A: No creatures are harmed in the process of creating HartVariations jewelry. We have a No-Harm, Cruelty-Free approach in our work. We source all materials with extreme care and ethical considerations. All the butterflies, beetles and moths we use come from sustainable, licensed butterfly conservation farms working to conserve native insect habitats. Bees are all found on my walks, or otherwise out in nature by friends and family after their natural deaths. Snakeskin is shed naturally, feathers are collected after molting, and the skulls and jawbones come from natural deaths or owl pellets collected in the Pacific Northwest. HartVariations jewelry brings a second life to insects and other elements of nature.
Q: What are butterfly conservation farms?
A: Butterfly conservation farms, also known as sanctuaries, have been set up worldwide to preserve native habits and provide income for local populations. These farms require that forests and plants be protected and maintained instead of destroyed for other purposes. Butterflies and other insects are protected in these habitats. The survival rate of butterflies in the wild is only 2%, while on the farms, that rate increases up to 90%. On average, adult butterflies live 3 to 4 weeks.
Q: Can my jewelry get wet? How do I care for my one-of-a-kind piece?
Not only do we help the creature encased within HartVariations jewelry enter a new life, but your jewelry will last throughout your lifetime if cared for properly. Please thoroughly read the list of considerations below for proper care.
- your talisman has left the HartVariations Studio tested for strength and durability
- your talisman needs to be stored properly, away from moisture, sunlight, and pressure
- your talisman should not get wet or be worn while exercising, swimming, showering, sleeping, etc.
- your talisman needs you to keep an eye out for possibilities of snagging on clothes or hair, and other tension or pressure scenarios. Especially where metal connects to metal and glass.
Because of the medium we work in, we are able to use delicate elements and materials that are very heat-sensitive. Too much heat and the wings change color, sometimes losing the neon magic that makes them so special. The metal in our work is an alloy of tin and silver, which makes it melt at a lower temperature than sterling. This aspect of the metal makes it a "softer" alloy than sterling (which is 92.5% fine silver with 7.5% copper. The copper makes the metal much harder than pure silver.)The softness of the metal, combined with the delicacy of the glass, makes our work something to treasure and handle with intention and care. We 100% stand by our work and have sold thousands of pieces, with a very small number needing repair.
One of the unique aspects of HartVariations jewelry is that it incorporates a natural element. This precious, often delicate element receives protective layers of glass and metal. Because of this combination of materials two things are of note; 1). the creature now becomes a wearable talisman to escort you on your journey 2). *and if broken* this beloved, delicate creature would not make it through another round of creation and cannot be fixed.
Not being able to “fix” our jewelry is unfortunately part of what makes your talisman so special. We wish it could be different, but we hope you realize the special nature of our jewelry and if cared for properly, it can last a lifetime.
Q: What kind of metal do you use?
A: I use the Tiffany Method of stained glass soldering. The metal is a lead-free, nickel-free blend of silver and tin that melts at a lower temperature, allowing me to encase natural objects that are sensitive to heat.
The softness of the metal, combined with the delicacy of the glass, makes our work something to treasure and handle with intention and care. We 100% stand by our work and have sold thousands of pieces, with a very small number needing repair.
All of the earring findings, ring, and bracelet metal are oxidized sterling silver. The chain and findings are nickel-free.
Q: Do you accept custom orders?
A: Please note we only work on very specific curated custom options. The criteria for customization is the element used, such as ashes, snakeskin shed or feathers from a beloved pet, etc
Customization that is not available includes: shape, size, and metal color of the piece. We work in an existing range of shape and size that is dependent on the availability and limits of the materials that we use.
Custom designs take 4-6 weeks to create. The custom fee is $60 in addition to the price of the design, plus shipping and tax, if appropriate. We ask for all payment for custom orders to be paid in advance before we make the piece. The best way to begin the custom process is to contact us here.
Q: What soldering iron do you use? What type of metal is it? Where do you get your glass?
A: I get a lot of inquiries about techniques and tools and appreciate others wanting to spread their creative wings, but I am certainly no expert and my business is not set up for teaching at this time. I took one workshop 12 years ago and have learned by trial and error over many years. A great place to start is delphiglass.com, they have a lot of supplies and tools. I also recommend checking out your local stained glass store if possible, as most folks in those business roles are more than happy to share their knowledge.
Good luck to you and all of your creative endeavors.