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FAQ's

What am I getting if I purchase an item from you? TOP

You are getting a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of artisan crafted wearable art! You’ve stepped outside the “mass production” box and you are supporting the artist. You know that you will never find yourself in the same room as someone else wearing the same jewelry! You are getting a design created with care & attention to detail and the very best materials. You are getting a piece that was created with not only my artistic vision and talent, but the talent of other artists that I in turn support, lampwork artisans, precious metal clay artisans, porcelain & earthenware artisans, polymer clay artisans, metal smiths, lapidary artists and more. You are getting this piece of wearable art beautifully packaged, ready to give as a gift or simply as a treat for yourself.

Tell me about handcrafted artisan jewelry TOP

Handcrafted artisan jewelry is again becoming highly sought after and collectible. I am proud to be a member (#44) of SRAJD -Self Representing Artist ~ Jewelry Designer, the group numbers over 2700 now! The application for SRAJD membership is strictly and rigidly controlled, only approved self representing artisans are accepted for membership …when you purchase from a self representing artist displaying the SRAJD logo such as myself, you are assured of receiving high quality, handcrafted artisan jewelry, not mass produced, imported jewelry. You are supporting the artist directly, not the middleman.
 

When will I receive my purchase? TOP

Purchases are handled in a very timely manner. Items are normally shipped within 12-24 hours of receipt of payment, excluding weekends and holidays. If your purchase requires an adjustment in size, there may be a delay of 1-2 days in shipping. 
 
Custom designs normally require a 1-2 week lead time, this will be addressed in the ordering & design process.

What are lampwork beads? TOP

Lampwork beads are beads made of glass ...artisan lampwork beads are made by artists who use glass rods and open flames to blow, twist and shape molten glass into miniature works of art.
 
I have been collecting hand crafted artisan lampwork beads from reputable, self representing lampworkers for some time now. Due to the uniqueness and artistic talent, not to mention the incredible amount of time and money many of these torchers spend learning their craft, these beads can be, and usually are, quite expensive. These beads are kiln annealed, which means they are "cured", held for a specific amount of time at a certain temperature in a preheated kiln, usually computer controlled to ensure accuracy during the cool down phase, to properly and slowly cool down the glass beads ensuring a very strong and durable finished product.  Each one of these little hand blown glass beads is truly a work of art in and of itself.

I also use a lot of borosilicate lampwork glass beads in my designs. Borosilicate (aka Boro) glass is a very unique and specialized variety of glass. Its composition is different from the "soft" glass that is normally used for beads, resulting in a much stronger finished piece. Although more expensive than a softer glass, Boro offers some amazingly gorgeous color spectrums when viewed in different types of light, but the colors are most dynamic & vibrant in direct sunlight.

Please be aware that not all lampwork beads are created equal. While there is a market for mass produced, cheap imported lampwork (mostly from Asia), as a consumer, you should know that most imported mass produced lampwork beads are made in sweatshop type factories, created by men, women & yes, even children making pennies a day and living in inhuman camp style lodgings during their work week, which consists of 50-70 hours/week, unsanitary factory & living conditions. Most - nearly all, of these beads are not kiln annealed, which makes their strength questionable, they are likely to break, usually within very short order. Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in temperature to cause them to fracture, or even completely crumble. Any designer who uses mass imported beads cannot guarantee the strength or durability of any of their designs made with these beads. and any designer who uses mass imported lampwork has a moral & ethical obligation to price their work accordingly. Some of these  lampwork beads are available at price ranges of $5.00 -$6.00 per set of 12 or even more beads.

Consumers do have the right to question a jewelry designer about any lampwork bead that the designer has chosen to use in their designs. Find out where the bead(s) comes from, who the artisan was who created it.

What is sterling silver? TOP
Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver. As pure silver is very soft, sterling is hardened with another metal alloy of not more than 7.5%, usually copper. Sterling silver is also sometimes marked as .925. Sterling silver will oxidize with exposure to light and air. It is best stored away from light when not being worn, but the best defense against oxidization is to wear your sterling jewelry. The natural oils in your skin will coat and protect sterling silver, keeping it lustrous and bright. A polishing cloth, available at any fine jewelry store will come in handy for the occasional polish.

What is fine silver? TOP
Fine silver is defined as 99.9% pure silver, with no other metals. Fine silver is very soft, but due to less copper and/or other metal content, it doesn’t oxidize as quickly as sterling silver.

What is Bali (Balinese) silver? TOP
Very ornate, highly decortated sterling silver beads handcrafted by Bali, Indonesia silversmiths. These carefully handcrafted works of art are always exceptional in detail and quality, with each and every intricate granulation detail crafted and applied by hand in an extremely labor intensive and time consuming process. All the imported silver I use, be it Bali or Thai silver is fair trade silver.

What is Thai - Karen Hill Tribes silver? TOP

Thai silver is normally 97% silver, a higher silver content than sterling, but not quite fine silver (which has a silver content of 99%).  Located in the remote mountainous regions of Thailand, the Hill Tribes craftsmen continue to practice the centuries old traditions of silversmithing. Their designs are often very intricate, always crafted of a higher silver content than sterling and is completely handcrafted, down to the very last minute detail. The silversmithing techniques used by these craftsmen (& craftswomen) are closely guarded family secrets, handed down through the generations. All of my imported silver, Bali or Thai, is fair trade.

What is Fair Trade? TOP
All the imported silver I use, be it Bali or Thai silver is Fair Trade silver, meaning that my silver brokers deal directly with the silversmiths themselves, and that the artisans are receiving a fair and decent price for their art beads. Fair Trade means gender equality, safe & healthy working enviornments, environmentally sound production practices and increased opportunities for economically and socially disadvantaged producers and/or areas of production.

What is gold-filled? TOP
Gold filled describes when a layer of gold is mechanically bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal, then rolled or drawn to a given thickness. I use only 14k/20 gold-filled in my jewelry, which is strong and durable and wears as solid gold. Gold-filled items will remain gold for a lifetime if cared for properly. The gold in gold-filled items will not wear off as gold plated items will.

Do you guarantee your pieces? TOP
I guarantee the quality and craftsmanship of my work. My pieces are constructed for a lifetime of wear. In the case of breakage or damage that occurs through normal wear, please contact me. I will repair or replace your piece. If, in the unlikely case a piece needs to be repaired, materials may have to be substituted due to the unique nature and/or rarity of some of the components used in my designs.

Do you accept custom requests? TOP
Custom designs/requests are accepted occasionally and normally require a 1-2 week lead time. A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the purchase price is required before begining any work on a custom design.  A request for a custom piece must be a design of your own vision, or based upon something you have seen on my website. 

What is your return/refund policy? TOP

I know that shopping on the internet where you cannot touch, hold & try on jewelry is different than it is in person, and I want you to be 100% satisfied with your new jewels. Should an item not meet your expectations, you may return it (postmarked within 3 days of receipt) for a refund. If you have purchased an item as a gift, and it does not suit the intended recipient, but does require more time than the 3 days of receipt policy allows, it may be returned for a credit. Shipping fees are non-refundable. A return authorization number (RA#) is required for any returns, please email me through the contact link in the top menu for one.  An item must be in original, unused condition with any and all tags attached, and must be returned in the original gift box/shipping materials along with any receipts or certificates of authenticity originally included with the item. Please be sure to purchase insurance and delivery confirmation for your return, as I cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of uninsured returns.
 
Sale items, custom orders or pieces that have been altered for the customer are final and cannot be returned or exchanged. 

How do I care for my new jewelry? TOP

-   Wear it!! The natural oils in your skin help to keep it shiny & bright. Sunlight and air speed up the oxidation of silver. When you are not wearing your jewelry, keeping all pieces in sealed plastic pouch or plastic container with a lid will slow down this process. Pearls need air, if your piece is created with pearls allow some airspace.
-   Do not use jewelry dips, tumblers or liquid polishes, these chemicals can & do harm some gemstones. Simply polish with a soft cloth, using water &/or a bit of mild dishwashing liquid if necessary to remove any traces of make-up or dirt. Tarnish can be removed with a blue jewelers polishing cloth. 
-   Don't shower or bathe with it on, water (yes, even municipal treated water) contains minerals (some heavy) that can discolor silver, all municipal water has some amount of chlorine in it, this can and will etch all metals, including silver and gold. Mineral pools are particularly harmful to jewelry.
-   Always put on your jewelry last, after make-up, perfumes, lotions and hairspray, being particularly careful with any soft & porous gemstones such as pearls, turquoise & opals. 
-   Your jewelry is created for a lifetime of wear. However, as with all fine jewelry, it is not meant to be abused. Dry it with a soft cloth if it gets wet, don’t swim with it on, avoid bleach and cleaning chemicals when wearing any fine jewelry. It is usually best to remove your jewelry before going to bed at night.
-   Some gemstones are harder than others, however all gemstones,  crystal & glass beads can chip or crack if knocked hard enough, or sometimes just at an odd angle. Don’t hesitate to contact me for repairs should any damage occur to any piece you’ve purchased from me.
-   If your piece contains heavy or large beads, it should be restrung after a couple of years of normal wear, maybe sooner if you wear your piece often. No charge for restringing. Examine your pieces occasionally, particularly near clasps,  if you notice any signs of unusual wear or damage, please contact me for repair.

Most of all, enjoy!!

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