CBC did an eye opening marketplace report on the cheap, imported costume jewelry sold in chains such as Ardene’s and Aldo. You won’t believe what they found!
Last year I set up a table at a flea market type event with my handmade mixed metals jewelry. (I have since learned that those markets are not the place for my work, but nevertheless, that’s where I was.)
The metals I use for most of my work are sterling silver, pure copper, and professional quality brass and bronze from Rio Grande, which are copper/zinc and copper/tin alloys. NO LEAD, and NO CADMIUM. Nickel free as well, which is important for people sensitive to nickel since that is the metal that usually makes people itchy.
I overheard a woman muttering to her friend that they could buy the same rings for five dollars at a table across from us. No, actually… not the same whatsoever. That five dollar bargain ring could very well have been full of toxic chemicals, and if not, it was most likely made by a child in terrible working conditions. Fake “stones” and beads made of glass or plastic are another big difference in product quality.
Yes, my work will cost a little bit more than the imported, mass produced items found in flea markets, but it will be a truly unique and one of a kind piece, made in a state of complete joy.