If you're making jewelry--even a few pieces--keeping these kinds of records can save you heartache, frustration and possibly even trouble with the taxman.
Jewelry Design Records (or, Your Inventory of Design Ideas)
Most of all? Save your gallery files on the Internet.
You can email a spreadsheet to yourself or use free "cloud storage" such as Dropbox™ or Google Drive. What you choose doesn't matter--you'll be glad it's accessible from anywhere if you lose your paper files, computer or thumbdrive.
Use as a Catalog
If you are really thorough, you can add the prices you paid for each item in your materials list and how much time it took to make the piece. That makes your pricing easy-peasy lemon-squeezy! When materials prices change, you'll be able to track what you originally paid for the component--not what you'd pay now. This improves your sales margins, as well!
Even if you're not making jewelry as a business person, this is still a good idea! Just think how low stress levels can be if a bride knows exactly what her jewelry will look like before she buys the gown (or vice versa). Some people just aren't visual--having a photo helps everyone stay on the same page.
Planning Ahead for Obstacles, Adversities and Even Disasters
When it comes to a business producing products (jewelry), having an image of those products will make it more clear that you are a legitimate business. Images let your auditor see what you've done; attaching the materials list makes it clear what you used in it (which shows there's no shenanigans going on with your supplies inventory). This is especially important when you're using A grade gemstones or precious metals!
Even if you're not in business (I'm only doing this for fun!), keeping a design database is a good idea. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and wildfires can roll through your life with utter disregard. You can't control that--but you can plan for it. If you suffer a catastrophic loss of your supplies or finished jewelry, you'll be glad for these electronic copies stored on "the cloud"--the Internet. This is what you used, this is what you made, and this is what you lost. That allows you make insurance claims with greater accuracy. (Your insurance company may not appreciate this as much as you do.)
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