Handmade vs. Assembled Jewelry

I love starting my jewelry pieces with just a handful of beads. Then I begin to coordinate the beads with other beads and findings and decide how I want to design the piece. Some beads I’ll decide will look best as a wire-wrapped chain, others will look better incorporated into bead woven pieces, and some better just strung. Whatever the case, I simply like starting from scratch.

A few years ago jewelry supply companies began to sell pre-made bead chain for jewelry artists (designers, crafters, whatever) to use in their pieces. When I first got wind of this I thought, well there’s really no way for a customer to know that the person selling a piece of jewelry actually made most everything. This is when I began to contemplate the fine line between making something and simply assembling it. It is so easy to go to a jewelry supply site and purchase everything you need to make a bracelet. Once you get your goods in the mail, you simply just sit, and with a few simple tools assemble a bracelet. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with that and I don’t have anything against companies who want to sell pre-assembled kits and chain and customers who choose to buy and use it. I just realized that I owed it to myself and to my customers to actually say, “I made that bead chain myself.” Granted, of course, not everything I use in my pieces I have the skills, the tools, nor the required workspace to make myself. 

Metal charms, for instance, require the ability to melt metal and pour it into forms. Of course this isn’t the only way to make charms. I personally do not want to risk burning my hands off! There are other ways to make charms, eventually and hopefully in the near future I will be able to do this, as well. For now, I remain open about my process for “making stuff” and this includes the ability to say, “I made that chain!”

Chain I made for a bracelet incorporating a handmade wire bead.

Chain I made for a bracelet incorporating a handmade wire bead. Yes, I made that bead!

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