Category: editorial

To sell jewellery online…

Onyx rectangles and freshwater pearls
First photo

When Robyn and I first decided we were going to make jewellery we set out to sell at local art shows, people could see our items in person and the jewellery would speak for itself.  I’d make a piece, snap a picture, like what you see over to the right and then move on.

Over the last couple years we’ve both had a lot of positive changes in our lives but these have made it so that attending art shows in person is a much bigger challenge then it was before. Robyn started to focus more on our ETSY store during this time. She already had a good understanding of websites and of photography and I was happy to let her run with it as this was well within her comfort zone. Then Robyn got married and had a baby and I started to feel like I should pitch in more (a lot more) with the online store side of our business.

I figured out the ETSY store and website pretty quickly but soon realized I was going to have to start posting, and more importantly, taking and editing my own jewellery pictures. Oh man! Who knew that to sell jewellery online, you also had to be a talented photographer? I was feeling well out of my element on this one so I enlisted the help of a good friend and very talented photographer, Dano Tanaka (check out his work here: I bought a mid-range fancy new camera, a mini home studio and set to my task.

The image below is the result of the last few months of learning.  As with anything else in life, I feel I have a long way to go and will enjoy continuing to improve this new skill and perhaps even apply it to other projects.  However, I am pretty happy with what I think are noticeable improvements in the quality of my images. I’m grateful to Robyn and Dano for their patience and support throughout this learning process.


Same piece as above, pictured in 2013
Same piece as above, pictured in 2013

It’s oh so quiet…

We at Drakestail Jewellery have been rather quiet for the past few months.  What gives?  We’ve had a few changes going on in our personal lives which have unfortunately cut into our creative time.  Never fear, we’ll be much more active and visible now that the dust has settled.

What has happened, you ask?  One of us has moved across the country again.  This means, of course, that while we won’t be appearing at shows together, we’re spreading our creativity across Canada!  The other half of Drakestail has a new addition to the family, a sweet little baby girl.  As you can imagine, she’s a huge priority, and so we’ll be changing our focus here at Drakestail Jewellery a bit to accomodate our new circumstances.

For the next few months, we won’t be attending any Ottawa craft shows.  The first one we’ve got scheduled is in November – details to be posted very soon in the event calendar.  Our focus will be on the Etsy store, bringing more items online for you to enjoy, and on keeping the website up to date.  Check back regularly for blog posts and other updates, and  don’t forget to like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter!


Decorating craft spaces for inspiration

If you’re a crafty sort of person, you’ll understand how easy it is for supplies to take over your crafting space.  And I don’t mean having a few extra pens that don’t fit in the desk caddy.  I mean REALLY take over.  For myself, I have a few mini cabinets of nuts-and-bolts hardware drawers to sort some of my beads and findings into, as well as a Rubbermaid tower of drawers for larger organizers and pieces.  My dad, being a woodworking hobbyist (I come by my creative side honestly!), made me a worktable with a drawer for all my tools.  Excellent!  Now I’m organized.

Beyond being organized, however, it’s important to have a few things that can inspire as well.  Working with gemstones, I love to have images that inspire new ways to combine colours, explore shapes and textures, or spark a theme or feeling. There’s nothing better than getting inspiration from the space around you, when you’re having one of those days when your creative mind needs a little kick.

This little gem (*cough*) on Etsy caught my eye as a perfect addition to my jewellery workspace.  Always keep your eyes peeled for decor that inspires your creativity!

Return to creativity

In June 2010, I was offered a job in Edmonton Alberta with one of our regional offices and I decided to accept. A short 8 weeks later I was moved across the country to a new city full of strangers, leaving my friends, family, and Drakestail temporarily behind me. There were some bumps in the road and moments where I felt lonely but overall, I really enjoyed my time out West and am so thankful for the opportunity given to me.
Despite the physical seperation between Robyn and I, the plan was for me to continue to bead and create out West, to find local art shows and to ‘grow’ the Drakestail business, as they say, best laid plans… I spent almost 2 years in Alberta and I didn’t make a single piece of jewellery that wasn’t just for myself to wear. Robyn carried the torch here in Ottawa and kept creating and attending shows. We’d discuss the business decisions via email or Skype and I was still involved in the background but creatively it seems I took a sabbatical. Looking back now, though I think it odd, I feel this was really good for me.
I have been back in Ottawa for about 6 weeks now and aside from settling into a new home with new roommates and settling into a new day job I find myself with the desire to make jewellery again and have in fact made a few pieces. I am approaching the creative and the business process of being a partner in Drakestail Jewellery with refreshed creativity and renewed purpose. I am looking forward to our summer season art shows as well as to new adventures in jewellery creation.


Tucson Gem Show forgeries

$1 dollars-worth of counterfeit brand-name jewellery was siezed at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Wholesalers show a few days ago.

I love going to the gem show in Ottawa each September, and I always come away with a few bags of goodies.  Often I buy from local vendors that I visit here in Ottawa anyway. However, I do love the opportunity to shop the items that other vendors bring from shops outside of the area.  I’ve always wanted to make it to one of these massive gem shows, and Tucson’s is about as big as it gets, from what I can tell.  Lots of demos, hundreds of vendors, and more sparkly minerals and gemstones than you could shake a stick at.  My credit card shudders at the thought.

That said, with so many vendors, and so many gems and other goods, how possible is it to verify the stock of the vendors?  How can a shopper tell whether the stones or materials are genuine?  There are tips and tricks to checking the authenticity of some things (pearls should feel gritty if you rub them against your teeth, for instance), but without a lab assistant following you around it’s impossible to check most things.  It boils down to trust.

When I shop, whether for jewellery supplies or anything else, I love to ask questions.  It’s fun to learn what I can about a piece of fashion or the features of a new cellphone, and I hesitate to drop a lot of money in a store where staff don’t know their product.  When it comes to buying gemstones, I ask about what I’m buying.  Is it stabilized or colour-treated?  Where does it come from?  I’ve learned a lot about gems and minerals since I’ve been making jewellery, and I’ve taken a class in gem identification , but the store staff should be knowledgeable about their product.  I shop at places I trust, and I’m always happy to pass on my knowledge to curious customers.

Fortunately, fraudsters like those at the Tucson show are few and far between.  My experiences at shows and local events have been positive ones.  The next time you’re at a handmade craft event or art sale, ask lots of questions.  Artists and crafters love to talk about their craft, and are happy to show you of the quality of their product.

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