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Handmade What?

Aurora Simmons

People sometimes ask me why the things I make cost so much.  If you are comparing my work to something that was assembled from manufactured parts, or other mass produced jewellery, the  answer should be fairly obvious. Because I have to make a living wage in Canada, because I am not a huge corporation who can buy vast quantities of raw materials in bulk and because making things by hand takes time, education and swearing. I also use high quality materials that won't make your ears melt.  Yesterday I made three pairs of studs (really two and a half because I started one of the pairs the day before)  I thought I would document the process step by step, in boring detail, so you can follow me on this magical journey of craft.  If you count the pictures you will find that there are about 30 individual stages that these studs go through before they are finished. Usually I make them in batches because it's a bit more efficient. I have interspersed a few comments through the gallery to clarify details. I hope you follow me all the way to the end :)  

Still with me? That's great. Luckily yesterday I didn't actually manage to make any of the very exciting mistakes that can cause this process to be even more time consuming. For example, you can melt the posts when you are soldering them on. You can fling the studs across the room when polishing and be unable to find them. This actually happened a few times but I found them after only 5 to 10 minutes of swearing. You can break gems when setting which is a real kicker. Sometimes it's because you suck, other times it's because the stone had a fracture plane you didn't know about. If you are feeling really talented you can drop a gem on the floor and be unable to find it. That I have definitely done. But not yesterday. If this magical image series has made you desperate to own your own studs you can purchase them below. I have two pairs that I wear all the time. But of course, I am a jeweller and can't really help myself.  If you scroll down, you can see me squinting awkwardly at the camera with a pair of studs in my ears. Those are peridot and blue topaz. I am probably going to get more holes in my ears just so I can wear more studs. I was thinking green tourmaline. Ok maybe I do have a problem.

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