Saturday, June 14, 2008 Shopping

These are my latest pieces using those wonderful handmade lampwork beads by Generations Lampwork, you can find them at
Cruise around the Etsy site while you are there, they have so many wonderful and truly unusual items ranging from conservative to truly bizarre and it's all handmade. There are many ways to browse there, there are categories and sub-categories; you can even shop by color or geographical location. You can support the arts in your own community by using the " shop locally" button. They really make it very easy to find that special item you have searched long and hard for. has so many talented folks. One word of advise...cheaper does not always give you the best deal BUT sometimes it does. There are some very talented Etsiers who sell their goods as a hobby only to be able to buy more materials so they sell their wares cheaper than someone who depends on the income. They are very good and the quality is wonderful. When shopping for gemstone jewelry keep in mind that there are different grades of gems and this has a lot to do with pricing. For instance, when I first began incorporating gems into my pieces I was purchasing my pearls through a distributor I found on line and the quality was not very good but they were cheap, sometimes $1.00 for a 16 inch strand. I quickly switched to a local distributor who was considerably higher, but so then was the quality. The same was true with gemstones. I sell mostly wholesale now as I have found several fine jewelry stores here in Maine that do very well with my gemstone line. If you visit my site you will notice that I have a blurb on the front page about discounts. This is yet another way prices fluctuate on Etsy. Sometimes local contracting issues can demand prices be set higher on line to those areas served by local shops. I have another shop at where I can sell at wholesale as I have none of these items in jewelry stores.

I have noticed the same bracelets for more than double the prices using the exact same seed beads and no lampwork; they probably have local contracting they have to price for. I have also noticed prices less expensive but the beads look more like craft store beads. It just depends what you are looking for. Please remember that just because someone has prices set higher does NOT mean they are ripping you off. It could just mean that they have little control over the prices they set. Also when talking about lampwork...I use only original handmade lampwork beads by local artisans. They are going to be more expensive than mass produced beads but they are worth considering. I sell my jewelry made with these at table events and fairs and always get a LOT of compliments on the beads. To me they are worth the extra expense. Just make sure they are "kiln annealed" as this process produces a very hard, nearly unbreakable bead. Trust me on this one! I have dropped them on my tile floor and held my breath. I have been fortunate none have broken. One does have to keep in mind they are made of glass and treat them accordingly.
The only other thing this time around as far as Etsy shopping goes is pay attention to the total cost with shipping. Sometimes the shipping is pretty high and sometimes the shipping is free but the item is higher. So, visit Etsy and have a look around. Come back and let me know what you think.

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