Friday, December 2, 2011

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

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 “bad” category.


I shake my head (at myself) when I think of what falls into the bad category.  Now granted, the first thing that comes to mind, is well, my own fault.  As I have mentioned earlier, I love rings.  Just metal rings are nice and all that, but I LOVE rings with gemstones (or shineys as my friend who bought the alexandrite ring calls them).  What I really really love is rings with BIG gemstones.  I’m not just talking eye catching big, I’m talking it could be used for a door knob big.  I also love unique stones or stones with interesting cuts.
So why is this bad you may ask?  Well…remember that addiction to rings I talked about.  Here’s what happens.  I order a parcel of gemstones (for those unfamiliar, it’s a grab bag of gemstones usual bought on a per caret basis.  You get 100 or 250 carets of whatever they give you.  It becomes a treasure hunt).  I then get the parcel in and I start geeking out.  Look at this one!  Ohhhhh!  This  one would make a great ring (sets stone aside).  Ohhhhh, look at the cut on this one, it would make a great ring (sets stone aside).  Oh my!  Look at this stone, I’ve never seen one like it (sets stone aside to be made into…you guessed it… a ring).  I get done sorting the parcel and come up with one or two stones I’d be willing to part with and turn into jewelry.  So the parcel I bought to make jewelry (and ultimately money) become part of my own personal gemstone collection.  

Now I have no gemstone stock, what do I do?  Order another parcel!  You see how the circle can be quite vicious.  As the lady who trained me to be an artisan jeweler use to say “At least an alcoholic will pass out eventually.  There is no fail safe like that with gemstones”.  So you can see how this lack of self control on my part could be considered bad.  Now, I try to be an optimist and see the glass half full, so on the flip side, I have a rockin’ gemstone collection.

Similarly related to my gemstone issue is an issue with tools.  Can you do jewelry with just basic tools?  Sure, you can.  But they are always coming out with cool tools, or will save you a bunch of time, or a tool you need to do some new technique.  I subscribe to a couple of “trade” magazines.  These magazines either review these new tools or they have an advertisement for them.  So even when I’m just trying to keep up with information or learn new techniques, I get tempted into buying more tools.  Why is this bad?  My studio has a limited space.  I don’t think I can take over any more of the garage without starting a civil war with my husband.  Trust me, this would also be bad.

Then there is something I like to call Jewelers Tourette’s.  You think sailors have a potty mouths.  You haven’t been to studio when something goes wrong.  Picture this.  You’ve worked for hours on a project.  You almost have it done, just one more thing to solder on and you can start to finish it.  Then something goes wrong…horribly wrong.  It can be any number of things, previous solder joints coming undone (because you didn’t feel the need to put yellow ocher on it), or you get the metal too hot and it either melts or gets firescale on it.  You have just put your heart and soul into this piece.  AND IT’s RUINED (or at the time it feels like that).  The other thing that can happen is you have a piece that just fights you every step of the way.  Everything that can go wrong does.  I made a ring for my husband once that was like this.  I got so frustrated with it, I had to keep setting it down.  It took me over a year to complete.  I think my blood pressure just went up a 100 points just thinking about it.  Whew.  Deep breath.  Calm down…need to conclude this blog.

Being a jeweler isn’t THAT bad.  I think the good far outweighs the bad.  Besides, if you have addictions like I do, you do wind up with really cool collections.  Until tomorrow my dear reader – 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


  1. Melissa,

    Oh, my! You and gemstones sounds just like me and sequins. My private stash of sparklies keeps growing, while the ones I'm willing to use in for-sale pieces stays roughly the same... and small.

    A parcel of stones sounds wonderful, though! I love a good treasure hunt. :)

  2. You get into hobbies because you love them, then it is so hard to let pieces go. The lady I buy most of my antiques from has REALLY great antiques. I asked her how she lets such good antiques go. She said "The REALLY great ones are at my house". I can only imagine!