Sterling Silver components are the best to use if you are making jewelry for either resale or keepsake. You should avoid cheap base metals. You’ll just be wasting your time and disposable consumption is passe. Aside from this, you have nothing to worry about.
On the topic of worry, I have read a very interesting article that I’d like to share with you (and I’ve read many books and articles on the matter: stress management, de-stressing, stress avoidance…I’m an expert even though I channel my stress by designing). It is a worthwhile 15 minute read: Stress is a Choice: How to Give Up Getting Worked Up
Basically, it talks about stress being a choice (nothing new there), but that often the stress you place on something is a result of your need to feel important, to say that what you do is important. And you don’t need to stress because the truth is, what you do is not that crucial. It is not life or death, and what you do will not likely matter in 5 years time, and maybe not even in 2 weeks time. But most stressed out people don’t understand that. I see some designers stress over the shade of a bead, or if it has micro facets vs smaller facets, and they become paralyzed with frustration or obsession with it. There is something to be said about a perfect fit, when you stumble across something that just tells you it is perfect, but there is no need to stress (as long as you’re using good materials like Sterling Silver components , you’ll be fine). No one will really notice if Seed Pearls are potato or perfect rounds, it will not ruin or define your design which won’t matter much come the next season anyway.
Quality is the only consideration that is paramount. Although your designs won’t matter in a few seasons time, you still want them to withstand the wear of time, if not the trends of time. Sterling Silver components will last and can be easily brought back to its original sheen whereas plated base metal items will not unless you re-plate them. And please avoid plastic pearls… I hope I don’t have to write why. Other than this, you have nothing to worry or nitpick about. Being a perfectionist when it comes to designing will sometimes kill spontaneity and creativity. Furthermore, you will stress out and burn out. Soon, you will feel that jewelry designing and making is a chore because it is a source of stress, and this shouldn’t be. Life is great and full of potential for creativity and happiness. Beauty and art is food for the soul. One should embrace it like a breath of fresh air and feel fortunate that we have the opportunity to do what we love. This should be stress free and liberating.
Sterling Silver components should be ideally lightweight to cut cost, so filigree designs that creates a visually more substantial size will be the most desirable. Find unique designs that are not mass marketed by foreign companies and you’ll have a winning combination. You’ll be stress free before your next season’s shows. Enjoy.