January…

I’ve enjoyed a lovely quiet January.  After a very busy Christmas, I’ve taken the chance to grab some blissful rest and relaxation which has been much needed! There’s also a ton of admin needed in January if you run a small business – the tax return is due, bills need paid, and supplies usually need reordering, so these have taken priority.  But I have a huuuuuge collection of new products that I’m just about to launch, and the birthstone fanatics out there are going to love them!

Meantime here’s some of the glorious garnets that I’ve made recently  – enjoy!

Garnet Citrine and Emerald Stacking Ring set.

Triple Garnet Ring set

Garnet and Moonstone Duo

All rings are available individually in my Etsy Shop, and as Custom sets by messaging via Etsy.

A catch up….and why I’ve not been posting on Facebook recently.

It feels like ages since I’ve been on any form of social media and I think it’s time I explained myself…I’ve just been too busy! So it’s time for a catch up.

My Etsy shop has been keeping me busy lately, so busy in fact that updating all my social channels has become less of a priority. Added to that, it’s been great to see my folksy.com shop has gotten busier and I’ve sent out some lovely orders to customers from there too. I’ve also had my hands full in my other role of leader of GlasgowEtsy, more of that later!

But there’s also another reason why I haven’t been active on Facebook. I’m sure you’ve seen other small business posts telling you the same story; it’s just become so so difficult to be seen over there. When I first launched maramjewellery, Facebook was so good – my posts were being seen by all my page likers, people were interacting and supporting me, but over time, facebook have changed how they do business, and they’ve realised that they can make a lot of money out of businesses like mine by making us pay to be seen. So although I have just short of 1000 page likers- people who have ticked a box to say ‘Yeah! I like this, show me more!’, my posts are being shared with less than 2% of them. Unless I pay, which I have tried, only to find that my ‘reach’ (who is seeing my page) drops off a cliff straight after, creating a circle of pay/drop of a cliff/pay/drop some more and so on.   Which is frustrating. Especially so when I’ve made something lovely and I want to share it, then no one comments or likes because they haven’t seen it. Instead of feeling enthused and excited, I’m left feeling despondent, and as a maker who puts their heart and soul into their work, that’s difficult. So I’ve ditched the negativity and the number watching  and  concentrated my efforts recently into new work which I’m going to be showing off in the coming weeks. Just in time for Christmas-exciting! And like a true circle, it’s also made me realise that I miss the good parts of Facebook, the joy when someone contacts me after seeing my work there, and all the lovely interactions I have with the people who DO see my work. So I’ll be back there soon and hope that you’ll click a like or leave a comment as each time you interact with my page, my little world on facebook get bigger, and bigger*.

Oh, and I’m also on Instagram too, which I love! But again, they’ve recently changed their posts from chronological to your interests. It’s not as difficult to be found as on Facebook but time will tell  !

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At work in my studio

*Current Facebook algorithms mean that each time you get interaction (ie: a like or comment), it shares your post with more people, so each time you like or comment on something you love, you are helping that post become visible…and we small business pages will LOVE you forever for that!

Folksy, Etsy ….what’s the difference?

I’ve just added the link to my Folksy Shop alongside the link to my Etsy Shop and thought I’d spend a few moments letting you know why it’s best to look at them both!

First, a little explanation of each shop and why they are different.

Folksy is a UK based online marketplace, based in Sheffield and all sellers need to be based in the UK. It’s solely a handmade website with supplies too- so most things are made by the artists themselves. It’s been around in 2008, a relatively small operation, ran by around 10 staff, all lovely and chatty and it’s really quick to get answers to any queries because it’s still relatively small. I love that you can really connect with folksy staff and they’ve been really supportive in promoting my work so far, which is good! There really is a great range available on folksy and I find the best way to use the site is either to head straight to the category you’re looking for or click into one of the gift guides to really explore the site. With regards to buying on folksy, it’s Paypal only (which takes credit/debit cards anyway!) normally with a Folksy account- but they also have a guest checkout facility which is great if you don’t want to sign up for yet another website.

Next to Folksy, Etsy seems like a mega store. Based in the USA, it’s the biggest craft selling website, so as you’d expect, it’s got lots of engineers making the buying process super easy. As well as Paypal, you can use Direct Checkout- ie pay Etsy directly by Debit or Credit card, which is great for those that don’t like using Paypal. It’s got three categories for selling – Handmade, Supplies and Vintage, and sellers are throughout the world, so you can buy something from Portugal or Portland and many places in between. The only thing I’d mention to an Etsy new shopper is watch out for customs charges if you’re buying from abroad as they can be pretty hefty, so factor them into the price when you’re buying (Royal mail charges an £8 handling charge as well as the tax…), but as long as you’re aware then shop away! Alternatively, you can set the filters to UK or Europe to find products that won’t attract this extra charge.

I also have shops on Bouf.com and wowthankyou.co.uk that I’m slowly updating with most of my range, but until then, Folksy and Etsy are the best places to buy from maramjewellery. I always say to look at both as there’s sometimes a few things I put in one shop only to test it, or because I’ve only got one left. It’s also good to browse through my sold items to see those sneaky private commissions that need to stay hidden til they have been gifted…

Which one do you prefer? Is there any other marketplaces you think I should sell on? Get in touch or leave a comment as I’d love to know your thoughts!

Birthstone Family Ringsets..

One of my most popular commissions are for Birthstone Ring sets. I adore making these as they are always so different, and I just love making something that I know will have such a deep and personal meaning for its wearer. I often get asked the same questions about them so I thought I’d compile a Frequently Asked Questions post just for them. If you have anything you want me to add, leave a note in the comments or contact me to let me know.

What are they?

They are stacking ring sets that have birthstones in them. Most people choose to have the main stone as their birthstones, and the smaller stones to mark the birthstones of other significant people in their life. This can be anyone, from husbands and partners to children and grandchildren, even nieces and nephews or siblings. Basically, they can mark any person or date that is important to you.

Is it one ring?

No, it’s not. Each birthstone is on a separate band but they are designed and made to be worn together, so they do give the impression it’s all one ring as they fit together neatly! If you look closely you’ll see the largest birthstone is on a round band ring and the smaller stones are on a square edged ring. With each set, I throw in a plain Silver band free of charge.

What are they made from?

They are Sterling Silver throughout with natural gemstones. All stones are real and not lab produced or imitation.

How do I order?

The easiest way to order is to get in touch with me via my Etsy  or Folksy Shops and send me a message. Alternatively, send me a message on Facebook or an email to maramjewellery@gmail.com.

How much are they?

As each set is different, it’s hard to give a price here, so I ask you to get in touch for a personalised quote. For reference, all the rings are available on Etsy/Folksy so add them to your basket to get an idea of the maximum. Your personalised price will always be lower as I give a discount for making them as a set and I add in one plain silver band into the set free of charge. Bargain!

What’s my Birthstones??

Simple! Here’s a list:

January – Garnet

February – Amethyst

March – Aquamarine

April – White Topaz (Diamond is traditional but white topaz is the modern equivalent, still clear and sparkly but without the hefty price tag!)

May – Emerald

June – Moonstone

July – Ruby

August – Peridot

September – Sapphire

October – Opal (though I often use pink and green tourmaline too)

November – Citrine

December – Turquoise

Yuck. I don’t like the birthstone for me/my son/husband etc

Again – no problem! We can tweak it slightly by looking at modern or historical charts to see if we can use something different. Or just use one you like, I won’t tell anyone, promise!

How long do they take to make?

Timescales differ depending on time of year, but usually its 2-3 weeks. I always let you know when you get in touch if it’s going to be longer,which can happen during peak periods like Mother’s Day and Christmas. If it’s for a special occasion, let me know as soon as possible so that I don’t  disappoint you – stones often take time to be delivered so the more notice I have the better.

Can I add more at a later date?

Absolutely! Just order the ring through the same venue as the main set (ie Etsy/folksy etc) as it’ll show if you’ve ordered before. I’ll refund the money you would have saved by ordering together so it’s an easy way to build up your collection cost effectively. Leave a note in the comments to remind me you’ve ordered before. (Discount is given any time a set of two rings are ordered – all future rings are given a small discount if ordered afterwards).

Where can I see some more examples of sets you’ve made before.

I try and keep my Facebook page and Instagram updated with as many sets as possible. However, a lot of my sets are surprise gifts so they are not always shared til much later. If you are looking to see a particular combination, it’s worth emailing me and I’ll see what similar ones I’ve made and I’ll give you a sneaky look! Likewise, if you’ve been gifted one, please share a photo on my Facebook page so that I know I can post my pictures of it without ruining the surprise!

I hope I’ve answered all the questions you may have about them, but if I haven’t, get in touch!

It’s almost July…time for Ruby.

I can’t believe how quickly June has passed. It’s been a month of many milestones and celebrations, a very busy month that has left me thankful that the school summer break is here and we can work to a slightly slower routine!

So July is almost here, and it’s the month of Rubies, one of my favourite birthstones!

I’m sharing some of the sets I’ve made that show of the range of Rubies that I use. Of course, there is many more so it’s worth checking out my Facebook page or my Etsy shop to see more!

This set features a facet cut stone, matched with the birthstones for May, October and December. I love using the facet cut version but it’s the trickiest one to source, so if you see it in my online shops, order it quick!

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Birthstone set featuring Ruby, Pink Tourmaline, Turquoise and Emerald

Next up is a triple Ruby set, one large 5mm stone alongside two 3mm stones. This set has two plain bands added so that the wearer has options on how to wear them. As you can see, the focal stone is a normal cabochon: dome shaped, but flat on it’s surface.

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Triple Ruby Birthstone Ring set

And my last set shows two Rubies along with a Turquoise and a Sapphire. There’s a slight colour variation between the two rubies- I don’t often get two that ‘match’ unless I specifically ask for it, but I prefer them this way as it shows they are natural stones, not mass produced and identical.

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Birthstone set featuring Turquoise, Sapphire and two Rubies

I love making these sets and seeing all the different combinations, knowing how special they are going to be for the person who will wear them. If you want to commission your own, the very best way is to send me a message via my Etsy shop or contact me via email at maramjewellery@gmail.com !

Next month’s birthstone is Peridot, and I’ll be sharing some ringsets featuring August’s birthstone same time next month.

Why hello there…..

You’ve found the brand spanking new maramjewellery blog- well done! I’m still in process of building the blog, thinking of posts and scribbling notes so please be patient whilst I find my way around this brave new world.. In the meantime, I have a fabulous link to my etsy shop up at the top of the page (have you found it, it’s right there underneath the big maramjewellery – see it yet? If not, you might find it in the menu button..) so pop over and y’know, maybe buy something, or at least add it to your long list of things to buy in the future. Thanks darlings!

Catch you soon

mairi x