Jewelry Buying Guide: How to avoid buying crap.
When buying jewelry you don't want to buy a jewelry shaped object. They come in all sizes and shapes. Necklace shaped objects, things that look like earrings, bracelet-like forms, but they are not real jewelry. They are something else. They are an abomination to self expression. An insult to every piece of real jewelry.
How do you know if you are dealing with a jewelry shaped object? First, look at it. Does it instantly make your soul feel like it has been extracted, homogenized, and reassembled? Does it feel like poorly made sadness when you touch it? When you inspect it, does this object look like a triumphant victory for super glue as opposed to a beautiful object of craftsmanship?
Consider your answers to those questions. If you answered “yes” to any of them, you are probably dealing with a jewelry shaped object, a JSO. They are found everywhere in a variety of materials. In major chain stores, they are sold for a few bucks. At jewelry stores, they are shinier, made from precious metals, but are no different. Mass produced JSO's are everywhere.
A JSO looks like jewelry and even can feel like it. If you put it and it looks good, you may be tempted to accept it as your own personal piece: Don't!
The first reason not to buy a JSO is that it's a lie. It's not real, and it won't last. Odds are it is a thinly plated material, possibly metal, that will break after a few times of use. Sure, it was probably only $10, but it isn't worth one cent on some mysterious street corner after it brakes in half, falls to the ground, and you don't even notice!
A JSO is not personal expression. Sure, it is displayed beautifully. It comes with a back story, and somehow when you wear it the moon speaks to you. It's the last one in the display case, it MUST have been made just for you. No, that is a carefully crafted trick. A marketing expert wrote that story, a master at visual displays set it up, and an industrial designer created that design, all in order to maximize profits. It is an expertly done manipulation to make you believe that the jewelry lives just for you. At this moment, there are currently 1 million people who had that exact thought and bought that same piece. If you are “unique”, like “everyone else”, this may not matter, but most people believe in personal expression and abhor the idea that they are part of a bulk buying experience.
A JSO is soulless, it was born to be part of a profit model, not part of a personal experience. Even if designed by a real artist, the actual design was dumbed down to be mass produced. It was designed to be cheaply and simply assembled by unskilled, underpaid workers.
So, how can you avoid buying a JSO? The most obvious way is to buy jewelry directly from an artist. An individual cannot mass produce work and you are automatically insured that you will be one of the handful of people with that design—it really is your unique expression.
If you can't buy the work from an artist directly, there are several small shops that do a great job representing artists. Most of the shop owners personally know the artists that they represent and can tell you their stories. There are no false promises of “connecting with the moon.” No engineered displays—just good work and honest shopkeepers.
When you inspect the detail of the work, you will find imperfections. That's the whole point! I'm not talking about bad quality, that is never acceptable, but if you take a series of 5 pieces that an artist made and compare them, not one will be the same. Each one truly is personal, and you can easily adapt them into part of your personal expression.
A piece of jewelry is a deep, meaningful, powerful expression that starts with it's construction and is actualized when a person decides to let it become part of their identity. If the concept starts out as a way to extract cash from the masses then what you get is a form for the masses void of any soul and forever unable to be a genuine self expression. It is simply the end point of a profit model. You get a JSO.