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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How not to sell jewellery to me

I spend a lot of time these days assiduously searching Etsy for beautiful pieces of jewellery to add to my favourites list and drool over.

For every item I squeak with excitement about, though, there are dozens of others I have deemed unworthy of my affection.

Given that there are no doubt a great many jewellery-makers who would far rather not sell their wares to a pernickety old bag such as myself, I thought it might be helpful if I were to provide a list of sure-fire methods for successfully evading my interest.

Fit lever-back findings to the earrings you are selling. Lever-backs are the work of the devil, particularly for somebody with one very stiff shoulder. Not only are the hook bits far too short and stubby to be inserted easily, but clipping the damn things shut always, always, traps a tiny bit of flesh at the back of my ear. Ow.

I know the hook end of the earring isn't always its most attractive aspect but, if you leave it out of the photographs, and you don't state categorically in the description that you've used a fish-hook or a shepherd's crook finding, I'm going to assume you've used a lever-back.

Camouflage your wares in your photographs. I'm ever so thrilled for you that you own a variety of attractive vases and fabrics which you feel the need to share with me. But I've got better things to do with my time and my eyesight than to play, "Where's Waldo?", with your listings. In any event, cynical old bat that I am, if you're not willing to photograph the item clearly, then I'm not willing to take it on trust that said item is well-made.

Assume I have the neck measurement of an anorexic heron. You will not endear yourself to me by insisting that I will be able to knot and loop the 18" lariat necklace you have listed in several different, attractive ways. Around one finger, possibly.

Include the word "fashion" in the item title. If I wanted this season's fashionable jewellery, I'd be shopping at Accessorize. I'm a grown-up. I'm looking for something which will suit me. I couldn't give a flying f-word what the fashion mavens have arbitrarily chosen as the current "in thing". Seriously.

Fail to recognise when it's time to stop. So, you've learned how to wire-wrap beads, eh? That's cool: I'm a big fan of the effects which can be created by a spot of judicious wire-wrapping. But I'm not actually looking to have my ear lobes dragged half way down my neck. Less is often more. There really isn't any need to attach every briolette, rondelle and lentil within arm's reach to one over-loaded length of chain just because you've gone all plier-happy.

Produce "eclectic" multi-media pieces. I appreciate that there's considerable creative satisfaction to be gained from cannibalising old bits and pieces and interpolating them into your designs. And I'm not saying it never works. Generally speaking, though, I'm not really looking for keys, electrical supplies and bits of old watch faces dangling from otherwise inoffensive necklaces. (Prisms from old chandeliers, on the other hand, are an entirely different kettle of fish...)

Ship within the USA only. A big and immediate turn-off. I buy from all sorts of delightful people in the US. Have done for years. I know it's possible to post from the US to the UK. I'm pretty sure, in fact, that it's possible to post from the US to Every Other Country In The World. I'm going to have to be completely bowled-over by what you produce to go to the bother of getting in touch with you and asking you whether you could possibly be persuaded to post to the UK. (Which is exactly what I did with Gerry P and the wonderful earrings she makes out of David Christensen furnace glass beads - but Gerry's stuff is really special.)

Blow your own trumpet. I know you're proud of what you've made. There is no reason why you shouldn't be. Hey, I'm all for supporting the work of artisans. But you won't do yourself any favours with me by telling me that you've knotted the silk cord "skilfully". I'm a Brit: we don't respond very positively to people who feel the need to show off.

Well, that should about do it, I think. Any one - or, better still, a combination - of the above, and you can be quietly confident that I won't be darkening your doors any time soon. For which relief much thanks, I'm sure.

The Editor


Blogger Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I don't know about you, but I would expect a craftsperson selling her/his wares to do things "skilfully". Hamfistedly I can do for myself.

4:37 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Quite so.

My capacity to create bodged jewellery myself knows no bounds.

10:20 pm  
Anonymous The Great Bustard said...


8:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Great Bustard doesn't have much to say for himself (herself, itself?), so I feel obliged to fill the gap. Although I don't wear much jewellery, I can entirely sympathise with your problems attaching same to your person. If I did, I would struggle too!

Can I have a rant about 'celebrities', 'reality' shows and other things that really get to me? I see you too despise the modern 'fashion' for them, so I'm in good company.

Paying a licence fee just so the BBC can curtail it's services doesn't seem right either.

It's a bit early for me, so a full-blown rant is out of the question here, but I could go on... and on...
Angie xx

9:55 am  
Anonymous The Great Bustard said...

The Great Bustard is grateful to Angie for attempting to fill the perceived gap he left regarding the jewellery debate. However it should be borne in mind that, being a complete Bustard, he has little to say on feminine issues such as personal adornment.

1:22 pm  
Blogger Merrill said...

I would love to have your same honest assessment of us hat and scarf sellers. With love from across the pond - xo!

7:41 pm  
Blogger Amor De Plata said...

Great post, thank you for the information!

7:45 pm  
Anonymous Sara said...

I think this is awesome, and have linked to it in Etsy forums. You can read my post here:

"A Good and Useful Blog Post by a Devoted Etsy Buyer"

Of course, I do use bits of old electronica in some of my jewelry, and it sells to its audience. But, also a grown-up, I am not offended to discover that you are not in that audience. :)

Still, this has already proven useful to me because when one makes stuff for Etsy and spends way too much time at Etsy one does start to wonder if one shouldn't be doing things the way "every" other Etsy seller appears to be doing things. It's good to hear from people who buy what they actually want to buy instead of allowing oneself to submit to silent influence by the apparent prevalence of a certain style. For example, even though I think of myself as creative and independent, a woman with her own vision, nevertheless I was just on the verge of looking for a cheap source of sterling lever-backs even though I personally hate them.

You pulled me back from the precipice. I cannot thank you enough.

7:48 pm  
Blogger Carol Emma said...

Oh what a great post and great advice! And I've just gone and listed a pair of leverback earrings...how embarrassing...I was not aware some people have problems with them...good to know! Thank You.

7:49 pm  
Blogger PamperingBeki said...

Haha!! Great list!

I'm happy to say that I think I abide by all of these rules nicely. :)

8:03 pm  
Blogger Strumpfkunst.de said...

I usually look for very simple, yet stylish pieces. I know you *could* go wild on colors, beads and whatever - but for me, a simple brushed sterling pendant with a simple etched design will take the ribbon every time.

8:17 pm  
Blogger CastoCreations said...


Oh I do love your style. :)

And aside from the leverback issue (my own mother insists that all her earrings be leverbacks so she doesn't lose them) I agree with you wholeheartedly. Luckily most of my earrings can be swapped for french hook style if someone hates leverbacks.

Fabulous post!

8:31 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Well, I never. Goodness me. I am more than a little overwhelmed.

Welcome, lovely Etsians :-) So many new blogs through which to meander at the weekend. (Not to mention checking whether Beki is fibbing to me about abiding by all the rules!)

Sara: you've just increased my hits by 65 in the time it took me to eat my dinner! I think that means I owe you a favour. (And, no, you're still not getting my CleverGirl earrings!)

Carol Emma: some people must like them. I think I've read somewhere that people who tend to lose earrings on wires go for them. Having lost a grand total of one earring in my lifetime - and I blame the strenuous Greek dancing for that one - I confess I really have no idea how people lose them: are other people's piercings bigger than mine, maybe? Because it would be a challenge for them to have shorter necks than I have, I can assure you...

Merrill: there is a scarf post brewing. Should be up some time in the next week or so. Not an Etsy seller (or, at least, not yet), but may still be of interest. As for hats, check out my Buckingham Palace hat saga in entries from Oct/Nov last year. I am not buying another hat any time soon.

8:39 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Castocreations, you are probably not going to believe this, but I saw some of your work on Etsy only yesterday and thought, "Oh wow: that woman's hair is amazing!"


(Oh, ok, yes, I know - I'm supposed to be looking at the jewellery, not the avatars...)

8:46 pm  
Blogger PamperingBeki said...

I dare you to check whether or not I'm fibbing. ;-)

Go ahead...

11:15 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Oh, Beki, you big fibber...!!

12:50 pm  
Anonymous Sara said...

"you've just increased my hits by 65 in the time it took me to eat my dinner! I think that means I owe you a favour. (And, no, you're still not getting my CleverGirl earrings!)"

hee hee

You owe me nothing! Nothing! You pay me every time I come here and read something delightful that you've written. Besides, you kept me from making a bad findings investment, so perhaps I owe you.

However, if you really wanted to feel obliged, I would accept payment in the form of more pictures of your adorable roommates posted here.

4:01 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Nothing could be easier.

Well, I say nothing could be easier.

All I have to do is to persuade my new mobile phone to communicate with my PC... :-(

4:05 pm  
Anonymous overthetop said...

Lady B, I'm so enjoying your blog and get a particular kick out of this rantlet about jewelry. Very informative. I am guilty of one pair of leverbacks in my Etsy shop (but it's gold-filled...does that count? and thanks for your patronage). I mainly offer hooks with those transparent ear nuts as I have lost many favorite earrings over the years and know how heartbreaking it can be. I don't know how you've managed to lose only ONE.

I also applaud you for taking the time to really search for what you want rather than succumb to the prevailing styles promoted! Brava.

Happy Holidays!

6:37 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I read somewhere very recently - must have been either a book or a website about jewellery-making - that leverback earrings can pinch people with fat earlobes.

This - if true - rather ruins my long-held assertion that the only bits of me which aren't fat are my earlobes... :-(

Certainly, I have very small ears: I don't know whether that has any bearing on the issue.

If I really, really, really liked a particular pair of earrings fitted with leverbacks, I'd buy them and change the leverbacks for hooks myself.

7:09 am  

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