As you may know, we run a pretty damn awesome Instagram page called Turquoise Over Diamonds, where beyond showing off the latest handmade turquoise jewelry from our marketplace and beyond, we give a huge focus on highlight the work of badass artists making badass things.
In fact, that's kinda what we’re about!
The photos we share are largely of jewelry, and the hands that show them off are usually those of the artists behind the pieces… artists from all around the world, from all walks of life, making all sorts of awesome things!
These hands run businesses.
They sketch designs.
They cut metal with handsaws and fire it with flame torches and soldering irons
— and bare the cuts and burns to prove it.
They spend their days creating. And one by one, they give back- to their community, to their families, to their customers, to their art.
These are the hands of handmade.
And in particular, for most of the hands on our page, these are the hands of our modern day alchemists; silversmiths!
For those of you who are reading this that are silversmiths- I salute you. Seriously, I salute you!
For those who have witnessed this art in action, you'll know what I mean when I say that this art form is truly no walk in the park. I've made and sold jewelry for years now and I've been fortunate to have had both a silversmith boyfriend (in a past life) and one of my closest friends (Coyote Stone) who’s also an incredible metalsmith. I've seen it in action and WOW, it's hard, laborious work.
If you haven't witnessed silversmithing in the flesh, you may not quite know what the process looks like (nothing a little youtube hunting can't fix) but let's just say that it's a lengthy and elaborate process and without getting too technical, it involves cutting, setting, soldering, sanding, polishing... fire, sensitive liquids… did I mention FIRE?!… and it requires caution, patience, expertise and I gotta admit, some straight up badassery...
to a level I haven't quite built up to it’d seem.
(I mentioned the fire by flame torch, yea???!)
Now as beautiful as the ancient practice of alchemy sounds, in its modern form, turning metal into moola takes some damn hard work! And in today's world, that means that a lot of those hands we’ve been talking about- they’re making by day and they're marketing by night. And as one-woman/man shows, and the social media world we live in, this can mean being a hand model for the work that they create, along with all the other facets of life we each undertake.
We’re no hand porn page, turquoise porn is really more our style, but we are a handmade enthusiast page and these kinda hands- these are the hands we feature.
These hands are making stuff- complex stuff.. messy stuff… and because of that, often times these hands aren't manicured. Instead, they're pricked and prodded by saws and metal sheets and sometimes they're freshly stained from being on the grind - ALL DAY LONG!
No hand-models here, just real life hands. Of real life people. Making real life things.
(To help pay them real life bills! 😝)
Yet…. behind the black mirrors, people seem to forget.
And there enters...
The Hand Troll
Now, these mysterious creatures can be found hanging around Instagram and other social media platforms, verbal-vomiting all over the comments sections, and generally sight 1 of 3 main characteristics.
The first person displays a strong level of disgust.
They are simply repulsed by human imperfections, and can't quite contain their body reflexes as they write things in bold capital letters like:
And my (least) favorite (but very popular):
Unlike the 1st group, the second group of well-wishers, are a little less bold, but still fairly offended. They worry for the people behind the hands while sighting advice such as:
‘You need to clean your nails’
‘Girl, go get a manicure!’
‘Seriously, go wash your hands'
They tend to be very concerned with personal hygiene.
And then there's the 3rd group.
These guys are less disgusted than their troll buddies and instead they worry for the business of the makers themselves. They comment on things like:
‘Great ring but I can't even LOOK AT IT with those hands. You really need a hand model!’
‘You need to put these on other hands if you're ever going to sell these’
‘You can't possibly sell things with these ugly hands’
(You mean the ring that couldn't be MADE had it not been for these hands, yea?)
Truth be told
Now, don't get me wrong, some of these comments have some truth in them.
Its great to clean your hands- bacteria is a real thing. And, I'm sure EVERY artist out there would absolutely LOVE and MUCH PREFER a hand model. I'm also sure they’d sell more had they the luxury.
Some might, most don't.
But that's just the thing, guys. Hiring a hand model is a luxury, and something generally only budgeted for by big brands. For the smaller artist, pieces are made by the day, collections released after weeks of working hard at the bench banging out their products.
And the same ones that bang out those jewels are also responsible for banging out their social media posts/ blogs/ listings/ emails/ tracking numbers/ #allthethings. They're taking care of babies while they’re replying to your emails. They're cooking dinner for their families in-between catching up with orders. They're forgetting dinner altogether- making sure you're getting your customs in time.
They're making every single piece they sell- by hand!!!
Its really a huge feat!
And if people on a handmade page cant appreciate the realness and rawness- and magic of that, I think they may have wound up in the wrong place!
I've seen sellers that use Facetune to smooth out their hands on Instagram and to be honest, it looks pretty decent before you go in for the full view.
But its a shame.
A shame that the standards of beauty are so high these days, that can only be achieved with the aide of an app.
Now, if we were a nail page or even a beauty page, I would understand these comments.
But we’re not.
We’re really, reaaalllyyy not.
I think our vibe is explained pretty clearly with our name ‘Turquoise Over Diamonds’ (which you can read up about on yesterdays blog post: Turquoise Over Diamonds - The Meaning )
But if it weren’t for the name then surely its our bio that exclaims ‘Badass Makers Making Badass Things’
Or maybe the fact that 100% of our content is, and always has been dedicated to handmade items- 90% of the time being of the turquoise kind!
To the haters....
I believe it is important - in today's world more than ever- to speak up. I’m all for people expressing their opinions and nothing floats my boat more than seeing people use their social media as a platform for their voice, but comments like this are rarely true, rarely necessary, and NEVER kind, to paraphrase the Socrates (?) quote of what makes speech virtuous.
When I was young I was taught:
‘If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything’
which in my adult years translates best in the Mahatma Gandhi quote:
“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
If you truly worry about someone's business because their photos are so bad- DM them- privately! Tell them you have some constructive criticism for them and ask them if they’d be willing to hear it.
If you worry about someones personal self-care, book them a damn massage- a manicure's likely the least of their problems.
And if you have comments like ‘yuck’ and ‘gross’, just keep those ones to yourself.
Really… no one asked!
ALL HANDS ARE GREAT HANDS!
And in conclusion, as the saying goes; ‘good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere’, we believe that
‘good hands do good things,
but badass hands do ERRRRYTHANG!’
To the artists who’ve received comments like this and have felt shit about it- this one’s for you.
I salute you for doing what you love and committing every day to do the work- often without help, support and often without any company! You guys rock and I feel freakin' proud to show off your badass hands- and the epic creations that come of them.
They are what you have- and you are using them well!
TURQUOISE OVER DIAMONDS-
EVERY DAMN DAY!