Daily Wire Tip: Selling Two Different Lines of Jewelry

By on March 8, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

I design and sell jewelry of many different styles and materials: semi-precious gemstones, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystal elements, as well as CZs, glass, acrylic, and other non-precious beads. I use primarily sterling silver and 14kt gold filled crimps, clasps and closures, except when the design incorporates brass, or other good quality, non-precious metals in the design.

In today’s world, it has become prohibitively expensive to try to use only sterling silver and gold filled beads and findings, and there are lots of very good quality metals, chains, beads, vintage products, etc, on the market that can make knock-off jewelry that people really like. Another example would be glass pearls vs. freshwater pearls.

How can I sell two different kinds of jewelry at the same time, and how do I describe the differences when talking to people, and when asked to write a description of my work for juried entries into shows and festivals?

-Cynthia in Houston, Texas

Answer:

Well Cynthia, why not! I see no challenges with mixing metals or media in our wire jewelry designs – or in making, displaying, and selling two different lines at the same time. Take a look in some of the more expensive department stores and catalogues at the jewelry product they are selling. You will see 18kt gold and diamond rings in a display case next to a case with silver plated, simulated pearl earrings! This is smart product selling, because you are targeting a variety of markets simultaneously.

When displaying your beautiful work, be sure to have a small label next to each piece, with a full description of the product (and a name, if applicable) along with the price. For example:

Carnelian Pendant
14k gf, Natural Stone
made with Swarovski crystals $95

A label such as this not only helps with sales when you are busy and can’t get to everyone (it talks for you) but it also generates conversation when a potential customer wants to know more about an item.

As far as your show applications, be honest, but not overly descriptive. For example:

“100% handcrafted jewelry designs made using: sterling, Argentium and Bali silver, 14kt gold filled, and alternative metal wires and accents; natural gemstones and pearls, vintage glass and specialty beads; no solder or glue.”

This sample statement is short, sweet and fully describes what is used in the works of art, as well as the process. By generally describing the materials, a wire jewelry artist is covered using about anything they wish – and it’s all true!

Good Luck with your spring show season, Cynthia!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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13 Comments

  1. avatar

    Diana Kohler

    March 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    This question was great for conversation. I too sell a wide variety of jewelry, all hand crafted by me. I love the question and love the answer. I have also started developing a web site that I think will help with the juried shows. Good luck Cynthia with your jewelry sales.
    Diana

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      March 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks Diana, yes in today’s world some of the larger promoters utilize the internet via ‘virtual’ applications and photos – nice to hear you are going to make sure that your bases are covered!

  2. avatar

    Krister

    March 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I’ve heard the term ‘juried entries’ for a jewelry show, but I have no idea exactly what that means. Also, I see it in some of my designer books and mentioned by other artists. Please explain to me what this means, Dale. Your devoted fan.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      March 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Krister, yup – tis the season for filling out show applications. This discussion ‘What is a Juried Craft Show’ will help : )

    • avatar

      David

      September 1, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Some shows have a “standard” by which they see if you goods are on the level as current members. There may be certain ways they want a booth maintained. The biggest is having handmade rather than assemble jewelry pieces. I discovered that an overly neat table is bad. It might look good, but it’s important to have touchable products. When someone tries on a wrapped ring they are more apt to buy it. I also make while they watch. That way it’s clearly handmade. Obviously high dollar items need more protection and care. I sold 24 pieces (rings/earrings) and cleared $176. Nothing sold for more than $10 and I adjusted prices for a girl short on cash.

  3. avatar

    Sherrie Lingerfelt

    March 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Great question Cynthia! I have stayed with my sterling silver and gold-filled wire, just out of habit I guess. Dale, your answer is very good and has made me rethink some of my choices. I like the look of other metals and accents but just wouldn’t mix them. After reading your answer to Cynthia’s question I realize that it can open more avenues for me and allow more experimentation in my work. Thanks to both of you! Sherrie

    • avatar

      David

      September 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

      I work with copper and brass, but will use Argentium silver on request.
      Base metals work well for wraps and earrings. I will use plated gold/silver headpins on some designs. I have recently gone partially blind and will work with what feels easiest to handle.

  4. avatar

    Leslie Yowell

    September 13, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I think I would actually emphasize “handcrafted in the USA”.

    • avatar

      Rose

      September 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Great idea, Leslie!

  5. avatar

    Rachel Ison

    September 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What a great question and answer! I also was having problems deciding how to sell two different kinds of jewelry together at the same shows!! I like the example labeling! Thank you both for the great info.

  6. avatar

    Kathy C.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Even though I use sterling silver and gold filled wire,beads, etc.pretty much exclusively, during this economic atmosphere, when I am an art fair, I need to have more expensive items and less expensive items. I think that the constant is in the quality of the work, regardless of what the materials are. I agree with Leslie about emphasizing the handcrafted workmanship (or should I say handcrafted womanship?)

  7. avatar

    Carolyn C

    March 31, 2016 at 11:07 am

    When I was starting out using silver plated copper wires and odd shaped gemstones I had some really nice pieces but realized they couldn’t really compete with the “good stuff”. I put a lot of these pieces in a fishbowl with a drastically reduced price so the kids that came in the shop could pick out something for Mom. 9 times out of 10 they would drag Dad in so they could buy the present for Mom and Dad would usually end up buying a higher priced piece for his wife too. Worked great. I still make some little pieces for the fishbowl!

  8. avatar

    David

    September 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Silver or gold filled wire (10%) is better than plated (5%) wire.

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