What I see from my customers…
Recently I did a survey to see what my customers wanted me to write about in my newsletters and the one person that completed my survey told me they would like to know jewelry trends and how to put things together. So here’s my attempt to respond to you and thanks for answering my survey.
According to the market big and chunky jewelry is in this year. Good to know I’ve been fashion forward all along even before it was in. On the whole according to the market I get my information from besides you guys, bright jeweler’s brass is the new gold this year because of the cost of purchasing gold. It is a great alternative to gold jewelry and gives you the look of gold without breaking the bank to get it.
So far this year I am noticing that my customers are purchasing a lot more brass, silver, and copper jewelry. Not the usual antiqued brass like last year but brass that looks like gold. Is this because gold is so expensive? Maybe; I know purchasing gold filled wire is very expensive for me to purchase which means whatever I make out of it is much more expensive for you to buy from me.
I know that a lot of women and men think that the only thing to buy when it come to buying jewelry is gold but that is such a limited view; of course that’s just my opinion; but keep reading and let me try to explain myself.
When you only buy gold jewelry you are missing out on other fantastic metals such as sterling silver argentium silver, copper, colored artistic wire, silver plated colored artistic wire, brass wire, and aluminum wire. Each of these wires has their good qualities and their bad qualities and I try to use all of them when I am making my jewelry.
I select the wire to compliment the stone. Some wire artists wrap the stone with the idea that the wire is the focus of the piece but I think the stone is still the focus when I am wrapping a stone or creating a ring. The wire is just a means to an end and should compliment the main show.
With gold, sterling silver, argentium silver, copper, and brass wire you will need to polish you jewelry. I would recommend you purchase a polishing cloth and simply rub it over you jewelry each time you are going to wear it. To store it you could get those little packets that come in your shoe boxes or your purses and keep your wire jewelry in baggies with the packet in them to help reduce the amount of tarnishing that happens. But in the end all metal will tarnish and you will need to polish it. If your tarnish is being stubborn I would suggest purchasing Something New jewelry cleaner online. It is safe for your gemstones and pearls as well as your metals.
I have noticed at the shows I’ve done are women coming up and putting a necklace in their hands and saying, “It’s too heavy.” Well this year big and chunky is in. I’ve never met a necklace that is too heavy. Sure I’ve seen some beads that are just too big to be a choker but what if they are on a longer necklace does that make a difference to you? Does every piece of jewelry you wear have to disappear around your neck? If you normally wear jewelry that is small and people take no notice try wearing something that will make a statement. Look at your clothing; think about what kind of person you are, what would your friends say about you? That is they kind of jewelry you should be wearing.
Why not try mixing that one fantastic piece of gold jewelry to your beautifully designed and created jewelry that you have purchased from your favorite jewelry artist? You’ll notice people think you’ve gotten new jewelry when all you did was mix it up. Try mixing your metals and while you’re mixing your metals mix your media as well. Add in your random strand of gemstones, pearls, glass beads, or resin beads. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Don’t forget about earrings, bracelets, anklets, and rings. You can mix and match all of these other areas to your hearts content and make your jewelry work for you and show your style rather than what fashion “experts” say your style is. Because after all is said and done what is really does come down to what you like; what you think looks good on you and you are comfortable with. I hope this has helped you when you are out shopping for your next piece of artisan jewelry.
Helpful Information About Wire…
Gold filled wire, well let’s see when you purchase a piece of jewelry chances are you are not getting solid gold because it would be too soft but you are getting gold filled. This means that there is a small amount of brass mixed in and over a period of time (30 years or so) the gold will wear off. Gold wire comes in a variety of shapes and sizes which are important to wire artists but not so much for you except in the finished product. It is very expensive to purchase and is used in limited quantity in most wire artists’ work currently.
Sterling silver wire like gold is not pure it is 92.5% pure and mixed with copper. It is well liked by customers and accepted and an alternative to gold. Like gold sterling silver comes in a variety of shapes and sizes which are important to wire artists. More affordable than gold there are a number of wire artists that only use sterling silver in their designs.
Argentium silver wire is relatively new. It is a new mixture of sterling silver that does not tarnish as easily as sterling silver. It is silver wire. A few years ago someone developed a new formula for this metal and since it can’t be called sterling silver wire it has a new name but have faith it is exactly like sterling silver in the look, feel and quality it just doesn’t tarnish as easily as sterling silver wire. That said, this wire is a bit more pricy than sterling silver wire and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. More and more wire artists have begun to use argentium silver wire in their designs because of the resistance to tarnishing.
Artistic wire is copper or tin wire that has been covered with a very thin coating of silver or brass. It comes in a variety of sizes and generally in round only. I use this wire a lot when I am making something that does not rub on your skin such as a small pendant or for adding a charm to a bracelet using a small jump ring. There are times when the color of the stone and the color of the wire compliment each other co nicely the wire is the only thing to use. This wire has such a thin coating that the color will wear off if it is worn on a regular basis. That is the reason I use if for items such as a charm or pendant.
Copper wire is just that copper, nothing mixed in with it. It will tarnish quickly; it comes in a variety of shapes and thicknesses. Sometimes you will see copper wire with a special coating that has been added to cut down on tarnishing, it also comes in bright and antiqued.
Silver plated artistic wire: you will know this wire when you see it by the bright shiny finish. This wire is like artistic wire except it is plated with silver that has been colored. It is typically very brightly colored and resists chipping and is harder to remove the finish than artistic wire.
Brass wire is a semi-precious metal like gold and silver. It will tarnish like gold and silver and is available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Brass wire is used in a variety of designs and comes in a range of brass colors. I think of brass as being gold like or brassy and then anything in between. I’ve seen brass wire that looks exactly like gold in color and I’ve seen brass that is well just brassy looking.
Aluminum wire is mainly used by chain maille artists for jump rings. This lightweight wire comes in a variety of colors and because it is lightweight it lends itself nicely to chain maille designs that can end up being very heavy with all the jump rings. Aluminum wire is also fairly inexpensive to purchase and comes in a variety of sizes.