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[Digest Post] What is "Fine" jewelry?

 -Therefore, why not consider titanium as a substitute for any of
the conventional jewelers metals as a medium for securing stones ? 

Can you solder or fuse titanium to gold or platinum or silver or
copper…? I didn’t think it was possible, so I need confirmation
or negation on this subject myself.

I have seen some work of fellow Orchidians, and it mostly looks
milled and inlayed. Can Titanium be cast? I didn’t think so…but am
so often wrong…LOL

-looking to have some light shed on this…


  If, indeed, you are suggesting that a carborundum abrasive wheel
is the solution to cutting off a titanium ring from an expanding
customer, I would then put your solution into perspective by
asking how in hell you are going to keep the customer's finger
intact while munching through the titanium at 18,000 rpm ? 

Ron, I am relatively new to Titanium (I’ve been making Ti rings for a
few months) and am very curious about this problem. I’ve asked a few
experts without recieving a good answer. Can any of you enlighten us
as to how these rings can be cut off in an emergency? (broken finger,
expanding customer, etc.)

I’ve seen a few false rumors floating around, such as the idea that
Titanium is as easily deformed as any of the precious metals, or
that it is as easily cut. These are both false, no matter the grade
or temper. Although, CP Ti is not too difficult to cut - a cutoff
wheel makes relatively fast work of it. If someone wants to test
some cutting techniques I could donate a simple band to the
experiment if you donate the finger! Perhaps another strong but
thin piece of metal could be placed under the Ti while cutting off
the ring, but this may be impossible if the ring is very tight
already. I’ve seen some very nice Ti rings… I’d say cut the finger
off and save the ring :slight_smile:

  As for your assertion that titanium is much less deformable than
any of the conventional jewelers' metals, I am intrigued by the
possibility of using titanium as a potentially ideal metal for
mounting valuable ...Therefore, why not consider
titanium as a substitute for any of the conventional jewelers
metals as a medium for securing stones ? 

I think using Ti for mounting stones would be difficult… Ti can’t
be soldered (it severly oxidizes when heated in the presence of
Oxygen, and solder won’t stick to it) it must be attached to the
ring with some sort of cold joint, such as rivets. This is entirely
possible… but I’d fear that the metal is so hard that it would be
difficult to set the stone without chipping it. Though Plat is
strong, its far from being as strong as 6-4 or CP Ti. No
comparison. Your normal burs will work on it though, so it sounds

I’m very curious to hear other’s opinions and hopefully some first
hand experience with this. Bill Seeley (, can
you share some of your vast Ti experience here?

David Tomich Flagstaff, AZ

Thus far several opinions have been offered on what constitutes fine
jewelry. Some have been based on personal opinion, others based on
common usage (Walmart and QVC as purveyors of “fine jewelry.”) Is
there a standard, published definition of “fine jewelry” issued by
an authoritative source?

In the absence of a standard definition (and government regulation)
I am sure that in the world of marketing, the term "fine jewelry"
will continue to be used to deceive rather than enlighten the
consumer. Perhaps we need to find another term which better
describes what we are talking about, and leave “fine jewelry” to the
malls and the shopping channel.

Lee Einer

Gerry wrote…"Fine jewelry has a very precise description "

With respect - “Fine Jewelry” means nothing at all - it’s simply an

I know that we all long for fixed and incorruptible meanings that
define precisely, but we speak English

I think the cost of the materials I use has nothing to do with the
quality of the work that I do.

I’m a fine jeweler therefore what I sculpt/make is - tautologically

  • fine jewelry! In the same way that what an “artist” does is “art”.
    An if we decide that something is art then it must have been made by
    an artist! Hence Duchamps confusing the issue with his work.

(You can tell I did a philosophy major at one time can’t you! I can
get quite boring on the subject.)

Now whether what that artist does is GOOD art is another matter -
and whether what I make is GOOD jewelry is … up for discussion.

Tony Konrath Gold and Stone

Dear Dan, Your reality is certainly not mine…I find typically
that people wanting to shed a ring have either sustained an injury
resulting in swelling or they have developed arthritic knuckles or
they have been unable to push away from the dining table.
Furthermore, most people come to the jeweler for ring removal filled
with apprehension about whether it might be painful. If you were to
have them profer a finger to the ravages, imagined or otherwise, of
a rapidly revolving abrasive wheel they would be terrified, not to
mention the fact that the heat generated by the abrasive cutting
process would be painful. Personally, I always shun from performing
any procedure which might injure a customer, if for no other reason
than our litigious society’s being ever ready to find an opportunity
to shed you of your assets. As for the difficulty of mounting
titanium to a dissimilar metal, you might give some thought to the
new method of mechanically locking heads into specially drilled
holes. Stuller has this system and I suggest you look in their
latest mountings catalog to see how it works. I think that there is
an enormous business opportunity here and were it not for the fact
that I am already overextended time-wise, I would pursue it myself.
Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA

 Precious gemstones are high quality diamonds, rubies, or

I don’t think any description of fine jewelry is quite this precise.
First of all you left out emeralds which have always been considered
a part of fine jewelry. Secondly there are plenty of other
expensive, high quality gem materials that are considered fine–high
quality tourmalines, alexandrites, etc.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers

Am I to believe that an exquisitely crafted piece of jewelry using
high karat gold and a flawless Tourmaline cannot be considered “Fine
Jewelry” as a recent poster suggested.

I thought semi-precious is no longer a good description as many
Colored Stones are often both rarer and higher priced than diamonds.
GIA among others has long encouraged the use of Colored Stones rather
than semi-precious.

Is the definition of Fine Jewelry, snob appeal? Seems the offered
definitions, tongue in cheek or not, is a put down of the majority
of the public who do buy where they can afford to do so, be it
WalMart, Mall Chain Stores, or similar.

In my mind’s eye, Fine Jewelry is an elegant, finely crafted and
designed piece made of high quality metals and stones cut with
precision. A piece one can proudly purchase and pass along to their
heirs. It does not have to be bought on Rodeo Drive or Tiffany’s, it
could be made by one of you here online. That is my definition of
Fine Jewelry. Teresa

    Can any of you enlighten us as to how these rings can be cut
off in an emergency? (broken finger, expanding customer, etc. 

There are several manufacturers of a simple divice which will cut a
ring off a customer’s finger safely. They look like a pair of
flattened pliers with a little circular saw blade turned by a key on
one jaw and a strip of thin metal on the other jaw that fits under
the ring, protecting the customer’s finger from the blade (which is
not sharp enough to cut skin easily anyway). You slip the one end
under the ring, close the plier jaws, and turn the key while keeping
the jaws tight on the ring. This doesn’t take but a minute or so.
There are also motorized version of this machine. I’ve used them
many times. When a customer comes in with a really sore finger, I
pour a little liquid topical antibiotic over ring and finger, in case
there are abraisions on the skin under the ring. I’m sure these ring
"cut-off" tools will handle titanium just fine. If the ring is too
stiff pry open with a couple pairs of pliers, or the finger is so
swollen that it would be painful or injurous to pry open the cut
ring, then you simply make another cut halfway around the ring and
take it off in two pieces.

David L. Huffman

All, We are back to the same discussion of what makes value. When it
boils down to is that fine jewelry is perception. When value is all
hashed out it is perception that matters. Fine jewelry and value are
synoptic. Both depend upon perception. Perception in jewelry is made
up of romance, rarity, appearance, and acceptance. All of which are
perception. My experience working with Master Goldsmiths and Master
Jewelers is that their perception of Fine Jewelry is 14kt gold and
higher, platinum, high grade diamonds, rubies, or blue sapphires.
Everything else is not fine jewelry in their perception. I run into a
few customers at shows who have a value perception that is the same.
You would not catch some of them wearing anything except a diamond.
Their perception is that only diamonds are valuable. In many ways
they are correct. I have many tourmalines, topaz, and beryl that
sell for $100-$200 per carat, but that is cheap compared to a 4-5
carat diamond, or a 5 carat top grade ruby. How about a 10 carat
Kashmir Blue Sapphire? Emeralds are rejected by them because of
treatments that must be used on emeralds, durability questions, and
law suits. Their perception is that to have value and be Fine Jewelry
the piece must be unquestionably an object of value.

Gerry Galarneau