Category Archives: Jewelry Trade Secrets

From the Studio – Etching!

Next weekend we’re hosting a super fun Weekend Workshop on Etching!

Saturday + Sunday | Jun 25+26 |11am-5pm | $240 | Register Now!

In this two day weekend workshop students will discover how to create raised patterns in metal without using any special equipment!  You’ll learn how to transfer images onto metal to etch a variety designs using a low toxic and safe method.  Etching is the process of using chemicals to cut a design or pattern into a metal surface. Etching your own designs into metal is a fun and rewarding way to customize your jewelry!

Class covers a variety of resist processes including ink transfer techniques and free hand solutions. We will also be covering basic metalsmithing techniques like drilling, filing, refining, and a variety of polishing and sealing methods, so this class is open to beginners as well as intermediate and advanced students.

Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

And here’s a couple styles of the final products!

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From the Studio – Salt Casting!

This weekend we’re hosting a super fun one day workshop on Salt Casting!

Saturday | Jun 11 |11am-5pm | $179 | Register Now!

Salt Casting is the art of melting metal to its molten form and then pouring it over salt. This creates spontaneous forms and unusual shapes. In this workshop we learn how to recycle metal, create many different alloys, pour metal into different forms, and fabricate jewelry out of the salt cast pieces.  Your old jewelry and scraps (gold, silver, copper) can be cast into new and wondrous forms. The salt cast pieces can be made into earrings, pendants, and pins during the workshop. Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

Studio trials pieces 1b

And here’s the final products!

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#Benchtip Tuesday! Resizing Rings with our New Ring Stretcher

When you’re in the business of producing handmade jewelry, time is just as valuable as money. Because of this we get really really excited about new tools that will reduce the amount of time it takes to do something. Like REALLY excited.
We recently picked up a ring stretcher/reducer and it has definitely lived up to the hype. It’s not the most inexpensive tool, however if you factor in the time you save, it’ll start paying for itself pretty quickly.
 ring resizer
Working with the Ring Resizer is pretty intuitive, however here are some tips to help you get up to speed.
-This tool only works with plain bands, such as wedding bands with no gemstones
-Always anneal your piece before stretching/reducing! You’ll want to fire coat your piece to protect the finish: brush on flux and heat the piece with a low soft flame until it starts to anneal or glow slightly red. Quench and pickle to remove the boric acid coating
-Don’t stretch or reduce too quickly – you may crack the metal
-always anneal between sessions
For reducing:
-place the ring in the circle that’s just slightly too small – the ring should sit slightly above. Push on the arm to squish it down, turn over the ring and repeat the process
ring resizer2
For enlarging
-Layering a piece of paper on the inside of the band prior to putting it on the enlarging mandrel helps to reduce the stretching marks on the inside of the ring. Saves you time during clean up.

Artist Spotlight : Emilie Shapiro!

We absolutely love Emilie Shapiro’s work so much. Not just her incredible use of natural stone elements and recycled metals but how she pairs them with contemporary techniques and experimentation that are incorporated into her work as a celebration of the beauty of natural imperfection. All production and resources are kept as local as possible, and every piece is handmade in Emilie’s studio in New York City.

emilie in studio

She’s also one of our dear friends and a Liloveve instructor.  Emilie has a fantastic book launching April 5th at Artist & Fleas, however we have her giving a lecture in Jewelry Production here at the studio April 2, check out more info here.

“How To Create Your Own Jewelry Line”

emilie book

Here’s a fun Q & A we had with the talented designer:

Liloveve Studio: When did you first start making jewelry?

Emilie Shapiro: I started making jewelry when I was 13 and haven’t stopped since!

LS: What class(es) have you taught at Liloveve? 

ES:  I’ve taught just about everything but focus on wax carving, jewelry production and special techniques like keum boo and water casting.

LS:  Where do you draw your inspiration when designing your work?

ES:  Textures, color and movement in nature. I studied dance for twenty years and am very inspired by how the body moves and how pieces move with the body.

LS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?

ES:  My work is sold in galleries, museums and specialty boutiques nationally like Anthropologie, Sundance Catalog and The American Museum of Natural History.

LS:  Have you been featured in any press?

ES:  My work has been featured in publications such as Vogue Japan, Elle Greece and Brooklyn Magazine.

LS:  What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

ES:  That’s a difficult question because it always changes! My current favorite piece is the mosaic wilted collar. The construction and movement of this piece are really wonderful.

Mosaic Wilted Collar

LS:  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

ES:  Mars. I can’t even imagine the colors and textures you would find there….

LS:  If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

ES:  I think I’d like to time travel to meet my great grandfather Abe Parker. He was an inventor and designer, most famous for his invention of the blue dot light that were used as flash bulbs for cameras. I would love to work on lighting and large scale mechanical sculptures with him – so waiting until time travel is possible!

LS:  What’s the most fun aspect of being a jewelry designer?

ES:  Working with my hands every day is so satisfying. Being a designer connects me with so many interesting people and brings me to interesting places.

LS:  Where can we see your work?

ES: | @emilieshapirojewelry

Book Launch Event details / ticket sales –

Register for the Production Workshop with Emilie here

Here’s a slideshow of just some of her fabulous work!

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MJSA Expo! Spotlight ~ Gangi Gems

Hi all!

This past Sunday – Tuesday was the jewelry industry’s MJSA Expo.  I went to the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side on a cold rainy Monday morning to check out what’s new and exciting in the industry.   I’m so happy I did!  Among all the new CAD programs and laser machines I found a handful of local vendors that I would happily recommend to our students here at the Liloveve Studio.

One of which was the amazing and unusual gems that Bill Gangi presented.

Here’s some cool pics!

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Learn how to set some of these interesting stones in one of our 6-week classes!

Intro to Wax Carving


Mar 23rd – May 4th  (no class 3/30) | Wednesdays| 6-9pm | wax included + tool list | Register Now!


Class Spotlight; Soldering Intensive ~ Chain Making

This Weekend hone those soldering skills in our awesome Chain Making class!


Saturday + Sunday | Jan 23+24 | 11am-5:00pm | $240 | Register Now!

Handmade chains are works of art – each link is individually created, so like snowflakes, they are similar, never identical. Choose between different gauges and shapes of wire such as round, squared, flat and triangle. Learn how to shape and form the links, to solder and join them, and how to shine, oxidize or add texture to create dimension. We finish with a handmade clasp.

Learn to coil wire to make circles and loops, how to use pin connections for bar pieces, or create a more intricate link to be cast and a matching toggle. The use of hammer texture and assorted finishes such as matte, oxidized, or high polish will also be covered. You can then complete your chain with a handmade clasp.

2015 Holiday Markets and Fairs in New York City

Support your local artisans and shop around the city’s Holiday markets!  We know a number of designers and jewelers that participate in these fairs and we love to shop for something unique and special as our holiday gifts.  We’ve compiled a pretty extensive list below for your shopping pleasure!


Bryant Park Holiday Shops, New York CityHoliday Shops at Bryant Park’s WInter Village
Date: Opens October 30, 2015-January 3, 2016
The Holiday Shops include more than 125 boutique-like shops offering exquisite gift ideas from distinctive apparel to jewelry, decorative goods, local foods, and much more. There’s something for everyone – adults, kids, and even pets. The Holiday Shops are laid out along the park’s allees and terraces, and housed in Bryant Park’s own custom-designed kiosks. Look for Surya Brasil’s shop with the brand’s coveted products including skin, hair, and shave collections, as well as vegan lip balms. Surya Brasil is also collaborating with emerging artisanal Brazilian brands like Bambusa, Natural Fashion and Natural Cotton Color, creators of 100% organic cotton intimate apparel, products for the home and men’s, women’s and children’s fashion that is produced with natural dyes made from plant extracts.

Hours: Monday-Friday: 11am-8pm; Saturday: 10am-9pm; Sunday: 10am-6pm
Location: Bryant Park, 40th to 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue

Grand Central Holiday MarketGrand Central Holiday Fair
Date: November 14-December 24, 2015

Grand Central Terminal’s 16th annual Holiday Fair is the only holiday market in the city to operate indoors. This season, the Fair will fill Vanderbilt Hall with 76 vendors for six weeks each offering a wonderful array of holiday gifts for all your loved ones including art, clothing for adults and children, handbags, jewelry and accessories for men and women, bath and body items, home goods, collectible toys, holiday items and gifts for pets.

Hours:  Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-7pm; Thanksgiving Eve Closing at 8pm; closed Thanksgiving Day; Christmas Eve Closing at 6pm
Location: Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, 15 Vanderbilt Ave. (42nd St. and Park Ave.)

Date: November 19-December 24, 2015

Over 100 merchants are on hand to bring you the most unique gifts available. The Union Square Holiday Market is the place to do your holiday shopping. Some of the items you may find this year include: Hand-blown glass housewares; Local, handmade leather belts; Bags and accessories made from recycled plastic; A variety of handmade jewelry; Gloves, hats, Tibetan crafts and more!
There will also be nibbles and noshes throughout the market. Dig into German delights, both sweet and savory treats. Top things off with a hot apple cider or cappuccino to stay warm. There are so many beautiful things to browse and relish!


Hours: : Monday–Friday 11am-8pm; Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-7pm; on December 24 market closes at 4pm
Location: Union Square at 14th Street

Date: December 1-December 24, 2015
Located in one of the most stunning locations in New York City, historic Central Park, the market is the perfect place to enjoy a hot meal or snack, shop for holiday gifts and spend time with friends and family.
Some of the items you’ll find include:
•    Handmade wooden puzzles
•    Gingerbread houses and kits
•    French truffles
•    Mother and daughter apparel
•    Shearling
•    Handcrafted home accessories
•    Gorgeous handmade jewelry

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am to 8pm; Sunday 10am-7pm Sunday; on December 24 market closes at 4pm

Location: West 59th St. and Broadway

20th Annual Crafts at the Cathedral
Date: December 4, 5, 6, 2015

Welcome to the site of one of the top crafts events in the New York Metro Region for the holiday season. Crafts at the Cathedral celebrates its 19th Annual Fair with excellence in arts and crafts in a high quality and well attended 3 day event. Over 60 Artisans will be exhibiting their finest work. Our goals for the show are to provide a great environment for skilled crafts people to exhibit and sell their work and to provide a great buying experience for all who come. Hope to see you at the show!
Hours:  Dec 4: 5-8pm; Dec 5: 10am-6pm; Dec 6: 11am-5pm; $6 / day, $7 / weekend

Location: St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Ave and West 110th St, Manhattan

Date: December 19-20, 2015

More than 200 vendors will participate in our two-day holiday shopping extravaganza — more than 200 of the best craft, handmade, vintage, and tasty treat vendors to our brand new space in the vibrant heart of Greenpoint for our ninth BUST Holiday Craftacular in New York!

Hours:  Saturday and Sunday: 11am-7pm
Location: Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Date: TBA
The 163rd Jolly Holly Fair: This popular holiday event is brought to the North Shore community through the labor, donations and enthusiastic participation of the congregation at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. Once again perennial favorites will include home-baked Christmas goodies; the Boutique, which displays an abundance of gently used items; White Elephants; raffles and 50/50. New this year: DIY Crafts table; Fair Trade coffees, teas and chocolates. And, as always, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus who will drop by at 1pm. to delight the children. Breakfast and a delicious home-cooked lunch will be available at a modest price. Admission to the fair is free.

Location: Unitarian Church of Staten Island, 312 Fillmore St, Staten Island

Date: December 6, 13, 20, 2015, 12-6pm

Astoria Market is an artisan market filled with handmade, baked, and vintage goods. The market is based out of the Main Hall of the famous Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. The creators of the Astoria Market also occasionally work on creating various pop-up events at other locations.

Hours: 12-6pm

Location: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue between 29th and 31st Streets, Queens

Artists and Fleas Holiday Shopping, New York CityArtists and Fleas at Chelsea Market 

Date: Daily. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market is an exciting Fall / Holiday seasonal pop-up shop bringing a curated collection of independent designers, emerging artists and vintage collectors from the Artists & Fleas family over time to the heart of Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District. Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market is where old world bazaar meets new world chic, where globe-trotting Romany culture meets the best of boho Brooklyn. Part designer showcase, part maker’s market, the market will host over 30 independent creators, makers and designers of art, jewelry, design, home accessories, vintage clothing, and all things indie, funky, Brooklyn and bespoke from both Artists & Fleas’ 9 years in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the larger creative community across New York City.
Hours: 10:30am-7pm
Location: Chelsea Market, 88 10th Avenue at 15th Street

Brooklyn Flea Holiday MarketBrooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg Holiday Market
DateSaturdays & Sundays, 10am-6pm
The New York Times called the Flea “One of the great urban experiences in New York”; Travel + Leisure, Country Living, Budget Travel, and Fodor’s have ranked the Flea one of the best markets or antiques shows in the U.S. and the world; and Time Out NY named the Flea one of New York’s Essential Pick-Up Spots.
November through March, Brooklyn Flea moves indoors for the Winter Flea + Holiday Market with 100 vintage/antique/other vendors plus 25 vendors selling food every
Hours: 10am-7pm until Christmas; 10am-6pm from Christmas-March
Location: 241 37th Street, Industry City, Brooklyn


Winter Solstice Celebration & Holiday Marketplace

Date: Sunday December 6 2015

Enjoy nature, music, food and shopping for a full day at the Queens Botanical Garden’s holiday marketplace. Children can participate in a variety of activities from storytelling to interactive crafts, and parents can impress the whole family with unique gifts come holiday season.

Queens Botanical Garden , Queens

Jewelry Sales: Where will you sell your work?

The Holidays are around the corner. If you’re a jewelry designer or make other handmade crafts, 50% of your sales may be done during the Holidays Seasons! Here are a few ways to amp up your sales this season….

  • Directly from your studio. The Holidays are a great time of year to have a sample sale in person and/or online to get rid of some inventory to make room for new work.
  • Have a jewelry (or other item) party! Ask a friend or family member to host you and your work at their home or office. Bring snacks and wine and gift your host a piece for having the party.
  • Online – Etsy, bigcartel, your own Squarespace, site and so many more! There are tons of ways to make an inexpensive online presence or website that someone can shop from.


  • Retail Shows – Retailing is selling your goods directly to the public from a fixed location or online. Check out local craft shows in your area. The Holidays are great because people are looking for gifts. Be sure to ask the what the median price point is and what other vendors will be there to make sure you’re a good fit. Also, make sure to have a sign and a cohesive display for your work. Good lighting is a must, especially for jewelry, so make sure to ask about electricity. Don’t forget your business cards or postcards and packaging. (Some of these Trade Show Tips go for retail shows as well.)
  • Wholesale – Wholesaling is selling your goods in large quantities to be resold by other retailers. Set a minimum price or piece order to make it worth your time and so a retailer has a good selection of your work represented. Check out local stores you think your work would fit in with. Who else do they sell and for what prices? Would your work look good next to them? Walk in wearing your work (or pictures of your objects), be very friendly and ask who is the buyer and get in touch. Don’t waste your time or buyers time if it’s not a good fit or price point.

Getting Ready For Tradeshow Season

This season for tradeshows is almost here. In fact, we’re just under one month out from the biggest show I do every year (yikes!). As I’m preparing to show my newest collection at NY Now (formerly New York International Gift Show) – I thought I’d share some tips for preparing for a show.

Exhibitiing at a wholesale or retail show for the first time is super intimidating. Just remember that most people looking at your stuff haven’t seen it before! Even if you’ve seen a piece 1,000 times – it’s brand new to someone else.

trade show


Make sure your work is displayed clean and clear. Your display should reflect the mood of your work, but certainly not overshadow it. I often see the most incredible displays, but have no idea whats they’re selling. My work is very rough and organic so I use slabs of wood, shells and other found objects to display my work on a handmade table that helps set the mood. I like to make my display feel like a store that I (and my customers) would want to shop in.


Make sure that your prices are clearly marked on your pieces. You can use jewelry tags, small stickers or have a price list out. I once saw work displayed on a piece of black slate with pricing written in chalk. It was a great contrast for her hand forged, high polished silver jewelry.

Know your stuff! Make sure you (and any assistant you have helping) knows the pricing, materials, and other important information about your work. This is your work – don’t be shy and let people know what makes it special. Buyers want to know why their customers will want to purchase your treasures.


Bring snacks, seriously. Usually at a show I’m too busy to slip away and take lunch. I always pack granola bars, apples and peanut butter, and other snacks that are easy to eat and filling. Bring a reusable water bottle (I also always bring my own coffee in the morning) so you can refill. Snacks and drinks are either super expensive at tradeshows or not readily available. Dont’ forget to stay hydrated if you’re under flourescent lights all day. No one wants to buy jewelry from you if you’re hungry, thirsty and grumpy – trust me.


You can have the most incredible work displayed really beautifully, but if it’s not illuminated correctly no one will see it. Most convention centers have high ceilings with flourescent lights. Make sure to read your contract really well so you know their policy with bringing your own lights. Most of the time you can, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to ask questions. I buy a strip of track lighting from the Hardware store and hang it to the cross bar of the booth with zip ties. You can also purchase extra lights to add to the track and point directly at your jewelry.

Reading Material

Make sure to have a postcard with an awesome picture, some info about your work and how to get in touch with you. You have tons of people looking at your work, so make sure they remember you!

Interested in learning more? Check out our Jewelry Production class where we’ll cover creating jewelry efficiently for large and small production, pricing, and how to get your work out!

Are you looking to take the leap and exhibit at a trade show? Here are some local ones in New York City:

NY Now | D&A | JA Show | COEUR | Capsule

Tips for Holiday Market Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and perhaps be selling your handmade wares at local Holiday Markets. Here are a few tips help you through the season!emilie shapiro gift show


  • Always setup your display before you get to the market. It’s really important to have a plan of what you’re going to do – especially if you need something last minute or end up running late.
  • I recommend a table that’s eye level so people don’t have to bend down. Try working with different levels. You can raise neck forms using risers on the back of your table.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and use non-traditional items in your display. Your setup should evoke the feeling of your jewelry, but not overpower it. You don’t want your display to look nicer than your work.
  • Make sure all of your work has a price tag.
  • Here’s what’s in my emergency market kit: extra price tags, calculator, pens, band aids, breath mints, round nose / chain nose pliers, zip ties (they’re handy for everything), ring sizer, mini stapler
  • Don’t forget a mirror!

Show Survival

  • Bring atleast $20 in singles worth of change
  • Bring snacks! You might not be able to sneak out for lunch, so make sure to pack lots of snacks and water.
  • Don’t forget business cards / postcards. There are lots of imexpensive options if you don’t have them printed. You can print them out yourself with the template cards from an office supply store. You can also stamp your own paper.
  • Put out a mailing list – it’s a great way to collect names for future shows and announcements.
  • Have fun!