I've been preparing to approach some retailers with my Diamond Wireframe Earrings, as well as some other new designs. One part of this is to find a reliable way to get the earrings assembled. I dropped some components (my 3d printed designs, plus the findings) off to a woman at a local bead and jewelry shop, for her to put together. I picked them up last week, and she'd had trouble putting them together, because of the (apparently) too-small holes in my designs, and the janky jumprings I'd gotten from one of the major online shops for hobbyist beaders.
I increased the size of the holes in the 3d printed designs, so the earrings will be easier to assemble.
Also, she thought the quality of my findings (hardware) wasn't great in general. I agreed; the gold-plated hooks I've been wearing a while have worn down to their original silver color — not good. Also, the jumprings look sloppy and badly cut. But I wasn't sure where to find better findings.
Meredith to the rescue! Meredith and I went to Cranbrook together; she studied Metals there, creating amazing conceptual pieces, and worked as an expert metalsmith and jeweler for years. She recommended Rio Grande as selling high quality components for professional jewelers. I placed an order and am interested to see if the quality looks better. The price is certainly higher, as I'm ordering sterling silver and gold filled, rather than silver or gold plated. But I really want to make a premium product that people can wear and enjoy for a long time.
If anyone else knows of a great source of findings, I'd love to hear about it.