The legal definition of true handmade can be a fuzzy issue. I know
according to the League of NH Craftsmen Standards, high quality
purchased findings are legally allowed, as long as the overall amount
of purchased compoments is 25% or less. That means premade earwires,
ear posts, earbacks, chains, clasps, cabs, faceted stones, some
commercial settings and commercial 3 part pinbacks are allowed. In
fact, we do encourage commercial earbacks for nobody makes them by
hand. That is one thing I willnot made. If you work for a Guild, or
an organization, then check their standards guidelines on what is
allowed, and what percentage is allowed for the makeup of handmade to
commercial compoment ratios. It can get complicated. I’ve grown up
with the League of NH Craftsmen so complying to their guidelines is
Certain things, like some ear posts, ear backs, tube bezels, prong
settings, lobster clasps/spring rings, as long as they are of high
quality, are more than acceptable and can be better in some cases
than handmade. It really depends on the design and construction. I
make all of my own earwries, all of my toggles, most of my jumprings
and more. The only thing I will not make are earbacks (which I get
the stainless steel jumbo size), earposts (always stainless steel),
good quality lobster clasps from Otto Freir and Stuller, and fine
neckchains. I’ve made my own pinbacks using stainless steel wire, or
vintage nickel riveting wire which coms with a lovely, sharp point,
prefect as pinstems. I have learned that it is best to use nickel
pin catches, nickel pin joints and nickel or silverplated pin stems.
Sterling pin catches simply don’t hold up or fall apart quickly.
That is from experience.
I even make my earwires to a specific gauge - 19 1/2 when I need a
slightly heavier wire. After repairing jewelry for a few years, I
have a repair mentality. I will look at a piece, and see how it will
hold up 10,20 years from now. Most people don’t, so I do have a
slightly different attitude.
Joy (who has suffered many a headache in League Standards committee
meetings regarding Standards guidelines)