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Micro Pave


#1

Hi,

What is “micro pave”? I have heard this term and I must say I am a
bit confused. I have set zillions of.01ct diamonds for many years,
but to me that was just pave ,plain and normal. So is this ‘micro
pave’ like setting .001 stones? Or what?

http://www.meevis.com


#2
What is "micro pave"? 

When my customers ask for this, they have seen images of 3/4-1
pointers bead set in impossibly small bits of gold or platinum, with
milgrained edges. So, yeah, just pave’, though generally not in a
field, but in thin, individual elements within a larger
design…think pave’-ing filigree threads (not really, but close).

Matthew Crawford
www.MatthewDesigns.com


#3

Hiya Hansje,

Weeelll…the micro pave that I have designed and had made uses
extreeeeeemely small stones. 4 diamonds=1 point. They are full cut
diamonds, faceted by computer. Very tiny bling and lots of it.
Stones are SI1 G color. The setting is done by specialists that use
actual microscopes to do the setting. The tools for this look like
leeeetle tiny needles. Very pricey and very beautiful. I couldn’t do
it with any amount of time and instruction. Its pretty impressive
when done well. One of my pieces has 212 diamonds on it, and it is
about 1/2"x 1". I have seen it over full surfaces, however I find it
at its most beautiful when used sparingly as a fine accent.

Cheers,

Lisa, ( Made a great cassoulet with the duck confit that I made in
June. Man was it yummy!)Topanga, CA USA


#4

Hans, you’ve been doing micro pave for many years, i guess. It’s
really just a trade name or label for tiny stones set usually in
rows. Usually it’s 1/100’s (subtly different from.01 ct.) to 1/150’s.
But yes, it’s just pave with tiny stones - big flash, small cash.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5

Hello Hans;

What is "micro pave"? 

Micro pave is just a marketing term for pave with small stones. It’s
meant to draw attention to and make special the fact that the stuff
is set with really tiny diamonds (actually, just 1 pointers). I think
it also keeps people from noticing just how crummy the stones, the
designs, and the setting work are (as if the average consumer would
know the difference). I’m not picking on the consumer, and I’m not
picking on the manufacturer. The first doesn’t know because the
retailers don’t educate them, the second doesn’t care because the
retailers buy from them anyway. You see where I’m going with this?

David L. Huffman


#6

There’s a current program showing on Discovery HDTV called “Masters
of Time”. It features two makers in Switzerland who make one off
watches. One piece features a case paved with.01 pointers in Pt. The
program was produced by NSK the Japanese TV company. They use a macro
lens camera to show this guy paveing the case. Very impressive.
Perhaps this could be considered micro pave.

Kevin Kelly


#7

Micro- Pave’ the newest name for something very old. I can set.0004
pointers. (melee’s). But what’s in a name? Names change but the
techniques are still the same. I set for a customer 150 little
diamonds all with 4 beads!!! We never called it anything else. It was
setting and you had to do it. Name? Its Pave setting at it’s best.
For next year/season they’ll have another name for it, names change
style of setting never changes. Maybe its new name, more labour,
newer microscopes, the name seems very daunting, but alas, its still
diamond setting…

Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!


#8

Ye gawds !..Quarter point diamonds…another repair nightmare
! Pave’ing with microscopic diamonds that are only worth fifty cents
is an excellent excuse for not accepting anything of its’ ilk for
repair. Is it any wonder that qualified bench people are hard to find
when this is the kind of thing that is on the repair horizon ? Oh
well, fashions come and go, and today I read that Bling is out…no
more w----house glitz…suits me !

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#9

Gerald,

I can set.0004 pointers. (melee's). 

Ok, so micro pave is just another name for the same old. Fair deal.
But I have never seen a diamond smaller than .01ct As in one
pointers. Are you seriously telling me that there are full cut
diamonds of .0004? As I understand it, that is four ten thousands of
a carat. But I might be wrong, because, to be honest, the american
and british measuring systems is a mystery to me, mon. Pounds,gallons
gauges dwt and fractions and stones are far to complex for a metric
idiot like me. So is .0004 pointers an expression of an imperial
measuring system?

http://www.meevis.com


#10
Ye gawds !.......Quarter point diamonds.....another repair
nightmare ! Pave'ing with microscopic diamonds that are only worth
fifty cents is an excellent excuse for not accepting anything of
its' ilk for repair. Is it any wonder that qualified bench people
are hard to find when this is the kind of thing that is on the
repair horizon ? 

Oh nonsense Ron. The stuff isn’t that hard to work on. For one
thing, because the setters are using good optics to do it, the stones
usually are set uniformly and well, with decent beads holding them.
The models tend to be good symmetrical CAD/CAM generated designs that
are well enough made as to be otherwise suited to repair work. Much
of this work, at least what’s crossed my bench, is platinum or 18K
gold, and pricey enough in the first place that it’s worth repairing
when it needs it. No more difficult to work on than any other diamond
set work, with a few exceptions. Your beading tools need to be in
good condition, for one thing, so if you’re reshaping beads or
tightening a few loose stones, you don’t muck it up, and your shop
has to be well enough equipped to be able to do competent work on
this type of merchandise. While this new trend may indeed seem a bit
more of a fuss and bother, well, time moves on in the repair shop
too. Lots of shops have better tools available for working on
jewelry than we had even ten years ago. Micro welders, laser welders,
etc, make it possible to do repairs on diamond set platinum,
regardless of the size of the stones, that would have been done only
with ugly repair grade gold solders in times past, and now we can
restore worn items to literally like new. With the laser, for
example, I can literally retip all the beads on a micro pave set
piece if I need to, and the finished repair not only looks as good as
new, but makes me a bunch of money, and makes for a very pleased
customer. This is not that different from car repair. It used to be
you could do a good tuneup on your car with about 20 bucks worth of
meters from Kmart, and a new set of spark plugs. Now, you’ll need the
diagnostic computer equipment in order to properly work on that
modern engine, if you really want to be doing it correctly. .

The problem with finding good repair people has little to do with
the types of repairs being done these days. It has much more to do, I
think, with the combination of little if any required training for
someone to enter the jewelry field, leading to lowered expectations
on the part of employers as to how much a well trained repair person
should know, and be worth, and the problem of weeding out the good
ones from the flood of untrained people who’re pretty sure they can
be good jewelry repair people even if their knowledge of jewelry
ends with knowing roughly which end of a torch to light and which
part of the flex shaft pedal gets pushed, and they don’t speak more
than a few words of english in any case. Then there are the
understandably higher wage expectations and needs for those who enter
or are in the field who DO have decent training or experience who
wish to be able to make a decent living in the current economy and
world, while a lot of employers seem to have formed their ideas about
employee wages in the middle of the last century, and haven’t updated
them much for inflation. If the repair business actually paid
reasonably well, then you’d have no trouble finding qualified
workers. As is, many well qualified workers simply aren’t much
attracted to the field if they’ve got any other options.

Peter


#11

Hans Meevis!

I’ve seen FULL CUT 3/4 pointers, okay, multi-faceted stones. But
they are out there. They will surely cross your bench one day. I did
set smaller diamonds, they WERE SMALLER than 1/2 pointers, had to use
a fine #005 round bur plus a very carefully and modified Onglette #1
self-made bead raiser. This modified graver was made thinner on both
sides, and the face was made smaller to accommodate the required
ultra-smaller beads.

No great deal, you just have to “THINK SMALL”, just make darn sure
that the gold is thick enough to work on. The measurement of .0004
should have read "


#12
Are you seriously telling me that there are full cut diamonds
of .0004? 

Welcome to the millenium Hans…and Ron…lol. there are full cut
diamonds of.0004 and I have a whole, (small), line using them. When I
brought them to the Baltimore ACC show I had several well known
jewelers, (who shall remain nameless) either show up at my booth or
send their assistants with loupes to check it out. One of them
actually asked to use mine…Of course I complied. :slight_smile: (No not you
James Binnion. You and Terry were simply stuck across from me for the
show, poor babies. Lucky me.).

From what I understand these teeny weeny diamonds are cut using
computers. In any case they are pretty amazing. Loads of light and
flash. Oh…these pieces are the only work I haven’t made with my
own little hands. I saw examples of the stuff and had to try it, so I
found someone in downtown LA who does this kind of work. I also use
slightly larger stones which are easier to find.

Peter of course is right as usual. Micro pave simple to work on if
you have the proper education and the right tools. Hey its not new
technology, its just smaller technology. Of course I know that all
of you would much rather work on repairing invisible settings now
wouldn’t you?

PS…I am old enough to remember when we would hang up the phone in
disgust without leaving a message because some idiot had bought one
of those annoying answering machines. And then there was that
conundrum of automobile vs horse. NO…I am not that old but I do
read!

Cheers,
Lisa, (Gearing up for the ACC San Francisco show next week. Anyone
out there going?), Topanga, CA USA


#13

Peter,

I certainly respect and admire your expertise, but your logic brings
up some interesting considerations. In the realm of appraising it is
somewhat curious for me to rationalize the value of a diamond ring
which has been micro-pave’d with, let’s say, 200 .0025 ct. stones.
Would that not be .50 cts and what might be the value of the stones ?

Are microscopic full cuts worth a great deal more than ordinary
melee ? Certainly, in this scenario, the value of the labor would be
greater inasmuch as the cost of the necessary equipment has to be
absorbed. On the other hand, I doubt very much that a scrap buyer
would allow anything at all for the stones. Maybe you could enlighten
us about these new economics…

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#14
I certainly respect and admire your expertise, but your logic
brings up some interesting considerations. In the realm of
appraising it is somewhat curious for me to rationalize the value
of a diamond ring which has been micro-pave'd with, let's say,
200.0025 ct. stones. Would that not be.50 cts and what might be the
value of the stones 

If one is designing jewelry with the aim of being able to add up the
parts to equal some desired appraised value, then certainly pave
working with larger stones makes better sense. Micro pave is just
another “color” on the palette, which allows a designer to cover
smaller parts, narrower edges, and the like, with the look of pave.
Well done, it looks very nice, and holds up reasonably well. Done
poorly, well, then it can share the scrap heap with everything else
in our field that might also be poorly made. As to the value of the
stones, well, with our current supplier, we’re paying about 500/ct
for nice melee. It’s G/H, VS clarity, full cut (ideal cut in fact).
Nice stones to work with. Same price regardless of whether it’s
quarter pointers (the smallest we buy) or two pointers. Not sure
about when it gets larger than that. The stones are simply worth what
they’re worth, and the labor is worth what it’s worth, a fair per
stone setting fee. The stones may be worth less per stone, being
tiny, but then there are more of them, so labor costs go up. This
simply gets taken into account in pricing, like any other cost of
labor or materials. The choices of how much to set, and what sizes,
are made as design choices, not economic ones. The economics are
worked out after the design is worked out, and simply checked to be
sure the end price is something we’ll be able to sell. And keep in
mind that many of these pieces, at least the ones we seem to do or
work on, tend to be mountings that also will hold a major diamond
too. When you’ve got a platinum pave mounting that’s holding a two
and a half carat fine diamond, the issues of what the melee in the
mounting are worth become trivial. What matters is that the design
looks good. Achieve that, and no customer is going to worry about
the total weight of the melee.

Are microscopic full cuts worth a great deal more than ordinary 

melee ?

A great deal? No, I don’t think so. These things are cut by
computers now, and I don’t think there’s all that much difference in
cutting labor or costs to tell the machine to do a full cut rather
than a single cut. As I said, what we’re buying now are actually
ideal cuts. Very uniform. Frankly, it blows me away. They’re very
nice stones. And as I said, cost us about 500 a carat. Now, you can
buy decent single cut one pointers for less than that. Feel free, if
you prefer them. But we’re rather enamored of these full cut melee. I
know, the conventional wisdom we all learned is that below a certain
size, full cuts look fuzzy and the extra faceting is a waste of time.
Maybe that’s partially true, or maybe that’s hearkening back to when
the melee was all cut by hand. I dont know. I rather like the look of
the full cuts. And remember that a quarter pointer SOUNDS very tiny,
but it’s not a quarter of the physical size of a one pointer. Ours
are running about.8mm or so, last I checked.

Certainly, in this scenario, the value of the labor would be
greater inasmuch as the cost of the necessary equipment has to be
absorbed. 

The equipment to make the stuff isn’t much more than it’s ever been.
Small stones need small drills, small burs to cut seats, and small
beads raised. That translates to faster setting times, once you get
used to it. Not all setters use fancy microscopes. The fellow sitting
next to me, our diamond setter, uses no magnification at all. Just
his eyes. A loupe is used to check when needed, but the bulk of his
work is just done the old way. Good light, sharp gravers, etc. You
can check our web site (www.sholdtdesign.com) for many examples of
his work. Most of the pave diamond setting you’ll see in our pieces
are his work. He’s one of the highest paid workmen in our shop, and
earns it. But diamond setters have always been at the top of the pay
scales in this business, so this is nothing new. The other fancy
equipment I mentioned, laser welders, etc, are for repair as well as
manufacturing. And you DON"T have to raise prices to absorb great
costs with this technology. It pays for itself pretty fast, just in
time saved, pieces saved, and greater quality that can be achieved.
Sure, the machines cost money. But consider: You can lease or finance
a new laser welder for under 700 a month. maybe much under, I don’t
know. Anyway, that works out to about 35 dollars a day. With what an
hour is worth these days (at the retail level at least) All you’ve
got to do is save a half hour or more per day in working time on one
or more pieces, and you’re paying for the tool. Anything beyond
that, is added profit, not added cost Trust me, it’s not hard to do
that at all. Usually well before the first cup of coffee is finished
in the morning…, at least in our shop.

On the other hand, I doubt very much that a scrap buyer would allow
anything at all for the stones. Maybe you could enlighten us about
these new economics........ 

Well, we’re a manufacturer. We don’t sell to scrap buyers, and I
don’t really think retail buyers of jewelry buy things with an eye to
what they’ll get for scrap in any case. Besides, scrap buyers
traditionally have not given all that much for old jewelry in any
case. Half of what the materials are estimated to cost is typical. At
that point, the value of a piece set with two pointers isn’t
significantly more, not compared to the original retail price paid.

As a manufacturer, the main issues with scrap is to efficiently
reuse it, and in the case of diamond jewelry, that means recovering
the diamonds and refining the metal, or directly reusing it if it’s
known clean metal. So yes, it’s more of a pain in the rear to remove
two hundred quarter pointers than it is to remove 30 three pointers.
As it happens, I spent last friday getting a bunch of old dead
inventory taken apart. In a day’s work, I disassembled some 40 rings
and several bracelets, containing something like 12 or 15 carats of
melee in various sizes. I can’t say it was fun, but it goes quickly
enough once you get the tricks figured out. And the main reason I did
it in shop was we were real slow last week, and I needed the work. We
could also have had our refiner remove them for us via acid refining.
he’d then return not just the gold and platinum, but the diamonds,
at little extra cost.

Cheers
Peter


#15
Peter of course is right as usual. Blush... Micro pave simple to
work on if you have the proper education and the right tools. Hey
its not new technology, its just smaller technology. 

And given the high degree of uniformity one can now get in a parcel
of these small stones, sometimes smaller isn’t even harder…

Of course I know that all of you would much rather work on
repairing invisible settings now wouldn't you? 

I’ll take micro pave any day. THAT I can fix. Invisible setting, in
my ever so humble view, are usually junque, often impossible to work
on reliably, even harder to repair, if possible at all, and frankly,
should be illegal. Unfortunately, the public likes the look, and it’s
hard to oulaw things the public likes (look at prohibition…)

PS...I am old enough to remember when we would hang up the phone
in disgust without leaving a message because some idiot had bought
one of those annoying answering machines. 

Hey, i still do that. hate answerimg machines. Some sort of phobia,
I guess. Half the time, if I get a machine, unless it’s urgent or
something, I’ll hang up and try to reach a real person later.

Peter


#16

All,

One gets the impression that those of us who don’t knee jerk accept
innovation are old fogies who are not “with it”! A more reasonable
approach to new technologies is one of wait and see. In the case of
micro pave’ there is certainly no way to assess the long range
viability of this innovation without having reasonable marketplace
exposure. It could turn out to be the hottest thing ever, a “flash in
the pan” or a total flop ! No one in the Orchid community can
irrefutably say what will happen.

One possibility that occurs to me with respect to tiny computer cut
diamonds is that it could greatly expand the resources of the
diamond mining community. Is it possible that micro pave’ was
deliberately designed to take advantage of the heretofore unusable
tinies that came from the mines ? This is how I 3 diamonds came to
the market…the small low grade stones which used to go into the
abrasive market were diverted to the jewelry market thus making it
possible to offer crappy jewels at basement prices. Market driven
innovation is not always a good thing…

Ron MIlls, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#17

To answer one side question about this: the carat is a metric weight,
representing 1/5 gram, or .2 gm… There are 100 points to a carat - a
point being a measurement of weight in this case, obviously. So, .004
ct. is.4 points (.01 = 1 point). In the trade, people have long
called them (casually) 1/100, 1/150, 1/200, as in “one one hundred
and fiftieths”. Those are 150 stones to the carat, or 200, etc. Now,
if someone wants to analyze that deeper (how many grains, micrograms,
etc.) that’s up to them, but the industry mostly won’t get it. That
is - jewelers understand “1/4 point”, but they mostly won’t get 500
micrograms without doing some arithmetic.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#18

Gerald, I’m even more intrigued than Hans is. Your post was.0004 pt.
and because one point is .01 ct. you have described diamonds weighing
4 millionths of a ct. each. Fascinating; who is polishing them?

Dr. Mac (with my microscopes at the ready)


#19

John, Lisa, Gerald

Apologies if I am wrong. I carat equals 100 points. Therefore a 1
pointer is .01ct. Therefore a 4 pointer is .04ct. Therefore a ten
pointer is .10ct. and a half carat stone is .50ct. At least that is the
way I have understood it to be.

Hans Meevis.


#20

Dear Peter,

Your response to my queries was, indeed, the best I have ever
received on Orchid. I learned a great deal from it and truly
appreciate your concise yet detailed analysis of the micro pave’
economics. It seems that it is best adapted to cad cam castings and
that it is another dimension in design detail. The material costs
become irelevant when you consider the low costs of the materials
versus the added detail in the design. Nonetheless, it is still a
game of waiting to see whether it becomes a permanent fixture in the
marketplace. I am already hearing that glitzy designs are getting
tiresome. It’s the same thing with the white gold…the demand is
still there, but it is predominantly from those who are young and
herd oriented, stylewise. Older customers still cling to yellow
because that is what they grew up with and because that is where
their jewelry collections are. No matter, fads are fickle and style
is ethereal.

Thanks again, Peter…keep up the good work !

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co., Los Osos, Ca.