In an outcry against the monotony of mass production, the trend toward buying local, small-batch, and handmade is heating up. Handmade jewelry is no exception. Not only is a handmade necklace or bracelet a one-of-a-kind piece that highlights your individual style, but the quality of the item is bound to be superb to those produced by the thousands in obscure and possibly questionable factories abroad.


But buyer beware, all handmade jewelry is not created equal. Below, you’ll find the SWCreations guide to buying beautiful handmade jewelry that is also of the highest quality.

crystal pearl bead art pendant

1. We’ve all experienced that terrible moment when a piece of jewelry breaks, leaving you down on your knees searching for beads scattered across the floor. This unfortunate scenario may be avoided if the jewelry you choose is made with strong wire. As you can see, the wire used to string beads on your jewelry is very important. SWCreations uses only 49 strand beading wire because it is the best and has exceptional durability and strength. There are seven types of strands and the others are simply not as strong–avoid them if you can. 

2. Stretch jewelry is easy-to-wear, is easy to give as a gift, and is a fun addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Trouble is, it can break easily or become too loose if the stretch cord is thin or of poor quality. At SWCreations, we do not string beads on anything less than a 1.0 mm cord, because it is the strongest and we have found it lasts the longest.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations. Unfortunately, this means we are not using our stretch cord for our smaller beads, such as; small Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, and other beads with small holes.  We have tried and tested all the variations from stretch cord to stretch fiber and found they just do not stand up to our quality expectations.

3. You may have never heard of a jump ring, but you probably have a few in your jewelry collection already. This small piece of metal is the circle that a clasp holds on to–on a necklace or bracelet for example–and if it stretches too wide, the clasp will fall out. Many years ago, jewelry suppliers create a split ring (like a miniature keychain), but every time that ring was caught on a thread it would pull apart. Unfortunately, in an inexpensive piece of jewelry, the jump ring is often the first to break. Fortunately, there are a few jump ring brands that can stand up to the test of time, and SWCreations uses only those. Our jump rings may not be the cheapest, but they are the strongest, ensuring that your jewelry will last for years to come.

4. The quality of the beads can often give away whether a handmade piece of jewelry is of high or low caliber. Some inexpensive beads are made with an outside coating that will wear off quickly as you wear the item–causing it to chip off if it rubs against other jewelry you have layered or onto your clothing. Some cheap beads even have a coating that is water-soluble, meaning if you’re caught in one downpour, your piece is ruined. New beads enter the market every day and we usually create a piece to test out, some are obvious duds, but if you buy a piece from us and the bead looks nothing like when you purchased it, please let us know right away.  Avoid this situation entirely by choosing beads that are made from authentic gemstones, crystals, and glass such as those we utilize at SWCreations.  

September 05, 2013 — Leslie Patrick

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