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Definition of "jeweler"


#1

There have been discussions of what to call oneself to describe
themselves as designer, metalsmith, silversmith, goldsmith, ect.

So I would like to ask, what does the word “jeweler” describe.
Anyone who owns a jewelry store can call themselves jewelers, and a
bench jeweler specifically denotes someone with some skill of filing,
sawing, soldering, setting, polishing.

I have always found it irritating that a sales person whose only
skill is reading a price tag is called a “jeweler” by the public, and
there does not seem to be any distiction by the public that I, who
owns an independent retail business and do gold and silver casting,
fabricating, setting, designing, selling, repair and am a gemmologist
is also considered a “jeweler”.

Richard Hart


#2
I have always found it irritating that a sales person whose only
skill is reading a price tag is called a "jeweler" by the public,
and there does not seem to be any distiction by the public that I,
who owns an independent retail business and do gold and silver
casting, fabricating, setting, designing, selling, repair and am a
gemmologist is also considered a "jeweler". 

This has been a major source of irritation for me as well. However,
your post prompted me to look up the definition at Merriam-Webster’s
online dictionary.

Main Entry: jew-el-er
Variant(s): or jew-el-ler /'ju-&-l&r, 'ju-l&r also 'ju(-&)-l&r/
Function: noun

1 : one who makes or repairs jewelry

2 : one who deals in jewelry, precious stones, watches, and usually
silverware and china.

Quite the umbrella, isn’t it?

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#3

Call me whatever you want. Who the heck cares…not me. My work
ought to speak for itself. If it doesn’t, shame on me. Just don’t
call me late for dinner.

Lisa, (gloomy weather, but dang, eeeeeverything is in bloom and
ain’t it beautiful??) Topanga, CA USA


#4

It’s kind of like those homeowners who proudly show off the house
that “we remodeled”, by which they mean they paid the people swinging
the hammers, solving the problems and creating the space.

“Jeweler” is one of those descriptive titles that is inaccurate and
misleading. Earlier on, my dad-- at the time an engineer-- would
scratch his head when I told him that I was becoming a jeweler (never
mind trotting out the word metalsmith…) and ask: “You mean one one
of those old gentleman showing rings out of a showcase in a store?”

He does better with metalsmith, now, than jeweler.

Andy


#5

it seems ot me that a person who sells jewelry i a jewelry store
would say that they “are in jewelry sales” or are a “jewelry
salesperson”

i don’t understand why anyone would call themselves anything else if
they are selling jewelry, even though they might be very
knowledgeable.

joanna gollberg


#6

Hi Richard;

I have always found it irritating that a sales person whose only
skill is reading a price tag is called a "jeweler" by the public 

Yeah, it’s aggravating. I used to live in a little tourist town, and
every year, the local paper would have a “best of” contest, best
bartender, best cop, best jeweler, etc. One year, one of our local
gold butchers whose wife owned a coffee shop had her customers stuff
the ballot box and her husband won. Word got out, and that was the
end of the best jeweler catagory. My employer, not a bench jeweler,
always resented that he didn’t win, since our store was heads and
tails above the others. Another local bench veteran, a grizzled old
torch jockey, really got my bosses goat when he referred to him as a
"shop keeper". But the politics of this are relevant, really, even
if we probably can’t change them. I think the people who actually
create the jewelry should be the ones who get to call themselves
jewelers. The rest can, with our help, call themselves, jewelry store
owners. :slight_smile:

David L. Huffman, gold wrangler.


#7
I have always found it irritating that a sales person whose only
skill is reading a price tag is called a "jeweler" by the public, 

Yeah, well, I find it kind of irritating too, and I have a lot of
respect for you, Richard, but all I can say about it is GET OVER IT!
The public is never going to really “get” what we do and how
difficult it is, so we might as well just relax and try to have a
good time at it and, while we are at it, make some money. You are one
of the first people who responded to my first post on Orchid (it was
about my cat), and I have always listened carefully to your posts
since that time, so believe me when I say that this is meant in the
best of spirits. Please don’t irritate yourself over what people
think. One of my favorite sayings is “What other people think of me
is none of my business.”! Keep up the good work in your fine shop,
and let the chips fall where they may!

Best to you,
M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#8

The professional description attached to you is the one you choose.
Before I got into the jewelry biz I spent 22 years as a computer
database architect. Some people would have called me just a
programmer. Nuh-uh. I did much more than that. My biz card said
"database architect", which is what I was and exactly how I
presented myself. I made a lot more money than a programmer. :slight_smile:


#9

A lot of the old people in my town had a very hard time understanding
why I could not or would not work on their watches when I first went
into business. Isn’t that what a jeweler does? I resisted calling
myself a jeweler for a long time, prefering metalsmith or metal
craftsman. My business name, “Walker Metalsmiths” brings in the odd
inquirey now and then asking for horse shoeing or welding stainless
steal sinks. Now, I usually go with “jeweler” when people ask me what
I do.

Stephen Walker


#10

looking back over all the things that have aggravated you since i’ve
been viewing/a member of ganoksin i am reminded that there must be a
ventilation mechanism for those of us who create things with
metals,chemicals and fire -for you this forum of
metalsmiths, jewelers, designers,marketeers, educators,
metallurgists, and even the lowly “filers and sawyers” as you
describe bench jewelers,is your “outlet”…and as such,it seems,
that you are one frustrated young man grappling with the trials and
semantics of the application of our collective art,craft and
sciences and the mainstream conciousness, or the lack thereof
regarding what we do…So - to remedy this current pang of public
unawareness,perhaps you could consider getting some of those quite
handy,burnable cd business cards…They hold an ample 50 mb of
slides/photos (remember to compress them first to .jpg
or .jpeg from.gif or other large imagery formats if you want to
present a wide array of workpieces) words, music,etc.- truly a
multimedia marketing tool, then you could educate your customers (
presuming you own a “jewelry store”) and perhaps a larger audience
by proferring your definition of yourself and your art… Otherwise,
don’t expect the mainstream buyer, a relative, or even those you are
close to that know what you do to have a spasm of enlightenment that
is the summation of how you define -well, anything!..

wishing you less frustration…


#11

It’s funny, I am reading this book on the history of jewelry in
America. And this same question of terminology was a topic in the
mid 1700’s as well. The book discusses goldsmiths starting to call
themselves jewelers, and then other terms like manufacturing
jewelers, retail jewelers, wholesale jewelers, jobbers, importers,
artistic and commercial jewelers came along in the 1800’s. There was
a variety of terms as industrialization took hold. Interesting to
see how much has remained the same in this trade. Resourceful and
creative people just trying to build successful businesses,
challenged by competition, access to materials, theft and an ever
changing world around them.

Carrie Nunes


#12
Please don't irritate yourself over what people think. One of my
favorite sayings is "What other people think of me is none of my
business."! Keep up the good work in your fine shop, and let the
chips fall where they may! 

I just had to weigh in on this…

I feel the same way about the stuff I make. Most of it is made for
myself because I like the design, or want to have a night of
frustration. If other people (or friends) like it, well that’s just a
bonus. It turns out that most of my friends and family like my stuff,
but that’s a whole matter on to it’s own.

The problem with this approach is this. I can do it because I’m
working 40+ hours a week doing some office building stuff for a
company here in Minneapolis. This pays the bills and gives me fun
money. I view my art/jewelry as just a hobby that can turn into more.
So I can spend money on myself and make things I like.

NOT that I wouldn’t make things I like for other people, but I would
tone things down, make stuff that would appeal to more people, and
set price points blah blah blah… This along with setting, could pay
the bills… but with half my family in arts right now, I want to
stay away from that struggle and focus on business and this as a
hobby.

who knows what will happen in the future though.

Although I could have totally missed any point mentioned in pervious
posts, since it’s getting late, and it’s a work night.

Andy
Minneapolis MN
www.andrewthomasdesigns.com


#13

richard -

So I would like to ask, what does the word "jeweler" describe. 

can’t help you with an exact etymologically accurate definition, but
i suspect it is on the order of something i heard my favorite aunt
answer when asked what she did “oh, ah’m a housekeepah.” shocked, i
turned and sputtered “aunt e, why in the world would you say such a
thing?” she smiled, “why sugah, you know ah kept five of them from
mah husbands.” (she was difficult to live with - those five passed
away - but a lot of fun.)

so maybe it isn’t always the letter of the title that defines it
best, but a meaning that encompasses a lot of contributing factors.

ive


#14

I use a groceries store analogue you wouldn’t ask the grocers to cut
your meat would you? You would want a meat cutter to cut it wouldn’t
you? Even if they are in the same building.

Don In Idaho.


#15

Hi Mr.Hart:

So I would like to ask, what does the word "jeweler" describe.
Anyone who owns a jewelry store can call themselves jewelers, and
a bench jeweler specifically denotes someone with some skill of
filing, sawing, soldering, setting, polishing. 

I think this is a very good point, also one that many people
struggle with in one form or the other. The labels we are given (as
hard as it is to ignore) have a certain effect on how we view
ourselves. Just yesterday, a person was at my house, doing some work,
and noticed some of my jewelry on the counter. He asked if I had made
the jewelry and when I said that I had his reply was (steady
yourself) “Yeah, I know a girl who ‘does jewelry’, maybe you know
her…she does those Tiffany things, you know, the knock-offs…” I
had to stop and think, did this man just put me on par with someone
who sells illegal knock-offs of Tiffany jewelry?..yes, I believe he
did. It bothers me too, it probably always will, but I try to use
things like this as a springboard to other achievements.

A couple of months ago, there was a discussion on Orchid of Petra
Class (sp?). Some of the comments were “that stuff is ugly” and “my
first year students can set better than that”. Fortunately for Petra,
there came along another source of external validation (other than
Orchid), it is the Smithsonian Craft Show. This artist can now take
comfort in the fact that he/she (sorry) is a Smithsonian Craft Show
exhibitor.

You have been in this business for many years. You have achieved
what many more have not and that is, to be still in this business
after many years. If that is not enough validation (and it could be)
then maybe, at this point, you can search for a bit of a challenge.
Some people gain personal validation from teaching, some from
competing, some from doing shows. Is there anything that comes to
mind for you that you would like to try? I’m being serious now, and
speaking from the heart.

All of the talk about me being a beader and beaders not being "real"
got my goat, but I used it. My 3500 savings was sitting there in the
bank, just sitting. I kept saying, some time soon, I’m going to
school. I’m going to work with metal. I’m going to be a metalsmith,
it’s my dream. The comments irked me enough into action. Now I can’t
figure out what I was waiting for.

Sorry, I know this wasn’t exactly your question. The answer to that
is, I would never think of calling myself a jeweler, possibly student
or designer, but only because the customers are comforted if I manage
to myself something, whatever it ends up being.

Best of Luck to you
Kim Starbard


#16

So I would like to ask, what does the word “jeweler” describe.

So, 'jeweler" and the like have become meanless.

I know of “Doctors”, the Medical Type, that have dropped the title
"Doctor" becouse janitors are now ‘house doctors’, auto mechanics or
parts counter sales people are ‘auto doctors’. the medical Doctors
go as MD’S, with a string of other hard to decipher initials as to
thier specialties.

I don’t have a better one word title for what we do, or want to do,
but as soon as we have the perfect word or phrase, someone’s, smoke
and mirrors, will cheapen it the next week.

Pocohontas was credited with the observation 300+ years ago,
“English is Broken”. In the ensueing years, the brokenness has grown
exponentially and multi-lingually.

Blubbering away, sort of like English, Perhaps our results may
overshout the words?

Ed


#17

What’s the name of the book?

Thanks,
Elaine


#18

I was informed by several of my relatives that a “real jeweler” is
someone who sells tiny things made of gold and faceted stones at THE
MALL. Explaining that I am not trying to do that sort of thing or be
a “jeweler” got me nowhere. The definition of “Jeweler” is just one
of those topics that everyone feels qualified to expound upon,
whether they know something about it or not. I am not sure anything
can be done about this.


#19
I use a groceries store analogue you wouldn't ask the grocers to
cut your meat would you? You would want a meat cutter to cut it
wouldn't you? Even if they are in the same building. 

I could do a better job at cutting meat with a rusty pair of tin
snips than the meat cutters at our local Super Kmart. They will put 4
T-bones in a ‘value pack’ - 1 will be 1/2 inch thick, 1 will be
nearly an inch thick, 1 will TAPER in thickness from 1/4 inch to 5/8
inch thick side to side, and the third will taper from 1/2 to 3/4
inch. In addition, the fat will be trimmed in 2 or three straight
lines, sometimes cutting into the red meat, and the top and bottom
surfaces look like a furry tongue due to the use of dull implements.
Often, the inside of the bones will be BLACK from hanging around so
long before cutting. Yuck!

This is similar to the ‘craftsmanship’ that I see in the $99 1/2
carat diamond 10K tennis bracelets that people buy at Kohl’s & bring
in to be repaired.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#20
It's funny, I am reading this book on the history of jewelry in
America. And this same question of terminology was a topic in the
mid 1700's as well. 

When I was an art student in college over 30 years ago, one art
teacher spoke about the Art Versus Craft question, and remarked that
it was a controversy that we would be hearing about over & over again
through the years. Was he ever right! Some of these questions never
go away. I have noticed, however, that my own interest in trying to
answer them does tend to lose its edge after decades of never getting
very far in defining the question, let alone the answer. I am
resigned to knowing that folks will continue to heatedly discuss
this, and that I will probably mostly stay on the sidelines. Been
there, lots of times.

What is a Jeweler? Ooh, here comes another one of those questions.
Have at it, if that is what you enjoy doing. But don’t expect to
find a solution to the puzzle. It is an endless discussion, which
will eventually fizzle out this time, until the next round. So, have
fun with it! Orchid gives us a place to find others who like to talk
about this stuff. Isn’t that nice? But don’t take it too seriously.
Discussions like this are just, IMHO, entertainment.

Humbly submitted,
M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA