Designs & discoveries and marketing

Hi folks, I love this list. I don’t post much on this list but I do
enjoy reading the mail. My jewelry is made mostly of non precious
material and sometime turquoise and amber and other “bridge” material.
I had so much experience in being “knocked off’ in the 80’s I’m kind
of an expert in being copied. I started a trend of crystal cluster
jewelry that became a rage and my name became a generic word as in the
“Wendy Gell look.” I have walked the aisles of trade shows and seeing
so many booths of work copied from mine once I counted 25 , until
material from the far east flooded the market and the entire look
died. I have developed a philosophical attitude about it. I was lucky
to be there at the time and with the right talent and energy to
connect to the needs of the times. I don’t sell department stores any
more like Nordstrom’s or Saks and ONLY sell from my website. it’s
fantastic. I do very well there and get about a thousand hits a week
and my work is more protected as you have to go there to see it. I
would be glad to link with anyone who’d like to, reciprocal links
are great way to get traffic. I feel that if I put the energy into
being creative and doing new work instead of being angry and
frustrated about the knock offs it’s healthier and more productive. I
never found any legal way to prevent it and I try to keep my place by
doing something so different it is recognizable as mine. I have been
doing this for 25 years so it takes time and experience to get that
way. I went to designer day at FIT and was quite inspired by much of
it. One speaker talked about having his unique look very well, he took
one of his designs and built the whole line on that.It has a plus side
as your work is very recognizable. Also copyable. I do many varied one
of a kinds that would be impossible to copy and am trying to build up
a line of” bread and butter" pins that I have contracted in a factory.
they usually have a “hook” like a fireman pin with a flexible hose
as you get a targeted market. This is
sometimes effective as there is less competetion and a buyer who’s
jewelry needs have never been approached.I do parrots too as I have a
parrot. I just search my mind and the media and nature to see what
needs to be jewelry and by the time they are copying me hopefully I’m
doing something else.( in a good year LOL). I enjoy this list so much I
thank you for such a chance to just read and listen. I wish I had
been to jewelry school but I fell into this by accident .If I would I
have known I’d been trained. Enjoy your work, love, Wendy

Dear Wendy, thank you for such a sensible and balanced post.

By the way I was making crystal-based jewellery here in Australia
back in the sixties and seventies. I even won the Australian Jewellers
Association Outright prize for one of them - a neckpiece using citrine
crystals and diamonds - and picked up quite a few prizes for the
others over the years. I know they were original designs and I have
the provenance of the awards to prove it.

There is no way in the world that I would claim that you, Wendy, or
any one else, shouldn’t use crystals in a similar manner, much less
take legal action against you because I had a perception of sole
ownership of creativity. Like you, I moved on. Thank you for your
balanced comments.

Thanks too, David Popham. I really enjoyed your image of “the
elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about”. Thanks. You’ve
both restored my faith in the balance of Orchid. Kind regards, Rex from

Wendy, Rex, Crystal-based jewelry…1960’s, 70’s…? In Cronstedt’s
treatise on mineralogy, published in Stockholm in 1758, He tells us
that twinned staurolite crystals (then called Baseler Taufstein,
baptismal stone) were worn as amulets during baptisms. President
Roosevelt is said to have worn a staurolite crystal cross mounted in a
watch-charm. Lapis crucifer of De Boot (thought to be chiastolite
crystals), were worn as charms in Brittany about 1640.There is also
mention of these crystal charms in “the Metallotheca Vaticana” of
Mercatus, Rome, 1719. I’ll bet that if we dug into the distant past of
jewelry making we will find more instances of the use of natural,
uncut, crystals in jewelry. I think there is a necklace or two from
the XII Dynasty of Egypt that have hexagonal crystals of quartz as a
component. I’ve seen crystals of tourmaline, and beryl (from San Diego
County, Calif.) mounted in jewelry that was created in the late
1950’s-early 60’s. I’ve also seen a druzy chrysocolla made into a bola
tie, it was created in the early 50’s. I was fairly late in this
genre, I mounted a small amethyst crystal in a triangular pendant
around 1979-80 (New Age Days). Will E.

Hi Rex , Will E. and all, Thanks for the warm responses to my post. I
really feel like the poor cousin from over the tracks so I am a bit
unnerved by real jewelers! The crystal I was talking about is
Swarovski crystal aka good rhinestones . I have a really unique
design sense and although I get good prices there is no comparison to
what you can get with precious material. When I went to designer day
at FIT I discovered Signity that partnered with Swarovski for real
stones I called for a catalogue, the prices of the stones are not all
that much more then the Swarovkai stones I work with I was shocked to
learn. I will have to reduce the scale of my work which is fine. There
is a jeweler up here near me who cuts out of brass the Christmas
trees and star pins that I encrust and my cuff bases. He is quite a
good jewelry craftsman and you guys inspired me to try my hand at
something more. I have a beautiful necklace I designed years ago and
we are making it in silver and real stones. I posted it to
jewelcollect ( a similar group to this in vintage and designer jewelry
) I already have my first two orders! I am so very excited, thanks for
your encouragement and for visiting my website and writing such nice
things in the guest book. I used to go to the Tucson show in February
to buy material like turquoise and amber and just drooled over some of
the other stones never thought to try to work with them till now. I
look forward to a whole new adventure and a new market too as allot
of people love my work but only wear precious metal and real stones.
Wish me luck and feel free to ask for link exchanges. I get a whole of
traffic at my site , last week 1500 hits. I was well known in my
field of fashion jewelry in the 80’s and had the Disney license for
jewelry for 5 years so allot of people in that area know my name. I
have learned allot about internet marketing in the past 3 years
that’s the only way I sell any more and I love it. Thanks again for
opening the door to a whole new world.
REAL Original Paintings for serioous collectors, museeums and schools! here’s a postie
with a cherub of thanks love Wendy