Chique or Cheap

When selecting a piece of jewelry, you are selecting a symbol or extension of yourself and attempting to make a statement. You want it to say something about you without actually saying it or breaking your bank. This is where most people take the wrong turn and invest in something cheaper, lesser quality and mass produced. What they don't understand is cheaper, in this case, isn't always better. 

Mass produced, also known as costume jewelry, is produced with manufacturing machinery. These machines can crank out hundreds of units per hour. Although this sounds like a great thing, saving you time and money, it is not always the best solution. Ultimately there is no quality control and most of the time the materials used are of the bottom of the barrel. They tarnish quicker and break easier, therefore costing you more money and heartache in the long run. 

So what do you do?

In my opinion, always go the handmade route. Though handmade jewelry is more of an investment than its mass produced counterparts, you will get more than expected out of it.

Handmade jewelry is literally jewelry made by the hands of the artisan/designer. The pieces are actually soldered, shaped, polished, and carved by hand. As well as the setting of the stones and diamonds. The maker has a very intimate relationship with each piece and client they create or meet. As a designer and studio jeweler myself, I know I often spend hours designing a piece for my client and always in contact with them showing the step by step process and making sure they love it just as much as I do. All of your energy goes into making that perfect piece and you really get to know every curve and each intended line.

The materials used in handmade jewelry are of stellar quality and very regulated. Its difficult to know exactly what alloys (metals) are used in mass produced factories where dirty metals are blended together to create costume pieces. Handmade materials are generally sourced from highly reputable suppliers and the makers always know exactly what they are working with. They are dedicated to sustainability and ethically sourced materials.

Smaller scale production is always of the upmost quality because of their ability too track and control the process from start to finish. Makers are extremely proud of their work and are not going to let something of poor quality leave their studio with their name on it.

In the end, investing in locally handmade products is good for the environment, good for the artisan and wonderful for you. There is a lot of love and energy in the piece and when investing in handmade jewelry, you are buying a truly one-of-a-kind product. Even if the handmade piece is part of an edition, no maker creates two pieces that are exactly identical. You are the only person with that specific piece of jewelry which says a lot. 

When investing in handmade jewelry, remember that even though the piece may be a slight investment, you are supporting something much bigger. You should feel amazing about your purchase knowing that you have a special piece of the artist in your jewelry collection.

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