Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handmade Beaded Jewelry - Unique Handmade Jewelry Timeless Treasures

Unique handmade jewelry ranks right up there as one of the wonders of modern day. In fact custom jewelry takes the heart of yesterday and makes it the beauty and wondrous grace of today's beaded jewelry.

Some of the most amazing necklaces, bracelets, earrings worn by today's top names are actually handmade beaded jewelry crafted from the naturally formed stone and elements that have been present on the earth for centuries. It is this tie with nature, with a greater power, that makes handmade jewelry so attractive to so many people.

Gemstone jewelry is often used to symbolize or signify specific qualities the wearer hopes to enhance and accent. Handmade jewelry - perhaps a ruby - accenting a cross may signify the blood of Christ, the sacrifice, while jewelry containing turquoise may symbolize the traditional association of being at one with the sky, or freedom.

In these ways and many more, handmade beaded jewelry can often take the form of the latest style of fashion jewelry while having a meaning that is so much deeper, so much more intense than any trend.

When it comes to gemstones one of our most treasured traditions is the wedding ring and very few are as impressive as the diamond. While diamonds aren't normally used in beaded jewelry we would be remiss if diamonds were not included here.

A diamond is worn on the wedding ring due to its reputation for loyalty and continued love. It is placed on the ring finger of the left hand because it was thought that there was a vein that ran from that finger directly to the heart.

Handmade beaded jewelry artists create magical combinations of natural gemstones, beads and precious metals into one of a kind treasures. These beautiful works of art come to life and are to be cherished and passed along to generation after generation.

Custom crafted gemstone jewelry designed with care and attention to detail by a jewelry artisan, is really special. Whether it's handmade jewelry adorning an antiqued pendant or pearl drop earrings or a unique diamond set ring or an exquisitely crafted gemstone and silver necklace to rival any you would find at a big-name jeweler, handmade beaded jewelry captures the hearts of all who wear them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Handmade Jewelry Replenishes, Expresses the Creative Impulse

Impossible to quantify, inevitable in even the most mundane of tasks, the creative spirit feeds most human efforts. The creative impulse, likely the only commonality behind all endeavors great and small, is as innate as our sense of breathing.

A recent development in expressing the creative impulse, handmade enamel jewelry, actually has its origins in some of mankind's earliest civilizations. Handmade jewelry dates back dozens of centuries, and examples can be found among the surviving relics of the Ancient Roman and Egyptian empires. It's not a new form, but new innovations in the creation tools and new ways of approaching their design are giving the ancient art form a new lease on life for the 21st Century.

The Creative Impulse and The Workings of Narrative

Narratives - more commonly called stories - build themselves on one event leading into another, often with as much unpredictability as possible. In creating jewelry that highlights both iconic and mythological symbols, the handmade enamel jewelry maker is able to incorporate narrative symbols that help the viewer's mind recognize and interpret narratives on its own. The unpredictability in this case comes from the surprise at the jewelry piece's detail, or in finding how the symbol represented on the jewelry evokes and celebrates its own particular narrative.

Enamel jewelry craftsman John Madsen says the finished product both rewards his own creative impulse but also incorporates his work into a larger story. "In making handmade enamel jewelry, you become part of the spread of the story the jewelry represents," Madsen explains. "Even the most abstract designs, as well as those that are designed with a particular aesthetic in mind, challenge the creative impulse, if only to picture more such works like the ones [you see] here."

Crafting Jewelry With A Creative Impulse In Mind

Like its close cousin, fused glass ornaments, handmade enamel jewelry is often used to fire the creative impulse. Like the tree of life pendant, a popular fused glass work of ornamental jewelry, many jewelry pieces are meant not to just to reflect the imagination of the artist but also to fire the creative and cognitive impulses within the viewer. For example, in viewing the tree of life pendant, many viewers are provoked into thinking about its meaning, and which particular mythology to which it belongs. That may also prompt thoughts regarding to spirituality and to one's own spiritual development.

If that seems like a lot to ask from a single piece of jewelry, many handmade enamel and fused glass jewelry craftsmen see their work as not just ornamental but also representative. The jewelry work itself becomes almost totemic, meant not just to adorn but also to recall their symbols' tremendous spiritual potency.

"You get the sense when you create these pieces that you're really contributing to something larger than yourself," Madsen explains. "When you get that rush of seeing the finished work, it's even sometimes a little humbling. You've created art, not just for the sake of art but also to contribute to a larger understanding. That helps everybody."

How to Sell a Ton of Handmade Jewelry Right in Your Own Home Town!

There are a variety of simple ways to market your jewelry right in your own home town without spending aloof of time or a money. If you're serious about increasing your jewelry sales, give some of these simple marketing techniques a try:

1. Wear your jewelry everywhere you go. You probably interact with jewelry lovers every day of your life as you carry out your daily activities. What woman doesn't like jewelry to some extent? Highlight the beauty of your jewelry by wearing it with a simple, plain colored top so your necklace becomes the focal point. When someone compliments your jewelry design, be prepared to give them further information.

2. Carry business cards with you everywhere you go. Post your card on bulletin boards, put them in fishbowls at restaurants, leave them on restaurant tables with your tip. Give one to your dentist, hairdresser, tailor, and anyone else you may come in contact with on a daily basis. It's a low key way to network.

3. Invest in a car sign to advertise your business when you drive around during the day. This is one of the best investments you can make in terms of time and money. Be sure to include your website address in big bold letters on your sign.

4. Be friendly and approachable. You'll establish many more contacts for your jewelry line this way, plus you'll make more friends!

5. Donate a piece of your handmade jewelry to a charity auction. This is a great way to get you name out in the community as a jewelry designer. Plus, you're helping a good cause at the same time.

6. Learn everything you can about your customers. How old are they? What do they wear? Where do they live? Study their habits, wants, and needs. This will allow you to better optimize your sales material, flyers, and your jewelry designs to meet their particular needs.

7. Be active in your community by volunteering a few hours a week. This is a great way to make new contacts while establishing a reputation for giving back to your community.

8. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend meetings when possible. You local chamber can provide you with so many opportunities for networking. This is one group you definitely want to be a part of if you're serious about marketing your jewelry designs.

9. Visit local retail stores to see if they might be good markets for your jewelry. Keep an open mind. The markets for handmade jewelry extend far beyond the standard boutique and gallery. Consider hair salons, spas, nail salons, hospital gift shops, shoe stores, and other small businesses to be potential markets to sell your jewelry.

10. Market to local groups of which you're already a member. Do you belong to a church? Could you use your jewelry to help your church raise much needed funds? Offer to have a small church jewelry show to sell your jewelry and give the church a percentage of your profits.

11. Network with your local bead store. They may want you to do custom designs for their customers. You could also teach classes or give a trunk show of your designs at their store.

12. Offer to do trunk shows at local boutiques and galleries in your area. Many smaller boutiques and galleries would love to have the opportunity to sell your jewelry to their customers at no risk to them. Retail stores love the publicity that special events create!

13. Write a press release about your jewelry designs and submit it your local newspapers and magazines. This can bring in a ton of business very quickly.

Hopefully, these ideas will get you started thinking about how you can best market your handmade jewelry in your local community. It’s a great way to sell more jewelry!

Jewelers - How to Choose a Reputable One

Purchasing handmade jewelry can be an expensive, and often intimidating, affair. Most people have little knowledge of the industry and its products, and this unfortunately makes them ripe for the taking by disreputable jewelry dealers. Here are a few tips to find a jewelry dealer in whom you can trust.

Find out how long a particular dealer has been in business, and check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints against them. Just because a specific retailer is new doesn't mean you shouldn't consider patronizing them. New dealers should be given extra scrutiny, however, since they don't have a track record to refer to.

Ask what gemological credentials the jeweler has. Also find out if there is a gemologist on staff at the jeweler's location, and if the store has its own laboratory. Determine if the store offers any special services such as custom design, unusual gemstones or photography. Some dealers even offer educational programs for their customers.

You must learn what the return policy is for the store you are considering. If you make a return, will you get a full refund, or store credit? How many days do you have to make a return? What are the terms to make a return? Also, what is the retailer's repair or replacement policy?

Don't be afraid to ask to take a piece of jewelry "on approval." This is analogous to an extended "test-drive." Chances are the jeweler will not agree to this, but it can't hurt to ask. If you don't ask, you won't know.

Very importantly, find out to what extent the firm will guarantee its merchandise to be as represented. Be sure all details regarding a piece of jewelry, as certified by a licensed gemologist, are included on the bill of sale. Failure to see to this point could lead to disappointment.

Finally, what is the atmosphere of the store? Are displays orderly and tasteful, or are they a jumble of marked-down items designed to lure you, the potential customer. How does the staff present themselves? Are salespeople informative, helpful and unassuming? Or are they pushy and manipulative?

If after performing thorough due diligence you feel uncomfortable with a jeweler, then move on to another. Following these tips will help a lot, but there is also much to be said for instinct. If a deal doesn't feel right, don't do it.