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Easier earring findings making


#1

I’ve been making the mounts for my stones by laboriously fabricating a
small cup, shaped to the stone, which I then bind that stone into with
one of my knots. I haven’t seen any findings suitable for this on the
market anywhere. Is there a better way to do this? I’ve tried to write
down a useful description of the process, but got wrapped around the
axle, so it would be much easier if folks could just look at

http://www.golden-knots.com/finding.html

and see what I’m doing, and maybe offer some advice. This is a
shoestring operation, and I don’t expect (or even wish) to go into
mass production, but it’d be great if I could maybe save myself a step
or two.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#2

Hi Loren, After having looked at your base setting that you wrap wire
around, I find that it would be possible to make a casting of the base
so that you would not have to fabricate the base.To make it
inexpensively, more than one model would be needed for molding as it
is such a small part. We could easily mold 5 parts of the same size in
one mold and cast 5 parts at one time. Contact me off list if you
would like to discuss it. Daniel Grandi sales@racecarjewelry.com
tel: 401-461-7803 monday-friday 10 am to 5 pm eastern standard
time.


#3

Hi Loren;

Frankly, I see the process, as laborious as it is, to be appropriate
to the aesthetics of the finished piece. Nonetheless, I can
appreciate your inclination to find a way to save a few minutes per
article, especially if these are a bread-and-butter item for your
business. The only thing I could suggest off-hand would be a rubber
mold wherein you would inject waxes and cast, at least for the small
"cup" you use. You could easily sub-contract this part if you aren’t
doing any casting. Barring this, you could build a number of jigs
for basic sizes, pre-cut the wires, and use a mass assembly approach.
Certainly you could buy jump rings, or make them up with a jump ring
making system (you can make your own apparatus for this, and I can
describe it for you if you aren’t familiar with them). Let’s see
what people come up with.

David L. Huffman


#4

Loren, You can use a pearl peg cup earfinding without the peg. They
are avaiable from many suppliers like Rio, CGM, Tripps, and
thousandes of others. You will have a selection of sizes and metals
to work with.

Good luck, Suzanne


#5

Hello Loren, I think the obviously hand-made cup adds to the charm of
your mountings. Your pictures are excellent and the steps of
construction seem straightforward. Probably the only way to save
much time would be to have several sizes of your cups cast. While
that would involve an outlay of money upfront, your hand-made look
would be retained and the time savings would be tremendous. A friend
and fellow metalsmith had a small hand-forged element that she used
frequently in her designs - she finally decided to have one cast in
multiples because the demand exceeded her time availability. The
castings looked just like her original and the cost was less than she
thought. If you could find a way to afford the casting, I think you’d
be delighted with the results. There might be a way to incorporate
wires in the casting so it would be ready to weave/knot around the
stone. Good luck and let us know how it goes! Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213
FAX (785) 532-5681


#6

David,

Frankly, I see the process, as laborious as it is, to be appropriate
to the aesthetics of the finished piece. Nonetheless, I can

Talk about reinforcement . . . !

appreciate your inclination to find a way to save a few minutes per
article, especially if these are a bread-and-butter item for your
business. The only thing I could suggest off-hand would be a rubber

I think you’ve touched on the essential nature of my situation. I
have a job as a technician in another industry, which lets me
approach
jewelry as art instead of as an economic pursuit.

mold wherein you would inject waxes and cast, at least for the small
"cup" you use. You could easily sub-contract this part if you aren’t
doing any casting. Barring this, you could build a number of jigs
for basic sizes, pre-cut the wires, and use a mass assembly approach.

I’ve completed a grand total of six earrings since March of last
year, five of them within the last two months. One pair of emeralds
went to a customer, my “recycled engagement ring” diamond is in my
earlobe right now, I gave away a spinel (relatives are as bad as
girlfriends, and there’re more of 'em) and I’m waiting to see if
anyone is interested in the tanzanites. If I start getting orders for
vast quantities of them, that would be one thing, but my customers
are
apparently even more unusual than my jewelry. :wink:

Certainly you could buy jump rings, or make them up with a jump ring

making system (you can make your own apparatus for this, and I can
describe it for you if you aren’t familiar with them). Let’s see
what people come up with.

I’ve received several very good responses off list as well, with
useful advice and offers of assistance. I’m exceedingly grateful for
them all.

Thank you,

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#7

Judy, I think that the time saving of having castings made, at this
point, would not be cost-effective. Unless a whole lot of orders start
coming in, the occasional pair of jump-rings made to the size of the
stone, with the somewhat aggravating addition of the wires and a bit
of filing, will just have to be a part of the process. I’d have to go
through that at least a half a dozen times in order to commission the
casting from someone, and I’d rather that they were three pairs of
unique earrings in the hands of my customers.

That brings up an interesting side question – since I go to so much
trouble, if I could turn them out very easily instead, how should I
charge for them? The person who commissioned the emerald earrings knew
that he was putting me to a lot of work, knew that there were no other
earrings like them anywhere and that anyone else he went to would have
to go to just as much work (at least on the knot) as I do, so he paid
me a lot for them. As it stands now, I can tell a person who gets a
pair from me, in the case of the tanzanite earrings for example,
“These are the fourth and fifth earrings made in this style, currently
the only ones in the entire world.”

I haven’t actually posted any prices for this process on my website,
come to think of it, any more than I posted a price for the chain that
took me three months to make. I feel somewhat ambivalent about the
situation, wanting to have everyone interested in getting my stuff,
but almost dreading the prospect of doing the work. There just isn’t
any way to make knots without tying them, though you can find plenty
of pretend-knots around, cast or soldered.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#8

Suzanne,

Thanks for the suggestion of pearl peg cups – never even occurred to
me. Now that I’ve looked, though, it seems to me that they would hide
the back of the stone too much, and my approach is to minimize
everything that isn’t either the knot itself or the stone that it
retains.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#9

Hi Loen, An interesting way to think about the problem of a cast piece
versus hand made settings as seen on your website is the following.
Consider the time it takes for you to hand make one pair of these
earrings settings with the twisted wire and jump ring all being hand
constructed… I would calculate that it takes about 1/2 hour per
pair ( without the wire wrap). assume that you wish to make $25/ hour
before you make your markup, This would calculate out to $12.50 labor
/pair … now add your gold weight and the cost of the scrap gold
weight of the extra wire that you cut off into the cost factor. I
realize that the unusable gold clippings are recoverable, but you
won’t see that money until you have a fair amount of gold to refine…
then you still don’t get all your money back for the gold being
refined and if the lot being refined is not huge, they will assess an
extra charge for handling it which can end up being as much as $250
/lot. This eats up a large amount of the returned gold value. If we
cast these items in a quntity of 60 Pcs, your total cost would be
about $3/ pcs including the gold and labor … This actually costs
less than the labor it takes to make the setting by hand. Now, since
this cast part is only a small part of your overall finished piece
and the rest of the work is still done by hand, Then it is still
considered a hand made part And you can still charge what you were
originally charging. Now, If you find that the item becomes popular,
you can refine the idea and actually design some wire work that that
looks like the wrapping that can also be cast in place for very
little more , reducing your costs further and allowing you to make a
decent profit at a lower cost.Simply attach the post and put the
stone in . I presently make a lot of bezel settings for customers and
they report that they can do more projects and make a lot more money
with their time/labor by concentrating on the design and final
product than spending the time to make settings . This is just meant
as an observation. Best wishes, Daniel Grandi
http://www.racecarjewelry.com


#10

Loren, You are the best judge of what it takes to make your lovely
earrings and then what the charge should be. I do hope someone has a
brilliant idea for cutting some time off your process. I understand
your quandry of wanting increased interest in your work and yet
dreading the prospect. There’s something about mass production of a
unique technique that takes the fun out of it! I find I’m reluctant
to make more than about three of any design, and in reality, the
design is altered in some way when I do make more. Your work using
knotting/weaving is awesome, and I thank you for letting us see it.

Judy in Kansas


#11

Judy,

   There's something about mass production of a unique technique
that takes the fun out of it!  I find I'm reluctant to make more
than about three of any design, and in reality, the design is
altered in some way when I do make more. 

I agree. I’m fortunate in one respect, in that the hardships of tying
the knots ensures that I couldn’t make the same thing twice even if I
wanted to, but even so I prefer to move on to other things once I know
how something is going to turn out. I may start a new chain soon,
though I have no more expectation of selling it than of selling the
ones I have now – but it will be a slightly different knot, I think,
and possibly with a new approach. What do you think of larger (longer
weave, thus “roomier”) knots interspersed with the smaller ones, each
larger knot containing a stone of some sort? I was thinking perhaps
pearls or opals, not faceted stones, and perhaps with the knots loose
enough that the stones could roll around a little bit. I won’t start
that project til I find some inspiring stones to work with, though.
I’m currently fighting with my diamond earring again, having grown
dissatisfied with the current knot. I don’t usually revisit a project,
but this is my only diamond, and it carries a bit of emotional baggage
with it. :wink:

Loren


#12

Daniel,

   Consider the time it takes for you to hand make one pair of
these earrings settings with the twisted wire and jump ring all
being hand constructed.... I would calculate that it takes about 1/2
hour per pair ( without the wire wrap). 

Rather more than that, but perhaps if I were to make them more often
I would acquire sufficient expertise. I’ve come to the conclusion that
the time I spend is less of an issue than the amount of blood I lose
when I prick my finger on the wires or on my tools. :wink:

   assume that you wish to make $25/ hour before you make your
markup, This would calculate out to $12.50 labor /pair ... now add
your gold weight and the cost of the scrap gold weight of the extra
wire that you cut off into the cost factor. I 

I don’t charge for material costs at all, certainly not at this usage
level, though I have to account for it to the IRS at the end of the
year when I total up the books. I would cheerfully go through several
grams of gold to get it right, if necessary, though usually I can hit
it with only a few false starts, and then I just melt down the main
part of the scrap and make more wire.

   realize that the unusable gold clippings are recoverable, but
you won't see that money until you have a fair amount of gold to
refine... then you still don't get all your money back for the gold
being refined and if the lot being refined is not huge, they will
assess an extra charge for handling it which can end up being as
much as $250 /lot. This eats up a large amount of the returned gold
value. If we cast these items in a quntity of 60 Pcs, your total
cost would be 

I’m not sure I would survive making that many earrings, even if the
mount were already done for me. I’d probably need regular
transfusions. :wink:

Would sixty pieces be a minimum order for casting? I might sell
thirty pairs of earrings eventually, I suppose, though I’m somewhat
doubtful of that. My work doesn’t seem to have mass-market appeal.

   about $3/ pcs including the gold and labor ... This actually
costs less than the labor it takes to make the setting by hand. Now,
since this cast part is only a small part of your overall finished
piece and the rest of the work is still done by hand, Then it is
still considered a hand made part And you can still charge what you
were originally charging. Now, If you find that the item becomes
popular, you can refine the idea and actually design some wire work
that that looks like the wrapping that can also be cast in place for
very little more , reducing your costs further and allowing you to
make a decent profit at a lower cost. 

When someone commissions an earring, or a pair of earrings, I’m not
entirely sure that an hourly labor charge is relevant. Also, I have a
large stake in the nature of the knot as a knot, and would
cheerfully cede the market for cast knots to anyone interested in
occupying that niche.

I do appreciate the suggestions, Daniel, though I don’t believe
casting is the answer for me in this case. Thank you for helping me
out, it’s given me some ideas and helped me clarify my own thinking on
the situation.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#13

Loren and anyone else interested in chains,

I awakened at 3:15 AM and could not go back to sleep, turned on the
light and reached for glasses and a book. A book I consider Must Have
for anyone interested in a great variety of techniques and unusual
designs.

“Chain Making Link By Link” by Jeanne Jerovsek-McAninch
ISBN:0-9671064-0-0 Published by La Milagrosa Press, 218 W. Knox Dr.
Tucson, Az 85705

There is everything in this book you could ever want. Last year
courtesy of Dave Arens, I got to visit with Jeanne. She is involved in
a very excellent program with the Tucson Recreation Department. I
think the Guest Instructor during this years Tucson Show was Jean
Stark.

Jeanne’s book began as a series of lessons for classes she gave. They
combined, with several additions into this book. I realized that the
classes in Chain Making I was taking through CFMS at Zzyzx, with
George Snider used some of these designs.

I bought my book directly from Jeanne, I know it can also be found
elsewhere. Cost in the 20’s. Spiral bound .

Try it, you’ll love it. Teresa


#14

Teresa,

   "Chain Making Link By Link" by Jeanne Jerovsek-McAninch
ISBN:0-9671064-0-0 Published by La Milagrosa Press, 218 W. Knox Dr.
Tucson, Az 85705 

I believe it’s available from Rio, couldn’t find any other references
to it in a web search, other than that snippet from an Orchid archive
back in October of '99.

Thanks, I’m going to order it from them as soon as I can.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/
lorenzo@intnet.net @Loren_S_Damewood1


#15

You can find this book in the Rio Grande Tools & Equipment catalog.
Feel free to contact Rio at 800-545-6566 and a representative will
help you!

Joe


#16

Loren-- I admire your knot work, and completely empathise with your
way of working. I just wanted to pass on to you my own conviction,
expressed through a quote (whick may not be exactly accurate). Lord
Beaverbrook, of whom I know virtually nothing except that he was
important in WWII, has been quoted to me as having said, “make
yourself a master at what you love, and ,sooner or later, it will
become important.” The point is, on your case (and mine), I am
convinced that there exists a market for any labor of love. The hard
part may be to locate that market, but I have to believe there are
people out there who will appreciate the work you do, the way you do
it, and appreciate it enough to pay what it is worth, Doing work no
one else is crazy enough to do makes you unique and irreplacable,
therefore valuable to the right market. I would think that any of the
upscale, maritime resorts of the northeast (or probably elsewhere)
such the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, etc, or even of the upper Great
Lakes (Macinac, other places with world-class sailing competitions)
would yeild at least one gallery that could sell your work at at
least therate you wish to produce it. I am also convinced that more
esoteric work actually sells better at high prices than low. When I
tripled my prices, the number of pieces I sell went down, but my
income rose a little. Good luck! --Noel