Saturday, October 17, 2009

The right stuff

When I first started toying with the idea of using vintage and recycled materials I often ran into problems due to my lack of fluency in the vocabulary used to describe the materials. Properly describing my jewelry also came with linguistic challenges when I started my online store.

Whether it's using the right terms in Etsy or Ebays search engines or finding the right tags for your jewelry listings it helps to know a bit of terminology so here's what I have retained so far:

Vintage: An item that is 20+ years old. This does not include items made FROM vintage materials but only items that have not been manipulated. For example, on Etsy it would not be appropriate for me to list my items in the 'Vintage' category. Instead I list them in 'Handmade' and use the word 'Vintage' in my tags (provided the materials are vintage).

An item that is 50 + years old:

 David Attenborough - definitely an antique (bless his heart:)

Antiqued: This one got me a few times when buying what I thought to be antique materials! It actually describes a faux patina given to new materials to give the impression of being many years old. There is a difference in the look and feel from actual natural patina as I noticed from buying both kinds of materials.

In these earrings the ear wires are antiqued copper but the round beads are naturaly aged vintage copper.

Vintage style:
 Jewelry or supplies that have the look of vintage but are not necessarily made from vintage materials. Something that is 'antiqued' would be described as 'vintage style'.

Incredible new vintage style rings I bought from Mermaids Dowry

Eye candy! ====> Vintage Style Jewelry Flickr Group.

Complications can occur with items that are new but made with vintage tooling and molds such as metal stampings and molded cabochons. They might still be labeled as vintage even though I would not consider them as such.
If you sell jewelry made with these it is more accurate to label the materials as new but 'made with vintage tooling'.

If you sell jewelry or jewelry supplies it is very important to properly describe your items. It can be very frustrating to search for a particular item and have to sort through all the mislabeled listings to find the right thing.

Etsy Forums are a great place to find out from more seasoned sellers and buyers the info you need to list and find what you need. The Critiques section is great for sellers who need help describing and tagging their product.

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