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Pickle query/pricing


#1

Thankyou for all those whom replied to polishing difficulties. I
shall hopefully have an easier time of it next piece i make.

I have found that the safety pickle ( warmed kind) that I use
leaves the silver item with a white coating. I am sure that the
pickle that was used at evening class brought the item up silver!
how should I expect the silver item to come out of the pickle pot??

I am lukcy that a local hairdresser has very kindly offered to take
some of my jewellery , and isn’t charging any commission! Pricing was
a nightmare, to start with I wasn’t allowing a profit! I was
wondering what sort of %profit I should be realistically working
towards? so I am really excited about that, although it was nerve
wracking as its the first time any of my work has gone out into the
world. Its all happening so fast, I only started eight months ago!

However I have also been told of a more suitable jewellery and craft
shop to consider approaching. which got me thinking about commission.
What kind of price/percentage should I expect a shop to take for
hosting my jewellery? And being naive and un-bussiness minded, I
suppose you price to reflect that do you?

Its all quite nerve-wracking!!

thanks
Nikky


#2

Nikky,

    I have found that the safety pickle ( warmed kind)  that I use
leaves the silver item with a white coating. I am sure that the
pickle that was used at evening class  brought the item up silver!
how should I expect the silver item to come out of the pickle
pot?? 

The white “coating” you are seeing is a thin layer of fine (pure)
silver that has been raised to the surface by the heating and
pickling process. Repeatedly doing this is called “depletion
guilding” and is the first step in reticulating silver. If you use a
brass brush to scrub off that white layer, you’re essentially rubbing
off the fine silver that has risen to the surface. You can leave it,
or scrub/polish it off – totally up to you.

So. You can view it as an indicator that your pickle is working,
probably a little better than the pickle in your classroom (which is
likely more “used” than your nice fresh batch at home).

P.S. - When you run out of safety pickle, try buying good old PH
Minus (pool and spa chemical) or food-grade citric acid. Both work
at least as well, are safer, and are significantly cheaper!

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


#3

Nikky, I suppose I could be wrong, but it seems to me that you are
always going to have your silver come out of the pickle as a white
metal. I usually either burnish or polish mine afterwards. When I
solder to fine silver and then pickle, the fine silver comes out a
little more silver-colored than the sterling or the solder, but it
still has a slight white coating to it. Tom


#4

how should I expect the silver item to come out of the pickle pot??

That depends on how you heated it. If the silver (I assume you’re
using sterling silver) was heated without a protective coating, then
it’s surface formed copper oxide, a usually black coating that the
pickle removes. when it oxidizes, the surface smoothness that makes
it look bright and metalic is destroyed, so dissolving the oxide (the
job of the pickle) leaves you with a matte white surface. This
surface is fine silver, but unpolished. It will, if you’ve heated it
without protection to form that black oxide, also hide a fire stain
oxide layer just under the white surface, which the pickle cannot
remove, and which you’ll have to buff through, or leave intact, as
you finish the piece, to avoid blotchy looking surfaces. A more
complex, but in the end better and easier method is to heat the silver
(either for annealing or soldering) only after you’ve coated it all
over with a flux that prevents that initial oxide formation. Search
the archives for prips flux, many references including my own articles
thereon, for instructions. this will maintain the metalic bright
surface of the metal through the soldering or annealing process, and
if you maintain it during the heating, the pickle also will maintain
it.

   I was wondering what sort of %profit I should be realistically
working towards? 

I s’pose I should let David Geller answer that one. But one answer
is that many folks figure what our costs for materials and shop
overhead, etc, are, and double that. Then add what you wish to get
paid for your time in production. That’s a wholesale price to the
store, with, normally, the retail price they will charge being double
or triple your price, or somewhere in between.

However I have also been told of a more suitable jewellery and
craft shop to consider approaching. which got me thinking about
commission. What kind of price/percentage should I expect a shop
to take for hosting my jewellery? 

You have a price to you, for your work. The percentage added by the
shop should be added to your figure, not subtracted therefrom. If the
shop wants you to give a retail price, and they’ll take a percentage,
which may range from 40-60 percent, usually, then you just do the
math for them, so you end up with the wholesale price you previously
calculated for yourself. In some cases, you’ll take a discount off
that wholesale price for things like volume orders, since generally
you can produce many of an item for less per item than single
pieces. And if the shop is only carrying your work, not buying it
outright, you may with to raise your wholesale price, since now
you’re essentially paying for their finance costs for their
inventory. An added 20 perecent or thereabouts, is not
unreasonable for work placed in a shop on consignment instead of
being sold to them outright.

And being naive and un-bussiness minded, I suppose you price to
reflect that do you? 

Nope. from the get-go, present your work as that of a professional,
new to the business or not. Don’t be shy about calculating what
you’re worth, and charging for it. If you demurely charge too little
feeling your limited skills don’t warrant more, two things happen.
First, you’ll go broke fast. And Second, your customers won’t value
your work as much as they should. If you give them too much of a
bargain, then your bargain price is all they figure it’s worth.
People don’t remember sales, special deals or discounts in figuring
what an item is worth, or worth to them. They remember what they
actually paid. And oddly, if you price it too low, you’ll actually
sell less, since folks will wonder what’s wrong with it. Now, be
reasonable, and try to see what others may be charging for comparable
work, and understand that if you charge way more than competative
work, you may not sell as much. But base that sort of pricing
decision on business models, not upon your own percieved lack of
experience or skills. Pricing fine art is no place for a timid ego.
If you don’t place a suitable value upon your own work and skill
and creativity, nobody else will either.

Peter


#5
P.S. - When you run out of safety pickle, try buying good old PH
Minus (pool and spa chemical) or food-grade citric acid.  Both
work at least as well, are safer, and are significantly cheaper!

Hi Karen, A few questions about that “food-grade” citric acid you’d
mentioned… Does it behave similarly to nitric, in terms of both
pickling action/time and results? Also, do the same laws (i.e. using
copper-enriched pickle as a plating bath by adding an iron tool)
also apply with the citric, or are they caused/created by the
nitric, only? Finally, are there differences in handling the two,
either in day-to-day usage or in disposal? (I’m really curious about
this…)

Many thanks, in advance, Doug

Douglas Turet, GJ
Lapidary Artist, Designer & Goldsmith
Turet Design
P.O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476
Tel. (617) 325-5328
eFax (928) 222-0815
anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com