Years ago I learned silver smithing, then gave it up as couldn't really afford to continue. The internet selling phenomenom hadn't arrived and I had no idea how to sell jewellery. so..
Years later I went to some random beading class with a friend, and got hooked into jewellery again. Seed beads, glass beads, crystals all sorts of pretty sparkly things, I loved it, and it was so much cheaper!
Problem!!! - the lovely items I made, which took loads of time to make and were cheap to make, so therefore cheapish to sell, just didn't last. I started buying wholesale from Asia etc to try and keep costs down. I sold over buys on ebay but still had the problem of the 'silver' rubbing off on the tibetan silver and the wire breaking on the cord, and the glass cracking on the lampwork.
I saw some really pretty beads on ebay, silver they were. I wrote to the lady and asked for some information. Point being the cost of one bead was the cost of two or three bags of cheap beads! I also asked her if she had any clue how to protect tibetan silver or if it could be re-covered. This lovely lady took the time to talk to me and said that she had changed over to sterling silver years before and had never looked back.
I thought about this and splashed out on enough bits to make a sterling silver bracelet with some of these beads.
She was so right. I never looked back.
(one of the first beads I bought is at the top of this - the lady I bought from was: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Pretty-Pebbles-Beads).
So.. slowly I got more hooked, spent a fortune, strange how one day £5 seemed a lot to spend, a week later £50 was nothing! Slowly I bought more and more, importing from Bali, buying in large quantities.
Eventually I moved over to Fine silver, but that's for a future blog, here I want to say, this lady was right. If you are wondering, quality lasts, quality costs but is so worth it. Items I made that lasted a month or so before the colour came off, in silver would last a lifetime, though not cost a fortune. People are willing to pay for quality so all round it was one of the best moves I made.
My thoughts on it anyway. (by the way, if you would like to buy a few huge boxes of tibetan silver cheap - let me know!! ;-)