June 17, 2016

#SupportLokalPH: Sweet Side Jewelry | Eye For Treasure

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

I have this tendency to go a little bit overboard with my... obsessions. I've been through collecting fountain pens, leather bags--heck, even chili oils--, and now it seems that my obsession has moved on to collecting jewelry.

Unlike my other obsessions, though, I think I'll stop with three.
(Pardon the thumbmark on the disc pendant)

Recently, I've been on a quest to find genuine gold jewelry suitable for daily use, my reason being that fancy accessories tend to wear out faster than my liking. Silver tarnishes, plated accessories eventually get brassy, and stainless steel gets dull with age. I hardly have time to clean and maintain my jewelry, so I thought that perhaps investing on proper gold accessories might be cost-efficient in the long run.

According to my research, 14K gold should be enough for everyday use as it is more resistant to tarnish than its purer counterparts. But since gold jewelry doesn't come cheap, I thought about customizing my pieces to have a personal touch. Searching through social media (mostly Instagram), I've discovered that there are a lot of local jewelry makers who accept custom designs. After some consideration, I chose two artisans who I think satisfied my aesthetic and financial needs.

Sweet Side Jewelry

Wearable Art

(Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sweetsidejewelry/)

Sweet Side Jewelry's Instagram feed caught my eye as they seem to be good at creating personalized accessories. Most of the featured jewelry in their feed showcased engraved pendants, monograms, or name necklaces. They are also have quirky designs like origami pendants, cutout pendants, and dainty rings. The materials they use when making jewelry are brass, silver, 14K gold or 18K gold.

A photo posted by #sweetsidejewelryFAQS (@sweetsidejewelry) on

What I ordered from them was a bar necklace; a design I originally saw on Pinterest. Inquiry and ordering were done over Viber, wherein they were quick to respond to my questions. Prior to deciding the final design of my necklace, I was asking them to give a quotation on other designs I found on their feed and on the Net. They were very patient in responding to all of my clarifications.

They also have a physical store located at 1026a Ongpin St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.

For they payment, they required 50% down payment upon order, and the rest of the balance was to be settled prior to delivery. They transact through Paypal, but with extra charges (i.e. 3.3% of the total amount, plus 15 PhP), so I opted for bank deposit instead. They have accounts in BDO, BPI and PSBanks, and I chose BDO.

Production time is estimated for 5 to 7 days after down payment has been confirmed, but for my necklace they were able to make it in 4 days. That's really fast, considering the volume of orders as per their Instagram feed. Updates were also done through Viber, complete with pictures to show the development of the necklace.

Initial design was double the height of the bar, but I wanted a dainty necklace so I had the bar reduced to half its height.

Shipping was done via LRC Express, complete with tracking number and additional information on how to track your orders. LRC Express does have a website, but online tracking kinda sucks. Good thing that they have a hotline so you can inquire about the status of your package over the phone. I was able to receive the package on the next day.

Me wearing the necklace, giving my best to showcase my collarbones.

So what can I say about the actual jewelry? Granted that my design isn't intricate at all, I'd say that my bar necklace was decently made. The bar looks even, the engraving looks centered with the proper depth, the color of the gold looks nice and neutral, and the length of the chain (I had it made on an 18" chain) is what I expected.

I only have a couple of complaints on the necklace, which I think are flaws on the concept of a bar necklace, but not necessarily on the execution of the design. The first one is that the bar tends to flip on the other side, and because of this the engraved part is hidden in the back. The second one is that throughout the day, the bar tends to move sideways, disrupting its horizontal placement. I don't know if these things happen because the bar isn't balanced enough, but they're just minor flaws and can be corrected easily.

Communication: ★★★★★
Ease of Payment: ★★★★
Production time: ★★★★★
Shipping and Delivery: ★★★★
Quality of Item: ★★★
Overall: ★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Overall Impression: Sweet Side Jewelry is professional, responsive, and accommodating. With both physical and online stores, contacting them should be easy.

Eye For Treasure

Artisan Fine Jewelry

(Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eyefortreasure/)

The next jeweler I chose because of the dainty jewelry in their Instagram feed. Aesthetically, I'm drawn to minimalist designs, as delicate accessories can be stacked and layered without looking too flashy.

Eye for Treasure also makes customized jewelry, and recently from their feed it seems that they are focusing more on engagement rings and wedding bands. They also have another Instagram account (@eye.for.treasure) where they sell on-hand jewelry in 14K and 18K gold.

What I ordered from them are two necklaces, the first of which is a 16" gold twist chain, and the second is a 20" necklace with a disc pendant, engraved with the letter M. My intention was to have a set of necklaces that I can layer, thus the varying chain lengths. Ordering and inquiry were also done via Viber, and I also had the same level of accommodation compared to Sweet Side Jewelry. Eye for Treasure is also quick to reply, and patient in granting my quotation requests.

What I noticed, though, is that I didn't submit a formal "form" for my order, which I did with Sweet Side Jewelry. The order was finalized through a series of text exchanges, but we there wasn't a summary of the order. An almost mishap happened after that; more details as we go along.

The necklaces came in a pouch, and individually packed in a ziplock bag.
I liked their ziplock bag very much as it was sturdier than what is usually used for storing jewelry.

Payment was 30% down payment upon order; full balance to be settled before shipping. Eye for Treasure only accepts bank deposit through BDO or BPI; they do not have Paypal. I chose to transact through BDO (because BPI counter lines can get sooooooooo looooooooooong).

Production time is estimated for 7 to 14 days (10 to 21 days as per their Instagram), which is quite odd for me, considering the simplicity of my necklace design. Heck, my twist necklace needed no customization at all, and how long does it take to stamp a small disc? Actual production time for my necklaces took longer than what they told me; my order and down payment was done on May 25, and was ready to be shipped on June 15. Sinagad talaga ang 21 days, 'no?

Also, they didn't update me with the status of my order as they promised. I had to follow up on my order and wait for their response. My follow-ups did nothing to expedite the production of my necklaces, though.

Twist chain necklace in 16" length.
This can be worn by itself, or worn with a pendant of your choice.

What also threw me off was that they did the stamping just a day or two before the shipping date--and almost got the initial wrong. What they gave to the goldsmith for stamping was the initial W and not M, buti na lang they confirmed the letter (during one of my follow-ups) to me so they were able to catch the mistake. Perhaps if they had some form or order summary, they could avoid this confusion.

Disc with the initial M. Also got this design from Pinterest.

Delivery was done via GrabExpress, which is good because they were able to deliver the package within the day. However, shipping was done the day after I settled the balance, which also took long because we weren't able to establish the delivery address when I ordered. Initially, Eye for Treasure was to ship using one of the traditional courier services, and wanted me to order a bag worth 100-150 PhP just to conceal the necklaces being delivered. Bawal daw kasi mag-ship ng jewelry, according to the strict rules of that courier (ok). After choosing the bag and all (I opted for the 150 PhP one because the cheaper one looked so tacky), I gave my delivery address--that's when they realized how near I was and suggested to use GrabExpress instead (no need for the bag this way). Yeah, the whole experience was kind of a hassle, but at least the speed of delivery made up for it somewhat.

Layering the two necklaces

Despite the long wait and the inconvenience in shipping, I really like the necklaces I got. I like the daintiness of the chains, and the font used for the initial, and I think that the disc pendant is more balanced than my bar necklace. The color of the gold is nice and neutral as well.

Communication: ★★★
Ease of Payment: ★★★★
Production time: ★★
Shipping and Delivery: ★★★
Quality of Item: ★★★
Overall: ★★★ out of ★★★★★

Overall Impression: Eye for Treasure still needs improvement in speeding up their production process--they should be able to finish simpler designs more quickly, because it doesn't make sense to standardize the time of production when there is an obvious difference in the complexity of the designs. Also, it isn't fair to the customers to purchase additional items on top of their jewelries (mahal na nga ng binibili nila in the first place). If their courier is not able to ship the items as it is, find another one.

Layering the three necklaces.
The chain used in the bar necklace was thicker than the other two, but only just a bit.

Yeah, I think this will be the only post I'll have about genuine gold jewelry (at least, for the next couple of years), although I still have 11 more LBB items coming my way. All in all, it was a nice experience looking into local jewelry makers, and having them craft the designs I have in mind. But I think quota na ako sa pagbili ng accessories (masyadong magastos!!!); these three pieces should be enough for me to use in the years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment