The One That Got Away: Grieving the Sale of a Unique Piece?

Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings. - Zig Ziglar

Artists manage businesses and depend on sales. However, occasionally there is a unique piece that sells causing a bit of woe in its loss. The sale occurs suddenly before one has the time to linger over it, becoming less attached to one’s creation. I call these pieces “the ones that got away.” I recently had such a piece - a piece that got away from being exhibited, being photographed, being test worn.

Of all the butterflies that chose to stay,
I’m in love with the one that got away.
― Laura Miller

The necklace got away before I could name it. I create primarily one-of-a-kind pendants and attempt to name most of my pendants believing they deserve a unique identifier. The nameless beauty is a unique landscape dendritic shale cabochon focal, accented by fire citrine and onyx. The dendrites give an impression of being fossil ferns, when, in fact, they are manganese oxide crystals growing between layers of shale.

Designing is the most demanding part of this job. The cabochon was purchased several years ago, but it sat in inventory waiting for the muse. The shield shape presents design challenges, as well as the softness of the shale. Eventually, I chose to create an asymmetrical layered effect in textured sterling silver. The shale is dull in appearance and required a bit of spicing up by the additional of a fiery orange-red citrine. Black onyx complements the spindly, branching dendrites, and a wire-woven flourish completes the design.

You can either buy clothes or buy pictures. - Gertrude Stein

I took “the one that got away” to a holiday trunk show where it was admired by a returning customer. She photographed it, but did not purchase it. Our area had just suffered an historic, massive hurricane. My customer’s home had flooded. She had lost all her belongings on the first floor of her home. Additionally, her house was vandalized. Her jewelry (many pieces irreplaceable and some made by me) was stolen. Alas, she was hesitant to purchase this necklace because she had to replace her furniture. I was certain that this piece would be in my inventory for some time.

Artists want their work to have a good home because it makes their creative process worthwhile. Most artists put a lot of themselves into each piece they create. - Beverly Leesman

Several weeks later, I received a phone call from an unrecognized number. I answered, contrary to my usual reaction of avoiding unknown phone numbers. I am happy that I did! It was my customer’s employee. My customer had shown her employees the photo of the necklace. The employee inquired if the necklace was available. I assured her it was and arranged for her to see it at my studio.

We each sell a little piece of happiness. You are elevating someone's spirit in some way...
― Sonia Marciano

She purchased it on the spot, explaining that this was a joint effort on the part of the customer’s employees. They all chipped in to make the purchase and present their boss with a surprise Christmas gift. I am grateful for the sale. I also know that this singular piece is in a good home, valued by a treasured customer who was likely amazed at her surprise from her employees.

unique dendritic shale

unique dendritic shale

unique dendritic shale

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