I am in the process of learning how to add gems and other stones to my jewelry designs. It’s something I had wanted to learn how to do for a long time. I’ve finally learned enough about gems that it was time to give it a shot. One of our first offerings will be two versions of a birthstone pendant.
The birthstones we are using are Swarovski crystals. These are synthetic versions of the gems. The only exception is the stone we are using for June. For that one we have Moonstone instead of crystal.
The crystals and stones in these two designs are 3.0mm to 3.2mm in diameter. We placed them inside the negative space of the Celtic knots. The Motherhood Knot can be bought with up to six birthstones. So far I have only created a version of it with one birthstone and three birthstones as test runs. There are other spots identified for all of the variations. The Mother and Child Knot is simpler. It only has two birthstones, one representing the mother and one representing the child.
See the table below for all of the birthstone choices and the meaning behind each one.
Aquamarine (light blue)
Strength and courage
Pearl or Moonstone (white)
Love or Fertility
Ruby (dark red or maroon)
Harmony, or protection
Peridot (light green)
Purity of spirit
Sapphire (dark blue)
Opal or Tourmaline (pink)
Topaz or Citrine (gold)
Turqoise (light blue)
We have more designs in process that incorporate gems and stones. Please stay tuned for updates as we continue to expand our offerings.
The Celtic Sisters’ Knot is one that I’d been meaning to do for a long time. My most popular pendants seem to be ones that symbolize family in one way or another, such as the Motherhood Knot, Father’s Knot, and Mother and Child Knot. This is my version of this knot.
I was inspired to create this when I read a quote that said “Hope is the anchor of the soul.” I really liked the idea of the anchor as a symbol of hope. It’s not intuitive but it still seems to work. This phrase is inspired from a Bible passage, Hebrews 6, verses 16 to 20. Here is the full passage from the New International Version:
16People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
This was inspired from various tattoos I have seen, and also from the Dropkick Murphys album cover Signed and Sealed In Blood. I really liked the image of a bleeding rose and wanted to understand what it meant.
Obviously, the rose is a symbol of love. Some would say that a bleeding rose is supposed to symbolize the idea that love can outlive death. This idea goes way back actually, all the way to Greek mythology. The rose was a symbol associated with Aphrodite, who was often depicted wearing them. Adonis was her lover. There is a legend that a rose bush grew where he died and his blood had spilled, and that before that roses were white and not red.
The Celtic Knot around the border of the shield is also another reference to this idea – two loops are intertwined and don’t have a beginning or an end. Celtic art and Celtic knots often border on goth style in a lot of cases. This one is probably the most goth design I’ve ever done. It took a long time to figure out how to make the rose intricate enough to be somewhat realistic, but also robust enough that it could actually be 3D printed.
I finally got on Instagram earlier this year and I’ve been blown away by it for a number of reasons. It’s done a number of things to help my little startup business grow a little. Here I will share some of my experiences with it.
Interaction Is High On Instagram
The interaction I get from Instagram is way, way more than any other social media platform I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot of them. I get a small amount of interaction from using hashtags. For me, the best one seems to be #3dprinting. There is a growing community of 3D printing hobbyists and a lot of them are searching Instagram for people also doing things with 3D printing.
However, I get much more interaction from searching hashtags relevant to my business and interacting with people. Anything related to the various Celtic symbols, or Irish topics work really well for me. Ocasionally I will find people with pictures of tattoos of the same symbols that I’ve used in my designs. Once, bizarrely, I found someone had made a tattoo out of my Leaf Pendant design. This is a totally original design I made from scratch. It was really surreal finding it on Instagram. They told me they found it through Google Image Search, and liked it so much they got a tattoo of it.
I will interact with the people I find through hashtags by liking and commenting on some of their pictures. They will usually return the favor and do the same to some of my pictures as well. I don’t get this kind of interaction with Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest as much. Sometimes I will follow them or they will follow me, or both. Mainly through this kind of interaction I now have over 1,900 followers.
I also try to interact with the people I am already following. Since I am following over 1,000 people, it can be difficult to stay on top of it. But I try. I think this is also pretty important, but hard. What I’ve found works is checking my feed, and when I see a picture I like I will check out the rest of the person’s feed. I’ll look at their other recent pictures and like some of those as well, and maybe leave a comment or two. This way I can keep some level of interaction with the many people I’m following. If I waited until I saw each of their pictures individually in my feed, I might never see all of them. And again, if I go and like 3 or 4 pictures from someone I’m following, often they will will return the favor and check out my recent pictures and like a few in return. Again, this kind of back-and-forth or interaction just seems to be part of the culture on Instagram.
I’ve Gotten Product Ideas From Instagram
There have been a few people who found my things on Instagram who loved my designs. I have made a few sales from people who fell in love with one of my pieces and had to have it and bought it on the spot. This is rare, but it has happened a couple times. I can’t say I’ve had this happen at all though on other social media sites. I have found people that like my designs but I can’t recall a time when someone went and bought something right then after seeing it on Facebook or Twitter for example.
Another few people have discovered my designs, and requested custom designs. They looked over my things and I didn’t have quite the one they were looking for. They reached out to me and asked if I could make one for them. Some of the requests were Celtic-related and others were not. Most of my new designs this year were from people who asked for custom designs on Instagram. So instead of trying to figure out what designs I should make that customers might like, my customers actually told me exactly what they wanted. No guessing involved. It’s also likely that others will like these designs if one person already does.
One that came about this way was the Celtic Heart Knot pendant. One Instagram user requested that as this custom design. I made it for them and they really liked it. It’s still a fairly new design but it the popularity of it is promising.
I Marketed Those Same Product Ideas With Instagram
Not only did Instagram give me product ideas, but I also used Instagram to market these products after I made them. So Instagram actually completed a product cycle for me, from idea, to creating, to marketing and selling. In a case or two, the person who had it custom-made bought the item posted a picture of it. That got it exposure to their followers, which is really nice, even if the audience might be relatively small.
I started looking for opportunities to collaborate with people on Instagram that might have a bigger audience. Because of the community and interactive nature of Instagram, there are many, many users with 10,000, 20,000 and even 100,000 followers. Some call these people “influencers”. I started looking for people that had shown interest in Celtic or Irish-related things, that had a lot of followers, and that had a good level of interaction on their posts. I even found some that had posted pictures of themselves wearing Celtic jewelry, or something very similar already.
When looking for an Influencer, I put more importance on how many comments their pictures get. It really speaks to the level of engagement when a picture has 100+ comments. There are some people that can get 500 likes on a picture but zero comments. I’d go with the one with more comments almost every time. It means their followers are interacting a lot more. Clicking the button to like a picture is good, but more passive than participating in a conversation.
In any case, I highly recommend trying out Instagram if you are selling products like this.
Instagram has been an amazing way to meet people with similar interests. While surfing through hashtags I connected with Shayna Rae (@theavalanches_ ). She is a model that has does a lot of nature-themed photographs. She works with several different photographers. I sent her a Leaf Celtic Knot Necklace to be featured in a photoshoot. The photos were taken by Kathryn Herron (@kathryn_louiseh) who also does pretty amazing work. Here were some pictures from the photoshoot:
I recently got a shipment from Shapeways with 3 of my newer designs. I did these recently for customers who wanted a custom design. Now these are available for anyone to order. I have 1 of each of these available in nickel-plated steel. If anyone wants one made in a different material let me know. Shapeways has a large variety of materials available, such as sterling silver, polished brass, gold-plated, bronze, brass and more.