We basically sold the glass jewels with the sew on settings, and the stuff Ælfwine made with it, until one day Ælfwine noticed that the building he worked in was a jewelry wholesaler, Blake Brothers.* That Pennsic we bought about $400 worth of their rings and charms, and sold about half. We didn’t think that was good, but were told that it was, and got more. Sadly, as artists, we’d love to sell more of our hand made stuff. But as merchants, we are in this for the enjoyment of watching people walk away gleeful about getting something they really love, whether it’s a ring, stockings, a silk shawl or a statue for their altar. But in truth, because you can get a nice ring for under $20, and even if we price our work at only a few bucks above the materials cost, most people can only afford the silver and stockings. We worried how the jewelry could possibly be sold that inexpensively, but Blake’s assures us it’s all Fair Trade, which is a relief to me, and most of our customers.
This is not to say that our prices haven’t gone up. Since it’s wholesale, we buy the silver by weight, and we used to be able to do a 3x mark up, but now we can’t sell it unless we only do 2x. Good thing we don’t have the overhead of a storefront! We buy as much as we can from the show-room, and even the discount room, so we can never tell what we’re going to find. We started with the most authentic medieval looking jewelry we could find for the SCA, but when we started doing Renn Faires, we branched out into more sparkly stuff. If we have it, it’s out. Sometimes we get a bunch of something we know will be popular, and we try to have a good selection of large and small rings. Up to size 17 and down to size 4. We never know what we’re going to find, so neither will you.
Here’s a bunch of pictures of the trays taken in Spring of 2014. If you see something you want, you’ll have to email and ask if it’s still available, and what it would cost. Last time we counted we had over a thousand different pieces, and since we can’t replace them with duplicates, we aren’t going to take a picture of each and post it separately. We’d rather have a large, varied selection than a consistent and small one. You can use the tray liner color to narrow down which tray you’re talking about.
I am not a good photgrapher and will have to have someone retake these- unless you are looking for an item you already are familiar with from seeing it an an event, I fear these may not be clear enough. Click on a tray to get a better look.
*Some people say we should protect our sources, but I’ve never found any sense in that. We were at the Stonemarche and Malagentia Wars (Now Great NorthEastern War) once and I was able to identify five merchants who all got most of their stock from the Dragon’s Horde, but we had nearly no overlap. Each of us selected a different kind of thing to sell, not intentionally, but because we were drawn to different things. So by all means, if you can save money by going straight to the wholesaler, go for it!