Reviews: Fire Mountain Gems “Barely There Chain” and the 3-D Metal Clay Creator by Metal Adventures

FMG Chain Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has introduced a light weight sterling silver chain.  When they say “light weight” they mean it!  When I first received the sample I was surprised how thin it was.  I’ve never worked with such thin chains.  My work is more on the “robust” side.  While attending a few art and craft shows recently, I took the time to chat with jewellery makers who had “petite” jewellery in their booths.  All were surprised that the “barely there” jewellery was the hot item this year especially for buyers between 25 and 35 years old.

To test the chain I wore it with a pendant I made with an image of a drawing by my daughter.  I thought my pendant would be too big and heavy for such a light chain, but it wasn’t.  It was quite comfortable.  I think design-wise my pendant should be smaller to suit the scale of the chain.

Chain available here: Price $3.67, 0.6mm cable, 18 inches with springring clasp.

cape 5Metal Adventures the makers of several brands of metal clay, has a new invention to shake things up in the metal clay world!  The 3-D Metal Creator by Bill Struve is a very cool invention.  We profiled Bill and this new tool a few weeks ago in an article.  Since then I’ve had a chance to work with this CO2 powered clay extruder.  I have had a lot of fun learning how it works, and how to create intricate metal clay work.  My only caveat is that this tool is addictive!  It is quiet, easy to use and for me it is bringing to life designs I left in my design notebook due to carpel tunnel.

To test the extruder I first had to assemble the parts and prepare a work space.  The syringe extruder snaps easily onto the cartridges of metal clay and the hoses to the CO2 canister are also easy to attach.  The only struggle I had was with getting the black cap off the syringe so that I could add a tip to the syringe.  I’ve discovered that a scrap of cloth (or my shirt sleeve) gives me enough grip to remove the black cap.  (I put the cap back on when I finished working to keep the clay soft.)

Bill has included a sheet of steel mesh in with his “Kickstarter” package.  I was used to an “open shelf” firing for base metal clays and THEN putting the piece into carbon for the 2nd firing.  Trust me…Bill’s way of firing by making a steel mesh box and placing just a minimum of carbon on top is the way to fire!  There is no need to move the piece from one firing to the next…less breakage!  And something I really like is that I can piggy back the firing and take advantage of a hot kiln thereby saving on my electric bill!

Image shows a clasp I made for a cape.  I can’t wait to find more time to make new pieces to include with my fashion designs. 3-D Metal Creator and syringes of clay will be available in Spring 2016 through Cool Tools for $199.00 and it includes: A filled 20 oz CO2 Tank, Pressure Regulator, Foot Valve, 50 gm cartridge of BRONZpaste3D, 10 ml cartridge adapter. Additional 50 gm cartridges of BRONZpaste3D $13.63.

540704_577388125607677_846842341_nJeannette Froese LeBlanc is the editor at and a jewellery artist . When she is not heralding the wonders of jewellery making or chasing her kids, she rearranges her tools and materials in her studio…hoping someday to slow down long enough to get back to her own jewellery line.



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