Friday, 8 May 2009

Buying Handmade Jewellery at Artery Gallery

Handmade jewellery has never been as popular as it is now. We all have our reasons for buying handmade, rather than mass produced jewellery – we want to be seen to be supporting our local producers during a precarious financial situation, or we want to be seen as part of the cool ‘eco-chic’ bunch that we see in magazines, we like to be different and unique in our style, or maybe we just love to follow fashion.

All of these reasons to buy handmade jewellery are explained and discussed in so many women’s glossy magazines just now. We want to look unique, and feel morally satisfied with our purchases, we want to stay ahead of fashion (instead of just keeping up!). Here at Artery, we understand that all of these reasons are important, and we have handmade jewellery to suit every reason behind a purchase.

You want to be at the forefront of fashion…..

So, your buying handmade jewellery because you want to be seen in what’s on the catwalk, rather than what’s in the shops. This is every trend-setter’s hurdle – what we see in magazines and fashion shows, is not yet in the shops – so where do we find it? Handmade jewellery often takes inspiration from international fashions shows, in terms of colour and theme. Jewellery designers are always looking for a direction in which to take their inspiration, and the catwalks give them that. As handmade jewellery is relatively quickly produced (because you’re not making 5000 of the same item) the hottest styles are ready for the public much quicker than mass produced jewellery. Also – why bother chasing fashion, if you’re going to end up wearing something that every third person on the high street is wearing?

Our jeweller designer Angela Learoyd has her finger on the pulse when it comes to trend setting (rather than following!).

Her handmade African Jasper and silver concertina necklace @ £130 is totally unique – and taking the catwalk ‘tribal’ trend to another level. The beautiful green/blue hue of this stone is a key element of the tribal look – seen in African inspired fashion, and ‘Navajo’ themed jewellery. The difference is that with this, you know you have something that nobody else has, as it’s made from natural products, each is unique and can never be reproduced, and because of the quality of materials, although it’s a fashion forward item just now, you know it will become a much loved classic item over the years.

You have your own style…..

So you are the opposite of the dedicated follower of fashion! You have your own style, and you love it. Buy what if your own style is not what’s in the shops just now? Then buy it handmade! This way you can find a jewellery designer who matches your style and commission a piece to your own specifications, or purchase a piece of theirs ‘off the peg’.

Chunky, bold jewellery is in fashion just now, but what if you like something delicate and feminine? One of our designers, Angel Neal, specialises in feminine, pretty, delicate jewellery, so while the high street is awash with chunky wooden beads, you can stand out from the crowd in one of Angel’s delicate crystal bracelets, or pretty pearl necklaces. Or design your own feminine crystal necklace for Angel to make for you.

You want to feel morally satisfied with your purchase….

This is something that just a few years ago didn’t concern, or occur to us. Today’s media has made us painfully aware that our purchase-power has a dramatic effect on the global economy, and it raises all sorts of questions – do we want to be responsible for child labour in Asia, or do we want feel guilty about oppressive diamond mining methods every time we look at our engagement ring?

Fortunately, as we have become aware of this, so have our jewellery designers – and they now strive to provide us with beautiful handmade jewellery, which hasn’t compromised anybody’s integrity or ethics to source and produce it. Our silver designer Patricia Gurgel-Segrillo, based in Brazil, uses only ethically sourced silver, and other materials that support, not degrade her community and country. Patricia’s silver designs are made from Fine silver rather than sterling silver, which has a higher silver content, and lends itself well to her unique, woven designs.

You want to support your local economy……

You want to buy handmade jewellery to support your local economy, rather than the huge ubiquitous mega-stores of the UK.

If you buy a piece of handmade jewellery you could be supporting a small local business by doing this, and in turn, supporting a local designer. Many of our jewellery designers at Artery are from fife and we love to be able to support handmade goods from our own area. There is never any point in complaining that our high streets have become one in the same, and bland, then popping into a chain store to buy something that is made in the thousands.

We have local designer Elizabeth Scott, whose hometown is not ten miles from the gallery. Much of her jewellery is inspired by her local countryside and sea views, using colours in her jewellery to represent that.

So you can see that whatever your reason is for buying handmade jewellery – you will find something to suit you at Artery Gallery.

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