Christina Parker Photography

"Preserving Time for Generations to Come"

Beads, Metal, Lead, Cadmium, Chocking Hazards, Labels January 13, 2011

Attention all jewelry makers, beaders, artists, store chains, china factories, consumers!

Do you care what you potentially buy, create, sell, wear and or promote when it comes to jewelry?  Do you really know the products and what they are made of? Does it concern you? Does it matter?  In the past few years, in the United States, there are laws that are coming forth to help the consumer know what they are buying, when it comes to protecting children.  Small business have fretted over testing their ribbon, fabric for lead, before selling it to the consumer.  These lead laws apply to anyone who could sell to those that buy in the USA.  

Not all labelling is the same, regarding lead or product information.  Some products are labelled what the product is, and how old they can be to use it, such as “Not intended for children under the age of 15”.   Why does age 16 make it okay?   Why would adults be exempt?  Is it because we should know better, if we are informed, or that we are wise enough to make a decision regarding the product ourselves?  Please share me your thoughts on this matter.  

Over the past year or so, jewelry found in big chain stores such as Wal-mart, and a jewelry accessory store called Claire’s, has been alerted to the fact that their jewelry on their shelves  contain a very harmful product called cadmium in their metal jewelry.  Where lead was once used, to save on production costs, cadmium has sometimes replaced it.    Do you really know if that silver plated clasp, that you do touch each time you put in on, is it lead or cadmium free? I am very leary to even buy jewelry findings from the local Michael’s store.  Products selling there, are massed produced.  Can I be confident what the product is when it’s so widely spread?  Does the label provide enough details? We are all quite aware of how many out of country factories are being outsourced, to produced cheaper products, so the buyer saves a buck, and so does the consumer!  I feel we lose our quality and the stamp of approval from inspector #12.   Factories such as ones in China, and other areas, do have a role to play in jewelry making.  They quite often are the ones that do cut large pieces of rock, that create our beads for jewelry making.   You can make and sell a lot of stones from one big rock!  I buy my products directly from wholesale companies, that state where the origin of the product is from, and what the “material”  is.  They have to declare what the product is, when it enters their border, and when it leaves and enters my border  (I live in Canada).   Believe me, I pay for the duty that comes with sterling silver, and I roll with the punches of the fluctating sterling silver market prices.   How many jewelry pieces at any store, can you stumble across and know exactally what the product it is and the quality behind it?   Do you really care?   I’m sure the price tag has the ability to help determine that fact.  If you are buying some fashion accessories at Forever 21 or Reitmans and paying for a fashion necklace or bracelet are you really caring what you may be buying and supporting?    Or are you just thrilled that you just got a great 2 for 1 deal, that compliments your new piece of wardrobe, has boosted your self confidence, and doesn’t even factor in the the cycle of production and what goes into the product.   By the way…some of my friends bring me their sale fashion jewelry to fix so they can wear it again!

I have been making and creating jewelry for over 5 years now.  Right from the beginning, I decided I would always buy quality!  Quality which to me, translates to sterling silver, semi precious stones, trying to give the best Grade of beads, professional wire, swarovski crystals and pearls, vermeil, czech republic glass beads.  I would never comprise in offering a type of metal that I was unaware of what it really was, and how it was made, and therefore I avoid all the small packages that Michael’s craft store offers.      Well…there is only one Sterling Silver brand I will buy, if I’m absolutely desperate!

I think it is interesting to go to the bead store, and on the product label it MAY say, not intended for use of children of the under the age of 15.  Why does one put that on the label?  What makes it suitable for a 16 year old, and not a 15 year old, it is because of the legal ramfications?   With the new US lead laws you will see that Swarovski crystals are not intended for children, because of their % of lead content, and only a few small % is allowed.   When crystals are made, lead is involved.  I have researched that Swarovski’s lead is encased;  meaning that it can not leak out, even if swallowed and digested.  There is now new labelling saying not intended for children of a certain age due to chocking hazard.  

I have created children’s bracelets with Swarovski crystals.  I have felt they are completely safe, when wisdom and practical sense comes along with it!  When I have made the bracelets,  first of all I double secure the bracelets.  So important, especially, when stringing, as if one side breaks, you would lose all your beads.   When I have made them I use all sterling silver, plus I factor in a safety component, so if the bracelet was to get caught, it would break apart, but not with the beads coming part, if it was done up correctly, taken off when sleeping, and not worn in pools where chemicals disintegrate the professional wire.    I can’t really see a newborn having the capacity of their fine motor skills to pick up the crystals and put them into their mouth.   I do worry though, when I see older babies and toddlers, with beaded strings that hold soothers, and wonder how secure those are, and the potential chocking hazards!  Those scare me!    

I also do not like elastic jewelry, the elastics do wear out, and they will eventually break, those scare me on children, and show disappointed in adults, another thing I do not do.

One of the local hair accessorize companies, that have hit it big here in Canada is Bugalugbaby.ca  They started with making simple hair clips, that are ribbon lined.  They have added to their designs, what they call a lead free metal topper, also which I have used and are packaged as scrapbooking  “boutique brads” from doodlebug desings Inc. .  I have used some of these in my own, but none that have sparkle jewels on them.  They easy come off!    I shake my head when bugalug says on their website not intended for children under the age of three, because of the accessory, could come loose and cause a chocking hazard, but then don’t state that plain lined clips are chocking hazards anyways.   Isn’t that what common sense is?

My main concern is if we are so concern about children and their health, why aren’t we concern for ourselves?!  What are you going to do about it?

You can find me on www.precioussadies.etsy.com creating one of kind quality and affordable products! Christina

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