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Benefits of ready made tube settings


#1

I have some designs that I would like to incorporate 3mm faceted
stones into. With sterling I purchase heavy walled tubing from Hauser
and Miller and cut my own seat but the price of the heavy walled gold
leads me to wonder if it wouldn’t be less expensive to purchase ready
made tube settings and just finish cutting the seat. I have heard
from a few sources that the seats carried by Rio are very thin and
hard to work with. Also, they only offer these seats in 14K and I
prefer to work in 18K and above. I did find some at Otto Frei and
have registered with them so I can find out what their pricing is.
Does anybody have a reliable source that they have used and is this
the best way to do it or should I just bite the bullet and purchase
the heavy walled gold tubing to make my own?

Thanks so much!
Delias
www.deliasstudioinc.com


#2

Your best source for ready made tube bezel settings are from Hoover
& Strong. They have turned out to be the best quality for my use.
Rio’s are not only too thin- they are not well made and I have had
to return MANY.

Buy them by the hundred piece if you can. Surprisingly, the gold
tube bezels are reasonable in price and the silver ones are too if
you buy in numbers. Item # BZR-9 if I remember correctly. Much
cheaper than grinding seats in heavy wall tubing. I’ve used burs for
uneven girdles and there’s enough metal in the walls as Hoover
starts with heavy walled tubing to begin with.

Usual disclaimers- just a satisfied tube bezel customer.

Good luck
Ruthie Cohen


#3

Hoover and Strong offers some of their bezel sizes in 18k.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

I do a lot of tube setting and like the flexibility working with
tubeing. You’re right the wall thickness at the seats in any
preformed tube settings has been disapointing. Plus you can get
whatever height you need depending on the job. If you don’t like a
seat you’ve cut, pop out the stone and file a little away. You
haven’t wasted a setting. The only draw back is the number of stones
your setting as most suppliers have minimum lenght orders on tubeing
so you may be forced to buy more than you need. Otherwise it’s
definatly the way to go. Usually you can buy shorter lenghts of
larger gauge tubeing, so Don’t forget drawing down larger gauge
tubing, you’ll increase your wall thickness, but start with the
proper larger gauge than you need.


#5
but the price of the heavy walled gold leads me to wonder if it
wouldn't be less expensive to purchase ready made tube settings
and just finish cutting the seat. 

Delias, to use tubing: buy tubing, cut tubing reasonably square,
remove sawmarks on both ends, keeping reasonably square (perhaps
chase on floor, at times), lose 1/4 of gold in sawing and filing,
perhaps need to solder inner bearing because of stone fit. Adjust
height of any matching settings, like earrings.

Tube settings: solder, set.

Your basic no-brainer…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

If you’re planning on a setting a lot of 3mm stones the tubing makes
$ense, although more labor intensive. If its a sometimes thing then
findings are more cost effective.

Something to consider is the type of stone and pardon the way this
may sound, your acuity at cutting seats. At 3mm you really need the
seat to be concentric with the tube. If your center is off by as
little as .1mm your opposite sides will double the difference…one
side might be .2mm thicker than the opposite. That’s .008" for those
like me who can better visualize in inches. That’s a lot in a 3mm
setting. You can get it in there but if you have to polish a lot you
may break thru, but at the least your bezel may look lop sided.
Generally, I find tube findings a harder metal than tubing, for the
point of rolling the metal over, I guess because they are die
struck.

If you’re dealing with deep bellied stones, or stones that are not
exactly calibrated to the finding, or real thin girdles, then tubing
is the way to go. imho. I’d rather cut away what I don’t need than
wish I had some more meat under the stone.

That being said I have the opposite dilemma…I can’t get tubing in
the size I want, drawing down is too wasteful for this job, so I may
be forced to use tube findings and whittle away the bezel wall which
I don’t need anyway.


#7
Tube settings: solder, set. Your basic no-brainer... 

A thread like this one and its responses has me baffled somewhat.
Remember the thread a while ago about making one’s own stock vs
buying it ready milled? And all its heated responses from both camps,
some implying, if not actually saying that you’re not a proper
jeweller unless you make your own ingots, then mill and draw stock
yourself, then of course fabricate the piece from that stock. Then in
the middle you have the people who are happy to purchase ready milled
stock (this includes myself, although in lean times of late I’ve
been making my own small sheets from solderless scrap). Then at the
other end of the scale there are folks who purchase ready made
shanks, ready made collets, ready made tube settings, etc and solder
them together.

I suppose the idea is that it’s okay to buy such ready made things
for convenience as long as you’ve travelled the learning curve and
learned to do it the traditional way yourself first - as that’s how
many of the jeweller’s skills are acquired. I fully understand
Delias’s considering buying the settings based on the astronomical
price of gold but I am surprised that the “you’re not a proper
jeweller unless you…” Orchidians haven’t come out of the
woodwork to have their say. I’m not wanting to start world war three
here BTW, just as the radioactivity thread has died the long awaited
death! :wink: I’m just wondering whether I should consider biting the
bullet and trying some tubing to make my tube settings, as I’m still
making them from sheet. I’m considering it just from the point of
view of tubing not having a seam - or does it have a seam? If it’s
seamless, how do they make it?

But then again, buying some tube to make my tube settings is fine
for round stones but I bezel set all shapes of stones so would still
be fabricating settings for my princess cut, emerald cut, oval,
trillion- shaped etc stones. But I guess trying some tubing and
cutting seats is another skill to learn so it’s worth a try. I can’t
imagine myself purchasing parts and soldering together though, unless
my son asks me to make the engagement ring for his girlfriend - then
I think I would definitely buy the bits and solder! But I enjoy
fabricating too much to change my methods to that extent - that’s my
favourite part of the whole process. There are bench jewellers who
need to turn around so many pieces in a given time to earn a crust so
I guess soldering parts has its place in that instance. I’ve wittered
on for so long, just to come up with the conclusion that there are
many types of jeweller in the jewellery business and there’s room for
us all! Sorry if this reads as a completely pointless post!

BTW Delias, sorry for hijacking your thread but I’ve been a bit
confused as to what’s the best policy with regard to where one
starts in the whole proces, ie. start from scratch yourself or buy
ready made at some point along the process. I’d be interested to know
if you find it works out more economically to buy the settings as
opposed to using tubing. And I must say, I LOVE your work - it’s very
bold and unique and I especially love your garnet Isabelle gold and
silver earrings on Etsy - they’re beautiful!

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#8
A thread like this one and its responses has me baffled somewhat.
Remember the thread a while ago about making one's own stock vs
buying it ready milled? And all its heated responses from both
camps, some implying, if not actually saying that you're not a
proper jeweller unless you make your own ingots, then mill and draw
stock yourself, then of course fabricate the piece from that stock. 

This particular instance of the debate is a little different from
the argument over making basic sheet and wire. There are two main
differences here.

the commercial tubing, or premade tube settings, are seamless tubes.
Of them, the premade tube settings are heavier wall tube than is
easily bought, at least in some sizes and alloys. Meanwhile, jewelers
certainly can make their own tubing, if they can already make their
own sheet metal, or can buy it. But to make tubing of any significant
size requires rather large size drawplates to draw it down. You need
a drawplate that starts out larger than the tube you’re making, and
these large size drawplates often have few other uses than tubing, or
if used for solid metal stock, require a proper drawbench to pull
the wire, and sometimes need this even for tube, if in harder metals
like white gold. So making tube and tube settings, which not an
especially advanced skill, may require equipment that not every
jeweler will have, just as not every jeweler will have the needed
rolling mill or ingot producing capabilities for all types of sheet
or wire they might need. And then there’s the issue of the seam in
the tube. You typically solder the seam, when you make your own
tube. This is fine much of the time, but not always the equal of
seamless tubing. Solder seams end up being an irregularity in the
hardness, color, thickness, and malleability of the tube, and can
make setting the stones a bit more difficult sometimes.

And then there’s economics. Making ordinary sheet and wire takes
time too, but often, one can make a fair amount of it at a time, so
the labor cost spreads out over a quantity of metal, which weighed
against the add on cost to commercially made sheet and wire, can end
up making the self made stock considerably more economical in the
end. Plus, the ability to reuse your own scraps helps too, as you’re
not sending so much otherwise usable metal back to the refiners.

With tube settings, this situation may not be the case. If you need
lots of the things, then perhaps the time it takes would be worth it.
But if you need three little tube settings, the added cost of buying
them over the cost of the metal might be quite minor compared to the
rather substantial effort that it sometimes takes to make your own
tube.

Yes, the arguments are similar, but the exact details differ in
enough ways that one might easily find a goldsmith who happily makes
his/her own sheet and wire, and still buys some findings, including
tube settings, die struck or cast heads, and the like. I’m one of
those, by the way. Sometimes I’ll make my own settings, including
tube, and other times it doesn’t make sense to do so.

cheers
Peter


#9
I have some designs that I would like to incorporate 3mm faceted
stones into. 

I like to use 3mm gold tube settings with faceted stones for accents.
I have been very happy with the tube settings I have ordered from Rio
and from Hoover & Strong. Rio DOES have 18k – the number is 625-192.
They are $6.52 today if you buy 10. The H&S ones are about 25% taller
than the Rio ones, fwiw.

Noel


#10

Thanks for the regarding the tube setting. When I called
Hauser and Miller it came out to about $50.00 per inch of 18K thick
walled tubing at 3.25 mm. I purchased some and now I am waiting for
Hoover and Strong to approve my account so I can find out their
pricing. I figure I will try both and see what works out best. I can
always use the gold for other things if one or the other doesn’t
work out.

You are correct that cutting the seat in the 3mm tubing is proving a
little difficult. I am finding that I have to begin with a ball bur
and then finish by creating the seat to get the seat down far enough.
However, for some reason… and you all probably know why
(giggles)… it is thinning the top metal so much that when I go to
set the stone… little pieces are flaking away. I never actually
took a class to learn tube setting so I read some handy dandy advice
on-line and figured with my skills I could figure it out. I have
always created an outer bezel and then filed a seat and created the
inner bezel as two steps. However, with a 3mm stone… it’s really a
pain. Also, I plan on using a lot of these. I have this idea for a
new look but it will require that I be able too add 3-10 per piece
depending on it’s size so I am trying to minimize the amount of
labor. One of my beloved mentors has explained perceived value and
keeping labor down! So I am trying to keep this in mind while I
design.

Delias


#11
Remember the thread a while ago about making one's own stock vs
buying it ready milled? 

Helen, your bafflement is easily dispelled. At a level of learning,
whether it be books, school or apprenticeship, things are done by
"recipe" - step-by-step directions. There’s not really any other way
to convey such things beyond looking over the shoulder. That
instills a sense that there are rules, but there’s not. There’s a
reply today on this thread by one who finds a great versatility in
using tubing, and good for him - that’s how he gets the results he
wants.

if not actually saying that you're not a proper jeweller unless you
make your own ingots, then mill and draw stock yourself, 

Absolutely true. The word being “jeweller”. In that whole thread you
refer to, there were those who simply couldn’t get the fact that the
rolling mill is used to make custom stock. Any benefit in cost is
secondary, at least for most people. My casting table is made out of
stock 2x4’s and plywood, and it looks like it. A Chippendale chair
is not, and it looks like it.

I've wittered on for so long, just to come up with the conclusion
that there are many types of jeweller in the jewellery business and
there's room for us all! Sorry if this reads as a completely
pointless post! 

There ya go - but not pointless. IMO, the question of this thread
was, “I’m going to use lots of tube settings, should I just buy
them?”, and I say yes. Only a fool or an apprentice who has no
choice would make a.03 ct. 4 prong setting (collet, as you say) that
costs 50 cents down the hall. If someone just enjoys it, then fine.

The real point of what Helen asks is really pretty simple - the
point of making jewelry at a professional level is to make jewelry -
usually to make money, too. There are those who have issues with
various things - “I never cast!!!”, “I only cast!!!” and I have no
problem with that. But it isn’t about pedantry, either. Sitting
there following the recipe because it’s all you know is not making
jewelry - there are no, or few, rules. If tubing suits, use tubing.
If findings work, use findings. That’s why they are there, is to
save us from having to make a spring ring every time when we can
just buy one for $5. The findings business is there for our benefit,
and jewelry wouldn’t be what it is without it. A tube setting is
lathe turned, they are consistent, and Bang!, you’re done. On the
other hand, I made settings out of tubing just the last week…
Rules are only good until you learn enough to break them
successfully. Jewelry is art - without entering the art/craft thing
all over, either. Be an artist…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12
You are correct that cutting the seat in the 3mm tubing is proving
a little difficult. I am finding that I have to begin with a ball
bur and then finish by creating the seat to get the seat down far
enough. However, for some reason.... and you all probably know why
(giggles)..... it is thinning the top metal so much that when I go
to set the stone.... little pieces are flaking away. I never
actually took a class to learn tube setting so I read some handy
dandy advice on-line and figured with my skills I could figure it
out. 

Here’s a cute trick that may save you some time and effort when you
are able to solder the tube settings to the work after the stones are
set (diamond, for the most part) or if you’ve access to a laser
welder which can do it with any stone.

A 3mm tube will chuck nicely into the standard #30 Fordom handpiece.
Install the length of tube so about a half inch extends from the
chuck. Tighten the chuck, and now you’ve got a mini hand held lathe.
You can spin the tube, rather than the bur you use. The bur can be
held in a pair of pliers and gently applied to the opening of the
tube to cut a seat in. Be sure the tube is spinning true, without
wobble, to get a true seat. If there’s a wobble, cut a small groove
in your bench pin in which the tube can rest, with a bit of grease so
the wood doesn’t burn. Then the tube runs true, while the wobble ends
up in the handpiece. After you’ve got a seat that the stone just
drops down into, you can spin set it too. A little soft wax (the red
boxing wax works fine) holds the stone from jumping out of the tube.
Then a burnisher held up to the edge of the spinning tube forces the
whole edge over easily and quickly. For this, the tube should be
firmly braced against that notch in the bench pin, and the burnisher
too. Often the burnishing tool I’ll use is actuall a plain flat
ended prong pusher, but that’s just me. The usual burnisher works
fine too, if you’re more comfortable with it. The result is a very
round, very clean looking outer surface to the bezel, while the inner
lip of the burnished in bezel will still be a little ragged. It can
be cleaned up with a graver, if there’s too much metal, again while
spinning (again, hold things so both the tube and graver are braced
against the bench pin, so it can’t catch and tear things up. Or you
can use a small point burnisher to just burnish the inside edge of
the bezel down to the stone. that gives a super clean "reflector"
surface to the inside edge of the bezel that’s rather cleaner and
rounder and more perfect than is easily done with a stationary bezel.
I use a small carbide “bullet point” shape burnisher for this. The
diamond sort of grinds a small flat at the point of the burnisher if
it’s sharp, and then once that’s done, after that the tool is pretty
stable in shape. Do note that burnishing over bezels like this with
colored stones, softer than diamond, is a lot harder, since the
spinning stone can easily be damaged by that burnisher if they two
touch (just as in normal setting), so this takes more practice, and
perhaps good magnification.

When the bezel edge is set, then take your sawframe, and install a
blade upside down (teeth pointing up). That way, the bezel, when
rotating against the saw, can be cut by it’s own rotation, thus
giving a really square cut. It does take a little practice to get the
height of the bezel exactly the same on all, if doing many, and be
sure to allow enough clearance for the depth of the stone. Also, to
keep the bezel from flying across the room and being lost when it
cuts through while spinning, take a zip lock bag, cut a slice into
it, pull the bag over the whole handpiece end, and cut with the saw
blade in that slice in the plastic. That traps the cut off bezel so
it doesn’t fly. sounds clumsy and all, but it’s simple and works like
a charm.

With practice, small tube settings like this can be done in just a
couple minutes each. Setting them the normal “hand” way with
practice, isn’t all that much slower, I should mention if even at
all. And bezel burnishers can do most of the same thing if you have
them. But I find that spinning them in gives really good results,
slightly cleaner than I can consistently manage with the bezel
closing burnishers and a graver, or hand burnishing them in, etc.
This just works well. So well, it sort of feels like cheating. And
learning to set small tubes this way won’t teach you to set the ones
you can’t do this way. But it’s a good trick, nevertheless.

cheers
Peter


#13
However, for some reason.... and you all probably know why
(giggles)..... it is thinning the top metal so much that when I go
to set the stone.... little pieces are flaking away. 

I use a ball punch and open the top of the tube setting until the
stone sets down on the seat. Sometimes I use a ball punch and open
the seat a little, and the another larger to open the bezel. If I use
a bur, it is to level the seat, not to remove wall thickness, that
will cause nothing but trouble. Thicker bezels I use a small ball
bur to remove material above the seat, just gently remove a little
just below the top inside edge for ease of moving the bezel. Careful
or when cleaning up or polishing you will go through the side.

Anneal before setting. I use bezel punches starting with one that
starts the tube closing, smaller and smaller until it is closed over
the (faceted gem) crown facets. Sometimes I have to use a bezel
roller to get the bezel against the crown facets so there is no gap.
I use the pointed bezel tool to burnish the edge, being very, very
careful to not chip or scratch the gem.

Richard Hart


#14

3.25 mm tubing for a 3 mm stone does not leave enough wall
thickness. You should be using at least 3.5mm tubing.


#15

we use a lot of prefab tube settings, they come in handy and save
time. Frie and borel carry the odd 1/4 sizes like 2.25 and 2.75.
most other places only carry the whole and 1/2 sizes.

Candy


#16
But if you need three little tube settings, the added cost of
buying them over the cost of the metal might be quite minor
compared to the 

I think Helen’s original question is important enough to really get
a clear answer for. Peter also says good things about it. I think the
healthiest attitude towards making anything is to do what you want
to do, but don’t be a snob - some might disagree, which comes under
the heading of do what you want to do. It’s one thing to say you like
to make tube settings (or whatever) ~because~ you have reason to -
you find it satisfying or have a custom way of doing it or whatever
it may be. It’s quite another to do it because you think findings are
beneath you or some sort of disdain for production parts. If you are
making a setting that’s different than what you can buy, then that
is art. If you are spending an hour or two making the same thing you
can get for $10 because of some sort of “purity of craftsmanship
babble”, I’d call you an idiot and have no qualms about it. I’m a
special order jeweler, and my philosophy is to do what’s necessary to
get the job out the door, not stand on some philosophical soapbox.
That’s not really some slur towards any who enjoy that, though it
might seem so - it’s just my job to make jewelry. Casting gets cast,
fabrication gets fabricated, custom settings are made, and when 4
prongs that nobody’s really going to see - a “stone holder” is
needed, findings are bought. Whatever gets the job done, that’s what
we do. The wisdom of jewelry making is efficiency - don’t fabricate
castings, don’t cast fabrication, don’t reinvent the wheel, don’t
waste your time on soapboxes, just get the job done. Without a CNC
lathe, it’s going to take all day to make 20 settings you can buy for
$50 - if there’s artistic reason to do that, then fine. Otherwise
why? Because a teacher told you it’s somehow “pure”? As always,
whatever floats yer boat - my piece is in the mail…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#17

Hi John,

There's a reply today on this thread by one who finds a great
versatility in using tubing, and good for him - that's how he gets
the results he wants. 

As I’ve said, I am considering trying tubing for round tube
settings, if nothing else, then for the seamless aspect - but of
course it probably makes sense economically too.

    Only a fool or an apprentice who has no choice would make a
.03 ct. 4 prong setting (collet, as you say) that costs 50 cents
down the hall. If someone just enjoys it, then fine. 

Well then, I guess I am a fool. I like the whole handmade aesthetic
and as such I, PERSONALLY have an aversion to findings I’m afraid. I
don’t even like using machine made chains for my pendants (but still
do) and that’s why I’ve been investigating chain making techniques.
I, personally don’t like the idea of buying a setting and soldering
it onto a shank to make a ring and have not yet resorted to that.
When I make a necklace or a bracelet, I make my own clasps because I
don’t like the ones I can buy for pennies. I guess I’m trying to
decide which camp I fit into and I’m veering towards the handmade,
art jewellery.

All I need now is some customers willing to buy my jewellery as
opposed to just saying they like it. :wink:

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#18

Hi Peter,

Of course everything you say is correct and thanks for the reply.

Sometimes I'll make my own settings, including tube, and other
times it doesn't make sense to do so. 

I guess that’s where experience comes in. I’m still feeling my way
around which stock my money is better spent on. I like to have in
stock about three or four gauges of round wire, two gauges of square
wire, one type of D wire for some shanks, and two gauges of sheet
for making my bezels and tube settings. However, to make my favourite
gauge of sheet go further, I am making my own small sheets out of
solderless scrap, rolling them down in my mill and I’m using these
as back plates to solder bezels to. This is saving my pre-milled
stock for other purposes.

From the point of view of not having a seam, I am considering buying
some tubing for my round tube settings - and thanks Delias for
sewing that seed!

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#19
Well then, I guess I am a fool. I like the whole handmade
aesthetic and as such I, PERSONALLY have an aversion to findings
I'm afraid. 

Helen, I’ve said a few things on this, but I want this to be
absolutely clear - I’m not saying that everyone should use findings
and not make their own parts. My thoughts are about making a
duplicate of something that can be easily bought for 1/10 of the
labor of making it. I’m not saying people shouldn’t exercise their
artistic desires. It is SOP for apprentices and students to make
stuff like settings and catches for background skills - I make
settings frequently, I just don’t make what I can easily buy. Unique
stones or sizes, unique styles, unique situations - of course that’s
what jewelers do. But I’ll still make my statement: A.03 ct., 4
prong setting (that’s 2mm) runs around a dollar nowadays, I guess,
for gold - they’re more like a nickel in silver. If one’s version of
it is unique, that’s great. Sitting down and duplicating it is
pretty out there, though it’s good practice for those who can use
it…

I make handmade jewelry for a living, and have for 35 years. I just
choose my battles…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#20

Hi John,

I think Helen's original question is important enough to really
get a clear answer for 

It wasn’t my question, it was Delias’s question and I think I threw
a spanner in the works by hijacking her thread - sorry Delias.

It's quite another to do it because you think findings are beneath
you or some sort of disdain for production parts. 

I’ve sent a post today where I’ve said that I have an aversion to
findings. Not out of some sort of snobbery - as there is obviously a
place and a need for them - but because mass-produced findings are
too “mass-production” for the look I want. They are not beneath me by
any means - that would be a ridiculous attitude - I just prefer the
hand made look for what I’m doing. If I were in your shoes, I would
use what each particular job called for - just like you do.

If you are making a setting that's different than what you can buy,
then that is art. If you are spending an hour or two making the
same thing you can get for $10 because of some sort of "purity of
craftsmanship babble", I'd call you an idiot and have no qualms
about it. 

I am making clasps, etc that are different from what you can buy -
simply because I’m not keen on the mass-produced look for what I’m
doing. I could make my necklaces the way I do, making my own bezel
and tube settings and my own chain links and I could simply use a
lobster claw clasp for simplicity - but I don’t want to do that.
When everything else on the necklace is handmade, just adding a
lobster claw clasp that costs pennies spoils the look for me and so I
make my own clasps from wire, which also costs me pennies and takes
very little time to make, solder and harden. It’s nothing to do with
purity of craftsmanship - and I do buy and use lobster claw clasps
on some things. I made my youngest son an ID bracelet for his
birthday, using a “handmade by me” ID panel and a "handmade by me"
chunky curb chain - but then I used a lobster claw clasp for ease of
use and so that it doesn’t fall off when he wears it. So there is a
place for them and I’ll use them when I need to.

As I’ve said, I am considering buying tubing for round stones and
having a go at that - to eliminate the seam and to achieve an even
neater look - but I PROBABLY won’t use ready made settings. If that
makes me an idiot, then I’m an idiot and happy to be one - and I may
at some point in the future eat my words and try ready made settings

  • if it turns out that they are more economical. That’s why I’m
    interested to find out if Delias finds them to be more cost
    effective than buying and using tubing.
I'm a special order jeweler, and my philosophy is to do what's
necessary to get the job out the door, not stand on some
philosophical soapbox. 

And that’s why we have a different point of view - because you’re a
special order jeweller with a business that keeps you in house and
home, and I’m a “hobbyist” who’s attempting to make “art” jewellery
and find some customers who want to buy and wear what I’m making -
but if they don’t, then I’m not destitute as it’s not a necessity for
me to make money out of it but I really want to of course. That would
be the icing on the cake. If people don’t like what I make, then I’ve
got more jewellery to wear myself and a very enjoyable, rewarding
and therapeutic hobby! :wink: I really hope that doesn’t sound conceited

  • it’s not meant to and I’m not being conceited - just trying to put
    into perspective where I’m coming from. I want my jewellery to sell
    and so I’ll work to find a market for it, but I won’t compromise
    what I want to make in order to produce so many pieces per day. I
    enjoy the process and hope that there are people who will enjoy the
    result of that process.

Noel makes beautiful pieces of art jewellery using silver and
titanium, anodising it to create scenes - but you wouldn’t have her
change her ways to start producing X number of pieces per day - just
because you need to “get the job out the door”. You and Noel have a
different customer base and when I eventually have a customer base,
mine too will be different from yours. I’m by NO means comparing
myself or my jewellery to Noel’s - it’s not in the same league - but
I’m using Noel as an example of the fact that you are in different
markets (hope you don’t mind Noel).

I notice today that Noel herself uses ready made settings, when
accenting her pieces with a faceted gem here or there. But there’s a
difference between Noel’s emphasis and mine. For me it’s about the
stones, be they faceted gems or beautiful focal cabochons of jasper,
peitersite, turquoise, rhodocrosite, etc, or both. I make settings
to try to showcase the stones and let them speak for themselves -
Noel makes the art herself in the form of her titanium scenes and
uses stones to compliment her art. There would be no point in her
spending X amount of time to make settings for stones that aren’t the
major focus in her jewellery as they are in mine. Am I making sense
yet?

You said it yourself John:

when 4prongs that nobody's really going to see - a "stone holder"
is needed, findings are bought. 

If my settings were meant to be "4 prongs that nobody’s really going
to see - a “stone holder”, then that’s what I would buy, but as I
said - my settings are intended to play a bigger part in the overall
piece than just a “stone holder”.

As always, whatever floats yer boat 

Precisely! There is no “one size fits all”. It’s said so often on
here - what works for one won’t work for another, so one can’t say
that everyone should buy settings rather than make your own - and I
know you’re not actually saying that but there is an element of
implication in the way you speak. In one of your posts yesterday you
used the work “fool” and today, “idiot” - with reference to someone
making something you can buy for pennies/cents - and yes, in your
situation, that would be ridiculous, foolish, idiotic or whatever.
But we’re doing different things - which calls for different
approaches.

You’re a lovely bloke John, and you definitely make beautiful
jewellery without question, but you do have a tendency to generalise
in a big way, SORT OF preaching your methods and what works for you
and implying that anything different would be plain daft and then
add the caviat at the end: “whatever floats yer boat”!

Like I said yesterday, we are all different. The world of jewellery
is full of many different types of jewellers/artists/crafts people/
hobbyists or whatever label you want to use. There is room for all
of us, even if some think that some of us are fools or idiots.

BTW, this post is NOT meant to sound heated in any way - it was NOT
written with that intent or feeling. Nor is it a pop at you John. Not
at all. I’m just trying to spell out my perspective on the whole
issue and explain why buying settings isn’t ALWAYS the best or only
option.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk