About Me

I studied art, both from a perspective of practical design and from the perspective of art as an influence to the human spirit. My studies in art were at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and at George Washington University in Washington, DC. My passion for art and things of beauty brought me into the world of jewelry design. The wedding is a perfect venue for the display of beauty, and the bride has become the perfect "canvas" for my talents. Each of my handcrafted pieces has been described as a "work of art". Mary Clary Designs has been featured in "Bride's" magazine, "Modern Bride", "Greenwich Magazine", and "Fairfield County" magazine on numerous occasions. You can still have gorgeous, couture quality headpieces and jewelry for a fraction of what they would cost in a bridal salon or even on the web. visit: http://www.maryclarydesign.etsy.com

Monday, June 6, 2011

Are Handmade Headpieces Better Than Mass Produced?

Handmade does not always indicate unique or better quality. There are many crafters and sellers in the headpiece industry who think that stringing some pearls and crystals on a comb or gluing a feather to a clip constitutes a headpiece. Surely, you wouldn't want Aunt Harriett gathering some flowers from her garden to make your wedding bouquet. In the same way, you wouldn't want her to create your headpiece. I have found that the best handmade headpieces are created by people with jewelry making, fashion, and hair accessory experience.

Handmade headpieces have more flexibility regarding the components used to make the headpiece. You need to be particulary careful that the designer uses the best quality ingredients. It is highly preferrable that they use jewelry grade such as sterling silver, 14kt gold or gold filled, freshwater pearls, gemstones, and Swarovski crystals. There is a huge difference in the look of a headpiece using inferior materials. The sparkle from Swarovski crystals is a brilliant sparkle, whereas other crystals don't reflect the light in nearly the same capacity. Many sellers of handmade headpieces say they use Swarovski, but in fact, don't. Some use plastic "crystals" that really don't sparkle. The same is true for pearls. There are some high quality faux pearls that are fitting to certain pieces. But, often, fake pearls are just plastic with a paint covering and have a very cheap look. You certainly wouldn't wear a necklace or earrings of such inferior quality. The headpiece should be considered as "hair jewelry" since it is an accessory worn near your face meant to enhance your appearance. You need to consider the design and quality of the headpiece before you purchase.

Quality control with a quality headpiece designer is more obtainable than with mass produced, machine made headpieces. Often, the machine made pieces have glued components that fall out very shortly after purchase. The last thing you want is a headpiece missing some of its parts.

If your desire is to express yourself in a unique way, then handmade can help. If you are working with a reputable designer, the creation can be uniquely yours. On the downside, some designers will not accept returns when the piece has been custom made.

Another very important aspect of handmade that can be crucial for some brides is the fit. If you have very thin or thick hair or a very large or small head, certain styles can work better than others. You can request your headpiece on a very fine toothed comb or on a small clip or even on bobby pins. A tiara can be sized either larger or smaller. Handmade has the versatility to accommodate special sizing requests.

With the right headpiece designer, you can get a unique, highest quality, beautiful headpiece that fits you and your style. At Mary Clary Bridal Designs, I represent the experienced few whose background reflects jewelry making, fashion, art, and hair accessories.


Anonymous said...

What kind of beads work the best in headpieces?

mary said...

The most popular beads are "Swarovski" crystals which are a very high quality, sparkly crystal bead. They come in virtually every conceivable color, although the most popular is clear. Freshwater pearl beads are also extremely popular, usually mixed with Swarovski crystals. Sterling silver beads and gold filled or vermeil beads add a beautiful touch to the headpiece. Less popular, are
gemstones such as crystal quartz, peridot, and aquamarines which are lovely sprinkled in a design.