The Handcrafted Jewelry Design Process


Pam Older Designs custom Diamond and Yellow Gold Bangle Bracelet

After 15 years of making jewelry, I’m still obsessed with creating new designs everyday. I still love the process of design whether it is a room or a building, a sculpture or a graphic but particularly when it involves my jewelry. The question that is asked of me all the time is “Where do you get your inspiration?” I think the answers to this question are fairly universal but I will share my personal experience.

Let’s start with the basics, I am inspired by old or new materials like silver, unusual chains and charms and gemstones. Materials are to me like an artist’s paints. The play of color is probably the most obvious beginning of creation, so how the colored stones look next to each other is usually the starting point for me. I also look at the textures, shapes and metals along side the stones to enhance the colors or the design. For instance I love Labradorite and I think it usually looks best with silver, but sometimes a slice of gold next to Labradorite looks amazing! I came across some pale pink stick keshi pearls recently and paired it with silver faceted nuggets and a bright sterling chain and together the random pearls became a gorgeous confection.

Being a practical sort, there are other inspirations of a more personal nature. A new outfit that I need to accessorize gets me playing with materials and styles. A look or fashion trend will find me experimenting and improving a good idea. A person on the street wearing a fun piece of jewelry gets me thinking. All of these factors fall in the inspiration category.

Very very often, the inspiration for a new design comes from a customer. I can easily latch on to a good idea and run with it. The the design challenge is to surpass the original idea, making it even more beautiful and exceeding the customer’s expectations. Experience is why people come to a designer. The bracelet on the top of this article was an antique diamond broach that a customer brought to me for ideas. The design inspiration for this piece came quickly. I proposed keeping the setting in tact, making is horizontal and marrying it to a yellow gold bangle.  Both the customer and I loved the idea of combining the platinum setting with yellow gold, but many people might have opted for a white gold band. Either way, it was a great re-purposing of the ring. Now the piece is out of the safe and worn often.

 

Creating for myself has always proved a good litmus test. If I like it others usually do too. I usually wear a new design for a couple of days to see how it looks, how it moves, lays, and feels. Is it comfortable? Is it versatile -I love it more if you can wear more then one way. Does it look better in gold or silver? Should the finish be shiny, matte, or oxidized? Would many customer wears this and pay the price for it? What if I changed the stone? These are all common considerations in the design process, probably as true in jewelry making or as in any art form.The process is not simply a matter of an inspiration but rather many inspirations, artistic preferences, practical considerations and experience. And most importantly, the love of beautiful objects.

Pam Older Designs Opens Shop in Downtown Newburyport!


My  new shop Pam Older Designs is finally OPEN! It has been a long cold snowy winter but we did it!
Here are some fun before and after shots of the store. Hope you will drop by and see our wares! Selling my favorite handcrafted jewelry pieces plus wonderful bedding and things I just think are fun and pretty!

A paint job and some tender loving care.
In dire need of a paint job and some tender loving care.
Blue paint and flower boxes & clean windows!
Blue paint and flower boxes & clean windows!
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Before we moved the door and built the display shelves.
This used to be a sub shop!
This used to be a sub shop!

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Raw space- so glad I kept the brick natural, it looks so much better now with the light gray trim.
Raw space- so glad I kept the brick natural, it looks so much better now with the light gray trim.

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Shop- Opening Day Image
The store is stocked and ready for business!

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A New Look!


 

Emily Wickersham modeling our turquoise leather necklace- we can make it for you in almost any color.

Emily you are too adorable!My website just got a new look! Take a peek at www.pamolderdesigns.com.We have more featured items on our home page for an improved shopping experience and a carousel sporting more pictures AND our model, star of NCIS, Emily Wickersham!

We have also added a new secure check-out.

All just in time for the holidays- handcrafted jewelry with a contemporary twist and quality guaranteed. And if you order now take 15% off your entire order! Use Promo THANKS and thank you!earrings_hoops_with_pyrite_rosette__04032.1375842170.200.285

Labradorite and pink will look fabulous with gray the big color for Fall 2015.
Labradorite and pink will look fabulous with gray -the big color for Winter 2015.

Getting Ready for Holiday Jewelry Sales


imageIt’s true, most artisan jewelers make most of their sales and profit during the last two months of the year! So how do you capture those free wheeling holiday buyers?

Sadly, times have changed and the term free wheeling buyers is a thing of the past!Most customers are looking for moderate pricing and value this time of year too. But they are also looking for something special, so that ‘s where you come in.

Think of ways you can promote your jewelry like the big retailers do.Promotions often attract customers that in the end, find something else they like better and pay full price for. In all your messaging emphasis the nature of your work. Buyers of handmade items understand their intristic qualityand uniqueness.

Start early and prepare to get as much exposure as possible. Find time to talk to all your store buyers. Schedule your calls to say thank you for their business all year. Make sure they are well stocked with your merchandise.If you do craft shows, make sure they were booked last August,and if not,create your own events or partner with local retailers and friends to have jewelery parties in their homes. Look for pop-up store opportunities too!

Use Constant Contact of Mail Chimp to broadcast a newsletter with your holiday schedule so people know where to find you and make sure it is linked to all your social media sites. Always use great photography in your emails.if you have banners or a schedule of events page on your website, update it.

I do feature my more expensive pieces around the holidays since men often are looking to fufill their wives’ desires and many women pre-shop! In addition, I keep an abundance of moderate priced items for the “other” people that might otherwise get a gift card! A wide variety of prices will help your sales since no one wants to go away empty handed. As always, my site http://www.pamolderdesigns.com is updated and features new items. Think Christmas, Hanukah, New Years Eve and Valentines Day now!

I just moved to Newburyport, MA and will be opening a store in 6 months, however, sadly construction is just beginning and the shop will not be ready for the holiday season. To take advantage of my windows, I am covering them with brown paper and twinkly lights. A handwritten message will say, “We aren’t here yet…but we are online at www.pamolderdesigns.com and follow our progress on Facebook”. I am confident this message will attract some new customers in time for the hoildays, but if you have any ideas- chime in!

American Craft Week


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American Craft Week will run through October 12, 2014. All across the country, those of us that make and sell our unique handmade jewelry, metal work, pottery, woodwork and other crafts invite you into our studios and to festivals to see our work firsthand. American Made is important to keep our strong history and tradition of crafts alive.  Please support this week of events by sharing this with others.

Pam Older Designs will be selling at the Fall Harvest Festival in Newburyport, MA this coming Sunday, Oct 12th and Monday, Oct 13th from 10-5pm. The festival will be held on State St., Inn St. and Market Square but If you cannot make it my jewelry can also be seen at www.pamolderdesigns.com.

Brand New Designs!


Golden quartz on a modern silver loopy chain
Golden quartz on a modern silver loopy chain

We have been working tirelessly in our studio to come up with new jewelry for Fall 2014!  My largest customer, the Sundance Catalog, start looking a year before for Fall merchandise.

Lucky for us, most of our handmade designer jewelry is seasonless so you can buy these pieces right now on our website! Her’s our Barcelona Necklace, named after the famous city I have yet to visit! I want to go, so perhaps this will be my tailsman and get me there. Have you been? What were the highlights, I would really love to know!

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While we are at it, here are our favorite Barcelona Earrings to go with it! Lightweight silver with the same golden hues of golden semi-precious stones! Rutilated and Whiskey quartz, Mandarin Garnet, cascade from a loopy silver chain.

Nina Designs!


Victorian Hearts

Just completed a few new pieces that I love – The Victorian Heart & Leaf Drop earrings are both in handcrafted in pyrite. The earrings look great with my new Vintage Victorian Necklace (my all time favorite piece!).  Also fond of a little brown leather bracelet with two curled vine leaves that I did as a special order. These great charm components came from a supplier called Nina Designs!

Vine Leaf Leather Bracelet
Leaf Drop Earrings
Leaf Drop Earrings

Visiting my Indian Sister in Jaipur


stone cutters in Jaipur India

The Stone Cutting Factory

Last February,  I went to Northern India and Nepal and stopped in Jaipur to visit my friends Nidhi and Ranjan at their home and stone cutting factory. Nidhi and I connected right away in person as we had  gotten to know each other through our extensive email correspondence over the years. We had gone through a divorce (mine) and a death of  a loved one (hers) and she was my Indian Sister as soon as we hugged each other at the airport.  They met me with roses and gifts and I was overjoyed to finally be meeting her and Ranjan. Later I met their two children and his parents and was shown how their 8 year old son could preform complex mathematics using an abacus. Two feasts were prepared in my honor. The second could not be served because I was still so full from the first one and from the mid morning samosas & chai, one of the culinary highlights of my life.  I was so sorry, they had gone to such extreme measures to prepare, but I could not possibly eat another bite! After our meal, more gifts were bestowed- a lovely book on India and a traditional painting adorned with stones.

After our meal Ranjan and his number two man brought in satchel upon satchel of beads for me to look at and buy for my handmade jewelry business. They had called in their local bead contacts who sent in valise after valise of bead strands for me to inspect and buy. I bought rubies, chalcedony, apatite, citrine, and my favorite- tanzanite.  One of my new handcrafted hoop earring designs for the Sundance Catalog features these stones- take a look http://www.sundancecatalog.com/product/code/56585.do!

After the buying was done, I met the men that cut the premium calipered semiprecious stones that I order for my creations! The crew was so kind – they came in on a holiday to meet me and to show me the sorting, cutting and polishing process that goes into their work. Here is a picture of the small room where they work the top floor of a residential building (Ranjan and Nidhi live below on two floors and renters below that). The center core of the building is open to the sky and on that day we got a wet.  Outside were cows and camels and a man taking a bath in a bucket. This is still Jaipur in 2012.  Go to http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-filagree-drops/  for an example of the beautiful lemon quartz briolettes they made for us.


Romancing the Stone: Westchester Jewelry Designer, Pam Older in the WAG


Pam Older

I just met with a writer named Mary Shustack.  I had met Mary 7 years ago when she interviewed me for an article about Westchester jewelry designers exhibiting at The New York Gift Show.  Mary called me for a new article that just came out in the December 2011 WAG. The new piece is about Westchester and Southern Connecticut residents who are passionate about what they do. I am honored that she included me in the mix!

The WAG is under new ownership whose goal is to increase readership by expanding coverage of local news and personalities, making it more of a consumer magazine. The magazine is available at retail locations in Westchester and Southern Connecticut.  Click here to read the article and thanks Mary! A small handmade jewelry business is grateful for publicity!

The Daily Muse & Saatchi & Saatchi Celebrate Women Who Create!


The Daily Muse and Saatchi & Saatchi are sponsoring SheMakes, a holiday pop-up festival in NYC to celebrate women who create. Pam Older Designs will be attending this unique holiday event with a special line of beautiful necklaces created just for holiday giving. Please come support all 30+ female designers and entrepreneurs! From artists to food entrepreneurs, the event is to help holiday shoppers discover emerging talent and find unique gifts from female- lead companies. The pop-up festival will be held on Dec. 3rd,  12-5 pm, at Saatchi & Saatchi, 375 Hudson St., NYC.

Labradorite Ruffle Necklace

Festive Jewelry! That time of year at Pam Older Designs Jewelry!


White Topaz Vermeil Pendant on Nugget Chain

These sparkly necklaces are just waiting for a party! The short briolette necklace is tourmaline & pink topaz, a gorgeous mix of stones is $350.00.

The sparkling vermeil (silver with 22k gold microplate) pendant on a long nugget chain can be worn long or doubled, without a pendant, as versatile as it gets at $650.00.  The circular pendant is set with white topaz replacing the diamonds I used in a more serious 18k pendant sold through the Sundance Catalog for $6,000.00! My friend tried it on with a beige cashmere sweater and it looks elegant! These are both limited edition items. If you are interested email me at Pamolder@mac.com! http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-quartz-ruffle/