Mink & Stone: My Jewellery Designing Adventure!


I was recently given the opportunity to try out the "design your own" feature of the jewellery website Mink & Stone. I have to say, my curiosity was immediately piqued: how would it work? As somewhat of a craft novice, I was a bit nervous. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: take away the actual construction of the thing, it turns out anyone, even me, can design stuff - not to toot my own horn but I may just be a natural born jewellery designer! ;-)

Mink & Stone is based in London and was founded by Miisa and Mark Mink, who got the inspiration for their company while on holiday in a craft bazaar in Istanbul. I think it's an inspired idea for a web based jewellery company. It is such a fun way to personalize jewellery, be it for a gift or say, if you are trying to make something to suit a specific outfit or special occasion. The beads appear to be top quality and having trawled plenty of bead stores with my Mom I think they are reasonably priced. My Mom is quite heavily into her jewellery/bead work, and I always love a handmade present from her, so now I can (almost) reciprocate!

It helps that the process is absolutely addictive. Or I found it to be, anyway - I’ve presently designed around a dozen pieces, because I’ve found my calling, at last! Ha ha, seriously though, if you like playing with shapes and colours it really is good fun and the combinations you can create are seemingly endless.

There are also plenty of lovely ready made pieces to choose from on the site if you aren’t of the jewellery designing inclination, with many of them being designed by other customers. 

What I enjoyed about the design page is that you can go as fast or as slow as you like. If you want something very simple it would take no time at all to construct. But me being me, I end up playing with dozens of different patterns and combinations, which does lead you down a rabbit hole of re-arranging beads. You can shift left or right, copy and delete beads, which helps a great deal with arranging them. You can save your pieces and go back to work on them later, just sign up with your email address and you are given a "My Creations" page that allows you to store designs under drafts, private, or public categories.

The one thing I think could be improved in the basic design page was, say I accidentally deleted all of a particular bead in one section but wanted to use it elsewhere in the piece, the application removes them from the bottom of your design section, so you have to go find the bead again in among the 400+ bead choices. But to be fair, you can easily enough narrow down bead options by size and colour.

There are pre-made pattern ideas to inspire you if you click on "Patterns", and you can save your own patterns for future use. I could also have made more use of the "Tray" feature in which you pre-select beads for your design, but it wasn't as immediately grabby as my impatient nature desires so I just picked and chose which beads I liked as I went. I think for necklace designing in particular these features would be of much help in preparing your design. The way to get started properly, not just go at it willy nilly like me, is found on the website's helpful intro to design page here!

So far you can design necklaces in several lengths, or a bracelet which varies in length – this was really helpful to me, as the one place I always have issues with things being too big is my wrists. I measured my wrist and sure enough I needed the smallest setting – the 180 mm, when the default is set to 190 mm, going up to 200 mm (18-20 cm, thanks internet!). I was a little bit nervous maybe it would be too small but it comes with an extender so unless your measurements are way off you should be fine. It’s easy enough to measure your wrist, though if buying a gift you might want to err towards the middle to larger size range.

The only real problem I encountered was deciding which of my illustrious designs I wanted first! I decided to go for this Lamp Work bead number because the colours felt summery to me, and I liked the disparity of the chunky beads with the smaller beads (if you really want to know I was going for "flower power meets sci-fi" as a design theme – my piece is called “Out of this World”, as I thought the spacer beads looked like flying saucers! ;-0). You get to name your bracelet and add a description if you like, which is good fun for wordy geeks like me, which leads to the next exciting bit of the Mink& Stone shopping experience...

If you wish to, you can publish your designs, regardless of if you purchase, where other customers can “like” your design. The company has also set up a really nice perk for their customers wherein if someone purchases your design, you are credited with 10% of the purchase value in “stones”, which you accrue in your account towards future purchases. I think this is rather generous and encourages users to feel that their designs are indeed of creative value (which they are, obviously if people buy them!). On the flip side, you can design something for you and only you - I think for a special occasion like a wedding or for a gift this is a really nice idea. They also have a selection of letter beads if you want to make a name or initial accent to further personalize your jewellery.

I was a tiny bit nervous about my creation arriving in the mail: what if I didn’t like it? So here it is, ta da! What do you think? (go easy on me it's my first attempt!) :




I like it, I really (really!) like it!

I did have a slight issue with the packaging – the bracelet arrived in a nice velvet pouch and was wrapped in a small bit of tissue and bubble wrap, which was lucky, because the envelope it came in wasn’t padded and had come open. This was perhaps when my mailman shoved it through the letterbox rather than ring the bell (grr, bad mailman!). But I think the company should really write FRAGILE on the outside of the packaging and perhaps consider padded envelopes – for £2.95 shipping I expected slightly better protection of my precious objet d'art! ;-)

I will say that the "flying saucer" (spacer!) beads appeared to be more of a matte finish on the website (each bead is described in detail though so I will definitely pay more attention to that in future), but everything else looks as I expected/was pictured, and I’m genuinely very pleased with my first attempt at jewellery design! I really love the turquoise and coral colour combination and think my bracelet will go with plenty of summer outfits. Of course, I've designed a few other bracelets in a rainbow of colours and patterns so I may just be going back for another soon enough!

Based on my experience, I would definitely recommend Mink & Stone. The diverse selection of necklaces and bracelets are things you won’t find on the high street. But most especially, if you have always wanted to try your hand at jewellery design, I think it is a really fun and inspiring website to try out. There is something unquestionably lovely about owning a piece of jewellery that you dreamed up all by yourself – expect me to be waving my wrist around ostentatiously for the next few weeks in a shameless ploy for compliments on my creative genius!








This post was sponsored by Mink& Stone who contributed towards the creation of my bracelet, though I did go slightly over budget! ;-) All opinions my own.





* Can I also add that the auto correction of jewellery to jewelry in Blogger has driven me mad/led to more confused expat moments, made me question the proper way to spell it, etc. - of course it's different on either side of the pond according to Oxford Dictionaries...but I don't ever recall using the shortened version - Expat memory blank or is it regional in America? 

8 comments

  1. Very nice!

    I think the autocorrect is your browser settings rather Blogger, by the way. :-)

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    1. Thank you! Ahhh that explains it thanks! But I still don't ever remember spelling it "jewelry", weird!

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Such a great review!!! I love the design you made, its fun seeing what everyone else creates!

    Hannah
    x
    www.daintyandivory.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. OH this is really cool. Your bracelet is very pretty and this is a really cool idea. I am always thinking I will make something but don't get around to it or don't buy the right materials. Thanks for reviewing this! xoxo

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    1. Thanks Shawna, I found it a really fun thing to do, hopefully someone has something similar going across the Atlantic - great business idea if not! ;-)

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  5. Nice design! I am for sure going to have to experiment with designing some stuff.

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