I’m not directing this at anybody in particular, but let’s pause and
take stock for a moment. It’s a frequent POV here on Orchid in
various ways, but there is, in fact, a jewelry industry in the world
Many either forget that or perhaps never really understood it. There
was a time when I worked in a shop that put out around 2,000 diamond
rings a week - fine quality, industry standard stuff, not junk.
500-1000 half carat diamonds, stuff like that. And we were good
sized, but puny in comparison to some. There is often something here
like, “I’m just gonna sit at my bench and make a ring a week.”,
which is fine for you, whoever you may be, but it’s not the way of
the world by any means. There are machines punching out wedding bands
of all kinds, CNC is churning out product every day, presses are
pressing and machine setting has been a reality for around a decade
that I know of, though it was only channel setting for a time.
Saying things like, “Oh, but that’s just crap jewelry” is simple
snobbery. It’s jewelry, it’s business, it’s product and the world
wants it and buys it. You can sneer at it or you can have a career in
jewelry, that’s up to you. Most of the machine-set jewelry is
commodity pieces that have little or no artfullness about them.
Channel eternity rings have long been machine set and a fine job it
is, too. I can find no better example than Stuller #68368. It’s an
eternity ring with three rows of half-pointers all the way around.
156 diamonds… My cost today is $625.49 for a gold ring, 3/4
ct. of SI goods and setting 156 stones. You better believe I’m going
to buy it because I’m a businessman, not an idealist. At $4/stone it
would cost $624 just to set it and I see no point or reason in doing
that. Whether it’s machine set (they don’t say) or farmed out to a 12
year old in Timbuktu I don’t know, and I don’t really care as long as
the stones are straight and don’t fall out. There’s a time and a
place for art, high design and care and craftsmanship. When somebo=
dy wants an off-the-rack piece that you can buy for $500 and sell for
$1000 in a few minutes - well, that’s neither the time nor the place.
If one can’t understand the business of jewelry then they shall
surely fail at it. That one sale, above, pays my rent for the