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     Fresh.  Stylish.  One-of-a-Kind.

Lindsey Corter graduated from James Madison University in 2006 and since, has been looking for a profession where she could combine her entrepreneurial spirit, her love for people, and her creative side.  Lindsey says, "This is my gift, and I’ve always wanted to find a way to pay it forward, not only to the women who have supported me, but to women everywhere."  

She found the answer to that when she founded Blair Essentials in 2008.  

What was once just a thought has grown into something that helps make women smile every day. Blair Essentials has more than 500 individual designs to choose from and is now represented in various boutiques all over the US from New York to Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico & California.

"My company's continued success allows me to not only help women feel special, but also to support causes I am passionate about like Breast Cancer Awareness & Animal Rescue.  I can give through my gift, and this means the world to me."

Lindsey is also the Marketing Specialist for Richard Stravitz Art Gallery in Virginia Beach, VA and works as a resident artist out of the 30th Street & Pacific Avenue Gallery.  

 

 

Ask About Custom Designing!

Looking for a special piece to make that outfit pop? Have an upcoming event or engagement and want to stand out from the crowd?  Jewelry for your bridesmaids always makes a great gift!!  Let me help you create custom jewelry that ties it all together.  Email me at BlairEssentialsJewelry@gmail.com or call (757)714-6502 for more information.

Host a Party!

Blair Essentials will come to your home and show off some fun jewelry.  Grab some girlfriends and plan a fun get together!  Just for getting some girlfriends together, pick out a SET of jewelry of your choice on us : )

An in-home party is a great way to connect with people. Break the ice with a new group of co-workers, throw a memorable house-warming party or just gather the girls for a fun wine night!

 

MY DICHROIC GLASS PROCESS

           When working with glass, first, I have to think of the colors and design that I want.  I have to fit them together like a puzzle piece!  All the glass must either be COE 90 or COE 96, which is the coefficient of expansion.  If the COE does not match, the glass will not fire and melt together.  Luckily there are only 2 types for dichroic glass!  First, I cut my base glass shape, whether I decide to make a square, rectangle, triangle, little square earrings… etc.  Then I begin my design.  To cut the glass, I first score it with a glass cutter from side to side, then use running pliers to make the actual cut.  With some pieces, I make sure the top dichroic glass fits just right on the base glass.  With others, I make overlapping glass on top of the base glass or stack the glass on top of each other, like layers.  This all depends on the design I am trying to make. 

           Next, I decide my firing schedule and type.  I love what’s called a Tack fire.  A Tack fire is slightly lighter than a full fuse fire, and simply "tacks" the various glass pieces together, but does not fully melt them into each other.  With tack firing, you can still see the individual pieces of glass I laid out originally, and the texture is maintained as well.  It is more of a rough fire, but it doesn’t dim the colors in the glass as much, and since I love color I use it quite often!  When I tack fuse pieces, I ramp my kiln up to 1350 degrees at the highest temperature point.  I use 6 firing steps in this ramp.  Tack pieces can be cooled a bit more quickly than full fuse as the firing temperature is not as high, although it does still take several hours. If I do a full fuse fire, the glass pieces melt together completely and more smoothly.  I might decide to do one, two, or even a three layer piece on a full fuse fire and each one comes out differently depending on how the glass melts.  The outcome also depends on whether or not I use clear glass to separate my layers and show some depth.  The highest temperature I put this fire up to is 1550 degrees, which varies slightly depending on the amount of layers I use.  I fuse pieces with this ramp schedule in 8 steps. When full fusing, I found it is even more important to gradually lower the temperature over several hours to avoid the glass cracking.  Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way when I first started making glass!

          After I’ve fired a load of pieces, I use a Dremel rotary tool to round off the sides and corners as they melt down into a point most of the time after I fire them.  I want to make sure my pieces are not sharp!  I also sand down the back of each piece so they are comfortable to wear against bare skin when needed. After this is complete I also do a final "fire polish" which is a kiln technique I use that quickly heats the glass just to the point that the top layer is heated and "polished".  This gives the pieces a nice sheen to them, and eliminates any of the grinding marks on the corners made by the rotary tool that you can especially see when sanding down the black glass.

            Finally, I use a silver or gold bail on each piece, whether turning them into earrings or a pendant necklace.  For my glass bracelets, I wire wrap them with silver or gold aluminum.  I use 12 gauge to create the bracelet base, then use 18 gauge aluminum to wrap the piece and make sure it holds to the base.  The smaller the gauge, the thicker the aluminum wire, so 12 gauge makes for a perfect flexible bracelet base that will not bend or break.  I use E6000 glass glue for my bails.  I clean the bail with rubbing alcohol, then glue it to the piece from the upright side I think looks best as the top.  These have to set for 24 hours, then be baked in the oven for extra security at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  This really sets the glue in place.

 

SEMI-PRECIOUS STONE WORK & ALUMINUM DESIGNS

            I described the aluminum work above a bit.  I use needle nose plyers to get my swirl started and wrap the ends of the aluminum.  I use a hammer to create an original design.  I sometimes hammer the top half of say, a pair of earrings, something the bottom.  I will hammer one side of a bracelet, and sometimes maybe the swirl at the end.  This way, each piece I create is completely different and original.

            I create a braided design as well with crystals and semi- precious stones.  To start, I decide my colors.  A lot of women love blue and turquoise.  If I’m doing a design with this stone and in this color scheme, I’d use 6mm & 4mm Swarovski crystals bicones, 8mm pearls, turquoise stones and general odd shaped, tube or cone crystals which are rare to find.  I also love silver wire balls which give a rustic feel to such a sparkly piece!  Just like a braid in someone’s hair, I use either 3 or 5 strands in my braided designs.  First I do one of the stands completely.  The second strand is all about the placement.  I know the piece will not braid correctly and lay just right if I do not space out, say a long tube quartz piece on my second strand, where I have used a bigger crystal or pearl in that exact spot on the first strand.  Once my second strand is made, I use glass bugle beads, tube style with crystals for the 3rd strand.  I do 4 bugles, then one 4mm crystals bicone and repeat until that stand is just as long as the 1st two.  Once I have all three strands laid out, I clasp the ends of one side of them with what is called a slider clasp.  It has hoops and slides open very easily so older women who have trouble with clasps feel very comfortable using them.  I proceed to braiding my design, and at the end, depending on the spacing, I might need to shorten or lengthen one of the three or five strands so they clasp evenly.  Once they are even, I clasp them to the other side of the slider and I’m finished!  To clasp I use crimp beads and crimp covers so the closing of the necklace looks clean and nice.

            In addition to braided designs, I make what I call double and single strand designs with various stones and hand blown glass beads.  Similar to the braided pieces, the double strands are a lot about the placement of the stones with the two strands so the beads lay right when the piece is worn.  I can’t use two big beads at the same spot on both strands of the necklace or it just won’t lay right.  My single strands I like to make big, with fun crystal pieces and original wooden beads so they really make a statement.