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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