Why is Handmade Jewelry So Expensive?

If I can go to the “Department” Store, I can get a piece of nice jewelry for half the price!  Why should I buy something handmade? Poppy Jasper Necklace This is a question that can drive an artist to depression, but maybe it is a matter of changing perception!  So why buy handcrafted or handmade jewelry?

floral plume agateLet’s take a look.  This Floral Plume Agate piece is handmade from start to finish.  The stone was mined in the Turkey.  A miner sold the rough stone to a lapidary artist, who made it into a beautiful cabochon, finding the best part of the stone and creating this beauty.  I come along and purchased this stone from him, and I “dressed” it up using sterling silver.  The silver is purchased, then it is formed using techniques such as rolling, stamping, soldering, shaping and forming.

The silver is designed around this individual stone.  It is a one of a kind stone–not mass produced, and you cannot find the exact shape, color or design of this stone.  Therefore, the silver around it is also unique.  Your jewelry is NOT worn by anyone else.  Opal Ring

At the department store, the jewelry is designed by a jeweler, then most often sent overseas to be created, with stones that are mass produced, and the silver is molded by machine into a form, then filed, sanded and polished by skilled laborers.  No one cares about the jewelry they are making. And they are not making it for “you” a particular customer.

Silver Lace Jasper Necklace
When you purchase something handmade from start to finish, and it is something you like, it is something you can have that came from the soul of the artist.

Rhodochrosite Dangle earrings
It is a connection that youcannot get from a mass produced item.  In the case of my stone jewelry, it is the soul of 2 artists–the one who created the stone, and the one who created the silver dressing around the stone.

What is that worth it to you?

Bridewell stone Necklace

Lynne Patnode is a jewelry artist whose main focus is to bring jewelry from nature to you.  She selects beautiful stone cabochons and sets them into sterling silver, focusing on bringing nature’s beauty into a wearable art jewelry form.  She also uses other materials such as glass, shells, and lab created stones and uses them for nature inspired theme jewelry.  All of her jewelry is handcrafted in her Connecticut art studio, and all pieces are one of a kind.  You can shop for her jewelry in her Etsy Shop.  You can also follow her latest news by liking her SilverSpiral Creations Facebook Page.  Find her on Instagram @SilverSpiral1, and Twitter @SilverSpiral1

SilverSpiral Creations Give Away!

Tiger Iron Pendant in Sterling SilverSo it is time for our monthly jewelry giveaway!  I do this to let you all know about the work that I do here, and in hopes that you will spread the word.

Can you help me with this?  So in order to be entered into this contest, you need to guess a number from 1-3000.  Enter your guess in the comments below–and if you share the post, enter your second guess. The closest person to guess the randomly drawn number without going over will win this beautiful Handcrafted Tiger Iron Pendant!  Tiger Iron Pendant in Sterling SilverThis Contest will end on Thursday March 23rd at 6PM EDT.  Share this post, and you can have a second guess!  Good Luck!

SilverSpiral Creations is a small artisan business, and as part of my online presence, I really need to build my audience. Please consider sharing this post with your friends!

The New Obsession-Handmade

istock_000020448352_mediumSo what is this new obsession to have things handmade?  You see it everywhere.  Amazon.com has a new “Handmade” section-supposedly to compete with Etsy.com–but I see handmade popping up everywhere.  Martha Stewart has a handmade initiative, as do many other major retailers–even Ebay is trying to hop on to this bandwagon.

So what is driving this trend?  After researching a little, I found out that customers want to connect with the maker of items.  This gives their new acquisition more meaning, something which we all seek.webmoonstars

Another driver for this trend is the human desire to be individual–we have been told over the years that we need to have the latest designer this and that–but after high school–do we really want to look like everyone else?

There is also the need for us as humans to have an impact on our society, and buying from local, handmade artisans helps to support the community, contributing to art and beauty in our society.  Buying handmade also allows us to make statements about our own beauty–not physically, but spiritually–whether it is buying furniture for your home, accessories for your room, jewelry for yourself or gifts for family and friends.webswan1

There is also a need to return to our roots–we are nostalgic for things that were made by our ancestors, grandparents and parents–we want to replicate this by purchasing handmade.

This has become a trend for gift giving–people want their gifts to be memorable, not always utilitarian, or something that can be easily found in stores.

So there you have it–a willingness to pay a little more for all of these wonderful benefits!  Do you buy handmade?

The 800 Pound Gorilla, Let’s Get Him Out of the Jewelry Studio!

Hello again.  This is Part II of “How to Talk to an Artist,” a blog series about wanting a special something custom made just for you.  Last time, we spoke about having the confidence to approach an artist to ask for a custom order.  Today, let’s talk about making that order!

Since I am an artisan jeweler, I am going to use jewelry as my example, but this would be true if you wanted to order anywebmoonscene2 custom art, painting, sculpture, glasswork, pottery, woodwork, any art!

So what is stopping you from asking for that order?  Well there is an 800 pound Gorilla in the room, and that is price.  It seems to be the biggest hurdle for both customer and artist to jump through, and often stops an order before it begins.

webspinnergold2My thought on this, from an artist’s point of view, is to discuss this first and foremost, even before hearing what the custom order is going to be.  Most often, a customer has an idea of what s/he is willing to spend on something for themselves.  For example, I got an order the other day, where the customer says, I really always wanted a gold bracelet, a big cuff that has a flared shape, and is about 2 inches wide, with a pretty wavy pattern on it.  So I asked her, what did she think it would cost for something like that, and she answered that she thought that would be about $200.  Unfortunately, if that were to be made with gold, the material alone would have been approximately $1400 with gold prices the way they are.  But instead of discouraging her, I mentioned brasscuff1some ways she could get the look she wanted, using gold-filled metal or gold plated metal, and perhaps she could be happy if the cuff were 1.5 inches to 1.75 inches wide.  I would make a prototype in brass, and she could see, or maybe she would like it in brass, which is a gold tone.    But because price was out in the open, it became fun to discuss the possibilities!  She made an order, and ended up paying $225.00 for a gold-filled metal bracelet that was 1.5 inches wide, and she couldn’t be happier.

In other words, we found a way to fulfill her desire!  And it wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable!

What do you think about this?  From either an artist’s point of view or from a customer’s perspective?  Are you willing to talk about pricing first?  Let me know in the comments section what you think!

Cheers!  Lynne

SilverSpiral Creations

 

Why is Handmade Jewelry So Expensive?

This is a question I get all the time! If I can go to the “Department” Store, I can get a piece of nice jewelry for half the price!  Why should I buy something handmade?

dryheadWell–let’s take a look.  This Dryhead Agate piece
is handmade from start to finish.  The stone was mined in the Western USA.  A miner sold the rough stone to a lapidary artist, who made it into a beautiful cabochon, finding the best part of the stone and creating this beauty.  I come along and purchased this stone from him, and I “dressed” it up using sterling silver.  The silver is purchased, then it is formed using techniques such as rolling, stamping, soldering, shaping and forming.  The silver is designed around this individual stone.  It is a one of a kind stone–not mass produced, and you cannot find the exact shape, color or design of this stone.  Therefore, the silver around it is also unique.  Your jewelry is NOT worn by anyone else.  At the department store, the jewelry is designed by a jeweler, then most often sent overseas to be created, with stones that are mass produced, and the silver is molded by machine into a form, then filed, sanded and polished by skilled laborers.  No one cares about the jewelry they are making. And they are not making it for “you” a particular customer.

labradoriteWhen you purchase something handmade from start to finish, and it is something you like, it is something you can have that came from the soul of the artist.  It is a connection that you cannot get from a mass produced item.  In the case of my stone jewelry, it is
the soul of 2 artists–the one who created the stone, and the one who created the silver dressing around the stone.

What is that worth it to you?

Brown Agate Necklace

Sentimental Journey—How do you choose your jewelry?

This past summer, I had the privilege of being able to travel to Germany, the Czech Republic, and the south of France.  These are three very different regions, with their own customs, beauty, and geology. alps1
 The beautiful countryside, the alps, the vineyards, and the wonderful architecture of the buildings, inspired me by their shapes, colors, light, and the sensory overload is difficult to describe.  Some regions call to me to return, while others, not so much.

newwebturquoisecuffIt is much the same when you look at lots of jewelry.  Each piece, with it’s design, stone colors, patterns, and textures all come together to give you a feeling.  Sometimes the feeling is neutral, while other times, this tiny piece of art just calls you.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, my eye keeps traveling back to one piece of jewelry, and If I walk away, I will usually regret not purchasing it.  I have never been sorry when I gave in to buy the piece that calls to me, and it usually becomes a favorite that I wear whenever I can.

webchrysoprase2Chrysoprase in Sterling Silver.

Has this been your experience?  Please share a picture of your favorite piece of jewelry!  I would love to see!