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Those Damn Findings!
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Categories: Products; Instruction and information; Jewelry

Word count/read time: 410 words; 1-1/2 minutes

Findings generally refer to clasps, doodads, and pieces that connect or finish things: earwires, specialty jump rings, ornamental pieces, bails, headpins, and more. This is the Holy Grail and the Achilles' Heel for the handmade crowd. Simply, one tiny finding could make it illegal to call the finished item handmade.

Long gone are the days of doing it all by hand. Pride and skilled workmanship seem to be nostalgic and not so much a current practice. Even luxury items like jewelry suffer the same fate. A few extra minutes of work can make a huge difference in the final stages of finishing,

Besides, there's no need to re-engineer something that already works.
Using pre-made findings boils down to finances, time, or not having the skills or tools to make them. It's not a judgment either way. Most jewelry uses mass-produced or machine-made parts anyway so people have come to expect it. As such, there are many jewelry component suppliers. The consistency of commercial findings is reassuring if nothing else.

Quality pieces don't have to be uber-expensive. I stumbled across flawless chainmaille at a no-name church flea market fundraiser from someone who had never made it before. They used 100% off-the-shelf supplies but their finished product was completely unexpected. Their prices were so low it was almost criminal!

They were oblivious to the low-quality state of most maille. Armed with only basic common sense, they were able to figure out what constitutes a quality piece and construction...something that strangely, unexplainably, and inexcusably eludes most maillers.

Regarding clasps, only a few designs can be handmade at a reasonable price point: slide locks, toggles, hook, labyrinth, and proprietary creations. It's possible to make others at an exorbitant cost. Like lobster clasps - it's possible to make one by hand, certainly, but that's a small crowd indeed.

People are wholly familiar with lobster clasps so its commonality is unimpressive. Twist or barrel clasps are probably not as difficult but why bother? Commercial sterling silver ones are a few dollars each and about as perfect as can be. Besides, there's no need to re-engineer something that already works. Unless handmade is that important, in which case you'll figure it out.

As much as people want to be original, the fear of busting out of the norm and the resultant peer pressure or ridicule is sometimes too overpowering. I am unconcerned since I am my worst critic. Listening to others would mean no piece of mine would exist or matter but that's for you to decide.

Posted by M: August 4, 2019

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