So what is exactly handmade or handcrafted jewelry? According to wikipedia, “Handmade jewelry is that which is crafted by hand, just as jewelry has been since it was very first created by humans. Unlike modern machine-made jewelry, no two pieces of handmade jewelry – even of the same design – will be identical. Many artists who handmade jewelry use no pre-made or fabricated parts at all, even creating their own findings, such as ear hoops and hooks, brooch pins, clasps and more. Much handmade jewelry is created using age-old metalsmithing techniques such as forging, chasing and more to create complex forms in various types of precious and other metals.”
As stated above, handmade jewelers use a myriad of techniques to create pieces that are usually unique. Gemstones, beads and many other materials can be incorporated to add color to jewelry, or to make it even more special and original. However, many labeled handmade jewelry nowadays used components that may not be handmade. Sometimes, pre made pieces can be combined with other handcrafted jewelry components to create a unique design. Many will argue that this is not truly handcrafted, but I will leave that debate for some other time.
Taking care of your handmade jewelry
Jewelry is an important part of everything we wear, and people who like accessories certainly consider jewelry as an important part of their outfit. A handcrafted piece of jewelry can make a big difference in one’s presentation. In addition, unlike mass produced jewelry, handcrafted jewelry is unique, as it is almost impossible to create identical pieces. Because many handcrafted jewelry incorporate semi precious gemstones, it is important be careful when taking care of these pieces. Some gemstones such as malachite, azurite, lapis lazuli, chrysocolla and fluorite are soft and should be preferably wiped down using soapy water. Harder stones can be briefly soaked in soapy water. Using an ultrasonic cleaner is not generally recommended because many stones can be damaged during the cleaning process.
When storing sterling silver or pure silver, using an anti tarnish tab will help retard and even prevent your handmade jewelry from tarnishing. Make sure to change the anti tarnish tab as suggested by the manufacturer. These anti tarnish tabs can be found at many jewelry supply stores. If the jewelry is already tarnished, a polishing cloth such as sunshine polishing cloth can be used to gently remove the tarnish on your handcrafted jewelry. Even storing sterling silver jewelry in a closed ziploc bag, when not in use will greatly reduce tarnish.