In 1984 I took over the family jewellery store from my father.
Although my father had been in the business for 47 years, he had
never learned more than the first basics of jewellery repair. My
background was Engineering. I began goldsmithing in an attempt to
make the business more profitable. I have purchased a number of books
and could not have gotten my start without them but most of them were
expensive and in my opinion not worth the money. I am extremely
reluctant to buy new books because of this. I live a half days
journey from nowhere and have nobody in the area to consult with.
I’ve tried talking with goldsmiths in the nearest city, Halifax, N.S.
but found them to be utterly unhelpful. I made a trip to one of my
largest suppliers in Toronto and visited their workshop. The general
manager led me around the facility and politely took my arm and led
me away each time I asked a worker a technical question. For me, the
greatest obstacles to becomming a goldsmith have been in the areas of
casting and wax carving. The casting book by Murray Bovin suggests a
casting temperature of from 1685 degrees to 1735 degrees for 10K
yellow gold. That advice, and a warning against “boiling” the gold
caused me misery for many years. It wasn’t until I bought “Miracle
Cast” and followed their instructions (cast at 1950 degrees.) that I
had consistent results. The books I have found for wax carving were
even worse. It’s like they couldn’t make a living from goldsmithing,
so they wrote a book. Bill Wismar’s comments about beginners using
this forum inspired this letter. I’ve been a goldsmith now for
fifteen years and I’m still learning every day. At everything I
haven’t done yet, I’m a beginner. I salute this forum. I hope it
never becomes a forum only for the experts.