Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly – Part One – The Good

I’m an artisan jeweler.  I have been making jewelry for about three years now.  I have learned over this time that jewelry can be GOOD, it can be BAD, and it can be downright UGLY.  In this blog today, I will share my thoughts as to what I feel fits into the “good” category.


One of the best things about being a jeweler is being able to make my own jewelry.  I don’t need to go to the mall or a jewelry store to get really cool jewelry; I just have to walk out to my studio.  Actually, this was the whole reason I took jewelry classes to begin with.  I LOVE rings.  I mean I really, really love rings.  Good quality jewelry can be expensive.  I figured it had to be cheaper to make my own.  I originally intended to buy gemstones and take them to a jeweler to be set.  Then I got to thinking (which we all know is dangerous) “Why not take a class and see if I can set the gemstones myself?” and so the journey began.

I love making jewelry.  I love the creative process.  I love unique items that no one has ever seen before.  I also love making things for my customers.  One of the best parts of the job is to see their face the first time they see their completed piece.  There is no greater satisfaction than seeing the look of awe on someone’s face when they see the jewelry that has been made just for them.

Another good thing about being a jeweler is I have had to educate myself on gemstones.  Knowing what gemstones are and what to look for can be very helpful.  Recently I went antiquing with a friend and she found a ring that she liked.  She asked me to take a look at it.  The stone was purple, but in the case I was seeing flashes of blue and green.  I first thought it was some kind of topaz (the “mystic” kind that has been treated).  Out of the case, it just looked purple.  I looked at it through a loop and I told my friend, without the proper diagnostic tools, I would guess this is an amethyst.  The price was fair for what the ring was and my friend bought it.  When we got back to my house, we showed my husband the ring.  We were outside.  We kept seeing green and blue flashes.  I ran into the house to grab one of my alexandrite rings so I could compare the two.

If you aren’t familiar with gemstones let me take a moment to give you a little education.  Alexandrite is a stone that changes color.  It is known as “emerald by day, ruby by night”.  What this means is it will appear blue/green under outdoor light and purple/red in indoor lighting.  Natural alexandrite is VERY expensive and quite rare.  To make lab grown alexandrite you still have to start out with a piece of natural alexandrite, so even the lab grown stuff can be pricy.  

Based on what Aaron and I were seeing, we determined my friend picked up an alexandrite.  Clearly it was lab grown, and it didn’t change color 100%, but it was a 13mm round alexandrite.  Trust me, for what my friend paid, she did really, really well.  I was glad I had the knowledge to help her out.

There are many other good things to being a jeweler, but this is a blog, not a novel (if it were a novel, I’d have to charge).  Tomorrow I will tell you about the bad.  Now, you must excuse me, I need to get back to my day job, designing and fabricating custom jewelry.  Until Tomorrow – Melissa

Should you want to see some of my custom pieces please see my Facebook page at!/pages/Chrysalis-Jewelry/193401868091 or my Etsy page at

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