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Handmade, Handcrafted or Artisan-Made. What’s the Difference!?

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Let’s settle it! Is there really a distinction between 'handmade' and 'handcrafted' and does the difference matter? And what does being an ‘artisan’ really mean?

Which leads to the bigger question for me–

Is one better than the other!?

When I began my jewelry-making journey, I started asking questions and quite frankly, got frustrated with all the conflicting answers. I didn’t know what to call Earth Accents Jewelry!   Are the pieces handcrafted or handmade? When, if ever, can I call myself an Artisan?

One thing that I knew for sure is that whether jewelry is handmade by a skilled artisan or handcrafted with love at a kitchen table, jewelry-making is a glorious art form.

A beautiful piece of jewelry expresses one's personality and reflects both the wearers’ and maker’s values and tastes. A good example is a jewelry piece made with ethically-sourced materials.

But does the wearer really need to know if it’s handcrafted or handmade? After all, both are made with care and extra attention to detail.

Ethically sourced jewelry has minimal impact on the environment and gives back to workers by providing fair wages and safe working conditions.

Consider this –

If you want to purchase a handmade guitar, you would expect the guitar to be put together and refined by hand. Does the guitar have extra appeal if you know that the wood was not factory cut and that each instrument was made differently and tweaked for different purposes, markets, intent, and skills?

If you answer YES, then it matters to you that you purchase a handmade guitar. You see, factories focus on making good enough components to sell to a mass market.

The same applies to handmade jewelry.

Check out what The Federal Drug Administration says about it:

Bottom line –

  • Handcrafted jewelry is assembled by hand. The components may or may not be made using manufacturing machinery.
  • Handmade jewelry is also assembled by hand. The difference is that the components are not made using industrialized machinery.

If you think about it, handmade jewelry is actually handcrafted jewelry that is fashioned entirely by hand. It uses raw materials that are uniquely soldered, sawed, carved, and shaped without the use of manufacturing machinery.

As we see the growth of such marketplaces like Etsy, consumers are definitely interested in handcrafted items. Whether you are interested in a fully authentic handmade item is a decision only you can make yourself.

To your right is an excellent example of stunning beads, designed and handmade by EClips Accessories, and assembled with manufactured components.

Raw material, polymer clay in this case, is kneaded, cut, baked, and finished by hand. I like them so much that I recently purchased a pair!

Follow @E_Clips_Accessories to stay updated with their newest products and promotions!

ECLIPS earrings are handcrafted with homemade beads! AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE. Click photo for more information

The question still looms – Is one better than the other?

Individual tastes dictate that answer. Since handcrafted jewelry may have machine-made components, in many cases that involves less skill and time.

Personally, there is something artistically and aesthetically appealing about handmade pieces. Because of irregularities due to being entirely produced by hand, these products are always one-of-a-kind. This is important to me. I usually pay more for handmade pieces because they're worth more to me. Only you can know if it matters to you.

But what about ‘artisan-made’ pieces?

Simply stated, an artisan is a skilled and experienced craftsperson. The title carries an impression of achievement, creativity, and quality craftsmanship. Artisans have spent years of practice or training honing their craft.

The process of designing and crafting artisanal pieces can give them more profound meaning and customization options.

As I once did, you may wonder if you can call a piece artisan-made if any of its components are produced using manufacturing machinery.

And the answer is……

Yes, “…as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product.”, according to the Merriam Dictionary.

Personally, I didn’t have the nerve to call myself an artisan until just last year.

Why did it take so long? Because I needed the confidence to identify that way. Many super talented artisans have impeccable designs, craftsmanship, and artistry. I couldn’t be one until I felt like I belonged!

All the components on this popular Earth Accents chakra crystal earrings

So now you know the difference between handmade, handcrafted, and artisan-made. What type of jewelry do you make or purchase? Do you have something to add to this discussion? Please comment below! Thanks!


I know you!

Well, at least I know a part of you. I know you because you’re like me.

I know that you love handmade jewelry. In fact, you love so much about the craft – the artistry, striking beads and crystals, components, and technique.

You are an enthusiast – you love having it, may tinker at making it or make your living designing it.

That’s me too (!!)

That’s why I want you to join me in my Makers’ Studio Blog once a month as we journey through the ups and downs of creating jewelry together.

And learn a few things along the way! SIGN-UP HERE???

Like most of us, we’ve brought along other skill sets during our handmade journey. Me? I’m a good researcher, decent writer, educator by trade (retired Health Educator), and they say that I make nice jewelry

For this blog, I combine those skills with the supreme goal that you benefit from it! The information you’ll find here is fact checked, with my subjective perspective thrown in!

I’m looking forward to reading your Blog post comments (if you choose). And while you’re there leave topic ideas too!

And if you want even more, I’d be delighted if you connect with me on my Instagram, @earth_accents, and Facebook page, Earth Accents Jewelry. These pages highlight the handmade jewelry in the Earth Accents Jewelry Collection.



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