First of all I have first hand experience and now is the time to take you through my journey and let you all rightfully know the unspoken truth behind the name necklace world. When I first started to make jewellery I worked for a reputable wholesale jewellers in Hatton Garden, London's prestigious jewellery district. This company were one of the key providers of personalised name necklaces throughout the UK and supplied well-known high street jewellers. There I was hand making personalised Carrie style necklaces from silver and gold to a very high standard for retailers who in turn would sell them on to their own customers at inflated prices.
After several years there was an increase in importing cheaper jewellery from the Far East, which prompted British companies to find cheaper methods of manufacturing in order to compete. The company I worked for bought a laser-cutting machine which was used to cut out silver and gold name necklaces like most of those you see online. This was a very quick process and meant that our boss no longer needed to employ experienced jewellers to hand make the necklaces for him as the company could make more money by cutting down their overheads and all jewellers were sacked! The majority of online companies produce their personalised name necklaces in the very same way!
I will explain to all of you at home how you can you tell for yourself if a Carrie style name necklace has been handmade or machine made to save you time, money and stress:
1. The first clue that gives it away is a low retail price. My motto has always been "buy cheap buy twice". Well what would you expect for £20 odd pounds?
2. The metal thickness used for laser cut names is usually very thin. The most common thickness used for silver names is 0.7mm and as advertised a so-called extra thick name is only 1.2mm. After some research I was very surprised to see companies online selling gold names that are laser cut from 0.4mm thick gold which is shockingly thin. Thomas Nayler’s silver name necklaces start from 1mm and gold from 0.8mm and go up to 2mm thick making them a superior quality. I always give customers the option to select a thickness that suits them and recommend a thicker metal as this makes the name necklace more durable, better quality and much less likely to break. Lets say you buy a cheap name necklace and it breaks, you then have to buy another one so you would have been better off buying the better quality more expensive necklace to begin with which makes it a false economy, wouldn't you agree?
3. Laser cut name necklaces tend to have rougher edges where the letters will not have been refined by hand filing/shaping into a perfectly smooth letter, this is not pleasant to feel against your skin and of course doesn't look great at close range.
4. Laser cutters can't make manual adjustments to add tiny prongs between letters without which the name has a weak point and potentially could eventually bend then break. When I hand make names I add little metal tags (prongs) in between letters to join then and strengthen any large gaps. Letters on laser cut names will be extended to touch other letters but this is only half of the strengthening process dealt with.
5. On some fonts I engrave lines to define the letters - only handmade name necklaces will be made in this way.
6. 90% of laser-cut name necklaces will have flat loops at each end of the name for threading the chain through. I always solder separate round wire loops to the end of names and again you will only see this on handmade personalised necklaces. Both ways are strong but by soldering loops you achieve a far more professional quality look and feel to the name.
7. Finally lightweight thin name necklaces will be suspended by thinner lightweight chains so you should be aware that these chains will often be more prone to breaking than a heavier chain.
I hope you have found reading this article informative and useful and are now more aware of what personalised jewellery you are buying online.
Expert designer maker of personalised necklaces with more than 10 years experience.
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