Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Durability Test

Over the past few months, I've been hearing more and more concerns over the durability of my jewelry. I'm a complete perfectionist, so it's been hard to not take this personally, as I've always worked so hard to ensure that everything I make will hold up over time (and possibly become an heirloom in the distant future.) And, because this question has taken me by surprise, my answer has been a marginally-defensive one... "Of course it will hold up!"

But, no matter how much of a perfectionist I am, I've come around to understanding that this is actually a very legitimate question. Dried leaves and flower petals are quite fragile, so it's only natural to wonder if buying one of my pieces is a worthwhile investment.

In order to put my own mind to rest and to answer these questions definitively and non-defensively, I devised a test to check the durability of my jewelry-making methods... I would wear a pendant on one of my long-distance bike tours. And, our most recent tour to the desert seemed like the perfect testing scenario... long days of riding, hot days, cold nights, lots of sand and dust and dirt and sweat.

I usually don't wear jewelry while I ride, so I almost forgot to take the necklace with me, and had to come back to the apartment to get it while we were working out the last kinks with our riding companions. I wore it the entire first day. I wore it outside of my shirt, and tucked inside, and it bounced around a lot.

And, then, at night, I took it off and put it neatly in the pocked of the tent... and completely forgot about it the next morning when we packed up. My necklace got rolled up inside the tent, and probably squished as I was pushing out the air and strapping everything to the back of the bike. We stayed in a hotel the second night, so my necklace ended up rolling around the tent and bumping around on the back of the bike for 30 or so hours. And when we finally pitched camp on the third night, I found it in a pile of dirt at the bottom of the tent. Was I nervous? You bet. But, I blew off all the dirt and discovered that the leaves were still perfectly in tact. There wasn't even so much as a scratch in the shellac coating the leaves! I put it back on and rode with it for the rest of our trip.

We rode for five days, 243 miles, 85 degrees during the day, with only two showers the entire trip. By the end of that fifth day, I looked pretty ragged, but my necklace looked fantastic.

I'd say that counts as a passing grade, right?

The "After" Photo... slightly dusty, not as shiny on the front edge, and a bit of a seasoned patina... and I'll be wearing it every day, since I know it can take whatever I throw at it...


kait said...

I do this sometimes too, though perhaps not quite as rigorous a test as this. It always feels like such a victory when something holds up well, doesn't it?

Laura Crawford said...

It does feel like a victory - as if I'm not such a hack after all. :)