Thursday, June 11, 2009

Searching for Quality Lampwork on Ebay

Before I made beads, I bought lots and lots of beads. Ebay was in it's lampwork heyday then. It was glorious.

But I must admit, the reason I rarely sell my beads on ebay is the very reason I stopped buying lampwork there (preferring to buy them artist-direct): it was just too hard to weed through all the "bad" listings to find the good ones! And yes, by bad, I mean Chinese lampwork.

This crap is not annealed...making it weaker than the carefully crafted artisan lampwork I prefer (and make). The photo is never of the actual set you will receive and the set that comes is often not a good representation of the photo. Furthermore, the beads are not cleaned. The leftover "mandrel poop" inside the bead wears down and weakens stringing material making the finished jewelry more likely to break. Not to mention, the piece looks "dirty" in no time.

And even though I was searching lampwork US (not even realizing I may be leaving out many talented artisans working in Australia, Germany, Isreal, Canada and the UK out by searching that way), it was taking hours to filter through the "junk beads."

Case in point: The search I did this morning reveals a search results of 28,862! Who wants to search through that???

As I was wailing my woes to a friend on a lampwork forum and describing my anger, she asked me a very simple question: "Don't you have an SRA number?"

"Why, yes. Yes, I do. It's D50."

"Most all of the artists add that to their description. Search "lampwork sra" instead."

It was like a lightning bolt hitting my head. An SRA number stands for self-representing artist. Most lampworkers have one. It means you represent yourself for sales and that your work is made by you and no one else.

So, I quickly went to ebay and did another search and was amazed at the results! Big difference, eh?

And look, instead of there being "junk" at the top of the page, here's a lovely artisan featured set!

Now, I love searching for beads on the bay once again. And I've even dipped my toes in the selling waters again.

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