Morals of the story: If a client requests something stupid,
sometimes we are forced to decide for the client. If a client
requests something stupid, sometimes we have to educate them. If a
client requests something that we don't agree with, we do have the
right to point out the other side. There are, of course, perfectly
nice ways of pointing out these things.
Another timely topic for me. I’m creating a birthstone necklace
(free of charge, except for supplies) for two of my husband’s
relatives to give as a gift to a third. I could use all the advice I
can get regarding handling the situation in a tactful and
The overarching problem is that apparently neither of the two has
ever observed very much about how a piece of jewelry “coalesces”:
differences in chain styles, how chain should enhance any stone used,
whether stones are set vs. strung, how prong- or bezel-set stones
will “flip” on a very long necklace, and so on. I encouraged them to
look at retail sites such as Ross-Simons to get familiar with many
styles, but they weren’t willing to do so.
After a joint visit to a local supply store, receiving an incorrect
stone count, a sketch that was just a scribble, a denial that one had
said she was opposed to knots between pearls (!), saying "bangle"
when they meant “dangle”, “pebbly” when they meant “faceted”, and
other gaffes, I told them their design ideas should be finalized and
in writing, and that they should probably contact a local pro
I told them that if they still wanted me to make the piece, there
were styles I was not capable of executing because of my
inexperience, and that if their design included anything too advanced
for me, I’d let them know promptly so that they could use a local
Their reply was that they felt too inexperienced to do any of the
design work, that I should just proceed with making the necklace, and
that whatever I created would be fine with them. This message was
followed the very next day by photos of chain styles. (Good thing I
hadn’t gone ahead and ordered the doggone chain…)
And these are not stupid people, not by a long stretch.
As you can see, I was a darn fool for saying I’d do this, and now I
can use some advice. I know that working for relatives usually comes
with built-in complications, but here’s the minimum I hope to avoid:
Spending any more time on multiple designs. (Have already spent
about 10 hours)
Redoing the finished piece because they don’t like it after all.
Having our relationship sour because of bad feelings.
Insert swear words here,