• How strong is it?

    Posted on January 26, 2016 by in FAQ/Tips


    I’ve seen it on Facebook, and I’ve been asked personally, the single most common question I’ve found in the mama metal world:

    Is it strong?

    The short answers usually given are sufficient, but I wanted to take a moment to offer a long answer from my perspective.

    seashore design studio handmade jewelryIf you’re late to the mama metal party and find yourself saying, “wait, what?”, here is a brief summary. Mama metal is a style of mostly silver jewelry that is made strong and durable with lots of motion and places for little fingers to hang onto when breastfeeding, being worn in a baby carrier, or just hanging out with mom or another caretaker. In many cases, the centerpieces are separate from a double clasp chain so that the wearer can mix and match different chains and centerpieces or charms. These pieces are available in a wide variety of shapes and designs from numerous talented artisans.

    The double clasps are larger than typical necklace clasps, to accommodate being clipped onto the centerpieces or charms. They are securely attached to strong, closed linked chain to create a sturdy piece that can handle being tugged on. The centerpieces are made from relatively thick silver, which is textured and work hardened for strength, and tumbled for nice smooth edges.

    So, is it strong?

    Yes, these pieces are made strong and sturdy, meant to withstand being played with by babies and toddlers. Because they are intended for this purpose, they are made carefully with attention to detail that ensures that wire ends are carefully tucked, weak spots are avoided and overall, the piece is made to the highest standards. A mama metal necklace will be significantly stronger than an average thin gold or silver chain, or a costume jewelry piece made with cheap materials and pieces with weak spots, such as open jump rings.

    That doesn’t mean they’re indestructible.

    1. Anything can happen. Anything can break. So while we artisans strive to offer the highest quality products possible, metal can develop weaknesses over time, and new metal can have an intrinsic flaw not visible to the naked eye. A brand new chain can break unexpectedly due to a minor, invisible flaw.
    2. Expectations need to be realistic. This isn’t armor. This isn’t thick and heavy and reinforced. It is meant to look lovely for normal wear, and to be sturdy enough to withstand grabby little fingers.
    3. How hard do you want it pulled? My daughter likes to fiddle with my necklace, and when she pulls enough that it is uncomfortable, I gently loosen her hand and say “sweetie, don’t pull so hard, you’re hurting mommy” while showing her how to jingle it instead. I use it as a teachable moment, and remind her to use gentle hands. Just because this necklace can withstand her pulling with all her might doesn’t mean I want her to learn that it’s okay to try to choke mommy out, just like I don’t want her to think it’s okay to pull my hair or steal daddy’s glasses.

    So as an artisan, what can I do? My answer is simply, stand by my product. Quality and integrity are very important to me, so if something breaks or is damaged in the course of normal wear, I will repair or replace it, as is appropriate. As opposed to the countless jewelry items that have broken on me over the years (without a little one trying to tear it off), when you work with an individual artisan, you have the ability to simply reach out to the maker and in most cases, he or she will be happy to work with you to resolve the issue to your satisfaction.

    So yes, these pieces are strong, and in fine and sterling silver, they should last for many, many years with some tarnish being the only appreciable sign of age. They’re not indestructible, but they’re plenty strong, as is my dedication to providing quality products and my appreciation for all the awesome people I’ve met through this craft.

    If your interest has been piqued, visit us at seashoresilverjewelry.com and seashoredesignstudio.etsy.com to see what’s new.

    Thanks for reading. Do you have any other questions for me? I’d love to hear from you!