I hope some of you caught the interview I had with Thomas Mann this afternoon at 3:00 PM Pacific on October 21st, 2010.  If you didn’t, you can listen here.

What a talented guy!  I asked him, at one point whether he thought we might be able to somehow distill the “essence” of Tho. Mann, bottle it, and market it.  I thought it would be a great seller.

Tom is a wonderful mentor for many up and coming jewelry artists, and has so much vital business information that jewelers need to stay in business in these crazy times.

Thomas Mann said during his interview that he was on the road 240 days last year, doing craft shows, workshops, and lectures.  Wow.  This is a movin’ kind of guy, barely finding time for his hobbies sailing and cooking.  He’s even working on a cook book, believe it or not!

I’d urge you to listen to what Tom has to say, by downloading his interview from our Whaley Studios website. Click on the BlogtalkRadio tab, and you’ll see the offerings of past interviews we’ve done there.

—Jay Whaley


Gold prices headed for steep drop?

by jaywhaley on September 29, 2010

I remember when I first started making jewelry in high school, it was 1968.  I considered buying some gold to cast with, but it was horribly expensive… $35 an ounce.  Now, in Sept. 2010, it just went over $1300 an ounce.  I won’t even pretend to understand the many reasons gold has been driven to this insane price.

Investors with a lot more understanding of financial markets than I have probably can figure out the many market forces that make gold and other precious metals rise and fall.   It’s just too bad that gold is such a critical material to us metalsmiths, and its price increases can really influence how ( or IF) we earn a living.

I really don’t know whether gold prices will just continue to go out of sight, or peak and head down into more realistic levels.  My local coin dealer, whom I buy my 24K gold from, thinks that the gold investors who have driven up the price of gold by buying up lots of it for speculation, are getting ready to sell off their gold and take their profits, realizing that gold is near the absolute top in value.  My dealer friend predicts gold to hit $1400 by Christmas, but to then plunge in price as investors sell off and the world gold supply increases.   I like that scenerio.

I’d like to see gold come back to, say, $500 an ounce, still expensive, but more affordable, compared to today’s prices.

I guess we have no choice but to stay on the gold roller coaster and try to hang on.  Cross your fingers that gold gets more affordable…and soon!

–Jay Whaley


Fabrication: Modifying the elements for a better effect.

September 26, 2010

A new student of mine recently asked my advice on a fabricated pendant she had planned to mold and replicate by casting.  It was made out of curved lengths of square wire, soldered together.  As I looked at the construction, I realized that it would never mold and cast as cleanly as the fabricated model […]

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Why so much sharing of information?

September 23, 2010

This afternoon, I had an hour long interview with noted stone cutter/jeweler Michael Boyd on my weekly BlogTalkRadio show.   I asked Michael a lot of questions about his background, where he lives, and many questions about techniques he uses in his work.  During our talk, I found myself taking copious notes on two special techniques […]

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This new old torch

May 10, 2010

My office manager was getting rid of some of her hand tools, and knew I’d be interested in buying an old torch she had brought in for me to see. Oh yeah. She knows me well.  It was an oldie, a brand I’d never heard of, with a red anodyzed aluminum handle and dark, aged […]

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Cooperman and Damewood together!

April 17, 2010

What a circus we’ve got going on this weekend! At our studios we have both Andy Cooperman doing a 3 day workshop, and Loren Damewood teaching a  2 day woven wire workshop. Loren has his group out on our tree shaded balcony working with them right now making silver wire bracelets on a custom built […]

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Overused Hands

March 21, 2010

Having been in the jewelry making business since the late 60’s, I’ve developed a pretty strong set of hands. I’m pretty proud of what they’ve accomplished over the years. I’ve never had any major accidents with my fingers and hands, except for the bike accident I had when I broke my right thumb back in […]

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SNAG Conference Live interviews Mar. 10-13 2010

March 16, 2010

I flew back from Houston Monday morning with my engineer/producer/ Gregg Masters, after hosting 4 days of live interviews with SNAG Conference notables in Houston, Texas.  In this series of 8 daily 15 min. interviews, recorded for blogtalkradio, I spoke with Tim McCreight, Margorie Schick, Don Freidlich, Andy Cooperman, Mary  Lee Hu, Victoria Lansford, Cynthia […]

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Torch set-up hell…

January 22, 2010

Not too long ago, I set up a “manifold” torch system in  my studio.  I needed to put individual jeweler’s torches on 5 benches against one wall, and 4 benches on another wall.  The group of 5 benches already had a natural gas pipe to access, but needed another pipe for the oxygen. So not […]

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Hand tools: More or less?

January 21, 2010

I had an interview with Michael David Sterlin on blogtalkradio this afternoon, and we had a great discussion about teaching metalsmithing,  Both of us have been metalsmiths for decades, but have discovered that  teaching others to make jewelry has become a major part of our careers.  Why is that?  Probably because it offers a unique […]

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