News and FAQs
First Class Shipping is now free to the United States for all purchases.
Ongoing shipping delays due to postal service issues: For purchasers inside the US, 1st Class mail is still running a bit slower, taking up to a week or slightly longer to arrive. Priority Mail generally arrives within 3 to 4 days now. However, there are sometimes delays that can take longer, depending on what area of the country it is going to, especially for 1st Class. Tracking updates can be spotty as well. I still guarantee and insure my shipments, so even if it is slow, I promise it will arrive or a replacement will be sent!
Holiday Season 2020 Shipping Details
Postal Update: The USPS continues to be significantly overwhelmed by unprecedented volume, and impacted by staff shortages due to Covid-19. Almost all packages mailed since the end of November are experiencing delays. Not all packages are scanned, but are still in the system even though tracking is not showing information. I continue to back my shipments with a guarantee of replacement if they do not arrive after allowing for the delays. After talking with the Post Office, it has been advised to please give your packages a minimum of 1 to 2 extra weeks to arrive if they are delayed. Express packages are moving significantly better than 1st Class and Priority with only minor delays at times.
Schedule Update: Orders for US delivery placed after Dec 9th MIGHT still arrive in time for Christmas, but I cannot guarantee it. I will do my very best to ship before the PO Christmas delivery deadline of the 18th, but the deliveries may still be slow due to Post Office delays.
Schedule Update: Orders going to the United States that are needed for Christmas should be placed no later than Wednesday, December 9th. These will be shipped PRIOR to the USPS First Class Mail holiday delivery deadline, which is December 18th for all states except Hawaii. Hawaii orders will be shipped by December 15th.
If you are placing an international order, please note that these deliveries have been slower than usual in 2020, and may not arrive in time for Christmas, due to customs and delivery delays, which vary by country. International orders placed by December 2nd will be shipped by the USPS deadline for holiday delivery, which is Monday, December 7th.
I'd like to wish every one of my customers a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you are in the United States) and blessings for a joyful holiday season. 2020 has been filled with challenges for all of us. Just to make things a tiny bit easier, I am offering free 1st Class shipping on orders going to the United States and Canada starting today, 11/25, and ending on Friday, December 11th. To receive free shipping, enter the coupon code GIVETHANKS at checkout.
I have finally gotten a large shipment of silver and pattern wire from my supplier delivered this week. I am currently working on completing orders that have been on hold for supplies, yay!!
How has Covid-19 affected Lavender Cottage Jewelry?
I am lucky to have a workshop in my home, and my mom and I have been isolating since late March, 2020. My production time is longer for some items due to random shortages of several of my custom raw materials, such as pattern wire, custom brass stampings, certain thicknesses of sterling silver sheet, etc. Travel times for both US mail and International mail are longer than usual by a few days for US mail, and by a week or two for international.
How is Lavender Cottage Jewelry made?
My jewelry is crafted by hand for each customer and each design has its own process. I design from the heart, and not necessarily for speed or ease of making multiple pieces, so this affects the time it takes to make each item. Most items are made from solid sterling silver (.925) sheet that is cut to size with a jeweler's saw, then shaped with hammer, saw, dapping tools, wooden blocks, and whatever else I have found to make the shapes I need. I use an acetylene torch, and classic metalsmithing techniques. The most automated tool I use is a flexshaft, very similar to a dremel tool, only much more sturdy. I use it to sand edges and do initial polishing. Final polish is done by hand with special pads and cloths. I don't use a tumbler to mass finish my pieces since I like to use a combination of soft and shiny finishes on each design.
Is Lavender Cottage Jewelry sold on Wish, Ebay, Groupon, Alibaba, etc.?
NO! This website is the ONLY place to purchase my handmade jewelry. Chinese manufacturers have stolen my designs and images for several of my pieces. This is an on-going problem for many artists - we fight to get these taken down, but they always seem to pop up again. They use the original images of handmade artists' work to sell fake, poorly made knockoffs. Please help me and MANY other handmade craftsmen and women by not purchasing fake items from these types of sites.
I'm not sure what ring size to order!
Many of my designs have wide bands, or are multiple band stacking sets, and these need to be a larger size than a single narrow band. I take this into consideration when making your ring, and will adjust the size according to how wide the band is. I also guarantee the fit and comfort, and will adjust the size if necessary at no additional charge if you find it to be too tight, or not comfortable after trying it on. If size adjustment is needed, the purchaser pays to ship the ring back to me, and I pay to ship it back to you after the size adjustments are completed. Of course, the goal is always to have a perfect fit to start with - if you are unsure of your ring size or need help figuring it out, just let me know by sending a message via the "Contact Us" option at the left side of each page on the website.
How should I care for my jewelry?
I make my jewelry to last a lifetime, and simple cleaning using warm water and dawn dish soap is usually enough to keep it sparkling. For chains, earwires, etc., that are exposed to sweat, skin oils or dirt from your gardening hobby or camping trip you'll want to give them a quick wash after you take them off. Exposure to air is what causes .925 sterling silver to tarnish, so if you store it for a while, be sure to put it in a plastic bag with anti-tarnish strips or in a jewelry box that is made to prevent tarnish. You can purchase Sunshine Cloth or Pro Polish pads on Amazon. (google these names and you will find lots of options) Both are great for keep your pieces shiny without removing the original finish. Don't clean your jewelry with 'silver polish' as this will remove any original antiquing that was applied when your jewelry was made.
If you wear your pieces 24/7 and they become scratched or dull over the years, send me a message. I can bring them back to the original finish in most cases. You will want to be careful with soft stones in rings, as they can become scratched. The only remedy for a scratched stone is usually replacement, which is not always possible. Soft stones are: moonstone, opal, pearl, mother of pearl, etc.
What is "gold-filled"?
Gold-filled sheet and wire give the look of solid gold at a more inexpensive price, and it can stand up to every-day wear much better than gold-plate. Gold-filled wire and sheet is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal is jewelers’ brass. Single clad gold-filled sheet has all the gold content in a single layer on one side. Double clad gold-filled sheet splits the gold content into surface layers on both sides of the sheet. Lavender Cottage Jewelry gold-filled items are made from gold-filled wire. I do not work with gold-fill sheet, as it will not stand up to the sawing, hammering and soldering need to create a piece of jewelry without damage to the gold layer on top.
Gold-filled round wire is "wire-clad", that is, the gold layer covers the entire surface of the wire. The gold alloy is bonded to the surface of the brass core with heat and pressure. Lavender Cottage Jewelry gold-filled bangles and rings use this gold-filled wire.
How thick is the gold layer? Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This 5% is then described by the karatage of the gold alloy. Lavender Cottage Jewelry uses 14kt gold-filled, which is identified as "14/20 gold-filled".
What is the "Fine Silver" that is used in some of your jewelry, and for your French hook ear wires?
'Fine Silver' is 99.99% pure silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, alloyed with 7.5% copper. Fine silver does not tarnish like sterling, is less allergenic since it does not contain copper, and is slightly softer than sterling silver.
Are the stones you use real?
The gemstones used in my pieces are genuine, natural stones, with no artificial treatments such as dye, oil, etc. I strive to always source ethically mined, conflict free gemstones. Most of my one of a kind pieces with unique stones are cut by lapidaries here in the US, several of whom are close friends of mine. I am always excited by their new finds!
An exception to this rule is 4mm or smaller emerald, ruby and sapphire cabochons only (not faceted). In the case of 4mm or smaller emerald, ruby or sapphire cabochons, I use lab-created stones in order to provide good quality. Lab-created stones are genuine material, just created in a lab rather than in nature. They have all the same characteristics of the natural stones, but are usually more consistent in color and quality. I have found over the years that the 4mm or smaller natural rubies, sapphires and emeralds are often cut from inferior material, and look opaque and dark. If you prefer a natural stone, I am happy to source one for you, for an additional fee, depending on the individual stone.
All of the faceted stones I use are natural, genuine stones, ethically sourced.
How can I contact you if I have questions?
You will see a "Contact Us" tab on the left side of every page on the website. This will message me directly via email. After you make a purchase, you will receive an emailed receipt which also includes a phone number to contact me, along with useful information on production time, rush orders, etc.
Do you have a mailing list?
I do keep a mailing list for those who have indicated they wish to receive mailings. You can sign up at the bottom right of each page on the website. So far, I have never done a mailing! I am very bad at finding the time to create these. Rest assured, your mailbox is not likely to be filled with Lavender Cottage mail, ha ha. I do have plans to send out occasional announcements of new one of a kind work prior to it appearing on the website, as well as special "mailing list only" random special sales. I will also be updating my badly neglected Facebook and Instagram pages regularly starting in 2021.
Do you do custom work?
Yes, I do custom designed orders as time allows - I love working with my customers to create their special piece. During the fall/winter, custom design work is not accepted between October 1st and December 31st due to the holiday order volume.
Do you accept returns?
My goal is to make sure everyone is happy with the jewelry they receive. If there is a defect in workmanship, it will be immediately corrected. If you are just not happy with it after trying it on, let me know why - I can always change or customize a piece! If a remedy cannot be found, I am happy to accept returns for shop credit within 7 days of receipt. Since I am a very small business where each piece is made to order, I am not able to give cash refunds once the piece has been created.
PRODUCTION TIME AND SHIPPING
How long does it take for you to create my order?
Please expect an average of 2-4 weeks, plus shipping time to receive your order. At busy times of year, such as Christmas and Mother's Day it may be longer. While I try to make each order as quickly as possible, I am a full time caregiver for my elderly mom and sometimes my schedule does not go as planned!
Do you accept Rush Orders?
Yes, I reserve time each week to work on orders that have specific deadlines. Please be sure to let me know if you need your jewelry by a certain date, so I can schedule it to meet your deadline.
How can I find out how much longer it will take for my order to be created?
Please feel free to message me via email, by using the "contact me" button that can be found on the left side of each page on the website. Being a one-woman business, I do not send out emails every time my schedule changes, but I respond to email order inquiries within 24 hours (usually much less!), and am ALWAYS happy to provide information on where your item is in the process. If you have an important date coming up, please be sure to let me know so I can adjust my schedule to get it to you in time!
Will you notify me when my order is shipped?
Yes, you will receive a separate email, including tracking information when your order is on the way.
Do you ship internationally?
I ship anywhere in the world as long as import/export rules allow. However, please understand that I am not responsible for any customs fees or VAT taxes in your country. These are the responsibility of the purchaser, and there is no way for me to include these in the item price. These are not in any way related to shipping cost. Please check your country's mail regulations for this information.
How much does shipping cost?
I use flat rates to cover the actual cost of the postage, since my packages generally weigh 4 ounces or less. My rate for 1st Class within the United States is $4.00, Priority Mail is $8.50, 1st Class to Canada is $12, and the rest of the
world is $15.
Express mail within the US is $25, and Express mail to Canada
and the rest of the world is $75.
How is my order packaged?
I use sturdy recycled cardboard jewelry boxes padded with cotton for all jewelry pieces. For orders with multiple pieces, I do sometimes put more than one piece in the box, all padded with cotton and stabilized from getting tossed or tangled. Boxes are tied with a ribbon and decorative tag, and are suitable for gift giving. Shipping container is a padded bubble envelope for 1st Class, or a small flat rate box for Priority Mail. Express packages are double packaged in Priority Mail Express flat rate bubble envelopes.