Friday, July 20, 2012

Artfully Displaying Your Jewelry

This week, I had to get a jewelry case together for a cooperative gallery that I now belong to here in Brevard.  Number 7 Arts is an artist-run gallery that showcases local artwork on Main Street. I belonged to a cooperative gallery in Chattanooga, and loved getting to know the area artists, as well as the local appreciators of art! So I was super excited to find out there was one here too.

You have to jury in to become a member, and their yearly jurying opportunity happened the first week we were here! I had to quickly get my studio up and running to make some pieces for the committee, and was thrilled when I got the call I was accepted.

However, being a member of a cooperative gallery means that I am responsible for my jewelry case. And, as a member, one of the rules of the gallery is that every single piece of your work has to have a price tag.  I have been thinking about how to design my display case so that it is rich in texture and gives a great, handmade vibe, as well as making sure I follow the price tag rule.

One of the best merchandisers of jewelry that I have ever seen is a small, local shop called Blue Skies in Chattanooga, TN. Tina, the owner, and Denise, her business partner, are masters of display.  They both used to work in museums and their displays are works of art. They display all of the jewelry that they carry in flat, glass cases that have texture and a wonderful, aged look. The price tags are discreetly hidden, and when you look at the case, all you see is the jewelry and artistry with tasteful, well placed and interesting props.

Rice, lentils, beans, small sea shells and sand are often the base layer in the cases. Then they add some other props that complement the style of jewelry they are presenting to the customer. Tina and Denise  creatively arrange the jewelry that they carry with plain, blue cards that coordinate with their Blue Skies theme.

The artist's name is in the case, along with where they are from. But that is it. The cards that they use don't detract from the work itself. I have seen display cases were jewelers use the same earring card, with their personal and biz name on them for every single one of their designs, and all I see are the cards and their name! It's great to use a grouping strategy in display cases, but make it work for you, not against you!

For my display area at Number 7 Arts, I am using a glass case that my father made for me with his own hands.  So, as a base component, it is already meaningful to me because my father made it, plus, it looks handmade, but in a good way. I decided to add lentils to the base, and went to Lowe's and bought some slate tiles. I also threw in some African sand cast beads and some stones that I have and added them intermittently with the lentils to add more texture and a slight tribal feel, which compliments my jewelry well.

As far as the price tags go, I came up with an idea to add some color to the display case, since my jewelry is mostly neutral.  I took my watercolors and painted some abstract designs on some heavy watercolor paper, and cut them into small, long rectangles. 

 On the back of the paper, I have a white sticker with the price, materials and artist ID number on it. When someone purchases a pair of earrings or a necklace, the person manning the cash register just has to peel the sticker off and put it on the sales ticket. I think this makes the display case vibrant, and it discreetly puts the price tag within reach for the customers without it screaming at them.

Below are some more posts from our members and guests where they talk about displays, tags and ways to think out of the box when it comes to staging your jewelry.  If you are doing shows, this is really important too, as the overall look of your booth is the first impression a customer has of your work, and will add or subtract from their desire to check out your creations.  

Handmade Banner by Barbara Bechtel (show banners)
Alba Nelly Urbina by Mary Jane Dodd (staging/displaying your jewelry)
One Man's Trash, Another Man's Treasure by Tony Westland (jewelry display idea)
Uniquely Displayed by MaryAnn Carroll (displays found on Etsy)
Handmade...From Start to the Very Finish! by Barbara Bechtel (up-cycled display/tags)
Just Earrings by Staci Louise Smith (earring display idea for shows)


ciaolucia said...

Great ideas for displays. I especially love the watercolor tags with prices on the back. I am always annoyed when I have to ask about prices. You make it easy to keep track of merchandise with the sticker on the back and beautiful to boot. I tried a similar idea with watercolor pencils on the gift box lid...really needs tweaking. Thanks for sharing

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I love the look with the water colors.... Great information! I'm told that the display is an art form in itself! Thanks :o) I will check out the other links too.

Alice said...

Perfect timing, as I'm just starting to search for places to consign or sell my jewelry. I've been laying awake at night trying to figoure out a unique display that is also secure. Thanks for sharing all the links!

freshbakeddesigns said...

Thanks so much for the post about your thought process when designing a display for a specific event. And do love the watercolor tags! Great simple idea.

Bobbie said...

Love your display, and Number 7 Arts is a very cool gallery! I'm lucky enough to have some of my work next door in Red Wolf - small world, isn't it? I'll make a point of going in and checking out your work when I'm in town next weekend.

mairedodd said...

thank you so much for sharing this - you seem to take on the topics that make me absolutely cringe! everything is so tastefully done, deliberately thought out - yet with a result of being very inviting and complimentary... your craftsmanship is matched by your head for business - rather a formidable pair!

Stacie said...

I'm so glad that you are all thinking about this idea as an's funny, I consider myself fairly creative, but merchandising and displaying my work has always instilled a sense of panic in me. I know what I like, but getting that feeling out of me and into something tangible is tricky, isn't it?

Kelli said...

Beautiful well thought out display!!!!!!!!! You just raised the bar for me!!!!!

Stacie said...

Hi Bobbie! It is a small world!! And I will go into Red Wolf and take a look too at your work!!

AliMc said...

Great displays, thanks for sharing them!

KJ said...

Great post, very helpful. Plus, I like your display pieces.

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

Beautiful case made by your dad. Handmade but in a special way. Love, love the watercolors, too. In addition to the sticker with the price that will be removed, are you including a sticker or stamp with your name and website (although a direct link to you may be against the gallery's policy)?

I also like to see the price on the front so that I can discretely check out the prices without having to turn every card over.

I have a different thought though on all the cards being the same. I feel that they fade into the background if they are the same. With individual cards, I feel I would spend more time looking at the cards to see how they all differ.

Stacie said...

Cynthia...I have a stack of business cards on the case in the corner, along with a sign above my case with my name on it. Great questions and insight! Thank you!

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