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Jewelers and Gems

I subscribe to a magazine called color stone, which I began
subscribing to after the Spectrum Awards in which a piece I
manufactured was spotlighted in it.

This magazine showcases new cuts, new stones that they have
discovered and new treatments for colored stones.

The March/April edition has an article on reasons why bench jewelers
are less enthusiastic about setting colored stones in pieces of

I am lessening anyone’s experiences in the industry when it comes to
designers and the less then flexible and/or understanding jeweler.
After being in the jewelry industry as a goldsmith and bench jeweler
for thirty years, I have had my fair share of hassles with retail
store owners that I service and even in my own store with customers
that just do not appreciate my talent and the hours that I have put
in to perfecting my trade. I have had to deal with numerous stores
and designers trying to undermine my talent and my abilities, and
thent hrowing money in my face to make me happy. Yes, it is my job
and it is something I do to provide a living for myself and for my
family, but how dare they throw money at me to appease the problems
that they themselves began.

I am constantly venting my frustrations to my family. Please know
that you are not alone in this industry when it comes to being
disappointed in the reactions that you receive from the customer
base that we service.

Richard Jones
RJ Manufacturing
Cottonwood Jewelers
PO Box 668
Cottonwood, CA 96022
TEL (530) 347-9681
FAX (530) 347-9683

Richard Jones and all…again! I am not at all ashamed in showing my
clients or setting friends what I am doing. One past client actually
told me that I was getting too popular and he felt intimidated with
my upward abilities regards to my writing and school…His loss, not
mine! This very same retail fellow couldn’t see the difference
between a Moisannite to a diamond…:>)…pity! Never “put yourself
down” in regards to your talents. You’ve earned the right to blow
your own horn, so do it ! This little phrase is for everyone, show
respect to your craft. If anyone gets irritated with me, I never get
mad, I just get even!!!..:>) We are designing things worthy of
Queens and Kings, think of it that way. What do the others do? They
are just selling what you are creating, with out “you”, they would be
just doing…?? …gerry!

Most definitely, everyone needs to toot their own horn. It helps our
egos and our confidence. In our trade our confidence is the most
important thing that we have, well, of course set aside from our
talent and creativity.

I encourage my sales staff to boost the customers with not only
their accomplishments but also m7y own. Every customer is informed
of my participation with a designer in creating a piece that won an
AGTA Spectrum Award. It helps people to gain their own confidence.
If the customer doesn’t have confidence then all is lost, in a more
dramatic sense.

It is unfortunate that in the stone cutting trade and also in the
bench jeweler and goldsmith trade, that our abilities and talent are
being lost in the multitude of machine crafted products, the
non-stop flow of mass produced pieces that every chain store in the
mall has.

We are somewhat of a dying breed and if tooting our own horn is what
it takes to keep us in the main stream, then we must toot them as
loudly as possible.

Toot away my jewler and lapidary friends…we are the chosen
few…be proud.

Richard Jones
RJ Manufacturing
Cottonwood Jewelers
PO Box 668
Cottonwood, CA 96022
TEL (530) 347-9681
FAX (530) 347-9683

Richard and all on Orchid! How do I “toot my own horn”? I changed the
job description on my business card …only the truth mind you. It
proved itself today when I interviewed my newest account. “Diamond
Setter, Author, Teacher” a setter interviewing a new account… never
heard of…you should have seen the wide eyes of the office
receptionist. I just sat back and smiled…imagine this writer
interviewing the new account…its called “chutzpah or another
way…cajones”:>) somehow the 23 retail store owner just looked at it
and said, “Gerry, I’ve known you for 15 years and you’ve got my
work”. Tooting horns is a most gratifying experience, no day should
go by with out the loud bellowing sound of this horn… I
recommend it to everyone, we all have our own niche in this life, so
why not,eh?..Gerry !

Finally time for my 2cents worth on this subject. I started by
cutting stones (cabs, not faceted), then moved on to metal work.
Most of my business now is repair work or making up pieces from
findings, castings, etc. Very little true custom work, or time to
make really original pieces on speculation. When I am channel
setting a bunch of melee size stones, diamonds or otherwise, I prefer
the precision of machine (or at least very well) cut stones. Much
easier to set, much more pleasing to look at afterwards. This
especially applies to colored stones which too often have huge
bellies, poorly defined girdles and other impediments to good
setting habits. Even for other styles of setting, I like the more
precisely cut stones. Other than as an exercise for a beginning
stone cutter, why would anyone even want to spend the time to hand
cut a 1.5mm stone precisely? Not very cost effective. The cutter
has to charge for his time, then I have to mark it up and try to sell
it to my customer. On more production oriented pieces, I guess I’ll
stick to whatever works and is priced where I can sell it. Most of
my customers just wouldn’t understand. For that matter, our sales
staff (I have no control over that, either) doesn’t much understand
either. They are as bad as the customers about focusing on dollars
rather than value. I also see most of the pieces as metal work that
happens to have stones.

On the other hand, I do like, when I can afford the time and money,
to find unique stones, well cut and make a beautiful piece of jewelry
to showcase the stone. Here, the emphasis is more on the stone. I
try to design a piece that complements, but does not overshadow, the
beauty of the stone. My work is but a showcase for the master
cutter’s work. 2 completely different approaches, for me, to
building a finished piece.