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Categorization in the forum

Why they don’t have categories in this forum??? Like for instance, stone settings, casting, engraqving or 3d modeling and etc.

Looks like dying web site to me…Only Gerry’s posts

The answers to most questions are in our archives, which are comprised of over 20 years of the Orchid forum. It is most appreciated when folks search the archives before asking questions because it prevents repetition.

Additionally, you can search Google for those same words you search for in our archives, and sometimes you will find some of our old Orchid blogs which you will probably not find when searching our archives.

Furthermore, it would be better to post a question such as yours in our Site Feedback and Questions category.


Am I the sole reason for Orchid/Ganoksin?..:wink:

Why doesn’t the Head Office read some of these new remarks?
My ’shoulders are getting heavy’ with the responsibility of keeping this site going.

Thank you Gerry! The forum doesn’t be as active as a few years back. Maybe it’s the market shrinking itself…

This could shift into a constructive, productive conversation, and I certainly hope it does, but this comment bothered me and needs to be addressed.

Looks like dying web site to me…

I suspect Seth & others are carrying Ganoksin at a loss, paying their good money and working to keep a worthwhile source of information going, sharing with anyone who wants to learn. There are a number of really expert jewelers who are paying to be members, who share their knowledge freely with others.

I value Ganoksin and Orchid, and the community of members who post on it, many of whom I like a lot, and I resent casual, negative comments like that that undermine it. Please don’t.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being silent until there is something to say. That may be a strange idea for a website and a web forum, but constant chatter about the same old things can just be noise to be tuned out, too.

If a pertinent question is asked, about alloying gold for instance, you may have noticed it gets a thoughtful response. There are people on Orchid who have the knowledge and who share it when asked. Be patient, or ask good questions.


I look at this discussion board probably more often than I should. Yes, there are times when there is a dearth of new information. It usually happens when we collectively might have other things on our minds: lots of orders to fill, holidays, vacations, the weekend, the end of summer, election time and more. We are in one of these times right now. All of a sudden, someone will ask a question that lights the discussion board up and off we go. As Neil said, " a pertinent question gets a thoughtful answer." There are also a lot of answers in the archives. It is sometimes difficult to search and you may not readily get an answer to your specific question, but your search may open up whole new areas to research that you hadn’t thought about looking at. Be thoughtful in your questions and ask them in a way that they can be answered quickly. You may have to ask several questions rather one general one. None of us are required to answer your questions. We do so to try and help the person asking the question knowing that we might also be helping others who have yet to ask it. We also know that there may be more than one answer and, hopefully, your answer will stimulate others to offer their solutions. I find this discussion board to be invaluable to me as it not only helps me learn, but it also connects me to a community of like minded people whom I will never meet otherwise. It is sometimes lonely doing what we do. I live in rural central New York and, other than my brother, it is hard to find people to talk to about what we do. The only formal opportunity for any training in our area is Syracuse University and they are very difficult to deal with. As a result, I depend on this discussion board to learn and grow. I take a lot more from it than I give, but give to it when I can…Rob


While I dont care for the new format since I started getting the daily feed again, this is a wonderful forum. Being married to an uber high priced IT geek, I constantly hear of one group of end users demanding changes to what they want the rest of the users be damned. Yet we all adapt. I will in time. You can teach old dogs.

Gerry I love you and avidly watch all you have contributed. There is much more than setting stones to jewelry. I’m not one who thinks it has to be only metal work. Or that the piece needs to be covered with gem stones covering up as much metal as possible. IMO it is a symbiosis of the two perspectives. To get to the end result takes many steps from idea to working to setting, then finally finishing. I’m still in awe of you talent and willingness to share by passing on to the next generation.

We’ve seen different forms of jewelry happen in the industry in the past couple of decades. I personally dont care for wire wrapping. Although I’ve seen some fantastic master works done in the wire wrapping medium. Being a fabricator taught from a metal smithing base, moving on to go through the Revere Academy, I feel it soul satisfying to take hammer, saw, torch and other tools and create. I may do a lot of work in copper but it is not jewelry. If I’m going to spend the time creating I want my materials to reflect the preciousness of the work. We’ve seen more people in the last few years want to put out jewelry made from base metals. Mostly it’s because they cant afford the materials to work in, or they are afraid their friends cant afford to buy anything unless it’s cheap metals. The other side of that is metals like titanium and nobium that have peeked my interest due to their unique qualities.

Hearing about computers everyday and at least 5 computer oriented devices from phone, tablet, laptop, and desk top to each of the three people in our household and our two cats, CAD bugs me. I want to manipulate with a good hammer not some computer program. At least I did until a few years ago when an unscheduled flying lesson out the back door with a garden hose, obliterated my dominate hand. I’ve regained 60 to 70 % usage. When my hand is tired which happens to quickly I start wondering how CAD and a laser would help me. How much information dealing with these subjects become the norm on this forum? It does have its place.

What to me over the years I’ve seen on here what I call the YouTuber schooled. Many of us went the formal education route. Others of the old timers spent time learning from a friend who had trained or at least took some workshops for that valuable critique of problems we encounter. Many others apprenticed. Not all problems get solved that way. Then you have those who watch YouTube and figure they can make a good living making jewelry, but dont want to take the route of seeking and education in the traditional sense. We see in their enthusiasm the questions generated without searching the archives. Or the person poses the same question over and over in different ways hoping it will magically be answered the way they want. I know I’m not alone in shaking my head. It took me years of education and more gaining experience. I’m willing to share my knowledge. Oft times I remain silent when I read a person’s post that has excuses for not at least searching the archives.

This forum is not dying. Its changing. We’ll adapt to the new views. Those unwilling to put the effort to learn, will fall away when it gets hard. Others will be motivated to over come the hard learning curve.

Lastly as an industry we have to compete with Chinesium. What is being mass produced in China for the vast majority, is crap. It looks good, but is cheaply made not holding up to the rigors of usage. Hopefully we will renew our efforts here on the forum to pass on quality. We have the wealth of knowledge to draw from.



Thanks all for chiming in - always happy to provide some context on what we’re up to… it’s a bit lengthy.

Yes, I can see why folks feel this way. One reason it’s a little less active in the last 4 months is that we’ve struggled to fix a technical problem with a plugin we wrote to send the “daily digest” email to about 500 members. Fortunately, Leah has conceived a new solution to accomplish the same objective, which restarted a few days ago and should be up today or tomorrow. The second reason is something @Betty2 pointed out… we are a bit of a victim of our own success with regard to the archives :slight_smile: Almost any topic you can think of related to bench jewelry and jewelry manufacturing is covered, and in some cases, covered so exhaustively that asking a new question of the collective is simply not required. The reason I know this to be true is because traffic and anonymous users to Orchid is quite literally three times what it was in 2016. To give you an idea, in the last 30 days on Orchid alone we had 375,000 pageviews which is only part of how people engage with the forum (we also send hundreds of thousands of emails). The reason you as a user don’t see all of that activity is because it is anonymous… people have a question, read about it and leave. They typically find the thread through a Google search that lands them on the thread directly because now all of the threads are indexed in Google. And currently we charge nothing to access the archive, even though our costs to serve up the content are not insignificant. Ironically, the users we do have like many of the folks on this thread and new members subsidize the anonymous users. This model is not the most profitable (it does not maximize my profits), but it is the most far reaching (it maximizes content access for the world’s jewelers). If the model becomes unworkable in the future, I can always tweak it, but my goal has always been to keep as many resources free as possible while minimizing disruptive ads where possible. Your sponsors, who provide timely relevant ads and amazing products, are one of the main reasons I can do this.

We don’t utilize categories for a few reasons. The short answer as to why is as @Betty2 alluded to… we have an exceptional search function now which Orchid never had before. There were really two options for organizing Orchid when I got it in 2016. I could have manually categorized every post (previously threads didn’t exist, each post was actually a static page)… this would have been a huge undertaking since there were around 250,000 posts over 20 years. And keep in mind, many posts fit into many categories. Or we could have done what we did – write a script to organize all of the content into threads, and make those threads searchable and indexable in Google. We chose the latter, recognizing we could (if we ever wanted to) do the former at some point although I suspect we never will. Google doesn’t have categories :wink: but you can still find exactly what you are looking for.

Not to my knowledge - but the contributions are very much appreciated! The reason folks have seen a surge in posts from Gerry is because Wilfredo on our support team has spent 150 hours going through Gerry’s blog, reformatting it, tagging all the pictures and posting them here on Orchid so they are fully searchable. We don’t allow simple outlinks to another website, because they are frustrating for users and bad for the forum. But with Gerry’s generous permission (and his generosity in mailing me jump drives), we were able to get all of his content live right here on Orchid. We just did it in one spurt, and we did it as if we were Gerry (logged into his profile) so the posts are correctly attributed to him as the author. And we edited them and cleaned them up a bit. Side note… Gerry Lewy has never been paid a single dime for his content or his contributions ever. He even drove down to Boston from Canada to shoot videos for us which we sell to support the forum. He is a mensch. His only downside is that he is Canadian, but I have forgiven him for that – nobody is perfect! hahaha I couldn’t resist. Seriously though, we are all lucky to have him.

I broke even on it last year, and the first couple of years it was subsidized by my other website, International Gem Society. I wouldn’t want to give the impression it is a purely philanthropic endeavor, as I have kids that need braces and a mortgage to pay and don’t particularly enjoy working in perpetuity for free :slight_smile: But I more look at it as a long term investment that I will optimize over time, guided by the core principles I laid out above. Of course every time I start to make some profit dollars, they seem to find a home – either increased hosting costs, or in the case of this year, we are currently re-writing the entire property. The memberships and advertisers have enabled us to make these investments, and I prioritize the upgrades and improvements over cash flow, essentially. So I reinvest, if you will.

DEFINITELY! I too have found this to be the case.

Yes there are! And without their contributions, past present and future, this would be nothing. I’ve said this before… our model does depend heavily on the commitment of our membership both from a content contribution perspective AND financially. The memberships are cheap, and they subsidize a lot of value for a lot of people.


Can’t thank all of you enough for all of these comments and thoughts - it means a lot to me :slight_smile:

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This is exactly what I was hoping folks would do… when a similar topic comes up to something in the archives the ideal way to handle it is to go to that old thread and bring the thread current by adding to it. This way the forum archives become a time-stamped and updated MECE (mutually exclusive collectively exhaustive) resource on all things jewelry making related. It’s way more efficient for all parties to do it that way.

I agree. My FIRST job is as its steward is to keep it relevant and useful.

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Aggie…many thanks for your well thought out remarks…as one who grew up before computers I am astonished at the amount of info out there and surprised no one has mentioned (I don’t think) in this discussion that email is now for geezers and many now use social media as their main route for information accrual. So perhaps many who have migrated over to FB, pinterest, etc., don’t ever think to look here…

I have to admit to being self-taught at jewelry/lapidary and also to using Youtube to learn about some things recently. However, my base of understanding of precious metalwork techniques comes from reading here and old jewelry books. I once knew a woman who told me she read cookbooks like novels and learned to be a cook rather than follow a recipe this way. The same has been true for me in reading many, many posts here and old jewelry making texts from the 1900’s through the 90’s. Once you see how ten different people have used a technique and questioned why and how each one did it, you have a good knowledge base from which to avoid many mistakes and begin to take up your tools. At that point, a few sessions of trial and error, or a few hands on lessons are all that is needed.

I love your comments on Chinesium…it is so sad that a culture known for centuries for its arts and crafts has become known in this century, in America and Europe at least, for mass produced junk. I don’t think we need compete, just find our niche, which isn’t a $9.95 price point! -royjohn


Categorization of topics is for people who want to browse. While this is fine for an FAQ with 50 or 100 answers, it does not work when a category ends up with too many results. At that point, a search is more efficient, where you can add your desired category to the search parameters. When an ebay search returns 30,000 results, do you browse them all, or do you narrow your search?

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The middle ground to enabling precisely what you describe (guided parametric search) is adding “tags” which is actually quite easy to do (@leah-ganoksin-admin suggested considering this). The challenges are;

  1. Who picks the list of tags? It’s not quite as easy as it seems, and you don’t want to allow just anyone to make up tags as then you end up with all kinds of permutations.

  2. Who tags the 53,000 threads we currently have? If a volunteer, who manages them? If a paid person, who pays them?

  3. How many people want to refine utilizing tags as opposed to simply using different search terms? Are we enabling a browse experience for a large cross-section of people who want to browse but currently cannot, or are we engaging in a make-work exercise…

My fear with implementing tags (having done it several times previously) is that it’s a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie :slight_smile:

Side note… we do have usage data on which is organized by category. Almost no one runs through the categories by browsing. It’s all lateral landings into the footprint of the site direct from Google.

Not against the notion of tagging, but not yet convinced we’re solving a problem that exists for the majority.


Thank you for articulating what’s been rattling around in my aging brain and so succinctly describing my method of learning.

Lots of great discussion in this thread and it’s great to get input on!

I’ve found that sometimes a few categories can make perfect sense but sometimes over-categorizing a forum can have some adverse effects. The content can get really segmented and you have to click multiple links to stay up to date with all the subjects you are interested in. And inevitably some categories become ghost towns and become unhelpful. Also, if you are jewelry maker interested in learning new techniques and trends you may miss out on something because it was posted in a category that you didn’t click and look at.

This is why I think tags can be best because you can easily look at all the discussion at a glance in one big stream and see what catches your eye plus you can click a tag for a certain subject and drill down if you want to.

(In fact I’ve wondered a few times if Bench Exchange should really be a separate category as it is right now. We did it what way since it was separated out in the original Ganoksin. But it seems to me that pictures of bench setups really could be handy to have mixed in with the main category. Something to think about.)

One example of a category that I think could make sense at a forum such as ours – Let’s say there was a fair amount of discussion about running your own brick and mortar retail jewelry store and it was getting in the way for people who are really just here for jewelry making discussion and don’t care about “point of sale systems” and alarm systems for stores, then segmenting that off could be good. I don’t think we’re at that point here, but just as an example.

Until we decide what to do, I’m glad the search function works! And it’s always helpful to hear what’s working and not working for everyone! Let definitely continue to discuss this.


Hi Rob and all!

You just gave gave the many reasons why many of ’us’ are here!

What might be equivalent to a question for Einstein, we all have the right answers! There are many beginners in this forum, they all need the help. As for me, I tend to stay with the ”setting topics”!

BTW, I’m going to print your letter, it’s a ’real keeper’.

Personally, I use Orchid as my ”surgery & recovery therapy” without this great forum I’d be ’lost’!

I know that ’OUR’ setting blog is read not for fun, but for many Orchid readers. Where would these beginners be without Orchid?..;(

I was a member of another jewellery forum, but the language that was used made the air ’blue’. Many people like me were ridiculed for any reason, being Canadian was a sore point for them.

This is the best place to be to share our years of experience in this profession. Let’s all work together and make Orchid even better!..:wink:

I know this might be frowned upon because it’s not strictly a jewelry making question but my hands are part of my tools in my opinion. I had an accident a year ago that left me with my

arms and hands paralyzed. The Doctor said it would take a year to regain any movement again. Well it is now a year and i can use my left arm and hand 75% and my right hand(dominant) hand only 10%. It slowly improves a tiny bit every day but would love to know if any of you have had anything similar and what did you find helped strengthen your hand??

I can’t afford private Physio so need to do it myself.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Please don’t lecture me as to taking medical info from strangers as i wonder how other jewelers helped themselves with this problem.

Many thanks.

Sharron …at the beach in Mexico.

Aggie so well said. I agree so much with what you have observed.I have been with Ganoksin since the very beginning of its start.The forum is definitely changing in the inquiries. I still love working with my hands, being challenged with projects and repairs other jewelers won’t do.Will that part of jewelry making disappear? Just thinking out loud…

Regarding the Forum questions, if everyone just looked at the archives, there would be no personal contact. Do we want that? I do wonder why there is less participation (thank you, Gerry). Maybe because there is less contention than some years back! That seemed to get everyone going.

I value the conversations, the personal interchanges. But I sometimes wonder if I am in the wrong category of membership, the Silver. What happened to the Grady jewelry, etc.? I just looked at some older entries with gorgeous enamel work. Is it just that no one except Gerry is sending stuff, or is it going somewhere else in this Forum? I guess maybe I should send a picture of my work, since perhaps it will help prime the pump.

I would love an answer,

Noralie Katsu