An Open Letter From a Diamond Setter

Dear Reader at Ganoksin:

I am a Diamond Setter that can set and recognize a wide variety of
setting types. My specialty is pave with a strong aspiration to
succeed in the work. Many people in the 47 street area know me and
can recognize me. But the problem is that what they know about me is
not what I am. What they know about me is what everybody else says.

I can’t find work nor does any body want to work with me because of
what people say about me and others. So rumors have spread about me
that has ultimately destroyed my reputation and not one person has
stood up to defend me, knowing full well that I am a good diamond
setter, not some butcher who thrives on deception.

My name has been very badly slandered by some extremely ruthless
individuals who have the audacity to proclaim ownership in the
industry. But they are liars and cheats that gave the meaning to the
term “wheeler and dealer,” long before I entered the industry in

Yes, I have made some terrible mistakes both in my life and on the
job. I also corrected them and understood the meaning of integrity
with it’s fullest application to my ability. No body cared about my
improvement other than to bring up the rumors aside from the truth.
But in no way do my mistakes give people the right to black list me,
especially when they can’t admit to the lies and the manipulative
methodology they learned to apply to destroy peoples’ lives.

You see, the difference is that I corrected my self, but they
continue to be wheelers and dealers and destroyers of lives. So I’m
placing my integrity in the hands of people who don’t understand
ethics. Yet they play power games and deny me my right to live a
wholesome life with my livelyhood. Worse yet, they are much more
guilty than I for duplicating the same actions they accuse me of. If
I’m not there, how then can I be guilty?

If they took me out, how can I be guilty of what they say? Try to
answer the questions?

So, here’s the challenge I’m placing on this forum: help me to work
and allow me the right to earn a living, because I have suffered a
tremendous ammount of persecution over the past eight years from the
rumors spread to my family that turned around and resented me,
mainly because of the Armenian community on 47 Street, and also
because my family is envious of my ability to perform in the
"luxurious" art of diamond setting. Note the difference between the
words “art” and “luxury.” “Art” would apply to the setter who can
perform with sincerity, thus the “artist.” “Luxury” would apply to
appeal of the observer. Depending on the mind set of the observer
either word, “art” or “luxury” would have a different meaning.

1). So, give me a fair chance to prove that I can produce the
product with the integrity of the art and give it the true meaning
of luxurious as a setter to also prove that anyone who wants to
black list me will not have justifyable ground to accuse me of their

2). Let me challenge the big mouths to a session of diamond setting
with as many witnesses as you like to compare the works. If what
they say is true, they should have no problem with this challenge.

3). Let’s then see if what they so confidently say is true or not and
who really has the right to be blacklisted, if what they so
confidently say. Only then will we see the truth behind the reality.

I love to work with people who have understanding. I enjoy being
personable as is the natural thing to do as a human being.

Let me work with you and those who want to work with me and I’ll
make every moment worth your while.

If my art proves worthy, then they have no ground, but if I can’t do
exactly what I say then I have no ground. It’s a very fair exchange
(unlike 47Th Street). It’s time to separate the artists from the
butchers. Then let the forum decide. You be the judge(s). And I know
I’ll be healed from this pain. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely Yours,
Raffi A, Stepanian – Victim of complacency


We have spoken once or twice before. My suggestion is to leave NYC
and its cast of thousands and turn a new leaf in your setting
history. We all know how some people can be very hurtful and full of
deceit. “Git outta town” and start your life over again. Carrying
hurt, like yours, is only going to damage your abilities, its going
to be like an Albatros…ENUF ALREADY!..

Gerry Lewy!

Raffi, that is so heart wrenching, can anyone deny that old saying
"words can never hurt me" is so untrue, I never believed it. Being a
jeweler is one of the most vulnerable jobs dealing with reputation,
it would be much easier to be in politics! I wish you well and hope
you can overcome this.

Best wishes, Marta


Personally I’m a little befuddled by your posting on Orchid. First of
all, no one on this list has besmirched your name (or at least,
they’ve never done it on the list). For that matter I’m not even
sure anyone on this list has a clue as to who you are (but I honestly
can’t speak for anyone else…maybe everyone but me knows who you
are). Secondly, what is it you expect the people on the forum to do
for you? This is not a court. It is not an ethics organization. It
has no power to do anything other than act as a conduit for
Thirdly, personally I am always wary of someone who
claims to have been persecuted by everyone around him (especially
someone who admits to some vague “mistakes” made in the past–I
mean, what were the mistakes? Did you break a bunch of D Flawless 5
ct stones? Did you steal someone’s diamond? Or did you just do a
lousy job on some pieces?). Fourth, (and this goes back to the
question of why you posted this on Orchid to begin with), who are the
“big mouths” you want to challenge to a jewelry duel? (I have a
vision in my head of two diamond setters squaring off on the open
plains at high noon with their burnishers in their aprons, ready to
draw a bead on each other {pun intended}, as soon as one of them
reaches for his apron pocket.) Are they members of Orchid? Because if
they aren’t, what good is challenging your perceived enemies to a
duel on this list if they aren’t even on the list?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140


I don’t get your post at all. But if you are being “persecuted” and
can’t work in New York, it seems to me your best bet is just to get
out of New York. New York is New York. Love it or leave it. I worked
there 30 years ago. I left. :sunglasses:

Brian Corll
Vassar Gems
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

Leaving the city to get out of a crowd of many is a great idea. I
left the city and moved out into country side. Now I go to high
school football games in the fall, know everybody and have people who
want work done by me.


When I first read the letter from the diamond setter in New York,
and having a little experience with people from the letter writers
cultural backround, I realized what the probable dynamic was.

There are communities of people who are from certain countries who
have different ways. This means that there are loyalties, feuds,
competition, jealousy, rivalries, ect. These dynamics are played out
in the business environment between the various members whose main
connection is being from the same country, and trying to maintain a
balance, trying to be part of the American way, and trying to
maintain their cultural identity in a differnet society than they are
used to.

In this setting, what other people of your own cultural backround
have to say about you behind your back has more impact for someone
from this backround that we might understand. It is a form of
shunning and ostricism.

This is what I have observed from the distress of a friend from the
same country as the poster. My “friend” thought he was being
slandered by a fellow countryman. I say thought because I had
noticed a lack of integrity and maturity in this individuals
character. I did not take it personal,as frustrating as he can be. I
just choose to be extremely selective of how I work with this person.
He does good work, just does not have the ability to deliver in any
sort of timely fashion, and can do one job excellently and the next,
same work as if he did not remember what he did the last time when
instructed in the same way, he does it differnet, not what I asked
for. I believe other people can take things like this personal, and
use it as a basis for gossip.

Richard Hart


I can understand how you feel, although I have not to my knowledge
been black listed in the industry yet. Many jewelers I have
encountered in the industry seem to act this way with the disabled
as well. They will not hire you no matter what. Your either not
experienced enough, or to experienced. And they most always have to
mention who they have some kind of problem as well like Dyslexia or
hard hearing in one ear. I guess its to make them feel better, like
when one gets a diet coke with an extra value meal.

By the way, do you think that because of your skills you pose a
threat to thier business, and the only way they feel they can
counter your skill is by slander? It wouldnt be the first time. I
know I have found out that the jewelry trade is small and very
competative. There probably are those out there who would do
whatever they can to make a dollar.



Lets face it, you did something to make this come about. Every area
is desperate for stone setters. You need to get serious and take
responsability for what ever it is you did. A nasty unresonable
attitude will make people stay away. The first place to start here
is with you.

I should mention that there have been many jewelers out there who
encourage me to pursue the avenue of working for myself and some of
them have even provided a lot of help and encouragement. I have been
around jewelers for 20 plus years, and I know very well that the ones
I know tend to talk down the competition, but hardly ever to the
non-trade consumer. I think its a competitive mentality, after all,
most businesses would prefer not seeing competition. I do know in my
circumstance, I am pretty much looking at trying to open my own
business once I feel confident enough to do so because people with
disabilities are not very welcome in the business community. It is
understandable in a way with health insurance problems and the
possibility of missing work due to medical problems. Then again, I
know a jeweler who has been in a wheelchair all his life, who had to
eventually open his own store to survive, and has had a very
successful career and business for over 40 years. I had a great deal
of respect and admiration for this man before I was unfortunately
disabled, and I still do. He was the one who introduced me to this
world of jewelry, and I can honestly say not a day goes by that I
dont think of him, his family. It was hard very hard work, but he
did it. I think even though there seem to be more obstacles for the
disabled today that there were in the 1960’s, and less are apt to
take the risk of giving them a shot, if I keep trying and keep
improving, I can reach my goals. There is always an alternative way
to reach your goal. And when the odds are against you, you have to
think outside of the box. Believe me, I know its tough, but just
keep on going, and keep your eyes open for an opening.


On being “disabled”… you are if you think you are.

It’ll be 20 years for me in August. I thought, and spoke of myself
as a cripple for about the first year and a half… then I decided
I’d felt sorry for myself long enough and quit. How long are you
willing to allow something you can’t change to rule your life?
Whining is not productive and only serves to attract the wrong kind
of attention. Do your work as best you can with whatever the luck of
the draw leaves you to do it with…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA


What we require is Positive attitude towards life, Fearlessness,
Courage, and respect to all the living things and good wishes to all,
that God bless them with total Health, Physical, Mental, spiritual
and Social.

For example,only a happy person can give happiness, since he has no
other thing to give and a sad and miserable person will give his
sadness, because one can give only thing that he/she has. So we have
to pray that god to bless us all with spiritual Intelligence so we
can live in harmony with nature and our brothers and sisters on this
earth happily.

Hear now the wisdom of the wise

  Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what
  peace there may be in silence  

  As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with
  all person. 

  Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others,
  even to the dull and the ignorant they too have their story. 

  Avoid loud and aggressive person ; they are vexations to the

  If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or
  bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons
  than yourself. 

  Enjoy your achievement as well as plans. 

  Keep interested in your own career, however humble ; it is a
  real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 

  Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is
  full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue
  there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and every where
  life is full of heroism. 

  Be yourself ! 

  Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity
  and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. 
  Especially do not feign affection. 

  Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering
  the things of youth. 

  Nurture strength of sprit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 

  Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 

  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 

  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  

  You are a child of the universe no less than the tress and the
  stars ; You have a right to be here. 

  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe
  is unfolding as it should.  

  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to

  And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy
  confusion of life, keep peace in your soul, 

  With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a
  beautiful world.  Be cheerful  

  Strive to be happy. 



didnt realize I was whining. I was just point out a fact of life,
and that you dont need to let it get you down as you can always find
a work around if you really want to. I guess you can call it whining
if you want, I call it being determind and not letting others get you


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace
there may be in silence..... 

Thank you! It has been years and years since I last saw/heard this.
There is a name for this, but I can’t remember it. Can someone help?
I remember this spoken, to music, back in the 70’s I think. I may
have even had a poster with this, aprox 30-35 yrs ago.

Ed in Kokomo

Wow Umesh, you sound truly amazing and insightful! Was that written
by you or am I being dense and it’s some famous Buddhist belief or
something like that. I’ll bet you’re a joy to be around, I enjoyed
your post very much. I copied it and plan on putting it up on my
studio wall. Thank you!

Lisa Hawthorne

Thank you! It has been years and years since I last saw/heard
this. There is a name for this, but I can't remember it. Can
someone help? I remember this spoken, to music, back in the 70's I
think. I may have even had a poster with this, aprox 30-35 yrs ago. 
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace
there may be in silence..... 

The lines are from a compendium of trite “wisdom” called Desiderata
which is reputed to have been found in a 17th century church or
churchyard but which as far as I recall is actually a piece of
recent moralizing first appearing in New England in the 1920s.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada

Thank you, Umesh, for reminding us of these timeless words.
“Desiderata” (attributed to Max Erhmann) was indeed a poster
backintheday, and is still published today.

Hi Ed, It’s titled “Desiderata”. Even if it is modern, I find its
sentiments still worthy of consideration. David

It’s called “Desiderata” Lorne Green [Ben Cartwright] made a record
of it…And I think we all had the poster…Right on! It was really
far out… Here are the words…


You are thinking of Desiderata. It is a famous poem and declaration
of what is essential to one’s life and how to live peacefully. Was
written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920’s and indeed became a mantra of
the 60’s and 70’s. Very interesting histories of its discovery and
disputes over authorship and whether it is in the public domain can
be found if you are

interested (Google it and you’ll get lots of hits).



I think Gerry right. You need a change of scenery. 47th Street in NY
isn’t the Universe unless your asking for a second chance or third
chance. I know Metro Detroit is a good setting venue from experience
and I live in Canada. You have the whole US to choose from. The
industry is strong in Florida, California, Chicago, Rhode Island, or
just another part of New York. Time to re-invent yourself and get on
with it.

Jim Zimmerman
Alpine Custom Jewellers & Repair


Thank you for those positive and words of wisdom. I’ve printed them
out and they are hung upon my wall by my bench. The worlds not
prefect, and we all have our bad times in life, and a little a
little forthought and kindness sure goes further than anything else.