Mixing Metals for the Brave

Mixing Metals for the Brave
Mixing Metals for the Brave Mixing Metals for the Brave
Mixing Metals for the Brave
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer and Instructor, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Not long ago, you were either a "silver girl" or "gold girl" in the world of jewelry; one team or the other. As a jewelry designer with a healthy clientele, I had to make each design in both, silver AND gold to please everyone and make a sale. I learned this lesson the hard way as inevitably a "silver girl" would fall in love with one of my designs that was in gold and I would hear the devastation in her voice as she apologetically told me she couldn't POSSIBLY purchase the beloved piece, it was ... well ... gasp ... GOLD! And back then those were the only options--except for a small scattering of other finishes found buried under strands of beads. And those were treated as the orphaned sibling; the dark sheep of the family, spoken about in hushed whispers.

The rise in metal prices started shaping my designs and other offerings in the market place, and I'm proud to say I embraced them with open arms. Yes, I set another place setting at my metals buffet and told silver and gold to "get along" with their adopted antique golds and coppers. Even hug a brass and bronze once in awhile. Thus, my introduction to mixing metals obsession was born!

Gone were the comments from the silver and gold purists, they overlooked the bits of their less desired metals in my designs and purchased them anyway. Prices were more affordable and there was a plethora of metal mixtures to create with. These days, you see chain spools and jewelry components of every metal color, size, and finish with new rules in the world of mixing metals. See if you or your customers fall into one of these "metal-wearing" categories:

Devil May Care Attitude

I'll wear whatever I like no matter the metal or finish. More times than not, these folks end up looking like they played dress up in their mommy's closet decades ago and have yet to take off the jewels! They believe "more is more and less stinks." They throw all caution to the wind when mixing and matching their accessories and they usually own a lot of cats.

Black or White

These folks have it easy. They wear one color/metal finish per outfit. No mixing! They rarely venture outside the box or push the envelope in color combinations. They know what they like, and wear only that. My bet is they don't ever wear white after Labor Day, just to be on the safe side!

More, More, MORE

The risk takers of the bunch mix their metals to create a harmoniously intentional look. They stack, shake and stir their ensemble with a dash of flair that always seems to work. They're definitely born with this gift and NEVER look ridiculous wearing a hat (but maybe a fascinator).

Meet Me in the Middle

This is the peacemaker of the group. They will have single pieces that contain all metals within each piece. They're called "bridging" pieces, they beautifully unify the metals. These folks were the ones on the playground called in to handle tie-breakers; they also cut birthday cakes in perfectly equal pieces.

Get Mixing Gang!

Whether you find yourself or your customers in these humorous definitions, it's a good idea to pay attention to these various styles and design accordingly. You can also challenge yourself design-wise and venture into mixing metals in a new way; maybe you've only mixed silver and gold, time to throw in some antique copper and see how that goes. The more you play outside your box, the more gold stars you get for bravery! So give it a try and let me know your results!

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