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Just what is fine jewelry?


#1

just what is fine jewellery? it might be a ring, pendant or
whatever!..I prefer to use the word “whatever” to it’s extreme case.
I’ve been toying around with some weird ideas to manufacture. I like
to now think of using 22karat gold instead of 18kt!..why? it has that
novel approach meaning something rare. As the the “wow!” effect.

I like the ridiculous or the sublime, just to catch the persons
attention.

About three years ago a friend of mine asked me

if I could make a little item, I though of it and put it aside till
only this evening…It’s now on the front burner of then stove.

…blazing red hot! I have the rubber mold and now I have reduce its
wax-weight to make it a saleable item.

If you find the business is slow, or even at a snails pace, always
think of something that no one has made before. You

might find you are the only one making it…so what is holding you
back?..

Gerry!


#2

Just what is fine jewelry? A piece that is every bit as beautiful on
the inside or back as it is on the front.

We almost always azure out under stones and will often hide a lovely
little stone or bit of art where no one but us and the owner will
ever see.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#3

Jo Haemer and fellow Orchidians

The holy word of “Azure” is almost a forgotten art. When I was on a
cruise ship early this year I saw some wonderful looking jewellery.
I asked the manager if I could look at it up close.

Would you folks believe at $2,995.00 the craftsman never put in any
simple Azure under the diamond setting!

I once viewed some remarkable filigree and ornamental designing all
neatly carved out with this #6/0 saw blade. It was almost more
beautiful than the top where the diamonds were. This Azure art form
is hardly ever seen or used, pity!

I created a gents ring with a separate Azure plate to be soldered in
afterwards. No one ever even heard of this method up here. The Cad
designer thought I was nuts or just wasting my time…well that’s
what separates “us on Orchid” from the rest of the crowd…
Appreciating the finer art forms in creating one-of-a-kind pieces of
art!

Gerry!


#4

Jo

Just what is fine jewelry? A piece that is every bit as beautiful
on the inside or back as it is on the front. 

I have to giggle. I have a rough time in most jewellery stores… I
get funny stares for looking at the back of a piece first. A
realization of horror that I might just know what I am doing.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#5

Fine jewelry is to push yourself beyond what you thought you could
ever do… then it is fine jewelry… do this with each piece you do
and you will be a fine jeweler… slack off and you will be just
another jeweler… do things only you will see and know it is the best
you can do… that is peace of mind and height of excellence… go
beyond what you expect of others and your self… Be the BEST…

Vernon Wilson


#6
The holy word of "Azure" is almost a forgotten art. When I was on
a cruise ship early this year I saw some wonderful looking
jewellery. 

“Azure”, another term in english is a “daylight” is a must feature
for article of jewellery to be considered as a candidate to the fine
jewellery. It’s presence alone is not enough to classify article as
fine jewellery, but it’s absence surely guarantee exclusion from the
class. My DVD “Eternity Ring” http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1f0
demonstrates how technique of azure is practiced. In addition, in
the guide to Eternity Ring, part 5 http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1f1
one can find a bit more info on the subject of azure.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7
simple Azure under the diamond setting 

Would someone explain this term? As far as I know, azure is a color,
the name of a magazine, or a software development system.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#8
The holy word of "Azure" is almost a forgotten art. 

First to the question - my own definition of fine jewelry is an
uber-obsessive attention to detail, taking craftsmanship to higher
levels than most mortals can envision. That detail might be the way
a surface sweeps, it doesn’t mean busy-ness.

But, just so everybody can speak like they know - it’s not “azure”,
it’s “ajour”. French for “to the day” or daylight. Not cheap, but far
from a lost art.


#9
But, just so everybody can speak like they know - it's not
"azure", it's "ajour". French for "to the day" or daylight. 

True enough. However, english speakers might be forgiven for using
the misspelled version, since “azure”, like so many other words from
other languages that the english language mangles, has indeed been
used in english for some time. I’ve seen both versions in texts
going back quite some time. In fact, I recall reading somewhere, a
description of a piece (I think it was an old auction catalog) that
had essentially the same as your sentence above, with
both spellings and the origin. This was a catalog, either an auction,
or a descriptions from some museum collection, or the like (don’t
remember exactly) from sometime prior to world war 2. I recall this
because I was shown it back in the 70s, when as a student, I asked
what such sawn out openings behind stones were called, and why…

Peter


#10
simple Azure under the diamond setting 
Would someone explain this term? As far as I know, azure is a
color, the name of a magazine, or a software development system. 

Al, the term, either spelled “azure” or “ajour” (from the french, “a
jour” ) refers to the way the metal behind a diamond or stone setting
is cut away, or relieved, usually with a saw, to open it up more than
just the drill hole. Usually it’s cut to a pattern of squares or
similar shape, each cut almost up to the adjacent openings, so
multiple adjoining holes, from the back leave only a thin web of the
original back surface. The practice originates from the idea that
light needs to get into a facetted gem from the back, as well as the
front, so opening up the spaces behind the gems, allowed light (the
day, or “jour”) to reach the stone pavillions. Today, of course,
diamonds properly cut no longer benefit much from light entering from
the back, since any light entering there ends up leaving elsewhere on
the back, while all you see from the front, is light that entered the
front originally. But back in the days of old mine cuts, rose cuts,
and other earlier cuts, the light or surfaces behind a gem certainly
did have a major effect on the appearance from the front. And even
today, even if it doesn’t help the gems appearance much, properly cut
ajours do make cleaning the gems and keeping them clean, easier. And
it looks so much more complete than just drill holes. A good job of
this makes it clear to the viewer that the jeweler was taking the
time and care to make sure the back of the piece was as well finished
and considered as the front. And considering the price of metals
these days, the slight additional amount of metal you remove in
doing this may well pay for the time to do it.

Peter


#11

It occurs to me that many people may not know what an “azure” is. It
is a shadowbox kind of shape cut beneath a diamond, where the sides
of the box slope away from the diamond. It was originally used to
minimize the metal visible through a diamond. In the early days of
diamond cutting, cutters really only polished flat spots on diamond
crystals. These very irregularly cut diamonds, known as “mine cut"
diamonds and their descendants, the slightly better proportioned
transitional European cut diamonds, had a phenomenon known as
"windowing” which means that you could see right through the diamond
to whatever was underneath it. Goldsmiths of the day found that any
metal below the stone was easily visible through the stone, and came
up with a fix that we now call azuring. The metal under the stone was
removed in a shadowbox form that made it invisible through the
diamond from almost all angles.

In the early twentieth century, the modern round brilliant cut was
developed and the need to hide the metal underneath was minimized.
With modern round brilliant cut diamonds, even those we now consider
poorly cut, all of the light that comes out of the top comes in
through the top, so they are virtually opaque as far as anything
underneath them. It is no longer necessary to remove metal under the
stone, it is actually possible to set a diamond with no hole under it
at all and not interfere with it’s transmission of light. There is no
need to allow light to penetrate under the diamond. Craftsmen do
azures now more as a nod to the craftsmen of the past than as a
necessity created by the diamond’s cut.

Hope this helps some understand the conversation.

Dave Phelps


#12

I gave up looking at piddling things to attractive customers. I’m
going to the real ultra-novel style of gold items.

It’s terribly boring to see the darn things made by the 1,000’s
other folks.

WE must dream and think of the unusual “never suspected it could be
made” items. I get mail or flyers of regional jewellery stores making
the same darn things…delete! delete! garbage-can stuff!*

If it can be made, do it! Or someone will do it and not you and they
will reap the rewards!!!..I’ve seen this happen already a few times,
pity! Think of the most obvious item you see, and work on it!

Think of 18 karat or 22 karat red-gold…Gerry!


#13
I have to giggle. I have a rough time in most jewellery stores...
I get funny stares for looking at the back of a piece first. A
realization of horror that I might just know what I am doing. 

Speaking of a giggle, my wife makes and collects porcelain dolls.
The first time I went to a doll show, I immediately noticed how most
of the people there would pick up a doll, unabashedly lift the skirt
and take a peek. My first thought was “what a bunch of perverts!”

Come to find out, they knew what they were looking for. Just like
jewelry, the details that tell an expert the most about the quality
and value of a porcelain doll are hidden where the sun don’t shine!

Dave Phelps


#14

I’ve seen it referred to by it’s French name: “a jour”. I think it
is the same concept.

Emie Stewart


#15

The term “Fine Jewelry” within the industry generally refers to
jewelry made of karated gold or platinum, and set with natural or
enhanced natural The term has unfortunately degenerated
quite a bit and does not ordinarily refer to the craftsmanship, or
even the quality of the materials and A quick viewing of a
Helzberg, Jared’s or Todd Reed Fine Jewelry collection will make this
distinction obvious. It has become an over-used term (imho) much like
"handmade" and as a result doesn’t really mean anything other than to
distinguish something as “real jewelry” (as opposed to fake or
costume) to the general public.

As to azures, I only do them on high-dollar pieces anymore. Azuring
is not all that hard to do, just time consuming; it is certainly no
lost art. Most folks don’t care about them though, especially when
their incorporation in a piece adds a couple hundred dollars to the
price. When price is an issue (which it almost always is), most
consumers usually don’t see enough value in azures to justify the
added expense and would rather save money than pay for a lot of extra
work they can’t really see anyway. They’d rather put their money into
more or better diamonds, which they can see. Kind of sad, but it is
what it is.

John D. is absolutely correct, “azure” is the Americanization of
"a’jour", which in jewelry design and construction means an object
which is pierced or decorated with an open structure so as to let
light through.

Dave Phelps


#16
It occurs to me that many people may not know what an "azure" is.
It is a shadowbox kind of shape cut beneath a diamond, where the
sides of the box slope away from the diamond 

Sometimes it is true, but not always. Incidentally, “azure” is
correct english term. If you use “ajoure”, you running risk of not
been understood. Azure is multifaceted technique. Multifaceted in a
sense that there are many reasons to use it. Whether or not all of
the reasons are applicable will depend on particular design. To list
few, - weight reduction; mass balancing for assembly; controlling
appearance of diamonds, especially where stones of different sized
are close together; ease of cleaning and keeping grease away from
pavilions, and etc.

Also, if we talking about fine jewellery, appearance of the back is
more important than appearance of the front. Front is done for public
and is observed from the distance. The back is a personal client
experience. It is examined in more details and should withstand much
higher scrutiny. Azure plays very important role in back appearance.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#17
John D. is absolutely correct, "azure" is the Americanization of
"a'jour", which in jewelry design and construction means an object
which is pierced or decorated with an open structure so as to let
light through. 

The concept of doing something on the back of a piece of jewelry to
allow light in or through or up or down or sideways is always
confusing to me why anyone believes that.

Channel set anniversary bands with diamonds all around can be bought
that have openings (round, square, oval, ect., does not matter what
shape ) beneath each stone and the sides have no opening. So why
would anyone think the opening behind the stone would allow any
light from beneath when the ring is worn. Especially when after a
while, some rings are packed with dirt in these openings. More on this
below.

A ring with flush set diamonds can have openings underneath them and
when worn, no light can get in from underneath. There is no reduction
of reflection or refraction of light. Test it yourself.

Diamonds and colored gems are cut to allow light in though the top,
and even poorly cut gems depend on light entering from the top and
reflecting and refraction from the angles of the pavilion facets.
Well cut gems have all the pavilion facets at the most effective
angles depending the the refractive index of the particular gems.

Put a light behind a flush set gem and see what happens when you
observe from the top. Fish eyed or windowed gems will allow light
through the bottom. There will be no refraction and it certainly
will not add any beauty to the gem.

If anything, with colored gems, it will wash out the color.

Dirt and grease can get behind gems that do not have opening behind
them and when this happens, the refractive index of the gem changes,
and the gem looks dull and lifeless. When jewelry is worked on and
heated, dirt behind a gem can turn black and without an opening,
there is no way to get the back of the gems clean. What seemed
practical to me from my experience, if I make something I might have
to re-tip in the future, the opening behind the gem prevents grief on
my part when that time comes. Long before I ever had to deal with
re-tipping a ring I made, I learned this lesson by doing repair on a
customers ring that I had not made. No opening behind the diamond,
re-tipped the diamond, and I had one hacked off customer accusing me
of switching a diamond because I had not learned to scrupulously
clean aring prior to re-tipping, or to remove a diamond when possible
to clean to prevent carbonizing the dirt on the pavilion of the
diamond.

When I see a nice custom ring without an opening behind a faceted
gem, I do not think that the designer did not understand the
principles of how light transmits through a gem, I think the
designer did not know or did not care about what would happen when
the gem needed to be cleaned or when repair needed to be done.

One last point. Take a well cut colored gem and a windowed colored
gem, preferably the same colored gem, put them each above a black
piece of paper and see what happens.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#18

I’ve been reading this with great interest. I have Leonids fabulous
DVD’s, and continue to watch them, tho’ I’m not exactly at the point
of working on anything as yet, they are very very complete,
understandable, and so well done, I have confidence that there are
the beginning steps that I can complete without removing digits and
drawing blood.

Yesterday, because of the discussion by Leonid and Peter, I was at
one of my regular haunts looking for inventory for my Vintage shop.
An elderly couple was looking at a fabulous citrine and diamond ring
in 14 K white gold, and since I go nowhere without my Optivisor, to
check marks, condition, etc., the saleslady asked me to look at
something that the couple did not understand with the ring. I was
able to explain to them why this procedure was done and what it was
called. Normally I would NEVER give that kind of an opinion but
having followed so many of these discussions, I felt confident to do
so. 20

I kept it simple, and they understood what I was talking about.
Although what I said might or might not have convinced them to buy,
it was nice to know that they bought the ring and I didn’t try to
hide when someone asked me for an opinion.

Thank you Ganoksin, Leonid and Peter.

Dinah


#19

Having a retail jewelry store gives me opportunity to observe human
behavior. Certain phrases have meaning that are relative to the
perspective of the person who uses the phrase.

I have customers that will ask the price of a piece of jewelry, and
upon hearing the price will exclaim something to the effect that the
piece they like, because of the price, is an indication that they
have good taste.

I have $4000 to $7000 gold and diamond pieces, and the piece
commented about might be a sterling piece is the $200-300 range. The
person making the statement is not making a purchase. They seem to
get something out of the self acknowledgement, usually to a friend
with them. " Oh, wouldn’t you know it, I have such good taste!"
Apparently self acknowledgement of what good taste you have without
being able to acquire what you admire is enough mental satisfaction.

I am surprised that some customers do not take cell phone pictures
and go around showing their friends what they admired. Perhaps they
might have a scrapbook of things they admire that shows what good
taste they have. Something to leave to the kids.

None of my customers who spend big bucks ever comment on their good
taste in the process of selecting an item for purchase, or after
making the purchase. I can understand making a statement “That is a
fine piece” when a piece is of high quality.

In 21 years I have never had a customer use the term, fine jewelry,
and I have not as I think it is a useless term.

There are three jewelry companies that advertize on the radio that
they have the largest selection, the best diamonds, designs that you
can only get from them…

What I am saying is that who is using the term is usually trying to
impress with what they got. If what is most important to you is some
combination of design skill and/or craftsmanship, that is what you
communicate about.

If you think your audience will respond to “fine jewelry”, usually
it ain’t, like J.C. Penny “Fine Jewelry” for $99.

As far as why this gets discussed, from the responses, the term has
so many different meanings to different people that it is
meaningless. What is the difference between fine jewelry and fine
art? If you go to any art gallery, they display fine art as defined
by the criteria that serves the gallery for the audience they
perceive as the customer base they hope to sell to. I do not think
there are many fine art galleries that advertize their fine art as
$300 pieces of art marked down to $99.

Fine dining has a meaning, fine art has a meaning, fine jewelry, not
so much.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#20
Azuring is not all that hard to do, just time consuming; it is
certainly no lost art. Most folks don't care about them though,
especially when their incorporation in a piece adds a couple
hundred dollars to the price. 

Since this is actually a useful topic. I can azure a 7-9 stone
anniversary ring in about a half an hour - not so long. Aside from
David and Peter’s telling of how the tradition came to be, there are
actually two enduring uses for azures. One is plain old everyday
craftsmanship, that is is that extra mile and extra care on a piece
that calls for it. The other is more practical. You get your blank
and you drill it as best as you can - all anybody can do. You look at
the top and it is perfect, all the holes just where they are supposed
to be. Then you look at the bottom or the inside, and it looks like
broken teeth because of the tracking of the drill bit. Would be that
we could all drill perfectly, every time, but we just don’t, in the
real world. Just a bit of a countersink with a ball bur can help a
lot, and sometimes that’s enough. That’s almost a poor man’s azuring,
in a way. But true azuring won’t just hide the imperfections, it will
also chase the holes up to the point where they ARE even, towards the
top. Maybe a little reaming in the end and nobody will ever know
you’re a drunken driller. I googled images for "azured wedding band"
and got some various hits. Those who might not have a good picture of
it can do that easier than me posting links. It’s the little boxes
cut into the holes on the inside…