Handcrafted Jewellery and Silversmithing

Posted 11/05/2023 in Tips for Crafters

For many of us, the ownership of some bespoke handcrafted jewellery is the highlight of our collection.  Knowing that the piece has been lovingly crafted by an experienced silversmith or jewellery maker gives that piece a certain extra special feel when we wear it. In many cases these have been specially commissioned and produced for weddings or for other important occasions such as christenings and as memorial keepsakes. If you are handcrafting jewellery yourself then it’s a very important factor to remember for your business to have fine art and jewellery insurance.  It is always a good idea to have extra provision and cover in place just in case something goes wrong or in case a customer is unhappy with your work.

The work of the silversmith is special as they deal specifically with that type of metal. There is a long, proud and traditional history associated with the creation of this art involving a set of techniques and training that has been passed down from generation to generation. Despite the increasing level of automation in our lives the work of the silversmith and the handcrafting jeweller is still greatly prized and sought after. These are usually among the stands and stalls at craft fairs that attract a lot of attention and a lot of commissions. The noble art of the jeweller and silversmith was in times past so revered that many formed guilds to protect their work and their skill set, then these traditions were duly passed on to the next generation. To be able to say that one was taking up an apprenticeship with a jeweller or silversmith was seen as a great honour and that the person who was successful already had an excellent set of skills already in place. Nowadays, those who choose to train in this field also need to consider acquiring fine art and jewellery insurance.

Getting the correct product and marketing at specific times of the year can be a very lucrative and positive experience for many craft jewellery makers and silversmiths. A great idea for making pieces unique is that of incorporating birthstones within the designs of the jewellery.  Exquisite and personal pieces can be created with the simplest of designs. The focus of the birthstone for the person looking to make the purchase can take the jewellery from a simple look to something that can have a very deep and personal meaning for the person making the purchase. It also gives their loved ones and relatives the chance to buy them something that can be seen as a very tailored piece of work.

This month’s birthstone (May) is the fabulous, green emerald. The beauty of this particular stone is that green is a very strong colour (due to the presence of Chromium and Vanadium) and when set within a piece of delicate filigree, an emerald can really shine out and be noticeable within a piece of jewellery. Emeralds are still seen as being particularly valuable – their strong green colour coupled with a high degree of transparency places them within the realms of rubies and sapphires.Their colour emphasises the return of Spring and the colour of summer as grass makes its way through the winter months back to life. There is absolutely no doubt that anyone born in this month receiving a piece of handcrafted jewellery featuring an emerald will know that the person presenting the gift has done some solid research to find something different for them.

Jewellers need to show extreme care when creating a piece of jewellery centred around the emerald.  Unfortunately, the stone is not renowned for its robust nature. Given that emeralds are considered to be easily damaged, a degree of fine art and jewellery insurance may well be required by any jeweller to cover themselves.

Handcrafted jewellery makers and those that deal in silversmithing are faced with considerable costs from tools and materials when they come to enter the field.  A saw, particularly a jewellers saw, is one of the most sought after and needed tools. There are also strong jewellers files for the shaping and moulding of the exquisite work that is required. The skills of the handcrafted jewellery maker need to be honed to perfection. A steady hand, patience and artistic vision are all skills needed when looking to create a new work.  Other items needed include a selection of hammers such as a planisher, for smoothing the metal, and cross pein types to put in small nails and pins to connect the pieces. Used together, these delicate instruments all have their place in the creation of something special for customers who want to buy something of value.

One of the most  difficult yet essential skills that the handcraft jeweller and silversmith need is that of being able to clean and buff the product, so that it gleams when it is on the shelf. When it comes to presenting the finished products, a striking display of work is one of the critical factors that need to be employed by the craft stall holder to draw in the customer.  Beautifully arranged jewellery is one of the best ways to grab the attention of the many passers by that come to craft fairs. People are all on the lookout for something that is beyond the norm, something that stands out that is bespoke or special. Another thing that people are looking for is something that is on point in terms of seasonality. Therefore, using emeralds, the birthstone of the month of May, as your primary focus for display can help generate interest in your stall and, most importantly, in your work.