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
I was wondering what sort of %profit I should be realistically
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.