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How your pieces are made to last

The Brooches

My name is Mary and I have a problem. I buy pins, LOTS of pins. I buy them everywhere. Not to wear, just to have because I think they're cool. Antique stores, flea markets, on-line, estate sales. Family and friends buy them for me as gifts to feed my obsession. At one point I had 30+ pins, and this was before I started using them in jewelry... I needed a necklace for an event and when I looked around my studio for a pendant I was inspired by a gorgeous vintage Avon butterfly brooch, the rest is history!  Now I hunt brooches in a sort of "catch and release" manner :) I clean and repair them. I use jewelers glue to tighten up gems and replace bits and pieces. Sometimes I'll embellish a brooch with a bit of wire wrapping when appropriate. I keep them until I have the perfect beads for them, I've still got pins from 25 years ago that are still waiting for the right beads. It's crazy but it's worth it.  On to stringing materials!

The Skinny on Stringing

  When I first started making jewelry I, like many newbies, used cotton or poly stringing material. The result was that my pieces broke after a few months (or weeks!) of normal wear. I discovered after a little research that the oils in human skin (especially sweat) have acids that literally eat through organic stringing material rather quickly. No bueno. My goal even then was stronger hold and life-time wear. I personally now only use nylon coated steel for stringing, and instead of knots I use crimps (tiny metal vices). I have pieces over 20 years old that are still strong using this type of stringing method. My goal is "heirloom quality" that means it can be handed down over decades.