My business turned Six in March! This business has been a roller coaster these last six years and I wouldn't have it any other way. Along the way, I've learned that staying true to my values is as important as making huge sales - one without the other feels so hollow. So it was an easy decision for me to combine the sixth anniversary month with Women's History Month and give back to a cause that supports women - The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV supports women (and men) leaving violent homes by providing resources, information and safety as well as a help line that you can call to get support. Thanks to my amazing customers, this business of mine was able to donate more than $200 to this cause. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
It's been a roller coaster year, but we were thrilled with our recent feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. It shows Sharon in action - drawing down wire to make a nose ring, soldering a wedding ring, and basically showing you all the work and effort and love that go into each and every piece we make here.
Article by Carolyn Said, photos by Liz Hafalia.
Read all about it here.
After the year that we've had, I am determined to be more committed than ever to giving back to organizations that are near and dear to my heart. I'm starting with this Holiday Season by participating in the Good Karma Sale - November 21st-30th, 10% of all sales made through the website and at the SF Etsy Holiday Emporium will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, an organization co-founded by Albert Einstein that is dedicated to assisting and resettling refugees escaping from violence around the world. Helping refugees takes on many different forms and includes providing water, food and shelter and ensuring that refugees are safe and cared for. Follow the hashtag #goodkarmaisthenewblackfriday to see all of the vendors participating in the Good Karma Sale!
Throughout December, 5% of all sales made through our website and at shows will be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV works to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable.
And lastly, as promised, is your coupon code. Take 15% off any order on my website November 21-28 with coupon code Karma2016 *. This is my thank you for your support, enthusiasm and for helping to give back this holiday season. Enjoy, and I hope to see you soon.
Lastly, sign up for our mailing list to enter to win a pair of sterling silver spear huggies! The winner will be announced on November 28th.
*This code is good through Midnight Pacific Time on November 28th.
As promised from our last post, I’ll be talking about lab-grown diamonds in this post and asking--”how ethical are they?” There’s been recent hype from Leonardo DiCaprio, Silicon Valley, and millennials, all in support of lab-grown diamonds as a socially-responsible alternative that uses technological innovation to produce an identical and affordable option to mined diamonds. And I am totally effing on board! Lab-created diamonds aren’t tainted by the conflict of mined diamonds, and many are created right here in the United States with the highest labor and environmental standards. I’ve been proud to use lab-grown stones for the last four years, but I’m always concerned about where/how my suppliers produce these diamonds that we use in our engagement rings.
With the exception of the Diamond Foundry (a Silicon Valley-based business that uses solar energy with a zero carbon footprint), the labs that grow diamonds do not disclose their procedures and "proprietary information". They don’t have to. While the mined diamond industry has come under appropriate scrutiny, the lab-grown diamond industry, still a baby, doesn’t have a current certification, not even one as vague as the Kimberley Process. So some, playing off the label of “lab-grown” are profiting without having to meet consumer expectations.
And the deceit doesn’t stop there. Since lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically identical, they are being passed off as mined-diamonds and sold at those prices. These fake mined-diamonds are so believable that only trained gemologists, equipped with the most precise instruments, can tell the difference. In my opinion, it's shady when those that claim that lab-grown diamonds aren’t the real thing, bypass the experts in order to sell them as such. For those consumers interested in real lab-grown diamonds, responsible businesses will certify the quality-grade of their cultured diamonds.
With mined diamond production slowing down and becoming increasingly costly, I’m curious to see how giants like De Beers, who started manufacturing diamonds in the 1960s, will spin and sell lab-grown diamonds eventually. Right now, De Beers and friends are speaking out against cultured diamonds in defense of their workers. According to them, mining diamonds creates jobs for more than seven million of the poorest people in the world. But I think real concern for these communities might look like preparing them for the inevitable exhaustion of mined diamonds, using higher current wages and training in alternative work. Even Botswana, a country that has experienced relative stability with it’s own diamond trade, will likely exhaust their diamond mines by 2029.
Across the board, transparency and traceability for lab created diamonds haven’t become industry standards yet, but I’m super-optimistic that all of us conscientious consumers will demand it. I believe we’ve brought about the changes we’re seeing now and that lab-grown diamonds will continue to evolve to become a real solution for future shortage.
Next time, I’ll be talking about another option I endorse - traceable colored gemstones. Please tune in, join the discussion, and feel free to get in touch.
C'mon baby, let's do the twist!
Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to open a nose ring? Here is a quick list of the dos and don'ts when it comes to opening a nose ring (or a tiny hoop earring for that matter):
Do: Wash your hands. With soap and water, like a regular human.
Do: ABT - Always. Be. Twisting. Twist open the ends side to side, which keeps them in line with each other and makes it easier to get a tight closure.
Do: Only open it the minimum amount needed to slip it into your piercing.
Do: Gently twist it closed. You can use your fingers, but thicker gauges might require a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Do: Feel free to ask a friend for help. It could be a bonding experience for the two of you.
Don't: Open the hoop laterally. This not only makes the ring harder to close, it also stresses the metal in the wrong direction and could weaken the ring.
Final Note: You might feel a small amount of irritation after changing a piercing. This is pretty normal since you have been roughing it up a little more than normal. It can also happen if you are gauging up. Try rinsing your piercing with a saline solution or soak to soothe the irritation.
I'll admit - I got into jewelry-making largely for my own benefit. I wanted to have beautiful pieces to wear and the best way to get something that's exactly what I want is to make it. So I made jewelry. A lot. Obsessively.
Of course, making more jewelry means wearing more jewelry, so last year I added two new holes to my ear to make room for more studs.*
I love how tiny studs accent the ear like a sprinkle of stardust. All the more so when those studs are made in rose gold.
Sure, you can wear our spear huggies on their own, without any other earrings, but this was far too fun of a look for me to pass up.
A few years ago, I thought I was developing an allergy to silver and gold. Almost overnight, my skin was turning black underneath my rings and I couldn't explain it. The answer? Science!
At about the same time that my skin started turning colors, I had started using a mineral sunscreen* containing zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide, in its non-nano state, is a fantastic and safe sun-blocking agent as well as a common ingredient in many cosmetics. I am pretty obsessed with my skin care (though you wouldn't believe it if you saw my hands. Ah well, such is the jeweler's life). Zinc oxide is also, as it turns out, a very mild abrasive. Veeeery mild. But gold and silver are soft metals, so the mild abrasive in my sunscreen was actually rubbing off minuscule particles of metal from my rings and these particles transferred to my skin and appeared black.
My solution? Well, I wasn't going to discontinue using my sunscreen nor would I stop wearing rings and the problem goes away when I, you know, wash. My. Hands. I also wait to put on rings until after I've applied the sunscreen and washed my hands. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best.
* I’d like to give a quick shout out to the makers of my mineral sunscreen. Marie Veronique Organics. They care about the safety of their products above and beyond their industry standards and their sunscreens are amazing! It is also a woman-owned and Bay Area-based business.
What are your options when it comes to finding and sourcing an ethical diamond or gemstone?Read More
Why get a small engagement ring?
When it comes to engagement rings, we have been trained to think that bigger is always better and that we should spend at least two months salary to buy an engagement ring. But this isn't the right choice for everyone, and there is much to love about choosing a small engagement ring.
Consider your lifestyle: Do you garden? Rock climb? Travel? Large engagement rings might be more of a hindrance than you had thought to everyday activities.
A small engagement ring is perfect for anyone who wants a lower profile ring, or anyone looking for a more affordable engagement ring. Best of all, small engagement rings are easy to stack with other rings, and you can always add on more rings later, giving you maximum flexibility.
Getting a small engagement ring also means that you can spend a little more to get a high quality stone - be it diamond, Moissanite, sapphire or the gemstone of your choosing.
Your engagement ring is for you, not for anyone else. Pick the one that you want and remember, good things come in small packages.
What can you do with unused jewelry?
Jewelry is powerful. Serving as a reminder of loved ones, connecting us to our past and grounding us in the present. But sometimes jewelry no longer serves us or it no longer serves it’s original purpose. Maybe your jewelry reminds you of a painful moment or transition in life; maybe you inherited jewelry from a loved one that isn’t to your taste; maybe your jewelry just needs a different look. If so, then it’s time for an update. The diamonds in these rings once symbolized a different life, but have now been refreshed, updated, made new. Rings (and earrings) that symbolize a change and a transition through to a new time in life. A jump start, a renewal; hit the reset button.
Interested in custom and bespoke jewelry using your existing stones? Contact me to find out what's possible, but first, fill out this little questionnaire and find out a little bit more about the process here.