Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buying jewelry for a gift

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With the holidays upon us, I know people are considering buying jewelry for a gift. I am happy to say that a lot of my jewelry gets bought for gifts. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with the blog readers to help them make the best decisions for purchasing jewelry for someone else.

1. Get to know as much about your recipient as possible (discreetly if you can).
  • Does the wearer have any allergies? The one I see most often is to "nickel silver" (which isn't really silver at all).
  • What does your gift recipient normally wear? If she normally only wears earrings, now is not the time to get her a bracelet.
  • Can you find out appropriate sizes of her current jewelry collection? Is there a particular chain length she likes? Find a ruler and measure the length of her pieces in her jewelry box.
  • Does she actually have pierced ears? I've seen people get wire/post earrings for women that they're not even sure have pierced ears!
2. Earrings and necklaces are generally better choices than rings and bracelets if you don't much about your recipient.
  • Earrings and necklaces are generally closer to a "one size fits all" types of pieces. Bracelets and rings require knowing more about the recipient's exact size.
3. What color (if applicable) would the recipient like?
  • People make the mistake of "Well, she always wears blue, so I'm going to get her something red." Wrong! She wears blue because she LIKES blue. It's always a good choice to get someone more of what they like.
4. Is my recipient going to care for her jewelry completely or would something easier to care for be in order?
  • Does your jewelry gift recipient have the time and knowledge on how to care for their jewelry?
  • Can she keep the piece clean and maintained properly? Sterling silver pieces in humid climates (Florida especially!) will tarnish very quickly if not cared for and stored properly.
  • Are you considering an "everyday wear" type piece or is this something that is considered a "special occasion" piece?
5. Always ask the person or store you are buying from what their return and exchange policy is.
  • Can the recipient return or exchange the piece if she doesn't like it? I typically offer a 14 day return policy and a 30 day exchange policy on my pieces.
  • Can you get a gift receipt? I am happy to offer a gift receipt. This is important in cases such as Christmas where the purchaser may be buying the piece several weeks in advance of the holiday.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the returns or exchange policy, always ask! I am always happy to work with customers if they let me know up front what the concerns are. For example, if some is buying a Valentine's Day gift in mid January, I am happy to extend the return period until after February 14 to let the recipient have time to decide if she likes the piece.
6. Ask what the warranty is on the jewelry considered for purchase.
  • Ask for instructions on how to care for the piece. I cannot stress how important this is! Unfortunately, I have had to repair several pieces I have made for customers because they weren't careful with wearing and cleaning the piece. If you aren't sure about your piece, have a professional give advice on how to clean and care for your jewelry.
  • Ask for directions on how to return the piece to the artist/store for repair if necessary. Any good store should have the ability to repair your jewelry or recommend you to a reliable person for repair.
I hope this helps everyone this month. I will be posting more information over the next couple of weeks on how to purchase individual styles of pieces and such. Happy shopping!

Friday, November 27, 2009

For all those waiting for new pictures

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Thank you to those who have been quite patiently waiting for new pictures! A jewelry artist I am, photographer I am not! I have realized this week that the lack of usable pictures of the new jewelry has not been from anything on my part. It seems as though my camera is tinting everything blue. After several emails and phone calls to technical support, it looks as though my camera will have to go in for service.

I realize those of you from outside the Gainesville area are thinking about your holiday purchases and are looking forward to pictures. I sincerely apologize and will do my best to put up the best pictures for all to see as I have tried to color-correct the images as best and as realistically as possible. Those in the Gainesville area are invited to visit my local galleries to see the jewelry before purchasing.

Thank you again for your patience and know that I am actively working on the problem.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New jewelry display pictures

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I have jewelry in a local art gallery, the Artisans' Guild Gallery of Gainesville, Florida. The gallery has been in existence since 1965 and is cooperative gallery comprised of approximately 50 local artists. I took in some of my jewelry the other day and was happy with how the display turned out.

I have the jewelry organized by "color," only meaning that the clear resin and sterling silver and resin pieces are intermixed. The picture is a little distant and reflections and such, but the jewelry is actually displayed on brown rice. The texture behind the pieces is an interesting contrast. I like it and so have others who have seen it so far.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where did that day off go?

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I kept telling myself last week that if I just got through the Downtown Art Festival, that I could relax for a couple of days and go from there. What was I thinking??? I had completely forgotten that I had a new website to post and get pictures of all the jewelry.

Making the jewelry really isn't bad once I got all the experimenting done. It took about 2 months of playing around with different materials, pigments, mixtures, etc., to find out what worked and what didn't. Today's challenge was actually photographing the jewelry!

I was trying to recreate the display I had at the show this past weekend for my photography. Easier said than done! I'm not a photographer by any stretch and certainly found it difficult to capture the jewelry on camera as it looks in person. Once again, Karma came to help. Normally I don't mind the company, but in this case, she thought it would be more fun to play with the pendants rather than letting me photograph them. As I scolded her, she advised me of her displeasure. I suppose we will have to make up later. :)

The true unfortunate part in all this is that I found out my camera needs to be repaired as it is picturing everything with a blue tint. I suppose I could correct most of it with Photoshop, but I really prefer to minimally correct items with a computer. I feel like it's cheating or something. So that means that pieces will take a little longer to get on the site.

As for the site itself, it's mostly up, but there is a big glitch in that it won't load correctly in Firefox. I've got a request in to technical support, so I hope to have it resolved in a day or two. Until then, no day off. Hopefully this weekend....maybe......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More jewelry making with Karma the cat

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I was sanding some of the resin pieces the other day and needed just some "mental down time" in front of the television while I was doing it. (On a technical note, I have to sand the resin pieces "under water" as the resin fragments will melt back into the pieces and become burs if I don't.) My house was still quiet except for me and the hubby and I was catching up on some news. My cat Karma came to help with the sanding. Too bad she doesn't have thumbs!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pouring resin

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Just a few pictures to share with you as I pour resin into some of the sterling silver pieces.

You will have to use some imagination here too (hubby isn't the best photographer). :)

First, I have already formed and constructed the sterling silver pieces. That is a entire job onto itself.

Left: I'm mixing the resin. This pour happens to start with "crystal clear". It's a small amount and the measuring must be exact for it to cure properly.

Left: I'm adding the color pigments. I want just a "touch of pink" for this pour.

Left: I must stir again thoroughly to make sure the color gets mixed evenly.

Left: These are pieces that have been "set up" and are ready to receive the resin.

Left: I'm using a small syringe to place the resin EXACTLY where it needs to be.

The pieces need approximately 36 hours to cure. After that, they are all sanded by hand on both sides to get a nice neat and even appearance.
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