Show how much you care by making jewelry for your loved one
By Yu Kuai and Holin Wang
TOMORROW is Chinese Valentine's Day. If you don't know what to buy for your loved one, iDEALShanghai recommends some DIY stores that sell one-of-a-kind silver jewelry.
For those who are not familiar with the new jewelry making process, here is a brief overview.
Originated in Japan in 1990s, precious metal clay is an innovative substance that made DIY jewelry possible — allowing people with no jewelry making experience to produce a sophisticated piece. The concept is fairly simple: By turning silver metal into a clay form, metal can be easily shaped by hands or crafting tools just like soft clay. After drying in a kiln or with a torch, precious metal clay returns to its pure metal form, creating a piece of fine jewelry. Because it is a simple and enjoyable process, the pieces produced are often one-of-a-kind, DIY jewelry has become a popular activity in town, particularly among couples.
Philosophy behind DIY jewelry
Several shops in Shanghai offer professional equipment and personal guidance for making your own jewelry. Many DIY shop owners emphasize that enjoying the process of designing, crafting and baking your jewelry is more valuable than the actual outcome.
“We are really selling the experience of making your own jewelry, not just the final product,” says Wang Lin, co-owner at One Piece Silver. Couples will likely enjoy spending an afternoon making a pair of silver rings together.
On average, the entire process takes about two to three hours, though it can be much longer if customers have a hard time finalizing the design of their pieces. Therefore, it is highly encouraged to have the design in mind before arriving. While silver rings or pendants are popular, you can also explore different kinds of metals and jewelry in the shop.
There is no need to worry if you are not the most artistic person; experienced staff will be ready to help, ensuring your jewelry comes out fine.
Because of the Qixi Festival, which is known as Chinese Valentine's Day, many shops are seeing an increase in customers, therefore making a reservation is highly recommended.
“Weekend afternoons are definitely the busiest,” warns Wu, who works at Yanyu Art Salon.
He suggests customers come in the morning, and if possible, on a weekday. Not every shop has English-speaking staff available; different shops often have different metals and types of jewelry available. Call first or check its website first to see whether they have what you want. Whether it is a surprise for your loved one or an activity you do together, DIY jewelry is fun and it comes with a unique reward.
(Xu jiangxiu and Helen Shao contributed to this article.)
• Make a reservation prior to your arrival;
• Brainstorm the design of your jewelry beforehand;
• Explore different kinds of metals and jewelry available in the shop;
• Don't worry if you're not that talented with arts and crafts;
• Call the shop or check its website to get all your questions answered before leaving.
Tucked away in the city's creative hub known as 'M50', One Piece Silver Accessories DIY is a hidden gem with walls covered with pictures of its creative works. While waiting for your piece to emerge from the oven, you can take a walk around and soak up artistic atmosphere around.
The studio near the exit of Hongkou Stadium Station of Metro Line 8 is easy to find. Its employees are patient to explain the special features of each silver piece to make sure you impress your lover with the right gift.
The moment you step into the store, you feel you stumbled into a wonderland. Everything on display is interesting and intriguing. The store has reasonable prices for its creative products. That is the reason why it attracts lots of customers.
The store is favored by those who are fashion followers. Visiting the shop is like making a tour of discoveries. The staff are very attentive to your needs and help you to find something that can surprise and delight your sweetheart.