Tags: etsy

mass effect shepard

Silver and gold, silver and gold...

Some of you (*cough* missuswing *cough*) might be interested to know that I have added something new to my Etsy store - 14k gold options for all of my stud earrings! Sterling silver is a wonderful metal, but sometimes people want the warmer look of gold. I'm offering stud earrings in either white, yellow, or rose gold 14k options for all of my stud earrings.

Today is also the final day of the sale that offers 10% off, even on the 14k options. Coupon Code: STUDS10 at checkout. :)


Byzantium Lotus Stud Earrings

Custom Order Fiasco Update

So, I heard back from my customer this morning. 

In the first message, he apologized for upsetting me (I thought I did a fair job ok keeping my feelings out of the message I sent him, but apparently not.) Four hours later, I got a second message stating that he really wanted to apologize - he'd finally gotten a chance to look at the photos I sent on his computer instead of his phone, which just doesn't display them well, apparently, and he really likes it.

Sadly, I don't know whether to believe him. Now I have to wonder, is he just trying to spare my feelings? Because my iPhone displays Etsy pictures really well. But in the end, it doesn't matter. I'm shipping him the ring today, and that will be the end of it, whether he actually uses it or not.

For those curious, here are a couple of pictures:

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She loved a hammered band because it gave the ring an earthy look.

How far is too far for customer service?

I really don't know what I'm feeling right now. Pissed off. Hurt, maybe. Disappointed, definitely. 

So, a couple of weeks ago, I had an Etsy sale to a young man. An engagement ring. It's a make to order piece, so I made it, and sent it. Immediately after I sent it, he sends me this panicked convo. His girlfriend has made the comment that she'd like a "low profile" ring, because she works with her hands a lot, and he doesn't know if the ring he ordered fits this description. It does not. I explain what a low profile setting is, and offer to take the ring back and make him a version that fits this description; I even offer to do a straight exchange, no extra charge. He is thankful, and very pleased.

Then, apparently, he talks to his girlfriend again, finds out a little more info. She wants a plain bezel set ring, but also wouldn't mind some flush set stones to either side, on the band. She still likes the hammered band look (which the original ring had), but could I do this for him? I said I could, and worked up how much the extra charge would be. I ordered the necessary supplies, and got working. He had sent me several photos of the kind of bezel she liked, as well as pictures of flush set stones in rings from other Etsy artisans, but none of the photos actually looked anything like what he described. So, I searched, found one that fit his rough description, although it was in gold, with flush set stones all around the band, and cost $1700. He says yes, that is the look he means, and I start crafting.

My piece was only costing him $160, btw.

So we're clear, there are eventually four total rings. The Original Ring, the First Ring w/a bezel, and so on. 

Anyway, I finish the first ring. I send him pictures. He is unhappy, because the flush set stones are spaced too far apart. Okay, but there is nothing I can do about that with the ring finished. No problem, I can list and sell that one in the store, I'll just make a second ring, one with the flush set stones spaced closer to the center stone. Realize, it takes me a solid 8-9 hours to craft one of these. At the price of his ring, even making one I am not making all the much per hour. Two, and I'm making less than minimum wage.

So everything that could go wrong on the second ring, does. The bezel cup I bought from Rio is so tight, I can barely fit the stone in. The flush settings don't center up properly, and one of the flush set stones keeps popping out for reasons I can't explain. After it's all finished, I realize the center stone has a crack running through it. I cry tears of frustration, anger, and exhaustion while crafting the stupid thing. I basically tell him, sorry, but I can't sell him this second ring, because I can't stand behind it as a sellable piece, much less a wedding ring. (I forgot to say this is all under a deadline. The ring must go in the mail by the 2nd to reach him in time for his proposal plans). I tell him, I'm sorry, but I've failed, and offer him a refund, or he can take the first ring. As a last ditch offering, I tell him I'm willing to try again, but I won't be able to finish a third ring in time for his deadline. I'm out of certain supplies. (The flush set stones. They are tiny, 2mm. We won't even talk about how many of the damn things are lost on my bathroom floor. The same bathroom our cat boxes are sandwiched into, because of the remodel, so there is always little bits of litter on the floor no matter how often I sweep. And tiny white topaz stones now, as it happens. I had to sweep and scour for them multiple times during the second ring's nightmare creation process.)

He decides he wants me to try again (hey, I offered), and is willing to deal with not getting the ring in time. I go ahead and order more of the teeny tiny stones (a lot more, so it won't matter how many fall on my stupid floor). They end up arriving today, and since I know they are going to, I work my ass off taking an entire day AGAIN to make him a third ring. I even fashion my own tapered bezel, since I hate the prefab one I was using. I like the ring, it turns out well. the flush set stones are not exactly on center, but they are 2mm stones in a 3mm band - not a lot of wiggle room, and getting the buggers exact requires some kind of demonic bargain anyway, I'm pretty sure.

As the light is fading, I manage to get outside and take some photos. I send them to him, and his response is...lackluster. He wants more picture to "see the ring closer". I go ahead and take more, crop them, and send them. This is another hour of my life gone. Finally, I get a response again. He tells me not to take this the wrong way, but he just had it in his mind that the ring would look EXACTLY like the one I had shown him as an example but in silver, not gold.

A $1700 ring. 

After I cooled down, I sent him a very polite reply, explaining that it was just an example, and that no $160 ring is ever going to look "exactly like" a $1700 ring by a different artisan, regardless of materials. One, I don't know how she made it, exactly. I'm not in her studio, watching her techniques. I won't be able to duplicate it, then. Two, if I could duplicate it, you can bet your ass I'd charge more than $160 for it. Three, never, ever order something from one artisan because you want it to look like someone else's work. If you like that other person's work, order it from them. 

I was much more polite than that, but basically that's what I said. And offered to refund his money so he could go order from the other artisan. 

So, to recap, I have made this man four, count them four, rings, and he is probably going to ask me for a refund. I am out at least thirty hours of my life I will never, ever get back, not to mention the materials -- oh, and the literal blood, sweat, and tears that went into these rings. 

I can't decide if I want to rage, throw things, take a hammer to the rings (or at least the one with the cracked stone), or just curl up in a corner and cry. 

From now on, I will not be embarking on custom pieces unless they are in my own style. Ever. Again. 

Business and emotional attachment.

I'm always thrilled when a piece of jewelry sells. Part of me will always be amazed, I think, that someone loves it enough to buy it. I love making things that other people delight in wearing. I couldn't possibly keep everything I make to wear myself, no matter how much I might love some of the pieces. But every one in awhile, I make something I know I'm going to regret giving up. Usually it sits for a long time before someone buys it, long enough that by the time it sells, I've moved on and made some other piece that has become my most beloved. That wasn't the case this time.

For a long time now, my goal has been to start making wedding jewelry. Engagement and wedding rings that are both beautiful, and affordable. There is nothing wrong with silver for a wedding set. In fact, it has been commonly used in wedding jewelry for many years, and continues to be, despite the jewelry industry's promotion of much more expensive metals instead. Sure, it can tarnish, but it polishes right up, and I can tell you as someone with a platinum wedding band, that baby has to be cleaned and polished on a regular basis, too, or it looks dingy and dull. I do plan to offer some 14k and 18k gold pieces, but I have to build up my sales enough to afford to really work in that metal. Right now I have enough to do the occasional 14k gold accent, and I can do custom work in that metal if people want to special order it.

Anyway, I have very carefully gathered some stones that I think would make really fabulous one-of-a-kind, non traditional engagement rings. Some conflict free rose cut diamonds, some tourmaline, sapphires, zircon, etc. And I've started making rings, one at a time, and listing them. This weekend I made a set I am particularly proud of. The shape and cut of this little rose cut black diamond was really difficult to work with. Thin enough to make bezel setting it hard, but with a flat back, there's really no other option. I sat and played with it, until I had an idea I thought would work, a variation of stepped bezel. It worked better than I could have hoped, and I was more pleased with the end result than I've been with a piece in a long time. It was, in a word, GORGEOUS. I fell in love with it, but it wasn't made to fit me, and besides, I designed it as a wedding set, and I already have mine. So, I photographed it, and listed it. Roughly three hours later, I got an etsy conversation from a woman in Canada who wanted to buy it. I reserved it for her, and today, she purchased it. Not as a wedding set, I think, but because like me, she fell in love with it. Part of me will be sad when I pack it up tomorrow and ship it to her, but honestly, this is exactly what I wanted. To make and sell unique fine jewelry, hopefully enough to eventually be a real income. I've had three conversations from people this weekend asking me about custom wedding rings, and now this sale. So...this may be a way for me to work, since the job hunt is not going anywhere at the moment. 

Here's some pictures of the set that sold. You can't, as normal, go look for it at my shop, but you can find it under sold items if you want to look at the listing. 

I am sad to see this one go, but glad it's going to someone who loves it as much as I do.

New Stuff

I'm sure it seems like the only thing I ever post about anymore is jewelry! But see, I'm going to mix things up by talking a little bit about fandom things, too. The coolest thing so far about my new Tivo? The fact that I can download whatever show I want, and use Toast to transfer it from my computer to my Tivo to watch on my television in a matter of moments! Coolest thing ever! I missed like the first five episodes of Chuck this season, because there is no way we are not recording The Clone Wars on Fridays. I've tried to watch them via Amazon, Hulu, and the CW website, to no avail. (Seriously, CW, WTH??) The whole episodes are simply unavailable! But now with this awesome feature on my Tivo, I am finally catching up on Chuck before the series finale airs!

But this is another jewelry post. It's one of the only things that keeps me posting on a semi-regular basis these days. Two more classes, and school will be done! Hopefully then I will be able to get back to my old routine, which includes writing and posting regularly. For now, some new pieces:

Oregon Sunstone studs, with really pretty schiller. 

And a filigree pendant featuring a 6mm rhodolite garnet and some whimsical little hearts. :) 

More pics and info at Ye Olde Etsy Shoppe.

I'm trying to post new jewelry every day. I'm always looking for inspiration, so drop me a comment if you have anything you'd like to see more of, or different from what I'm already making.

michael kisssoftly - isabellecs

Valentine's Jewelry

Valentine's Day is, of course, one of the biggest days for giving jewelry as a gift. I've always figured, why wait for a significant other to do something like that? I used to get my best girlfriends flowers on Valentine's Day, and I've been known to buy myself jewelry (back in the days before I made it. Now I just make myself something special!) 

Rubies, being red and precious, are a traditional V-Day stone to give or receive. I usually offer something made with them around this time of year, and this year is no different. This time around, my first offering is a ring, set with a rose cut 1.6 carat ruby in a beautiful, traditional red color. 

I hand forged the tapered bezel setting, hammered and polished it for shine and texture, and added a band of argentium sterling silver and 14k gold fill twisted together. Size for this particular ring is 6.75, but I could easily make it in any size.

More info and pics at my Etsy store, as usual. 

Rubies not your thing? What gemstones would you prefer to get for Valentine's Day? 

New jewelry: stacking rings

Stacking rings are really popular right now. I think people like the idea of mixing matching to create different looks. I've had it in mind to offer them for quite a while now, but I wanted to have just the right look for mine. Well, they are done and listed in my Etsy store. I'm offering them as separate rings or a complete set, so people can choose what to get based on their individual wants or needs. 

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I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I'm offering them with the two tone look seen here in the twisted band, or in all silver if that's what is preferred. I plan to get more stones and offer some different sets, too. But for now, it's amethyst, garnet, and labradorite.
cheshire cat

New Jewelry! A walk through Wonderland...

I am rather proud of these pieces. It's a case where the finished product turned out even better than the design I imagined in my head, which doesn't happen often, let me tell you!

More pics and info at my Etsy store, as always. These pieces started with the ring: a three stone Alice in Wonderland inspired piece, with a twisted wire band, loops and circles made of argentium sterling silver. Two green peridot flank a purple-green mystic topaz, juxtaposed at angles that give this ring a three dimensional feel:

After the ring, the matching pendant came together pretty quickly:

I'm contemplating a Queen of Hearts set as well. We shall see. :)

Etsy orders

Just a note to update everyone who placed orders to help Julius. I'm working my way through them as quickly as possible. I'm not actually used to receiving so many orders at once, so it created a small backlog. I know some of you haven't recieved yours yet, or a shipping notification, but my goal is to get them all out this week. You should receive tracking via e-mail. If you don't for some reason by Friday afternoon, send me a note or an e-mail if you don't mind.

Added to that, the vet didn't warn me about what Julius's recovery would entail. Since he won't take liquid, and that's usually how they prescribe painkillers, they just didn't send any home. I didn't even realize anything was wrong at first. Obviously he was unhappy in the cone of shame, and crying piteously a lot...well, he was also peeing everywhere. Not spraying, just constantly dribbling pee throughout the house, right when I was trying to get things ready for the holiday. Because of the holiday, I wasn't able to get a hold of the vet immediately to find out what was wrong. When I did the following conversation happened:

Vet: "Well, that kind of behavior could be because he's in pain. How is administering the painkillers going?"

Me: "...painkillers? What painkillers? I have antibiotics you guys prescribed, but nothing for pain."

Vet: "I don't why we wouldn't...hold on. Yes, I see here Julius won't take liquid. That's why we didn't send any home."

Me: "What? Is there no other form painkillers can take?"

Vet: "Well, sure. We can prescribe some pills for you to come in and pick up."

Me: "Why didn't you send them hom with him in the first place??"

She didn't have a good answer. Me, I was furious. Here my cat had been in pain following a surgery for days, because they dropped the ball after I told them he wouldn't take medications in liquid form. Anyway, painkillers procured, it seems to have solved the peeing problem. However, my cat is still miserable. He has to wear the cone of shame for two full weeks. We are on week two now, and he finally seems to have achieved a sort of resigned acceptance of his situation. But that first week was murder. He constantly wanted to be on my lap, and I didn't have the heart to tell him no. I did a lot of laundry, since he peed through towels and blankets, and all over most pairs of my jeans. In the meantime, it is very hard to work with jewelry with a 15 pound cat constantly insisting on sitting on your lap. Particularly when he is peeing all over you and everything else. The good news is, the worst is over, and jewelry orders are my priority. Thank you again to everyone who helped. I'm sure Julius will be grateful once the cone of shame comes off, and in the meantime, I certainly am.