I love finding one-of-a-kind jewellery handmade items. And there is so much available these days as a lot of people have made a living off selling their one-of-a-kind creations. However, most of us sometimes get a little shocked at the prices on some of these items; they can seem overpriced or expensive at times. But have you ever asked yourself why is handmade jewelry so pricey?
Handmade jewellery means it is made by hand; no high-tech tools and devices used, just hands and some very simple hand tools. The making requires skills and labour to literally transform raw metal and precious gemstones into wearable pieces of art. In the world of mass production, wouldn’t you want to wear unique jewellery handmade items; pieces crafted in the way it has been done for royalties for centuries now?
Below we’ll break down the steps that most of the artisans of handmade jewellery go through, from the beginning to end, so you can get a real understanding on why the item you want so bad is so pricey. Maybe next time you will be a little bit more understanding towards the seller.
The first step for any jewellery artisan is the design process. This is where they sketch up most of their ideas for their handmade items. This could take a really long time or it could take a few minutes, one sketch or multiple ones, depending on where their creativity and perfection takes them. So the creative process takes up time and imagination.
The second step is the drafting phase and this is when things begin to come together; this is when the designer plans out what to put where and how to turn the vision into reality. This can also change if it’s a custom order. The pattern can change and alter so this is also quite a time-consuming process.
The third phase is alloying raw metal and molding it into desired shapes. Different segments are then soldiered and welded together to create one piece. This requires skills and time. Once the piece is assembled, the artisan moves to polishing phase which prepares the handmade items for stone setting process. Polishing is the removal of uneven surfaces from the item. Once the jewellery has been polished and clean, artisan applies various finishes to bring out the shine of the metal. The piece is then ready for stone setting.
The main goal of this jewellery-making stage is to secure the stone. There are different types of stone setting:
- Prong setting
- Bead setting
- Pave setting
- Bezel setting
- Gypsy setting
- Channel setting
- Flush setting
- Millgrain setting.
The type of setting used depends on how the artisan wants to present precious stones, whether to dramatize one gemstone or a group of stones or to highlight the overall design.
The next stage is advertising and that usually starts with photos. Now some designers like to model it themselves, some hire professionals; either way it takes more than one shot to get the perfect picture. This in itself is a complicated process. The next is the editing stage which includes editing all the photos that need to go up on the website. This is a tedious process in itself as the artisan needs to edit the brightness or focus, maybe wants to crop something or add a personal watermark.
Adding the items to the website comes next – adding photos, writing up the descriptions and finally deciding on a price. Marketing is also a major step. Without good marketing scheme, most people will not even know the designs exist so marketing on social media, blogs, websites, and word of mouth is crucial to the designers success. Last but not least, shipping needs to be taken care of. Once an item has been sold, the artisan has a lot of work to do before shipping the item off which includes labeling the item, folding, packaging, and then labeling the packaging again.
All of these steps cost time and money; money goes into the time the jewellery artisan spends, the materials he/she uses, and the packaging of the handmade items.