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Findings (aka the Metal Bits)

Ahead of Indie Roller Fri-Yay and the launch of my upcycled dinosaur earring range on May 28th, I wanted to share some of the decisions I make while creating my earrings. One of the big ones is around earrings findings: aka the metal bits.

It’s not as simple as just buying anything!

Legal Obligations

Did you know there are laws for anyone in the UK who makes jewellery? Besides the usual Trading Standards, jewellery makers have a specific set of regulations they need to follow for findings. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty check out this article.

One of the main takeaways is businesses need to know about the metal they’re using for their jewellery, especially in things like earring posts and hooks that have prolonged direct contact with the skin. Nickel, Cadmium, and Lead are the main metals of concern. Cadmium and Lead are toxic and not allowed. Nickel is allowed, but only in certain amounts.

Part of me would LOVE to use second hand hooks and metal findings for my earrings – Team Sikel is all about reducing waste. But if I did, I wouldn’t know the metal content. Not only would that probably be against the law, it would also be restrictive for customers who have allergies or sensitivities. I want my earrings to be inclusive.

I would also worry about the durability of the final pieces. Choosing quality hooks and findings means the earrings I make will last as long as possible.

My Choices

My earrings are made with one of three hook options (Left to Right above):

  • Surgical Steel
  • Silver Plate
  • Gold Plate

I get the hooks get from one of two suppliers: Cookson Gold or Beads Unlimited.

When I originally searched for earring findings, I was tempted with some cheaper options. But after ordering and seeing the poor quality of the hooks and posts, I knew it was worth going with more established brands that have better standards and accountability if things go wrong.

Thankfully it’s easy to find quality jump rings and eye screws from other suppliers, so I tend to shop around there.

Surgical Steel

This is my go to choice for earring findings. It’s easy to maintain (no worries about tarnishing!) and has a subtle look that doesn’t distract from the quirky toys I use. I get these findings from Cookson Gold.

While they meet the legal standards for metals in jewellery, surgical steel does contain some nickel, and so wouldn’t be a good choice for people sensitive to that metal.

Silver & Gold Plate

I like to give these as options on some earrings for a number of reasons:

  • For those with a nickel allergy. Beads unlimited put their gold and silver plate over brass that’s nickel, lead and cadmium free. When I asked Cookson Gold about the metal content under their silver plate, they would only confirm that it meets the legal requirements for nickel.
  • Sometimes the items I’m upcycling (like my upcycled Christmas baubles) already have some gold or silver coloured areas and I want it to match.
  • Or I just think the pieces would look better with gold or silver.

This option does have some drawbacks, namely that the silver can tarnish and the plating could wear off over time, but I choose plate over solid gold and silver to make them comparably affordable with my surgical steel jewellery.

The Trouble with Choice

I love being able to give people options, but sometimes it causes problems. There are two things to keep in mind:

  • My earrings are often one of a kind.
  • Sometimes thing can go wrong: toys or metal can break, drill bits can get stuck, holes can get drilled in the wrong spot, etc.

I don’t want to have someone pay for something that I’m unable to deliver. It would be mortifying for me and really frustrating for the customer.

So I normally make things ahead of time, and make a choice on metals depending on what I’ve got and my personal preference in how it looks.

This is especially the case for when I do in-person markets, as I don’t have time to make them to order then and there. And I don’t often have multiples of the same toys to make some of each.

My Offer for the Fri-Yay 28th May Launch

For my Fri-Yay Surprise Dinosaur earrings, I’m going out of my comfort zone and giving you guys a choice.

When you place your order, you’ll be able to choose between silver plate and surgical steel. While all the pieces will be pre-drilled, they will be assembled to order.

You’re going to have to bear with me that it might take a little longer for your earrings to arrive. And there’s an incredibly slim chance that things might go wrong. But given my experience working with these toys so far, they shouldn’t (knock on wood). But know if they do I’ll be in contact ASAP – you’ll get a full refund or an alternative (if available) and a discount code towards a future purchase as an apology.

Any Questions?

I’m always happy to answer. Comment here, email me, or DM me on Instagram.

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Indie Roller Fri-Yay Surprise

Indie Roller Fri-Yay Surprise

I’m so excited to be taking part in Indie Roller’s Fry-Yay Surprise launch event. Part of the joy is everyone’s taking part a little bit differently. Read on to find out more about the event and what I’ll be offering.

What is Indie Roller Fri-Yay Surprise?

The Fri-Yay Surprise is a launch pad for experimentation. Indie Roller members taking part will create one new product or service to all launch on the same day. The goal is to reach outside our comfort zones, try to new things, and share the fun messy middle of our creative process.

Throughout the rest of May I’ll walk you through a product start to finish. You’ll learn about where I source my materials, the decisions I make along the way, and more about the why and the how.

I even want to bring YOU into the process as well. At key points I’ll be asking for your opinions on which direction I should go.

So join in the fun, I hope you’re looking forward to this as much as I am (though TBH it’s a little scary… in a good way).

What will Team Sikel be offering?

I’ll be releasing a VERY limited range of upcycled toy dinosaur earrings – or hope to be. I haven’t made them yet and they may not all pan out.

There are some brightly coloured, slightly pliable dinosaurs that are completely new to me. I have made a few of the more ‘realistic’ ones before (mostly for myself), but not these varieties. Here are a sampling:

What could possibly go wrong?

  • They could not sit level: not always necessary, but something like those diplodocus/brontosaurus (the long necked ones) would look very odd if they’re tilted forward or back.
  • They could eat my drill bits: this is mostly an issue with more rigid plastics, but I haven’t made earrings from something similar to this before. Who knows how it’ll react to the heat generated by the drill bit?
  • They could easily pull off the eye screws: especially those single-coloured dinosaurs that are a bit pliable. I want my earrings to last, so I’ll have to do a little testing before I put them out there and potentially think of a different hanging method.
  • They might not be comfortable they could be too awkward or heavy to wear.

So get ready to learn about what goes in to making these pre-loved toys into the quirky earrings available in my shop.

Assuming all goes to plan, if you sign up to my new newsletter, you’ll get extra perks on launch day. More info about that closer to the time.

How do I follow along?

All my updates will be on Instagram, so follow me there. I’ll have grid updates, stories, reels, and even a live or two.

To see everyone taking part, check out the #IndieRollerFriYay hashtag.

And if you’re interested in my products or process, or that special launch day offer, sign up for my newsletter.