The difference between Engraving, Hand Stamping, and Etching

Fundamentally, the difference between Engraving, Hand Stamping and Etching at Megan Goldner Designs is that Engraving is done with a machine, Hand Stamping is all by hand, and Etching is done chemically. But let’s explore each by delving in a little deeper to get a better understanding of which might be the right choice for you: Engraving Engraving is a very exact way of personalizing your items.  Classic and timeless, all engraving from us is done on a CNC machine. The finished pieces is placed in the machine, and a specialty tool then removes metal by scribing on the surface of the metal to deliver evenly spaced lettering and precise graphics with a uniform look and consistent depth.  Although precise, and perfectly formed, engraving is not always deep. Engraving takes a long time, and most of that time it spent on the graphics using specialized software and programming the machine.  Therefore, you will most often be charged for a ‘Set Up’ and ‘Engraving’ fee. Engraving is not deep enough in order for us to oxidize (or blacken) the letters.   Although traditional, machine engraving is like writing a love letter on a computer.  Technically perfect but without the personal touch. Large Dog tag engraved.  The bigger surface area allows for bigger letters that stands looks bold. The light is catching this tag perfectly to show the engraving. The same Dog Tag from a different angle.  Note that you can see that it is only the surface which is scribed.  3mm rings engraved.  The smaller the surface area to engrave, the less bold it looks. Hand Stamping Hand Stamping, on the other hand, involves using a hammer and individual metal letter, number or design stamps.   A fair amount of pressure is used, and quite often the indentation can be see on the Read More

Keepsake thoughts

I sometimes sit and ask myself ‘Why am I making Keepsake jewelry?’, and it always comes back to a few thoughts that is constantly my driving force.. Losing a loved one is perhaps, if not, one of the most difficult situations everyone will have to face. As Norman Cousins once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” Whether the passing was expected or not, no one can ever truly be ready for the emotional turmoil that grips us all after such a life-shaking event. After a loss, a person will, of course, go through a period of mourning, but many feel a sudden sadness that comes along with the happy memories shared, even years after the loved one has passed.  Keepsake jewelry offers a creative outlet for me, which is in itself a healing experience, and through it, it serves and enables my clients to hold a small part or remembrance of a lost family member or friend, not only during the time of mourning, but many, many years later as well. These beautiful pieces of jewelry lend an elegant and timeless element to your jewelry collection, while you can keep part of your loved one close to you. Some families, who either did not have their loved one cremated, or are not comfortable separating the ashes, even supply dried, crushed ceremonial flowers, earth from the grave site, or even a small lock of hair in the pendants. We have even had people place different memorabilia in the pendants, not to memorialize the passing of a loved one, but to celebrate a special event, such as a wedding or graduation or to immortalize a favorite memory. . While losing a loved one is indeed a heartbreaking event, we Read More

A ridiculously simple to way to store your necklaces that prevents tangles

Finally a good use for plastic drinking straws! We all them… stashed in the cubbyhole of our car, or in the dreaded kitchen drawer where everything ‘else’ gets shoved into.  But no matter where they are gathering dust, here is the best use for your plastic straws!   Please DO NOT go out and purchase or ask your local eatery for  plastic straws to do this.  Search for the one’s that you already have, and use them 🙂 How to: Unclasp the two ends of your necklace. Hold a drinking straw vertically, and drop the smaller end of your necklace clasp down through the straw. When the necklace comes out through the bottom of the straw, reconnect the two ends of your necklace. This method may work best with thinner necklaces, and necklaces that don’t have an attached and immovable pendant in the center of the chain. The pendant will not be able to fit through the straw. If your necklace has an immovable pendant, consider cutting the straw in half, threading one chain on the side of the pendant through the straw. https://megangoldnerdesigns.co.za/wp-content/uploads/Plastic-Straw-1.mp4 Food for thought… Plastic straws and other single-use plastics are a non-essential part of our life. Yet, they cause so much damage to the environment. The simplest way to reduce plastic pollution is to reject the use of single-use plastics, like straws. Most plastic straws are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally by bacteria and other decomposers into non-toxic materials. … Most plastic straws simply break into ever-smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, and the environment.  For plastic straws, disposable diapers, and Styrofoam, decomposition can take about 500 years! The equivalent of FIVE grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of coastline spills into the oceans annually. Over 1 million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks,turtles, and birds) Read More

A South African Story…

A South African Story… There’s a beautiful story about human worth that comes out of the ugliness of war. During the second Anglo-Boer War (South African War) of 1899-1902, the English were struggling to defeat the Boers who had adopted guerrilla warfare tactics. One effective way to demoralise the Boers was for the English to round up all the women and children living on farms and put them into concentration camps and then burn the farms to the ground. The conditions in the concentration camps were dismal and thousands of women and children died. It is said that the women in each camp had a survival theme taken from the Bible. This was to give them hope and encouragement. The theme for Bethulie concentration camp in the south of the Orange Free State was Matthew 10: 29-31. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” This inspired the women and they made a promise that should South Africa ever mint its’ own coins that they would strive to have their symbol of the lowly sparrow (also known as a mossie in South Africa) embossed on the coin of the lowest value. After the war Mrs. Marais, who was an inspirational woman in Bethulie concentration camp, spoke to Mrs. Steyn the wife of the president of the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State and asked her to help them get the emblem of the sparrow onto the lowest coin, to thank God that they had survived the war and to remind the men and women of South Africa of their true Read More

Reflections and looking forward

2018 was a year of growth and reflection for myself and MGD.  It was a year of trying different styles, finding my feet, and discovering my niche. It was a year of internal struggles between my monstrous ambition and my desire to live a more simple life.   I discovered more strengths of my personality, and kept reminding myself that life is a personal journey, and there is no point in comparing my journey with someone else’s.  The below poster is stuck to my studio wall, and I wish to share this with you:  2019 is the year to start giving back I have decided that it is not enough that I try and run my studio as ‘green’ as possible, but it is also time for MGD to start giving back to the environment.   Animal sanctuaries is on top of the list in 2019, and I will strive to make a difference.   Besides from eating a more plant based diet in my personal life, I have already started exploring ideas and designs, and looking for sanctuaries that is close to my heart.   I am super excited for this, and it will manifest as a collection all on its own injected with my own personal flair of jewelry making. Not following the latest trends… Those who know me, will know that I am not your ‘bunnies and flowers’ kinda girl.  I am the rebel, the rule breaker, and someone who loves to be different from the crowd.  This will also be the premise going forward in my business. I have never ‘followed the latest summer trends’, but have always drawn inspiration from the natural elements, universal energy, experiences, stones, nature around me, and I believe that MGD is a brand on it’s own that speaks a different language.  In 2019, I Read More

It’s the end of 2018!

With less than 7 weeks till we are in 2019, and the year end madness in full swing, I though I would share some information and dates with you for our panning for the next couple of weeks.  **BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY** We are combining Black Friday and Cyber Monday into one massive Cyber Sale Weekend! Discount coupon and discount percentage to be released on Thursday, 22 November 2018 on the Facebook page.  The discount coupon will be valid from Friday, 23 November 2018 – Monday, 26 November 2018. * ONLINE orders only* Excludes current sale items ** MEMORIAL ORDER CUT OFF DATE ** If you are ordering a Memorial / Keepsake item as a Christmas present, the cut of date is 30 November 2018. All Memorial / Keepsake items ordered and paid for by this date will be guaranteed under the tree this year. Please make sure that all orders are placed and paid for by this date to avoid disappointment. Due to the nature of the processes involved to make these items, I cannot allow any exceptions to this date.  Please understand that it is sometimes a several week process to create one of these items. This cut off date also applies to custom orders. ** LAST ORDER DATE 2018 ** Our very last order and payment date for Christmas presents is Wednesday, 12 December 2018. Last courier date 18/19 December 2018. You are welcome to place an order after this date, but please note that your order might not be under the tree in time. Find us at Pretty Crafty! Find yourself looking for a Christmas present after 12 December 2018? Find us at Pretty Crafty in Shelly Beach, KZN: 1288 Queen Street. Central Shelly BeachShelly Beach, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa  Trading times:  08:30 – 17:00  (Please check with Read More

How to care for Copper & Brass Jewelry

Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for survival. Most of the copper in the body is found in the liver, brain, heart, kidneys and skeletal muscle. Copper helps with the formation of collagen, increases the absorption of iron and plays a role in energy production.A Masai Shepard wears his bracelet for enhances strenght and endurance. A Tibetan Lama felt his bracelet helped find his way back to himself from deep meditation wanderings. A Sherpa guide believes his layered bracelet stores his extra energy when he was fresh and released it back to him when he needed it to walk that extra mile. High in the Andes, Inca descendants say that men should wear copper and leave gold to the gods.Curious enough, in Mesoamerica the Aztecs had similar beliefs and so did the Egyptians many decades before that.People around the world have long recognized that the wearing of a copper ring or bracelet assists in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. The copper tarnish that rubs off on the skin from time to time is easily removable with soap and water and its said to be a sign that the ring or bracelet is working with the body’s needs.Weather copper really is a treatment for arthritis and rheumatism, we don’t know, but the warm glow emanating from a beautifully polished piece of copper jewelry is hard to come by. With the cost of gold being so high, brass is an excellent alternative to those whole love the warm, rich color of gold but can’t afford it’s price tag. However, the swap to brass does come with some (minor) care responsibilities. But follow the steps below and you’ll be able to enjoy your copper and brass jewelry for years to come. How to Clean & Care for Copper and Brass Jewelry Read More

Silver

The History on Silver The word silver is from the Anglo Saxon name, “seolfor”, and from the Latin name Argentum, we obtain the periodic table symbol for silver, Ag. This precious metal was only discovered 2000 years after gold in 4000bc. Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians used Silver before they knew what exactly it was; but what they were actually using was a metal alloy called Electrum, which is an alloy of Silver and Gold. They didn’t even have a name in their vocabulary for what they were using, and referred to it as “white metal”. Once the discovery has been made, it was deemed even more precious than Gold! Silver has a special place in the history of the elements because it is one of the first five metals discovered and used by humans. The others were gold, copper, lead and iron.  Silver has been in use since prehistoric times, and we do not know who discovered it.  Ancient people even figured out how to refine silver.  They heated the silver ore and blew air over it, a process called cupellation. The silver does not react to the air, but the base metals such as lead and copper oxidize and separate from the precious metal. Silver forms in star explosions called supernovae, as does gold. A study published in September 2012 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics found that smaller stars that explode produce silver, while larger stars produce gold. Silver really exploded on Earth, however, when Europeans landed on the New World in 1492. Spanish conquerors discovered that South America was home to rich veins of silver and silver ore, and they mined that wealth enthusiastically; according to the Silver Institute, an industry trade group, 85 percent of the silver produced worldwide came from Bolivia, Peru and Mexico between 1500 and 1800. Very large pieces of it have been found, such as those found in Read More

Is casting ‘handmade’?

I have been thinking about the process of casting jewelry for quite some time now, and if it still constitutes as ‘Handmade’ and thought I would post a few thoughts. There are a couple of methods in which jewelry can be casted, and all the methods requires some degree of skill, fabricating and finishing the pieces by hand.  I cast quite a few items in my range, and 80% of those casted pieces is ‘duplicates’ of the original that was created by myself. Let talk about Wings for a second… First of all, the concept is designed on paper. From there, it is transferred to a Drawing program on my computer, and more design elements are drawn in, or taken out. Then the design is transferred to sheet metal and pierced out.  Depending on the amount of detail that is in the design, this part of the process can take several hours. The pendant, in this case a Butterfly Wing, is then sanded down, and polished. If there is any thought that another client might want the same design later on, I make a mold of the pendant, so that  it can be casted in the future, rather than taking  hours to re-create. The casting still needs to be sanded, polished and finished by hand, and in my book, all of the above equals to HANDMADE. Casting items also doesn’t mean easier…  There are many things that can go wrong in the casting process, and its up to me to scrap it, and re-cast, or save the casting. The problem with most SA consumers it that they don’t take the time to appreciate the journey of handmade items.  The hours of research, concept development, design time, fabricating & finishing time, hours and money spent on skills development, and general workshop Read More

The process of making a ring

The process of making a ring Making and designing a ring might not sound like a whole lot of work to the person buying online or walking into the studio to purchase, but in reality, there are so many steps involved, it would make you stop and appreciate the skill and craftsmanship going into it if you knew. Fine Silver & Sterling Silver All rings starts out a pure Silver extracted from the earth.  I buy Silver granules from a Metal supplier who in turn buys from the mines. Fine Silver (99.9% pure) is very soft and not suitable for ‘every day wear’ rings.   By adding copper, Fine Silver becomes Sterling silver and gets in characteristic hardness. Sterling Silver, is 92.5% parts of Fine Silver and 7.5% parts copper. Sometimes I buy Sterling Silver granules from my supplier other times I will buy Fine Silver granules, and add the 75 parts Copper myself when smelting. The purity of Silver that I purchase depends mainly on the items that I want to make.   Then I receive the granules, they are placed into a crucible for smelting. Definition of a crucible: Modern crucibles may be small laboratory utensils for conducting high-temperature chemical reactions and analyses or large industrial vessels for melting and calcining metal and ore; they may be made of clay, graphite, porcelain, or a relatively infusible metal. Sterling Silver melts at 893°C.  Larger amounts of Sterling Silver will take longer to melt.  The smaller the amount of Silver you are melting, the quicker the process is.  This batch took quite some time as there was about 250g of Silver to be melted.   When  the Silver is melted and molten, it is then poured into an ingot (pictured above on the left of the crucible). A quick dip in cold water quenches the metal, Read More