What to know before you buy Handmade Jewelry

Things to look for when buying handmade jewelry:
It is a wonderful thing, buying handmade jewelry. You are contributing to a population that doesn’t mass make items, that is a one of a kind, unique item that is an expression of them and of how you feel. It is made by real people, with a real process and you are helping create sustainability while having something not everyone has.

Quality Handmade Jewelry

After having made jewelry for over 20 years, I have made (and seen) my share of “not so quality” jewelry. I truly can now appreciate the difference between handmade and manufactured jewelry. Some people have a very keen eye for the specialty handmade jewels, where others will buy a string with a bead on it and think it is well made. Or they appreciate the fact that is handmade and are not so attached to the jewelry itself. Since I know my own quality, I have become pretty picky if I purchase jewelry, as I am not as sure about how well made it is. And I have made some mistakes. For example, I was in Belize at a Mayan ruin, where there were Mayans selling their goods. Barely spoke English but good enough to tell me about a beautiful “shark tooth” they carved by hand. I purchased it, only to later find a seam in the middle of the tooth. It was plastic and made from China.

Handmade Jewelry

Radar On!

So here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are buying quality and not crappy:
If there is a promise of a freshwater or real pearl, rub your teeth on it (except for germaphobes), if it feels gritty, it is authentic. If it is smooth, it is real.
Look at where the earrings/necklace/bracelet attach. See if all the little parts are closed nicely and are not rusty. This can happen with super cheap jewelry. For cheap, I use nickel/hypoallergenic. And ask what they are made of. Stainless steel is a good option too.
If you see fraying or anything in lace, leather or string, that is usually a promise of more.
If it is cheap, it is made cheap or manufactured.

Even if it is gold or silver plated, those will last years, but that isn’t as “sustainable”
Ask the seller about the process, how they were inspired. How long or anything helps you determine quality. Not only will it help you in deciding, but also seeing the quality of the person that made it.


This article was written by April Hartmeister. You can check more of their writing at April’s Design


Handmade Jewelry

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