For the past few years, handcrafted jewelry has been all the rage. On every tv station, we see female broadcasters sporting beaded necklaces. Gemstone necklaces have replaced shiny metal pieces and these statement necklaces coordinate color with a wardrobe to highlight the newscasters’ well-known faces. We even tune into popular tv shows like The Good Wife and Scandal to see handcrafted jewelry that compliments popular fashion. So is artisan jewelry just another passing trend or something worth investing in? Why buy handcrafted jewelry?
What Makes Handmade Jewelry So Special?
1. The very definition of handcrafted or handmade means that artisan hands design and creates the finished product. In mass production, machinery may crank out hundreds or thousands of pieces from a mold while an artist focuses on one individual design and makes it special. An artist might use a machine produced clasp or crystal, or use a machine to make a hole or polish a stone but all the materials are hand selected and all of the assembly is done by hand.
2. Sometimes, as in any art, a patron may be attracted to the final product without stopping to think about the amount of time and all the steps involved to really take a design from conception to completion. Jewelry artists, such as ourselves, generate new designs and collections based on a number of influences. Our designs are heavily inspired by nature; often we are drawn to the beauty of the materials themselves, and we are influenced by other art forms, including the ever-changing styles of fashion.
A question we are frequently asked is: how long does it usually take to create a necklace? The answer is not cut and dry because a jewelry artist might think about a design for days, weeks, months before buying or gathering materials. Sometimes there is homework to be done – researching cultures, period styles or trends, and we are often learning and tackling new techniques. Our customers often remark that they are amazed by the variety in our collections.
Trips to craft shows to hunt for materials from around the world are frequently taken. We might take all the potential materials for one necklace and play around for days, trying this with that until we like what we see. Then there is the actual assembly, which can be very time consuming depending on the complexity of the design. There could be many steps until the final clasp is attached. An artist’s time is valuable and difficult to assess.
Quality Trumps Quantity
3. The materials used is a major difference in the quality of a design. In mass produced products, many alloys are often mixed together to create costume metal jewelry. This is something you may not become aware of if you are not sensitive to metals. Some costume jewelry will fall apart if cheaply made. Gemstones and glass beads can last forever. Most jewelry artists will tell you about the components of their jewelry and whether there is a story behind the piece. These intimate details are part of the nuance of artisan jewelry.
4. An artisan made necklace is unlike any other in that inherent in the process of working by hand, the quality is higher for a few reasons. Firstly, an artisan takes pride in what is produced. Like any artist, a jewelry designer has a very intimate relationship with each piece designed; energy and love enter into every product and the artist wants the finished product to reflect that. A piece of the artist is stamped in some way into the piece- one cannot say that about mass produced jewelry.
Secondly, generally every piece is one-of-a-kind and you are the only person with that specific piece of jewelry. You will not see yourself at a meeting, event or in a restaurant wearing the same necklace as anyone else. You might even find yourself receiving compliments on your unique necklace; your wearable work of art.
Lastly, the artist was inspired to create this piece of jewelry having thought about the home the necklace will go to and often a relationship is created between the artist and the customer. As a first time buyer, you might just be attracted to a particular piece, but when you review the collection, you notice many pieces that you would love to own or gift. There is a consistent look that appeals to you and so you may read about the artist, perhaps contact the artist and a relationship is formed. The artist works hard to make sure a customer is satisfied with their purchase. At least we do – customer service is of paramount importance to us.
A Lifetime Treasure
Gemstone and beaded necklaces have been around for centuries and have never gone out of style. They have been passed down within families as treasured heirlooms; the age of each wearer dictates how a particular piece is styled – a piece can have many looks and many lives. When you give a handmade necklace as a gift, the recipient knows you spent time choosing a meaningful present and will think of you every time the piece is worn. Handcrafted jewelry is an artistic and beautiful expression of individuality and connection.
Please visit us at Earth and Moon Design to find the special piece of handcrafted artisan jewelry that speaks to you.