Wednesday 4 November 2015

Christmas shopping dates

I promised myself I wouldn't mention it until November, and I think I did pretty well. But I do need to let you know about Christmas shopping cut off dates.

This year one of my lovely cousins is getting married on the 21st December, so I thought that was a pretty good reason to make sure my shop was shut up and all orders were shipped well before then.

International orders - USA, Australia, and some Europe (please check) - 30th November
Most of Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Germany - contact me for more info) 7th December

UK - 10th December

If you have something custom in mind, please do get in touch sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.

It's just me here doing, so if things get too busy, my shops will have to close earlier to enable me to get all of the items made to the high standard you all expect. So if you have your heart set on something in particular, please (please) do get your order in early.

Saturday 24 October 2015

And the winner is....

Hang on...wait a minute.

Before I do the big reveal I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who took part in my giveaway. Plus so many of you got in touch with kind words about my jewellery. It's made me so incredibly happy.

Sometimes it feels a bit odd working for yourself, on your own and selling the things you make online. Don't get me wrong, on my own is one of my favourite places to be, but you know, you do wonder if the stuff you're doing is ok.

And it's you lovely bunch on facebook, instagram, pinterest and getting in touch via email who make me realise, "ah yes people do like what I'm doing". Seriously, it means such a lot so thank you.

That's why as I began writing this winner announcment I felt a bit sad about only picking one winner. Obviously I can't give you all a set of stacking rings/ £50 voucher. I mean, I'd love to, but you know...

BUT how's about this...I'll do a bit of a flash sale for the rest of today.

Until 12 midnight you can all have 25% off whatever you'd like from Becky Pearce Designs.

Just enter the code HAPPY25 at the checkout.

This offer closes at midnight tonight GMT (24th October) so get in quick and enjoy.

UNLESS of course, your name is Louise Hughes. Because if you're Louise Hughes, you might want to be planning out what stacking ring set to get, or what to spend your £50 on. Louise, I'll be in touch shortly!

Congratulations Louise, and commiserations to the rest of you - hopefully the discount code above will sweeten the blow a little. And don't forget those of you on my newsletter get entered into a giveaway each and every month, so don't uncross your fingers just yet.

Friday 16 October 2015

It's my once in a blue moon GIVEAWAY!

Did you know I do a little giveaway every single month?

It's only open to my newsletter subscribers, and it's one of the many ways I thank this bunch of lovely loyal customers for letting me email them occasionally with news about my little handmade business.

But, I don't usually do more general giveaways. In fact, I don't think I've done one so far this year, and probably won't for the rest of the year - so NOW is your chance!

Birthstone stacker ring giveaway

If you'd like to win one of my ever popular birthstone stacking sets all for yourself..... you need to read on (and actually, even if you don't want a set - keep reading, as there is an alternative prize!)

The winner will choose up to three ring - which could each be plain or set with a gemstone (birthstones, favourite colours, favourite gems - whatever I have that you fancy) and together we will decide on the shapes and sizes that will work best, to make sure your bespoke stacking ring set is absolutely perfect for you. 

As soon as we have the design worked out, and your ring size I'll get to work. Your rings should be with you within three weeks of me getting started. 

If the stacking rings aren't for you (or you already have a set!) don't worry. You can either gift your prize to someone else... (I'm not mentioning the C word but I know you know what I mean) and I can create a little gift voucher for you to give OR you can have a £50 GIFT VOUCHER to spend at Becky Pearce Designs instead. 

This giveaway is my way of saying a HUGE BIG MASSIVE THANK YOU to you all for your support. This has been the best year ever for my little handmade business, and I'm so thrilled and thankful. 

But as well as saying thanks, I'm hoping this giveaway will help to spread the word about my jewellery! I'd love it if you could share the chance to win with your friends. 

I tried to give as many options as possible to enter to make it lots of fun. Click on the link below to get started and enjoy!!

Saturday 26 September 2015

September's birthstone - Sapphire

Well September might be just about over, but there's still time for me to sneak in a little post about one of my favourite birthstones.

September's birthstone is sapphire. I did a little post about sapphire, back in 2013 - when I hardly had any sapphire goodies to show you. Well, in the last two years I've incorporated a load of them into my are some of my favourites. (Click on the links for some more information!)

sapphire stud earrings
Sapphire studs 

sapphire trillion ring
Sapphire trillion ring
I think this is one of my all time favourite rings that I've made.

I use lab created sapphires in most of my designs as sapphire is a precious, rather than semi-precious stone and therefore a lot more pricey than other gemstones. Lab created sapphires have all the same chemical and structural properties as "real" mined sapphires, but they are made in a laboratory environment rather than over eons beneath the earth. As such they're more reasonably priced, and near perfect in colour and composition.

Check out the rest of the sapphire jewellery in my range.

I found some other lovely handmade goodies on the September theme... (click on the pictures to go through to the shops!).

Sapphire journal by BOUND on Folksy
I do have a bit of an obsession with notebooks, and this one is rather lovely.

Congratulations Card by Angela Chick on Folksy
How could I not love this card? Perfect. 

Moonlight hedgehog birdbath by Jo Sara on Folksy
I love this birdbath too - such brilliant work. And those gorgeous blues are just wonderful.

Sunday 19 July 2015

Care of your silver jewellery

Silver jewellery, and particularly silver rings which are worn often are unfortunately are prone to tarnish.

Sterling silver is a mixed metal, combining pure silver (92.5%)  and copper (7.5%) and it is the copper in the silver that reacts with moisture, and sulphur in the air to create the tarnish. As such the tarnish is produced more quickly in areas with high humidity - like swimming pools.

The tarnish will also happen with different speeds on different people, due to the differing body chemistry and the environments they live in.

I did a blog post a while ago on the basics of how to keep your silver shiny.. and have since found lots of other useful info on the internet about it.

I thought this post was particularly informative on how to clean and care for sterling silver jewellery and covers everything you could possibly wish to know.

There are a lot of other websites which suggest using aluminium foil, and bicarbinate of soda - but I must admit I've not tried it yet. I'm also lucky as I got myself a super dooper ultrasonic cleaner for my workshop, which keeps all my silver nice and shiny, (and you're always welcome to get in touch about sending your jewellery for a go in it!) but I'd love to hear any of your other tips and tricks if you've got any.

To stop the tarnish building up in the first place there are lots of suggestions like not wearing your rings in the shower, or pool, or when you're cleaning etc..

Pah - I don't know about you, but I can't be doing with taking my jewellery on and off all the time.

Apart from anything else I'd forget to put it back on again.

I personally reckon the easiest solution is to keep the tarnish at bay by getting a silver polishing cloth, and giving them a quick rub every day just before you put them on. By keeping the tarnish down in that way, it should never build up to a problem level.

Sunday 5 July 2015

The evolution of a jewellery business

Well, after months of thinking about it, and a few weeks of doing bits and bobs behind the scenes, the new look Becky Pearce Designs is now live.

Things have really changed in terms of how my business looks since the start. When I started this all off back in 2009 it was a hobby. I was trying to juggle working three days as a research manager for a publishing company, and two pre schoolers. At this time doing a little bit of beading here and there was what kept me sane. It was how I relaxed.

It was so exciting to set up a new shop, and blog. There was loads to learn and play around with. I called my shop Red Bird Jewellery, got a pretty banner and it bought in a few pounds to help  pay for all the beading supplies I was buying. When I look back now on the really early days - crikey - things have changed a bit!!

Here's an, ahem, ever so professional picture of the first thing I ever put into my etsy shop.

(chain maille necklace from 2009)

Wow. I'd have to say both my jewellery style and photography have changed somewhat over the past six years. Hopefully for the better.

The first banner I had at this time was one;

Beading eventually led to playing with precious metal clay; which then led to getting a torch and basic soldering, which then led to all the silversmithing I do today.

(a 2015 necklace)

I gave up work at the end of 2009, and started childminding so I could spend more time with the kids, as well as step up the jewellery. It was then that I thought (hoped) that maybe jewellery could, just maybe be more than a hobby which just about funded itself, and develop into a creative business. 

Here's my post at the end of 2010 on whether I'd made the right decision or not. 

In 2011, I splashed out on a new camera. (I can still remember the pain of spending that much money at the time) and I took a photography course both of which changed the way my photos look dramatically. 

In February 2012 I got my own website, and changed the business name to Becky Pearce Designs. 

And this header made an appearance,

I also started making rings. And then realised I absolutely bloomin' LOVED making rings.

Some of you will probably remember this incarnation. It doesn't feel so long ago, but in so many ways the business has changed dramatically. 

In August 2013 the header changed again to this... 

and I got more and more into working with birthstones, and began making more and more rings. 

Rings, and in particular birthstone stacking rings have definitely become my number one bestseller...

...but I still make all my other goodies too; bangles, earrings, necklaces, you name it.  And I have so many new designs waiting to be made in my sketch book.

When I started writing this post, I was just going to show you the new logo design but once I started, looking back to the beginning and plotting the evolution of the business was a real eye opener.

One thing I realised is how much I have learned, and how my skills and confidence have developed in the last 6 years. I feel so proud of my progress.

But the thing that struck me most; the thing that really thrilled me is the realisation that so many of my customers, and facebook friends have been along for the ride, maybe not since the very beginning but for years and years. I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of you for your custom, your support, and advice, your comments and "likes" and for pushing me to advance my designs with your commissions and special requests.

It really means the world -  I am so lucky to have you all - THANK YOU!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Stone shapes

I wrote recently a bit about the difference between types of stones, specifically faceted stones, and cabochon cuts, but that's not the only thing to consider in the stones you choose.

I'm making more and more sets of stacking rings these days, and it's so lovely to use a variety of shapes and sizes in the stack.

I'm always adding more options to my stone collection, so won't list here all of the different shapes and sizes I can offer in each stone choice - for the most up to date information, just get in touch and I'll be able to let you know the options. But here are the key shapes...


These are the rose cut, faceted and cabochon stones that I use most often;

aquamarine rose cut ring

The size of cabochon I most often use within ring stacks are 6mm and 5mm. 

cz faceted round

The most popular size of faceted stones are 5mm, such as in this cz ring above.


Again ovals are available in cabochon, rose cut and faceted stones, and come in a variety of sizes. The most common, that fits nicely into a ring stack is a 7x5mm oval.

7x5 london blue rose cut stone
star sapphire cabochon in gold fill ring


The square sizes I most commonly use are 4mm and 5mm. These can be a little tricky to get hold of in a lot of gemstones but are readily available for rubies, sapphires, cz, and a few others.

Square sapphire with chunky band
The stack in the photo at the very top of this page shows a lovely turquoise cabochon.

cushion cut rainbow moonstone

A slight alternative to the square is a cushion cut which is a square cut stone with slightly rounded corners.

Triangle (Trillion)

Sky blue topaz trillion
The trillion stone has a few variations. It is a triangular cut, but can have straight or slightly curved edges, and often has soft points. 
Peridot trillion (a curvy number!)

This post is already a little picture heavy, but I hope it gives you an idea of the most popular stone shapes, that are readily available in a number of gemstones. I'll put together another post shortly with a few of the other options... octogon, teardrops and freeform. 

Saturday 11 April 2015

Hand stamping

On my birthstone stacking rings, (and actually on all sorts of other goodies come to think of it), I now offer hand stamping on the inside of the band.

This could be a name, date of birth, or any other special text or number you care to think of.

But, there are a few things to bear in mind. First of all, the nature of hand stamping is very different to engraving.

Hand stamping involves, as it's name implies, using a steel stamp and hammer to imprint each letter individually into the shank. This is done before the ring is soldered and shaped, whilst the wire is still laid flat.

As each letter is stamped individually, it's unusual (for me anyway) for them to be completely straight, level and equally spaced.

I like this "higgledy" effect. It's the reason I love handmade jewellery - rather than the factory made, super perfect, never been touched by a human hand sort.

However, I do understand that there are occasions when it's lovely to have your text beautifully and neatly engraved (I am hoping to add this string to my bow at some stage in the future!) And if this is the case you could get any items I make for you engraved at a local jewellers after they're made.

A couple of other things you need to know...

Bear in mind the number of digits or letters that will fit inside the band. This will vary very slightly from size to size but is generally approximately 20 characters.

I have 3 different size sets of stamps now. The 1.5mm stamps to fit into my standard 2.3mm width band, 2mm and 3mm stamps. All the stamps I have at the moment are capital letters.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Gold, gold filled, rolled gold.... what!?!

This year I've been working a lot more with gold, and trying to expand the range I can offer in my shop.

I'm working with 9k gold as standard but, I'll be honest with you - it's pricey. And so I do like to offer a more economical option, with that same golden loveliness.

So here they are... gold filled stacking rings are now available in a Becky Pearce Designs shop near you.

Labradorite gold filled ring
BUT what the heck is gold fill? Is it the same as rolled gold and gold plate? Is it going to wear off?

Gold filled metal is made by heat and pressure bonding gold onto a base metal (usually brass) core. Basically sandwiching the base metal. The important thing is that the proportion of the gold on the metal has to be at least 20% of the total weight, so it's quite a substantial amount compared to gold plating where the gold is a microscopic film rather than an actual layer.

The gold filled material I'm using at the moment is 20% gold, but I believe you can also get 40% gold material.

Rolled gold is not quite as good quality - the proportion of gold is less than 20%. So whilst it is still in a layer form rather than a film, and is therefore better than gold plated goods - it will wear more readily than gold filled.

Textured gold filled rings
(available in yellow and rose gold)

I have been trying to get an idea of the kind of wear you can expect with gold filled material, especially in comparison with gold plating which we all know about - and found this info on Wiki.

"Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through. The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on manufacturer, so there is no single, simple comparison. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate (sometimes stamped HGE or HGP—usually found oncubic zirconia "cocktail rings")."

The recommendation is to treat your gold filled jewellery just as you would gold. Gently clean with a soft cloth every now and again, and make sure you take it off before swimming and it should last for years and years.

I'm fairly new to this material, so will be experimenting and playing with the designs I can do. It can apparently be slightly tricky to solder, so designs which require more than one or two solder joints are probably out for now, but I'll keep you posted about how I'm find it to work with.

Saturday 14 March 2015

The difference between cabochon and faceted stones

I've been getting loads of requests for custom birthstone stacking rings recently, and a question that always comes up in conversations about stone choice, is about the difference between cabochon and faceted stones. And what on earth they are anyway.

Opal cabochon, amethyst rose cut, garnet faceted trillion

So here goes, my attempt to clear up any confusion.

What is a cabcohon stone?

A cabochon is cut with a flat back and a domed top....

Sapphire stacking ring

Like this sapphire stone in the ring above. It has a smooth dome on top, and a flat back. It is set in a bezel setting.

What are faceted stones?

The other kind of stone I often use is a faceted gem.

These stones usually have a pointed back, with facets or cuts taken from the stone which helps to bounce the light around. Faceting a stone is a key way to add value to a transparent stone, as it gives a higher luster and a better play of colour in the stone.

The Cubic Zirconia above is a manmade faceted stone - I've shown this picture as hopefully you can get an idea of what the stones are like, but for stacking rings I tend to use more enclosed settings like the one below...
Dark (fire) citrine ring you only see the sparkly top of the stone.

Some stones are much more commonly found in one sort or the other. For example, turquoise (the birthstone for December) and opal (the birthstone for October) are pretty much always cabochon stones.

What the heck are rose cut stones then?

So, now for my fave stone of the moment - the rose cut stone. This is a kind of crossover. It's a cabochon stone (so it has a flat back and a dome) but it's also faceted...I know confusing! Here's a diagram..

Rose cut stones went out of fashion for a while, because they don't really add much brilliance or light to the stone. But I've gone completely crazy for them - I like that they're a little unusual and quirky, and I love how they bounce the light.

Rose cut rose quartz stacking ring

London Blue Topaz Earrings
So there you go - a very quick guided tour of some of the types of stones I use!

I'll also put together a post on the different shapes I can offer. Sadly my shop is a little out of date - so many of the things I make still haven't made it to a listing, so if there's something you'd like in particular, just email me to discuss. I could have the perfect stone sitting in my stash right now.

Friday 20 February 2015

The year so far (aka cripes, February already!!)

Where's the year going? 

January whipped by, and it looks like February is shaping up the same way; days going by in a blur.

As you know, life gets pretty busy around here in the run up to Christmas. I start planning for it in September, and people often begin their Christmas shopping in October, ( I know, I know) so the orders start picking up; it then gets properly crazy half way through November. So during these months I tend to put any new designs and experiments with new techniques on hold.

That was definitely the case this time around so there were a few things I added to my "new year  - new ideas " list. Its exciting to start the year with a big list of new things to try.

Number one on that list was gold!

Gold is probably the thing I get most requests to stock: and your wish is my command. I can now supply most of my stacking rings in both 9k and rolled gold. and will be adding new gold designs throughout the year.

Rolled gold is sometimes called gold-filled. And is basically a far better quality alternative to gold plated metal. Perfect when you want the look of gold  ( which will last) but not the expense!

The response to these goodies so far has been amazing (especially from the lovely folk on my facebook page). They aren't listed in my shop yet though so if there's something you particularly fancy please get in touch.

The other thing i'm currently working on is giving you a wider range of facetted stones to choose from; especially in my birthstone ranges. A lot of my existing range are set with cabochons, which I love working with, but for some gems facetted stones can offer a sparklier and more intense colour. 

Don't worry though, the cabochons aren't going anywhere; those beauties (especially the rose cuts) will always be a firm fave.

Most of my new designs make their first appearance on my facebook page as work in progress shots, so if you're interested in seeing how my jewellery is made do pop along
and don't forget to say hi!

Also, for those not already in the know I have a newsletter which I send out monthly. Every single person who subscribes gets entered into a free prize draw each and every month. The prize being an item from my shop or a voucher to spend ( it varies from
month to month).

If you'd like to be part of the fun, just sign up to the newsletter. I don't sell your contact info, or pester you with spam every other day...the deal is that i get to show you my new stuff and share any shop news with you once a month (and remind you that I am here if you need any new jewels!) and you get the chance to win some freebies, get 
10% off your purchases and get the occasional extra special offer! Not bad eh? 
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