Work With "Character" (was RE: flawless chains)

At 06:50 AM 12/4/96 -0800, you wrote:

Hi Cathryn,

I have encountered, but not solved the problem. I had a recent
experience that gives me a different slant on the issue.

Over the summer, I started working with a new gallery in a prominent
location. The manager and employees really seem to love the stuff, but
it could be selling a little better. C’est la vie… Anyway, one of
the employees was flipping through my portfilio and focused on a
southwestern style overlay bearpaw pendant with a small turquoise cab.
I still had the piece and had not included it in the inventory for the

I felt the piece was really not up to standard. I think I missed the
solder flow and overheated the piece, causing the 24 ga. backplate to
warp a little. I had also soldered the bezel in before sanding the
overlay part flat, causing a less-than-smooth reflection on the silver.
I chocked it up to a learning experience.

Anyway, the guy really wanted it, and when I dropped it by the gallery,
a girl there wanted it, too! More than what was for sale in the case!
She wishes she had seen it first, and was amazed it wasn’t included in
the initial inventory. I explained why, and she felt that those “flaws”
gave it the character of being handmade.

Well, that threw me into a headspin, because like you, I strive to do
everything as perfectly as possible. I’ve seen work done intentionally
with a “crude” look, and I’ve seen crappy work, but there seems to be a
third type… visibly wrought?

I’d be inclined to do what you’re doing… being as careful as possible,
but don’t sweat the minor flaws if it adds to the “character”. I would
also be interested in hearing from other viewpoints!

Dave Sebaste


I, too, have found this to be the case; I once sold a piece I was wearing
but did not have for sale because of some minor (glaring, to me)
imperfections. The person astounded me by offering more than I would have
priced it at and then, when I said it wasn’t for sale, upping the ante!
When I explained it wasn’t a matter of money but pride, he insisted that
those very flaws made it more interesting intrisically and we struck a deal.
BTW, he is now a repeat customer and felt my reluctance to sell was evidence
of my integrity.

So I’d have to second what you have said; if it isn’t a “fatal” flaw that
impacts on the piece structurally and doesn’t fall under the crappy work
catagory, don’t sweat the small stuff, just be up front about it. Seems
some people appreciate the handwork vs some of the mass produced stuff to a
surprising degree.

C Gems
Original Designs and Period Jewelry

Two weeks ago, I sold a pin right off of my jacket. Now I have sold things
like this before but this was different. I offered to polish the pin.
The buyer stated that she liked the tarnish! It’s a ripple desigh and finished
to show reflections, at least when it’s not dull.
Marilyn Smith

My partner Ron and I have decided that imperfections make our pieces
distinguishable from mass produced pieces. There is no way I can produce a
"perfect piece". We do jewelry parties at home, and craft shows at Xmas.
Our goal is to do this full time when we retire in about 10 years. People
refer to my designs as funky which I am and his designs as precise. We both
work full time in the mental health field. Does anyone else do home parties?
Any suggestions? Karen at KAR Enterprises