Oct 27 2017

Commissions Welcome!

Infinity Bracelet, 18 karat yellow gold (kyg) & sterling silver

When, like me, you’ve been working at the same career for a long time, you become very efficient and develop technical speed. It reveals itself over the course of the many years you have practised your craft.

And if you, like me, have a brain that is equal parts creative and technical, you build special equipment and tools to help your production process. Your ability to produce high-quality pieces becomes the norm because of the skills you have mastered and the equipment you have created. However, when you are challenged to build a piece in special materials, this theory seems to go by the wayside.

Many people may not know this, but I welcome commissions to build custom work within the vein of my chain-making and wire-bending world. You can ask me to make pretty much any of the pieces in my sterling line with the precious metal combination of your choice.

Infinity Earrings, 18 kyg & sterling silver. Client didn’t actually commission me to make these, but I managed to “eek” out enough 18 kyg rings to produce a pair of earrings to match her bracelet. If she doesn’t want them, I will keep them to sell to someone else.

Case in point, I was recently asked to make a couple of my bracelets and a pair of earrings in 18 kyg & sterling silver. I LOVE working with gold. It really is “the noblest of all metals”. And 18 kyg gold is my absolute favourite in the gold realm. I love the combination of the “whiteness” of sterling silver and the “yellowness” of the 18 kyg.

Once I have been asked to “play” outside of my daily wire work of using sterling silver, I always get excited, because it is always a challenge to put one of my designs together using different metals. Each metal has it’s own unique set of “properties” and needs to be treated/worked differently.

Because of this, I always give the client a quote before I can actually start making the commission. Here are some things that need to be considered:

  • Trying to source findings (that means the catch on a bracelet or the type/style of earring tops) in 18 kyg, which is harder than you may imagine. Jewellery suppliers don’t stock what they used to anymore, and many are a special order and usually come from Italy or Germany. The “waiting” time for the shipment’s arrival needs to be factored into your calculations, along with the added cost.
  • Doing the math to figure out exactly how much material you will require for the job. This is especially important when using gold, as it is incredibly expensive and you don’t want to order more than you need BUT you need to make sure to order enough to finish the job. Once you know approximately what materials you will require, you then have to call a reputable Canadian Refiner and ask, if they have any “stock” on what you’re looking for. Again, the refiners don’t stock what they used to, and usually you have to special order and that is a minimum 10 business day turnaround time for most refiners.
  • Figuring out what “extra” steps of labour you will need to accommodate working with gold and factoring that into the quote.

Uber Fiddle Styx Earrings, 18 kyg & sterling silver

There is a lot of “R & D” up front to figure out how much you need to charge, and because gold is a world commodity: the price changes pretty much every second of every weekday. You always have to explain to your client that the “quote” you give them is only good for about a week or so, and will have to be re-quoted once that time frame passes.

However, all this up-front work is worth it, as far I am concerned. I get the opportunity to work with gold! There is just nothing like the feeling and weight of my jewellery reproduced with 18 kyg elements. Because I use solid gold wire, it gives the pieces an absolutely “luxurious” feel and weight.

The other thing to know about special commissions is that they take time – often more time than you imagine. That’s why it’s important to know what material is available before quoting the job, so you can factor in the added time and give your client a realistic idea of how long the project will take to complete.

The images in this post are all from my recent 18 kyg & sterling silver commission. I hope you enjoyed seeing my designs produced in this beautiful combination as much as I enjoyed making them. Below is the final piece in the commission.

Uber Fiddle Styx Bracelet, 18 kyg & sterling silver

 

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