To Case or Not to Case

Ok, once I again I’m looking for words of wisdom on craft fair
booths. I make and sell sterling silver jewelry, sometimes with
semi-precious stones (no gold or precious gems). My retails prices
are from $38 up to a few $200 pieces–mostly $38 to $69. I would
love to hear your thoughts and experiences on whether to put jewelry
in display cases or leave it out in the open at craft fairs. I know
security is an issue, but I also want people to feel like the pieces
are easilly accesible–both in terms of fondling and in terms of
price. I am also wondering how a booth slide might be judged
differently if the jewelry is out vs. in a case.

Thank you all again for sharing! There really is strength in

Susan Lee-Pullen
Pathworks Jewelry

One option to cases that I’ve seen people use are clasped pins on a
cloth-covered board. They use a pin that is more like a safety pin
– they might be badge pins – they look like a fibula. The pieces
stay attached to the back board, but are able to be touched and
slightly handled by the viewer. The clasped pin is threaded through
natural openings in the jewelry, or else a contrasting wire (so that
it is obviously not part of the jewelry piece) is threaded through,
and then that is pinned.

It seems like this approach discourages casual theft.

According to research, allowing people to touch your product will
increase sales. : )


Hi, Susan, There are some shows that won’t accept you if you don’t
use cases. Also, I think the public would expect only very low-end
stuff in a booth without cases. Long ago, I didn’t have them, and I
did get shoplifted a few times. Now, I have cases made from pre-cut
tempered glass and chrome screw-on clips, which is a weighty but
attractive, inexpensive and versatile solution. If you look up “store
display” in your local yellow pages or online, most places will have
the glass (12"x 12" and 12"x 18", usually) and clips. Here is a page
from the first place that came up when I searched under “store
display”: I guess you’ll have to cut and paste
that. Anyway, I always have a few pieces out where they can be
inspected, and will pull anything out of the case and hand it over–
with an attitude of not seeming to even think about it-- any time a
person seems to be noticing it. Good luck!


One option to cases that I've seen people use are clasped pins on
a cloth-covered board. 

This reminds me of a solution I saw at SOFA a few years ago. It is a
bit elaborate for a newbie, perhaps, but I thought it was ingenious.

The gallery display had a pedestal on which were displayed rows of
very high-end rings. There they were, right out in the open, each
standing up like a little soldier. If you picked one up, you found
that each one was attached to a thin steel cable that went through a
hole in the pedestal. At the other end, there was a weight. Not so
heavy that you couldn’t examine the ring, even try it on, but heavy
enough to 1) pull the ring back to perfect position when you were
done, and 2) (as the gallery salesperson explained to me) fall on a
noisy metal “gong” under the pedestal if someone managed to cut the
ring loose. Otherwise, the weight would remain up in the air. I
thought this was really great! I hope to use it some time.


My post in which I offered a page for glass for cases contained a
web address that got shortened to This is
fine, but, in case it isn’t clear to those who looked at it, try
clicking on the picture labeled “glass cube units” for a list of
precut glass sizes. I didn’t check whether they have the clips, but
since they appear in the picture, I assume they do. I am not
recommending this business-- they are just the first one that popped
up when I searched for “store display” online.(I buy mine locally.
The place I used to use is gone; now I go to Dann Dee in Skokie
(IL). By the way, they show gold-colored clips; mine are
silver-colored, which seems less intrusive to me. Good luck!