Monday, October 3, 2016

10.03.16 She was organized to the end...

Here at my house we have a dark, and somewhat twisted sense of humor - I attribute that largely to the influence of my mother.  I also inherited her deep desire for order and organization.

My family likes to joke that when I leave them, my epitaph will read:

Beloved wife, mother, (and grandmother, I hope - if my children are reading this).
She was organized to the end.

Initially, I tried to argue and threatened to cut them off as my heirs if they did this - but on the advice of multiple lawyer friends, I've given up that fight.

So, you ask, why am I sharing this with you? Because honestly, they are right - and I really do embrace my penchant to have a place for everything, and everything in its place - and one of my wonderful blog readers asked about how I organize my jewelry.

Recently, Janet wrote -

I find myself looking forward to your blog posts. They're thoughtful and amusing. I usually learn something and come away with a smile on my face. This made my whole week!  She went on to ask some questions, so I'm going to answer them.

I have been wondering how you organize your earring collection? 
The short answer is with a label maker and lots of small ziploc bags.  Not just earrings, but every piece of jewelry has its own small bag.  Most of my earrings are in 2x2 clear bags, larger things like brooches, necklaces and bracelets are in bigger bags. 

I use my label maker to put the name or an abbreviation for the jeweler plus the item description on each piece, and I place a small tarnish protection square in with each item.
Photo credit:

A few things are in the original pouches from the jeweler - if they provide some protection from tarnishing, but I like the clear bags because it makes it very easy to find what I am looking for.

The bags and little squares can be purchased on Amazon, craft sites like Etsy, or at Rio Grande Jewelry supply.

What do you do when one of a pair of earrings breaks or gets lost?

It depends. Fortunately, I haven't lost too many earrings over the years. 

If it's something like a stone falling out of a setting, or snap bars no longer staying latched, and I like the earrings (and they have value - sentimental or monetary), I will take them to master jeweler Chuck Schaffer at Russell Korman and have them repaired.  Why don't I do it myself? Because I'm NOT an experienced jeweler, and if it's worth repairing, then it's worth having it done right.

If they aren't repair worthy, I might take the beads off of the wire or out of the setting they are in and toss them into my bead box and put the settings (if they are silver) into my recycling scrap.  I do the same thing with inexpensive chain - if the clasp fails, or a link breaks, I assess whether it is worth it to attempt to do the repair myself (I could put on a new clasp with a jump ring), cut the ends off and use the chain elsewhere, or scrap and recycle it.

For a lost earring, there's not a whole lot to do - unless perhaps you could convert the bead or dangle to a charm or pendant if you really like it.  In an effort not to end up with a single earrings, I tend to opt for screw backs on expensive things like diamond studs, leverbacks on gemstone dangles, and make use of lots of silicone nuts on my earwires. I particularly like these 5mm ones from Amazon.  It took me a long time to find them - and now I order them 100 at a time.

How do you part ways with earrings? I find that over the years there are earrings that suited me well, but then 5, 10, or 15 years later, they don't. Does that happen to you, and what do you do?

Honestly, it doesn't happen very often.  Take these glass Donald Duck earrings, for example.  My family went to Walt Disney World in 1978 and there was a person making lampwork beads that looked like all the Disney characters.  The last time I wore them was probably when my (now adult) children were in elementary school - but I keep them nonetheless because they hold fond memories.

Before I started doing metal work, I would go through periods of making beaded earrings - and after a while I just got tired of them - so I offered them up to my friends to make room for new things.

I posted pictures of the ones I no longer wanted on Facebook, and said first to claim them gets them - with only one requirement - the recipient had to post a selfie wearing the earrings.  It was quite a lot of fun - so much so that I did it a several times.  At this point, I don't have any more earrings I want to give away.

I've put a few truly "vintage" pairs up for auction on Etsy, and still others I've disassembled to reuse the beads or findings - especially if there was a really unique earwire.

Other than that - I really don't part with my jewelry.  I've handed off a few things to my daughter, but mostly, I just keep it - which means I've got 40+ years of accumulated baubles, each in their own little bag.  Even if I'm not wearing it, each piece holds memories and occasionally I find that after not wearing something for years, it's suddenly back in style, or just right for a new outfit.

Thanks for the great questions - I hope the answers are useful - or at least entertaining.  It means so much to know that you all are out there reading what I write.

Until next time.

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