Handmade vs mass-produced -was Prototype charms

Our ( bench jewelers) strength will be in our  ability to refine
our craft to a level that is not achievable in production type
work. Beauty and fine craftsmanship cannot produced in mass. 

This, I believe, will only get us half-way there. It is not enough
to make a better product. You will have to educate the customer as
to how and why your product is better. In the meantime, the sellers
of mass-produced schlock will not be sitting idle; rather, while you
seek to draw the distinction between mass produced goods and
one-of-a-kind, handcrafted works, the schlock sellers will be hard
at work seeking to blur that distinction.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

Lee and All, I think that it is some imagination to think that mass
produced jewelry is produced by people whose intention is to blur a
line. They produce what they produce for the market they want to sell
to. Schlock sellers are producing for a demand. Have you noticed QVC
and HSN? It is my perception and opinion that mass produced jewelery
is produced because “they” (us!)are willing to sacrifice quality to
have something. Cheap cordless phones made overseas, , anyone?
Shoes? When is the last time you bought a 6 mm round faceted garnet
cut in the U.S? Got a market that can support the price for that? The
price points you need to sell to the market you cater to determines
where you manufacture, if you sell multiple cast or fabricated
pieces. One of a kind, handcrafted work creates a market, IMHO. It
takes time and effort. Creating is half the equation, marketing is
the other half. I personally sell lots of mass produced, well made
for the price jewelry. That has supported my obsessive compulsive
disorder so I have every tool I need, and a large stock of stones and
metal that I have aquired over the years for the “language” I need to
make one of a kind pieces I create. I also make “mass produced” art
jewelry. Pieces that are combination of cast and fabricated pieces.
It could be viewed by some “purist” as an attempt to blur a line. I
get paid very well for these pieces, when they finally sell. It is
how I choose to get the most value for my time. Some of the finest
"art metal" jewelers were bench jewelers that honed their skills and
developed discipline repairing schlock. Some people have the desire
to make jewelery, some people see a niche market and need someone to
produce it at a price where there is not so much of a risk in time or
money to accomplish their goal. Handmade vs mass produced is
somewhat like comparing apples and oranges, to me. I have the
blessing of having been cursed with a need to know everything I could
about how to make anything and everything in metal and stone for the
last 30 years. One long incredible experiment that has been paid for
by my customer-patrons. Sometimes I inadvertly made schlock, but I
learned from that experience to do better the next time. Thats my rant
for now, Richard Hart