So what is "High-Quality Materials?"
If you're new to The Trove (hi!) or even if you've been around for a minute (hello to you too!) , you may have come across something like this, "made with high-quality materials".
So what does that even mean? Is it worth the price tag or is it just a fancy term so that our jewelry sounds better?
Yes and no. Yes, it DOES make our jewelry better. YES, it does make it worth the investment. However, NO it's not a term we just throw around to make it sound better.
How many of us have been browsing our local department store and are overjoyed when we find a cute pair of earrings, an adorable ring, or maybe the perfect necklace? Sure, the happiness and joy of finding that unique piece may last for a bit- maybe a few months, maybe a few weeks, maybe even a few days depending on how much we wear it. The joy is overshadowed -fast- by the trace of green you start finding on your finger. The metal that you can now see visibly peeling off of the pendant on your necklace. The horror of feeling your ear piercings itch, only to find that your earlobes are now green as well!
Well, that $10 price tag we were excited about back then doesn't seem so worth it now. (Do you know how many value menu cheeseburgers you can buy with a dollar? Whether you support that or not, you can buy 9-10 depending on how much tax is in your city...that's a LOT. But I digress.)
Here at The Trove Hawai'i, we HATE that. With passion.
We hate that the confidence, happiness and pride you feel when you find that perfect piece of jewelry can be so quickly squashed. This is why we choose to create our pieces with materials that won't leave you hanging after they've had their run with you. We're here for the long-term relationship, not the summer fling.
There is nothing better than finding a piece of jewelry that is uniquely you. You know, the one that just fits with your persona the second you see it. Which is why we only create pieces using Sterling Silver, 14k Gold Filled Material and Rose Gold Fill Materials.
So what is that stuff?
Sterling Silver: Many of you are probably familiar with this, but do you know what it actually is? Sterling Silver is often marked by the 92.5 sign, which means that in order to qualify as Sterling Silver, it must be at least 92.5% pure silver. That other 7.5% is composed of another metal- generally copper. (If you're thinking, "wait, what? Sterling has copper in it?" You're not alone.) Although we do use fine silver sometimes when the design calls for it, fine (or pure) silver is incredibly soft. It's malleable, bends too easily and picks up scratches and scuffs a bit too quickly for our comfort. Sterling Silver is perfect because it wears like silver, but with a bit of added durability.
It may tarnish if left to sit for a while, but it is easily polished up with a variety of household products. It won't wear down and change colors, it's silver through and through.
(Personally, we love using Argentium Sterling Silver. It's a very specific type of Sterling Silver containing 93.5% silver and substituting most of the copper with germanium. That's a lot of fancy terms, but the main point is that it tarnishes less, holds its shape and is super strong. We use it in place of regular Sterling Silver as much as we can.)
14k Gold Filled and Rose Gold Filled: These two are probably what throw people off the most when they first hear it. Many people turn up their nose until we can explain (you'd be surprised how many people have vivid, bad memories of the above green-skin experiences!).
Gold Filled and Rose Gold Filled are NOT the same thing as plated jewelry. Plated jewelry (most of what you find in department stores and chain boutiques) are often mass-manufactured (thus the low cost), and are given a quick covering of whatever color you choose. When that layer comes up, you get green skin and multicolored jewelry. It's almost like a lightly spray-painted piece of furniture that hasn't been sealed. We all know how that goes.
Gold Filled and Rose Gold Filled are a very thick layer of gold or pink gold that is bonded (with both heat and pressure) onto a base metal (often brass). Instead of a light covering, this is a much thicker piece, that is STUCK on that base metal. Think of it like this- instead of just spray-painting that used chair, you've sanded it down, painted on your new color with durable paint made for furniture, and then sealed it with a protective top-coat. That's the difference between plated and gold-filled.
We use 14/20 Gold Filled and Rose Gold Filled. Meaning it's 14k gold (the 14) that makes up 1/20th or (5%) of the overall weight. In order to be Gold Filled a piece HAS to meet the 5% requirement. And although that may not seem like a lot, it's more than enough. It wears the same as solid gold, without the crazy price tag. It is thick enough to solder together, wear all day everyday, and keeps its color through polishing.
So when we say high quality materials, we mean it.
We guarantee our pieces and are always happy to polish, repair or replace any of our pieces that fails to meet these standards.
It's December and for many of us, it's a time of closure-the ending of a year. Time to look back upon the past 12 months, see what we've achieved or didn't, take note of the changes...or if you're like me try to remember what your New Year's resolution was.
This year has been huge for us here at The Trove. I'm sure many of you know the obvious change- we switched away from solely operating online and opened our own Brick & Mortar business! (B&M is business talk for a physical location btw, we now have our own little flagship store!).
Sounds simple right? A natural progression in the business?
It totally was NOT.
I'm finally confident enough in our little store to share what we went through, to give you an idea of the nitty-gritty and to happily tell you, I would totally do it all again. (And I think Sam, my boyfriend, would agree. Although, he would probably do so with a very hesitant roll of his eyes).
So what was it like opening our own B&M?
It was hard. It was knowing everything you prepared for isn't enough. Knowing that you need x amount of funds and you only have y and oh my goodness, rent is due every month-whiich you plan for. But, then there's that $10 charge to that one company that you signed up for 3 months ago and forgot to use, and then there's the electricity bill that you don't even know what will amount to, and then there's getting hit by a scammy credit card company that wants to charge you $800 just because you were nice enough to listen to a phone call with them. It's waking up with a migraine and popping some advil because really, there's no one to call in sick too. Not to mention all the renovation that we did the hard way.
But it's also happiness and pure joy. It's waking up each morning, under no obligation to rush around for someone else's benefit. It's looking around and wanting to change something- then doing it immediately because you are your own boss. It's the pride and extreme love you feel when people actually show up at your Grand Opening...and look like they're having fun! The relief you feel when you get that first sale, or even the 100th (we just hit that number recently). The amazing amount of support you realize exists in your community, and the new friends you make every day.
So, I've decided that through December- I'll share a bit of each step we took (and are still taking) along the way. Starting from the beginning and working our way through. I wouldn't choose to live my life any differently, and I hope that perhaps this series will help YOU- you who are thinking about risking it all and stepping out on your own. If you get a little tingly feeling of excitement while reading that-well, this is it, know that you're destined to be your own boss. Because once you get that feeling, there is no going back. It lingers and festers until you take that and nurture it into a blazing fire.So, here's to hoping that through my mistakes, failures, successes and ahas you can save yourself some headache and gain a whole lot of joy!
Going to join us along the journey? I'd love to "meet" you, please feel free to comment below and let us know where you are in your path to entrepreneurship!