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My first jewellery repair (small) project


#1

Two ladies visited our workshop today and suddenly my tutor called
me and asked me to correct a ring to the shape and bring it.

I was shocked. I have never done repairs and especially I dont want
to play with other people’s jewellery, atleast till I gain
confidence.

I could not say no, so I got the ring. It was a gold ring with no
stones, a little work on the top, and with almost a ‘V’ shape bend
in the shank. I annealed it, quenched in water and then placed the
ring on the ring mandrel and slowly and softly hit with the raw-hide
mallet.

It became round in shape, but I was worried to hit more so I gave it
to my tutor.

He took it and hit some more and then we pickled it and gave. I was
worried that I should not make the size bigger by continously
hitting it. End of the day I was happy that somehow I started my
repair work too.

I dont know if the goldsmiths style of work in our state and the
goldsmiths all over the world have the same style of working
although I have seen a lot of similarities.

The goldsmiths in our state have been in this occupation for
generations. Outsiders never came into the profession. When I
learned in Mumbai there were atleast 25 students, out of which I was
the only one that did not come from jewellery background.

All others were either children of diamond dealers, manufacturers
and goldsmiths.

But now I am seeing that most of the goldsmiths are not interested
in their children getting into this occupation. They want them to
study well and go for a job.

But now people from different backgrounds get into this industry. So
I guess life has its own way of balancing things.

Thanks.
Regards,
Kavitha Balakrishnan.


#2

Congratulations Kavitha! I’m just guessing, but I’d bet that your
tutor gave that ring to you for that very purpose. It was the first
piece of jewelry that belonged to someone else that you worked on.
That can be a very scary hurdle to overcome. But now you’ve done it.
You actually hit a ring that belonged to someone else with a mallet.
And then you saw that you could hit it even harder, in fact you
actually needed to hit it a little harder to get it right. Not all
that different from the first time many people use a torch. That
flame can be really scary. Until it becomes your friend.

Welcome to the pursuit of a lifetime. I warn people that are just
starting in the jewelry business that they should be aware that once
they get a little metal under their fingernails, life won’t ever be
the same. A very wise and talented gentleman I know once told me that
he didn’t choose jewelry as a career, jewelry chose him. I’m not sure
what the phenomenon really is, but I’ve seen it a hundred times. Once
jewelry gets under your skin, more often than not, it’s there to
stay.

Bet your hooked for life now, Kavitha! I’m really not sure whether I
should be congratulating you or commiserating with you. Jewelry chose
me too.

Dave Phelps