Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As I've mentioned before...

Well, kindof.  I went off on this tangent a few months ago, talking about stones, especially their historical significance, and in that post I mentioned Beryl.

Beryl a stone that comes in three distinct colors, pink, yellow, blue and green.  Only one is precious.

Pink Beryl: in all its luster is called Morganite. Its lovely, demure and makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. No, just kidding, but for a girl who loves pink--it's a divine stone.  A lovely example is found in Maine: http://www.maine.gov/museum/exhibits/gemsminerals/window2.html

Yellow Beryl:  From the ancian name of the sun, Heliodor. The yellow tone resonates with personal power and personal intellect in a healing capacity.  Or so it is said.   Some examples: http://skywalker.cochise.edu/wellerr/mingem/gemtp/heliodor/heliodorL.htm

Blue Beryl: the talisman of travelers, especially those making an ocean voyage, Aquamarine. Since I make every bit of Aquamarine I purchase for a dear friend of mine, I have little in the way of personal pieces to show you. But, I imagine Jessica enjoys a new raw form of her birthstone every March. 

And finally the consumate beryl, colored green, and the only color of the stone considered precious, though it is the most prone to imperfection: Emerald.

Emerald

Because I have red hair, and pale complexion, emerald is often my favorite stone. I know, I know, its arrogant, self-obsorbed and silly. But such is the personality of someone who memorizes useless information at the frequency I do--like info about stones, their properties and meanings.

Each of the aforementioned stones shall of course have their own, detailed informational post for those wanting to know more.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby.

I do not make many things in Ruby.  The reason is purely selfish and old school.

See, I was born with deep red-auburn hair, but not with a pale enough complexion to pull off wearing any red other than deep wine.  So, I generally do not make Rubies, since I can rarely wear them anyhow.

Until I found the deep wine of some Indian rubies. 

Now, those I can wear.

Now, for someone who makes fine high-end gemstone jewelry such as myself, cutting out an entire stone is simply not good for business.  No matter how much I am hurt by the cold-hard truth or my hair color and complexion.

Rubies, clear, perfect, untouched rubies are so few and far between that larger rubies are actually worth more than their diamond counterparts.  Those that are translucent rather than the naturally opaque are even far more expensive.  With rubies, the four c's are heavily in play as well.

Rubies are a heart stone.  Which is really kind of cool, because ALL natural rubies have imperfections...and honestly so do all natural hearts. The heart is a fickle organ.

Royalty have long enjoyed Rubies, as well as the 'sister stone' of Star Rubies.  Many princesses and Queens of Europe have embedded rubies within their tiera's.  Including Queen Elizabeth II, who owns the "Burmese Ruby Tiera."

The rubies I treasure most, however, are riddled with imperfections, and on some level you can still tell they were once a stone, complete with geological imperfections.

However, on a buying trip recently, I found these stunning specimens:





While the reflective photo may leave something to be diesired, there is not much so lovely as a set of rubies draped in standard yellow gold.  Ruby Earrings

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Long and Hard Trip

Well, I am finally mostly settled. I moved up to just south of Seattle Washington, putting me in prime bead shopping territory.  I am incredibly excited about this move, and the position I took up here.  While hubby had to stay in Fort Hood for a while, it was the best thing for myself and all my millions (3) of kiddos.
Madison is already yelling at me to take her to bead stores, and we will begin the adventure again soon I always promise her.  It took up the better part of two weeks to move up here, another 4 to get a house and them daycare--since then I have been working, relearning my old career field from the Army.
I start school again in two (ish) weeks, as do the kiddos, and now I am working regular hours in addition to reopening the shop.  I have a ton of catching up to do, including some historical data.

The shop is open again though, in case you want to check it out.

Maggie's Jewelry

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

Mmmm, shiny, yummy, flash heavy Labradorite.  My mother absolutely loves this stone.  And why not?  It is utterly covered in charm and flash.

As feldspars go, it is a wonderful gray stone, with fantastic blue and green 'flash' or shiny sparkles within the stone.  It comes in traditional gray color which is impressive.  Related to Moonstone (close enough to call sister stones) it is also related to Sunstone (also called red or orange labradorite) and Larvikite (black labradorite) as well as Spectrolite (Blue Labradorite). 

 Traditional "gray" labradorite in its natural form.






Spectrolite (blue labradorite made with 'Tahitian' colored peacock pearls)








My mother loves this stone not only for its inherent flash, but also its healing and 'mystical' properties.  Apparently there is an old Eskimo legend that tells of the northern lights being imprisoned in the stone found on the coast of Labrador.  While labradorite is famously found in Labrador, in Canada--the most sought after gem quality versions of this stone are from Finland.

Labradorite is said to help with visions--as in help you see the path you should be on.  It is used in healing and to purge oneself of negative attitudes.

My only personal issue with Labradorite is that my mother loves it so much I can not bear to pass up at least one strand of labradorite at any given gem and jewelry show I go to.  I always find some amount of stone she would simply adore and therefore have a  ridiculous amount in my personal collection as well as in my shop.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Onyx

I usually avoid Onyx personally because often I do not think that as a stone it holds much personality.  However--once I began researching it for this blog I found how terribly wrong I was. 
While onyx in it simplest form is a varient of a type of quartz--I often only see it is the black as coal stone seen below:
(from celticjewelry.com)

However--onyx is a fascinating and ancient stone, used by Egypt in houseware construction, used by Romans and the stone is even mentioned in biblical references.    And further, its sister stone Sardonyx is often misunderstood and misrepresented--probably unintentionally though not all banded stones that seem to be prevenlantly sold as Sardonyx are as hard and lasting a stone as true onxy and sardonyx.

I have used onyx in jewelry designs myself--my mother terms it a protection stone as are most black stones. My sister Jenny particularly prefers it, and as such I usually do not put Onyx on my site as almost all that I purchase goes to her as a gift.

Sardonyx on the other hand is sometimes sold as Jade in Asia--as my husband brought me many jade housewares from his tour in Korea, which I was grateful for, but still told him promptly they were in fact Sardonyx.  Nonetheless, upon further research I see that since it was from Pakistan it was likely one of the lesser stones labeled wrongly.

(from charmsoflight.com)

This a a red banded sardonyx, stunning in person and sometimes sold as a simple banded agate. Because of the banding in these stones a piece of perfection is impossible to achieve and the uniquness should be emphasized as every piece will be in fact, one of a kind--no matter how many stones from the same deposit one purchases.





Here is an interesting answers.com listing of Onyx--as you can see they call it a chalcedony.
Onyx

Friday, April 23, 2010

But...why is the Rum gone?

Pearls come in about 8 shapes:
Round
Semi Round
Button
Oval
Drop
Baroque
and Circled.

Granted we all see some of the many different shapes out there like Keishi (which is actually a mistake currently cultivated somewhat on purpose) and Coin. However, no matter what everyone says the most coveted pearl is the perfectly round salt water pearl.

In artwork we see other shapes show an importance, such as Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring"...showing a lovely luminous drop pearl accentuated because of the simplicity of the rest of the girl's dress.

Due to its appearance in artwork, music and literature, we can deduce that of course pearls are naturally coveted.  Although through time we see that the types of pearls that are most prized and valued are ever changing and dynamic.   For example there was certainly an upsurge in the coveting of naturally occurring yellow pearls after Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt gave a double strand of natural yellow pearls to Jacqueline Kennedy when she and her husband, President John F. Kennedy paid an official visit to Venezuela. By the Way Natural Yellow Pearls come from the islands of Cubagua and Margarita off the Venezuelan cost.  Margarita pearls are very prized and difficult to find.

Tahitian Pearls occur quite rarely, as often the black oyster that can produce them actually ends up producing white pearls most of the time.  Also, white oysters can produce them, however, again this is rare.   It is a rare thing because they are grown naturally and cultivated in Polynesia, however the oysters that produce them do not survive long--which of course would drive up both desire and price for true Tahitian Pearls.


Most "Tahitian" Pearls one finds on the market these days are in fact grown white pearls dyed peacock colors to resemble Tahitian pearls.  The interesting thing about Tahitian pearls is that they really are not black, but in fact range in color from indigo blue, to deep green, browns and dark grays.  Just as finding matched white pearls is difficult, finding matched Tahitian pearls is probably somewhere near 10 times more difficult.

Akoya refers to the type of Oyster a pearl is cultivated inside by man made means.  They can also be called Mikimoto after the man who expanded the use of the Akoya oysters in his son-in-laws patented way of manufacturing pearls.   Mikimoto and Akoya pearls are not interchangeable names per se--but almost all Mikimoto pearls are grown in Akoya shells.  Other manufacturers also use Akoya oysters to grow their bounty--and they usually call themselves Akoya Pearl Manufacturers or Cultivated Salt Water Pearls.












(The picture on the left are Akoya Pearls, the right are Mikimoto pearls)


Mikimoto and Akoya pearls can also be produced to resemble the Black Tahitian Pearl.  It is important to ask where and how the pearl was made when speaking with a jeweler.

And for a little fun:
Why is the rum gone? "The curse of the Black Pearl"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Pearl by any other name would be as pretty…



I know, I know its a little lame to bring in a semi-Shakespearian quote here…but then again maybe not.
“Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.” (Shakespeare, The Tempest,  Act 1, Scene 2)

"If that a Pearl may in a Toad's head dwell,
And may be found too in an Oyster-shell;
If things that promise nothing do contain
What better is than Gold: who will disdain,”  (John Bunyan, 1678).

“Not always can flowers, pearls, poetry, protestations, nor even home in another heart, content the awful soul that dwells in clay.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

“A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.” (Robert Frost, “Going for Water.”).

A Pearl is at its simplest a piece of sand caught in a mollusk.  It is trapped there, sort of making the sea creature uncomfortable so that it ends up polishing it into a round beauty…although not always round as we shall see.  Pearls found in the wild are quite rare, and indeed these are the only pearls that can truly say they are ‘natural’.  Most of the pearls on the market are ‘cultured pearls’ or grown by men (and women—I say men to mean mankind) in pearl oysters.  Here an oyster is grown, and a piece of sand is placed in what basically amounts to ‘under the tongue’ like when you have to get your kiddo’s temperature.  It’s the rubbing and discomfort of the oyster that creates the pearl sheen, or luster or nacre on the outside of the pearl.
To be considered high quality Gem Grade salt water pearl, a pearl does not need to happen solely in nature—it merely has to have enough iridescence or nacre on it, making it mostly look like the shell within which it was formed.
As I have stated a naturally occurring pearl is quite rare—and unfortunately the animal must die in order for the pearl to be collected.  It’s sad, but also a reason why “Mother of Pearl” is so popular.  There is simply a near abundance of it due to the nature or pearl gathering and manufacturing.  Plus, the iridescence in the actual mother of pearl determines the luster of the pearl inside the animal.  A superior mother of pearl would therefore, generate a superior pearl.  
Generally there are of course two basic types of pearls—saltwater and freshwater.  Within these two general types is where we have to go further to separate the grades, qualities and those given certain names.


 Mother of Pearl made into “Shell Pearls” in order to resemble High Quality Gem Grade pearls.

Note the iridescence on these fresh water “Coin Pearls”  These came from a higher end ‘Mother of Pearl’ or “Freshwater Pearl Oyster”
As an example of the value of natural salt water pearls:
In 1917, jeweler Pierre Cartier purchased the Fifth Avenue mansion that became the New York “Cartier” store for US$100 cash and a double strand of matched natural pearls worth 1 million dollars (US) in 1917 currency.

Next Stop, Akoya and Tahitian.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Morning,..again!

It's been a few days and I have been literally swimming in my new gems and jewels.  I bought a lot for the site, but seriously, when looking at them, how am I to give them up personally?  It's the selfish streak when I look especially at the super grade AAA Lapis Lazuli briolettes.  Mmmm, Lapis Lazuli.  Mmmm.  Nuff said.

So I have been playing with funky new stones I have not had int he shop before, as well as sold standbys that are always in season, like Jade and Pearls.

Oh yeah pearls, wasn't I supposed to write more on that topic?  I am sure I was.

So next stop will be Salt Water Pearls in variety that come with them naturally--like Tahitian.  I may skim across Akoya, but those are actually cultured and probably should not go into 'natural' pearls.

Ever wonder how they get those deep colors on cultured pearls?  They dye the water they culture (grow) the pearls in.  Interesting, no?

This is a custom order for Shell Pearls from my site, they turned out nice, no?  And somewhat different indeed from the original set of mixed Pearls and Jade, as seen below.

Funny, those are the same colors, but different sizes, no?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Houston...

So here is is 9am, and we were supposed to leave for Houston at 7 for a new Jewelry Show.  It's about 3.5 hours from here, or so I hear--but I am still waiting for Matt to get home from a night in the pouring rain on the range watching stuff...again, I hear.

We are specifically going to look at pearls and shell pearls for a few custom orders that are coming in for mothers day--especially some for my sister Sarah who loves her some pearls.

Which reminds me, in between class stuff, interview stuff and housework stuff I should try to fit in a few more articles on pearls.  I still have to cover salt water pearls, fresh water pearls and some of the funky named pearls, like Akoya, Tahitian, etc.  I am certain you will be surprised when I tell you how simple it is to memorize the pearl information.

Also, I think I should get into some neat information about certain stones, like Beryl.  Beryl is an interesting thing--it comes in four distinct colors when it is high end--the two most famous being Aquamarine (blue) and Emerald (green).  Yes that's right, Emerald and Aquamarine are basically the same stone but with different amounts of certain minerals in there. 

The pink you see is Morganite, which is a fun stone all itself, and the Yellow is Heliador.  Which are fantastic historical names invoking wonderful Mythical human remembrances.  Think Morgan, queen of the faey, and Heliador comes from none other than an ancient name for Sun. Rather fitting, no...especially when you go through what these fantastic stones originally meant linguistically. 
Did I tell you all I have this odd fascination with Etymology and historical meanings of words and names.  Yup, I do.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pearls, Pearls, Pearls

Pearls can be daunting, so much so that I have been meaning to write this post for over a week due to lack of a logical place to start. 

I suppose historical would be good.  History always intrigues me.

Historically man looked for salt water pearls, so much so that finding a pearl was likened in Art, especially in the high renaissance.  Think "Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. (Birth of Venus Wiki Page)  While of course this rendition in art is a far cry from the actual myth of the birth of Venus, it is still important to note how she was viewed in the painting.  The goddess of beauty, being born from the fruit that brings us also that prized possession of a perfect salt water pearl?  Surely it would grip the imagination of jewelry makers world wide.

Further than just the depiction in Art of Pearls, or where we get pure white pearls, think to later artistic ages.  The Baroque.  Why do we call some fresh water pearls baroque--well historically and etymologically it is only fitting.  And don't forget more modern adaptations of high middle ages and renaissance work--like Anne Boleyn's famous "B" Pearl necklace in "The Other Boleyn Girl"  (Film and Book).  (I am certain it is spelled Boelyn--but it comes up that way too.)

(Boleyn Reproduction Necklace)  I have not really perused this site--but it is a neat reproduction.


The term baroque has its origins in the description of none other than a pearl. (Etymology of "Baroque").  While Baroque became a word denoting 'grotesque' it is also, uneven, irregular in shape, and by no means perfect.  Now we say baroque to give a description of a less than perfect, yet unique piece, or in my case strand of pearls--because if nothing I am a formal traditionalist. 
(Green Gold Baroque Freshwater Pearls)

Now I suppose I shall research Salt and Freshwater Pearls...

Although before I do that here is a good article on quality: Pearl Guide

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shell Pearls

Well, I am totally writing this at the crack of dawn as my kids get ready for school.   And, I have not had enough coffee, so who knows how it will turn out.

I am pretty sure I have talked about this before, but yesterday I had a customer ask about Shell Pearls.  After I am sure I bored her to tears with my lengthy rendition on pearls and shell pearls--I am pretty sure I bored her anyhow--I said I would write a blog post about it.

Shell Pearls are not real pearls, nor were they ever.   Shell pearls are made from Mother of Pearl (when they are good) and Made to have a look and feel of a real pearl.  And when you get the good ones, they really do.  Unlike glass or plastic pearls, used in costume jewelry for ages now--shell pearls are sort of new, and really come in any size--from about 4mm all the way up to about 24mm.  Yes they can be huge.

I see a lot of people wearing them, even still a few years after they became really really popular.  There was a time I could not keep shell pearls in stock in any way shape or form.  But, they are still popular.

I am thinking I should probably talk about pearls for a couple of days here--or  maybe get some coffee in me ASAP.

For Further Information, I found this neat article (it's short) on the manufacturing of shell pearls: http://www.ebeadshop.com/faonshpe.html

Personally I like them for the price, for the quality, and for the look and feel.  My sister likes to call the feel "substantial"  because they have a weight to them very much like a real pearl would.   I buy my shell pearls almost exclusively at shows--except for the strands I have bought at The Bead Factory  (Tacoma, Washington). 

Because I have to feel the pearl to know the quality--it's not something you can just look at a picture of and know what you are getting

Here's a pic of Shell Pearls, you can almost see how wonderfully full the luster is, and the perfect uniform shape:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Oh wow, did I just do that?

So I made myself a promise recently.  After searching for a supplier of gems from over seas, and being disappointed in the stones that arrived but further the customer service I got through email correspondence...I promised myself that I would not buy any more gems until I was up in Washington this summer for not one, but two shows.
 1) The Intergem show that happens in June in the Seattle Center and Northwest rooms.  I love that show.  It is separated so I can wear my kids out usually between the retail section and the wholesale section...by walking them halfway across the Seattle Center.  Super cool. Plus there is this fabulous supermarket across the street from where my mom and I park every year.  (www.intergem.com)
2) The Puget Sound Bead Festival.  This happens in the first part of July in Tacoma, usually at the Sheraton or something.  We end up parking at my Alma mater, (tacoma.washington.edu) and walking the kids to the show because its cramped and tight spaces usually.  My mother loves it, I kinda get freaked out in crowds, but its still a wonderful show. (http://www.pugetsoundbeadfestival.com)

Then I got online just to look.

100$ later I broke my promise to myself as I hit, "Confirm purchase."

Sigh, I have no will power.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's been a while

I just wanted to drop a quick line and tell you all that I'm sorry.  I have not been writing for a few days as I catch up on some cleaning, schoolwork and my kids garden.  We are attempting to make a garden this year--well more of a patio garden because you are not really supposed to rip up grass on post and plant carrots and squash and stuff :)

I will be back to normal pretty soon, with the blogging, tweeting and the facebook.




Thanks!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Sale

It's Spring, it's sunny and I am pretty sure my husband is tired of all this wonderful Jewelry lying around.

So this weekend I am haing a sale, 15% off store wide.  This woule be a good time to get some of the more expensive stones like Opal, Jade and Shell Pearls.

As an added bonus, anything I make throughout the weekend will be priced properly then reduced by 15% as well.

I just have to make room for new stuff, so that Matt starts taking his wonderfully engaging pictures again.  I am thinking of holding this out until the end of the week--for those who get paid on the first of the month.  Give me a buzz at twitter @maggiesjewelry  or on Facebook Maggies Jewelry if you think I should extend it.   I want to hear from you!

Thanks and here is a quick link to the site:  Maggie's Jewelry


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

History

I have a thing for history and historical figures.  So lately, as I have been perusing the the internet for beading supplies--yes I am always looking for new suppliers so if you're one--comment me and we'll converse.

But I keep running across history of beading articles--its quite facinating, I just wish we had some history of how the color enhancement of gems began.  Maybe I will look that up. 

But here is an interesting article I found--its a quick and easy read.


A Brief History Of Beading: Ezine Article.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

International Gem and Jewelry Show

So this weekend Austin has a International Gem and Jewelry Show at Palmer Center.  Madison and I are going because the Tucson shows ended up being a bust to get some Pearls for Sarah. 

Pearls are just one of those things that almost can't be bought online--its a personal preference, I suppose...but I need to see each individual pearl on a strand to ensure it is good enough to make.  Plus, even when getting shell pearls, I like to know the quality I am holding.  Sarah--when wearing some of the Shell pearls I get to make calls the feel "substantial".  That's probably a good word.  Just as pearls need good nacre, Shell Pearls need weight--they have to feel like they were once mother of pearl shell before they did whatever thing it is they do to make them Shell Pearls.

That's the main reason Madison and I are going.  At least that's what we are telling ourselves :)

The real reason is the shiny goodness that comes with shows.  We can look and oooh and ahhh, hopefully without over bombardment of boredness from the boys.   Plus--we can get fantastic stuff for great prices and keep our prices way down. 

That's one thing I think I am pretty bad at showing people on my site--my jewelry is high end.  It's high end at really good prices.  Each piece can easily become an heirloom piece, something that is handed down.  I know this because when I worked on commission and as solely a designer and not a designer and seller--my items sold for about 5 times what I sell them for.  The jade alone is a steal, let alone the other fantastic gemstones I peruse the internet and Jewelry shows to find.

Why then do I sell my items for almost at cost?  Well, because I want everyone to have fantastic jewelry.  I want them to have heirloom pieces.  It started on a military installation, where I wanted the E-4 to be able to afford the same wonderful pieces as the General bought.  I simply do not feel the need to overprice stuff--because I do it for the love.  The love of playing with the stones.

It's cathartic and natural, and somehow calming to just hold the stones in my hands.

So I go to shows and get the beads cheaper from the source (sometimes ;) and I still get the benefits of playing with high quality while not having to sell for an exorbitant amount.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's a Credibility thing...

I admit, I am new to the Facebook Fanpage and Twitter Marketing world. Frankly I am new to facebook and myspace in a way.  It's not that I do not see the merits of social media--certainly most people out there with a product or service do.

But I wonder--even with all the how-to's of social media marketing, are we as people losing sight of what we are trying to accomplish?

Some how-to's tell us to follow those who are like us on twitter, so that they will in turn follow us back.  Yes, Okay I can admit, a community may be built in this fashion.  But how deeply entrenched of a community is it?

An example:  I made jewelry by hand for a friend of mine at Fort Lewis.  She was Irish and I loved that woman like a second mother by the end of my time there.  She had some hard times with her mother back in Ireland--and even though she was there visiting for not happy reasons, after all we had been through together, she would still bring me back fantastic Irish exclusive beads to work with.  And another woman would bring me back fancy Hawaiian KaKui nuts to play with.

That was a community I built by really taking care to understand and grasp what everyone who paid attention to my jewelry loved.  I had learned how to set stones so that I could make Tiana a set of salt water pearl earrings to match her pearls she wore at her wedding when she was not as monetarily stable--and she wore them all the time.   That is the reason why I got into Etsy now--for that community involvement.

But, even new at this--I see us following each other, watching for #etsy tags on tweet deck or whatever program we use.  I see us telling each other what is beautiful in our pieces--but I do not see us opening ourselves up to a greater community.

I see exclusivity limiting our creative outlet because that is sort of what we are told to do.

I am currently reading a book on "Credibility" for my Masters Program.  It's pretty interesting escpecially if you take some of the ideas in there and transform them to your personal relationships in selling your product.

"Until we all, consituients and leaders alike, grab our picks and shovels and work to repair our interpersonal infrastructure, style will continue to succeed over substance, and technique will continue to triumph over truth." (From "Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose it and Why People Demand it," by, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, 2003, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.).

Now take that thought above and change it to your etsy shop--or any online business.  How can we repair this issue before the social media explosion implodes--or is it destined to end, leaving only those with big bucks to be able to afford high quality, targeted marketing of products or services?

Can we as individuals still market our products--AND build community that is not dominated by what we are taught now.  I don't know the answers yet, I just linger over the questions.

For Further reading, I found this from another social media marketer on Facebook Fan Pages: Enterpreneuers Question Value of Social Media


And now it's time to make more jewelry, ponder these questions and prepare for another Jewelry show this weekend.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

I was going through my stash yesterday trying to organize it, because we humans get in the mood to clean during Spring. So I did what any good jewelry maker would do--I instant messaged my closest friend from high school--who incidentally makes jewelry for her Etsy site (http://www.etsy.com/shop/bluedreamsunshine?section_id=6728021)  and asked her if I should write a blog about Spring Cleaning your jewelry supplies.

Of course she jumped and said "YES"

So here I am admitting to the world that I have no idea how to 'destash' without making myself crazy with little bags and bottles for beads.

But have no fear I have clicked into some great articles for you all--even if I don't have a clue myself (I just rearrange it in little bags and start sitting at my desk instead of on the couch or in my bed).

http://blisstree.com/look/spring-cleaning-jewelry-business-tips/?utm_source=blisstree&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=b5hubs_migration

http://www.beadingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2009/04/01/organize-your-bead-studio.aspx

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/659739/ideas_for_organizing_your_beads_and.html

Don't worry I will come back and show what I chose--eventually.

After I do what I normally do--which is ship stuff off to friends and family.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tweeting...

I saw a tweet today that stopped me dead in my tracks: "Etsy was so magical in the beginning."

It stopped me dead because while I am new at the Etsy and Tweeting thing--I am not new at my chosen art: Jewelry Making and Designing. But, that's another story.

I have been watching the tweets from fellow Etsy sellers--and I love you all and love looking at your stuff, but are we missing the mark?  How is tweeting to each other actually helping our sales?  Yes, yes I see that we have views...and for the lucky few that are in Treasury's or have the ability to sit and wait to make their own treasury--is tweeting, and often over tweeting and over retweeting really going to increase sales?

I honestly don't know.

But I come from old school--not online.  When we lived in Fort Lewis (yes we are a military Family and move from post to post) People could touch and feel my pieces--they could really see the intricacy I put into making them--For I personally do not slap together pieces, as I am certain most people on Etsy do not either.

But how, other than an extreme close up on the finish of a necklace--can I show how much effort I put into making sure that the customer will not only love the piece--but also love the absolute technical craftmanship I put into it?

I can not exactly tweet:  Hey look at this fantastic new piece--and the craftmanship that finishes it.

Nor can I waste one of my five pictures to show how much I work on making sure these pieces will last--and last forever.  Trust me I know they will--I have tested them playing with my kids when I have crafted my own necklaces and earrings--I have made pieces in the same manner and sent my 9 year old off to school in them--and boy do they last.

But on Etsy it's difficult to explain that to my customer who is viewing my piece--I can not stand with them and show exaclty how well it is made.

Perhaps that is not the magic the tweeter is speaking of.  The magic, the newness, the excitement of seeing your art or craft viewed (and "hearted") is great for Etsians.  If fills us with a rush of excitement--of knowledge that our art is worthwhile and meaningful to others.

But are we overdoing it and pushing the magic of the Etsy community away?

Dictionary.com defines community as: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars. 

So we are a community of Etsians--but are we still part of the greater world community as a whole?  Or are we tweeting to each other, and leaving out the bigger picture? The bigger community?

We tweet that this is a beautiful piece all the time--is that it?  Or is the craftsmanship that each Etsian exudes more important?  Is the fact that we have a store, or that we shop on Etsy an exclusivity feature of our "Community"?


Who are we leaving out and can the magic be brought back?



Friday, March 12, 2010

Double Knotting

Pearl Knotting is tedious sometimes--we do it for the elegant look as well as security and strength--and sometimes it extends out 16 inch strands we buy at stores or shows to a wearable length without the necessity of stringing with other materials--and leaving jewelry makers with leftover stash.

This is a really good example of how to do single knots:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjjKy5aBsws

Single knotting is great--but when you are starting out with the knotting, sometimes it is difficult to get standard size knots--and further--to get knots that will immediately lay straight like a professional knotted necklace or bracelet.

Now double knotting (or triple, or quadruple knotting) can give you an even knot each time, allowing the stone to have something to lay on, that is almost perfectly square, making a completely uniform knot.


First the supplies:  A strand of beads, clamshell terminators (these are just my favorite for the strength as I use some heavy stones--that need a perfect length to lay without weight on your collar bone--hence the 2 inch extender I add to my necklaces), a lobster claw and jumpring (or a clasp of your choice) and bead cord ( I like Griffin Bead Silk so that I can match the cord color with the stone/bead, plus the sizes are great--I stock up on size ten when I am making a stone necklace.).


Now to start the piece--may I suggest trying this with something for yourself first, so that you can learn as you go and not have to redo something you intend on selling?

 Step By Step:

Take all the bead cord (if using griffin, just take it all off) you need to knot with--1-2 meters is good for a nice 18 inch necklace and start your first knot by wrapping the cord around your index finger and middle finger twice.  



Now wrap the cord over your fingers like you are going to make a single knot:










Pull it through, rolling the double wrap over itself so that the top knot is now the bottom and the bottom knot is on the top.  After this step you will close the bottom knot (which was the top) first and then close the top knot over it, making a square (shaped) knot. 





No put your clam shell on the end of the cord and slide it to the end so that eventually you can close the clam shell over your first knot.  Then repeat the knot process on the other side of the clam shell for this look:



Slide a bead or stone on the end of the knot, pushing it down with your fingers or nails to make a tight grip--this is where triple and quadruple knotting may come in.  When you have super chunky stones they may have HUGE holes and need more knots so they don't slide around your knotting.



Now knot again on the other side of the bead, add another bead to the cord, and continue:



Once you get the hang of this technique you won't be using your knotting tool or your tweezers anymore.  Plus you will notice that your knotting is not only perfectly uniform, but easier to do--making it so you can knot a piece while doing almost anything.

Happy Beading....Here's the Final Product:



  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eeee! I went outside today...

I am very excited, I went outside today for the sole purpose of retaking pictures of my jewelry.  Don't get me wrong, most of the pictures I took were 'fine,' but I really wanted to show the true colors of what I have been making--and well being stuck indoors it not really condicive to that...

An Example: 

Here are some fabulous faceted Chunky Tourmaline Rounds,  I hand knotted and finished with gold before:



That's some pretty stuff--I know I know, I sound like the ultimate arrogant geek...but just you wait for the AFTER picture:


I changed little in the picture--even kept a similar 'pose' for the piece--The difference?

Mere Sunlight.


Hey it makes us feel better too, so why shouldn't it make our pictures 'feel' better also?

Hmmm, food for thought. 

Speaking of food, German is on the menu tonight.

You can check out all the pics I updated today at http://maggiesjewelry.etsy.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ah the stress...

I get stressed just as much as everyone, though sometimes people don't see that.  Right now for example, my son is home being homeschooled--probably badly--and my other two munchkins are still in elementary school.

To add insult to injury I just found out my 9 year old daughter 'borrowed' (stole) my brand new prehnite earrings.   They look like this, only made in silver as I am actually allergic to gold:



But as I sit here--marketing and linking my sites because I am new at this...the little one, Aidan, keeps kicking out my wireless router as he does his schoolwork online. (I have got to get a notebook for organization of my webtrek through this self marketing journey--yes I am that obsessive with organization.)

And last night, in a desperate attempt to calm my stressed bones, I took my new multi tourmaline briolettes and organized it by color.  Man I was thinking I should do mixed color earrings, but now I have it all organized by color and shade of color--AND in tiny little bags.

Things I do to calm my overactive body and mind:

1)Take a Hot Bath
2) Read a Book
3)blast some music through my ipod
4) play with some fiber--yes I do knit also, it's my tactile nature.
And Finally:
5) Organize my beads.

I may just overdo that last one a bit.

Cest la Vie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sometimes the mail brings gifts...

I have been waiting for a set of prehnite and tourmaline coming from Thailand for about three weeks now.  Finally yesterday it came.  As it was unwrapped (I really didn't know anything that small needed that much bubble wrap--I am certain the ozone lost an inch of coverage from that box alone) I was shocked.

But wait, wait, wait.  Not all mail order places rip you off.

No, no that's not what I was saying.  I was shocked because oh wow these are more stunning than the pictures.  So fantastic and wonderful and I can not wait to get more of the ordered stuff in the mail. 

On the same day mail delivery brought me fantasic mini coin pearls from another Etsy retailer (http://www.etsy.com/shop/lilysoffering) and I simply couldn't contain myself.  I actually made myself a pair of earrings I would not take off all day, so much fun to wear.


But now I sit here--ready to make fantastic jewelry from my fantastic horde of new jewels.

And My Mind is completely Blank.

What happens when my other jewels arrive, maybe today...maybe tomorrow?  Will I still be blank for the fab designs I could be making?  Ught oh. 

So where do you get inspiration??


Monday, March 8, 2010

Kiss My Beads (Review)

I had a rough time last week--trying to find an (almost) local bead and gem store. I drove north to find something new because I had researched some online and decided to go north, rather than south toward Asutin.  That didn't exactly work out.

When I came home I was angry, and didnt get my tactile nature nurtured--but the kids were about to get home so I would not be able to go out again until they did.  So I researched AGAIN, this time for southern bead stores.  I also had to bribe my husband with a trip to Best Buy in Georgetown, Texas.  It worked.

In Georgetown I found Kiss My Beads:  http://www.kissmybeads.com/ . 

Fantastic.  A Little store, smaller than I am used to, but the owner is about to expand.  And, while we are on the subject of the owner--fantastic customer service.   She knew her stuff about beads and gems and exuded a general love of the craft.  I was happy and content in the store, and she treated my kiddos with the respect I love to see in a retail store. While she didn't have a play area (usually a criterion for me to label a store great) she is still one of the most perfect retailers I have found in the Central Texas/Austin area.

I will probably shop almost exclusivly there at Kiss My Beads, just because the owner is so warm, and the gems are so wonderful and placed in great small packages with nearly perfect prices. (Of Course we would all always like supplies to be cheaper, but she had great pricing and really its my cheapness saying the 'almost here.)

Here are a few of the items I made after returning home:
 
I swear if I had made these in Silver I would never sell them.  They are perfect green Onyx, which she sold in matched pairs birolettes, so inviting and perfect Emerald Green. 
I also bought a fe pieces of Green Chalcedony:



These are almost the same color--the things stone manufacturers are doing with Chalcedony these days!
I am just so exited about finding a great local bead store, and I can not wait to make the fabulous Chrysoprase I bought also.  
Can not wait to go back to Kiss My Beads: http://www.kissmybeads.com/

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jewelry Supply Stores--make yourself easy to find...

Here's a dirty little secret I hide as a jewelry designer--I hate to shop.   I know, I know, that's terrible, but it's just my nature.

But, then again, as a jewelry designer--I need suppies, and for said supplies I must venture out into the world--or online--and get the good I need to make the goods. 

Another seldom realized personality trait of jewelry designers--well two really:

1) We look--the look of an individual stone can ignite a wonderful bastion of creativity building up to our very core--until we buy either the singular piece or a strand--or even any given components we may use.  That's why if you are gearing your sales to us designers online--take nice pictures and give us good descriptions.  If you can pull off an extreme close up (as I make my husband do) tell us the exact size of those beads--because we are going to get very angry if we buy something that arrives to us smaller than the eye on a needle and it looked ginormous on your picture.  We probably will not order from you again.

2) We are generally a tactile bunch: feeling, touching and realizing the wonderful textures of the stones, stringing or knotting materials, or even the deep cold of the metal we use.  This is intragal in our nature.

So, if you have a hard storefront--and a web page we can search--Make it easy to find you. Really, Really Easy.

This post is not so much a condemnation of a particular store--everyone knows I love my local bead shops. But today, I went on an actual jewelry adventure--and the store was impossible to find--I don't mean hard and I finally got to it, I mean after driving around for an hour, I gave up. 

It was located on Hewitt Drive, in Hewitt, TX.  I am sure its a wonderful store.  But some of us are not from this area--and if there is something funky about the town, like say there are three hewitt drive's, a north, a south and a regular hewitt drive--each of which has a numbered place of your address, TELL US HOW TO GET THERE.  Tell us there is something funky--not just the shopping center you are in--not enough information for someone who does not live in the town with three streets of the same name. 

Yes, some of us rely on GPS.   But if your hard store front is hard to find--please tell the customer who may google you, you might actually get more customers.

I would like to place in a few choice expletives here--however, I will just go find another store nearby in Austin/Georgetown, TX so that I can get my tactile nature nurtured.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sick as a Dog...

So I have been bad lately.  Sick as a dog and unable to move from my bed. It's terrible.  But luckily my husband was nice enough to bring me my beading stuff in small amounts so I could keep going.   And I spent some time on Etsy watching what other people are designing.  Looks like there are some interesting trends this year.

1) The fashion year coming up is old school conservative--which honeslty makes sense considering the economy.   A lot of warm rich browns and wear forver clothing seems big in major designers like Ralph Lauren, the Gap--everyday attire.

2) The jewelry out there is either beautiful art work with wonderful findings, big pieces that are showcases to backdrop against the conservative fashions or tiny pieces with special meaning, i.e., one small pendant on a simple chain.


That's okay though, we have some fun coming up as designers, lots of leaves, flowers a big tree of life I bet this summer/fall.  Call it a hunch.

While In bed I did luckily get to make a few things:



This is good for us designers--we can really spread our wings in the design department--playing with unique designs, especially in earrings and necklaces.  Also, the show pieces should be fun to make, playing with big pearls-costume or real.  Also, playing with big stones should be fun, although making the weight just perfect is all in the length.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I have, I have, I have...

So I have this whole pile of jewelry to make, which of course I hope to show some of later, but first--we had an unprecedented SNOW DAY Here in Texas.   Sooo cool, the kids had so much fun so I thought I would post that a little--because what's the point if you can't enjoy your kiddos?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fluorite and Pearl Earrings (Lisa) ON SALE

DSC_0708
DSC_0708,
originally uploaded by mshartel.
This is the Lisa. An Old friend of the family recently made a purchase at my etsy store (maggiesjewelry.etsy.com) and since I like to throw a little gift in the jewels I send, as an appreciation piece, I asked Lisa what she liked in the way of colors.

Lisa likes purple. So, I went with Purple Flourite (for organization) and Purple Pearls for elegance and tranquility. I put it all on gold filled chain and earwires for a hint of richness, and sent it off.

I enjoyed the piece so much when it was finished, I named the design in honor of her, and thus the "Lisa" was born.

Friday, February 19, 2010

So, record time...

This has never, ever happened to me. I made a sale in less than 4 hours yesterday. From completion to listing, the item was sold out within just a few hours--amazing. I have made a few sales like that before, when I would make something in front of a person--but never online.

I usually let my hubby take pictures of the jewels I make--they seem to draw people in because the fun he has taking them just add intrigue to the jewelry. Lately he has been making story lines with his photo's.

This story line for this particular piece was adorable--probably leading to its quick sale. He set my daughter up outside in out back yard, finding a piece of jewelry, taking it from a tree, and wearing it. It's cute because the piece itself had this natural appeal--which is what I was going for in designing it.

The necklace itself was called "The Isolde" named as a literary reference, my first in a series of literary heroine inspired pieces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HTYyB3Sc9w

I made it with rich greens and copper to allude to the beauty of ireland and the simplicity of love we all strive for in a way.

 

You can see the rest of the story on my facebook fan site:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggies-Jewelry/297271512140

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Found this..


,
originally uploaded by batzy.
This is super funny, and though I do feel this sometimes with the economy, I don't know if it is my real job, or just something to keep myself entertained. Don't get me wrong I have been making jewelry since I was in college, and selling it well when I lived on Fort Lewis. There were a lot of loyal customers who would buy from my friends Shop--whom I sold my jewelry to there. Actually her shop is on Etsy now as well. She is Paulasantiques2, (http://www.etsy.com/shop/paulasantiques2) if you see any jade or pearls, chances are I made them. She has wonderful antiques and still sells at the PX on Fort Lewis.

Also, if you are at Fort Lewis you should see her store, she has these great ruby necklaces I had hand knotted. When I say ruby necklace, I mean the entire necklace is made of Ruby. Imagine a necklace with a total of about 100 carats of hand knotted ruby roundelles, that's what I made. Tedious, but so stunning when finished.

Monday, February 15, 2010

So the Pictures...

So we're selling online now. Super fun and a lot, I mean a lot of work.  Here's a little something I've learned though--but before we get straight to the point, I have to tell a story.

My husband likes to take pictures--I found this out when my father gave him a fabulous camera after Timmy, our first born arrived.  He took pictures of everything, anything he could find or could.  You should know this was in 1999 that TJ was born, so all this was done one film.  I am actually pretty sure we still have undeveloped rolls laying around. Because shooting on film is pricey stuff.

When we moved back to the states in 2000, something happened to his beloved camera.  We kept trying to fix it but it just was kaputt from the move.  He was so upset.

So this year I got him a fancy camera.  A nice digital camera to start playing with.  After he stopped worrying about how much money I had spent he was thrilled.  I was as well, because, after all I secretly knew I would be taking pictures of my jewels I was finally going to sell online.

Then, reality set in.  See I had some photography training in the military, even with some Nikon digital cameras (they same brand I had bought him.  But here's the thing: I may have training, and some what of an eye, but photography is not my love.
That's a picture I took.  It's nice enough, it has some personality.  But there is not a lot of love in the picture, just the piece.

My husband took a picture or two for me those first few days--and lesson learned.  It does not necessarily help to have training, you have to have live and fun in the photography of your pieces.   I love my pieces, I take my time and work really hard on each one.  They are meticulously crafted, and a personal reflection of what I love, the stones.

But even with all that, I can not make something interesting like my husband can. So from now on, he will be taking pictures of my jewels--its just the way to go.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After the first...

I sold my first piece shortly after I started making jewelry. It was such a rush, such a high I couldn't contain myself. I actually called my husband in the Middle East and told him immediately. Then I started getting orders.

The trouble when you first start is understanding how to get findings and parts before you lose all your profits in supply cost. I had to learn this the hard way, i.e., do not buy one single finding for one single piece, unless you absolutely have to. But try not to.

There are great retail stores out there though, that will help new designers in any way they can. Because to them, a designer means business in more ways than one.

You are not going to get much of that one on one at the shows, but you are not going there for training per se. Which you could do however,  as many shows have seminars or classes also available. But, we go to shows for current beads, findings, supplies, connections and of course shiny stuff.




Shiny stuff is super important no matter how you look at it.


However when at the show, its so important to do this. Do not only look at pieces YOU like. That's great and all and we all have our creativity to go to, but look at trends you see at shops, to see what will sell. I can not tell you how many pieces I have bought to make, just knowing they would sell even though personally, I hated it.

You have to determine a few cash-cows to cover the artistry of the rest of your pieces. Art pieces are going to make your name, but selling pieces keeps you in that business.


Personally I know right now that Shell Pearls sell big time, big time. Especially multi-colored ones. You can get good shell pearls at a retail store for about 30-40 bucks a strand or 10 bucks at a show. But why make them? They are big, simple and sometimes gaudy? shell pearl pricing: retail

Because of the price you can get for a well made shell pearl necklace.  And the fact that most major celebrities have worm them in photogenic places.

I make them all the time, but personally would never wear them, or even make a set for me.  However, I have been commissioned at jewelry shows to make them for friends and family I have brought along.  In cases like that its important to know a good commission price.  I always do the same price when stringing or knotting beads.  Mine is pretty cheap, but you can go with what you are comfortable with.

Going to shows and bringing those who like your jewelry already is a great way to keep sales up. Plus, its girls time. Who wouldn't want more of that?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The people you meet at shows.

Don't get me wrong, I love my retail shopping at jewelry supply stores just as much as the next person. It's great, there is a certain intimacy when working with the sellers in fabulous stores. Especially when there is a wonderful store like Fusion Beads in Seattle. They have a great little play area in their store and they let the kids get interested in the beads and beading like no other store I have found.

But when I walked into the Tacoma Dome for the show the first time, it was like I had died and gone to heaven. I must have only spent a couple hundred bucks there that first time, mostly on inappropriate buys--half of which I never used.

See, there are reasons to be trained by someone other than yourself. Someone to teach you that purchasing good findings like sterling silver and gold filled is an important--and often expensive lesson to learn. (I have so much gun metal and base metal still in my stash I will probably not ever use).

But when you first walk into the shows, you are overwhelmed, we all are--Everything is just so shiny, and here regular people can buy the gems at better prices than retail mark ups in regular hard or online stores.

And as a small purchaser, you can network with certain dealers/wholesalers. There is one that was always up in Seattle and Tacoma (when I lived there): You and Me Findings. They had pretty reasonable prices, a little over the top, but they all knew their business, and knew the findings. They also knew one key feature of me as a buyer: I would keep coming back because they treated my kids' interest in the product they sold as the greatest interaction on earth. That to me was better than any product they were selling. I would pay extra for that service if I had to. But with You and Me, I really didn't have to.

I have not been to a jewelry show in Tacoma or Seattle since we moved down here with the military. (Near Austin, Texas). However, at the Tucson Show, I found You and Me Findings. They remembered me, and my kids, and later my mother when she was shopping. Because I had done so much business with them in the past they gave me a blanket 10% discount on everything and a few things for up to 25% off.

But when my mother was shopping there the next day, they gave her the same discount.

Companies who do the show circuit, especially those like You and Me Findings, are the reason to keep going to shows. The whole world of wonderful stones, beads and findings is opened up to you--even at a small scale like the Tacoma Dome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Starting the journey toward Jewelry Obsession.

Here's a little secret about me: I often do not wear jewelry. I own a lot, of which about 98% was made by me, and I have this wonderful custom jewelry box my husband commissioned in Korea when he was stationed there. But I often do not wear it.

So how does someone who does not wear jewelry become obsessed with making it--even so far as getting a license (we will get into the merits of getting a business license later.) and going to wholesale and retail shows? Two words: My mother.

Nope, she is not a big designer, she does not own her own jewelry retail show, she rarely even makes jewelry with the gems she buys at shows and retail locations. (one of our personal favorites is Fusion Beads in Seattle--best customer service ever, I sure hope I don't get in trouble for putting that there, I should have asked, lol.) But here is the story-which trust me is funny.

Mom lived about 10 minutes from me in Washington State. One weekend I found out I was super sick with some horrible form of Bronchitis. Meanwhile my husband was deployed to the middle east and I had three small children. So I went to my mother's house, so that someone could watch the kids. I gave her my atm card to order delivery each night I was there because I could only get up and take the kids to school and go get them in the evenings.

As the sickness wore on, I got a little loopy and delirious. Well she lived around the corner from Shipwreck Beads (shipwreckbeads.com). So she did what any mother/grandmother would do: She convinced me I needed to buy something to entertain the kids as I lay in her bed--she was gracious enough to give me her bed while she slept on the couch.

So, we went. And she had a wonderful time spending my husband's money--and I did not stop her, I wanted to make it as easy as possible on her with the three kids in a one bedroom apartment. I must have shelled out over 300 bucks that weekend alone. then I sat in her bed and played. It just felt right, holding the stones and findings.

When I was well, I wore some of my jewelry, and a friend stopped me and sent me to the Post Exchange at Fort Lewis to show the jewelry retailer there my stuff. Suddenly I had a buyer and commission work--and no training at all. I started having enough money in my account each week to a) buy more supplies and b) get gas for my car. And the jewelry? It was all mine. I worked on commission yes, but I had a knack for what people wanted and would wear--and how to create something when only seen, either on a person or in a magazine. I don't know where it came from, just that a person who never wears jewelry can suddenly make high-end stuff people want.

Then I found the shows. But that's another story.

Why shows?

Why do we go to gem and jewelry shows?

It's not just to see all the shiny goodness. Trust me.

I go to get ideas, which seems perfect enough, right? Also the prices are often better than buying at your local retail jewelry store.

But that's not why I go to shows--and certainly not why I just spent 15 hours each way with three kids in the car going to Jewelry Mecca in Tucson, Arizona. Over the next few days I will be getting into why I do what I do, I hope you will join me for the ride.

Maggie

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The issue with Jewelry Dealers

It's a good time here in Tucson for the first time for the shows. However there is this huge problem the 'gate keepers' have as I go from show to show. Makes me a little pissy.

When I go up to a show, just because I have three kids with me, frankly you as a dealer have no clue who I am or whether I have money. None. By making the determination that I am not worthy of your time when I am looking around with three antsy kids, you have now made me decide not to buy from you.

It's a sad state of events. You really are not pulling it all out, by not working with me the way I as YOUR CUSTOMER want to be treated.

Damn fools. Lost a lot of money from me this weekend I will go spend online at their competitors shops.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Longest Drive. EVER. But, yeah not really.

Yeah, I admit, it's totally been worse--it really has. But seriously, why do I do this driving forever thing anyhow, why don't I just break down and get a plane ticket?

Because each and every one of these gem and jewelry shows I go to, no matter the state, I bring three kids with me. Yes that's right three--ages 7, 9 and 10. And seriously, the thought of a plane trip with each of them, scary thought.



But why the show? Why not a regular bead store or even random chain craft store.



Simple. It's about quality. It's about price, and it's about feel. The shows offer not only bulk discounted prices for gold and silver. But they let you touch, feel and sense wach and every stone or part you may want to buy and put in your personal jewelry.

That sensation is incomperable.

And, I like to get the pieces together for cheaper. And sell them for better prices. So that even those with the least amount of money can have high quality, low cost fine jewelry.



So I drive, I drive with three crazy kids across the Texas desert, then the NM dessert, and soon, in about 15 minutes, the bottom half of the Arizona desert.



So I can hit the largets gem and jewelry show in the country, at least once. Now for the coffee that is going to take me the rest of the way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Creativity

Yeah, so i am writing this even as I am late to pick up my kids, which will in turn make me late to take one to counseling. This ought to be super fun.

I am so excited to get to the bead show--but want to make more jewelry in the meantime. Instead, I am watching "OutFoxed" for my media class, and its making me mad. Honestly, I don't get Fox news, they never wear good jewelry on there. CNN on the other hand is full of surprising ideas to make, as was the local news in Washington State.

I find shows on the CW also worthwhile, as well as Grey's Anatomy, Bones and a few others. Yes I watch TV to see what looks fun to make, I get ideas off the news, and other media in order to better design jewelry.

Odd, I know.

But, it works for me, I guess I can just look at something and see how it would be made. Which is why my wedding ring irritates me so much, like seriously, who would make a dolphin's eye out of a ruby instead of an emerald or even sapphire?

But it's okay hubby, I still love you, and your design.

Now to get the kids and pine over going to the show for a while.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting Excited

Well we leave in a few days for the Jewelry Show. I can hardly wait. Although I am having trouble keeping my eyes on the prize and not buying new stones and findings retail that I would be able to get there faster, cheaper and with more umph.

I am staring at my vast quantities of beads, buttons and bobbles wanting to make some new designs, but its just not coming to me. I think its the homework and housework I should be doing blocking my path to designs.

I hear the summer sun color of Turquoise is going to be big this spring.

And, I am signing up for the Austin Fashion Week when I get back. It's August 14-21 in Austin, Texas. I am very much looking forward to that and the stress that goes along with it.

All in All next weekend should be fabulous, I am looking forward to seeing Mom and Sarah and surrounding myself in all that glitters.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Well I got around to it.

I went ahead and made more jewelry. With Madison squarely at my side, asking, "Can I make some too," or, "is this your homework you're working on?" Both of which demanded an honest answer.

"Yes. Of course."

So there we are watching me put together a few new pieces, and Madison picking the most hideous girly-girl beads she can find.

Funny though, she feels the need to explain that it's all about the presentation.

Wow, my 9 year old explaining to me the merits of presentation. Making me look back at my pile of finished work and say to myself, I have got to do more designs--not just do the same thing with every piece I always do, simply because that simplicity sells, generally.
So-here I go, next week I am meeting my mother and sister in Phoenix so we can all go to the biggest gem and jewelry show in the country. The Tuscon Show(s).

This is years in the Making. Years.

http://www.thetucsonbeadshow.com/

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Well Here we Go.

Etsy

Buy Handmade

maggiesjewelry



So, I have been playing around with the jewelry making thing for a few years now. I have gone in an out, done this and that and finally was forced into making an ETSY Page.

Now, the Etsy Page has been super fun to do, however, I notice that my jewelry on there is all the same.

No big deal-always easy to make more, which of course I will be doing this weekend--after I make the kids clean their room, do my homework for school (Masters in Communication and Leadership, Gonzaga University) and any of the numerous other things I have to get to this weekend.

Oh yeah, that's right the washer is broken, and the dishes are behind, lol. So after I do the many Mommy things I guess I will make some more jewelry.

However, I wonder, since I am only doing this because I am out of work now for a year--how on earth did I make, market and sell so much jewelry when I worked 50-60 hours a week, and still had the three kids to take care of?

No idea whatsoever.