Most of the time, about two weeks from the time the questionnaire is returned to me filled out. I generally get the design laid out and email a picture to the client for their approval. Once they approve the design, it takes very little time to complete and ship out.
Sometimes after I make someone a custom piece they have me make a second one that is different than the original but has the same healing properties. Maybe they want a piece to wear to work and one to wear every day, or they want one in fall colors and another in pastels. Any custom necklace ordered after the first one will be discounted, as the chart work for choosing the stones has already been done.
The best way is to use a few drops of a mild dishwashing soap in a bowl of warm water. Swish the jewelry around in the water for a minute or two, then rinse well and dry with a soft towel.
I use Sterling silver, 14Kt gold and gold-filled. I do not use base metal at all. With the cost of gold rising steadily, it makes sense to use gold filled to keep the cost of my jewelry down. The pieces I make with 14Kt gold are clearly marked as such, and their prices reflect that. Gold-filled is not the same as gold-plated. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and their finish can last 30 years. Gold plating can start wearing through after a few wears. I stock both gold-filled and 14Kt gold, so custom pieces will be made to order by the customer’s choice.
I have several suppliers I use regularly. I also go to gem shows to find unique beads. I am very choosy when it comes to buying healing stones, as I often find beads mislabeled. Many stones are real but being passed off as something different, or dyed, coated or completely man-made. I can usually tell by looking and feeling, but if I am unsure I have a gem tester that is very accurate. I avoid buying dyed beads, because even though their healing properties are not affected by the dye, it can rub off over time. Some soft stones such as turquoise are usually stabilized or coated to protect them. This is a common practice that does not affect their healing properties.
Healing stones need recharging on occasion. Some stones are recharged by sunlight, some by being put in close proximity to another stone such as quartz. I usually include quartz in each piece so that it is continually recharging. Even so, sometimes it is necessary to recharge them. After cleaning as described above, leave it in the sun and/or lay it on a piece of rough quartz for 24 hours. If it still isn’t working, it might be time to design something else.