Have you ever noticed that special jewelry pieces are usually handcrafted works of art? You don’t usually see engagement rings or mother’s necklaces stamped out in an assembly line system.
That’s because these pieces reflect a deep meaning with emotional ties. They need to stand the test of time and show off the individual's unique tastes and style.
Whenever you prepare to invest in handmade jewelry, consider the things that make it unique and set it apart from other pieces.
1. Custom Design Jewelry
Jewelry is an ancient art form that remains a constant throughout cultures. Adorning oneself with precious metals and gemstones is a way to tell the world many things about yourself. For most people, that involves custom design jewelry that reflects their style, taste, and personal message.
The design process might involve creating a piece of jewelry around a specific idea, like a special stone or logo. In some cases, the designer will allow the individual to add personal touches, like engraving or embedding specific birthstones.
Customized jewelry costs more than mass-produced pieces, but it’s more personal and reflective of the wearer as much as the designer. It’s the ideal choice for people who want something unique, even if it’s part of a pair or group look.
Unique handcrafted jewelry makes an outstanding gift for special occasions and serves as a reminder for the recipient. It might mark an important birthday or a commitment to something, like an engagement or anniversary.
2. Get Matching Jewelry for Special Groups
Sororities, fraternities, and unions often wear matching jewelry pieces to show their solidarity and commitment to their cause. It’s an excellent way to express pride in their group while letting others know they belong to a specific organization.
For example, say you wear a sorority necklace to a networking event. Somebody who’s part of a different chapter or an older member might notice the necklace, recognize the Greek letters, and help you make a connection.
Wearing similar pieces allows you to subtly support your cause and show you’re part of a sorority. It’s a way to express your belonging in a classy, understated way.
The best part is that members of the same organization can reflect their individuality by choosing different pieces with unique arrangements. For example, one sorority sister might choose a simple, elegant necklace while another selects a bracelet. Both pieces have the same Greek letters but use completely different elements, including font and materials.
3. Each Handcrafted Piece is Unique
Making jewelry by hand ensures that every piece is unique because no human can make the same exact thing twice. Even if two pieces look similar or the artist uses the same technique, you will find variations in finer details.
Knowing that nobody can ever have the exact same piece of jewelry enhances the appeal, especially for people who cherish unique gifts. Most family heirlooms are handcrafted pieces that stand the test of time and have stories attached to them. These stories often feature the artisan who crafted the piece or the special occasion behind the jewelry.
4. Quality Materials
Though crafters can use a variety of materials for handmade jewelry, it’s nearly always higher quality than mass-produced pieces. Even if the craftsmanship varies based on the artist’s skill level, they use select materials that they could mold and manipulate.
- Gold is one of the most popular choices for handmade jewelry because it’s durable and easy to work with when you have the proper tools and some skill. Plus, skilled crafters can work it together with other materials to create durable pieces.
- Silver is another popular option because it’s more affordable and even easier to work with than gold or platinum.
- Platinum can be a challenge for jewelry makers because it’s so strong and difficult to manipulate. However, it holds up better than other metals and doesn’t wear down like weaker materials.
- Titanium is often seen as a modern choice for handmade jewelry. It’s surprisingly lightweight, making it a solid choice for long-term wear.
- Diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend, they are one of the most timeless adornments you can use in jewelry pieces.
- Other gemstones represent various things, including birthstones. They can add color to a piece or stand alone as the centerpiece in a larger arrangement.
- Natural stones, like turquoise, often appear in handmade jewelry. Many crafters find their own stones and refine them to fit a specific piece. It takes skill to find pieces to cut, shave, and sand into the right size and shape, but the result is usually breathtaking.
Purchasing handmade jewelry with precious metals and stones of a certain caliber involves certification. You usually find this with gold, diamonds, and pearls, but it can apply to any piece.
5. Support Local Jewelry Artisans
Would you rather support a faceless corporation that mass produces necklaces or a local artisan who painstakingly crafts a bracelet with their hands? By supporting our local jewelry artisans, we can support their craft and keep them in business. We also know where our dollars go.
Make sure that you always take a business card and contact information from the artisan so you can reach them at a later time. You never know when you will need another piece!
The Benefits of Supporting Local Jewelry Artisans
Creatives are a vital part of any community, and supporting them ensures they preserve the craft and skills to pass on to future generations.
When you support local jewelry artisans, you’re not only helping them keep their businesses alive but also contributing to the growth of your community. Building a community that encourages and supports artisans can lead to more opportunities, like art festivals that boost local commerce.
It also helps create more opportunities for new artists to emerge. Crafters who find success can keep working on their art and take on apprentices to pass on their skills.
How You Can Support Local Jewelry Artisans
Support local artisans and small jewelry businesses by buying from them whenever possible. Establishing artisan markets or festivals in your community can attract more artists and encourage creativity throughout your community. It can also encourage jewelry artisans to create more unique pieces and give them a platform to take custom orders and expand their business.
Finally, you might consider commissioning custom pieces for gifts whenever possible. You get a unique present for somebody special and you support a small business. Plus, you know where that piece comes from instead of the mass-produced jewelry that comes from a machine.
6. Handmade Jewelry Can Be Eco-Friendly
It might seem crazy, but handmade jewelry artists often use recycled materials and natural elements that they personally source. Not only does that mean you get a unique piece, but you can also feel good about not adding to your carbon footprint.
Plus, handmade jewelry tends to be of higher quality that lasts longer, so you don’t have to constantly replace the pieces. While artists’ skills vary, which can impact a piece’s durability, they generally last much longer than manufactured jewelry.
7. How to Care for Handmade Jewelry
Properly caring for your handmade jewelry is key to making it last as long as possible. You could have a family heirloom on your hands, and you don’t want to ruin it before passing it on.
There are two key components to maintaining your handmade jewelry. First, you need to store it properly and second, you need to know how to clean it.
It’s best to ask the artisan who crafted the piece for you, but there are some general guidelines to follow for most handmade jewelry.
Regardless of the materials used for your handmade jewelry, moisture and direct sunlight are its worst enemies. Choose a cool, dry location for storing your pieces when you aren’t wearing them. Keep the jewelry in separate compartments to avoid scratches and keep necklaces from getting tangled.
Never use plastic containers because they hold moisture inside, which can tarnish metals. Stick with soft, clean clothes or containers with velvet-lined compartments.
When traveling, be sure to pack something to store your jewelry in. You don’t want to arrive with damaged pieces or end up with a tangled mess.
Tips for Cleaning
Jewelry can start to look a little dull or dirty after you wear it for a while. It’s a good idea to keep a jewelry cleaning solution on hand to reclaim that luster. If you don’t have a solution, you can try a DIY mix.
Mix a few drops of mild detergent with warm water. Let your jewelry soak for five to ten minutes. You might want to scrub crevices with a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean out debris.
Be sure to rinse the pieces to remove residue and film. Make sure the piece is completely dry before storing it.
While this approach works for many pieces, some materials require a more delicate touch. It’s a good idea to ask about specific care instructions for precious stones. For example, you should keep pearls away from all chemicals and only wipe them with a clean, soft, damp cloth.
When in doubt about cleaning a piece of handmade jewelry, it’s best to consult the artisan who made it or contact a professional jeweler for advice.
What do you do with the jewelry you wear all the time, like a sorority necklace or wedding band? It’s still possible to take steps to protect frequently worn pieces without risking damage.
- Remove the jewelry for activities that could expose it to moisture, like swimming and exercising. Make sure you have a safe storage spot when you head to the gym or pool. It’s easy to fit a velvet-lined box in your bag.
- Protect precious stones against acidic liquids that can damage them. For example, don’t slice lemons while wearing a ring or bracelet with turquoise stones. The lemon juice could affect the setting and cause the stone to fall out.
- Take extra care with pearls and other beaded stones. Wear them regularly so they don’t turn dull and have them restrung or reset if you notice fraying string or bent settings.
- Don’t use tissues or paper towels on handmade jewelry. Even though some metals and stones can tolerate mild abrasions, most can’t. You don’t want to risk it and end up with odd scratches on your favorite piece.
If you notice a problem with your handmade jewelry, it’s best to take it back to the artisan who crafted it. They know what materials they used better than anyone else. Plus, if they used a special technique, that artist might be the only one who can repair your jewelry.
Final Thoughts on Handmade Jewelry
Handmade jewelry is an investment compared to mass-produced pieces. Every creation is unique and represents hard work and years of effort to master the skill.
Finding the right piece isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort and price to secure a one-of-a-kind statement piece. Whether you’re looking for a special occasion gift or a sorority necklace for your new sister, Shawn Paul Jewelry can help. Check out our current selection of handmade jewelry.