Monday, 29 May 2017

Rural Jewellery Shopping

fraserrossblogLiving in rural Australia has so many benefits, clean fresh air, little traffic, room to run free and massive gardens to plant out all manner of fruit trees and vegetable gardens.


One of the downsides that comes with living away from major cities though is the lack of amenities and access to great shopping opportunities. With the explosion of the internet and better access to high speed connections, what was once impossible has now become ‘the norm’, shopping online. Other than the delivery times can be longer than for those living in the cities, it matters not where you live anymore. The massive increase in on-line stores has levelled the playing field for everyone regardless of location.


Most retail jewellery stores, city or country, have a limited range of products due to the high cost of having to hold stock of every conceivable design. The opposite is true of on-line stores like Chain Me Up. We actually keep no products in stock at all, all of our jewellery is made to order. Not only can we have an incredibly wide range of products to choose from, most can be custom made to your exact requirements.


As an example, our heaviest gold chain is available in any length, in yellow gold, rose gold and white gold. It can also be made in combinations of yellow, rose and white gold, so you could have 3 yellow links then 1 rose gold link followed by a white gold link and then the pattern repeats. You also have a choice of a parrot clasp or you could decide to opt for a filigree padlock instead. As these necklaces and bracelets are made to order any custom design is possible. For a retail store to offer this choice and have one of each on hand to buy, there would be around $8,000,000 of stock for just one style of gold chain. Clearly this is not economically viable, so the options in a retail store are limited.


As we produce all of our jewellery to order, there is a small wait (normally 2 or 3 weeks) for your necklace or bracelet to be manufactured. The advantage of custom made is that you don’t have to compromise. You want a 47cm oval belcher chain necklace in rose gold with a padlock clasp? At Chain Me Up, Easy! But I  doubt you would be able to walk into a jewellery store and have them gift wrap one for you, then and there.


Some people have concerns about buying on-line from a website. At Chain Me Up, we have several measures in place to alleviate those concerns. Our store is entirely run using an EV SSL certificate. This means we have undergone extensive security checks and all information passing between our website and your computer is encrypted, guaranteeing that no third parties can see the communications.


We have selected PayPal to handle every credit card transaction, during the checkout phase, you are dealing with a massive global business and we never even see your credit card details.


Over the past 7 years since we first launched our on-line store we have become a well trusted brand with many returning customers and referrals to friends and family of those customers. We also have a 7 day no questions return policy, this means you can buy confidently knowing that the products we supply are exactly as shown in our store and the quality of those products equals or exceeds what you will find in a retail store.


Lastly our prices are extremely competitive as we largely avoid the overheads of a ‘bricks and mortar’ and not having a keep a massive inventory of products.


 



Rural Jewellery Shopping

Friday, 26 May 2017

Handmade Jewellery

sterling-silver-earrings-laycie-750Creating a range of handmade sterling silver earrings and bracelets has given us a chance to develop new skills and expand the range of jewellery we have in our online store.


We begin with spools of 100% recycled sterling silver wires in different gauges and some pre-made findings. We chose to not create our own findings as the ones that are readily available suit our needs and reduce the amount of work in each finished product.


We usually start from a design on paper, but sometimes we just play with a number of different rings we have already made and see how they fit together in various combinations. Often the designs on paper change along the way, but having an idea of what we want to achieve give us a point from which to begin.


To create the rings we wind wire from the spool onto a mandrel that is about 90mm long and of the desired diameter. The smallest rings are about 4mm and this is also the size of the jump rings we make for our charms. The largest rings are about 25mm for some of our earrings, but mostly we use 6, 8 10 and 12mm rings for our bracelets.


 


sterling-silver-bracelet-Celeste-no-clasp-750It’s important to keep a constant tension on the wire when loading the mandrel to get rings of consistent size. Depending on the gauge of the wire we get between 50 and 90 rings over the length of the mandrel. The spiral is removed from the mandrel and placed into a jump ring cutter. This is essentially a slotted clamp that holds the spiral firmly. A flexible shaft rotary tool is fitted with a very fine toothed circular saw blade. A special head fits the jump ring cutter and holds the saw blade aligned to the centre of the spiral. When cutting the rings, it is important to use a lubricant and a slow steady pressure to get the cleanest possible cuts.


Joining the rings together is done using an argon pulse welder. Argon is an inert gas that surrounds the weld position to prevent oxygen being present when the arc is fired. The absence of oxygen prevents/reduces fire scale and the weld is strong and clean. To produce consistent weld quality we developed a jig that keeps the arc distance constant and provides a method to ensure the argon is concentrated at the weld point.


With smaller ring sizes it is often easier to pre-weld and attach larger open rings that are welded around the smaller rings. When several rings all connect together, this is preferred, but not always possible depending upon the bracelet design.


The important difference between the jewellery we hand make and that of many cottage/boutique jewellers, is that every link in our jewellery is welded. This creates bracelets that are much stronger and much less likely to break or deform. This is time consuming and is reflected in the pricing, but great quality is the focus of our creations and the only way to produce jewellery that will last a lifetime.


As with any craft, great results can only be achieved by building from a strong foundation. This means that every step along the way, from the initial creation of each ring, with a perfect cut to the final polish must be perfect. One of the most difficult aspects of creating a bracelet or earrings is ensuring perfect alignment of the ring closure at the point of firing the arc. This takes much practice and a very steady hand and even after performing thousands of welds, it is not a fast process.



Handmade Jewellery

Sunday, 21 August 2016

End of sporting year ideas

Netball charm (chr-0263) on 45cm LCD-40 necklace-750The Olympics are nearly over and Usain Bolt has quite probably placed himself as the most talented athlete of all time. Who knows how long it will take to find someone who could achieve the remarkable record he has set on the track?


On a local level, many sporting teams are also coming to the end of their own seasons. Often the year end presentations amount to the handing out of trophies or ribbons for the players who excelled or managed to improve over the season by the largest degree.


It’s nice to show recognition to the players who perform best, but it is also important to acknowledge that every team member has made contributions to the team. The gift of a sterling silver memento of the sport they love from their club at the end of the year leaves a lasting impression and makes everyone feel appreciated.


We recently had a request from a netball team in New South Wales to supply them with jewellery they could hand out to all of their players at the season presentations.


They selected a solid silver netball charm from our range of netball and netballer charms and we sent them one so they could pass it around at the committee meeting. They also wished to consider a necklace but weren’t sure if it would fit into their budget.


We discussed the options and they decided that a fine width long curb chain may suit, so again we sent them a sample which the committee agreed would be suitable.


As they were a not for profit organisation, we managed to do a great deal on the combination of both the charm and silver chain. This made it possible for the club to provide both the charm and chain, when they thought the budget would only allow for the netball charm to be given.


Of course there are many other sports, both team and individual where members are part of a club. Tennis and golf, football, soccer, gymnastics and boxing are just a few that come to mind.


We have a large range of sporting charms that can be used as part of your own end of year celebrations and we welcome your enquiries.


Most teams will appreciate that it is much more cost effective to purchase sterling silver, especially when there are many team members to buy for. However, for special awards, the budget can sometimes stretch to accommodate a few solid gold charms.


These can be great for the captain, coach or ‘best and fairest’ to show how much they mean to the way the club functions. Where you may consider giving jewellery to the first, second and third placed competitors in a competition, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold can be used for the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.


As much as a trophy is appreciated and shows their prowess, a solid gold charm is something they will wear everyday as a constant reminder of their victory.


So next time you are planning an awards ceremony, season breakup or awards for a competition, drop by our website for some fresh ideas.


 



End of sporting year ideas

Monday, 2 May 2016

On Sale Now

We have limited stock of the following products and they are all priced to clear.



50cm sterling silver ‘GM’ necklace

7.5mm wide, 33g – ONE available – $160


 



60cm sterling silver curb necklace

6.9mm wide, 81g – One Available – $400


 



19cm curb bracelet with filigree padlock

6.6mm wide, 23g – TWO available – $115


 



9ct Yellow gold Eye of Horus charm

21mm x 17mm – ONE Available – $65


 



MEGA Charm Pack – 101 sterling silver charms

Regular Price – $867, ONE Available at $495


See all our sale items at https://www.chain-me-up.com.au/jewellery-on-sale-specials.asp


 


 


 



On Sale Now

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Men"s Chains on a Budget

dollar pendantToday I had a lady enquire about buying a gold chain necklace for her partner. She had a budget of around $500 to $800 and was determined to find something in that price range come hell or high water.


We normally recommend that a necklace for a man is at least 5mm thick, anything less than that can lack masculinity. As men would usually wear a necklace around 55cm to 60cm in length, the minimum price is closer to a range of $1000 to $1200 dollars for our lighter style figaro or belcher chains.


More masculine chains with a thicker heavier link as you would find in a round curb are closer to the $1800+ mark. It is important that you understand that a manly gold necklace will be fairly weighty and that is the single biggest factor when calculating price.


Not long after we first opened our online jewellery store, a lady bought her husband a 1.2mm thick 40cm chain necklace.


It was around $90 and she said she thought it was 1.2cm wide. Now 12mm is quite a thick chain and I’m not sure why she thought it would be possible to buy one for less than $100, I guess she hadn’t been anywhere near a jewellery store to do some research and comparisons.


Think about that for a moment.


It was way too short to fit around his neck, and very delicate and fine. She thought she was doing the right thing by buying him a solid gold chain, but really hadn’t thought it through properly. Such a gift is very likely never to be worn, even if it was long enough. Being the nice guys we are, we allowed her to return it and gave her a refund.


The only time a man should wear a thin gold necklace is when it holds a pendant, ring or cross that is in proportion to the chain. A delicate gold necklace should never be worn alone by a man.


Everyone, I’m sure, would love to be able to give their partner a thick solid gold chain necklace or bracelet, but not everyone has the budget that allows it. I strongly recommend NEVER buying a piece of jewellery for a man that is less than masculine, it will be a complete waste of money. It will cause him to be embarrassed because it really won’t be what he wants, and it will find its way to the bottom of his sock drawer, never to be seen again.


Personally, I believe it would be much better to look at silver necklaces, if you want to keep in the $500 to $800 range. We have some really solid, beautiful and manly chains that sit right in that price range and will make your man proud to wear them. Ok, they aren’t gold, but solid sterling silver is a quality material that rivals gold for beauty and is priced at a level many more people can afford.


Many men prefer to wear silver toned jewellery, so if you can’t afford to lash out on white gold, sterling silver is just as attractive and far more reasonably priced.


If they really must wear yellow gold, and price is not a concern, then go for it, solid gold.


A gold plated sterling silver chain (vermeil) will look great for a month or two and then it will begin to look terrible as the plating wears through.


Don’t do it!


It is a waste of money, stick to sterling silver or if you really must have gold, buy a gold plated brass chain for a lot less money. At least then when you throw it away it won’t have cost you a fortune.


The other advantage of sterling silver is that you can have a thicker more masculine necklace at a very reasonable price and it will last a lifetime if made well.


The major disadvantage of sterling silver is that it will tarnish over time and need more regular cleaning than solid gold will. Fortunately it is really easy to restore that brand new look to silver jewellery with a glass bowl, a square of aluminium foil, some baking soda and salt and a little hot water. We have an article on our website that shows how easy it really is to clean silver jewellery.



Men"s Chains on a Budget

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Young Girls and Marriage Breakdowns

How can you stayseparation close to your daughter when time and distance push you apart? A charm bracelet may just hold the key to her heart.


The separation of parents can make it more difficult for fathers to maintain a close relationship with their daughters. It normally means you will spend less time together and sometimes you may even live at a distance that makes regular face to face visits difficult.


As the child becomes a teenager and starts to search for her own identity, there may an emotional gap that begins to widen too. The teenage years are when girls are transitioning from childhood to adulthood and beginning to really develop a sense of self. During this time they can push aside their parents and start to take control of their lives and make their own decisions.


For better or worse they will have to live with the consequences of the choices they make during a period where the guidance of the parents may have less of an influence on them.


It can be easy to be critical of their choices when they seem to be completely ignoring the advice you give, knowing what you do now, until you remember how much you thought you knew at their age. Being there to support them and letting them know how important they are to you and how much you love them, is the often the best you can do.


Adolescence is very probably the most difficult and confusing time of our lives. Just when we are discovering our values and the ethics that we will embrace, Mother Nature loads us full of hormones and randomly turns our world upside down.


There’s nothing you can do about nature’s cruel chemical attack but you can reinforce the love you have for your not so little girl.


When you don’t have daily contact because of a relationship breakdown it may help to have a reminder of your love that she will always have close at hand.


A wonderful way you can do this is with a charm bracelet. It will always be right there with her to remind her of you. Over time and on birthdays and Christmas you can add charms to celebrate achievements and events that have a positive meaning in her life.


Even as she passes into adulthood, a t will have many more opportunities to grow as she turns 21, and then marries and has children. What a lovely way to keep a record of the important milestones because of the special gift you gave from your heart.


Fraser Ross has many quality sold gold and sterling silver bracelets to choose from and over 4600 different charms so you can always find the perfect mementos to suit your special girl. Quality will last forever and one day your grandchild will love something that was so special to her mother.


A charm bracelet is so much more than a stunning piece of jewellery.


It is a precious diary of all you hold dear, the achievements you have reached and the things that you love. In the same way you write in a paper diary, you add a new love, experience or success to your bracelet with a new gold or silver charm – To Remember.



Young Girls and Marriage Breakdowns

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Online Jewellery Stores

shop onlineToday we are taking a look at the pro’s and con’s of shopping at an online jewellery store.


Pro’s


Lower Pricing

Online stores have lower overheads than their retail store rivals and often can offer much better pricing on the same or similar jewellery. Retail stores often have very high markups to compensate for the 50% off sales they seem to run every two weeks. Online stores tend to keep their prices relatively stable, but may have special offers from time to time where you could save further.


Open All Hours

An online store runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which makes it very convenient to shop when the mood takes you. Retail stores have fixed hours and these may not suit someone working long hours away from shopping centres. Customers living in rural areas may not have access to more than one or two small jewellery shops without considerable travel, whereas shopping online opens the doors to many jewellery stores without leaving your seat.


Product Range

The range of products available from a single online store can be considerable and may well match or exceed that of a bricks and mortar store. Some websites have a smaller range of products that won’t compete with a large retailer. However the range available from the websites of all the online jewellers well exceeds that of any single retail shop. Some online jewellers will have a range of products that are exclusive and cannot be found anywhere else as well as other manufacturers products.


Payment Choices

Most web based jewellers will accept the same credit cards you could use in person, but may well offer additional payment methods. PayPal is probably the most widely used online payment gateway and it also gives a level of protection to the buyer if things go wrong. Many stores offer additional processors including AmzonPayments, Authorize.Net, WorldPay, Paygate or Eway.


Product Comparisons

Having so many stores available at the click of a mouse gives customers a great opportunity to make comparisons between the products, services and pricing of different stores. Two or more shops may have the same products available and it would be wise to consider not only the pricing of the product, but the shipping and handling fees and delivery times. You should also consider the amount of time each store has been in business and the customer satisfaction levels of each. A simple search will provide the thoughts and experiences of previous customers experiences with the business you are considering purchasing from.


Product Reviews

Many online stores will follow up their customers after a sale with a request to provide their feedback on a purchase. This feedback can be invaluable in determining not only the product itself, but the service they received. As these reviews are entirely voluntary, bear in mind that people are more likely to respond to leaving reviews if they were disappointed or exceptionally pleased with the product or service. These reviews should be a good guide as to the service you might expect to receive, especially if there is a trend across many product reviews.


Con’s


Trust

This is probably the biggest single issue when customers are considering a purchase from an online store. There are many smaller retailers and boutique jewellers that are not household names, and these businesses can have trouble establishing trust with new clients.


Anyone can write anything they like on a website, so customer reviews are often viewed with a level of suspicion.


Look for a business running a secure website with an EV (extended validation) certificate. A thorough check must be done by the issuing entity before an EV certificate can be implemented.


Search the business name with these additional words – scam, problems, reviews. This will reveal any complaints about the business which you should consider before buying. Although rare, some negative reviews are written by competitors, so keep that possibility in mind.


Delivery Times

Normally there will be a delay of a few days or weeks between placing your order and receiving it. Products need to be packaged, labelled and shipped by the store and then there is a delivery time set by the courier. Stores where the products are made to order, like Fraser Ross, will take longer to deliver than stores where the jewellery is held waiting for despatch. The store should have information on expected delivery times and charges clearly listed.


Touch and Feel

You obviously can’t touch and feel the products when buying online. To compensate for this, the website should have detailed information and photos and be clear with their dimensions, materials and weights.


A fair returns policy should allow you to return the goods if they don’t match the description on the website without any penalty to you.


Summary


It is possible to purchase online and be very pleased with the outcome.


Be diligent and investigate the store if you have not dealt with them before.


Even large national stores that are household names don’t always provide exception products and service, a quick business name search with ‘review’ will quickly show who they are.


Small businesses often provide exceptional products and service and rely on word of mouth to grow their businesses.


A recommendation from a friend who has shopped there previously can be more valuable than any claims printed on a website.


 



Online Jewellery Stores