern, I have found the best french fries in the Milwaukee Public Market, learned how to clean jewelry the proper way, and met other local business owners in the Third Ward District of Milwaukee, WI.

This Summer, I will be working on a blog that is dedicated to you. I will highlight the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery, the life of a metalsmith, and update you on our events (including my upcoming show!). There will also be posts demonstrating various metalsmithing techniques, artist interviews, and some fantastic styling tips for your jewelry collection.

You are invited to join me in these next few months as I learn about how the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery fits into life in Milwaukee. Later this week, I will be telling you more about myself and how I got connected to the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery. Keep your eyes peeled!

Just a few things to expect on this blog as we continue…

  • I will refer to the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery as “3WJ” quite often.
  • You may read the names “Mollie” and “Jenny” within my blog posts and should know that Mollie is the owner and curator of the 3rd Ward Jewelry Gallery and Jenny is her trusty go-to Manager who works on anything from display to marketing.
  Thanks for visiting and we will talk soon! 

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