Handmade Jewellery – A Lost Art?
Handmade jewellery has been around for thousands of years. However there has been an emerging trend over the last few years to import from China and India, mass produced jewellery instead of handmade jewellery made locally. This is due to the favourable exchange rate and to the fact that wages and expenses are lower in China. While there might be a small short term gain in terms of price, what are we ultimately losing in the long run? It has been reported that Australia’s handmade jewellery sector is shrinking, which has caused many people who are skilled in the art of manufacturing to find jobs elsewhere. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the loss of valuable local experience.
Is mass produced jewellery really cheaper – and is the quality as good as handmade jewellery?
In my opinion, the answer to that question is – “you get what you pay for”. On the surface, the price of imported jewellery may be a little less than the cost of a local handmade piece, but when you look a little deeper, the real differences start to emerge. One difference is light weight manufacturing which results in a ring weighing a few grams less. While this causes the price to be lower, it ultimately shortens the lifespan of the ring, making it weaker and more unstable which can lead to the loss of stones. Also, imported rings may be hollowed out to save on costs. This can trap moisture on the skin causing uncomfortable rashes. A wider variation on the colour of the diamonds in imported pave and channel set rings is also a common issue. When there is a mix of colours in a parcel, as opposed to a single colour, the price is cheaper because the lower coloured stones in the parcel help reduce the price. Furthermore, what alloys have been used to make the 18ct gold? When dealing with mass production on a giant scale, a cheaper alloy is often mixed with the pure gold to drive the price down.
What is your piece of mind worth?
Can you physically watch your ring being made, and make changes to the design as it is being created? If your handmade jewellery needs alteration or repair, you are able to take it back immediately and have the jeweller repair it for you with minimal delay. In contrast, if something goes wrong with an imported ring, it must be sent overseas which usually takes around 4-6 weeks and can incur postage and insurance expenses. It is important to check that the store you purchased your jewellery from has a good reputation for high quality goods and exceptional customer service. It is worth paying a little more now, so that you don’t have to pay more later when complications arise.
The future of handmade jewellery seems unclear. However, as long as there are craftsman who are passionate about preserving the traditional techniques of jewellery design and manufacturing, you will still be able to purchase a diamond ring that is built to last your lifetime. At Xennox Diamonds you can have your handmade jewellery made right on the premises and be as involved in the manufacturing process as you would like to be.