While editing some project instructions for jewelry magazines, I've noticed three common errors. Even if you don't write project instructions, you'll still want to avoid these mistakes in your design descriptions for jewelry you sell:
- Bronze vs. Brass
I understand the confusion of this error. Many findings such as clasps or ear wires are bronze in color. However, they are not necessarily created with the metal known as bronze; they're almost always brass. Some designers describe this color as "antiqued brass" to emphasize its dark color. If you do that, make sure that you use "antiqued brass" (with a "d") and not "antique brass" (without the "d"). An antique is an item that is more than 100 years old.
- Vintaj vs. Vintage
Even though these two words look alike, they are not synonyms. Vintaj is a brand name, a shortened form of the company name, Vintaj Natural Brass Company. They sell a popular line of antiqued brass findings, beads, metal blanks, and chain. While these materials look old, they're actually new. "Vintage" normally describes an item that is at least 20 years old, according to many online selling sites.
The problem with using "silver" as a descriptive word is that it's vague. Do you mean silver-plated, silver in color (often called silvertone in places like J. Jill), sterling silver, pewter, silver-filled, nickel silver, aluminum, or fine silver? Yes, the price of your item should be a clue, but you might be surprised how often customers assume that "silver" means high quality sterling silver and they've just discovered the deal of the century with those $5 earrings in your shop.
Being clear and accurate when writing about your materials gives you a great advantage in the very crowded jewelry field. It can help you avoid potential misunderstandings with customers and keep them coming back. (Imagine learning that a silver necklace you bought wasn't sterling silver, but nickel silver. Wouldn't you be upset—especially if you were allergic to nickel?) It also makes you look like a smart designer, one who is not only creative, but who's taken the time to learn about her craft in a deeper way than most. In other words, you look like someone who knows what she's doing. Someone others want to recommend to their family and friends. Someone they trust. What could be better than that?