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Friday, October 28, 2011

A brief followup to yesterday's post.

So for those of you who read yesterday's posting and said: "Ha. That guy is just making those things up about selling his new stuff so quickly.", I just wanted to let you know that the new opal earrings shown in yesterday's post sold today. You just have to be quick if you want something new.

Pictured above are some new black South Sea keshi pearls I got in recently. Interested? Don't wait!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Jewels

If you are a regular customer of mine, it behooves you to keep an eye on my blog. This is where I am posting pictures of my new pieces as they come out. The reason it's advantageous to you is that if you actually want to own some of my new pieces (and this becomes particularly important to those of you who might be looking for Christmas presents) you really have to move quickly if you see something you like. For a variety of reasons the new designs I put out sell much faster than anything else. The South Sea pearl earrings in this recent posting: have already sold to one of my regular (and nicest) customers. Sometimes the new stuff sells so quickly that I don't even have time to get a picture taken of it (well one that someone else takes given my photographic skills).

Obviously one of the reasons new pieces sell so quickly is because my regulars already have a lot of my older designs and when they see something new it moves them. But the other reason is that I'm always excited when something new comes out and (yes I still get excited when I make something new) I tend to show the new stuff more. So even when I get new customers in who might not have seen my work before, I will often show the newest pieces first.

Then there is the other strange thing about retailing, which is that even if I don't show the newer pieces to someone who is in the store for the first time, they often gravitate towards the new items. It's another thing about retailing I just don't understand. It is somewhat akin to my lack of understanding why certain designs seem to cycle into the customer's minds at the same time. Last week I had two different customers come in with diamonds they wanted reset from a variety of pieces they owned and they both picked the same design (something akin to this one here: Now I hadn't sold a set like this since last Christmas and then in the same week I sell two of them! I have this happen with other designs as well. I have some rings that languish for years and then suddenly in a month I'll sell three of them! Perhaps it's something in the water...........

I have a few requests of anyone reading these pages. One is that I'd love for you to become a follower (although for some reason, in a recent change to the system, blogger has stopped showing my list of followers---I'm working on that). The second is that I am always happy to hear both comments from you and suggestions for future topics (and yes I STILL am working on a posting on opal).

Pictured above are 18k and 22k yellow gold earrings with boulder opals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Problem Solving

Half of my job has nothing to do with making jewelry.  It has to do with problem solving.  I have now been in business for so long that many of my customers have aged a bit and sometimes the actual functinality of pieces can become challenging.  One of my older (both in how long she's been coming to me and in age) customers loves pins and she has quite a few older ones, many of which I have worked on over the years.  However her fingers are no longer as agile as they once were and she has a terrible time manipulating the pin stems, especially when they are short.  A short pin stem is hard to get into a piece of material and then fit into the clasp mechanism and close the clasp.  So one of the things I have tried to do for her over the years is to extend the length of the pins so she can manipulate them easily.  Recently she came in with a piece I had worked on previously.  But the somewhat longer pin stem we had added to it originally was no longer functional.  So she wanted me to devise a solution for her that would allow her to put the pin on more easily.

When she was here I immediately said fine, I can just add a bigger piece behind it and put a longer pin stem on.  But when I actually sat down with the piece I realized it wasn't quite that simple.  First of all because of both my prior work, and possibly other prior work, I could no longer remove the cameo to do work on the piece and hope to get it back in, looking right, and set properly.  So I couldn't solder it onto anything because the heat from my torch would have ruined the cameo.  Additionally because there were open elements of the design that I really didn't want to lose I couldn't just simply attach it to a big piece of flat metal.  So my first thought was to cut out a rectangle, the size of the pin, in the middle.  So I did that.  Only then I had to figure out how I was going to attach the pin to my larger piece of metal without using solder.  At first I considered using rivets but there was no area on the pin that I either wouldn't have ruined trying to rivet (riveting involves hammering a piece of wire down onto a piece) or ruined the design by drilling holes through it for the rivets. Finally I figured out that I could use a prong like attachment to hook it on. This would resolve a number of issues: 1) I wouldn't have to use any solder to attach the piece. 2) I wouldn't have to destroy any part of the original piece to attach it.  3) It would actually get the job done (something always important in my book).  

So if you look closely at the picture (one of mine, apologies) you will see that I ran four prongs up inside the border of her pin and bent them over to hold her pin in place.  So no solder, a bigger pin, and hence much longer pin stem, and success.  And given what I had to work with it looks consistent and pretty.  Can't ask for much more than that.  In this case, it wasn't about making jewelry, just figuring out HOW to make the jewelry.  And now you know why I charge what I do!!!