Was: Jewelry weekend workshops
When I worked in Albuquerque, we were shown the FTC regs. that stated that in order to be called "Handmade", jewelry had to be made without the use of electric power except for polishing, and could not be cast.
The FTC regs do not state this explicitly. What they say is
(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product. Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, "raw materials" include bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks. (b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-forged, hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on each part of each individual product.
While some claim that this explicitly excludes casting, this is an
interpretation only (unless someone has a letter of clarification
from the FDA on the topic of casting which they would like to share.)
I use cuttlefish casting, a lot. I carve the impression in the
cuttlefish bone with picks, etc, and work the impression with a
brush in order to open up the pattern of the bone. IMO, this is
accomplished by hand labor and does permit me to control and vary the
construction, shape, design and finish of each part of each
individual product. I would have the same opinion about carving a wax
model and making a one-off casting of it. Now, at the point where a
rubber molding is used to duplicate the design so that the same piece
is cast over and over, the maker can no longer vary the construction,
design, and finish of each part of each individual product as
required by the regulation. This, IMO is the point where the finished
product can no longer be described as “handmade.”
This has been bandied about before on Orchid, and I hope the debate
does not get too tedious. All I ask is that we try to differentiate
between our interpretations and the “black letter” of the regulation.