Got into a discussion on the Jewelry Artist message board recently about jewelry making/beading suppliers who sell finished product. Fire Mountain Gems was mentioned specifically, and none of the jewelry artists discussing the topic were happy about the even slight shift of suppliers to selling finished “work”, rather than components for jewelry making.
I tend to agree. Fire Mountain Gems (along with other beading and jewelry suppliers) have been in business for decades marketing products that allow hobbyists, casual and professional jewelry makers to create unique and handcrafted items. To also sell produced, manufactured pieces of jewelry alongside individual components seems an insult to our craft.
How many craft shows have you been at that have pitted handcrafted works of art against “resale” jewelry? Can a jewelry artist compete against “made in (name your country)” that is priced at a quarter of the price? While some consumers recognize the artistry and craftsmanship in hand tooled work, many just look at the bottom line.
My opinion? Companies who have built their business reputation on being a supplier for jewelry makers should stay out of the “resale” market. Don’t propagate the illusion that cheaper is better. Be a friend and supplier to the jewelry artist, not to the reseller who will undercut our business.
I’d be curious to know what my readers think as well. Feel free to leave comments on the blog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org