Walk through any mall in America and you’ll see a treasure trove of jewelry. A kaleidoscopic array of baubles, bling and accessories cascade from every shop window, their inanimate voices practically screaming “buy me”! Trouble is, that while these pieces may look nice and the price may even be appealing, there are various hidden factors involved when making a purchase from a chain or department store. Poor quality and unethical working conditions is just the tip of the mass production iceberg, yet are factors that pleasantly disappear when you choose to buy handmade, and domestically crafted beaded jewelry. Choosing handmade accessories is a fashionable decision you can feel good about–read on to find out why.
Mass production is the producing of identical items in extremely large volume on a continuous basis. It is usually done on an assembly line by laborers who often use specialized machinery and have low skill levels. It’s popular because, of course, more products are made at a cheaper cost, thereby making the final product itself less expensive than handcrafted products. Ever since Henry Ford created the Ford Model T. in the early 20th Century, mass production has taken over the world at the expense of the small business owner, the outstanding customer service only a small business owner can give, and the handcrafted products they create.
Low cost? Sounds great, doesn’t it, but what about quality? When laborers produce jewelry on an assembly line, they aren’t putting the time or effort into making sure they are perfect and blemish free. They do exactly what their job is—no more, no less—because that’s really all they have time for and that’s what they get paid to do. An anklet might look pretty when purchased, but what good is it going to do you if you only get to wear it once and it snaps in two because inspections aren’t that thorough?
Crafters take pride in the quality of their products. When a crafter creates an item, you can be sure that time, talent, thought and energy go into its creation. Great effort has gone into each individual piece—making certain everyone is lovely and of the highest quality.
How about originality? When you buy mass produced, you get what everyone else has. Sometimes that’s fine, but one reason many people wear jewelry is to stand out. We want to wear jewelry that’s as unique and individual as we are. We want it to represent us as such. Your local chain department store may have some attractive jewelry, but it’s not really symbolic of who we are as individuals because everyone is wearing the same thing.
Handcrafted jewelry is original. You can pick a one of a kind piece of jewelry that embodies your individual taste. If you like dainty things and specific color combinations, you might choose to wear sparkling Swarovski Crystal earrings in your favorite colors. If you have a bold personality, you might wear something bright and sassy that will really catch someone’s eye. If there is something you like, but cannot find, many crafters take pleasure in creating exactly what you ask for.
Of course, mass production has its advantages too, but the sad thing is that it doesn’t represent American pride, nor does it support the small business owner. Large chain retailers are wonderful for the general population. They make shopping easier and more affordable for middle-class society, but many items you see at these stores are imported. Quality is poor and the small business owner struggles to support his family—often putting them out of business.
If you ask me the reasons to buy handcrafted jewelry far outweigh those of buying mass produced. Handcrafted jewelry is a superior, quality product, it is unique and original, and it supports the small business owner. I think I’ll splurge on the handcrafted jewelry. Which do you think is the better choice?