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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

In making the ends of a necklace, is there a standard for which side gets the clasp? I’ve been making pendants, and just randomly chose where to put the clasp.

-Helene in Perkasie, Pennsylvania

Answer:

Hi Helene! I found some interesting information to go along with my answer today. Did you know that statistics say there are more right-handed people than left-handed? The percentages I found say that only 10 to 20% of the world’s population is left-handed. I know that I have worked with several people who seem to work better with the left hand, but had been encouraged to use the right at an early age. Most of these folks could be ambidextrous, if they will let themselves, enjoying the best of both!

Most of those in the jewelry making industry design necklaces with the clasp on the right side, so that a right-handed person can easily take them on and off. The beauty of making jewelry yourself is that you are free to also create necklaces for those who are left-handed! Here is a marketing idea that I occasionally use: make a necklace that is either reversible, or easily changed, so you can switch the clasp from one end to the other in a few minutes. This is a great way to be able to customize your work, and customers love it!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 20, 2011

Question:

What were some of the most creative marketing ideas you came up with when you started doing shows? Or what things have you seen at shows that definitely didn’t work?

-Sheraton in Palm Beach, Florida

Answer:

Hi Sheraton, oh my goodness! In February 2010 I wrote about my very first show experience in the Free blog article titled Wire Jewelry Display and Booth Ideas. I have some stories about what has worked really well, as well as those that didn’t (like the trailer full of "that used to be a display idea once"). That article has my stories and experiences of what I have changed over the years, along with some suggestions for those who are just thinking about, or to give fresh ideas to those who already are, selling at shows.

Offering ideas that may inspire those of you who wish to sell your work in other venues, in May 2010 I wrote another free blog article titled Where to Sell Your Wire Jewelry. Here I share my experiences about Theme Party ideas, running Fund Raisers, and basically how to have fun selling your work to those who are interested! Both of the articles I have linked to also have many helpful comments from our readers.

Of course, if you really want some major knowledge, from myself and very experienced members of our Wire-Sculpture Faculty, I would recommend that you bite the bullet and make a minor cash investment by purchasing The Definitive Guide to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry. Although those few customers who are as experienced as I am only found a couple of new ideas, most folks have been extremely pleased with the information the WS Faculty and I have compiled into these 3 very full DVDs – and the included book Mitzi McCartha wrote for us, Wire Java, includes a wealth of pricing ideas, along with worksheets for extra help.

Most of what will work for you will be based on your personality and how you choose to sell your work, as well as what you like to create and the market you find that your work appeals to. My final advice is to have fun making what you like to make, and don’t fall into trying to fill the current fad, because this path will more than likely end up costing you both money and sanity.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 31, 2011

Question:

Hi Dale, now that we are coming up on festival season, I’m looking for a few quick and beautiful projects that I can “make as you wait” in a short amount of time for the customers. Any patterns you can point out would be very appreciated.

-Juanita in South Orange, New Jersey

Answer:

Hi Juanita, your idea of making “on-demand” customized pieces as the customer watches and waits, is a great way to attract additional attention to you and your booth!

To offer some attractive and quick ideas, I would first direct you to our Free Jewelry Making Patterns index. Albina’s Spring Flower earrings can be prepared at home by making some long coils of wire and then ask the customer how many petals they would like on their flower. Mary Bailey’s All-Inclusive Earrings pattern is another make-it-now design, where you could have a couple of sample pairs on display surrounded by beautiful beads a customer could choose from. You could also make matching pendants by using my Quick Bead & Wire Pendant instructions.

Quick Bead & Wire Pendant All Inclusive Earrings Quick Bead & Wire Pendant
Left-to-rignt: Albina’s Spring Flower Earrings, Mary Bailey’s All-Inclusive Earrings, and Dale Armstrong’s Quick Bead & Wire Pendant

Summertime is the best season to make and market anklets! To generate custom sales “on-the-spot,” have 3 or more samples made-up and on display (using materials you have quite a bit of on hand) and place a bowl of beads nearby, for customers to choose from. Light-weight and fun to wear (as well as affordable to make) are my Bent Wire Earrings, shown in our Wire Jewelry Ideas section, and most folks find that they can easily wrap a puffed heart, sharks tooth or an arrowhead in less than 10 minutes by using the Anything Harness design (click here for some examples). Personally, my Puffed Gemstone Heart pendants in sterling silver sell for $15 to $18, and I include a simple silk neck cord for instant gratification.

A lot of folks who are experienced in ring-making like to make simple 1 to 3 bead rings on-demand at shows, and still others can wrap a rock within a few minutes, too! It’s your choice Juanita, I hope I have given you some ideas that will help your spring/summer show season become a success!

For further reading about getting ready for show season, I recommend my article Wire Jewelry Display & Booth Ideas.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 28, 2011

Question:

Good morning to everyone at Wire-Sculpture! My question is, how much silver is in Argentium silver? Is it as much as sterling silver, and has anyone ever reported having allergies to it?

-Deborah in Wenden, Arizona

Answer:

Good Morning to you Deborah! A common misconception is that Argentium┬« is not as good or as pure as sterling silver. Like many companies in the United States, Wire-Sculpture carries anti-tarnish .930 Argentium┬« Silver Wire, which is 93.0% pure silver, and contains absolutely no nickel, a major culprit for those allergic to metal. And yes – Argentium is always more pure than sterling silver (92.5% silver).

Looking for the facts, I would like to quote the company who makes Argentium® itself:

 

  • Natural Beauty: Plating is prone to wear and tear and is commonly used on silver items to give the temporary illusion of purity. Argentium is the natural colour of pure silver through and through.
  • Brighter: Argentium silver is brighter than platinum, white gold and traditional sterling. It is the whitest of them all.
  • Longer Lasting Shine: Argentium silver is low maintenance, easy to care for and simple to clean.
    Source: “About Argentium,” Argentium.com

I have never heard of anyone reporting an allergy to Argentium, and I have personally been using Argentium since 2005.

The only caution I give my students is not to use Argentium unless they can make the project in their sleep – meaning use confident tool moves – because it work-hardens faster than sterling. It is a gorgeous product!

You can discover more about Silver and its different varieties (including Coin Silver and Fine Silver) in Mary Bailey’s article All About Silver.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Tip April 21: Wire Temper by Number

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 21, 2011

Question:

I want to buy some half hard practice wire in a store, but can’t find where on the spools that says it is half hard or not. Is there a different word or number that is used for whether it is half hard or not?

-Betty in Binghamton, New York

Answer:

Betty, most craft wire purchased in stores does not state the temper or hardness, and about all of the wire in stores is dead soft. When you purchase jewelry making wire from a supplier, the temper might be labeled with a number. As shown in the table below, Half Hard is designated by the #2.

Wire Temper Number
Annealed/Dead Soft #0
Quarter Hard #1
Half Hard #2
Hard Temper #4
Extra Hard #6
Spring Hard #8
Extra Spring Temper #10

The most-used wire tempers in wire jewelry are dead soft, half hard, and spring hard.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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