Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Goes into a Piece

I do my best to keep my prices low. There is a lot that goes into each wire wrapped pendant, so I can really justify what might seem to be higher prices in other people's work. Sure, you can buy a cab in a bezel or prong setting for a bit less money (sometimes), but for the mass produced castings, there isn't always love and character going into the pieces. I thought I'd give you all a literary glimpse of what goes into making my wire wrapped pendants.

Selecting Stones and Supplies: First off, I don't have a lot of money at my disposal on any given day. Because of this, I buy wire as I need it and I'm careful to purchase stones I know I'll use. The wire I work with is typically half-hard (to hold shape) and solid sterling silver. My stones come from trusted vendors and unless otherwise stated, are all natural. I work with rough material and polished stones. I spend literally hours a week searching out affordable yet unique stones to use in my pendants. I like having a story behind my jewelry; something more to say than "thank you" when someone compliments one of my pieces.

Designing: By the time I've purchased a stone, I usually have an idea of what I want to do with it. It's not uncommon for me to start out with one idea and end up with a completely different design. I try to let each piece take on its own personality. Nonetheless, I often take time to sketch out my intended design. I can spend 10 minutes to 30 minutes drawing each item.

Finding Time to Wrap: What many don't know is I am a stay-at-home mom to 3 special needs kids ages 10 mo, 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 whom my husband and I have adopted through our state's foster system. My day often consists of running to and from appointments or preschool. I wouldn't trade my life for anything, as you moms out there know, parenting in general can be exhausting but rewarding! Because of this, I try to keep my work lighthearted and fun. I work on a weekend day and in the evenings while my dear husband takes care of the kids. Being the night owl I am, I can be up late working on pieces as my husband lays snoring away on the couch beside me.

Depending on the pendant, I spend anywhere from an hour to 2 1/2 hours wrapping. The average pendant takes typically just under 2 hours. I'm sure there are some out there who can whip up their pieces in less time but I try to take my time, measuring and utilizing enough materials so my settings are a bit more substantial. This also costs a bit more money to do.

Listing: Between photographing, editing pictures and loading descriptions, I can spend about 20 minutes on each item just on listing.

Advertising: Finding time to promote my items is a real challenge. I try to participate on forums so people will know I exist. I have this blog, and a couple other social network sites I work with keeping people up to date with what I'm doing. I spend at lease a couple hours a week promoting.

Shipping: Most often its a single item being taken to the post office. This obviously takes time and gasoline. My husband has been the one to so graciously drop orders off lately.

To Sum it all Up: So while I may only spend $10 to $25 in actual supplies per piece, between selecting stones, designing, wrapping, listing, promoting and delivering, I can spend an easy average of 4 hours on one piece as I typically produce only about 5 per week.

So what's my time worth? Well thankfully wire wrapping is a relaxing hobby of mine. Currently, most of my pendants are priced about $34-$36. Just because my prices are lower does not mean I skimp on quality. I work to make pieces I personally would be proud to wear. If I'm not satisfied with them, they don't get listed.


  1. I found this awesome... it takes me about the same when I make a bracelet. Its awesome to see accurately where time goes and how much per peice. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I love my piece that I bought from you! It definitely seems well made, is what I was thinking the other day when I was looking at it. T really likes it too, so dont be surprised if we end up buying more sometime. Do you do any designs geared toward men?

  3. I will definately look into designs for men. Thanks for the idea.

    Mikel, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who takes so long to make a piece!