Orchidians, In regards to the discussion we were having about how
to bring out the best in cab stones, there was mention about setting
faceted stones so light can enter the pavillion (bottom) to
supposedly enhance the brilliance of the stone.
I tried an experiment, I took a large peridot, aquamarine, rose
quartz, and a small diamond into a dark room, used a penlight and
held it on the top of the stone and then behind the stone with me
viewing it from the top. I saw little or nothing I could see as
refraction or reflection from any of the stones when the light was
behind the stone.
I believe what I did made it pretty clear to me that the optic
principles that I understood were indeed true. Light entering from
the top of a stone, and if faceted to correct critical angles, light
returns back thru the table and crown facets to the observer. Light
entering from behind has virtually no effect.
It also makes me aware that some of the misthe public
receives is coming from the people who make or sell jewelry and
gems. Stones are being set with an open back for the purpose of
having light enter from the back or side of the stone, and it isn’t
going to do anything to help. It will make it easier to clean, which
is a benefit.
There has been statements about the people who buy jewelry not
knowing enough or not caring enough to make wise choices. Based on
some of what I read on this board, they are being supported by
incorrect and personal prejudice to be the way they are.
When someone asks a question, do we tell them we don’t know or do we
make something up? Do we take the time to get educated for that next
Most jewelry is sold through mass merchandisers and salespersons
who are just earning a living. There is no passion for what is being
done, it is just a money making machine. They advertise to tell the
public what to buy. They create the desire for what they sell. The
sales person doesn’t know anything more than what is written on the
Being involved with jewelry, the making of it and the sales can
bring someone into areas that are very technical, and I experience a
lot of myth and old wives tales. There is a tremendous amount of
to learn and if you are self-taught, the truth for me is
that it takes a long time to get a resonable foundation of knowledge.
In Europe there are standards for making jewelry, technical
standards and design standards and titles that are earned based on
skill and knowledge. We don’t understand or value those standards.
Appentices there just file for two years and cannot do their own
designs. They follow a system. You have to be a part of the system to
get a job. You have to meet an established criteria.
If you are stringing beads, there is not that much technical
If you are making a custom wax, casting and setting it
and selling a natural unheated aquamarine in a ring with diamonds,
you better know what you are doing for when that piece is appraised
in the future, it better be what you said it is. Jewelry is probably
the most emotional object that our society values. The symbology of
wedding rings, whether the first marriage or the third. Ruin your
customers dead mothers ring, break a treasured stone,ect and you
will be acutely aware of what it means to your customer.
I have been obsessive compulsive about learning as much as I can so
I have credibility, and after 30 years I still learn something new
every week. I am overwhelmed at times, there is a tremendous amount
of liability we have when we work with the public in retail.
The level of knowledge we should aquire should be relational to the
amount of responsibility, and the consequences that we would suffer
from not knowing what we should.
How can we establish a criteria for how well made a piece of
jewelry is when we have no standard of training for goldsmiths, and
our system of quality control seems to be the length of time the
customer can wear it without damage.
I got that out of my system! What do you think?
Richard in Denver