Tuesday, July 26, 2016

June/July 2016 Blog Carnival - Mass Produced vs Hand Crafted

Here it is July already and time for another Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival.  Because summer is such a busy time for many people, we combined June and July and I still didn't have enough time!  Our topic this time is "Mass Produced vs Hand Crafted" as it relates to jewelry design.

It is a sensitive subject for many who make hand crafted items especially when the public expects handmade goods at big box store prices and doesn't understand all that goes into designing hand crafted jewelry.   Artisans who design and produce hand crafted jewelry often spend hours creating their designs and bringing them to life.  They select the materials they use in their work carefully often shopping several sources and using precious metals such as gold fill, sterling silver and copper as well as the best gem stones they can find.  They passionate about creating and love what they do and it shows in their work.



On the other hand, factory made goods are often produced where labor is cheap and with inexpensive materials such as plated base metals and plastic or glass beads.   There is no such thing as "one of a kind" designs being made in factory assembly lines.  But, even though these goods are many times of inferior quality and workmanship; they are cheap to buy.

There is no competing with factory goods for the independent designer when it comes to price and ability to produce many of the same things quickly.

But, I don't believe that independent designers should try to compete.  What they should be doing is making the best, most beautiful, high quality items they can and educating buyers as to why they should consider purchasing handmade.  Here are a few reasons:

First, and I think one of the most important is, being able to form a relationship with the designer.  A buyer can ask questions about the items they are interested in and the designer will be able to tell them what materials have been used, their history, the inspiration behind the piece, where and how they learned their craft and how long it takes to produce one of their designs.


Because of this personal relationship, buyers can commission custom made work to reflect their personalities, tastes and special events or memories.  There is something meaningful about working closely with an artisan who will design a piece of jewelry just for you.

In the event, there is a problem with the item, the designer will stand behind their work and make it right.

Because of it's superior quality, hand crafted jewelry often will become a family heirloom as it is passed down from one generation to the next.


Buyers can purchase unique, one of a kind designs that they won't find in factory produced jewelry.  Who wants to wear what everyone else is wearing anyway?

In exchange for these things, buyers must understand that artisan made jewelry is going to cost more than that coming out of overseas factories and purchased at the local big box store.  You are paying for the artisans time, expertise and that personal relationship mentioned above.

This is not to say that there is not a place for mass produced jewelry.  There is and I have purchased much of it myself.  It's inexpensive, convenient, instantly available and it can be fun.  Just don't expect it to last a lifetime and you'll be fine.

But, if you want something really special that will be treasured for years to come, seek out an artisan who is devoted to their craft, who has spent much time honing their skills and who continues to learn so that their work will stay fresh and relevant.  Yes, it will cost more, but it will be so, so worth it.




To see what other members of the Jewelry Artisans Community have to say about mass produced vs hand crafted, please click on the links below:

Cat's Wire

Violetmoon's Corner











3 comments:

  1. Maybe we should also mention that handmade doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars. Often there's something for everyone.

    I love seeing the creativity of artisans. In fact I just treated myself to a handmade piece of jewelry and I can't wait for it to arrive :-D

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    1. That's true, Cat. In fact, there are many items in my shop that are $20 or less.

      So pleased for you that you have handmade jewelry coming to you - what a treat!

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  2. I have made several pieces more then 10 years ago, which still are as beautiful as the day I created them. I do have factory made items, but most of those go into my recycle bin to re-use the beads and chains in new designs. :)

    @ Cat, So true, handmade doesn't have to cost a fortune.
    Like Dawn I too have many items below the €20,00 mark.
    Just take a look at all the earrings I have in my shop, and most of my bracelets are under €20,00

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