Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Home Jewelry Parties

A recently sold piece from my Artfire studio.
I've done blogs about jewelry parties in the past. I've done some research, conducted interviews with other artists and even attempted to get friends and family to host a jewelry party for me.  However, today I would like to blog about the one type of jewelry party that has brought me at least some measurable amount of success.... the "in home" jewelry party.

Let's face it, in these tough economical times it is very difficult to find people willing to host any kind of party in their homes let alone get guests to come to those parties with the intention of purchasing what ever items are being shown.  I myself have not found anyone willing to host a showing of my jewelry in their home yet.  It is tough.  But I didn't and won't allow that to discourage me.  No.  I found another route to take.  I figured if I couldn't find someone else to host me, why not host myself? 
So, I began doing "in home" jewelry parties or jewelry showings.  If I put out snacks for the guests, I would call it a "jewelry party" and if there was no snacks and I offered tours of my studio space, then it became a "jewelry showing". It's a simple, minor detail but for me it was necessary to establish. 
A pair of earrings currently for sale in a local boutique.
I use Facebook to send out the initial invites and then I start inviting my friends, family and work colleagues in person.  I encourage them to bring guests of their own.  In the weeks/days prior to the event I make sure to post pictures on my Facebook of new items and items available for sale.  It grabs the buyer's attention and gets them interested.  If they see one piece that interests them, they are more likely to attend.  They want to see the item in person sometimes before making the purchase decision.
I use my dinningroom in my house for my showings, though you could use any room you feel is appropriate.  My dinningroom is large, has lots of chairs and my dinningroom table is large enough to display nearly all my current pieces. I also set up a smaller card table in a corner with bead and supply catelogues for those who want to have something custom made.  I also put out some of my beads and supplies on the card table as examples.  It helps your guests know you take custom orders and can even inspire them to ask for a specially created piece.
I also have my tools handy.  I have quite a few repair customers who bring me things they have purchased, whether from me or another artist, that need some repairs done.  I often do these right on the spot unless they require more time or complicated methods (usually they don't).
I also have things on display throughout my local area in art galleries and boutiques.  An in home jewelry party is a good way for you to get the word out to people in your area that your pieces are available online, in person and throughout your comunity.  The more places your work is available,the easier it will be for people to recommend your work or even recognize your work.

In conclusion,  don't be afraid to host your own party or showing to get your work out in the public eye. It tends to be simpler and chances are you'll have better turn out and sales results if you go out on a limb.  Plus, you never know when one of your guests may decide to host you in their home after seeing your things in yours.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Briolettes~ faceted wonders

One of my absolute favorite materials to use in my jewelry making is the faceted briolette.  Whether made of gemstone, crystal or glass, the shape and sparkle of a briolette is magical to me.  And it's the shape and sparkle of these that capture the imagination of many a artisan as well as their customers. Labradorite drops necklace~ briolettes and sterling silver wire wrap

To better understand the history of briolettes, I decided to research a litle more about the process of faceting.  Lapidary, or the art of cutting and polishing gemstones, has been around for centuries.  There is evidence that as far back as 5000 BC humans were utilizing lapidary skills to create smoothed and carved gemstone pieces and tools.  There are also referrences that say the earliest proof of faceted gemstones occurs in a piece of literature referring to crudely cut gemstones in India.
The technique of cutting gemstones to certain shapes as well as the refining of diamond cutting techniques were developed in Europe.  Many of these same techniques are still used in lapidary work today.

The process of cutting, shaping and poishing briolettes and other faceted stones involves some very specialized equipment.  For example, there is a cutting and grinding wheel that can vary in size from a desk top sized one (pictured right) to one the size of a potter's throwing wheel.  And there are several steps in the cutting process before the shaping and polishing even begin.  I attribute these as factors for te expense of briolettes.
Here are some websites for more information on the process of faceting stones.
I still adore using briolettes in my jewelry work but always have marveled and dismayed about their expense.  I know have a clearer understanding of why they are so expensive.  And one look at them gives you  clear understanding of why they are worth the price.
The definition of briolette literally is "a pear-shaped or oval gem, especially a diamond, cut in long triangular facets."  However, briolettes have evolved to include smooth tear shaped gems as well as many other shapes.
Chalcedony Heart Briolettes, Plain, Santorini Blue HALF PRICE SALE Briolettes traditionally are shaped like teardrops, rounded on all sides and pointed at one end.  More shapes for briolettes have evolved. There are pear briolettes, which maintain the tear drop shape but are flat on two sides instead of round all the way around.  Heart shape briolettes are similar to pear brios except they have a shorter and wider shape.  Amethyst Pear Shaped Briolettes, AA-AAA Full Strand, 10.5-14.75mm
Onion briolettes are short and wide like heart shaped ones but are rounded all the way around like the tear drop shaped ones.  These are by far my favorite earring fodder as far as briolettes go. Swiss Blue TOPAZ FACET Onion Briolette bead 7.25x8mm 3.5 carat ---- T  I would like to close this blog entry about the briolettes saying this... if you have not yet tried using a briolettes in your jewelry making, by all means spend the money and give them a try.  It is well worth the investment!

Monday, January 17, 2011

OMG! I'm back!

So, the tech guy here at work (I work in a school district) had to install a new content filter and thus cut me off from my blog for weeks, which seemed like years for me.  And this morning... poof!  I am back and able to acces my blog from work again!  Expect to see more articles from me on topics I've ben itching to write about.