Handmade jewelry has become a more popular option to wear for many reasons. People are valuing more items that are uniquely crafted. Handmade jewelry often has a high level of detail you don’t find with major brands of jewelry. Also, people value the higher level of materials used. It’s because of this uniqueness that handmade jewelry can perhaps help you have a style in your outfits that stands out more. Here’s everything you need to know about handmade jewelry.
What’s handmade jewelry?
Handmade jewelry is a wearable piece that’s custom made by the hand of a skilled craftsperson. The pieces are carved, sawed, and shaped without any use of manufacturing machinery. Some jewelers will take anywhere from days to weeks to put together a custom jewelry design for a client. Because it’s made by hand, there’s more detail to the jewelry, and is less likely to be flawed or imperfect than a jewel produced in bulk by a major jewelry company. It’s common to find these kinds of jewels at craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and online. There are multiple categories of handmade jewelry that can be made with different colored metal, stones, beads, and lots of other materials. With the jewels being handmade, there’s always some variation between each one despite the artist working from the same source design, which makes it more of a one-of-a-kind item.
Are materials ethically sourced?
Since the jeweler is making their jewels by hand, they tend to be more aware of the material they use to make their jewels. As a result of being more aware, they’re more likely to be using material of high quality. Handmade jewelers are often committed to using ethically sourced materials and sustainability, which can be very difficult at times. Custom handmade jewelry tends to cost more because the craftsperson doesn’t usually get the same price cuts associated with buying materials in bulk. Nonetheless, when jewelry crafters purchase their materials at a small scale, they’re able to provide more transparency as it relates to supply chain ethics.
A good number of mass-produced jewelry designs tend to use metals that were mined in an ecologically damaging way and materials that were financed by abusive regimes, which contributed to toxic mine drainage. A handmade jeweler often has a relationship with the person they’re buying their metals from, making them better able to answer your questions about where their materials come from. Most will be glad to discuss with you their process of creating their products. In creating their products, some jewelry designers may choose to reuse stones from vintage pieces or use recycled metals. It’s an environmentally-friendly choice because it allows them to leave a lower carbon footprint.
Is the jewelry durable?
It can be an unpleasant surprise to find out the jewelry you’ve bought appears to be of low quality. With jewelry that’s handmade rather than mass-produced, it’s not uncommon for people to have a concern about getting a faulty item. Everyone wants to avoid a jewel that breaks easily or causes a part of their body to itch or turn green because it has hidden copper. One of the benefits of smaller-scale jewelry operations is they’re able to focus more on creating higher-quality jewels. These operations usually have a small group of people doing the work. They also have fewer order loads. As a result of how the operation is run, it makes it easier for the handmade jeweler to keep track of the quality control. In addition, because most designers who make jewelry by hand put their face and story out there in support of the products, they perhaps have more of a vested interest in making sure they create a quality product.
Do major jewelry companies also make handmade jewels?
There are some major jewelry companies that label some of their products as “handmade.” These companies may be creating pieces from premade materials using machinery. Some would argue that this is different from a craftsperson putting together a piece by hand from start to finish using only raw materials. It’s possible that some marketers use the term “handmade” to make their product seem more valuable. In general, a company operated mostly by one person working with a small group of people is more likely to be creating pieces that are made with raw materials rather than premade materials.
Why do some people buy handmade jewelry?
As mentioned earlier, many people are coming to value more jewelry that’s uniquely crafted and made with high-quality material, rather than mass-produced jewelry. An analogy some use is that it’s buying an original painting of an artwork versus a poster print. Consumers are choosing uniqueness over the brand, and personalization over perfection. Unlike major jewelry companies, the story of the creator of the jewelry is more known in handmade jewelry businesses. People can learn about how the jewelry designer got into their craft, the passion they have for their work, and the personal meaning behind the work they create.
Some customers appreciate knowing that the person behind the jewelry creations is putting their own unique artistry into creating the jewel they desire. It also creates added value for other customers knowing that their money is going toward supporting that jeweler in having their basic needs to live off of their artistic ability. Additionally, people appreciate the option of requesting a custom design from a handmade jeweler. Whether it’s a preferred metal, a specific size, or a certain color, the designer can use their artistic background to really bring the design a customer desires to life. Some jewelry designers will even allow you to request a specific metal or stone to be used for an already existing design on their website.
The handmade jewelry industry will continue to grow as more people consider alternatives to traditionally made jewelry. If you’re interested in seeing examples of handmade jewelry, you can take a look at some designs at the Jewelry lab.