My first completed piece. Hoping to start a business.. Do I have what it takes?

It took quite a bit of research and many months involved in really learning the ins and outs of perfecting soldering, creating clean work that isn’t sloppy, and truly making something structurally sound. So in essence, it took me about four months to actually have the knowledge to make this.

I incorporated a handful of techniques: tube settings, granulation, and the traditional bezel. I first hand sketched this in my notebook then went to work! The stone is a genuine Persian turquoise and tube set Japanese akoya pearls.

I’ve got this beauty up for sale on ETSY as my first official listing. The only sad part is knowing how saturated the market is, thanks to the internet and everyone wanting to learn this craft during the pandemic. Sigh…

Critiques are welcome, though, go easy on me. I’m sensitive! The only thing I’m really frustrated with is the crinkling that appeared at the bottom of the bezel. My fault, as I didn’t consider how the tube setting would get in the way of the actual pushing over of the metal! I used 30 gauge sheet for the bezel which I’m guessing was too thin. I definitely need to work on my bezeling…

Any tips are welcome on how to get a perfect push over technique. When one gets this unwanted crinkling effect, does that ruin the ability to sell it? Or can that sometimes be “part of the art”?

Next up, I’m going to attempt to learn flush/gypsy settings and prongs. I’ve been researching for months and am ready to give it a try!

Do you guys think I have what it takes to start a business? :melting_face:

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Hi. I am not an expert myself, but I can give you a couple of helpful tips. Your bezel height should be just enough to fold over where the stone starts to curve. This often means you need to shape the bezel vertically as well as around the stone. The higher your bezel, the more stone is covered over and the more metal you are trying to fold. This is most probably why yours crinkled at the ends.

Similarly, tube height needs to be just enough to contain the stone or pearl. Tall tubes are more likely to get damaged / lose stones.

If you can get on some work shops I have found it really helps to have someone who knows what they are doing demonstrating techniques and watching as I try them myself.

Good luck on your jewellery journey.

Tania

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Make a hundred pieces. Then figure out if you still want to make a business. Do the work to learn how a business works. How to make money, keep track of expenses and where and how to sell. Create an email list of 300 people that you know. Figure out how to price your work. Learn what others do and sell.

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Yes, I’m well aware of the bezel height and what’s proper. But perhaps I made this one too high by 1-2mm. It was perfect on the sides, just not the ends. The stone was a little irregular, and so I should have taken note of that and sanded the ends a little lower. Not all stones have an equal girdle all the way around, which I’m learning!

Also, I’m truly not trying to sound “defensive”, but as a point of artistry, I deliberately wanted these tube bezels high. In fact, you can look at many professional books which showcase similar artistry. High set tubes is done even with the veterans/masters. I didn’t want them low set. They’re very strong and sturdy as I bought thick tubing. A perfect seat was burred out and measured precisely. I’d even go as far as to say perfectly made. The rims were carefully beveled and the pearls set to perfection after cutting the seats precisely to the pearl size. I also used a few tiny drops with a toothpick of an epoxy just for extra protection, however they were done perfectly even without it. Its actually quite okay to set tubes higher if that’s the look you’re going for - in this case it was precisely what I wanted. I didn’t want them low set and I can say they are strong as can be. :melting_face:

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Thanks Judy - I actually ran an apothecary for five years and so “selling”, marketing, and business comes naturally. I’m transitioning into this as a career shift. Thanks for the encouragement!

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I wouldn’t try to sell my first piece. It is something to remind you of where you started. Mine is hidden in a box, in a wardrobe cbinet, in a storage unit in a state on the other side of the country. Mine was horrible. Made in copper and only given 24 hours to make it. I learned many things from that point on taking a few years of in person classes. From your picture, and thinking of my own likes and dislikes on wearability, I have a few suggestions. First is the length combined with the points. They seem harmless, but look rather sharp. From the movie, “A Christmas Story” you’re gonna put your eye out. It is also a point to catch on clothing, You want to design with the idea of protecting your piece and the people around you. The only other thing that would be again my opinion, is the height of the tubes. I would have set the pearls on pegs not in tubes, so they can show off more of their beauty. The tubes are too high for me. I would take an in class basic setting class. Your bezel shows a gp that needs work. The computer directions are good for most things, but in person you have the teacher to show you immediately what is happening, and how to do it better. For a first piece I would say well done. Now is the time to do a second. You will get better. It takes experience, and that comes from doing over and over again. Do not get discouraged. Like I said compared to my first piece yours is wonderful. It took me years to get to the point I could make something that satisfied me.

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I don’t think my first piece un-sellable at all. I think its actually a very professional piece that was well thought out and well made. Its absolutely worthy of being sold. But thanks. I think I’m going to ask Ganoskin to remove this post. If people cannot see the artistry in what I was going for, that isn’t my problem. I know someone will.

The points are not sharp. The entire piece has had countless hours of filing/sanding/softening. Every single component. That is why it took such a beautiful polish because of the work that went into the preparation. The points are quite soft and not pointy/sharp. I am in love with this piece and feel that there is a market out there for this style of work. If it is not someone’s “style” here on the forum, that doesn’t mean that others will not see the artistry in what I’ve made.

Lastly, I wanted the tubes set high deliberately. Again, I’m going to attempt to have the website remove this post. Hopefully they will honor my request.

I would appreciate it if no one else replied to this post while its pending removal.

Edit to add: Second lastly, this has nothing to do with not accepting critique well. Of course I know that all artistry is accepting critique. But in this case, I do not agree with comments here criticizing my choice of shape/style. Not everyone has the same “style” in jewelry, and instead of telling someone how you wouldn’t wear their piece - learn to be more sensitive. I didn’t ask “Would you wear this”? That’s the only thing that is truly hurtful. You and the other commenter may not like the way I chose to set my tube settings or the shape of the piece - but there are those that would. I have seen many high set tubes in professional designs before. It isn’t unheard of and I don’t agree that I did it “wrong”. It was deliberate and I personally think its gorgeous.

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To reiterate to anyone new to this thread:

I would appreciate it if no one else replied to this post while its pending removal.

Wow!

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Do not let your ego and your sense of design lead you to making an unwearable piece of jewelry. Your design would make an excellent pendant. As a ring, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Both ends protrude far beyond their points of support, threatening to catch in clothing, on furniture, and any of the many impedimenta we encounter in daily life. I am frequently amazed to find scratches and paint on my watch crystal, left by an encounter I never even noticed. Your ring has the potential to wrench a finger as well as ruin a sweater. Your patience and craftmanship is creating this piece says that you may have what it takes to succeed; your reaction to some fairly gentle suggestions says that you may not have the perspective to achieve it.

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It isn’t ego speaking.

You’re right. I’m throwing in the towel today and quitting.

Wow!

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Please don’t. The knowledge and advice of this group is invaluable.

You asked if you have what it takes to start a business. Of course you do. You already have an advantage since you’re experienced in marketing. So, go for it. Good Luck!

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I really fail to understand. You praised your own work, basically calling it “perfect”, “precise” and so on, then asked for some comment about it from the Ganoksin community. You got some quite measured responses, including some praise and some constructive comments. Then you want to delete the whole thread? As for the issues with sharp ends and protruding tube settings, I think maybe what you meant to say is that this is an art piece, not an everyday wear piece (?) I mean, I’ve seen lots of pieces that are meant for display only that are also not too practical. If yours is one of these, that is all you had to say. If it is for everyday wear, as already “pointed” out, it does look a bit dangerous.

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Also, when aggi.p suggested not selling your first piece, I think she mostly just meant for sentimental reasons and you took it like the piece wasn’t good enough to sell. Sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder.

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I keep my first piece in one of my studio drawers. From time to time I open the drawer and say “Wow, I love you and I’m so glad I kept going.” I agree with the suggestion that you keep your first piece. vera

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Hi All,
I’ve been playing with the new freebie ChatGPT artificial intelligence machine and thought it might be fun to check its opinion on such weighty questions. There’s no option to show it images yet (thank God), but these are results from a couple related requests-


Pretty bland and obvious but seems sound. What it missed and what you’ve made very clear with your thoughtful responses to the OP, is to “ask people with experience”. I’m not personally good at this (judgement fears) but I’m working on it :-). My particular fabrication means I don’t often get to take advantage of what is shared here, but you’ve all kept my brain learning and regularly contribute to my optimism in the good of humanity. Thank you!
Jeff

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Q: Crinkling as part of the art?
A: No. It’s a gap and gaps are dirt magnets and will snag on things, especially if they are rings.

The edges people are referring to are the spears on either end of the ring. Not the edges of the sheet.

Your excitement in learning a new craft is palpable. I get it (we get it). Everyone of us started off where you are at right now and some have found commercial success and some have not. I have a tendency to make “unique” jewelry, as well. More often than not, those are the pieces that go to the refinery after a year of sitting in the gallery. If you want your jewelry to sell, it’s got to appeal to more than one. I’m a hobby jeweler and not at all financially dependant on sales so am not offended when other people don’t like something as much as I do.

You opened the door to critique and I think everyone here gave you some honest and fair feedback.

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Out of curiosity I checked out your Etsy listing. Stunning OOAK Genuine Persian Turquoise and Japanese Akoya - Etsy Canada Knowing how to price something to sell is a big part of trying to make a living from it. As well as knowing who your target audience is. As you yourself mentioned, the market is saturated and there’s a lot of competition out there. There’s also a lot of inflation out there and consumers are struggling to put food on the table or a roof over their heads and so the amount of disposable income there once was is in short supply and that will narrow your target audience even further. I haven’t sold anything for over a year now, not even my typically sold out contemporary pieces that pay for new metal and materials; but I’m not trying to make a living from this and can ride out any downturns whatever income I make from sales. But good luck to you and wish you well in your endeavors!

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A cubist breaking the “rules” of painting is one thing, but a wavy bezel to me is more akin to saying that wobbly frame construction of your canvas, or neglecting to gesso it, was an artistic choice. I guess it can be, but it usually isn’t.

One thing to consider is that stone-setters exist for a reason. It’s a skill that takes years to master and there’s no shortcut other than doing it hundreds of times. I took my pieces to a setter for a few years while I learned, before jumping to doing that task myself. I am now acceptable at what I need to do regularly, but it’s not my best skill. And there are styles I will always take to a setter, because I don’t want to spend ages to learn how to do a setting type I will use for one custom piece.

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