Handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry has seen a recent surge in popularity. People love expressing themselves with unique accessories, and handmade jewelry is also a more ethical option than mass-produced jewelry. Whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or something new for your personal collection, buying from an individual is a win-win.
Let’s take a look at 7 interesting facts about handmade jewelry that may surprise you.
- “Handmade” Isn’t Just a Buzzword
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has strict regulations that determine what constitutes “handmade” jewelry. According to the FTC’s website, jewelry companies are required to truthfully represent the type, kind, grade, quality, quantity, metallic content, size, weight, cut, color, character, treatment, substance, durability, serviceability, origin, price, value, preparation, production, manufacture, and distribution of the products they sell.
So what does that mean for you, the consumer? It means that from start to finish, the piece has been crafted using only manual methods and hand labor. It means an artisan put time and effort into creating a truly unique work of wearable art that you can be proud to own. It means nobody will ever own a piece exactly like it, and that really makes each item special.
- Buying Handmade Jewelry Supports Small Businesses
So much jewelry on the market today is made in factories overseas. When you buy handmade jewelry from an individual or a small company, you’re helping to fuel your local economy and support a small business. Buying handmade jewelry puts a face to your source, rather than just giving your money to a corporation that is only concerned with profit.
- Handmade Jewelry Is Usually Sustainable
Individual jewelry makers tend to be very careful with how and where they source their materials. Precious metals, diamonds, and other gemstones are often procured under dangerous conditions, and industrial mining practices can harm the planet, often leading to water pollution, greenhouse gas emission, and soil erosion, according to The Epoch Times. Today’s custom fine jewelry makers are rising to the challenge, taking important steps to provide an alternative that jewelry collectors can feel good about supporting.
For starters, independent jewelry makers often use eco-friendly materials, including recycled metals and ethically sourced stones. They also usually either do the labor themselves, or pay local people fair wages.
- Handmade Usually Means Better Quality
Because the jewelry maker oversees the entire process from beginning to end, you don’t usually have to worry about receiving a blemished piece. After all, the craftsperson is putting his or her name on it, and they tend to take a great deal of pride in their work. Mass-produced jewelry doesn’t have the same level of quality control or passion that’s inherent in independent, handcrafted jewelry.
- Custom Pieces Are So Special
One of the best aspects of working with an individual is the ability to create the piece of your dreams. Commissioning the perfect ring, necklace, or bracelet for a loved one can be so much more meaningful than buying premade jewelry from a catalog. You can also order something uniquely yours that really lets your personality show.
- Handmade Jewelry Is Wearable Art
Each craftsperson has a style and method that can’t be reproduced. Just like owning a painting by a famous artist, a piece made by a skilled artisan can often be identified even without a hallmark. Handmade jewelry tends to appreciate at a faster rate than mass-produced jewelry, as its worth is not derived merely from its raw materials, but its value to collectors as well.
- Independent Jewelry Artisans Push the Boundaries
Mass-produced jewelry makers usually play it safe. They know they have a wide audience, so they figure out what people want to buy, and rarely stray from the formula. On the other hand, local jewelry makers usually often push the envelope so they can stand out from the herd. If you want to own something a little less typical, spend some time browsing various jewelry makers’ work. You’re probably going to see some fascinating designs unlike anything at the big retailers.
Make the Right Choice
According to Forbes, today’s jewelry trends are heavily focused on responsible sourcing. The fact that handmade jewelry is a more sustainable option is reason enough to buy handmade jewelry. Unique designs, better quality control, and benefiting your local economy are just icing on the cake. Next time you buy jewelry, make the clear choice. Support small jewelry companies.