January 2009

Passion vs. Profit

A lady once stopped by my stand at an international trade show, lifted a simple coral and silver bracelet and commented, ‘So, all you do is thread stuff on string?'  Luckily, I am not prone to violence. I have been running a jewelry business for over five years, and most people would be amazed at how little time I spend actually designing, and making jewelry.  I would estimate that a good 50% of my time is spent in other job roles: administrator, accountant, sales representative, photographer, and webmaster.  Filling these roles is one of the main differences between a hobbyist and a professional jeweler. Making jewelry as a hobby you have the luxury of creating whatever you wish, with no regard for recouping the cost of materials.  You can simply design what you love to wear, whether anyone else likes it or not.  Your designs can be shaped by your own sense of fashion and whimsy.

Don't put all your materials in one (shopping) basket

Finding suppliers for all of your jewelry making supplies tends to be an ongoing process as you change skill level and come up with new ideas.   You have to keep searching for new and inspiring materials, and investing in tools and equipment to take your jewelry making to the next level.   For this reason,  it is best to have researched several suppliers to make your purchasing process as smooth as possible. When you find a supplier,  go ahead and register for an account, that way you will be ready if you need to use them.

Sundrop Glass Earrings

I am constantly amazed at the new ways that independant jewelers come up with to make unique and interesting jewelry.  With today's increased awareness about our impact on the planet, a new inspiring trend of socially and environmentally aware jewelry is happening, with jewelers making an effort to ensure that they waste as little resources, energy and materials as possible when making their designs.  Every scrap of silver is recycled, energy efficient light bulbs are replacing flourescent studio lights, and recycling is becoming a design trend in itself. I love both the end design and the method of producing these beautiful Sundrop glass earrings.   Each droplet of glass is hand made by focussing sunlight through a giant magnifying glass to melt colored glass nuggets.  Gravity does the rest of the work,  by pulling the molten glass downward

Close Jumprings in a Flash

Ask most successful people regardless of the type of work they do and they will say that one of the best ways to boost productivity is to find a way to speed up repetitive tasks.  One such task in jewelry making is closing open jumprings.  The traditional method for this is to use two pairs of flat-nosed or chain-nosed pliers, however this method can be cumbersome if you are also trying to hold the piece of jewelry, for example to support it or keep the strands away from the jump ring while you work. This little tool takes a bit of getting used to, but after a few jewelry making sessions that involve closing jumprings you will wond