Specifically, let's talk science about gold.
As you probably know, gold is a chemical element (number 79 on the periodic table, represented as Au) that is bright yellow in its natural state, uncommon for most metals. Since its melting point is pretty high (nearly 2000° F, over 1000° C), gold is generally a solid when people see it. Throughout history, it has been prized and considered valuable (the gold standard used to be a common monetary policy, remember?) even before recorded history. (Wait a minute... how do we know that? It wasn't recorded! Ahem. Not the point.)
Gold is neither super-rare nor super-common, but it is easy to handle, easy to smelt, non-corrosive, an unusual natural colour, and relatively non-reactive to other elements. All of these qualities lead to people getting all grabby-hands over gold. Also, it's pretty. I mean, have you looked at a chunk of gold recently? Oooh, shiny...
Moving on. The purity of gold is measured in karats (or sometimes carats, but never carrots), with pure gold called 24k. (By the way, a purity karat is not the same as a weight carat, is definitely not the same as a carrot.) Pure 24k gold is very soft, so for jewellery purposes, gold is usually found in an alloy form, which changes some of its qualities, like hardness, malleability, or colour, amongst other things. Generally, copper or other base metals make up the alloy; the more of the base metals, the lower the k rating for the gold. 14k is probably the most common, and is 58% gold.
The most common "coloured golds" are white gold and rose/pink/red gold.
White gold is gold alloyed with a white metal, frequently nickel, manganese, or palladium. Because of the high nickel content that is probably in white gold, it may be a bad choice for people with metal allergies. (If you’re thinking of getting something made in white gold for someone special… check on allergies first!) The palladium alloys are far more expensive, due to the rarity of palladium.
Rose gold, sometimes referred to as Russian gold (an old term that is mostly obsolete but still crops up occasionally), is generally a gold/copper alloy; the more copper in the alloy, the more red the gold will be. Remember, if the k number is the same, that means the amount of gold stays consistent – the composition of the other metals in the alloy will be what changes, with something other than copper being added in to create a softer red colour.
While there are other “coloured golds” out there, they tend either to be less common, far more expensive, or less appropriate for usage in jewellery due to brittleness or other problems.
Recap! Gold is awesome and highly versatile; because of its value, it was used as money and even now commands a high price. The purer the gold, the higher the karat number. Different alloys give gold a different colour and change its properties slightly.
I’ll leave you with one final fun fact: it has been estimated that if you could collect all the gold ever refined and make a cube out if it, the cube would be 66 feet on a side. That’s a whole lot of shiny.
Whoa. Another blog post? But it hasn’t been a year since the last one! Ha. Ha. Ha.
(The Blue Box Blogger has a terrible sense of humour, if you haven’t noticed.)
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, September 21, to be precise, the Blue Box Nerd (yours truly) had another outing, this time attending the Baggins Birthday Bash, a yearly gathering of Tolkien fans in the greater LA area. Since it was to be attended by fellow Tolkien lovers, I figured it would be clever to bring along what progress I’ve made on my Company of Thorin Oakenshield Project, as well as any other Tolkien inspired pieces, including a gorgeous piece of marra mamba tiger eye that immediately reminded me of the Eye of Sauron from the moment I first saw it.
Rather unexpectedly, news came the day before the event that Sala Baker, the actor who played the physical form of Sauron in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies (as well as a number of other “hero” orcs) would be in attendance! Awwwweeesome.
Turns out, Sala is quite a cool dude, who happily chatted about art and why he thinks it’s important for actors and entertainers to give back to their fans. And, most exciting, he loved the Eye of Sauron piece and was pleased to wear it for our photo together. (You may notice that despite being the physical embodiment of the Dark Lord Sauron, he is, in fact, shorter than the Dwarf I met back in July, a fact which amuses me endlessly…)
Many, many thanks to Sala Baker for being awesome, as well as the other Tolkienites I met and chatted with at the Baggins Bash!
First things first, yes, the Blue Box Blogger has been utterly failing to keep you up to date on the happenings in the Blue Box, but since the Blogger is also The One Who Makes Stuff, I dare say the making of stuff is more important than the telling of stuff? Right? Maybe?
Anyway. We're still alive, still designing, still making, still selling. And boy have we been busy!
A couple of important things of note have occurred of late. First, Blue Box Imaginarium has partnered with Bee Loved Florist in Santa Paula, CA, which means you can now see our work in a brick and mortar store! Hurrah! If you're local (or semi-local, or just in the area visiting), stop by and check out the shinies as well as the lovely flowers.
Secondly, we're trying to have more in-home jewelry parties! If you are interested in hosting one, let us know via the contact form. While we would currently prefer semi-local areas (the Greater Los Angeles area, shall we say?), if we're travelling for a show near you, we could possibly arrange something for the same time.
Speaking of travelling for a show, that's our third big thing. We've been branching out a bit more with our shows; in October we'll be headed north to Seattle, WA, which should be fun. Earlier this month, we were at the rather epic Fantasy Con in Salt Lake City, UT, from whence comes the title of this blog post. (Beware, LOTS of geekery below the jump.)
That would be sound of us busy little bees, here in the Blue Box. Busy, busy, busy! In a very good way, of course.
I promised a blog post re: the Grand Slam convention in Burbank, and that didn't happen. I did not promise a blog post re: the Supernatural convention in Las Vegas, which is good, because that also wouldn't have happened.
I am, however, now writing a wee bit about what we've been up to here.
The Grand Slam was a fantastic learning experience; you know how people are always saying how important location is? It's totally true. The first two (mostly) days of the con, BBI was shunted off in a side vendor room, where there was no signage, and very little traffic. Sales were nigh non-existent. BUT. Saturday afternoon I got permission to move our table out to take over a friend's table (as they were leaving for the weekend). As soon as we shifted spots, out to the main corridor, sales skyrocketed. We were literally making sales WHILE we were in process of moving. Crazy! On the whole, it was a good experience, and I had a lot of fun.
(Nerd alert: I got to meet John Noble, who played Denethor in the Lord of the Rings movies. One of the nicest blokes ever, even if we did have a "domestic" regarding chocolates and licorice!)
Let's see, and then there was the SPN con in Vegas, which was also a fantastic experience; there was only one big vendor room, and we were right next to the main entrance, so location really couldn't have been any better. Silly me, I forgot my gold wire, so was unable to do anything on demand in gold, but at least I had my silver wire! Except I ran out by the end of the weekend, which is obviously a good thing. Great fun, and I got to see lots of friends I've not seen in nearly a year!
Right now I'm busily finishing up commissions and special orders left over from the Vegas con, since I had to order more wire. Not a bad problem to have, eh? And of course I'm getting ready for the Easter Eggstravaganza, coming up on the 30th. I'm also in the process of applying for three more shows over the next few months, and then hopefully more after that!
Finally, on a slightly more personal note that isn't particularly BBI related - I'm trying to go back to Haiti again this summer! As you may know, I've been to Jacmel for the past two summers, working on rebuilding efforts and doing lots and lots of fundraising. (Lots. Seriously, lots.) Anyway, it's that time again! Haiti is dear to my heart, especially all the kids that I've met and played with - take a gander up top at the Hearts for Haiti campaign! So, if you feel at all like being totally awesome and helping me return to Haiti for a third (and probably last) time, please take a look at my Crowdrise fundraising page! Ta muchly.
That's about it for now. Until next time, be good and eat plenty of chocolate ice cream!
This is day 2 for Blue Box in Tucson, attending JOGS and the various other gem shows held here throughout February. No, we're not exhibiting, but we're checking out sources and picking up supplies.
When I first started reading up on JOGS, I was flummoxed as to why any show would run for two weeks. Now that I'm here? I'm amazed it doesn't run longer. There are SO MANY different shows all happening at the same time; it would take two weeks just to walk through each one, much less stop and see things and buy stuff!
As it is, we've done the main JOGS show and picked up some rough - a few Ethiopian opals that look like decent quality (great fire!), some blue amber, and some more larimar. My most exciting moment was when my larimar supplier looked at a piece I'd brought to show him and immediately said, "I'll buy this back off you." Uhm, yeah! So I swapped him the piece for more rough, and we've discussed possibly doing more such trades since he gets people asking him for wire wrapped pieces. :-D
Today we're off to some of the other shows, hoping to find more rough stones rather than finished jewelry pieces. We got pointed to a few places to check out in particular, so those'll be first on the list.
Now I'm wishing we had more time, but alas, heading back to Cali tomorrow. Perhaps next year we'll stay longer!
(Other news: Signed up for another Creation Entertainment convention, which'll get posted on the Events page once I've returned to Cali and am not all JOGS-ed out!)
Hoppy Gnu Year, all! I hope it's going swimmingly for you thus far!
Just a quick note to say that I've added an Events page here on the ol' website - if the name hasn't given it away, that will be where I'll be posting info on upcoming events and shindigs that Blue Box will be involved with. It's currently kind of empty, but with any luck, it'll fill up quickly!
I'm hoping to get into more shows and possibly do a little more travelling and getting away from the immediate surroundings here in Fog-ville (I shouldn't say that, it's not been all that foggy lately), so keep yer eyes peeled - I might be hitting up an area closer to you!
Hard to believe we're already to the last day of 2012, innit? It's been a bit of a crazy year here, what with our first convention, and our first outdoor show, and... oh yes, the really big first.
Our first Hearts for Haiti donation!
Thanks to you wonderful people, Blue Box Imaginarium has just sent off a check for $180 to Faith and Love Orphanage! It seriously took me a ridiculously long time to decide where to send the money, where it might do the most good. While I love the JCC and Bonite and the Art Creation Foundation for Children, this year I felt that perhaps F&L didn't get quite as much attention and love as those other two organisations, so for this year, they got the whole lump sum. If things expand and do better next year and into the future (as I most certainly hope they do!), I'll probably rotate who gets the donation, or possibly even have enough to send a reasonable amount to each one! Wouldn't that be lovely?
Anyway, that's the big news, the most important news. Everything else is just extras!
Time to make a blood sacrifice to the lapidary gods, that is!
Every so often, as you may know, the lapidary gods require a... token of your seriousnessitude towards the craft. Otherwise, all your hard work and practice will do you absolutely no good whatsoever - all your rocks will crack, your dop sticks will break, your polishing jobs all orange-peel and don't shine up... it's an absolute nightmare.
That's actually just residue leftover from working on my cobra script jasper, over there on the right. It sure is a pretty stone, but daaaaang is it messy to work it.
(At least it's just messy and not messy AND stinky, which would just be trouble.)
Anyway, there are many stones that grind relatively clean, but then there are also many stones that are just... nasty. It's kind of fun to see what colour the mud at the bottom of my Genie turns into at the end of the day, though...
PS - lapidary gods, if you do exist, you rock, no pun intended. Oh, who am I kidding, it was totally intended. Please don't smite me. :-D
Wow, I've been such a slacker on the whole blogging thing. I would say I'll do better, but... I can't promise that.
However! I can announce some big news for the Blue Box. A couple of things, actually.
1) You may have noticed that our web address has changed slightly. Booyeah, BlueBoxImaginarium.com is active and is now our own domain. (Okay, I actually find that kind of terrifying.)
2) If you are in the SoCal area, I invite you to stop by the Camarillo Santa's Village Holiday... thing... after the annual Christmas parade, on December 8. Why? Because we'll be there, of course! It'll be a great time to get some holiday shopping done, and there should be lots of other fun vendors around as well. I'm not sure what time the parade begins, but Santa's Village is set up at the end of the parade route and will be open from 10 AM until 4 PM. Come visit! It'll be awesomesauce.
3) Not exactly a Blue Box thing, but I've just come back from two weeks in Africa, Tanzania, to be precise. It was a fantastic trip, even if I didn't manage to find any tanzanite lying around. I was helping teach English to students at a teacher training college, which was quite an experience. While I was there, I managed to find a few (hopefully interesting) agates that I'm looking forward to cutting open. The whole trip was amazing and sparked a few new creative ideas that I'm excited to try out in the ol' workshop!
I think that's about it from here; there's been lots of work done on geeky things this summer (Marvel's Avengers ftw!) as well as lots of progress on the Hearts for Haiti project. As of right now (if my head math is correct), the Blue Box will be donating nearly $200 to one of the groups I was working with in Jacmel, Haiti. That, my dear friends, makes me so happy. I haven't decided whether all the money will go to one group, or if I'll split it amonst all of them, so if you have an opinion, drop me a line.
'til next time,
March has been surprisingly busy for me here in the Blue Box, both profesionally and personally. Three main points of excitement, though -
1) Supernatural convention in Burbank. That was a blast; not only did I get to see some old friends, I met lots of new ones as well. It was fantastic getting out and seeing people from all over and getting some new ideas and inspiration, along with great advice from some of the other vendors.
2) As of yesterday, I've started posting items on Etsy, hurrah! You'll find us here. Please be lovely and share that link around to anyone who might be interested; there'll be more things added shortly!
3) The big personal bit of excitement, my Small Cousin got married! So there was a week long trip to Pennsylvania, where one of my other cousin's gave me a bunch of rocks out of his child-hood collection, along with some Hawaiian pumice. I'm looking forward to playing with those!
It's hard to believe we're already up to April, but there you go. Time flies when you're having fun making a big dusty mess grinding up rocks!
The Blue Box Blogger sometimes has a strange sense of humour that comes out here rather than the workshop.