Artisan Jewelry from Sweet Earth Studio
When we talk about Artisan Jewelry, we are referring to pieces original in design and hand-crafted with skill from the very best materials out there - generally high grade, semi-precious stones, and quality metals like fine silver, sterling silver, and occasionally copper (as opposed to silver, gold, or copper plated alloys). All of our pieces, from less expensive earrings to extravagant Turquoise sets, are crafted by Artisans living in the United States who obtain their materials from reputable sources & quality manufacturers.
There is a world of difference between materials, especially with the increased availability of beads and gemstones. Crafters often use materials obtained at local big box stores or craft malls, while expert Artisan Jewelers & Designers use only real glass (not plastic or conglomerates), high quality stones (rather than cheap, dyed magnasite or the like), pure metals (not plated - a thin layer of the “real stuff” over a cheap “base” metal), and strong components (ex. stringing wire made to handle several pounds of pressure rather than plastic or cheap wire that won’t hold up).
While anyone can learn basic wire twisting, stringing and other basic techniques, Artisans perfect their craft, and the craftsmanship of our Artisan jewelry is some of the best you’ll find. Which means, they'll look great and last as long as you're willing to treat them right.
A word about our Turquoise-
We specialize in beautiful Turquoise Artisan Jewelry, though we carry many other stones as well. Turquoise is a perennially popular stone and dates back as a jewelry component at least as early as ancient Egypt, as well as a classic stone of Native American cultures. It’s value is stable, much like other precious stones, semi-precious stones, pearls, and metals. Invest in a quality piece of turquoise and you have a sound investment. Sadly, along with the popularity of Turquoise comes the attempt to copy it cheaply. Craft stores, big box stores, and even bead stores and gem shows are full of imitation Turquoise, which is usually made from magnazite or howlite - very cheap stones that are dyed the color of Turquoise - or “junk” Turquoise that is ground into a fine powder, reconstituted, and then dyed. These dyes will usually fade or change color over time. Some argue that you still get the “look” of Turquoise without the expense, but real Turquoise vastly outshines the imitation stuff in look and feel, and it will retain and even gain in value when the imitation stones will be worth a few cents at a garage sale once you’ve tired of it!
To a novice, it can be difficult to discern the difference between real, quality Turquoise and imitations. That’s why we are extremely cautious in where and from whom we obtain our Turquoise. Most of our Turquoise is mined in the USA or North Mexico, one of the most plentiful places for the minerals to be found - the other being China, which is generally inferior quality and processed in such a way that renders the stone far less valuable. In our high-end jewelry, we usually know the mine from which the Turquoise comes; and we work directly with one Turquoise miner who cuts his own stones and beads. In addition, we pay attention to the way in which the Turquoise has been treated. Turquoise is a soft stone and very porous, which makes it susceptible to breaking as well as discoloration from the natural oils in our skin. Thus, common practice is to “stabilize” it in some way - traditionally done with wax and oil. Modern practices often colorize during the stabilizing process, and frequently inferior Turquoise is reconstituted from powder and dyed. While some stabilizing is necessary depending upon the hardness of the particular Turquoise (though some is hard enough to remain in its “natural” form), we are careful to obtain Turquoise stabilized in a tasteful and responsible method, rarely dyed, and never reconstituted (unless it’s used in cheaper jewelry and clearly marked). Therefore, when you buy a piece of Artisan Turquoise Jewelry from Sweet Earth Studio, you can rest assured that it’s worth the investment.
And, let’s be honest, when viewed side-by-side, there’s no comparison between good Turquoise and the cheap stuff. So, if you encounter “turquoise” that is very inexpensive, trust that it’s not the real mccoy - and if you want quality pieces, the price tag will reflect that. But, unlike the junky stuff that’s generally imported from countries with few labor laws, you’ll have a lasting investment in the real thing.
A final note about our Artisan Jewelry: our culture is over-saturated with trends, and while we agree that creativity prompts newness all the time, the sad thing is that manufacturers seem to respond to the trend addiction by making things with less and less integrity - from the designs themselves to the manufacturing of the designs. We always have fresh designs, but the beauty of quality Artisan Jewelry is that those designs will still be lovely and inspiring for years to come - and the quality of the workmanship will ensure that it still can be worn!