SkaraDesigns Jewellery - Bespoke Jewellery
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Glass Rings
Venetian Murano rings are approximate to within a few millimetres, because they are handmade and not machine cut they are not perfect mathematical circles inside, and therefore cannot be measured to the exact millimetre on a ring sizer. It is normal for the back of the ring to be sometimes a little uneven or bumpy, it is simply how the rings are made, but the insides are as smooth and sleek as you expect from the world's most famous glass. It is also perfectly normal for there to be some bubbles in the glass, again as a result of them being handmade.

Please bear in mind that the rings are magnified to give you as much detail as possible and that any bubbles in the glass are visible only when held up close to the face. The glass makers of Murano do not produce "seconds" it is simply not done.

Bead History - An Ancient Art Form
Beads have been made from glass for more than 5,000 years. The discovery of fire was the most essential step in glass bead making.

The ancient Egyptians used metal mandrels (a shaft or spindle in a lathe to which work is fixed while being turned) to hold pieces of glass over the flame, as the glass would soften it was wrapped around the mandrel to form beautiful ornaments. These early beads or vessels were considered so precious they were sometimes placed in burial tombs. Even today this method is still used in bead making.

Venetian Bead information & facts
Bead making in Venice goes back to the days of Marco Polo. When he returned from traveling in Asia with a collection of beads, the local artisans used their skills with glass to reproduce them.

There is no difference between Venetian and Murano beads. The glass used to make the beads originates in Murano., which is a small island just a 5 minute vaporetto (boat) ride from Venice. The term Venetian glass is used to describe the beads, as Venice is more widely known than the Island of Murano, so people tend to refer to it as Venetian glass.

The beads are made in both Venice and Murano in Italy. Murano is famously know as "The Glass Island" The glass furnaces were moved here in 1297 by mandate of the Doges of Venice. The round beads tend to be quite sturdy, the longer thin beads and shapes which have points are more delicate. As with all glass it is important to treat it with care.

Venetian beads tend to be more expensive as they are not mass produced, and some beads can take up to 45 minutes to make. Because they are handmade, not so many can be produced in a day, and there are a limited number of people who are skilled in this ancient craft, therefore the supply is limited. Because each bead is handmade, the size and shapes will vary a little, they are all within a range, but no two beads can ever be exactly the same.

Gold & Silver foil works to amazing effect in bead making. Small squares of tissue thin 24k gold and .925 Sterling silver are used, because this foil is inside the glass it cannot peel or chip. Although beads with a gold exterior can lose some of their foil over time, because these beads do not have a final coat of clear glass. This is not a defect in any way, and can enhance the overall effect of the bead. SkaraDesigns Jewellery use both methods in their products.

Why are Venetian beads more expensive?
Beads made in Venice are all handmade, so only a limited number can be produced in a day. There is also a limited number of people still working this ancient craft in Venice, so supply is limited. They are much more beautiful than other types of beads due to the quality of both the glass and the workmanship.

What are the beads made of?
They are made of glass which is about 70% silica (sand) Venetian beads are made from a type of glass known as soda glass. The beads start with glass rods which have been made in Murano.

Will the glass break easily?
As with all glass, your jewellery should be treated with care, but the beads and jewellery have been properly annealed in an annealing oven to reduce the stress of the glass and therefore increase it's durability.

Why is each bead different?
This is because they are made my human hand and not by machine, and beads made by the human hand will always have slight, often miniscule variations. They are all within a range but no two can ever be the same, these variations are not imperfections, or rejects, simply put, each bead is unique. When making a pair of earings for example I always choose beads which are so similar to each other in size and shape that to the untrained eye they would look like the perfect match.

Caring for Sterling Silver jewellery
Sterling Silver is a metal that is meant to be worn. Leave it lying around and it will tarnish, all silver tarnishes naturally, but at different speeds depending on the silver content, how it is treated and the chemicals it comes into contact with, ie, perfume, hair spray and make-up, to name a few. Skara Designs Jewellery recommend that unworn silver jewellery is best kept in a plastic zip lock bag.

A silver cloth is the best way to remove tarnish from jewellery, use gently and take care not to pull the jewellery through the cloth, but rather, rub the item gently against the cloth. If your piece of silver jewellery contains other beads, such as crystals or pearls, take great care not to touch these with the cloth. It is also best not to wear it whilst swimming. Do not use silver dip on your jewellery.

Caring for Gold jewellery
Unworn Gold jewellery is best kept in a satin or velvet box, pouch or bag. Each piece should be stored separately to prevent the risk of scratching. SkaraDesigns Jewellery can supply small velvet pouches on request.
To clean your gold jewellery use a very soft cloth, chamois leather is ideal. There are also some very good gold cleaning liquids around, make sure you follow the instructions carefully, this is ideal for cleaning the nooks and crannies that the cloth cannot reach.

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