A friend saw me wearing my sterling silver and purple bead bracelet around the office and asked where I had got it. Of course, being me, I launched into a tale about how I'd made it and where the problems were and pointing out that I'd love to make a similar bracelet using sterling silver jump rings.
The friend asked if it would be possible to make a necklace in a similar style - so I said "Of course". At which piont she asked me to let her know how much it would cost to make a 16 inch necklace for her!
Wow, I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. Where to find the jump rings? How many beads to use? What about the catch to use? What about the price?
So, I calmly said, "I'll let you know when I've had a chance to price things up", then I headed back to my work computer and tried to think.
I already had an account at a company that sells silver sheet to the jewellery trade, so I was sure they'd be able to supply everything I needed. Well, I was almost right, they could supply the silver wire needed to hold the beads and whichever style of catches/clasps I wanted to use - but the jump rings they sold were not of the size I needed.So the hunt was on for jump rings in the right size. Luckily I found the web site of David Scott Plumlee (see earlier posts about his books) and he had a link to a UK based maker of jump rings! Unfortunately this company has recently gone our of business so I won't waste your time with their name.
Luckily for me the company made exactly the size of jump rings I wanted, so I ordered what I hoped would be enough rings to make the necklace.
Then I asked the friend if she would prefer amethyst beads rather than purple coloured glass ones to go with the sterlinng silver - the answer was "yes please". That was easy as I already knew a bead shop in London that sold the beads, so I paid them a visit. I wanted 9 beads - and so I picked them out and took them to the till to be told "it's cheaper if you buy a string of the beads, and you'll have more" - so I bought a string of beads with no idea how I'd use up the spares.
I then told the friend it would cost about £40 to £50 to make the necklace - I wish I'd known then what I know now about pricing, but I didn't so she was getting a bargain (more about pricing in the future).
I made the necklace for the friend. Got it hallmarked (more about that topic later) and presented it to her wrapped in acid free tissue paper and a red velveteen bag. She was thrilled, and so was I when she happily handed over £50 in cash, and here is what she got for her money:.
It's 16 inches (41 cm) long and is closed with a bolt ring clasp. It contains 9 amethyst beads which are 6 mm in diameter each as well as 284 jump rings made from 18 gauge sterling silver and with an inner diameter of 3.25 mm per ring.
More another time