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
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
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! 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
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
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