Category Archives: Release

Labradorite Meaning and Healing Properties

Labradorite Meaning and Healing Properties

Labradorite is a strong stone of protection and spirit. It protects you from negative influences from your surroundings.

They will also give you protection from people that would sap your energy and can give you the clarity of mind to stay away from them.

List of Gemstone MeaningsFor our full list of gemstone meanings.

Labradorite MeaningLabradorite meaning is strength, clarity and luck

Labradorite can help you connect to your subconscious where you can gain knowledge about yourself and the world around you.

As mentioned above it can protect you from negative influences by removing energy that does not belong near you.

When these negative influences are removed you will feel strengthened and your fears will be alleviated. This is why some people see labradorite as a stone that grants willpower and self-confidence.

It can also calm your mind and fuel your imagination which can lead to new ideas and insights. These ideas will come to fruition through analysis and your rational mind.

Your newly cleared mind can easily pierce illusions, not just those of others, but more importantly illusions you hold yourself. These illusions are holding you back and shattering them, while bringing some pain in the short term, will bring about positive change in your life.

As labradorite calms your mind it will bring balance to your life. Allowing you to work better with other people and let go of your ego. In some people it will bring out their inner child, granting them a renewed sense of wonder and happiness.

Another meaning of labradorite is that as a stone of luck. It can pull good fortune in your direction if you wear it in a pendant. For the best effect it should be in direct contact with your skin.

Labradorite History Myths and Legends

There are many legends surrounding labradorite as it has been known for thousands of years. One of these is an Inuit legend. The northern lights (aurora borealis) had disappeared and a brave warrior was sent to find it again.

Years of searching later and the warrior still had not found it and was despairing when he saw a flicker in the distance. When he went to look the northern lights were trapped in the stone. He quickly broke the stone the northern lights were freed, but a portion of the light remained and this is now known as labradorite.

Labradorite Healing Properties

Labradorite can strengthen the immune system by removing negative energy. This removal of negative energy will also alleviate pains for people that are sensitive to changing weather or temperatures.

Disclaimer: Labradorite should not be used instead of regular medical treatment, but in addition to treatments. Always seek professional help when dealing with health related problems.

Amethyst Meaning and Amethyst Healing Properties

Amethyst Meaning and Amethyst Healing Properties

Amethyst meaning: amethyst is one of the most powerful crystals you can find.

Amethyst is a violet to purple quartz gemstone that is often found in its crystal form. Its beauty and low price make this an excellent stone for any occasion.

Amethyst crystals and stones are very powerful, most stones are only focused on a single aspect. However the metaphysical properties of amethyst are focused on several different fields.

List of Gemstone Meanings: For our full list of gemstone meanings.

Amethyst MeaningAmethyst meaning

The first one is the use as a calming stone. It helps cope with stress by calming your mental state.

The easiest way to use it is to put it under your pillow before you go to sleep, where it will ward of sleeplessness and nightmares. Nothing helps more with reducing stress than a good night’s sleep.

The second amethyst meaning is protection, most notably protection from addiction. Even the name amethyst refers to this as you can find below under myths and legends.

Wearing it calms the mind and puts off the need to feed the addiction. It offers protection from poison and hostile spells as well.

The last meaning of amethyst is spiritual. Amethyst stones symbolize chastity, piety and trust. Amethyst became the gemstone of the Catholic Church and even today many bishops and cardinals wear it.

A large number of relics from the Middle Ages are lined with amethyst crystals, even though they were quite rare in those days.

It also boosts psychic abilities and spiritual awareness, making meditation even more powerful. Amethyst is the birthstone of February. Its astrological signs are: Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius, and Capricorn. Its main chakra is the crown.

Amethyst Meaning: Legends and Myths

There are many myths surrounding the amethyst, most of which attribute certain powers to the stone. In fact the name amethyst itself comes from the Ancient Greek words a- (not) and methustos (intoxicated). The Greeks and Romans would make mugs from an amethyst cluster believing it would prevent them from becoming drunk.

Another legend has it that the amethyst would protect the wearer from harm, but only if they showed bravery. This made amethysts a very popular stone for soldiers. This meaning of amethyst has faded with time and nowadays the protection it offers is on a spiritual and psychological level, rather than physical protection.

In ancient times the amethyst was associated with the Hebrew religion as a symbol of the Spirit of God. The breastplate of Aaron, the Jewish high priest, had 12 different gemstones on it, the basis of today’s birthstones. At the center was the amethyst which gave him revelations and spiritual visions.

More recently, during the Renaissance, the meaning changed once again. This time to humility and modesty. Royalty was especially enamored with this and some of the most prized pieces of jewelry from that era are adorned with amethysts. Usually in combination with other traditional gemstones such as rubies and diamonds.

Amethyst Healing Properties

The healing properties of amethyst mostly deal with the blood and breathing. Amethyst cleanses the blood, which helps with substance abuse and fevers. While breathing is helped by the calming effect of this gemstone. To get the most effect out of your amethyst stone or crystal it should be placed in the sun. Direct sunlight is best, be aware however that it can soften the purple color.

Disclaimer: Amethyst should not be used instead of regular medical treatment, but in addition to treatments. Always seek professional help when dealing with health related problems.

Wire Wrapping: Free Beginner’s Guide

Wire Wrapping: Free Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever wanted to make your own jewelry using gemstones by hand? While you can purchase beautiful gemstone jewelry in a jewelry store, there is nothing that can match the originality and imagination of jewelry made by hand.

Read this thorough beginners guide to wire wrapping and start making your own beautiful jewelry in no-time!

To make it easier to digest we have divided the guide into 7 parts. Feel free to skip to the parts you are most interested in!

What Is Wire Wrapping’Wire wrapped Lapis Lazuli pendant

If you have always wanted to make jewelry yourself, but you do not have access to a forge or soldering tools, one of the simplest and most fun techniques you can learn is wire wrapping.

Wire wrapping allows you to set precious and semi-precious gemstones into simple or elaborate metal frameworks made out of copper, silver, gold, and other materials. You can get started for about $30.

Wire wrapping is actually one of the oldest techniques used in the crafting of handmade jewelry. The technique goes back thousands of years, probably in part because it is so affordable and easy to learn. All you need to get started is a coil of wire, and two pairs of pliers: one for cutting, the other for bending. With those three things, you can make pendants, bracelets, necklaces, head pieces, and more.

How does it work’

The wire used in wire wrapping can vary in hardness and strength, but in general, it is quite flexible and can easily be bent by hand into various shapes and patterns. When doing particularly challenging or precise work, you may find the round-nose pliers helpful. The cutters are of course used for cutting the wire down to the size you need to work with and for removing loose ends.

There are many different techniques that have been developed for wire wrapping. Many wire-wrap artists follow a very orderly method for wrapping a gemstone which involves taking several pieces of wire, wrapping them together into a single, wide band using a smaller gauge wire, and then looping that wide band around a gemstone. The round-nose pliers are then used to pull one of the wires on each side out just slightly to support and lock in the stone so it will not fall out the back or the front.

Other wire wrappers take a more chaotic free-style approach, allowing their imaginations and their sense of aesthetic balance to guide their hands. With this approach, wrappers developer an intuitive sense for structural integrity, and ensure that a stone will not fall out by carefully closing all possible loopholes.

There is no single right or wrong way to wire wrap, which is one of the reasons it is such a popular approach. Literally anyone can learn how to wire wrap who has the patience and imagination to apply themselves to the art. Each artist develops his or her own unique style, and while wire wrapping involves similar materials and techniques, it is often possible to instantly identify the stylistic marks of a particular jeweler.

Wire wrapping is also a popular craft because it can be very relaxing and soothing. Working with your hands gives you a wonderful creative outlet which is not too demanding on your body or mind. At the same time, it requires some focus, so it can be very meditative. Most artisan crafts require a significant upfront investment in order to get started, but not wire wrapping. If you’re interested in making jewelry, it is well worth having a go. This method for making jewelry is affordable, simple, fun, and provides you with endless creative possibilities.

In the next installment of our series, I will teach you a little bit about the history of wire wrapping. I will then teach you about basic supplies that you will need to get started and the different types of wire which are out there. Following that, you will learn about good stones and other materials to wrap, and what you can make with wire wrapping. I will finish up by discussing some basic techniques in detail and point you in the direction of some tutorials.

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History of Wire WrappingRose quartz wire wrapped pendant

Maybe you were browsing online or in a store which sells jewelry by local artisans and you discovered a pendant with a beautiful gemstone set inside a framework of flowing wire. If so, you may have been startled by the beauty and artistry that can emerge from something as simple as wire.

After all, when most of us think of wire, our first thoughts are of hardware utilities or circuitry. But spools of high-quality craft wire can also be used to make beautiful and elaborate designs for gemstones. The finish result can look as magnificent as anything made using the application of solder and heat.

Wire wrapping has only recently surged into popularity. This is in part because of the growth of e-commerce. Thanks to handcraft websites like Etsy, a lot more sellers of handmade jewelry are able to get their products out there to customers around the world. And since wire wrapping is affordable and easy to learn, it is a popular technique for private artisans. This shouldn’t mislead you into thinking that wire wrapping is in any way new, however. It is actually one of the most ancient jewelry crafting techniques in the world.

Ancient Wire Wrapping

Some of the oldest wire wrap jewelry which has ever been discovered has been found in Egyptian and Phoenician tombs. Some of these pieces date back as much as 5,000 years. Other jewelry discovered in the cemetery of Ur dates back to the Sumerian Dynasty around 2,000 BC. Ancient Roman wire-wrapped jewelry has also been found dating back 2,000 years from today.

Back when these ancient wire-wrap pieces were created, there was no such thing as soldering. As such, wire wrapping was developed as a necessity. It made it possible for elaborate and beautiful pieces to be developed by ancient artisans who literally did not have access to the kinds of tools we have available today.

One tool that was available was called a ‘drawplate.? The drawplate is a simple metal plate with a number of holes in it shaped to different gauges (diameters). Annealed (softened) metal rods could be drawn through the drawplate in order to create lengths of wire with specific shapes and sizes.

Round wire is most common, but you can also find square wire, triangular wire, and so on. Metal drawplates date back to at least 6th century Persia. In the Middle Ages, they were used to create the wire which was used in the creation of chain-mail armor.

20th Century Examples

Probably the most famous person to bring wire wrapping back to the masses in the early 20th century was an artisan named Mr. C.G. Oxley. Oxley was an English businessman who ran a business called C.G. Oxley & Co. in Somerset. Oxley employed a number of veterans from the first World War at his business. In his studio, they created wire-wrapped jewelry as occupation therapy.

Oxley’s workshop was a popular place to visit, and his jewelry took off as well, to the point where it ended up showing up in department stores around England. In the 1950s, another businessman named Jim Llewellin took over the store after Oxley passed away. He brought the wire-wrapping business to Canada, where it took off again.

Why Can’t I Buy This Stuff at a Department Store’

You may be wondering why you rarely if ever find examples of wire wrapping in any department store. The reason is that the jewelry you purchase at the department store, while often expensive to buy, is cheap and fast to manufacture. It is usually factory made by machines, not human beings. Molded components are easy to reproduce quickly, cheaply, and identically. As a result, large jewelry manufacturers avoid handmade techniques in favor of fast, easy profits.

Modern Resurgence

A lot of people love to craft for the same reason that Oxley was able to make use of it as a form of occupational therapy for veterans at his company. It is relaxing, creative, and therapeutic. A lot of people now sell their jewelry online since the internet provides more geographic reach for their creations. As a result, buyers are discovering the splendor of jewelry crafted by hand with ancient techniques and beautiful gemstones.

If you learn to wire wrap, you will be participating in the resurgence of an ancient tradition of craftsmanship, and bringing some true imagination into the world. Like Oxley’s veterans, you will probably find it a therapeutic and uplifting outlet for your own creativity.

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Types of Wire and SuppliesCathedral Wings Wire Wrap Pendant Carnelian

Now that you’ve read up on the basics of wire wrapping and some of the history of this wonderful craft, perhaps you are feeling ready to try your own hand at it. What kinds of supplies do you need? Happily, this is one of the few crafts you can get started on with a very minimal budget.

You can purchase everything you need to make your first wire wrapped pieces of wearable art for about $35.00. That includes pliers, wire, and beads to work with. Let’s talk about the basic supplies, their costs, and what each of them is used for.

Pliers

You are going to need two pliers to wire wrap effectively. One pair is used for cutting, and the other is used for wrapping the wire around.

  • Needle-nose pliers. A small pair of needle-nose jewelry pliers will cost you around $10 to $15. These pliers have a comfortable grip and come to a very small point at the end. With these pliers, you can pull wire through loops that you cannot reach with your fingers, as well as do other wrapping tasks that require a little more force than you can exert by yourself. You will probably still do most of your wrapping without them, but they are an indispensable supply.
  • Side-cutting pliers. These pliers should also cost you around $10 to $15. This type of pliers is very small, like the needle nose pliers, and has a comfortable grip. The side-cutter jaws allow you to make a nice clean cut through your wire. These pliers are strong enough even to cut steel wire. The box joint construction of side cutting pliers keeps the jaws aligned to keep the cut line even.

Wire

Wire is probably the most complex aspect of supply shopping for wire wrapping. There are a lot of different types of wire which are appropriate for wire wrapping. Let’s break down the different materials, gauges, and strengths of wire so that you understand what you are looking at when you are shopping.

Materials

Many different materials can be used for wire. The most common is copper. Copper may be plated with silver or gold, or coated with a color (red, blue, green, purple, black, etc.). Copper is the least expensive type of wire you will find. You may also find steel, brass, nickel, silver, gold, and other materials. Each material has its own unique characteristics which change the wrapping experience. Brass for example is very springy, which can make it challenging to work with.

Gauges

Wire comes in different shapes and sizes. Most wire is round, but you may also find square wire and other shapes (square wire has edges and corners, whereas round wire is the typical smooth, cylindrical wire you are probably used to seeing). The size of a wire is called its gauge, and refers to its thickness. Very thick wire is tough to bend but will hold its shape beautifully. Very fine wire is extremely easy to bend, but will not hold shape well. It is great for embellishing pieces and holding things together. Medium gauges are ideal for most work. You will probably want to buy several gauges when you get started. Here are some common ranges for gauges:

  • 16-18 gauge: These gauges are pretty thick and hard to bend, but hold shape well. Great for wire sculpture or for creating strong frameworks for pendants, bracelets, or other pieces that require strong structural stability.
  • 20-22 gauge wire: These medium gauges are great for most applications. They can create reasonably strong frameworks, and may be useful for some embellishments.
  • 24-26 gauge wire: These two gauges are great for fine, detail work, and embellishment.

Recommended gauges for beginners: I recommend purchasing a spool of 20-gauge wire and a spool of 26-gauge wire. The 20-gauge is your ‘go-to? gauge for most projects. It is the most versatile, useful gauge for the majority of purposes. The 26-gauge wire spool will serve you well for embellishments.

Strength

One more aspect of wire to be aware of is its strength. Regardless of the main material used in wire (many wire spools are made of alloys), the strength may vary. Wire is usually broken down into three strength categories:

  • Hard wire. This type is hardest to bend, but holds its shape well.
  • Dead soft. This type of wire is extremely malleable. It is very easy to bend, but it will generally not hold its shape well, even at a medium gauge.
  • Half-hard. This is your ‘go-to? option if in doubt. It is the most commonly used type of wire. It is relatively easy to bend, but not as malleable as dead soft wire. It holds its shape reasonably well, though not as well as hard wire. This is the type you should start with as a beginner.

Coated vs. Non-Coated Wire

Finally, one last note on coated wire is necessary and often overlooked in beginner’s guides. The majority of the wire you will find for sale has some kind of tarnish-resistant coating on it. This is great if you want your wire to stay shiny without polishing. It is however not desirable if you are planning to let your wire tarnish and take on a patina for an aged look. Coated wire will basically never tarnish, and no amount of effort will get you through that coating. So be mindful of what you are purchasing.

Beads and Stones

You will also need something to wrap! Strings of beads will not be as helpful to you as they are to other jewelers, unless you plan to do a lot of large elaborate pieces. One great starter supply is a box or bag of ‘extra? beads. Many stores sell these loose beads at bulk discount prices.

The beads are often large enough to wrap, and because of the nature of your art, you do not necessarily need a lot of matching beads. You can get a pretty big bag of these for around $5.00. They are great for pendants. Strings of beads will be most helpful for bracelets, crowns, necklaces, and other large projects. You will also need matching beads for earrings.

Gemstones are wonderful centerpieces to wrap. Wrapped gemstones are beautiful to behold, and are also very attractive to buyers. You can wrap pretty much any gemstone if you are careful, even those that are liable to flake apart (like mica, danburite, and so forth). Quartz, agate, obsidian, tiger’s eye, petrified wood, and many other gemstones look beautiful wire wrapped.

Tumbled stones are easier to wrap than rough-cut stones, but both can have a wonderful effect. Stones with holes bored through their centers are easiest to work with, as are flattened stones. Round stones pose extra challenges.

Optional Extras

  • Sandpaper. You are going to have some loose ends of wire on your pieces. Most of the time you can simply tuck these out of the way, which will prevent them from scratching a wearer. You can optionally sand these down with sandpaper to smooth them out.
  • Liver of sulfur. This cool chemical compound reacts with metal to provide a nice tarnish. It works in a matter of minutes, and can make your pieces look antiqued. Great for bringing out texture and providing a different look.
  • Hammer. A jewelry hammer and anvil set can be used to flatten wire. This again provides a different look and texture to a piece.

Now you have a complete guide to wire wrapping supplies. You can find most of these supplies at a jewelry supply shop or online. Two pairs of pliers should run you around $20 to $30. Starting beads should cost about $5 if you find one of the aforementioned bags of extras. The cost for wire can range quite a bit, depending on how many yards come in a spool, what material you are purchasing, and whether there are fancy color coatings or not.

Expect to pay around $5 to $7 for most spools of copper wire (color-coated or not). Sterling silver, gold, and other materials may be more expensive. It is best to start out with copper wire for your first few pieces. It is less expensive, and will be more suitable for the learning curve. As you progress, you may decide to invest in more expensive wire wrapping supplies. In our next installments, we will teach you what you can wrap and introduce you to some starting techniques.

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What Can You Wrap and What Can You Make’Balthasar Craft Wire Pendant Onyx

If you have already read our previous installments in this series, you know something about the history of wire wrapping as well as the supplies that you will need to get started. One topic I brought up briefly in the previous installment on supplies was what kinds of stones and objects you can wrap. I would like to go into a little more detail on that subject, as well as talk about the different types of projects you can work on when you start wire wrapping.

What Objects Can You Wrap’

One of the wonderful things about wire wrapping is its versatility. You can literally wrap just about any object in wire successfully. It is largely a matter of perseverance, carefulness, and cleverness. Some objects will present you with less difficulty than others.

In general, objects which are flatter are easier to wrap than objects which are more rounded. Objects which have a hole through the center are easier to wrap than those which do not, since you may pass a wire through the hole, which gives you a stabilizing point for your piece (this is one reason it is easier to start wrapping large beads than stones if your stones have no holes). One more general guideline is to wrap objects which are strong, though breakable objects can also be wrapped if you are careful and do not use wire which is too strong.

Good objects for beginners thus include:

  • Beads. Larger glass and resin beads can serve as focal points for pendants and other jewelry items. You also can make pieces without focal points and simply focus on the wirework (these will always be ‘freeform? pieces’more on that later).
  • Hard, smooth stones that either 1-have a hole through the center, or 2-are flatter rather than rounder.
  • Sea glass. Sea glass is usually not too brittle, and the flatter nature of the glass tends to make it an easy beginner wrap.
  • Keys. These days pieces which feature antique keys are very popular. Keys are also relatively easy to wrap.

More challenging ideas might include:

  • Rounder stones, gemstones which are less durable and tend to flake (mica, danburite, etc.), or gemstones without a hole in the center.
  • Other materials such as small pieces of driftwood which may break if you are not careful. Shells are another very challenging object to wrap, since they chip apart almost effortlessly’but they can make beautiful wire wrapped jewelry. Again, you can literally wrap almost anything that is the right size for a finished piece. Any small object which has value (aesthetic, sentimental, or both) can be turned into a piece of wearable art with wire wrapping.

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Project Ideas for Wire WrappingWire wrapped earrings

What are all the different types of finished projects you can make with wire wrapping’

Most applications are jewelry, but as you will see, a few are not. Here are a few things to consider learning how to make:

Jewelry

  • Pendants. Most newbies will choose to make pendants as their initial projects. Pendants are smaller, simpler projects. Even very elaborate pendants will take up less material and time than a simple bracelet or necklace. Unlike with earrings, there is no need to worry about symmetry. The focal piece of a pendant can inspire you as well. Many artists allow the focal piece to determine the direction of the entire pendant. Pendants can be strung on chains, cords, or ribbons, or you can learn to wire wrap chains from scratch. Most gemstone projects will be pendants.
  • Earrings. Earrings are another project which will not use up a lot of material, which makes them another good starter project. They introduce the challenge of symmetrical design. If you purchase gemstone beads, you can make earrings which match pendants so that you can wear or sell a set.
  • Ear cuffs. An ear cuff is a good project if you want to avoid dealing with symmetrical design, but still make something for the ear (if you don’t know what this is, just Google it’and think back to the 80s). It is wise to follow a tutorial for your first design so that you can learn how to make something which will fit many different ears.
  • Bracelets. There are several different techniques for making wire wrapped bracelets. This is a slightly larger project.
  • Necklaces and chokers. There are a number of approaches for these types of projects as well. They will use a great deal more wire and beads than the other projects listed here.
  • Headpieces, crowns, tiaras, etc. Wire-wrapped headpieces are perhaps some of the most challenging projects you can approach. These present a number of difficulties. They take up a great deal of wire and beads to make, and they also must set on the head in such a way that they will not fall off. Further, they must not catch on the hair (or at least not too much to cause inconvenience).

Wire Sculpture

While the majority of wire wrapped projects are jewelry-related (especially those which use gemstones), you can also make sculpture projects out of wire and beads. The sky is the limit here. Anything which you can dream up, you can potentially craft. Sculptures may be entirely abstract, or they may be designed to resemble something, for example maybe an animal.

The most common wire sculpture projects are usually trees made by wrapping large bundles of wire together for the trunk, and them separating them in stages to form the branches and the roots. Beads can be used to represent leaves or flowers. These decorative items can look nice around the house.

A Word on Planned vs. Free-form Design

As with any art form, there are a number of schools of thought on how to approach a project. At one end of the scale, there are wire wrappers who plan every element of a project before they get started. They may draw up diagrams of pieces before making them, and may follow step-by-step plans to create orderly pieces. The majority of wire wrap artists fall close to this end of the spectrum.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are free-form wire wrappers. These designers may or may not draft a plan before they approach a piece. They may or may not follow step-by-step techniques for elements of their pieces, and they may or may not be seeking an orderly effect. Pieces designed with by a freeform hand typically feature less symmetry, or no symmetry, and more of a flowing, organic design.

Instead of focusing on learning specific methods for doing things, these designers come up with their own solutions for each gemstone or object that they wrap, with the goal of keeping it in place and producing an aesthetically pleasing result. More on that in our next installment on basic techniques and tips and tricks for wrapping.

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Basic Wire-Wrapping TechniquesWire Wrapped Ammonite Pendant

‘I just bought all this wire and these beads and pliers. Now what do I do with them’? This is probably what you are thinking if you have just brought home your first wire-wrapping supplies.’You may look at pictures of wire-wrapped pieces online and wonder how you can ever go from where you are at to creating beautiful gemstone jewelry.

Wire wrapping is not all that complex, though. Much of it is learning how to do a few simple things, and then combine those techniques to create original pieces.

It is helpful to know first off what to do with large, medium, and small gauges of wire.

  • Medium-gauge wire (20-22). This is probably the type of wire you will use for most applications. This type of wire is bendable, but can hold its shape relatively well. You can make whole pieces out of medium gauge wire if you want.
  • Large-gauge wire (16-18). This type of wire is best for either frameworks or for findings. Bend this type of wire into basic, simple shapes. For example, you can use this to make the basic shape of a cuff bracelet, and then wrap medium or small gauge wire inside to form the ornamentation. Or you can use large-gauge wire to make the circular framework for a tree of life pendant (a very popular type of pendant these days), and then use the smaller wire to make the tree inside.
  • Small-gauge wire (24-28). This very fine wire can be used to do small, detailed work or hold larger wires together, but it does not hold its shape well. You can make whole pieces out of it, but it is very tricky, and the results will be very delicate. It is best to use this type of wire to embellish your pieces and hold them together.

Coiling

One of the first things it is helpful to learn is how to coil wire. Hopefully you have medium- and small-gauge wire, for example, say 20 and 26. Cut a piece of the 20-gauge wire to work with, and then cut a much longer piece of the 26-gauge wire. Hold both pieces of wire in your hands, and then loop the 26-gauge wire around the 20-gauge wire, pulling it tight around. Keep looping the fine wire around the larger one, and you will achieve the coiled look that you see on so many wire wrapped pieces. This is an easy way to make a piece look elaborate and detailed.

Another thing you can do once you have finished coiling the 26-gauge wire around the 20-gauge wire is coil that wire around another one. You can generally just use another 20-gauge wire for this purpose. Wrap the wire you have just finished around the new 20-gauge wire in the exact same way you wrapped the 26-gauge around the first 20-gauge. The result looks incredibly ornate and technical, but as you can see, it was quite simple to achieve.

While you are learning how to coil, you will probably discover that there are many simple variations on coiling which you can use to create different effects. For example, instead of bunching your coils tightly together, you can coil more loosely. If you have multiple colours of wire, you can hold two small-gauge wires together and coil them simultaneously around a medium-gauge to create a striped effect, and so on.

There are many other techniques for wire wrapping you can learn about if you search for tutorials online. While text may be enough for you to understand how to coil wire, images can help. Other techniques like wire weaving are almost impossible to describe without the aid of images. Tutorials are a great starting point if you feel lost, and many are available for free. You can also learn a lot through sheer experimentation. So don’t be afraid to dive in and see what you can discover. You may even end up inventing techniques which nobody else has ever used before.

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General Tips for Wire WrappingWire wrapped danburite pendant

When you are wrapping, keep in mind the following principles of design:

  • Structural integrity. When you are wrapping a gemstone, your primary concern should be to close all loopholes so that the stone cannot ‘escape.? If you have any openings which are wide enough for the stone to dislodge, it may fall out of your framework and be lost. Many new wrappers use a very basic technique for wrapping their stones (look up ‘basic wire wrapping pendant tutorial? and you should find plenty of instructions) to close their loopholes. If however you are a free-form wrapper, you will discover many innovative strategies for closing loopholes. These techniques may result in a pendant that is as beautiful as it is functional.
  • Aesthetics. Obviously you want your creation to be a beautiful one. Just as you can often create lovely results by accident while focusing on the practical aspects of design, oftentimes while focusing on aesthetics you will find yourself closing loopholes intuitively. Think about pleasing shapes and patterns, colours which complement, and enjoy letting your creativity take you on a journey.
  • Weight and dimensions. While focusing on structure and aesthetics, it is easy to lose track of what you are doing in terms of weight and measurements. Wire-wrapped pieces are often whimsical and extravagant, but you will usually have an easier time selling more pragmatically sized pieces. Furthermore, weight and balancing can be quite important, especially for earrings.

Now you know some of the basic techniques of wire wrapping. If you haven’t yet reviewed the other sections of our guide, have a look to learn about supplies and the history of this fun and affordable form of wearable art. Enjoy your first forays into the world of wire wrapping, and do not be discouraged if you have a hard time at first. All art takes patience to learn, and once you find your own creative spark, you will be able to craft beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry creations!


Kyla Cardinalis has been wire wrapping jewelry for over three years, and loves to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for handmade jewelry with others. ‘You may visit her on Etsy at’https://www.etsy.com/shop/balthasarcraft.

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How to Sell Jewelry: Introduction

How to Sell Jewelry: Introduction

We recently posted a couple of comprehensive guides about jewelry making here on the site, Learn to Make Jewelry, and our Free Beginner’s Guide to Wire Wrapping.’

In the first guide, we teach you about different techniques for making jewelry and how you can use them to set your gemstones for wear.’Our wire-wrapping guide delves in-depth into one age-old technique for making jewelry which is becoming increasingly popular again today.

Once you actually start making jewelry, though, what do you do with it? You will probably have far more than you can possibly wear or gift away if you really get into jewelry making. Jewelry making is fun and addicting, and before long, you will have heaps of jewelry around the house that you cannot keep.

To that end, it is a good idea to learn how to sell your jewelry. Selling jewelry also allows you to share your creativity with the world, and maybe even make some money on the side. It isn’t easy to sell jewelry, and the odds that you can turn it into a primary occupation are pretty low. But a lot of people can at least offset the cost of their gemstones and supplies, and many can turn a small profit. If you work at it and have luck on your side, you may do even better than that.

How to Sell Jewelry: Introductionhow to sell jewelry guide introduction

To get started, you will need to know where to sell your jewelry and what kinds of opportunities are out there for artisans. If you have money to put into advertising and sales, that can open a lot of doors. I will tell you about places you can promote for free as well as paid opportunities. You also need to have solid business practices to succeed at selling anything, and jewelry is no exception.

If you have never operated a business, you need to become familiar with the basics. In particular, you need to think through the terms and conditions you want to set for your own shop, and then set up your shipping and returns policies. You will also have to decide on a pricing setup.

In this series, you will learn:

This will only get you started. As you will quickly discover, selling jewelry online or offline is a very involved process. In particular, promotion is an extremely complex topic, one which could probably generate an entire series on its own.

Volumes have been written on marketing, and you may want to pick up a few if you are serious about selling. You will need to learn all that you can in order to become successful. It is a competitive world, and there are thousands of other artisans trying to get attention and sales, just like you.

How to Sell Jewelry: Where to Sell

How to Sell Jewelry: Where to Sell

So you’ve decided to start selling jewelry. Maybe you are a wire-wrap artist, or maybe you work with a forge. Perhaps you do macram? or polymer clay or resin jewelry.

No matter what technique you use, there is a growing market for handmade jewelry.

There is also a growing pool of artisans offering their creations, which means that promoting and selling jewelry is becoming very challenging. To get started, you will need to know your venue options.

More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:

Where can you sell handmade jewelry’

  1. Local shops
  2. Farmer’s markets
  3. Craft shows and conventions
  4. Online

1. Local shops

There are a lot of possibilities as far as selling jewelry in local shops. There are a number of different types of shops which may be interested in selling your work. Actual jewelry stores are hit-or-miss. Many only sell mass-produced jewelry from large manufacturers or very well-known designers. Some may consider selling jewelry by local artisans.

Stores which specifically stock art from local artists are more likely to consider selling your work, even if jewelry is not their main specialty. Gift shops are a good choice, and sometimes bead stores as well which sell some finished work on the side. There are a couple of different ways that you can sell jewelry through local stores.

How to sell jewelry guide where to sell

  • Wholesale. Sometimes a store will make you an offer to simply buy your work out of hand and then sell it. They will pay you the full price you agree upon up-front. At that point, the jewelry belongs to them, and it is their responsibility to sell it. You have already received your payment, and can move on with your day. Usually you will end up selling your jewelry at a reduced price under these circumstances, since the store will want to mark up your work and profit off of the difference.

Pros: You can move on with your day and enjoy the money. You have made your sale and you do not need to worry about reaching out to customers. You also may be able to sell a larger quantity of items at once this way.

Cons: You can no longer influence the sales of your pieces. It is out of your hands, and if they are not finding customers, there is not a whole lot you can do about it. You also probably were paid substantially less for your work than you would have asked for fairly.

  • On commission. This is far more common than wholesale purchasing. When you sell jewelry through a store this way, you each get a percentage cut. You receive no money at all until a customer buys a piece. At that point, you might get 70% and the store might get 30%.

Pros: If your pieces do not sell, you get them back, and you can do what you want with them.

Cons: You still are selling your work at a discount, and you have to stay involved in the process. The sale isn’t final until an actual customer buys your work.

2. Farmer’s marketsjewelry selling guide

Many towns, even small towns, have local farmer’s markets, especially during the summer months. These little fairs are often very popular, and feature not only produce, but crafts and more. The booth fees are more likely to be manageable here than they would be at a large convention or craft show.

You also have the ‘local interest? angle working in your favor. The drawback of course is that you pay the booth fee no matter what, even if you don’t make up for it in sales. At least you don’t have to sell your work at a discount though.

3. Craft shows and conventions

Larger craft shows may also offer you a similar outlet for selling your work as a farmer’s market. You also can try selling at conventions which target the same customers you are catering toward. For example, artisans who make whimsical or old-fashioned jewelry may set up shop at a Renaissance fair. Here the drawback is that your booth fees are likely to be far pricier than they would be at a farmer’s market. Conventions offer you access to a ton of targeted customers, but at a hefty price.

4. Online

A lot of new jewelry artists will do the majority of their sales online, because this allows you to at least get started on a shoestring budget. You can post an item on Etsy for about 20 cents, and there are similar shop sites like ArtFire that are completely free to post on. You can also consider starting your own website or online store, and you can promote your work on social networks. Some jewelry artists also do well selling on auction sites like eBay.

The drawback of selling online is that you are just one voice shouting in a tremendous crowd. It is hard to find visibility among thousands of other online jewelry artists, many of whom are already established and have more money to spend pushing their ads to the top. In our last installment, we will tell you more about how to promote your work online and offline.

Any time you sell your work online or offline, you need to have a returns policy in place. And if you sell online, a shipping policy is a must. Having clear terms and conditions offers you legal protection and provides clarity to buyers. Find out how to create airtight’shipping and returns policies.’

How to Sell Jewelry: Shipping and Return Policies

How to Sell Jewelry: Shipping and Return Policies

If you are planning to sell your jewelry online, you will need to cover your bases legally as far as basic matters like shipping and returns.

The shipping policies will not apply if you are selling your jewelry in real life, but you will still want to have some kind of a returns policy in place.

Returns policies are even more essential online, since people who purchase your work have no chance to examine your jewelry in person before they buy it. Having these policies in place helps to clarify customer expectations and protect you should a customer have a complaint.

If you do not have clear and reasonable terms and conditions for shopping, you will have nothing to back you up if a customer files a dispute (with Etsy or PayPal, for example).

More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:

Shipping Policies When Selling Jewelry

How do you tackle each of these sections and make sure you have airtight policies’

Let’s start by talking about shipping. There are a number of important points you need to cover in your shipping policies:
copper-wire-wrapped-quartz

  • What countries and territories do you ship to? Are there any countries or territories you do not ship to’
  • Do the rates differ domestically and internationally’
  • How fast is your shipping? What type of shipping do you use? How long should buyers wait to contact you’
  • What kind of packaging do you use? Do you ship in boxes or padded envelopes? What do you do to protect your shipments physically’
  • Do you offer any additional shipping services, like insurance on your packages or tracking’
  • What happens if your items never arrive at their destination? Will you refund cash? Offer store credit equal in value’

By answering each of these questions in your shipping policy, you take care of several issues at once. First off, you prevent a lot of questions. Customers will not routinely ask you for basic information about shipping, which frees up your time. Secondly, you are reassuring buyers that they are working with a professional who has consistent procedures. Thirdly, you are covering your bases legally should something get lost in the mail or be slow to arrive.

It is wise, though not necessarily essential, to obtain some kind of proof of mailing when you ship out a package to a customer. Your best option is probably just to make sure you order tracking on your package. This usually costs a couple extra dollars. It is a nice service to offer your customers though, and it provides you with some protection.

Shipping Rates

How do you decide on shipping prices? This is a tough question for a lot of sellers. You might say, ‘Why don’t I just use the rates that the post office quotes me’? You could do that, but you may want to consider charging slightly more.

Why? Rates can vary for one. If you are sending mail in a padded envelope, some days it may cost you $2, other days it may run you $4. Another good reason is to help you cover the costs associated with shipping which are not part of the rates. You are the one purchasing all these envelopes and rolls of tape after all. Adding a dollar to shipping costs helps you to pay for these items without raising item prices. If you do not raise shipping prices, you have to raise item prices instead.

You may want to experiment with item prices and shipping rates until you find an optimal setup. Another question that new jewelry sellers have is whether or not they should list their shipping prices alongside their item prices. Most online stores do not, so you do not have to do that (if for example you are selling on your own site). Should you hide item prices until a user clicks buy? Probably not; studies show that this dissuades buyers from clicking at all.

If possible at all you should offer free shipping, as’free shipping will in almost all cases drastically improve your sales.

Return PolicySilver ring with precious red gemstone

Customers come up with all kinds of reasons to return products. Sometimes they are genuinely dissatisfied. Other times they are hoping to get something else out of you. Sadly there are dishonest people out there.

Returns are a pain for jewelry sellers because they often result in additional expenses and hassles. If your policies are unclear, you could find yourself at the losing end of disputes, and you may also end up stuck in a cycle of trying to satisfy a customer who cannot be satisfied.

A good return policy will also prevent returns for silly reasons and compel buyers to look closely at what they are buying. For example, a great policy to make sure to include is something regarding sizing issues. Post dimensions with every single item you sell. Measure pendants or earrings from top to bottom, and include the measurement in your item description.

How long do necklaces hang? What is the circumference of a choker? Post this information, and in your returns policy, remind buyers it is their own responsibility to read the measurements you provided, and that you will not accept sizing-related returns.

Accepting Returns

Odds are you are not going to have a draconian policy like ‘No refunds or returns for any reason whatsoever,? although you may want to post this temporarily while you are working on a real returns policy. At least it covers all possible scenarios.

You will need to accept what kinds of returns and refunds are acceptable to you. Every artisan has his or her own preferences here. One example would be ‘No refunds or returns for any reason unless the product you purchase is damaged when it arrives.’

You will then need to decide what you plan on doing if you receive a return request for a damaged product. A wise idea is to request a photo from the customer to start with that shows the damage. You might then offer to repair the item (if you believe you are capable of doing that; some jewelry is easy to repair, while other jewelry is not), or to replace it with an equal value item.

Specify how the buyer should return the item in question, and within what time frame it needs to happen. Also make sure the buyer knows how soon he or she will have to use any store credit you provide before it inspires. Will the buyer pay the return shipping, or will you’Silver ring with london blue topaz

Specifying time frames for returns and replacements is vital since it keeps you from ending up in a situation which drags on and on.

You really do not want a buyer contacting you a year after you sell her something suddenly stating it is broken and needs to be replaced. You also want to make sure that you receive the item you plan to replace before you actually send out a replacement.

Unscrupulous buyers have been known to demand replacements without ever actually returning their original items. If this happens to you, you have been robbed blind.

These two important policy pages should be posted before you even start selling your products online. If you sell your work in-person, you can still post a returns policy online if you also have a website. Otherwise, you can share it with the store owner of the shop where you are planning to try and sell your jewelry.

That way you are protected in situations where buyers request a refund. On your website, make sure that your policies are clearly visible. If you are selling through Etsy or another third party, there will be specific input forms for these pages.

It is also a good idea to include your shipping and returns policies in a message to buyers after they purchase your work. You can automate this message to go out to customers via email when they make a purchase. The message can include a thank you, a copy of both policies, and if you choose, a discount for a future purpose.

This is a great way to make sure that customers are clear on your policies, while letting them know that you appreciate their business, now and in the future.

How to Sell Jewelry: Pricing

How to Sell Jewelry: Pricing

In our previous two installments, we talked about where you can sell your handmade jewelry online and offline, and how to establish shipping and returns policies.

One of the tougher aspects of selling jewelry is deciding on how to price your work. It isn’t easy to price jewelry for the simple reason that value is largely a subjective attribute when it comes to art, and jewelry is wearable art.

It also doesn’t help that turning to your competitors may not lend you much practical advice at all. Many jewelry artists routinely under-price their own work for the simple reason that they are scared of not selling anything. Doing this yourself only adds to this problem. It waters down the jewelry market, which harms everybody, and not just you.London blue topaz ring sell jewelry

It also may encourage you to be fast or sloppy with your work and not produce your best, because you are attributing such a low value to your finished products. So how do you decide on a price when there are no objective guidelines’

You need to factor in the following four elements to come up with a price.

  1. Material cost
  2. Cost of labor
  3. Cost of additional expenses
  4. Profit!

This formula is helpful because it removes some of the subjectivity and arbitrariness from the pricing process. It helps you to focus and come up with a consistent pricing scheme for all of your products.

  1. Material cost

You need to compensate for the cost of your materials at the very least. A lot of hobbyists are glad if their jewelry can at least pay for itself. Hopefully you will make more than that, but the material cost should give you the baseline.

Pieces with more expensive materials should cost more. You would charge more for a wire-wrapped pendant with a semi-precious gemstone (like turquoise or lapis lazuli) than one with a glass bead. For a pendant with a rarer gemstone (like aquamarine or peridot), you would charge even more. The price can be objectively justified, because the gemstone is part of the cost. You are selling the gemstone and the beautiful framework you have created for it.

  1. Cost of labor

This is a little more subjective, and comes down to how you value your own time. You might set your cost of labor at the minimum wage, for example. A lot of jewelers who love making jewelry, but do not do it for a living do this. Making the jewelry is already fun and rewarding, and the money is just a bonus.

Then again, if you make a lot more per hour with your day job, and could be spending more hours at work if you were spending less making jewelry, it would make more sense to set your cost of labor to the hourly rate you get paid at your day job. You will have to come up with your own plan for how you want to pay yourself for your time. Your time is your most precious commodity, so do not sell yourself short.

  1. Cost of additional expenses

Aside from the materials which go into making your jewelry, what other expenses do you have to make up for? You probably purchase a lot of packaging materials. There is no reason for you to subtract bubble wrap, tissue paper, boxes, organza bags, and other packaging supplies from your profits.

Likewise, you can compensate for shipping as part of your item price if you want to list low shipping rates for your products. This is a little trick that gives you some more flexibility when it comes to listing your shipping costs.

Also consider fees that you pay to stay in business. You probably pay fees for services like PayPal and Etsy when you list items and accept payments. Compensate for these fees in advance by charging more for your jewelry in the first place. That way you will not lose all your profit paying off your middleman.

  1. Profit!

Okay, so this is the one area where there are really no simple rules for establishing value. The ‘cost of labor? adds to your profit, but you should ask yourself what you deserve beyond that’especially if you make jewelry within a relatively short time period. Some pieces are quick to make, but still involve substantial effort and focus. And the value you are offering is still high’probably higher than $9.00!This ‘profit? variable probably accounts for most of the wide range you will find in jewelry prices for similar pieces.

Wholesale vs. Retail PricingGold ring with amethyst selling jewelry pricing

Is the above formula your final retail item price? No’it is your wholesale price. It is the bare minimum you are willing to sell your jewelry for. It is the price you would name if someone walked up to you and asked to purchase your pieces in bulk.

It is the ‘discount? version of your price, not the full version. Take that price and double it, and you have a proper retail price.

So for example, let’s say that you wire wrapped a pendant, and your equation goes like this: Material cost ($5) + cost of labor ($10) + additional expenses ($3) + profit ($10) = $28. $56 would probably be a fair retail price for that piece.

In reality, sadly the jewelry market has been watered down terribly by a lot of hobbyists selling their work for wholesale prices or below. They do not ‘need? the money, and so they do not make any effort to pursue it.

As mentioned previously, this attitude is damaging to the handmade world as a whole. Handcrafted jewelry is one-of-a-kind, made by a real human being, with real artistry that cannot be replicated by a machine. Despite this, many artisans will sell their work for less than machine-made jewelry with far lower production costs. You do not want to price yourself out of the market, but you do not want to contribute to the cycle either.

If you must, price your work somewhere in the middle between the full retail price and the wholesale price. But remember every time you undervalue yourself, you are also undervaluing your fellow jewelry artists.

Offer Discounts

How do you get around the problem above without dropping your prices to rock bottom, but without making your work unaffordable in an already watered-down market? One great answer is to offer your customers regular discounts. Price your work at full value, but routinely offer ways to save. Offer coupons for holidays, special occasions, repeat customers, and more. Everybody loves a discount. Try experimenting with different pricing schemes.

You will likely discover though that the pricing isn’t half as important (from the point of view of making sales) as the marketing. Price your work fairly, and focus your efforts on promotion!

More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:

How to Sell Jewelry: Best Business Practices

How to Sell Jewelry: Best Business Practices

So far in our guide to selling jewelry, we have already talked about a number of different aspects of running a jewelry business.

We have discussed where you can sell your handcrafted jewelry online and offline and we have also talked about setting up shipping and returns policies which allow you to communicate clearly with your customers and also protect your business.

Our third section was on pricing and how to choose wholesale and retail prices for your jewelry which are fair and acceptable to both you and your customers (as well as the broader crafting community).

Best Practices For a Jewelry Business

amethyst ring how to sell jewelry best practices

Now we are going to talk about best business practices overall, and how you can make the most of your jewelry business.

What do I mean by best business practices? I am talking about your approach to your customers. There are so many different ways you can handle your business, and everybody you meet will have different approaches. Ultimately this comes down to your conception of customer service.

True, if you are selling your jewelry online or you have dropped it off at a store where you do not work, you are not going to be standing around on a sales floor answering questions. But you still are going to need to be accessible enough that you will be able to provide answers to questions if customers need your assistance.

How Should I Talk to My Customers’

Since you are not going to be in a room with your customers (most of the time, unless you are for example working at a farmer’s market), you are going to be answering customer inquiries long distance. This is not the sort of business where you have to be available by phone or chat, but you do need to keep in contact via email or other messaging systems (Etsy for example has its own messaging system which customers and businesses can use to keep in touch).

It is important to let your customers know that you are there. Sometimes people will hesitate to get in touch with store owners because they may not believe that contact is desired. This is often the case if you seem cold and distant, because you have not specifically invited contact. Customers feel much more comfortable purchasing products from sellers who are clearly interested in engaging with them directly.

If you are selling on your own site, actually have a contact page that says something along the lines of, ‘Please contact me if you have any questions. I am always here and happy to help.? You can have the same statement on your Etsy page, and on any other websites or communities you are a part of.

How Often Should I Check My Messages’

gemstone ring sell jewelry best practices

Selling jewelry means you are running a business. Very serious jewelers who are trying to make a living selling jewelry are more likely to take communication with customers seriously, but even if you are a hobbyist doing this on the side, do not forget that any money being paid to you for your work is valued by your customer. As such, you should value it and them.

To that end, it is wise to check your messages regularly, preferably at least once a day. That way you can get back to customers and potential customers within 24 hours. It is also a good idea to be kind to your fellow artisans. You may view them as competitors, but in reality, many of them are struggling just like you, and are more than willing to help you out if you help them out. Crafters can often sell much more of their work if they view each other as partners and unite their efforts to cross-promote.

When you are fast responding to your messages, you are telling customers and other artisans that they are a high priority to you, not something buried at the bottom of a to-do list. This helps convey the impression that you are a thoughtful, trustworthy, involved individual. As such, they will feel more comfortable teaming up with you (in the case of other crafters) or purchasing from you (in the case of customers).

Up-Sell When It Makes Sense

Another issue worth discussing when it comes to business practices is the practice of up-selling your merchandise. Up-selling is a practice which is taught in retail settings, and many sellers and customers alike have mixed feelings about it.

Remember the last time you walked into a retail store with the intention of purchasing a new computer, but you walked out with a new computer, a new mouse, an external hard-drive and a new set of speakers? This is what up-selling is. It is when a customer service agent convinces you to either purchase something more expensive than you originally intended to or a number of add-ons which you may not really need, but want.

Some sellers up-sell constantly, and doing that can really drive people away. It can be viewed as pushy and unreasonable. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to shy away from up-selling all the time, either. Some sellers avoid it at all costs, because they view it as an entirely negative behavior. But doing that can cause you to miss out on prime opportunities’and it can deprive buyers of some of your best merchandise.

Whenever you have an opportunity to up-sell, ask yourself if the up-sell would give value to your customer’whether in a similar situation, you yourself might appreciate it. Sometimes up-selling helps customers to discover items they might otherwise have missed. For example, perhaps a customer is showing interest in a pendant you have made for a wedding. This would be an excellent time to ask if she is looking for earrings or a bracelet or a tiara for a matching set. A matching set would add value to her purchase, and it puts money in your pocket.

A good example of an inappropriate up-sell would be this: A customer you do not know purchases a pendant for you. After the purchase is complete, you spam them with messages about how you have a lot of other jewelry for sale and they should really take a look. There is nothing wrong with reminded people your merchandise exists, but the message above has no basis in the customer’s needs. It is arbitrary, and therefore would likely be considered obnoxious.

On this note, it is a good idea to restrain yourself from inappropriate promotional practices such as constantly begging other people to check out your page on Facebook and liking it. There is nothing wrong with asking people to help you out, but there are better ways to go about it. I will get into that more in the last section of our guide, which is on how to promote your jewelry business.

Make Yourself Available for Custom Worklondon blue topaz ring best practices

You should never deprive yourself of business’even business you yourself have not yet created. Customers who are shopping for handmade jewelry are often searching for a unique item which is going to fit with some mental image they have in their head about the perfect jewelry item which is unique and special, just like them or the recipients they are purchasing for.

Offering commissions allows you to take advantage of this kind of mindset. A customer may not find what they are looking for in your gallery, but may like your style and think, ‘It would be awesome if this artisan could make jewelry to my order.? If you state that you take commissions, and make it easy to pay for said commissions, you may very well find yourself with a lot more jewelry orders for pieces which you have not yet made. There are a lot of important do’s and don’ts to be aware of when it comes to custom work, which is why our next section will be on commissions and how to handle them.

Never Take Business for Granted

As one final note on how to conduct yourself professionally, it is extremely important that you never, ever take your success for granted. It is very common to run into other jewelry makers who are selling more than you do, but who seem to be putting less time and effort into communicating with customers, showing appreciation, and presenting themselves with grace and humility. They may be slow or lazy or simply forget to say ‘thank you? when it is due.

You may look at these jewelers and think they’ve got it made’they certainly think they do. But once business practices start to slip and pride gets in the way, things start to gradually fall apart. If you succeed as a jeweler, yes, it is largely in part because of your own ingenuity, hard work, and creativity. But it is also because you have loyal customers who respect and appreciate that work, and help to spread the word about your merchandise.

Always show gratitude and respect to your customers and the good things they have brought you, and you will keep your business healthy and thriving.

More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:

How to Sell Jewelry: Commissions

How to Sell Jewelry: Commissions

Commissions were a topic I briefly touched on during our previous installment on business practices. Commissions are a complicated topic, though, and for new artisans, they can pose a number of questions.

If you are not clear about your commissions and your rules, you can find yourself with some difficulties as far as collecting payments and mailing finished items. That is why it is important to have a set of policies for commissioned works, and to carefully work within the rules you set up.

More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:

What Are Commissions’sell jewelry commissions eagle ring

Jewelry commissions are custom items created for scratch to match a customer’s vision. Customers shopping for handmade jewelry will often be more interested in paying you to simply create something spectacular just for them than they will be in shopping through your catalog for something else that they like.

Commissions make customers feel special, because they know that you put intent and thoughtfulness into making the item just the way they wanted it. Commissions are also very popular for gift-giving. Many customers wish they had the skills to create artistic gifts, and the next best thing is to hire someone else to do it for them.

Sometimes customers are incredibly detailed and specific with what they are looking to buy. Some may even come to you with measurements and sketches. Others are very broad with their instructions, and may only ask you to fulfill color or material requirements.

Still others may ask you to match another item, such as an article of clothing, or a concept.

What Are Common Problems with Commissions’

There are a number of complications that can arise along the way when you are making a bespoke item for a customer:

  • You make the item, following the instructions carefully, but the customer is not satisfied with the item. Unfortunately, because of the subjective nature of art, it is difficult to say who is in the wrong in these situations. Obviously you want the customer to be happy, but you also cannot make the item over and over again at the same price point.
  • You complete the item but you did not take payment in advance. The commissioner disappears, and you get no payment and no mailing address to send the completed jewelry. This happens more frequently than you might think. This wastes your time and materials.

It is up to you to come up with a set of policies that helps you to navigate around these problems. Are there people who will try to cheat you out of your time or money just the same? Yes, and there is no way to avoid all of them all of the time. But you can still give it your best effort.

Best Practices for Commissions

The goal with commissions is to be as clear as possible upfront with any potential customer. You could have a set of rules and policies like this:

  • State up front what you need from the customer to complete the commission. Do you need detailed specifications? Measurements? Materials requests’
  • State up front what the customer can expect. Are you able to replicate your customer’s vision closely, or will the results of the commission be unpredictable because of the way you work? Make sure that the customer knows you will be a good match (or not) for his or her vision.
  • Tell the customer how many times you are willing to revise/remake the item before you return his or her money. Do not allow yourself to be pulled into an infinite loop.
  • Ask for money up-front. You can ask for a down-payment of 50% (which you should specifically state is nonrefundable) or the full payment up-front. It is a really bad idea to ever allow a commission customer to pay you after the item is completed. A lot of people have no respect for an artist’s time and will ask you to make something and then think it is okay not to pay you for your time if they disappear and never claim the finished item. By asking for up-front payment, you eliminate most of these people.

You can add a paragraph detailing your commissions policies on your ‘About? page or your other policy pages. You also will want to make sure this information is included on the page for your commission sales if you have a purchase link online.

How Do You Offer Commissions’sell jewelry commissions gemstone jewelry

Now that you know some of the policy topics which are pertinent to commissions, you will need to come up with a way to offer your commissions. This is not as straightforward as posting a finished item for sale. Some artists do not have sales pages for their commissions at all, and simply take payment for them manually (with PayPal for example).

You will find that having some kind of commission sales page can increase your commission sales, however, since it makes it easier and faster for customers’plus the page acts as an advertisement, giving customers an idea for what you can create for them. If you have an Etsy page, one of the easiest ways you can do this is simply post a custom item for sale.

Etsy actually allows you to select ‘made to order? when you are choosing the item type. Choosing this option implies that the item is not yet crafted. For photos, you can upload sample photos of similar items that you have created in the past. You can then set ‘number available? to a really high number (like 100). That way the page can be used as an order form over and over again for the commission item without having to pay to re-list it every time.

So for example, let’s say you make pendants using precious gemstones and soldering. You could post an item on Etsy and title it something like this: ‘I will make a custom, one-of-a-kind sterling silver pendant for you!? You could then select ‘made to order? while you are choosing the options, and upload pictures of other pendants you have made in the past.

Choose pendants which were made for commissions in the past if you have already done some custom work. That way customers who are looking at the page can get a grasp for what you are capable of making. Set the ‘number available? to something like 100. That way when someone commissions you, they can pay for the item, and the count will tick down to 99. And then someone else can pay for their item on the same commission page, and the count will tick down again. But you do not have to continuously re-list and pay the fees for items where you list ‘only 1 available.’

In the body of the text, you will want to include all of the information on your commissions policies. Let customers know what you need from them and what they will be getting in return. Make sure you are crystal clear on the topic of refunds and how many times you are willing to re-work a piece. That way you can avoid coming out on the losing end of any disputes which come about.

When you set up your commission system like this, customers will have to pay you in advance. Offering customers the chance to commission you for a special, made-to-order item allows you to take advantage of many more sales opportunities than would be available to you if you only posted items which were already completed.

Make sure that you regularly let people know that you are available for commissions. Oftentimes, you will hear someone say, ‘I love this item, and I’d buy it, but it already sold.? Then you can answer, ‘I take commissions, so I would be happy to make you a similar item if you want.? Oftentimes people will take you up on this offer. As you continue to market and promote your work, you will get a feel for when it is an appropriate time to make someone an offer like this.

Provide value, make sure you never miss out on an opportunity, and you will do well selling your custom jewelry!

How to Sell Jewelry: Promotion

How to Sell Jewelry: Promotion

Now that you have read most of our guide on how to sell jewelry, you should feel much more prepared to sell your own. In our other sections, we talked about where you can sell your work online and offline, how to price your jewelry, and how to come up with shipping and returns policies that will protect you as a seller. We also discussed best business practices, how to offer top-notch customer service, and how to interact with fellow jewelers. Our previous section covered commissions. Now let’s talk about how to promote your jewelry business.

How to Start Promoting Your Jewelry Online and OfflineHow to promote jewelry

It is a nice thought that you could simply get online, post your work for sale, and wait. You may think that since you are offering value, customers will find you. But in reality, getting online and trying to sell your work is quite hard, because you are just one of thousands of other jewelers who also make beautiful, high-quality work. To add to the challenge, many jewelers under-price their work because they are scared of not selling anything. This makes it all the more difficult to make it if you do price your work within a reasonable range. Trying to be heard online is the equivalent of walking into a huge stadium, the stands overflowing with crowds, and shouting. You are going to have a very hard time being heard by anybody, even those who are standing right next to you. That’s why you have to be prepared to do a lot of marketing and promotion to sell your work. And even with all that hard work, you are still going to be relying at least partly on luck to help you get notice. Here’s what you can do to get started.

Sell On a Recognizable, Trustworthy Site

This all by itself can be a huge help. It may be tempting to start your own store on your own site, and in the long run, this may work out great. But at least while you are starting out, it is wise to cultivate a presence on Etsy, Ebay, or another venue which many people are familiar with. Trust is still pretty low with online purchasing, and a lot of customers will feel safer buying from you on Etsy than they will from checking out on your site’even if you use PayPal or another third party payment vendor. Make it as easy as humanly possible to buy your products. Do everything you can to make shopping effortless and secure. You will have a much easier time driving traffic to a site’which users already trust than you will trying to send traffic to one that they do not recognize.

Join Social Networks and Community Sites

Your next step is to choose a number of different social networking sites, forums, and other types of online communities to join. Think carefully before you start joining sites. Ask yourself the following helpful questions before you decide which sites to join and put energy and time into:

  • How much time do I realistically have each day to spend keeping up with communities’
  • What is my audience? Does the audience on a given site match with the demographic of buyers I am trying to sell to? Are these the right people? Do they have money to spend on ‘unnecessary? items’

You probably are not going to be able to post on dozens of sites and participate actively on the communities you join, unless you have no day job and nothing else to do with your time other than interact online. It is smarter to choose just a few communities which you know are likely to be responsive to your efforts. That way you can focus on interacting more closely with the people you do meet, and making more of a positive impression.

Post Intelligently and ProductivelyHow to promote jewelry online

Social networking is not just about constantly putting your work out there and hoping that it will convert. You also have to post in an intelligent fashion which draws buyers to your store. That means, for example, that one single post which has a great photograph of jewelry and a link in the description leading to your store is going to do you more good than twenty poorly photographed posts without links in the descriptions. You always want to strive for excellence when you post, and you never want to miss an opportunity to send people to your site. On the internet, most users have short attention spans and are easily distracted. They need to be reminded over and over again that you have a store and you sell beautiful jewelry for reasonable prices.

Use Promotions to Drive Sales

Everybody loves a deal. There is something addicting about hunting for bargains. Many people will happily spend more money if they believe they have taken advantage of a limited opportunity to save money. Every grocery store which prints coupons in the Sunday paper knows this. A savvy seller online will take full advantage of this aspect of human nature, and will market to it directly. Come up with regular promotions for your merchandise. Holiday sales are very popular, especially during the winter. As a jeweler, you also probably want to plan for sales on Valentine ‘s Day. In fact, it is a great idea to plan to run sales periodically throughout the year. Once again, people online often have short attention spans, and each time you run a sale will feel like the only time to numerous potential buyers (who will have forgotten your previous sale a month ago already). This can boost their sense of urgency and send them to your storefront. You can also use coupons to encourage repeat customers. One easy practice is to send out a coupon automatically to buyers after they make a purchase. That way they will be tempted to come back again and spend it on something else, especially if you put a time limit on the coupon’s use.

Get Reviews

It is also important to seek reviews from your customers. You may think that this will happen automatically, but more often than not, you need to be prepared to ask for reviews. There is nothing wrong with asking for honest testimonials. Once again, make this as easy as possible. Send a link, and offer a coupon in thanks. Many people will be happy to leave you a review if you ask, but will forget if you do not remind them. You can also feel free to ask people to share your store page on their social networks, but make sure you do not spam them with this request. Always offer something like a coupon. Promoting a jewelry business online takes a lot of work, and even with time and daily attention, it may take you a long time to get noticed on the internet. There is a lot of competition out there, and you will be competing with talented jewelers with lower prices. Spend your energy where it seems most productive, regularly check your statistics to see how you can improve your campaign, and leverage your business relationships and the networks of friends you make to reach out to new potential buyers. And always remember: be polite, generous, and friendly to everyone you meet. It makes a difference, and can generate sales all on its own!