We get asked that question a lot. Typically, jewelry pieces we make are never the same. Handmade, artisan jewelry has become more popular as people have begun to value craftsmanship and quality materials often not incorporated in mass-produced items. As artisans, we all have a preference of work materials, some of us, more than one. One thing that doesn’t change is the level of detail and quality you won’t find in a typical boutique or clothing store.
If you’re still not sure why you would want to purchase a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, consider this.
Have you ever gone somewhere and seen someone wearing the same necklace or earrings, yeah that sucks! This is one of the reasons I started making jewelry, first for myself and then as a business. I’ll never forget going out with the hubby and seeing two other women with the same earrings I was wearing. I guess that’s just a compliment… I have good taste but, on the flip side… I didn’t want to be standing next to either one of them.
As artisans, we make several pieces, and we do offer the same design for many of our jewelry pieces. However, because everything is handmade and one-of-a-kind, it means that there is going to be some variation from piece to piece; even if we’re working from the same design source.
The Handmade Saga…
There’s a theory out there, which implies that anything classified as artisan jewelry should be “handmade.” But the one thing that comes up repeatedly is the difference between an artisan that creates pieces from scratch, start to finish versus using a pool of premade materials that are assembled.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Some designers have an eye for beauty, myself included and can take premade pieces and convert them into beautiful jewelry to wear…when done correctly. But compare the act of putting something together to make a piece of jewelry with raw materials. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Most designers of the artisan world spend hours making a piece. It takes an enormous amount of time to create some pieces, not to mention the commitment and intimate process involved. Buying a handmade item is almost like buying an original painting… do you want the copy or the original?
Does the value outweigh the cost?
When you decide to purchase a custom necklace, bracelet, or ring, the value of the material is superior to that used in mass-produced items. Handmade pieces have a connection to the designer, suppliers, and the attention to detail involved.
Ethically sourced materials.
Designers often are not afforded the deal cuts that mass producers receive. Many of us cannot buy in bulk, but purchasing on a small scale provides a buyer with more transparency. We purchase our components here in the US, visit gems shows and ask questions as to how the stones are acquired. The one thing that an artisan has over the mass producer is that we are not afraid to talk about our process. On the contrary, most artisans love to talk about their art and how a piece was created.
No one really sets out to buy cheap jewelry. But at some point, or another everyone has had an unfortunate experience with itchy lobes or fake silver. When you invest in artisan jewelry, you buy quality, something that is built to last. If you care for your artisan jewelry, you’ll have a piece that will last a lifetime…unless you lose it.
No matter what you decide, the benefit of purchasing one-of-a-kind is always knowing that you have a unique item no matter the price point. No two pieces are ever alike, and that is the real beauty of handmade.
So in the end technically, for a product to be considered handmade, it must be made by hand from start to finish. Many will say that if it’s not at least 75% handmade, then it shouldn’t be referred to as handmade. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave us a comment.