In a previous post discussing smart jewelry decisions, I touched on the value of handcrafted jewelry versus mass produced commercial jewelry. While there are pros and cons to both, obviously I lean more toward artisan pieces. But in the spirit of fairness, I’ve listed the pros of each to help you make your own decision.
- When you purchase handcrafted jewelry you’re getting an unique piece. Although I may offer a similar style for many years depending on what my clients want, each piece is slightly different because it's made individually and by hand. For example, while you may see someone else wearing a necklace from my Sticks and Stone collection, you can rest assured it won’t be exactly like the one you may own.
- Like so many other artists, I truly believe when buying from an individual you are doing something good for the planet. Unlike a big corporation where designing and churning out jewelry is based on nothing more than making the most money for the least investment, jewelry artisans care about where our gold, silver and stones come from. Plus, hopefully when you buy handcrafted you buy with the intent of keeping the piece for a lifetime, not just wearing it until the newest fad. This keeps less waste out of landfills and is better for Mother Earth.
- You are investing in someone’s dream. Many jewelry designers like other craftsmen struggle daily to balance paying the bills with doing what makes them happy. Purchasing a piece of handcrafted jewelry gives them the confidence and encouragement to continue to bring beauty into the world.
- Most artists have a story to tell---about their inspiration, technique or materials. The story continues when you purchase the piece---you become part of the story!
- You bought a pair of earrings from a nationally known retailer only to lose one a week later. Chances are pretty good that same store or another in their chain will be able to get you the same pair of earrings within days. (Although this may not be the case if you lose it a few seasons later since the fashion styles change so often.)
- Are you a big impulse shopper? Then commercially produced jewelry definitely can satisfy that “must have it now” urge.
- Since mass produced jewelry manufacturers use commercial equipment often a piece bought from a department or jewelry store will have a higher sheen because it is has been machine polished with a heavy duty polisher.
It is easy to see, there are pros for both. And while as a jewelry designer I would love for your jewelry box to be filled with nothing but custom pieces, I understand this isn’t realistic. But when you do want that something special…a custom piece as individual as you are, then seek out a jewelry artisan, someone who can create exactly what you are searching for.