During the past few weeks, I have been busy with putting together beautiful mixes of gemstones, Czech glass, and metals like Argentium 935 silver — and many of the finished pieces are now available in my shop!

When I first started making jewelry half a dozen years or so ago, I used pickings from estate sales and unknown metals, plus whatever I found beautiful and sparkling at Hobby Lobby and the local bead shop. Life got in the way for a few years, as tends to happen with young mothers and a hobby / budding business, but I finally got to the point of relaunching Rococo Riche in October 2013.

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This is still one of my favorite pieces, which featured vintage buttons and vintage brass chain with a mix of newer components.

 

While I still have a love for repurposing vintage materials, learning techniques in silversmithing and finding the world of wholesale suppliers (wow — did this open up so many new options!) has pushed me in a new direction.

Goal #1: Higher Quality Materials

With new suppliers available for bead and metal selection, I can offer jewelry that is more valuable. My original stash I had built up from estate sales, craft stores, and the like included quite a number of plastic and acrylic beads of fair quality — they weren’t terrible, but I wasn’t terribly educated about the broad range of beads available.

Research into the differences in metals and types of beads has led me to aspire to something more that my customers can wear and keep for many years. I recently listed one of my last pieces featuring a less expensive bead palette, if you will. Although there is a HUGE market for the sub-$30 range in jewelry, especially with the younger crowds, I want to be different from the masses of jewelry retailers serving up such pieces.

Goal #2: Color / Theme Collections

Over the last year, I have been working hard to expand and grow my jewelry line to include collections of jewelry featuring certain themes and colors. The Terra Riche Collection is one of my latest, which gathers together warm hues, earthy gemstones, and a variety of metals.

 

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One of my latest pieces for my Terra Riche Collection — hand forged bronze, hand hammered, with Czech glass and brass beads on 14K gold filled earwires.

My other collections include:

La Mer Riche — ocean and beach themes with soothing palettes of blue, green, aqua, and sand

Mod+Pop Riche — modern pops of hyper-brights and solids in black, white, and gray with a mix of metals

Noir Riche — a darker mix of glamorous beads in jet black, deep purple, moody blue, and more 

Purely Silver Riche — this collection features handmade jewelry made only of sterling silver or higher purity silver

Vintage Riche — lots of jewel tones, floral patterns, and feminine motifs with rich patinas

Warrior Riche — neutral colors with a more masculine feel in leather, copper, and hand engraving

 

While a few of my collections are a bit bare with only 2-3 pieces as of this writing, I will be creating new looks and designs for all these lines over the next weeks and months — and I am really excited about several ideas in particular! Make sure to bookmark these collections to see what’s new as I add pieces.

Goal #3: More Hand Engraving

Though I am always learning and looking for new techniques to include in my metalwork and bead stringing, hand engraving is another BIG part of where I am headed in 2015.I have posted to my social media accounts on a few occasions that hand engraving is one technique that needs to be featured more often in my work.

It sounds crazy to think that I have been hand engraving for almost a decade now. With dozens of custom hand engraving orders in 2014, this area of my jewelry design became a major focus. Part of Goal #3 is to expand to a line of charms available for both retail AND for other jewelry designers to incorporate into their own beaded pieces.

One way I am already working on more hand engraved pieces in my jewelry is through my Bespoke Riche Collection — this is a collection where you can select handmade pieces made-to-order or get a custom design hand engraved — by me, right in my studio.

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This is one of my most popular designs! I use my own hand lettered initials to design a custom monogram for each customer — nothing machine made or template based here. I also fabricate the ring in my studio using thick sterling silver wire and sheet.

I have lots of people interested in hand engraving — and why wouldn’t they be?! It is such a cool, old-world method of embellishment for jewelry. As part of my goal for hand engraving, I plan to produce a few videos for this In The Studio section of my blog to give everyone an inside look at what it takes to product a single piece from start to finish.

The public at large truly has no idea the time, skills, and emotions that go into a handmade piece of anything. The difference between handmade jewelry that may take hours and a mass-produced piece that takes minutes is huge. I think this video series will help my customers really see what I do in my studio — and to see that it can be a fun process even if it is a challenge.

What are YOU looking forward to from Rococo Riche?

I love getting feedback from my customers and followers — it helps me to know what only works for me and what more people find special. So, tell me, what are you looking forward to in 2015 from my shop? More handmade bracelets or earrings? Seeing a few more unique, hand engraved pieces?

These are the newest pieces, released today. Feel free to browse all my latest pieces in my New Items section.

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These pieces are also available in my Etsy shop.

Thank you so much for continuing to encourage and support my endeavors with art, metal, and beads in 2015. I really appreciate every custom order, like, share, comment, and word of feedback!

A.L. Henson
Owner / Designer*, Rococo Riche Jewelry & Art

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*also: Photographer, Copywriter, Listing Manager, Web Manager, Web Designer, Accountant, Social Media Coordinator, Shipping Manager, Purchasing Agent, Inventory Specialist, Researcher, Order Fulfillment, Marketing Director…did I leave anything off? 😉