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"hand made"


G’day; A penn’orth this time: And I thought I was a bit
academic/pedantic! Surely ‘goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life’ if I apply a little bit of practical
(un)common sense to what I produce? Ok, so I happen to make a
ring from scrap sterling silver by casting a 5mm rod, rolling it
down smaller, drawing it through a home made die, with a
home-made drawbench; making thin sheet from a bit of the recycled
silver and making tube, again using home made dies.
Cutting,shaping and polishing cabs from black argillite and white
quartz stones from our local beach and finishing up with a
yin-yang ring… So that’s hand made? But I didn’t mine the ore
or make the steel for the dies, mill, etc, so… So what? One
can get a bit academic over trifles. I designed that ring on a
computer - so what? I am certain that if you are honest about
what you have done to a workpiece, you will KNOW whether can call
it hand made - or not. And YOU live with that small voice in your
head… My dictionary says, “Academic:… impractical…” I
spent 27 years in a university and I agree.

   / /    John Burgess, 
  / /
 / //\    @John_Burgess2
/ / \ \

/ (___)



I have attended a variety of Juried craft shows as both a
exhibitor ( use to carve and inlay stones ) and as a visitor.
Amazing the amount of cast jewelry that is exhibited there. In my
humble opinion with the hope of offending no one :). I beleive
that all the work and artistry involved in the design, carving
and ultimately casting of a piece of jewelry should allow the
classification of that article as HAND Made.

Certainly some designs could only be reasonably produced by
casting. Those items that involve a carved appearance for
example. Who would take a solid piece of gold and carve a
elaborate dragon into it with the hope of being able to cover
perhaps a wee bit of the labor involved. Bad enough that a long
wax carving process seldom will allow for finiancial recovery of
the labor involved.

I certainly understand the concern of those who produce hand
forged and entirely hand assembled pieces , to not wish to
compete against or be associated with mass produced cast pieces,
but the individual who spends untold hours designing the
product, executing a complicated carving, casting that item,
sanding and polishing the item, and finally setting a stone into
it, should undoubtedly be classified as hand made. ( my humble
two cents ) There should be a happy medium somewhere.

Thanks and best wishes
Gemstone Brockerage Associates Ltd. Telephone (518) 438-5487
P.O. Box 8930 Albany, New York
Email adresses



Please find enclosed 2 cents .
Yes I would agree with you.
Let us not argue
Caveat emptor
Caeteris paribus

Aurum (John Drummond)


Hi all,

Having followed the thread about “hand made”, I’d just like to
throw in my own opinion. I think it’s more or less a matter of
talking to your customer. With a one-of-a-kind piece of
jewellery it really doesn’t matter if it is fabricated or cast,
as long as you can guarantee that no multiples exist. That may
be the point, as with castings the customer has to trust to what
you tell him. Another idea here could be a kind of limited
editions, the like is done in other arts, as you well know. Just
a matter of integrity.

On the other hand, I do some series work, that is fabricated,
say about 5 rings or pendants with cluster settings at a time.
And when I have to make another bunch of these the next month I
am expected to turn them out the same. There are goldsmiths who
make rings with simple bezel settings, shoulders and shank by
the hundred (they get as much as $10 - $15 for one, metal is
supplied). Those are handmade, but is it worth the name? What
does the customer get, what does she/he want?

As someone said earlier in this discussion, it’s the marketing
that makes the image.

Just some thoughts, Markus


To Everyone who reamed me on my definition of hand made jewelry,
and everyone else who contributed to the topic of handmade

I appreciate hearing all the feedback on this subject. It is a
touchy one at best, and everyone has opinions on what is and
isn’t hand made. I personally hold that if you make a piece of
jewelry by hand (and by hand I mean the metal construction of the
item) using your assorted tools (such as pliers, rolling mills
and draw plates, torch, polishing machine, snips, saw, and
whatever), that you have the right, under the FTC guidelines for
the jewelry industry, to call it hand made, hand wrought, or hand
fabricated (to me these terms are synomonous) and to stamp it
such. I have been a goldsmith for 17 years and this is how I
produce my work. I do art shows and I agree that there are alot
of “designers” out there that “design the piece” and have it
"handmade" (by the thousands) in Bali, or Tiajuana, or Thailand.
I personally consider that production work. I do casting of ring
parts in my work as well. But, I don’t consider that handmade,
even if I assemble all the parts, and won’t stamp my rings as
handmade. This might offend some, but it is the way I feel about
handmade. And yes, I do sometimes spend hours carving a wax for
casting. And yes, I do sometimes spend hours designing a pendant
or earrings. But it is just part of a continuing process.
Handmade refers to the metal construction of the jewelry item,
that’s all.

Thank you for all the feedback. That, afterall, is what Orchid
is all about. Here’s the governments version of our topic.

FTC Guidelines for the Jewelry Industry, Feb. 27, 1979, final
revision April 8, 1997.

Section 23.4 Misuse of terms HAND-MADE, HAND-POLISHED, etc.

" (a) It is an unfair trade practice to represent, directly or
by implication, that any product is hand-made or hand-wrought
unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw
materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by
hand labor and manually controlled methods which permit the maker
to control and vary the construction, shape, design and finish of
each part of each individual product.

NOTE: As used herein, “raw materials” include bulk sheet, strip,
wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or
formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.

(b) It is an unfair trade practice to represent, directly, or by
implication, that any industry product is hand-forged,
hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been
otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation descrived was
accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which
permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect
of such operation on each part of each individual product. "

Barry Hansen
Hansen Designs


Hm m m m, now, does that mean that using a manufactured finding
(ie: pin and catch for a self-designed, hand made (starting from
sheet, cutting, filing, soldering all, etc . … ) constitute
"hand made," or not???

Thanks for the info!!!