Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sigh.......*warning* long post ahead.......

I am having a bad day.

The Gem Show was pretty lame. Don't get me wrong....there was lots of 'stuff'. But all the cabs were either small and blah/same old, or they were overpriced compared to where I get mine from.

Husband ended up coming with me and he pushed our daughter round in her pram whilst I browsed, though it was really hard to see much really. The aisles were slim and there were a lot of people there hovering for ages over the tables, so it was hard to get a decent look see.

Then we passed several stalls of 'handmade' jewelry. They were made with lovely stones. Very simple and basic settings, no chains with the pendants. They were selling them for very very cheap. Instantly that puts my husband in the 'you need to really drop your prices' & 'you need to make yours shiny and professional looking like theirs' mode.

It really pisses me off when I am compared to others, especially when you don't know whether they are making these pieces themselves (my opinion was they weren't), how long they have been making them, how much they source their materials for and so on....

All the jewelry was polished to a really high shine, which I struggle to do as I haven't got a clue what I am doing in that department yet. Cut a long story short, the gem show ruined my whole day. I am very easily defeated.

All the way home and then some, we discussed what I should do. When I got home I immediately looked up these 'handmade' jewelry sellers to see whether they truly were handmade by that seller. And just as I suspected, no one said they were making them by hand themselves. They stated that they 'designed' them. You can tell from the fact that all these sellers were selling very similar pieces, just with different stones. The settings and prices were the same and no one sold pendants with chains. And they had hundreds of pieces.

Basically I figure they are sourcing their pieces from countries like India or Thailand and then selling them on. So yes in a sense they are actually handmade, but not by the person selling them on. And hence the price being so cheap, because they got them on the cheap.

Tonight I decided that I have to learn how to get a high/er polish on my jewelry and tried it on a ring waiting to be set and I actually had some success, it turned out 100% better than my other stuff and looked a lot more I started to feel positive about everything again.......but now when I have set the stone, it rattles :( I feel like screaming! (I am pms'ing as well). Hubby thinks I just have to push the bezel in I might give it another go tomorrow....but now I am too down to bother.

If you got this! I feel better having written down my thoughts. I feel better knowing that I can get a much better finish now.

But I can't however, get the bezel setting to be long does it take to smooth the bezel down with a burnisher? Could I be going at it till I get serious cramp? Or should it not take too long?? Can anyone help?????

Can anyone offer any tips when it comes to polishing to a high shine??

I feel so lost sometimes and give up too easily.....


Amy Nicole/RubyMtnBeads said...

Ah Emma, you can't compare yourself to people that sell stuff at the gem show. It's just like you said, they are mass producing the stuff. That's not your market anyway. You are looking for the buyers that truly appreciate hand crafted. And I love my husband, but he can place doubts into my mind re: jewelry, but the truth is, he doesn't know the first thing about it. He always mentions the shininess to me too! (what is it with men and shiny?) anyway... one of the first rings I made has a rattle, I had a metalsmith tell me to use the rocking bezel pusher on it. Haven't tried yet to see if it helps, but it's supposed to help push it all in from the bottom to the top. I think being tired and frustrated didn't help, if you give it another go when you're fresh, it will probably burnish like a dream. Also, (a little late now I know) but I was also told to put saw dust under the stone to keep it from clacking. As far as shine, I use white diamond on a muslin polishing wheel, followed by Zam as the final polish. It produces a pretty high shine. I like to oxidize everything now a days though. Anyway, chin up girl!

Kim said...

Aw, sorry about the disappointment w/ the show, and you were so excited to go too. Honestly, w/ my social anxiety I could never do a gem show, just your mention of the crowded aisles had me cringing! Yes, there's the obvious benefit of getting to see them in person & touch them, but if you've found a good source online, might just be worth it to stick w/ them for your cabs.

I agree w/ Amy, the other sellers are absolutely selling mass-produced items. Bah to that! There are tons of people out there who appreciate hand crafted & your pieces are beautiful. If I could craft the little silver beads I use in my jewelry I would, and hey, someday I may learn!

Gotta say I do appreciate shiny, but I really love the more natural look of silver, and in a lot of cases much more than that slick look. I'm sure I'm not alone. Polishing is for sure a technique worth learning, but there's also the brushed look, textures & of course oxidized as Amy mentioned [a personal favorite!]. If you can, try to file your husband's drop your prices & make everything look 'professional' comments into the I'm sure well-meaning, but not so much helpful advice category, and continue to value your own hard work & keep true to your own style. Sorry for the length, just know you're on the right path for you & you're not alone. :)

Alice Istanbul said...

You are right, those items are most likely handmade (mass produced handmade) abroad, which means the criteria for pricing is completely different. There is no comparison. I'm sure your husband has the best intentions in his advice to you, but you should probably only take advice from people in the industry, know what I mean? :) And high shine doesn't necessarily equal 'professional'. None of my pieces are high shine, because that's not the look I strive for :) Send me a convo if you have any questions. I'm happy to help.

littlecherryhill said...

Amy - I think husbands mean well...tho they don't really know what they are talking about :) I have had another go at the bezel and it's still lumpy. I am figuring maybe the bezel wall was a smidgen too high? sigh....Thanks for your comment tho, you did make me feel better!

Kim - I struggle with big crowds too. I can't stand them. So I am glad that I had my little girl and husband there with me...we didn't spend very long anyways. I would love to learn to make silver beads myself too! Shame we are on opposite sides of the world! We could have learnt together! Thanks for your comment and helping me to get 'over it' lol :)

Alice - Thanks for your offer to help! I don't want all my work to have a high shine, as you said it doesn't equal 'professional'. I like a mix of the brushed, oxidized and shiny. Some stones don't work with a high shine etc, as they stand out more with oxidization. I very much value your opinion and the ladies above too, as you all know what I am going thru and do such fabulous work! I am going to let his comments go in one ear and out the other this time....or else I will let it get to me. :)

Kim said...

I'm always better when someone's w/ me, I even sometimes bring my rats in their little carry bag. When I get nervous I reach right in & give them a scratch. Unless they get excited & pop their noses out, no one's any the wiser. :D I envision making lovely intricate filigree beads & caps... might be a bit ambitious, but fun to dream & hey you never know!