Bench Test’s!! Wow For sure if you produce anything worthwhile while
you are taking your test you might be paid. For the most part I was
not paid for the many I have taken.
Any Hoooooo here’s one for you guy’s.
While at a very high end jeweler in Phoenix I was involved with
bringing in new jewelers and the search for what turned out to be 4-6
positions. We were looking for skilled people and placed ads and
touched base with all of the connections possible. You know the
It turned out to be a very funny, sad and surprising endeavor. When
we were in contact with an applicant we would first try and screen
on the phone and if the person "sounded like they were up to the task
we would arrange for a visit and then a bench test.Somtimes on the
same day. I would tell the applicant that we would ask them to make a
basket in plat. (Setting) for a large CZ (to reduce the pressure and
the risk) they would almost always respond with “no problem!”
They would then be introduced to the jewelers present (who were all
instructed “no funny business”) and they were always made welcome
and told if they needed anything to just ask. I must interject these
guys were the greatest in regard to bench and personal skill. They
were all busy working on projects from simple everyday stuff to very
high end projects. A lot of the work in this shop was between 1/4 to
over a million dollars. As the “testee” would walk around the shop
you could almost feel the nervousness begin to take hold. They would
then sit at a bench next to one of the guy’s and be given a piece of
stock (usually 4x4)and they could even sometimes pick from a box the
shape CZ they wanted to make a basket for.
Here is where it usually got interesting.
The typical question was “where are the parts?” or “You mean you
want me to “make it”?” Most often the Testee would just get up and
Sometimes they would get started and during a coffee break just
never return. One young man who impressed us with his determination
even though not highly skilled stayed for a few day’s and would just
plow on sweating up a storm and sometimes even shaking a bit.
Although we like him a lot we had to say no thank you because we were
so worried about him. I would say that out of maybe 15-20 bench tests
I witnessed while I was there it would yield one useable basket. (We
would scrap them in the end anyway. But maybe one basket would pass.)
They have a great bunch of guys and lady there today and I am sure
still producing some of the most beautiful work I have encountered. I
have been on that end of the test as well. Back in NYC early in my
career I could prong and channel set fairly well but wanted
desperately to learn to set Pave and bead work. I was given an
interview at David Webb with the understanding that I was a novice
who would sweep the floors if necessary to be taught. I worked for a
couple of days on seating stones until one day the foreman came over
midday and said he did not as it turned out have time to teach a
beginning setter. (I was by the way setting for some years already
and had a family to support.)I was crushed! I had to pack up my
tools in front of everyone and carried my tools in a box across 57th
street with real tears in my eyes to the subway.
Wow! what we who have remained have had to do just to be able to
function in this trade.
Good luck on the bench test