Telling the story, visually, of how your work is handcrafted is one of the best strategies makers can use on Instagram. Here are 10 jewelers who are showing how it’s done.
Vickie Hallmark (VickieHallmarkJewelry) does a great job of showing her process, check out this series, posted in real time, over a week or two, as you see these earrings come to life. Metalsmithing is a dirty, ugly process. And it’s slow. There’s no drama, as with glass blowing, that people love to watch. No one wants to watch a demo of metalsmith, as it’s too slow and there’s no molten glass! Even the bits with fire, such as soldering, are subtle. Using photography and showing this dirty, ugly process and making it magical, is quite a trick!
Jay Cuneo (jaycuneo) has a nice shot of her jeweler’s bench, with an unusual angle, from above, so we can see the tools, the works in progress, the sweeps drawer, which is all evidence that it’s really handmade.
Cloisonné, (meaning cloisters, or cells) is so painstaking that no one can quite believe that’s really how it’s done. Elena Nova (Lena_Nova_Art) shows us her original drawing of the flower and how she’s converted that into shapes of fine silver bezel wire, and it’s amazing. Not only is she showing that it’s really handmade, she’s showing her skill at working at such a tiny scale that it almost hurts your fingers just thinking about it. (Of course, this is only the first step in the process.)
In another post, Elena shows the painstaking task of adding in the enamel powder, mixed with water, in the cells of this work in progress. How can that fail to make someone want to own a piece?
Theresa Kiplinger (tkiplinger) tells the story behind a deeply meaningful piece, while also sharing with us how it was made. She has a piece with text etched with a message from her father, who has died, in his own handwriting. A story behind a piece is part of the motivation for anyone buying handmade. This moving post shows just how personalized that story can be.
Helen Smit (helensilversmit) has a consistent look to not only her jewelry but to her photos, often picturing her jewelry on a small, old book. This makes sense, since her work includes old coins. She often includes in the caption something about the coin in the piece, in this picture, she points out that it’s a steel coin and steel is the 11th anniversary metal. I also notice and appreciate how in some photos, you can see the permanent blackness of a jeweler’s fingers and nails, that a full-time jeweler just can’t get rid of. While not taking up too much space, she also manages to include branding in every photo—her Instagram name and her tagline, “Wear Art.”
Another prop she consistently uses is a hand-carved wooden stamp for printing fabric. While if you heard the advice to put your jewelry on old books or wood stamps, you might think that was crazy, it actually works. And in a sea of Instagram photos of jewelry lying flat, or being worn, in unflattering photos, the consistent and unusual presentation really helps Helensilversmit’s work stand out.
Elizabeth Scott (ebethscottdesigns) demonstrates good use of asking questions of her audience when she asks, “This was a custom order. Should I make it a regular item?” Having an audience to survey is a wonderful thing! Her question also has the built-in bonus of notifying people that she does custom work if they didn’t know that already. Scott also does a good job of always showing her work on a white linen fabric background. While she’s not the only jeweler on Instagram using that fabric as a background, the background choice, coupled with the style of her work, makes her photos recognizable and also contributes to an attractive, consistent, “top 9.”
Chelsea Swank (chelseaswankmetalsmithing) shares her inspiration, binge watching the show Vikings, while sharing a photo of a wax carving of a ring, with the stones gently set in place to give an idea of what the future ring will look like. She’s showing her hand work, a work in progress, and giving you a peak at her personality, by sharing a favorite show.
Betsy Bensen (betsybensen) shows the back of the pin, which provides useful information; it’s a heavy pin, will it hang properly on my clothes? I can tell that yes, it will, and it also gives me another view of the quality construction.
Filling a clear silicone mold with wax isn’t quite as photogenic as cloisonné enameling, but Jennifer Stenhouse (jenniferstenhouse) makes it interesting with a group of clear, understandable photos.
Flame always makes for a good picture, Wayne Sutton (waynesutton1) has a terrific action shot of him melting metal in preparation for a pour in the lost wax casting process. Props to him for demonstrating proper safety procedures and wearing protective gear!
Distinctive backdrops, consistently photo styling and showing the process are all great ways to bring potential customers into your world, and these ten jewelers are doing an exemplary job of it.
Elaine Luther is an artist, jeweler, public speaker and public artist in the Chicago area. She uses assemblage, collage and direct sculpting to get her message across. Visit her at https://www.elainelutherart.com/
Thanks so much, Elaine, for including me in your list of 10 inspiring Instagram jewelers! I had so much fun checking out the others as well. My Instagram feed is growing with these awesome new jewelers to follow.
Great list! I like these jewelers. Thanks and keep doing great work.