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What constitutes "Handmade" jewellery

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  • What constitutes "Handmade" jewellery

    Hi Everyone,
    Hope you're all ok?

    Your opinions please...

    So what constitues "handmade" jewellery. I've been making jewellery for the past few years buying both handmade beads and machine made beads. When I sell pieces I will describe them in accordance with the beads I've used. So if all beads are handmade I will advertise the piece as handmade if I've used machine made beads I will advertise the piece as hand finished as in my opinion it would be untrue to say the piece is handmade.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
    Take care,

  • #2
    Good question! Personally I would class both as handmade as you have made them both, even with machine made beads you have decided type colour etc. You have made the actual item (necklace etc.) with your hands rather than a machine putting them together.

    I do know of a craft fair organiser that doesn't accept jewellery unless the person has also made the beads, they describe jewellery made with machine made beads as 'hand assembled' and therefore not accetable for their fairs.

    I don't make jewellery tho so I am sure others will have different opinion.


    • #3
      I would agree with wabbit and say that both are handmade - although I only make plastic jewellery at the moment so can't comment really on the bead side of it. I'm sure someone else will be along in a mo.
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      • #4
        Hey guys,

        Thanks for the replies.

        Up until know as I said below I've been advertising my jewellery in accordance with the beads I've used.
        So many people I speak to use mass produced beads but class their stuff as handmade... I'm in 2 minds. Should all my piece be classed as handmade even where machine made beads are used!? I'm having my website built at the moment and still can't decide on how they should be described 'hand finished' or handmade'.

        A friend of mine makes her own beads for jewellery makers like us and it drives her crazy to see mass produced beads used in product that is advertised as 'handmade' where it should be 'hand assembled/finished' as not everything in the piece is actually 'handmade'.

        As you can probably tell this is driving me crazy. I can't decide which is right or wrong!?!

        I feel a duty to bead makers to advertise 'handmade' only when I've used 'handmade' and 'hand finished' when I've used mass produced beads.

        More opinions please guys
        Help me! lol



        • #5
          You make the jewellery by hand. Handmade.

          At the end of the day, it's the jewellery you're selling, not the beads!


          • #6
            I'm not sure its that simple.

            When I buy jewellery I'm always prepaired to pay more for a piece that has used handmade beads, as I know I'm getting great craftsman ship with originality. I think the handmaking process of beads is far more impressive than a machine churning out hundreds of the same thing. I'm not saying you can't make stunning jewellery with machine made beads. I use them in my pieces and am very happy with them.
            The beads you use make up the over all look of your piece so the beads (of course your design will have an impact here) you use help sell your piece.


            • #7
              What about solving the issue, by including a small tag with your jewellery (or in your web description) that says something like:

              "Handmade by Lou, using (i'm making it up here!) Czech seed beads, Swarowski Crystals, Large focal pendant made by xxxx of xxxx, and sterling silver findings"

              That way you'd be giving credit to the independent bead makers/lampworkers you're using and putting your mind at rest, and letting those people who have a set view of what constitutes handmade make up their own minds. If they like the piece enough they'll buy it anyway!

              That's my two pennies worth!

     - Your UK source for fantastic beads, jewellery findings, and more!


              • #8
                This issue is about the beads rather than the jewellery.
                This is one of those issues that goes round and round.
                I think that education is the key to it though.
                The terms I would use are mass produced as opposed to artist produced.
                The beads that are handcrafted on a very individual basis like your friend makes, The time and patience that goes into these beads is large. The same skills and processes are used in mass producing beads in factories, however, that is where the processes stop being the same.
                The artist bead is finished to a high standard with the hot processes being applied with far more care. They are then annealed (thermostatically cooled over a long period of time in a kiln, which stops fracture lines etc)
                Mass produced beads made in India and China etc are exactly that, made fast and are not annealed (some may be, but on the whole they do not have the fascilites to do so) They are not produced in machines!
                There are beads that are pressed glass, many czech glass beads are also made by this process. Molten glass is pressed into moulds. That is as near to machine production as it gets, but again, the beads can be annealed or not depending upon the standards adhered to. Artists also make pressed beads but rather than the group mould used in factories, the glass artist uses smaller single presses.
                The cost of a set of artist made beads can be expensive (the cost varies from £5 or £6 for a focal and accent beads at the lower end to £50 or more depending upon the artists following)
                the terms handcrafted and handmade and handfinished do not have any legal meaning. I am proud to say that all the jewellery I sell is MADE BY ME!. I don't think anyone expects me to have made the beads anymore than they expect me to have made the catches, clasps, chaiins, tiger tail etc. My skill comes in putting together the design.
                If I am selling a jewellery item made with a artists bead, then I will point this out in the description.
                Not everyone can afford the prices of artists beads and I for one do not think that this lessons their finished jewellery items. as long as they are not sold as artists beads!
                full time mum and very very part time crafter.


                • #9
                  Thanks guys thats brillaint. A little education for me too!


                  • #10
                    I've thought very carefully about this post and I have rewritten it several times. I really don't want to annoy anyone but I'm quite upset by the topic and I have to reply.

                    My jewellery is hand made, because I make it myself, from choosing the beads, the wire, the findings, to designing the item, physically making it and choosing a box for it. I think 'hand finished' sounds as though the person has bought a ready-strung string of beads and stuck a clasp on.

                    I think I'm quite offended that my jewellery could be considered 'not hand made' just because I use beads I haven't physically made myself or which have not been hand made by a glass artist. Does this mean that to be considered 'hand made' everything in the item must be made by hand? This would include clasps, calottes, crimps, wire ..... I think as long as you are honest and open about the items you've used, then there is no problem with describing your work as hand made. My friend sells hand-made cards, that is, cards she's designed, painted, embossed etc herself. She didn't make the paper or the parchment she uses but they are still hand made.

                    If you ask most people what they understand by hand made, they will tell you it is an item that has been made by hand, not an item where all the components have been made by hand. There are enough people out there beating us up about our crafts and telling is they are not as good as mass produced items, we shouldn't be doing it to ourselves as well.
                    Pretty Things Handmade Jewellery

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                    • #11
                      I would totally agree - I class handmade as either using materials to make something to your own design or making the materials yourself and using them.
                      Katian Mosaics

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                      • #12
                        I agree with Pretty Things.
                        I sell Handmade Jewellery. I buy the materials, design a piece of jewellery and make it up.
                        There you go. A handmade, original piece of jewellery.
                        If you were going to say Handfinished you would have to apply it to all crafts not just jewellery.
                        My mum sells Handmade Handbags. She buys the material, designs a bag and makes it.
                        There you go. A handmade, original handbag. You would never consider calling it a 'handfinished' handbag would you?
                        As Billy said you have made the finished product by hand there fore it is handmade by you.
                        You would never go to the cake stall at the WI and say that the victoria sponge shouldn't be sold as handmade because the person selling it didn't grind the flour, raise the chickens and collect the eggs herself would you?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by icecreamgirl View Post
                          You would never go to the cake stall at the WI and say that the victoria sponge shouldn't be sold as handmade because the person selling it didn't grind the flour, raise the chickens and collect the eggs herself would you?
                          Very true!!!!
                          Katian Mosaics

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                          • #14
                            Hand Finished....

                            ....what rubbish. You're doing yourself down by calling a piece of jewellery designed and made by you 'hand finished'. Your talent and your workmanship and your care went into that piece.

                            Hand finished suggests a mass produced piece that was then given a quick polish, or boxed up, by hand after the machine says nothing of what actually went into making the piece.

                            By the way, off topic I know but....did you know? Most of Clark's Shoes are made in Brazil or Portugal. They are then shipped over here and 'finished', popped into tissue & boxed. This 'finishing' process means that Clark's can put stickers on their shoes claiming that they are made in Britain.....that's soooooo cross-making...

                            Apple Tree Crafts


                            • #15
                              Very interesting topic, I call mine Handcrafted