When I started beading I was always looking for a bargain. I didn't want to spend too much on materials not only for my own pocket book but because it was then just a hobby that I was just learning. As I started to get better and decided to start selling my items I was pricing them low because of lack of knowledge and it was still in a hobby stage. The more knowledge I gained and better I got at designing, not only beauty but for function, I wanted desperately to work with the precious metals and to buy top quality beads like Swarovski Crystals and sterling silver findings over silver plated brass. It took me about 6 months of selling online to get the funds up and to be able to start buying sterling silver clasps, chain, ear wires, and Swarovski crystals. I have a great collection of the crystals now and I keep a regular stock of them as well as the sterling silver. Of course the more top quality materials drives the price of the jewelry up as well and I have had people tell me that my prices are still low.
A few week ago I started in with my gemstone obsession (a blog post about my addiction is posted below) and even they have a lower and higher quality to them so there are different price points available as well. I have found that on some stones the lower grades can still be very pretty and not so on others so I am adding some gemstone supplies faster than others. When I met Marie (another blog post about her talents is below also) and started to buy here cabochons (cut gemstones that have no holes) I knew I was going to have to learn to wire wrap which I never found to be a style that I liked. I have found that there are many ways to wire wrap and I am finding a happy combination of styles that suits me and my style well. Here I was again at the beginning of learning a new style of jewelry that will hopefully turn into more items to sell but I am starting to buy less expensive materials as I am learning and do not want to waist a lot of money on sterling silver wire for wrapping while I am still in the learning process. I have now practiced making rings and I am happy to the point where I am willing to try it with the sterling silver so can put them up for sale but the price for a sterling silver wire wrapped ring made by me in my amateur status is not cost effective. I would only pay myself a few dollars for a couple hours of my labor. So while I was comparison shopping I found that my favorite supply store offers sterling silver FILLED wire. This has more than just a plating of sterling silver that is not a great with wrapping as it will tear and gouge the metal when cutting and bending. It is not all sterling silver as that has a big price tag now days. IT is in between and also has a anti-varnish coating so it won't yellow like sterling will but at a great price. I got some and made my first amethyst ring which I have had on my finger for well over a week. I was reluctant to wear it all the time, as with any jewelry you should remove it to shower, when adding lotion or perfume, but I wanted to see how this sterling silver filled would hold up. I have showered 3 times, done the dishes 5 times and done my hair and makeup and other tasks with the ring on. The finish, which has a anti-tarnish coating, is still as bright, shiny and still silver after all the abuse and it is still holding it's shape and the stone hasn't moved. Product tested and passed with flying colors! So as I get ready for my first fall/holiday show this Friday I am confident that I now can sell my handmade, wire wrapped rings and have a great affordable price point and not have to worry about the materials. Now on to wire wrapping a gemstone cabochon to make into pendants, wish me luck!
To all you jewelry artisans out there, I highly recommend the sterling silver filled wire and it can be found on Fire Mt Gems.com.
To all my fans, stay tuned as I add all my new wire wrapping items in sterling silver filled and sterling silver (to give a range of price points) jewelry to