Twas the Day before Christmas...

and visions of sugar-plums danced in my head...

as I worked on these earrings all pink, silver and red...

While the snow outside looked sparkling and white...



I sat down to my computer, this message to type:
"Merry Christmas Eve to all and to all a good night!"
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Wishing all of my readers....


Love,

{and my apologies to the writer of the original "Night Before Christmas" poem!}

Fairy Tale Friday...

...on a Saturday, oops! Yesterday I became completely engrossed in making a pair of earrings and I forgot to do my weekly Fairy Tale post. I just finished up these this morning:
Floréal Earrings:

Their name comes from the Latin for flowering, and they're part of my Spring Wedding Collection {the first piece, in fact!}
I'm really pleased with how they turned out--the elongated teardrop shape is very flattering and aquamarine is one of my favorite colors...
They have little lace flowers, freshwater pearls, vintage rhinestones and vintage seed beads, with a fringe of tiny aquamarine briolettes below that catch the light so beautifully...
 I always have to resist the urge to go completely overboard with embellishment, but the back of these still got little rosettes of vintage seed beads and freshwater pearls so that they're pretty on both sides...
They're now available in my Etsy Shop!
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And now, this week's selections...
{click the images to be taken to their flickr page, and be sure to check out the Fairy Tale Ornament Group}

1. 17....., 2. P1010500, 3. BlueBlueBlue, 4. Pride and Vanity
Have a great weekend!
xo,

Bohemian Monday...


Hope everyone had a great weekend :) I've been busy today wrapping up and shipping packages of jewelry from my Etsy shop--I suddenly had a little rush of holiday shoppers!
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While I was gathering together images for today's Bohemian Monday post, I noticed that there were quite a few photos of peacock feathers, and peacock feather-hued items. So, I thought that I would make that today's theme--I always find their rich, iridescent colors and pretty patterns so inspiring!
{Click the photo to be taken to the flickr page}
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Crystal Feathers by Mskris09
Crystal Feathers
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Salome by Du Buh Du Designs

Salome
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A Peacock's Tale by GypsyEyesJewelry
A Peacock's Tale (pendant)
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Diana 3 by Rowandevoe
Diana 3
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Paisley Earrings by Edera Jewelry
Paisley Earrings

Speaking of Paisley Earrings--the sun finally came out long enough to photograph these guys...

They're are a little bit different from previous pairs of paisley earrings I've made, as I wove some faceted tourmaline rondelles into the gold netting of the motif...

I like how the varigated effect turned out!
I'm also pleased with all the little briolettes and drops hanging below...

This can be the trickiest part of designing this style earring--it takes awhile to balance out the colors and shapes, as well as wire wrap all of the stones. These have over 20 briolettes on each earring, not to mention larger tourmaline ovals, and drops of Swarovski crystals and Victorian nailhead beads...
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In other news, I found out last week that unfortunately, the My Creative Space group will be taking a break during the holidays and won't be back until the end of January. I've decided I'll still give a little sneak peek of my works in progress though--I just won't have a link to other bloggers doing the same until after January...See you on Wednesday!
xo,

Fairy Tale Friday...


Fairy Tale finds in pinks, silvers and golds for your Friday!
{Click the images to be taken to their flickr page, and be sure to visit the 
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The Holly,Victorian Top Hat by Topsy Turvy Designs
"The Holly" Victorian Top Hat
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Untitled by IllusionsBaroques

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I Cry All Sorts of Tears by Nejellaphotoart2009
I Cry All Sorts of Tears
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Glittered Pears by Such Pretty Things
Glittered Pears
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Georgine Bracelet by Bijoux d'Odalisque
Georgine Bracelet - Detail
Thanks to everyone who left comments about my earrings in Wednesday's post--I just finished them this afternoon and they look quite sumptuous if I do say so myself :) It was too dark outside to take photos this afternoon, but I'll try to post some pictures in the next day or so.
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I also received some exciting news yesterday, but I'm afraid I won't be able to share it until after the New Year...
Have a great weekend!
xo,


My Creative Space...

This week, my creative space looks uncannily similar to last week's post--I'm still working on the paisley earring custom order!

The cold I had last week kept me from working on them for a bit, but I should have the earrings finished in the next day or so {I'll be sure to post pics when they're done :) }

To see what other bloggers are working on in their creative spaces, be sure to visit Kirsty's blog...
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 And I just found out that my work has been featured on two Italian blogs this week--thank you to BijouxNiki and CommeUnaGazzaLadra for the lovely posts about my jewelry designs!
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I'll be back on Friday with more Fairy Tale flickr inspirations...
{I dropped the ball this week with the Bohemian Monday post, I know!}
until then,
xo,

Fairy Tale Friday...

Here are some lovely fairy tale-inspired photos for your Friday!
{click the photos to be taken to their flickr page}

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Sleeping Beauty by Roxanne Parker
Sleeping Beauty
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Pale Peacock Butterfly Faerie Fantasy Necklace by GypsyEyesJewelry

Pale Peacock Butterfly Faerie Fantasy Victorian Decoupage Necklace
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Untitled by Magnolija.Life
DSC_0566
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Rosalind by Black-Eyed Suzie

rosalind mid
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Hand Embroidered Cuff by Mskris09

Hand embroidered cuff
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A short post today, I'm afraid--I've come down with a cold and am feeling a bit groggy :(
Hope everyone has a great weekend, I'm off to take a nap!
xo,


ps--thanks for all of your comments about the Morgaine Earrings and my creative space this week--xo

My Creative Space...

Today I've been enjoying working on an inspiring custom order--the paisley-shaped earrings which I featured in this post a few weeks ago...

I'm using some yummy tourmalines for this design, as well as real gold and black silk threads, for a very exotic and dramatic color scheme. The beads and the beginnings of the lace motifs are sitting in a vintage tray which I picked out because it had a pretty floral pattern that matches the colors of the earrings :)
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I also just finished up a new pair of earrings in an equally dramatic color palette...

They feature a bewitching combination of gold, onyx and garnet, with accents of vintage glass pearl beads. I don't use a lot of cabochons in my work, but I'm pleased with how the black onyx cabochons contrast with the lace settings in this particular design--it has a very medieval feel! They're now in my Etsy shop.

To see what other bloggers are working on in their creative spaces, be sure to visit Kirsty's blog .
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And one more bit of news from the studio: I just found out that my Aurore Necklace was featured in a Storque article about High-End Holiday Items! You can read the article here, and be sure to cast a vote for your favorite luxury item (I voted for Bijoux d'Odalisque's Emmanuelle necklace--gorgeous!;)

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I'll be back on Friday with more Fairy Tale picks...
 {thank you to everyone who has joined the flickr groups so far, and for all of your comments about these posts--I'm glad that you are finding them inspiring!}
Till then,
xo,


Forbes Woman Gift Giving Guide!


Wow! At First Sight Braille Jewelry was included in the on-line version of ForbesWoman Magazine's Holiday Gift Giving Guide. To see all of our jewelry, browse the LABEL headings at the top right.

For Fashion Jewelry:
Baubles and Beads: a collection of key chains, book marks and braille beads.
Fashion Bracelets: a selection of easily affordable, silver-plated braille bracelets.
Fashion Necklaces: a beautiful selection of inexpensive, braille necklaces.
Fashion Pendants: pendants with inspiring braille messages you can hang from your own necklace or bracelet.

For Fine Jewelry:
Sterling Silver Bracelets: an inspiring collection of hand beaded, one-of-a-kind bracelets with sterling silver Braille tiles and semi-precious stones and crystal.
Sterling Silver Earrings: A wide selection of earrings made to order with letters of your choice.
Sterling Silver Necklaces: A flirty-to-formal assortment of hand made sterling silver and necklaces

Sterling Silver Personalized Braille Bracelets: If you want something more personal, At First Sight can work with you to create a bracelet with a word or phrase you choose in the colors desire.
Sterling Silver Ring: A fun, sporty sterling silver ring with an inspiring message.

Thanks for taking a look and shopping!

Facebook Page for At First Sight

I've got a Facebook page now, too! (Now, I'm starting to get it, you Twitterers!) So there are no more excuses to at least look. Besides, the holidays are coming, and truly, you couldn't possibly want more clothes, skates, bikes, shoes, cars, food, etc. (Thank you, Tom Theall!) But At First Sight braille jewelry; now, that's what I'm talking about!

Reading Rockets

This is such a wonderful Reading Rockets segment, featuring families with children whose reading acquisition is something other than traditional print. (While there are several people featured, Ethan is the braille reader.) Several terrific people were interviewed for this broadcast segment, and all of the people featured are full of life

The crew and producers were great to work with; respectful and polite while still asking probing questions about blindness in general and braille.

I hope it will help other families overcome what is often perceived to be an unimaginable family situation.

Please feel free to phone or write if you have questions, concerns or difficulties with your own child's blindness, or any problems related to blindness, braille, or orientation and mobility.

Nice Notes


Hi Leslie,
I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for the awesome personal service and quality jewelry I purchased from you.  When I was searching for something personal to give a friend to lift her spirits I happened upon your blog and you gave the piece a personal touch that will make all the difference.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the personal service and input you gave, you make beautiful jewelry that has purpose.
Thanks Again,  Rusty

 
 
Hi Leslie,
I am so sorry it took a few weeks to finally get to thank you.
The bracelet you made for my student was absolutely beautiful!  The entire team of teachers who contributed towards the gift loved it and many joked that they were keeping it for themselves.  When we presented the bracelets to her parents to bring to Lauren at the hospital it brought tears to their eyes. 
Thank you so much for rushing this order and for creating such a beautiful bracelet.
 
Tina Wallace
Teacher of the Visually Impaired & Blind
Eastern Suffolk BOCES

I do love the necklace. (The earrings are very cute also, you are a talented designer.)
In 2002, I had applied for a job at our local school district. In the Fall of that year they had a visually impaired student starting kindergarten. I was asked to take the job as her para-educator. I had experience with children, but not with a visual impairment. It has enriched my life. I have learned Braille and so much about orientation and mobility that I would never have had the opportunity to do if (this young student) hadn't entered my life.
I was so happy to come across your website.

Mary H.




Such a lovely note from a very nice tvi just really makes my day!

 "Thanks so much for your prompt shipment of the necklace for our retiring teacher. It arrived in Monday's mail at my house and was given to the teacher at a dinner on Wednesday night. She was touched by the gift and wore it the next day for training."

From Patty W.
Colorado Springs






About Us

In 1997, at my oldest son, Ethan’s, two-month well-baby exam, my husband and I were told, “Brace yourselves; Ethan can’t see.”

After a specialist determined Ethan’s retinas had detached, we took him for surgery to attempt to re-attach them. One month later, we were told the surgery had not been successful and were offered a rather stark idea of what Ethan might be doing.

With a gift from my grandmother, I was fortunate to be able to leave my full-time job. I wanted to be completely involved in Ethan’s educational and developmental early intervention program, which began in our home when Ethan was three months old. Fortunately, our first teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) was wonderfully forthright, assuring us with an easy air that Ethan would naturally be a reader because my husband and I are avid readers. We were, to say the least, a little daunted.

We set out to learn all we could about Braille though, and were completely astounded to learn what would come to completely change our lives: as few as 10% of people who are blind or visually impaired actually read Braille. We wondered what the other 90% were doing to deliciously pass free time on a summer evening, or how they applied for jobs, or read to their children or grandchildren. We soon found out many people who are visually impaired are told to, “Try a little harder,” to read print, or that older people who’ve lost all or most of their sight think they are too old to learn. One man I spoke to was actually told by a professional rehabilitator, “You won’t learn Braille until you’re totally blind,” which he of course, believed. A professional should know, right?

How easy it would be if these thousands of people, young and old, knew how easy it is to learn at least alphabetic Braille at any age and how liberating it is to read and write Braille even if there is some residual vision. As one woman who is visually impaired says, “Reading print when you’re visually impaired is a little like trying to listen to a radio station that’s not quite within range. You have to work so hard to hear the music it almost completely negates the listening experience. So, when you learn to read Braille, it’s like hearing a symphony clearly for the first time.”

When Ethan was first receiving TVI services we didn’t realize, but quickly learned, not all professionals in the blindness community have the same philosophy about teaching Braille pre-reading skills to infants and toddlers as our first teacher. When Ethan was about two and a half years old, we asked when Braille books were going to be used during his class times. Our highly-regarded teacher replied, “Oh, Ethan’s too young to start Braille pre-reading.” When is any child too young for reading?

With all of this in mind, in 2001, when I began making and selling fashion jewelry, I soon noticed many items (most mass-produced) incorporated Balinese-style, almost Braille-like beadwork called granulation. Since Ethan was immersed in Braille for his first year, it was always around us and I started thinking about creating a fun, funky line of Braille fashion jewelry. I knew other lines of Braille jewelry were being designed, but I wanted something different; something that seamlessly combined the aesthetics of design and the functionality of Braille so that people would be as interested in and attracted to it as they are to jewelry or fabrics with Asian characters or 18th century French script. I wanted to offer pieces anyone would want to wear.

I started shopping the idea around to a variety of wholesale jewelers and got, “No,” or even, “Why should they care? They can’t see,” from most everyone. One day, as I was selling jewelry in a local Starbuck’s, two men looking at my jewelry told me they were mass production jewelers from China. After sharing my ideas with them (starting with explaining what Braille is) they told me, “If you can draw it, we will make it.”

After several failed attempts at transferring design ideas via telephone and Internet, I flew to China in January 2002 and had 2000 of the world’s first mass produced Braille heart pendants manufactured and sent just before Valentine’s Day.

Having launched my first few pieces, my intent is to promote Braille literacy within the blind and sighted communities by offering fun, reasonably priced fashion jewelry for everyone. By playing upon the visual elements of Braille, I hope to introduce the lyrical quality, as well as the importance of it, to people who know little about it.

—Leslie

About Braille

In 1824, 15-year-old Louis Braille adapted a 12-dot cell system developed by a French captain in Napoleon’s army. Invented to allow soldiers to compose and read messages at night without illumination, the basic technique was the first raised-dot reading and writing system.

Louis Braille devised a six-dot cell with the dots arranged in two columns of three. The dots are numbered 1 through 6.





The first 10 cells stand for aj. With the number sign (it looks like a backwards L) before them, these same cells represent the numerals 10.

The second row adds dot 3 to make the letters k–t. (For you Kindy teachers out there, it even makes a cute rhyme: "K through t, add dot three!")

The third row adds dots 3 and 6 to make the uv xyz. Since there was no w in the French alphabet at that time, it was only added later. To remember it, keep in mind, it's the reverse image of 'r.' With its dot 5, 'r' points to the right; with its dot 2, 'w' points west!

Aren't you having fun, now?!

The capital sign, dot 6, is placed before a letter to capitalize it.

If you want to get really crazy, the most frequently used words in English - and, for, of, the, and with all follow suit after z, falling under the letters, 'p, q, r, s, and t.' 

So now that you've learned what I like to call, "Sixty-second elevator braille," there's no excuse not to write your daughter, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend, student a lovely little braille note!

Policies: Fashion Jewelry

All orders must be returned within 21 days from the day the shipment is sent for a credit or cash refund. All returned packages must be in their original packaging and a 20% restocking fee will apply. Please contact us for your Return Authorization Number before you send it back. We will not accept any returned merchandise without a return authorization number on the outside of the return box or on the invoice. Please contact us for a return authorization. For your protection, we suggest that all returns be sent back in a padded, rip-proof package, via a traceable carrier with insurance and that you contact At First Sight Braille Jewelry with the carrier’s tracking number.


Restringing
At First Sight will NOT resting any obviously worn fashion jewelry. If a piece breaks within 30 days of reciept, I will happily re-string it.

Higher-end fashion jewelry is almost all the same, whether it’s from this site or a major department store. Comprised of a white and copper metal mix, it has a heavy plating of silver that will not turn your skin colors as plated jewelry once did. Fashion jewelry can last anywhere from three months to many years, depending on how you treat and wear your jewelry, the acidity of your skin, and many other variables over which we have no control. Often too, people work where there are high levels of toxins and chemicals, which will break down the composition of the plating and the metal even more quickly.

If you wear and treat your fashion jewelry as gently as your precious jewelry, chemistry not withstanding, it will last a fair amount of time. Many of my customers still have pieces they bought when I first began selling my Braille jewelry in 2001. That’s always a nice thing to hear! I cannot though, continue to take responsibility for my jewelry once it’s out of my hands, so if you have immediate problems with something, I can replace it or give credit toward another item if you let me know within the 30-day period, but I will not refund purchases beyond 21 days of the shipping date. I have many great customers, some of whom are good friends and acquaintances. That sometimes makes it difficult to conduct business, but I must keep a clear line drawn or I’ll be unable to hang on to my business for much longer, and that would only result in fewer voices lauding the importance of Braille literacy!

Policies: Custom Jewelry

Custom jewelry must be ordered by phone at 214 675-4061. Custom jewelry work is begun upon receipt of complete payment. If you decide to cancel a custom order once it’s already been designed, only 20% of the total price will be refunded. NO exchanges or refunds will be made on custom orders. Custom orders require time, extra communication and design. All custom order sales are final.
If At First Sight has made a mistake with a piece of jewelry, we will make every effort make the order right. You must call 214 675-4061 within 14 days of shipment to inform us of the problem. All returned packages must be in their original packaging. For your protection, we suggest that all returns be sent back via a traceable carrier with insurance and that you contact At First Sight Braille Jewelry with the carrier’s tracking number. At First Sight will not be responsible for any packages that go missing or are damaged in transit.

Restringing
If a piece of fine jewelry breaks and the customer has ALL of the original beads, At First Sight will restring fine jewelry for $25.00 plus shipping and handling. The customer is responsible for the shipping expense for return to At First Sight.

If, upon return, ALL of the original beads are not present, the customer will be contacted with an estimate for the repair and restringing of the jewelry. Please call 214 675-4061 before returning the broken jewelry, and include a note with details in the return shipment

Policies: Fine Jewelry Return

Fine Jewelry Return Policy
All orders must be returned within 21 days from the day the shipment is sent for a credit only. All returned packages must be in their original packaging and a 20% restocking fee will apply. Please contact us for your Return Authorization Number before you send it back. We will not accept any returned merchandise without a return authorization number on the outside of the return box or on the invoice. Please contact us for a return authorization. For your protection, we suggest that all returns be sent back in a padded, rip proof package, via a traceable carrier with insurance and that you contact At First Sight Braille Jewelry with the carrier’s tracking number.


Restringing
If a piece of fine jewelry breaks, and the customer has ALL of the original beads, At First Sight will restring fine jewelry for $15.00 plus shipping and handling. The customer is responsible for the shipping expense for return to At First Sight.

If, upon return, ALL of the original beads are not present, the customer will be contacted with an estimate for the repair and restringing of the jewelry. Please call 214 675-4061 before returning the broken jewelry, and include a note with details in the return shipment

Policies: Shipping

National Shipping
Most orders ship 8 to 10 business days after payment is received. In the checkout process, you will only have the opportunity to select UPS Ground which usually take two -5 business days for delivery. If you need delivery sooner, please contact At First Sight Directly to arrange alternate shipping methods. At First Sight will assume no responsibility for packages shipped via USPS once they leave our hands.

International Shipping
All international orders must be shipped using UPS International.

Handling
There will be a $2.00 handling fee added to each order.

Policies: Payment

Payment
All payments by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover) are processed through our secure web site. If you are more comfortable paying by check or money order you may send that payment to At First Sight, 1918 Maid Marian Place, Denton, Texas 76209, with a printed copy of your order. If you are not ordering through the web site, you must call to place an order total before sending payment. Orders will be held until checks have cleared. Do not send cash through the mail. We will not be responsible for any lost payments in the mail.

Your Stories

Have you learned Braille? Were you intimidated, excited, or both? If you are sighted, do you read Braille visually or by touch? How are you connected to the blindness community? If you would like to share your story, please send it our way via e-mail: atfirstsight@ligondesign.com. (We reserve the right to edit stories for length or grammar. We also reserve the right to determine whether or not to post a story due to content.)

Fundraising Opportunities: Process, Minimums & Orders

Here's how it works: you purchase a minimum retail order of $2000 dollars worth of Braille jewelry at a 50% discount. Then you sell it to your friends, teachers, parents, grandparents, business associates and neighbors, and anyone else you can convince to purchase the Braille jewelry) at the full retail price which allows you to double your money. It is easy to do and has worked for a great many organizations. For example, the Anchor Center in Denver, CO, takes pre-orders for the jewelry they sell (that way they know they are not left with jewelry they can't sell). Their first fundraising effort was so successful they have already placed there second order for the Fall! All it takes is someone who is willing to organize the fundraising efforts!

It has long been our goal to help spread the word about braille and braille literacy in the sighted community, so, we offer our jewelry at fundraising prices to organizations with 501C3 status. Our hope is that audiences beyond the blindness community will discover the beauty of braille though our elegantly handcrafted jewelry.

FUNDRAISING ORDERS
To order, simply phone me at 214-675-4061. Once we talk about what you'd like to do to raise money for your organization or group, you may order your jewelry at fundraising prices (50% off the retail cost). Upon deciding what you want, place your order with me over the phone or through our on-line shopping cart. Always include a phone # in case there are any questions.

The Items available for Fundraising Orders are:
  1. Fashion-finish Shiny Silver Alphabet Bracelet-7" = $23.75
  2. Fashion-finish Shiny Silver Alphabet Bracelet-7.5" = $23.75
  3. Fashion-finish Shiny Silver Alphabet Bracelet-8.25" = $23.75
  4. Fashion-finish Brushed Silver Alphabet Bracelet-7" = $23.75
  5. Fashion-finish Brushed Silver Alphabet Bracelet-7.5" = $23.75
  6. Fashion-finish Brushed Silver Alphabet Bracelet-8.25" = $23.75
  7. Tiffany Bracelet with Braille Heart = $16.85
  8. Braille Heart Bookmark = $14.15
  9. Braille Heart Key Ring = $14.15
  10. Braille Heart on Black Leather Choker = $19.75
  11. Braille Heart on 3-Strand Beaded Necklace = $19.75
  12. Braille Heart Pendant = $8.50
  13. Brushed Silver Faith Pendant on Blue Crystal Necklace = $33.85
  14. Brushed Silver Faith Pendant on Black Velvet Cord = $25.35
  15. Follow Your Dream Sterling Silver Spin Ring = $33.85

We have $1,000 fundraising order minimum order (that's a $2,000 retail order). The price in your shopping cart will display in retail dollars. After you place the order, the full retail amount will show up in the total, but I will only submit the wholesale price for charge. Feel free to combine from any of our fashion categories to reach this minimum. Since much of our jewelry is hand-made upon order, wholesale orders will be shipped 4–6 weeks from order. If there will be delays beyond 4–6 weeks, you will be notified.

PAYMENT
We accept checks from 501C3 organizations, Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. (Half payment is required in advance on all fundraising orders, until I become independently wealthy!)

RETURN POLICY
If an item is defective or if we have made a mistake we will always gladly accept your return. Just put it in a box or rip-proof bag and ship it back with your information. We do NOT accept returns on wholesale orders for any other reasons.

Very Important Note: The cost of the return shipping belongs to the customer. The credit for any returned jewelry will be applied to your next order. Please include the name of the organization and your daytime phone # in the return package.

Contact via e.mail: atfirstsight@ligondesign.com 
or phone: 214-675-4061

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