To Sell It…To Sell It Not: That Is The Question

by Zoraida.
(Patchogue, New York, USA)

I know many of you jewelry makers have created something you just couldn’t sell. Not because it wasn’t worthy, but because you fell in love with it and couldn’t bare to part with it.

Here Comes the Sun necklace

One of my necklaces (Here Comes the Sun) was away for several months at Bead Style Magazine. It’s been featured in their Sept. 2012, Readers Gallery. I just got it back. I really missed it but knew it would be returned eventually so I patiently waited and absorbed myself in other projects.

Once back in my possession, I knew I was going to keep it for myself. Looking at the colors just cheered me up! It’s the only thing I’ve made in that style.

I wore this necklace to a Gem & Mineral show I just did and noticed many eyes focused on it rather than on my face quite often. This was a two day show so some of the customers came back on the second day.

My table at the start, not quite finished

One lady was at my table for several hours on both days. She lived nearby and would go home to change her clothes then return and try on more jewelry. She must have done this 3 or more times! I was beginning to feel stalked! She was pleasant and more than a little strange but we chatted away while she tried on everything on my table.

My feature in Bead Style Magazine

I figured she would eventually leave without buying anything and that would be fine as long she didn’t follow me home. I was afraid to leave my table for even a minute or she may “forget” she was wearing my jewelry. Paranoia!

Anyway, back to my Here Comes the Sun necklace, she really wanted to try it on even though I’d said it was not for sale.

Cover of the Sept 2012 issue of Bead Style Magazine

She offered me twice the amount I would have sold it for (if it were for sale). I asked her to let me think about it but at the end of the second day, she gave up saying it looked better on me than on her anyway.

On Sunday at 5:00pm the show ended. I looked over my shoulder constantly as I packed up my things and dismantled my display.

Although the show had ended, she lingered. I hoped she wouldn’t follow me to the parking lot -she didn’t. She was just a little odd.

This lady eventually purchased 4 necklaces, 3 pair of earrings and a pendant. It was my biggest single, sale of the day!

I was happy, surprised and made sure to deposit her check first thing on Monday morning. You never know.

zoraidajewelry at zibbet

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  1. Congratulations on the BeadStyle spread. It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers.
    I had a necklace dilemma like yours. I have this piece for sale on my website but I marked it with a high price tag. And even if someone did buy it, it would still not be high enough. I might mark it even higher now that you mentioned this funny problem of becoming so attached to a piece!

  2. What a great story Zoraida…. I’m so glad to know I am not the only one who becomes attached – I mean really ‘attached’ to a piece I have created. I have sort-of-a doctrine of ONLY presenting/making/finishing pieces that I love. If I don’t love it, some times I don’t even finish it and definitely don’t put it “out there”. If it sells at a reasonable price – to a great home, great…. If not, fine, I’ll wear it myself and feel good about it.

    Thanks again and congrats for being featured in Bead Style… your work is indeed, impressive!

  3. Pascha Lee says:

    Zoraida, this is the reason I haven’t sold any of my earrings. They are like my “babies” and what loving mother parts with her babies? I want to start selling my earrings but once I make them, I can’t bare to part with them. See, the fact is most of my earrings come from necklaces I have torn apart and I’m afraid I will not find those particular beads again. I also like that the fact of being “One -of -a -kind”. Other than that, I would just make an additional pair for myself. Thanks for sharing and your necklace is truly lovely. I’m glad to know I am not the only one who feels this way.

  4. Some people are lonely. She was happy to ‘pay’ for your company on those days by eventually buying some things! I know someone like this. Will keep coming back, chatting, looking, trying. Only ever buys at the end of the day. Harmless but tiring!

  5. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I knew I wasn’t the only jewelry artist out there who wanted to keep her own stuff! Our creations do contain a piece of us and jewelry, like many other forms of art, is not just something we make and let go of easily. Then again, it’s nice to share your artistry and know that someone else can love it too.

  6. Your necklace is lovely!! I am a “struggling” jewelry artist and was wondering did you take the picture of this necklace (Here comes the sun)? Any pointers on how to take a great picture like this would be appreciated.

  7. Thanks so much, Pam! Yes, I take all my own photos. I’m not a great photographer and don’t have expensive equipment. I have a Canon Power Shot 10X camera set on automatic. I use a Lucite cutting board (the kind used for kitchens) which I place by a window using natural light. I also use Picmonkey ( to edit my photos – that’s it. The camera is older and not expensive (probably around $150 or less by now).
    Good luck with your photos!!!!!

  8. Using the cutting board as background for photos is a great idea Zoraida! I have been using the MS Photo Gallery which does pretty well but not as good as photo shop — will definitely check out the picmonkey for editing.

    Thanks for the question Pam and thanks Zoraida for the straightforward response.

  9. I had the same feeling with the latest hair stick I made. As I was making it, I planned to sell it, but it was so beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to part with it. Lucky thing too…because when I put it on, I found that the main wire spiral in the charm kept latching onto my hair. I narrowly missed having a very frustrated customer!

    P.S. I’ve heard that jewelry artists should always wear their own jewelry to shows, but that it should be jewelry they’re planning to part with because it’s guaranteed to get a lot of attention from hopeful buyers.

  10. Thanks for the cutting board idea. I am having a terrible time with backgrounds. Some days, the photos are perfect and other days I cannot get the colours to come out correctly. Or one colour will be perfect but another stone will be wrong.

    Me? Phhht. Price it ridiculously high and sell it — that person will love it all the more. You can always make another one, but they can never ever buy one quite like that. I do know (from 40+ years’ experience) that keeping an item (drawing, painting — or jewellery) because you feel that you’ll never do something as beautiful again actually prevents you from making anything more beautiful.


  11. We definitely should wear our own jewelry to shows. I always do. In fact, I change it often to something else on my table so that I’m constantly “modeling” my jewelry. People seem to want what someone else has especially when they “think” they can’t have it. I’ve sold several pieces of jewelry off my body this way. I’ve also received special orders for something similar to what I was wearing. I was undecided about selling this piece but it all worked out in the end.

    It was a good thing that you wore that hair stick that day. I’ve also found a tiny, annoying wire sticking out when I put something on that needed fixing – better jabbing me than a potential customer!

  12. Thanks Barbara. The white lucite cutting board seems to reflect light onto the jewelry, which I love. I prefer not to do anything with a background and focus on the item filling up the space.
    Yes, pricing my treasured little piece ridiculously high is an option I may use one day. Sometimes it’s not the money or thinking I may never create something like it again. I’ve simply grown attached to it. Impractical, I know….maybe it and I just need some time apart 🙂

  13. I too grow attached to some of my pieces and do not want to sell them, but, I have sold several pieces right off my body because when I have said “it is not for sale” and have been asked ” if you were to sell it. how much would you sell it for?” $ 600.00 is always my magic answer.
    I say magic because I have sold these pieces on a plane at 30,000 feet, in an elevator, in a restaurant during dinner, and in the ladies room of a hotel in Las Vegas. Yes, I kind of miss those pieces, especially those that never got photographed because I did not intend to sell them.

  14. Wow, good work!!! You are an inspiration 🙂

  15. Marie de Jager says:


  16. After 30 years selling my glass art jewelry, I’ve had a number of pieces that have ended up in my “personal collection” and simply aren’t for sale. I agree you can always raise the price to a ridiculous $$ amount, but why don’t you use the photograph you took and remake the piece again selling this original design to the customer and create a life-time, valued customer that will go out and talk to friends about you as an artist (send her home with a whole bunch of business cards too!).

    All of the beads are simple, round beads that you can probably buy again if you don’t have more left over; or work with a local glass beadmaker to make you some more and then use the copper wirewrapping techniques to finish the design.

    Personally, I will always sell a design I wear unless I am unable to duplicate it or do not have a photograph/record of the design. I would much rather have a very, very happy customer go home thinking they found a great new artist who’s work they love and will tell everyone about me too. Just a thought…..

  17. It’s interesting to see that so many of you are like me! I do get attached to my jewelry some times, very attached I mean, and those I decide not to sell. I think there is a luck factor too. Especially with my wire work. Some times some jewelry just turn out great, even better than what I expect and some, even if I want to duplicate with the same materials do not come out exactly the same. I make a lot of knitted wire jewelry and wire work and that is what I am talking about. Zoraida, your piece is just stunning.

  18. Thank you Dita! It’s true – no two pieces come out exactly the same. That’s the nature of handmade and often, it’s the original that is difficult to part with. I’ll sometimes make a “duplicate” and sell that one.

  19. Congratulations on your necklace being shown in Bead Style!! I enjoyed the story of your strange shopper, happy you made a big sale.

  20. Lovely stories and I empathize. About the lucite board, is it clear or frosted? Thank you, lise’

  21. Hi, Lise, Frosted, otherwise whatever is behind the board will show through and you’d be back to square one with a distracting background.

  22. Thanks Lise, my board is frosted.

  23. Congratulations on having your fabulous necklace in BeadStyle. You do amazing work and deserve the recognition.

  24. Thank you Lynn!!

  25. Kimberly says:

    When I come up with an idea that I really think I can’t part with I just make two from the git go, that is if I have enough materials on hand. If I don’t, then I usually find myself making a variation of the original idea. Sometimes I end up with a whole line from one design. I do love my jewels and often find it hard to part with some of my pieces too!

  26. Congrats! Awesome article..this gives me a push to showcase my jewelries at the art/craft shows 🙂


  27. Hi. I love your piece too. It is so bright and sunny!! Your colors are an inspiration.

    I just skimmed the comments from others, so others may have said this better: why not use your personal collection piece as a jump off place for a design collection. You could either do a custom “knock-off” for someone OR make a another one that you would sell. I know no two pieces are the same, but that is the point, someone will love the second piece just as much as you love the first piece. Also, your main piece could be the center of a design collection. You could make simpler pieces that follow the main piece in flavor but are slightly different, but in the same vein. Using the same type of metal and bead colors. Earrings, bracelets, chokers, longer pieces….

    Manufacturers say that to create the first machine takes a long time, the second, slightly less, the third even less. And by the time you get to 20 or 30, even less time is used because the people making the machines get better and faster. I same is true for jewelry making I think. Sometimes it takes me a long time to make something and I think, wow, if I made a bunch of these, it would take forever, but if I REALLY did sit down and make a bunch, maybe it would not take a long time….

    Also, I had an idea about the lady who kept coming back and trying on jewelry: do you have an iPhone or Blackberry? Offer to take photos of such ladies, wearing the pieces that they select so they can decide which piece they want to buy…. It is great that she finally did buy a lot!

  28. I love your necklace. I am impressed by your design. I am a very new wire wrapper but I have been an artist painter for many years. I have a few paintings that I cannot part with, ever, in this lifetime. It is far too soon for me to have created any jewelry I could not part with so what I make is either for myself, or a family member. BTW, people looking to buy art are sometimes like that–take a long time, keep coming back, talking a lot, etc. She was probably fascinated with your jewelry and needed time to decide what to buy.

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