More than one way to complete a job

A Message for those less Experienced

There have been several threads here that made me ponder this topic.
Let me use a bezel setting as an example. We have a calibrated black
onyx cab, and a 14ktY bezel ring to set it in. So, how do we do
that? In Hawaii, I used to put it in a clamp and bang it down with a
leather mallet. Took about 60 seconds to set a stone. You could push
away with a bezel pusher, you could rub it with a burnisher, use a
steel hammer and a punch, or a reciprocating hammer. If you have a
bezel punch that fits, you could use that. So, the question being,
which way is the “correct” way - the “proper” way? Well, they all
are. The point being, it doesn’t really matter HOW something is
done, what matters is that it’s done. I have a big, fabulous piece,
not jewelry. It’s a kit, in a box, with about 150 parts to it, and
once I had a visiting class. As their instructor stood there nodding
her head and smiling, I said, "Aside from the specialties (lapidary,
bookbinding, Mokume), this was made with hammers, saws, files and
pliers - and a torch. Certainly there is much to learn, but by and
large jewelry is not made by tricks, it is made by skill, which
comes from practice, which equals experience. If you need to make 25
intricate little things, there’s no magic lamp to rub, you just have
to sit down and make the 25 parts. Good tools will help with that,
but mostly you just bend the little parts, stick them together, etc.
I had a private showing of Faberge’, and I could look close at it. I
thought, “I can do everything they did”. Meaning, as I looked at the
work, I could say, “They did that there, and this here, and that’s
that tool, and that technique.” There were no mysteries. What it was
was two things: A fabulous design, and massive quantities of fine
workmanship – many, many hours. But they were made with saws,
files, pliers and hammers. What I’m trying to get at is, don’t
agonize over things - if the stone is set, it’s set. Just because you
don’t have some gizmo doesn’t mean you can’t do the work, just use a
vise, or dividers, or whatever suits. You don’t NEED a tube-cutting
jig for $75, it’s just handy. Be confident, it’s your work, not mine

  • do YOUR thing. You don’t need fancy chemicals, or tools, or
    anything to do almost everything relating to jewelry making. The
    specialties are different, but they’re specialties: Mokume,
    engraving, etching - they all require the specifics relating to them.
    One of the threads that made me think of this is the leaky torch
    thread. Now people have been using soapy water (actually dishwashing
    liquid) to check for leaks since the invention of tanks, so how come
    all of a sudden we “need” this special “fluid” (bet: fluid=soapy
    water) This being America, and soapy water is free…

hi jjdon -

at times i feel sorry for orchid newbies who get responses with
convoluted instructions (yes, i know my posts tend to be ‘training
wheel’ instructions with too many words) stated with absolutes as to
speeds, tools, materials and methods.

your post was excellent and reaffirmed the point that needs to be
made every chance: if you can’t tell from looking at the finished
product whether it was cut out with a hundred and three 4/0 blades in
a jeweler’s saw, with solder scissors or a 9 inch ryobi bandsaw -
what is the difference?! or if the opal is 26g bezel-set on a buffer
bed of E6000 adhesive since it cures without hardening and ‘gives’ a
little and keeps the opal from cracking after an accidental bump, why
should someone get bent out of shape when g-l-u-e is used?

you defined THE basics of making jewelry: [it doesn’t really matter
HOW something is done, what matters is that it’s done, [and it is
all] made with hammers, saws, files and pliers - and a torch.]

what we often see on orchid is the 'zackly, only-by-the-book "hows"
and 'zackly only-with-traditional-tools-timing-and-speed “whats”.

if some people can develop methods, procedures and/or tool
techniques with hammers, saws, files, pliers and torches that work
for them, accomplish what they want and don’t result in any loss of
body parts or disruption of the earth’s rotation, then the
’traditionalists’ can learn from them, or go back to reinventing the

who has learned that it is better to build a door in that brick wall than to
keep banging one’s head on it.

How can you build a door in the brick wall if you don’t have the
tools, the knowledge of how to use those tools, lastly knowing how to
use those tools to build a door??? If all of those tools were
scattered on the ground and left to your imagination, what would
happen, “Duh? What do I do now?” Would be your answer. Someone has to
take your hand ant put a tool into your hand and guide you along the
path of building that door, only once. Nothing is so wrong with that.
But yes, you have finally built that door. What you do Afterwards to
make your life easier is up to you, but you’ve gained some experience
from that first building,

I, for one, am doing this in my teaching, guiding ‘you’ in a way
that will be as a guide to all reading my two books, learn one
method, act on that method. Alas, you’ve gained some insight and
experience from my two stone setting books. What those folks do with
my alternate method is good for all, it’s another simple method in
making your lives easier to tackle setting problems…I will never
say to anyone my way is the true way, do it or else!. G-d Forbid, I
am only showing that there are two ways to set a stone, or build a
door in a brick wall…:>)

But after a few decades of setting (47 years) I have developed some
easier methods of setting, sure some may not like my techniques. But
damn it, it works, so why not let others make their life easier and
then being able to set stones easier too…:>)

I have also been told that I am too wordy in my explanations, well
geez, how can ‘we’ teach you to set a stone?..Put it in, file and
polish…Duh? Everyone needs “a manual” in the basics in the first
place. I just wrote 6 pages on just how to set a simple RBC
Engagement ring. But once you read it, you will get my drift…:>)

Visit me at the “Bench” Conference (this weekend) and I’ll show it
to you, or if I have many left over I’ll give you a copy. They even
come with full blown-up, coloured pictures, using a simple… bud…
bur ! But we all started from a learning situation, learning for a
wordy teacher, or mentor, then we all progressed on further “under
our own steam”.

I will show you how to hammer a nail, not with a pair of pliers, but
with a hammer, filing gold with a special file not a chisel. Everyone
HAS to learn the basics. “It’s a right of passage” for all…sorry
for my ranting and long discertation.

Gerry Lewy!