4 Tips for Shopping an Artisan Jewellery Stall
Two weeks ago I made my way into town (WestQuay Southampton), jewellery hoard in tow, feeling like Dick Wittington looking for streets
It was a good but long day. Mum was my glamourous assistant for the day and it was nice to spend time with her in the run up to Mother’s Day. We met some lovely people and enjoyed showcasing my new collection of turquoise and hammered silver jewellery.
After talking with a few people it occurred to me that there are some things everyone should know when shopping at an artisan stall for jewellery...
... so I’ve put together a few tips for you to make more of the handmade jewellery shopping experience.
#1 Ask if the pieces are designed and / or made by the stallholder
You are talking to a jewellery designer you have just met and you love her or his work, you really can’t wait to tell people you are wearing something she or he made.
Some jewellery brands design and outsource making, and some design and make in house. If you want a piece that is both designed and made by the hand of the designer you are talking to then this is the question to ask.
I personally design, make, market, webdesign, admin, photograph, price, and book keep everything myself and love it that way.
Each brand is different with a different set up, you can connect with them better if you know their process and how they work so feel free to ask and find out more.
#2 Look out for Hallmarks
You are handling a beautiful sterling silver necklace and notice the 925 stamp… but what does it mean exactly?
Many people mistake a simple stamp of 925 for a hallmark. A hallmark is in fact a series of 3 to 5 stamps or laser marks made by the Assay office. A hallmark is your guarantee the piece has been tested and the fineness of the metal is as stated, these marks cannot be made by the maker.
The fineness mark is one of the compulsory and is made up of 3 numbers signifying the percentage of purity in the alloy: for example sterling silver is 925 which means 92.5% pure silver, 9ct gold is 375 which means it contains 37.5% pure gold.
In the UK all jewellery being sold must by law be hallmarked unless it falls under the weight exemptions: 7.78g for sterling silver, 1.0g for palladium, 1.0g for gold, and 0.5g for platinum.
Hallmarking is only necessary for jewellery being sold in the UK, so if you pick up some lovely pieces abroad they will most likely not be hallmarked and are not required to be.
#3 Sign up for email newsletters or VIP lists
You have discovered a great new jeweller you really like and know they are a great fit for your style and they have some great gift ideas you want to remember.
If you find a small brand you particularly like you should sign up for their email opt in or ask if it is not out on display. This way you can be kept up to date with where they are next exhibiting, be the first to hear about new collections and offers, and keep connected with your new favourite jeweller.
Most brands value their email lists above all social media followers and the best tips and deals are to be had as part of their select VIP email tribe.
#4 Photograph business cards – and pin them
You pick up a business card from the jewellery brand you have just discovered and pop it in your handbag… how likely is it to get lost in the depths of your bag and not been seen again?!
Next time you pick up a card, snap a quick picture on your phone so you have it to hand when you need to shop for gifts or treat yourself.
You can also save the photo to pinterest under a new board for favourite designers or gift ideas making sure you add a live link to the pin.
So hopefully at the next event you visit, you'll be able to optimise the experience and use these tips to your advantage.
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Natasha Fraser Handcrafted Jewellery
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